by Mercedez Clewis,
How would you rate episode 8 of
Slow Loop ?
Community score: 4.5
“I'm Fine Right Here” is still soundly set in summer with all the glorious ASMR sounds of cicadas crying. Naturally, Koharu is hella hyped about catching them, much to Hiyori's chagrin and mild discomfort. Thankfully for the latter, they're called into the house to help with food prep, which coincidentally reveals that this is a vacation episode, promising many a good trope as we get to fly fish from a different location yet again!
That location is Hiyori's mother's home, set in the rural countryside. It's a pleasantly nostalgic place, suffused in the halcyon summer and accompanied by dango smothered in red bean paste. It's also got familial tension between Hiyori and her maternal grandfather (though it's really just a very reserved man who's also hella hyped to have his granddaughters, Koharu included, at his home), but it's nothing that fly-fishing can't fix!
But it's really the other sides of Hiyori we see here that drew my attention in this episode. So far, Hiyori has been the calm and collected one, slowly opening up from the grief of her father's loss. The years haven't dulled the ache, but Koharu clearly has, and the way she helps Hiyori cope with having a second father while trying to sustain the memory of her biological father is what gives Slow Loop much of its emotional texture.
And Koharu's impact on Hiyori is beautifully evident in a scene from this episode that is equal parts heartwarming and hilarious. Pretty early in the episode, while the girls are fishing for some char, Hiyori grows increasingly eager and starts chanting “chomp” or “paku” in her enthusiasm. Not only is it a cute and funny character quirk, resulting in gut-busting giggles from Koharu and myself, it's also a side of herself that only Koharu has seen, and a promising sign of Hiyori moving through her grief.
Grief doesn't get smaller with time: it stays the same size, ebbing like the ocean. Yet in episode 8, I feel like I'm seeing a Hiyori that's healing, becoming a larger vessel for the memories of her father by forging new ones with Hiyori. And episode 8 is lush with little moments like the one mentioned above that enrich Hiyori's life, develop her as a character, and build upon her relationship with Koharu at the same time.
Episode 8 is one for the books. It's an episode about sisters bonding with each other, about family and what it means to love. There are so many high highs that there's nary a dull moment: if anything, I kind of didn't want episode 8 to end, especially when we get the "Koharu catches a cold" mini-arc that had me laid out on the hardwood floor. This really is the perfect Slow Loop episode: it's sweet and soft and poignant, has lots of really good food, and might even make you cry on occasion.
It feels like we're heading towards a brilliant, fish-filled finale in the next few weeks, one that I'm quite excited to witness. Whether or not there'll be tuna involved (I'm still holding out!), I'm hoping for more of these really good step-sisters taking care of one another as they shape their grief and the memories of their newfound (and legal) family into joyful moments full of laughter, love, and fly-fishing.
Slow Loop is currently streaming on Funimation.
Mercedez is a JP-EN translation and localization light novel editor & proofreader/QA, pop culture critic, and a journalist who, when not writing for ANN, writes for Anime Feminist, where they're a staff editor. They're also a frequent cohost on the Anime Feminist Podcast, Chatty AF. This season, they're reflecting on their youth with Akebi's Sailor Uniform. When they're not writing and reviewing, you can find them on their Twitter or on their Instagram where she's always up to something.
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