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.
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.
Slow Loop casts the line and always reels in a big one: episode 10 is no exception, especially since it leans into Koharu’s serious side by indulging both her and the viewers with a fantastically fishy subplot that just slaps. With a combination of fly fishing lingo, a sweet series of scenes with Hiyori and Futaba, and just so much charm, it’s an easy episode to sink into, and a wonderful way to spend a half hour of your day, drifting away on the waves and thinking fond thoughts of all the delicious creatures drifting in the sea.
By and large, Slow Loop has so far been a show about Hiyori, Koharu, and their community. It’s reflected in their fishing companions throughout the season: initially with Koi and her father, then with Ichika, and now with just Koi and no “adults” present. It’s a small thing that builds in the background until you notice it: a kind of subtle, “Oh, yeah, I guess this is their first solo trip!” moment that when resolved feels right because it ultimately bonds the family even more.
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.
There’s something so breathtakingly lovely about Slow Loop. By and large, it’s… rather ordinary: this is just a peek into the lives of a bunch of girls in the countryside. And yet week to week, I can’t stop thinking about it. Episode 6 and 7 really exemplify just what makes it unforgettable: little moments that feel intimately human and celebrate the mundane things in life, making even the small moments feel magnificently larger than life in all the right ways.
These girls get to indulge in fishing to their heart’s content, dedicating time to doing what they like, regardless of how the hobby has been gendered in society. It’s celebratory, and there’s never a moment where any of the girls are disparaged for liking a “masculine” craft. If anything, fishing becomes something people do, not something a specific group of people do.
TThere’s something about Slow Loop that just keeps drawing me in. It’s not the fishing exactly, but more the pleasantness of seeing Hiyori, Koharu, Koi, and all their friends get really into fishing, into the nitty-gritty of catching fish, preparing fish, and ultimately coming full circle with the experience.
Out of all the Winter 2022 series, Slow Loop is easily the one I’m most excited about. It’s pleasantly inexplicable, carrying its simple premise with lovely animation and a heck of a lot of heart. Like a lot of series like this, the female friendships are sapphic (also, the source manga was serialized in Manga Time Kirara Forward, so some yuri-adjacent vibes are to be expected), but I’m 1000% sure this is just standard cute girls being cute stuff. It’s certainly not going to be for everyone, but I think that’s okay: every season has its hits and misses, though Slow Loop definitely strikes me as more of a hit than a miss for now.