Carole & Tuesday Episode 22: Hitting the bottom

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Crystal refuses invitations

While I wasn’t always the biggest fan of Angela’s character, I think it’s been sad to watch what’s happening to her. As we near the conclusion, it looks like the series is maintaining its concept of contrast, and I’m curious to see what comes of that. I honestly didn’t expect Angela’s story to go as far as it did. Here’s hoping everything comes together for the ending, right?

Angela still wants to sing

I can get behind Angela’s desire to sing at the Grammys despite her situation, but I still think that her story could have been fleshed out more. I think I can get a sense of her motivations, but her shifts seem to erratic. I understand that her situation is unstable, but she was questioning herself entirely in the previous episode. Seeing that transition could have been interesting.

Dahlia apologizes

Dahlia’s death also seems to come out of nowhere. I think it’s a good way to push Angela over the edge, but I would have preferred if it didn’t seem so uneventful. If anything, you could say that Angela is retreating into Dahlia’s final wish to keep herself sane, and that would be a cool way to present her if that’s what the series is going for.

Carole and Tuesday perform with Crystal

I liked Carole and Tuesday’s performance in this episode. The song was decent, and I didn’t notice Crystal all too much in the music. Though, she’s admittedly a lot more noticeable on stage.

Angela collapses

Angela’s performance was pretty tragic as well. Her singing definitely sounded rougher than normal, which conveys her current struggle in a believable way. I wonder how original that song was. Seeing her collapse in the end was a sad conclusion for the episode. I actually do hope that she’s able to get back in the swing of things for the ending of the series. I wonder where her contrast with Carole and Tuesday is going, after all.


Fruits Basket Season 1 Final Episode (25): And now we wait for the next one

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Kazuma suggests trying karate

This series really doesn’t let up, even in a season finale. Though largely an aftermath from the previous episode, this week’s episode still manages to deliver excellent emotional scenes between Kyou and Kazuma. The rest of the episode is a series of teasers for the next season that only manga readers can understand (and I’m not one of them this time). I’m looking forward to the season two, and I’ll probably have to hold myself back from reading the manga out of pure curiosity.

Kyou refuses to allow others to see Kazuma as his father

This scene from Kazuma’s memories had such a nice, bittersweet tone to it. I like this idea that Kyou comes off as pushing Kazuma away as a father. But in reality, Kyou would like nothing more than to see Kazuma as his real father. Kyou’s clearly trying to help Kazuma in his own way, but he inadvertently hurts Kazuma in the process. I think it’s a great dynamic.

Kazuma praises Tohru

Kazuma’s discussion with Tohru was interesting. With the way he praises Tohru for acting on the opportunity he raised, I was surprised that Tohru didn’t respond by pointing out the opportunities that Kazuma has likely created for Kyou throughout his life. I suppose that’s expecting a bit too much from Tohru.

Tohru agrees

I have no real comment to add here. I just think this scene is adorable.

Yuuki ponders what he saw

I’m not sure if I have enough information to fully know what’s going on, but I like that Yuuki has a clear reaction to seeing Kyou in the previous episode. I’m not sure what to make of that reaction, but it’s clearly something. It’s sad to see him keep things in, since it’s something I can relate to, but I think it’s great that Yuuki’s still taking steps forward regardless.

Kyou needs to stop complaining

There’s plenty of story left to tell, but I appreciate that this series ends on a pleasant note. It certainly teases multiple potential stories, but the characters we’ve seen so far are gathered together for a proper send-off at the end.

Preliminary Score: 9/10 I’m really hoping this is maintained in subsequent seasons, but I had a lot of fun watching this series.

Random Thoughts: Blog review scoring is hard

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Nezuko is not amused

I get the feeling that this is going to be false advertising, so I apologize in advance. Adding scores to reviews isn’t exactly a novel thing, but I’ve always done it for a reason. It’s nothing special. I just like having a rough gauge for how I felt about a show at a particular point in time. This is why I don’t go crazy with 100-point scales or letter grades, since I’m not looking for any kind of specificity.

Kei searches a crowd

I’m actually kind of curious how many people have some formal rubric for reviewing a show. I’m not necessarily knocking it. As a disorganized wreck, I can understand reaching for anything to keep me slightly in line. To be honest, I just think I would be nervous about holding myself to that level of consistency. I would hope that my opinions have changed drastically over the years, so I would hate to hold my past self to my current standards.

About to do something bad

I think that’s one of the fun things about having a blog and writing about what you enjoy. When you look back, you can see what’s changed and what’s stayed constant. As a result, I feel like I have a better sense of what’s important to me and where my strengths are. Scoring helps to quantify what shows I preferred watching over others, but there are definitely some shows that I’ve rated as 6 or 7 that I would watch again and again.

Hana apologizes for the insult

In the end, I think that tastes are such a fluid thing that keeping scores consistent across everything is just a hassle. Maybe I’m just stating the obvious, but this is ultimately the reason that I don’t put as much stock into scores. However, I do find some use in my old anime scores, so I consequently find use in the scores of others.

Demon lord wants some real words

I know it’s easy to dump on MAL scores and the like, but I think they’re ultimately a comparative scale. There’s no reason for the score to be absolute, but it can help put things into perspective. Where do I differ from the curve and where do I agree? But that’s how I see things. I’d be curious to see what you think, so let me know!

Kanata no Astra Final Episode (12): Home life

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Kanata recovers from the previous episode's events

This series sure did a great job of keeping its quality up despite having two double-length episodes. Overall, I think the show has an intriguing mystery along with some solid characters. But given the explanation we finally get in this final episode, I can’t help but feel disappointed with how disjointed the two major twists in this episode were. Maybe it could have been more effective if the series had done more to establish its setting, but this episode is effectively introducing the home planet of Astra for the first time.

Charce tells everyone the truth

I think the reveal about Astra’s “true” history could have benefited from some form of give-and-take between Charce and Polina. Polina is meant to arrive with knowledge from the past, but she has no understanding of modern civilization. I think it would have been cool if Charce only knew part of the story, and Polina had to fill in the rest with what she experienced firsthand in the past. Instead, Charce just ends up knowing everything, which makes me feel justified in saying that Polina didn’t really need to exist.

The government hides the truth

The main sticking point for me in this episode is how hard it to believe that this “master plan” succeeds. I know it’s fun to fantasize about grand government conspiracies, but the reality is these kinds of secrets are incredibly difficult to keep. Given enough generations, I can believe that the truth eventually gets buried, but the series establishes that all of history is rewritten in a matter of 100 years. That’s only around three generations, which doesn’t seem like enough time.

Polina will attempt to spread what she knows

The problem with grand conspiracies is that they require nearly full compliance to be effective. If the entire B5 Camp group can agree that hiding the truth is a mistake, it’s hard to buy that the government could successfully convince everyone across 100 years. I know I might be harping on this a bit too much, but it truly does stick with me when I evaluate the overall story.

Mark Vix's plan works

I don’t have a problem with everything working out for the kids after their long journey, but part of me feels like things go too well. Charce basically ends the trip by vowing to get revenge on Mark Vix for killing Seira, but that entire subplot is resolved before he even steps foot back on Astra. Let the man do his thing…

Ulgar visits his father

Past that, the rest of the episode is basically an extended epilogue, catching up with the characters as they return to their normal lives. I tend to like these kinds of epilogues, so I was happy to see this. It’s great to see how the characters have made off after their adventures, and I think this episode does a great job of putting them on reasonable paths.

Kanata sets off for more adventures

When a show puts so much effort into making strong character arcs, I think that seeing how those characters end up is an incredibly satisfying payoff. For me, I think this is what this series does the best.

Final Score: 7/10

Vinland Saga Episode 10: Finding the right message

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Thorkell is bored

Well, we’re back after a break with a fairly chill episode. As the war rages on, Thorfinn basically spends the episode talking with his two father figures, Thors and Askeladd. It was a surprisingly interesting set of conversations. I think the series does a great job of making Askeladd seem like more than what he shows. His actions, especially at the end of the episode, feel deceptively complex.

Canute prays while the battle rages

I’m still wondering what the series is planning to do with Canute. He hasn’t said a word yet, and now he’s becoming a weird kind of damsel in distress. Surely, there’s more to him than that, right?

Thorfinn dreams of his father

I like that this episode effectively gives Thorfinn the same message in two drastically different ways. In a dream, Thors tells him that he should just appreciate what he has and return to his family. Part of me wonders if Thorfinn’s dreams of his father are meant to represent his struggle to understand his father’s final message. At least, that’s probably what I want to believe.

Askeladd tells a story about the Saxons

On the other hand, Askeladd arrives at a fairly similar conclusion with his largely nihilistic view. In the end, he tells Thorfinn that his revenge quest doesn’t matter because Askeladd is eventually going to grow weak anyway. I’ll be curious to see how Thorfinn eventually gets himself out of the hole he’s been in, especially based on these conversations.

Canute's forces aren't enough

I guess I’m a little curious about Thorkell in this episode. He seemed to react quickly when he heard that Canute was in charge. Does he have a prior relationship with Canute or did he just react to Danish royalty?

Askeladd commands everyone to save Canute

Maybe I’m reading too much into it, but I find it hard to believe that Askeladd wants to save Canute solely for the massive reward that royalty can give. As I’ve mentioned before, there seems to be more to him, so I wonder if this is just his innate pride expressing itself again.

Lord El-Melloi II Case Files Episode 11: Suspenseful bidding

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Gray comments on the complaints

Yeesh, this series really does enjoy its cliffhangers, doesn’t it? Anyway, it seems like we’re right up at the conclusion for this story. Given that this week’s episode ends with Waver seemingly pointing out a culprit, I wonder what is left for the last episode in the arc. Hephaestion’s story is still unresolved, so it could just be an extended battle.

Waver doesn't recognize Hephaestion

Well, Hephaestion’s comment about being a replica like Gray is becoming more interesting. I forgot that Waver saw all of Iskandar’s subjects, so he has more expertise here than I thought he did. Waver later acknowledges that she could just be using the name Hephaestion, so maybe there’s more to it.

Olga-Marie despises Waver

I get that Olga-Marie didn’t have the greatest relationship with her father, but this statement makes her incredibly pitiful. I can certainly understanding wanting to hear praise for your effort, but she’s not giving herself the best of representations.

Waver realizes Adashino was holding out

Adashino’s not making a great case for herself in this episode. As I’ve said before, I mostly see her as too obvious to be the culprit, so I have a hard time accepting it. However, the scene at the end of the episode certainly seems convincing. She seems to be activating something with Trisha’s head.

Waver makes an outrageous bid

The auction scene seemed a bit off to me. Waver puts effort into winning the auction only to effectively give it up in the end. Is there meant to be more to the bidding after his deduction? I get that he most likely needed to see how the auction played out to make his conclusion, but I wonder if the series will explain that. Stopping the auction seemed like a desperate play for him, which makes me wonder how much he actually has planned.

No head then dead

I mean, I guess this is what I should expect from a Fate show.

Carole & Tuesday Episode 21: One last song

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Angela deals with Dahlia's hospitalization

I’m not sure what to make of this show now. It honestly feels like it’s racing to reach the ending. I think it’s a shame too. This week’s episode introduces multiple subplots that I think could have been interesting, like Carole’s relationship with Amer and Angela’s growing anxiety. Maybe it’s just me, but I felt like they happen too quickly to really mean anything.

Amer opens up to Carole

Honestly, I think Amer has a decent story to tell. I just think it’s condensed too much. There’s something to be said about being forced to don a mask to survive, but it’s hard for me to buy that this persona that he’s spent so much time building could be broken down with two short conversations with Carole. The two definitely have a strong relationship, but Amer jumps to romantic love in a heartbeat.

Angela questions herself

Similarly, Angela’s struggle with the nature of her birth seems to come out of nowhere. I think it’s fine for Dahlia’s outburst to force Angela to question their relationship and investigate. Angela is basically finding out that she might have been taken in just for her talent. But she just suddenly pops up with a birth certificate and spirals into drugs.

Spencer returns

Spencer’s taking on a lot of risk by returning to Valerie as a double agent. It seems like an incredibly obvious ploy, so I respect him if he’s got a better plan up his sleeve. It’s hard to tell so far.

Carole and Tuesday come up with their last song

The music hall in the intro of every episode is starting to make more sense based on the nature of this “last song”. To be fair, I thought the song was pretty good, so no complaints here. It does make me wonder if there’s supposed to be another performance after the Grammies, though.

Crystal offers to help

Crystal’s appearance is also throwing me off. It feels weird for Carole and Tuesday’s miraculous performance to involve a collaboration with an established artist. Maybe it can work if Crystal is just an opening act, but this also makes me think there needs to be another performance.

Tao secretly hacks

Meanwhile, Tao is doing sketchy stuff. As for the final scene, I do hope that he ends up going to Angela in response for her plea for help. I vaguely wonder if this is meant to set up a romance between the two, which might be going too far. But it would be nice to see him actually care for her.

Fruits Basket Episode 24: Acceptance

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Kyou is pitied

This series really knows how to hit hard when it gets serious. I was not expecting the true nature of Kyou’s trauma to go so far. That being said, I think this episode was a strong moment for Tohru, and it raised an interesting idea about the nature of unconditional love. As I mentioned last week, I’m glad that this was addressed before the first “season” of the series concluded. It does make me wonder just how much more of the story there is, since it feels like a lot has already been covered.

Kyou wishes to leave with Kazuma

I like that Kazuma’s arrival in this episode is intended to force Kyou to change. I honestly wasn’t expecting Kyou to profess that he hates living with Tohru and Yuuki so much, but I think it plays well into the main theme of the episode. It focuses on Kyou’s tendency to cover his feelings up with hate, as has been pointed out in a previous episode with his hate for Yuuki.

Kazuma forces Kyou to show his true form

I do remember the comments Kagura has made about Kyou’s true form, but I was definitely expecting a figurative interpretation of that statement. I didn’t realize that he had a literal form that he kept hidden from everyone. It goes to a more grotesque scenario than I’d expect from this show, but I think it’s used well in this episode.

Tohru is horrified

I think the best part of this episode is that Tohru is actually disgusted with Kyou’s true form. She’s typically the girl who would cover things up with nice words, but she expresses genuine feelings of fear in reaction to this. It makes her feel less like a saint and more like a normal girl, which is what she needs, honestly.

Tohru is hit

I’d maybe argue that this goes a bit too far. I get that Kyou is lashing out, but keep it together, man.

Kyou's mother loved him

This episode does a great job of placing emphasis on actions over words. Kyou’s mother showers him with love and encouragement, but her actions betrayed her true feelings of worry and fear. So while she appears supportive, she actually backs Kyou into a corner. We can see Kyou using a similar defense mechanism when he proclaims his hatred.

Tohru chooses to be with Kyou

This behavior is something we’d expect to see from Tohru as well, given her self-sacrificing and supporting nature. Instead, she expresses her actual anxieties and accepts Kyou anyway. She’s basically saying that she cares about Kyou so much that she doesn’t care about countering fear. I think it’s sweet.

Kanata no Astra Episode 11: Purposeful

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Charce reminisces

Surprisingly enough, I found this week’s episode entertaining. I think that the way Charce’s story was told could have been better, but I felt that his overall characterization worked well. He’s not necessarily relatable, but he seems to be illustrating a concept that I think about a lot. But anyway, I’m curious to see how the series will resolve the remaining plot threads in next week’s finale. I’ve heard that it might be a double-length episode, so that might help things out.

Charce takes pride in his life

Charce’s story really gets at the idea of purpose, and how we live our lives. He takes pride in life because he lives with a singular goal in mind while others wander aimlessly searching for something of their own. I actually loved this moment, because I’m the type of person who grew up with no clear goal. I’m very familiar with Charce’s form of pride, because I spent much of my youth thinking about how people could figure it all out.

Seira is cloned against her will

When all is said and done, we can clearly see as the audience that Charce is just living his life as a drone. To be fair, he ends up coming off as someone who’s just trying to please his father, which isn’t the most uncommon thing in the world. However, it makes his character pitiable in a sense.

Emma agrees to raise Aries

I liked the story behind Aries and her mother, though. I think it’s great that Aries truly was loved as she thought she was and that there was a legitimate reason behind it. I just wished the series could have come up with a better reason to put Aries on the trip than “well, it must be a secret assassination plot again”. The explanation feels like such a hand wave.

Seira is assassinated

Speaking of which, Seira’s own death was pretty random. I can understand why the king wasn’t a great culprit, given that he went so far as to force her to create a clone as a countermeasure against death. However, the nature of her actual death feels completely artificial. I guess we still have an episode left for a more satisfying explanation, but yeesh.

Kanata tries to save Charce

I do like how proactive Kanata tends to be in this show. I get that this is supposed to be a callback to the first episode, but I think it might have been more cool if Kanata ran straight through the sphere and came back out on the other side. I guess the sphere is a one-way trip, but I think it would have been a cool way to think with portals.

Lord El-Melloi II Case Files Episode 10: The nature of the crime

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Waver has a mental argument with Kayneth

It’s certainly starting to feel like the pieces of this mystery are coming together. It’s nice to see Waver back in action this week, since many of the characters seem somewhat hopeless without him. I’m not sure I’m totally on board with how the time manipulation is being used in this episode, but the way it’s invoked is interesting, at least. I don’t know if it’s because I inherently have trouble following this series, but I’m not sure I’m convinced of the culprit yet.

Waver wishes to see Iskandar again

I liked Waver’s mental argument with Kayneth, even if Kayneth isn’t my favorite character in the world. I think Waver has decent motivation for joining the Grail War again, even if he acknowledges that Iskandar wouldn’t recognize him. He just wants to prove that Iskandar had the qualifications to win all along.

Gray is a replica

I think I’m okay with the fact that the battle between Gray and Hephaestion just ends. I wonder if Hephaestion’s interactions with Gray are meant to parallel Iskandar’s past with Waver in some way. I’m curious about the fact that Hephaestion says that she and Gray are the same while commenting on Gray being a replica of Saber.

Trisha prepares for her death

Trisha’s involvement in her own death didn’t go the way I expected, but I like how it was used here. Adashino as a character seems to perpetually rub me the wrong way, but I do like the idea of Trisha attempting to hide her eyes even if she couldn’t avoid her death.

Waver asks for motive

I have trouble buying Adashino as the culprit, even if the series seems to be pointing at her. The scene cuts to her after Luvia mentions the “man without a heart” having a sister-in-law on the train, and she certainly seems to know too much. I definitely don’t buy Karabo as the culprit, since he seems to have no control over his eyes.

Melvin attempts to buy back the eyes

Well, that’s one way to solve the problem. Hey, Melvin’s here to be useful, right?