A lot of episode 4 is just friendship: there are some romantic moments, sure, but the bigger story is that of friendship, and just how wonderful platonic love can be. It’s nice to see the show open up to that message: while I’m fully here for ShikIzumi, I’m also very much starting to get invested in their friends, and the beautiful simplicity of their joyful, everyday lives.
A lot of Nagi and Erika’s relationship is going to be proverbial bridges. Despite being integrated into each other’s families, they’ve got a lot to do before they’re even close to being friends, nevermind a couple that is able to understand and empathize with one another. There are worlds between them, and I’m intensely curious to see how these cuckoos overcome them in future episodes.
Like I said in the premiere, I have no clue if this will develop towards actual commentary about gender roles; if anything, I expect that it probably won’t, and it doesn’t need to be – just watching the genuine chemistry between these two teens is more than engaging enough.
A Couple of Cuckoos‘ premise is unrealistically wacky in a pleasant “lean into it” kind of way. The cast is likable enough, and it’s a genuinely pretty show. It’s also actually funny in a way that reminds me of Wotakoi and Tonikawa—you’ll hear me reference both of these for my coverage of Shikimori as well—the blend of tropes from that shared genre all combine to make Parent Trap, but in Japanese and with no familial blood between our would-be couple.
I think it’s fair to say that Shikimori’s Not Just a Cutie is having a conversation with gender norms: how deep that conversation will go remains to be seen, though I’m going to preemptively lower my own expectations to “it’s probably not going to be subversive” which is alright. I don’t think I subverted a single thing at sixteen: I don’t expect these kids, nor the source material it draws on, to be doing heavy lifting on Japan and its entanglement with binary gender expectations.
Episode 12 feels like a celebration of three months with the world’s most charming middle schooler. The real sailor uniform was the friends we made along the way. Sure, Akebi’s had its foibles and uncomfortable moments. I don’t think you can really divorce those from the show (or the source content) and really engage with it. Keeping that in mind, I think there’s a lot of meat on the bone here: Akebi’s Sailor Uniform is really, really good slice of life fare, and quickly became my favorite show of this season.
Tribe Nine is a series that I don’t regret spending time with, if only because of my insatiable desire to devour everything Kazutaka Kodaka lays his hands on. I just kind of can’t help myself: every since I played Danganronpa in grad school, I’ve been very into everything he makes. Tribe Nine is the fast food of anime. It is is the 7-11 pizza slice of the animation world. Will it do in a pinch? Yeah, of course, but is it exactly what I wanted?
No, not at all.
There’s a lot I haven’t talked about in this finale: there’s a pretty engaging one-fly competition in the middle of the episode that features prizes ranging from a waterproof backpack to an unreasonably cute merfish plush that Hiyori gets VERY fired up about. It’s cute, and is definitely the vehicle to the resolution of the episode, but really… that photo album had me in a grip! It’s the perfect way to close out our time with Slow Loop, and just feels so fitting for a series about care and community.
It’s subtle, almost mundane, yet is the cream of slice of life this season because of the emotionality of Komichi’s world, and how she affects others with her abundance of joy. It’s genuinely nice to see such a good, nice kid being embraced by the community and generally just getting to remain a good nice kid.
If episode 11 had a motto, it’d probably be “You deserve mercy” because at the core, this episode is about Koi being kinder to herself. True, the fishing and the trip are enjoyable too, but really, this an episode in Koi’s own grief, and how she comes to terms with the grief of feeling like a bad friend. It’s an episode in forgiveness, and an optimistic look at the finale next week.