Ultimately, the experience of watching Tribe Nine is one of intense whiplash. Some episodes, the hype is real, but there are also times when I have to bride myself with snacks to focus on the screen. Episodes 6 and 7 are a mix: the action has this certain flow state that’s really fun to sink into once it’s gets going, but when it slows down—or when we’re spending time with the cast, really—all you’re left with are outlandish character costumes and a pretty baller soundtrack. And thank the baseball gods for the music, because at times it’s all that’s keeping me here.
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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.
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Tribe Nine is still a perfectly fine way to spend thirty of your finite minutes on Earth; in fact, you’re guaranteed to have a good time. But you’re also guaranteed to get whiplash as the show carries you to high heights, only to plunge you into the depths of mediocrity, all in the same episode. Heck, sometimes in a series of five minutes, which is a feat if there ever was one.
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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.
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Subtle isn’t in Tribe Nine’s worldbuilding, nor its general vocabulary. This show only knows how to show its hand, and while I respect that, it makes episode 4 thudding and honestly, kind of boring. By mid-episode, it’s time for more murderball, more XB antics and, well, it’s more of the same with biker gang Adachi Tribe (they ride the bikes while playing, btw, for extra coolness) I have no attachment to.
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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.
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At the end of the day, Tribe Nine is here to have fun: it’s a show wholly focused on a dark, comedic extreme taken to the nth degree, but it’s also a show about genuinely having fun for real, and taking the act of fun and play seriously. The comedy is entirely subjective, though it’s just the thing to make me guffaw multiple times an episode. Come for the XB, stay for the XB, but leave your expectations at the door: this is a show best enjoyed when you come along for the wild ride and let yourself get swept up in the nonsensical plot.
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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.
Read the rest of Slow Loop Season Premiere – Episodes 1-3 on the Anime News Network