There’s this tension between the twins, which is something I kind of picked up on in episode 6, waaaaaay back before summer vacation. It only gets worse when Chika is mistaken for Chiaki, and when we get the backstory on the tension between Chika and Chiaki concerning their previous attempts to both get into Kouka. This tension is, of course, broken by Sarasa stepping in, but it isn’t resolved, which is really what stayed at the forefront of my mind this episode.
It feels like there’s a different momentum in episode 8, which is nice: there’s still no sign of magical realism, but I’m starting to be okay with putting that aside until it kicks in hard. I know I’ve continually asked for more of it in past reviews, but I think I’ve finally come to terms with just letting aquatope do its thing. If that means the Kijimuna (the little fish-eating god, for reference) factors in more later down the line, then so be it. If not, it wouldn’t change the fact that The aquatope on white sand is still a really good show to me. So much of this show’s heart is in Fuuka and Kukuru and Kai and Kuuya and their entire community: that’s what’s keeping me coming back week to week, in the end.
I’ve come to realize that aquatope is at its strongest when it’s cozy and soothing, and when the sound design digs into As a devout yurijin, I can’t help but sigh (sapphicly, of course, because I must be extra) at the notion of seeing Fuuka and Kukuru get a “sisters for life” ending. Of course, this is preempting an entire cour and a half of material: I’m still sticking to my Twitter prediction that this cour will end in September (in show and I guess, IRL until like… Autumn 2021) and then pick up years later in the second cour when Kukuru and Fuuka and are older, wiser, and gayer than ever. But… that’s just a theory: an anime theory, and one that I’m definitely sticking to even with.
My one personal qualm with episode 6 is that it muddles my ship: I’m Kyoya x Eiko, and episode 6 is clearly trying to get me onboard the Kyoya x Aki train. But I’m not taking the bait, in large part because I’m still not charmed by Aki. If What’s interesting about episode 7 is how it’s starting to spend less time on character-centric episodes and more time with Team Kitayama as a group. This is both a good and bad decision, primarily because Nanako here got like, two episodes to herself, and Tsurayuki only got one and a half. Poor Aki basically only had scenes up until now, though she gets some less than stellar ones this week, which just feel kind of flat and unsatisfying.
As the Dog Days of Summer give way to the last cries of the cicadas and hopefully a cooler September, “Kaoru’s Summer,” delivered exactly what I wanted: a return to Kouka post-summer vacation, and another glorious character study.
If episodes 1-5 were the prequel manga, then episode 6, “A Glimpse of Stardom,” solidly moves us from that thick boi While not necessarily driving the plot forward, episode 7’s character study serves as a good bridge to Sarasa finding her own way of acting and performing as a kouka trainee. It’s also a bridge to Ai becoming more comfortable with her friendship with Sarasa, and maybe realizing that she’s doing the right things right now, which is ultimately what matters in the end.
I’ve come to realize that aquatope is at its strongest when it’s cozy and soothing, and when the sound design digs into those strings and lilting piano sounds to evoke the feeling of water. Even though I really, really want a stronger taste of the magical realism that’s slowly being shaped in the background, I can’t help but look forward to more episodes like this: go nowhere-esque, relaxing twenty-four-minute delights where things slow down and we get to really sit with the characters and stew in their personalities and interactions. That’s what’s going to keep me coming back to The aquatope on white sand from week to week.
If episodes 1-5 were the prequel manga, then episode 6, “A Glimpse of Stardom,” solidly moves us from that thick boi of an omnibus and into the main story of Kageki Shoujo!!, featuring material that’s completely new to me, and honestly, that’s exciting! It means that the series is ready to move towards a more complex story, now that Sarasa and her classmates’ beginnings at Kouka are fully explored.
My one personal qualm with episode 6 is that it muddles my ship: I’m Kyoya x Eiko, and episode 6 is clearly trying to get me onboard the Kyoya x Aki train. But I’m not taking the bait, in large part because I’m still not charmed by Aki. If anything, I might be convinced to take a stroll down Kyoya x Nanako lane, but… Eiko is where it’s at, even if she’s absent this episode.
Ultimately, this week’s episode of The aquatope on white sand feels like a follow up to a follow-up episode, as well as a character study into Fuuka’s tendency to evade her problems. It’s the best way she knows to avoid conflict and more pain, and I can’t fault her for that. Plus, this episode is well-written enough that Fuuka’s actions and general train of thought feel authentic. I’ve got my gripes with it, but… what can I say? I still really like Fuuka and every character in aquatope, even if the show is taking its time meandering in the story it wants to tell.