Winter 2019 Grab Bag Week 5: Manaria Friends, Shield Hero

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Grea's new haircut

Manaria Friends General Impressions (1-3)

To be fair, there’s not too much to talk about for this series. As a fan of the Manaria-related content from Granblue Fantasy, I see the show mostly as a bit of fun, watching characters I like interact with each other. The series basically follows Anne, a princess attending Manaria Academy, and her friend Grea, a dragonborn princess. As far as we’ve seen in the first three episodes, the series is largely slice of life without too much development involved. I’m actually kind of hoping that changes, though, since what I know of Grea’s story is surprisingly interesting.

Anne and Grea test out weapons

I’ve always thought that the contrast between Anne and Grea was interesting. They both share a relatively similar set of insecurities, but they have opposed personalities. Plus, there’s the whole fire and ice thing going on.

Grea tries a new outfit

Also, every episode seems to have a fairly gratuitous dressing scene for at least one of the main characters if you’re into that. Not to say I’m not into that…

Raphtalia is tired of dealing with people

Tate no Yuusha no Nariagari Episodes 4-5

It’s interesting to see how my opinions can change from manga to anime. Granted, part of it has to do with the fact that I tend to analyze anime more heavily than manga, but I’m sure a decent part of it comes from how much time has passed since I first read it. My point is that I’ve been a bit skeptical about these recent episodes, especially when it comes to general dialogue.

Raphtalia gets a new slave crest

While I thought that Raphtalia’s defense of Naofumi during the duel with Motoyasu was a great emotional moment, her speech to Motoyasu felt a bit strange. It’s true that Naofumi has demonstrated a much stronger sense of empathy than Motoyasu, but Raphtalia’s claim that Motoyasu should have a slave of his own doesn’t feel convincing to me. It completely ignores “opportunity”, right? The opportunity to buy a slave presented itself to Naofumi, after all.

The villagers start to help Naofumi

It is nice to see people warming up to Naofumi, though. It makes him come off as much less of a jerk overall, which makes him an easier character to watch.

Motoyasu tries to add new tolls to the village

I mean, I get that it’s a legitimate mistake from Motoyasu here, but it’s weird that he doesn’t back down when Naofumi tells him what the buying power of a silver is. Add in the annoyingly blatant cheating during the race, and it just seems like Motoyasu and Malty are being mean for the sake of it.

Filo takes human form

New character time? Filo definitely went through a full range of changes, but it looks like we’ve settled on one.

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Irozuku Sekai no Ashita kara Episode 13: Back to the future

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Yuito remembers a time when he drew alone

I think this ending was satisfying overall. It didn’t feel like it was trying to overreach, and it seemed to cover the missing pieces that I was hoping would be addressed. When I say it didn’t overreach, I mean that I was happy to see the story avoided going through unnecessary hoops to force a happy ending. The bittersweet ending worked out for me.

Yuito remembers his time with Hitomi

The episode opened with Yuito looking back on his days with Hitomi with a sense of longing. Honestly, part of me wondered whether this tone was meant to convince the audience that something went wrong in the time magic spell (even if it would have made no sense at all in the context of the show).

Hitomi learns to let go

All in all, I do like the idea of not getting in your own way, as Hitomi says. At least, that was my understanding of the ultimate theme of the show.

Hitomi remembers her time with Yuito

It was nice to see Hitomi sharing her final moments with Yuito before returning to the future. I like that the memories were shown in black and white as Hitomi goes through them. It could just be because the world was black and white at the time, but that’s a less meaningful interpretation in my eyes.

Kohaku realizes that Hitomi was casting the time magic

It is a bit of a bummer that Kohaku ends on a low after Hitomi leaves, as she realizes that Hitomi’s magic was what sent her back. I guess it makes sense that Kohaku wouldn’t be able to figure it out so quickly, but it definitely raises some questions for me about Kohaku’s relationship with her daughter. I wonder if she might have gotten too obsessed with her granddaughter, and forced her daughter to suffer as a result.

Kohaku knew about the past events before sending Hitomi back

Well, I can’t say I’m surprised to find out that Kohaku knew what would happen before sending Hitomi back. It does definitely call into question how time magic really works, but I could probably speculate forever about that.

Hitomi visits a grave

It was kind of sad that Hitomi didn’t get to reconnect with her older friends in the future, but this scene in particular has me interested. Given the immediate context, the quick assumption would be that Hitomi is visiting her mother’s grave. However, that doesn’t really make sense, since she wanted to go see her mother with Kohaku. In that case, I would think it’s most likely that this is actually Yuito’s grave, which explains why there isn’t a tearful reunion.

Hitomi joins the future Photography Club

As I said, it would have been nice to see more of the other characters, but this is a solid ending for Hitomi herself. Also, the bookstore owner is confirmed as Kohaku’s husband, maybe?

Final Score: 8/10

Looked great, and the show had the kind of subtlety that I tend to like. I think many of the side characters get heavily pushed aside, but I did like watching Hitomi’s progress as a character.

Irozuku Sekai no Ashita kara Episode 12: Last hurrah

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Yuito is hoping for Hitomi's safety

With this nice, wholesome episode leading up to the finale, I have to say that I was happy to see how much restraint it had. The episode had a clear tone with its attempt to make Hitomi’s final moments in the past as nice as possible, and it stuck with it. The way the episode ended was a bit mean, but it felt fine with the pacing of the episode. Yuito and Hitomi still have a lot to say to each other, right?

Hitomi and Kohaku prepare for the show

There were multiple moments when the show had the chance to throw a wrench into everything, by having Hitomi disappear in the haunted house or having her magic go haywire when sending people into the painting. Anything like that would have felt overly dramatic to me, so it was nice that the episode just went well.

Yuito's drawing seems fine now

Something that bothered me a bit in this episode was how things seemed to work out for the other characters. Watching Hitomi’s character progression has been interesting, but we just get a brief glimpse of Kurumi with her sister in a montage. As for Yuito himself, I like the idea that his drawing has improved after he started drawing for Hitomi, but we still haven’t seen what caused his slump in the first place.

That being said, they could be saving that for the final confession. Yuito could start out by spelling out how Hitomi helped him. It’s what I’m hoping for, at least.

Hitomi meets the bookstore owner

Maybe I’m just imagining it, but it seemed like there was a bit of a lull in this scene. I’ve seen the theory that Ichiyanagi is Hitomi’s grandfather, so I might just be overly sensitive to it.

Hitomi sees the colors in the fireworks

On the one hand, it’s a bit sad to see Hitomi return to the past with monochrome vision. Other the other hand, it does feel more realistic to see a more gradual recovery for her condition.

Hitomi still has one thing left undone

I’m looking forward to seeing how this ends up going. I’m going to feel silly if I praised this episode for restraint just to have Hitomi disappear in a critical moment next week.

Irozuku Sekai no Ashita kara Episode 11: Time catches up

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What's an event?

Well, this episode introduces an interesting hurdle. Recent episodes have been hinting at the idea that Hitomi has a time limit to her stay in the past, but I wasn’t expecting an actual danger to her existence. Part of me wonders whether this intentionally adds too much drama to the series, but I think I can accept that it was becoming too difficult for Hitomi to go back without something extra to push her. I’m looking forward to seeing how bittersweet the ending is.

Hitomi feels the effects of the time gap

The whole idea of the time gap is actually quite intriguing. Based on the excerpt we get from Kohaku’s emails, it seems to be a manifestation of the self-correcting nature of time, but we don’t get too much more. It’s times like this one that I wish the series went a little bit deeper into how its magic works. I’m fine with the fact that the story focuses more on the romance part, but I just get that feeling.

Kohaku is worried about the sand

I’m actually curious what this scene is trying to get at. From a story perspective, I would have preferred if Kohaku had just acknowledged that she needed too much sand to gather alone before time ran out. However, this is a time travel anime, so I wouldn’t be surprised if this scene was meant to show that the timing of the typhoon is important for Hitomi’s return, given that a later scene shows that the typhoon brings a lot more sand to the beach.

Hitomi returns from the time gap asleep

Once again, I really do wonder why the time gap manifests itself in this way. I would have expected Hitomi to just return to the point where she disappeared without realizing what had happened, but she returns asleep.

Chigusa and Asagi react in different ways

I find myself relating more with Chigusa’s response to the fact that Hitomi is leaving. When hearing that Hitomi could be in danger, it would seem more important to focus on fixing the problem rather than dwelling on losing Hitomi. I guess Asagi was much closer to Hitomi, so it would be harder on her.

Hitomi finding it hard to part with Yuito

I did like this scene between Yuito and Hitomi in the end. I look forward to seeing what ends up happening with their relationship, since it definitely doesn’t look like it will end well.

Irozuku Sekai no Ashita kara Episode 10: Art hopping

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Asagi and Hitomi feeling the awkwardness

This episode certainly shifted gears quickly, but it was nice to finally hear why Hitomi hated magic. And to be fair, it was a decent reason that made a lot of sense, so no complaints here. I’m sure there’s still more to that story, but this is a good start.

Shou wonders what's going on between Hitomi and Asagi

Well spotted, Shou.

Hitomi and Asagi finally talk

It’s a nice development to see Hitomi valuing her friendship with Asagi enough to take deliberate steps to reach out to Asagi. Even with how awkward the two were around each other, Hitomi still chose to follow Asagi into what could only be a more awkward situation. It’s nice that they made up, even if it was strangely quick.

Hitomi practices her magic in preparation for the show

The whole idea of bringing people into a drawing is cool, but the magic part of it felt a bit sketchy. Kohaku states that Hitomi has a special talent for casting the spell to enter the drawing since she needs to touch the heart of the artist. It makes sense for Hitomi to resonate with Aoi’s drawings because the two have a connection, but Hitomi’s practice runs are done with other random paintings. How exactly does that work out?

Hitomi sees colors with everyone else in the painting

I like this line from Hitomi. It’s nice that Aoi’s art gives her the ability to feel more normal with everyone else.

Hitomi remembers her mother leaving

I’d be curious to see how Hitomi’s mother actually felt. Given the circumstances, it actually makes sense for her to resent Hitomi, who seems to have a gift with magic, if she herself had no talent for magic. It could also make sense for Hitomi’s mother to have gone through a situation similar to Hitomi’s, repressing her own magic. Given how passionate Kohaku is about magic, I could definitely see that. Hopefully, the story goes over that too.

Hitomi lets out her frustration

I really expected Aoi to insist that Hitomi did nothing wrong here, but he totally lets her vent. That’s kind of different…

Irozuku Sekai no Ashita kara Episode 9: A valiant effort

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Shou offers to take Hitomi out

This…was kind of a weird episode. As always, I like how the episode used its scene to “show” more of what it was doing, but I think maybe the melodrama was a bit much for my taste. Hey, props to Shou for actually making a move, but I’m getting a little tired of watching the rift between him and Asagi. I’m curious to see how their relationship will get resolved, since I find it hard to come up with a solution that doesn’t make Asagi seem like consolation.

Shou consults with Yuito before going out with Hitomi

It’s nice of Shou to come clean with Yuito about going out with Hitomi, but I think this scene is one of the reasons I have a hard time seeing Shou with Asagi in the end. If he truly had some clue about her feelings for him, it feels like he’s being pretty cruel to talk to Yuito about the date thing and not Asagi. Maybe it’s just a “bro” relationship thing with Yuito, but it still seems weird to me.

Shou takes Hitomi to his favorite spot

I think it’s a nice touch that we’re shown so many scene with Hitomi and Shou together, and Shou is looking at Hitomi for most of them. Meanwhile, Hitomi’s usually focused on something else entirely.

The class is curious about Hitomi's confession conversation

I like this scene for injecting a lighthearted moment into the drama. I always appreciate that kind of shift in tone, and this one feels pretty natural.

Yuito messes up at work

I also liked seeing Yuito screw up at work when he hears about how distressed Hitomi is. The episode isn’t super obvious about it, and Chigusa doesn’t tease him for his mistake. It’s a simple scene to show how he feels about Hitomi.

Asagi talks things over with Hitomi

This scene between Asagi and Hitomi also had some good moments. Overall, it’s a painful experience for Asagi, but I do like the fact that she figures out what’s going on between Hitomi and Shou by seeing the picture of Shou’s spot in Hitomi’s phone.

Hitomi responds to Shou

I know it would never happen, but the way Hitomi responds to Shou at the end almost made it sound like she’d agree to go out with him. But I guess there’s no time in the show for something like that. Maybe I was just getting the wrong impression…the translation in this episode was a bit sketchy.

Asagi admits her feelings for Shou to Hitomi

Being Asagi is suffering.

Irozuku Sekai no Ashita kara Episode 8: Is this show really going to have a happy ending?

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Hitomi still needs to take her photo

This series is really fun to watch, since there’s a lot of room for speculation and the episode feels like it’s rewarding me for paying attention. I tend to like that kind of thing. That being said, this episode definitely seemed ominous to me. With the focus on Kohaku’s magic and Shou’s unrequited love it, I’m sensing a spike in drama in our future. Maybe I’m just being paranoid.

Kohaku uses magic for the first time

It’s the little details in this show that tend to capture my attention the most. Even in a minor flashback to explain why Kohaku loves magic, she’s casually destroying parts of the room with her magic.

Kohaku runs an experiment with Yuito and Hitomi

I’m still enjoying seeing how much Kohaku tries to support Hitomi, even if it’s for the sake of science (magic science?). When she proposes the idea that Hitomi subconsciously took her own color away with her magic, it was something that had to be said even if everyone was already thinking it.

Hitomi remembers a book with color from her childhood

I’ll be shocked if Yuito doesn’t turn out to be the person who wrote the picture book from Hitomi’s memories.

Kohaku is determined to send Hitomi back to the future

I’m curious to see what ends up happening with the time magic in this series. The simplest solution is the deterministic continuum, meaning the older Kohaku sends Hitomi back because she already experienced the events of this story with Hitomi. I can always hope there’s more to it, but I recognize that it’s the most logical ending.

Shou wonders whether Hitomi will leave

The parallels between Shou and Asagi are actually interesting. Given that the two having unrequited feelings of love, I’m actually wondering if we’ll get an awkward ending in which Shou kind of “settles”. That might be strange.

Kohaku reverses time on a broken camera

I was happy to see that the whole business with Kohaku’s time magic went in a different direction than I expected it to go. Given how her magic reverts in her experiments, it suggests that the spell that sent Hitomi back to the past will also revert itself.

Granny wonders about the future Kohaku's motives

Kohaku’s time magic in this episode also makes this particular scene pretty loaded. Kohaku’s grandmother suggests that Kohaku doesn’t tell Hitomi how to reverse the spell because she knows that the past Kohaku would figure it out. But if Kohaku’s magic ends up reversing itself, the future Kohaku could just know that a reversal spell isn’t needed. I like this concept of using words of comfort in a seemingly sinister way.

Irozuku Sekai no Ashita kara Episode 7: Slowly moving forward

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Hitomi is back to seeing in black and white

It was nice to the sudden shift to Kurumi in this episode, since I tend to relate to indecisive characters unsure about their own passions. Her story ended up being pretty interesting. I was a bit annoyed that the episode started by undoing Hitomi’s proclamation from the previous episode, but I think it made up for that by showing her progress further. Still, it was a bit of an anticlimax.

Hitomi laughing with Kohaku

I like how the show illustrates progress, even with something as simple as a smile from Hitomi.

Hitomi starting to wonder about colors

This reaction feels really believable given what Hitomi has experienced. It makes sense that she’d have a different reaction to color after being given a glimpse of it.

Hitomi talks with Kohaku about coming clean

Wait, everyone else doesn’t know Hitomi is colorblind? I guess I just assumed Hitomi had already come clean about that. She already told them that she was from the future, after all. Being colorblind seems pretty minor in comparison.

Kurumi talking about how great her sister is with Chigusa

While, I can’t relate with Kurumi’s idolization of her sister, but I can relate with her having doubts about her interest in photography because of disapproving parents. When you’re already indecisive, it’s easy to be swayed by a stronger opinion. Also, I like how the show sets up Kurumi’s doubts with her exams as a triggering point. It’s a good reason for her to feel inadequate and naturally gravitate towards her sister’s success.

Shou proposes a friendly competition to Aoi

So, did Shou just casually challenge Aoi to a competition to win over Hitomi? Because that’s actually impressive if he did.

Kohaku practices with a new star-sand

Kohaku just gave Hitomi, who’s from the future, a star-sand that evokes vivid memories of the past. I’ll be shocked if this sand doesn’t come back into play when Hitomi returns to her time.

Hitomi comforts Kurumi

This was a cute scene. Hitomi’s still trying to open up, so it’s nice to see her reach out, even if she copies the words from Kohaku.

Kurumi complains about running with luggage

I’m really surprised by how much subtly I was seeing in this episode. This scene with Chigusa seemed to be addressing the concerns Kurumi had with her interest in photography more than the situation itself. It seemed like he was telling her to drop her concerns and just go for it. Nice?

Hitomi asking everyone about color

Given how this week’s episode started, I hope the next episode starts with everyone saying “yeah, we already realized you were colorblind” to Hitomi.

Irozuku Sekai no Ashita kara Episode 6: Mission accomplished?

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everybody stares at the crazy one

Wow, this week’s episode was really fun to watch. I really didn’t expect the episode to end the way it did, and I thought it handled drama in an awesome way to avoid dragging it out too much. I’m still curious to see where the show goes with the looming mystery of Hitomi’s magic. So far, it’s starting to look like most of her problems may have been caused by her own magic, which feels like a cheap explanation. But there’s still plenty of time to see what’s actually going on.

Aoi talking about a fish he used to draw

I was surprised by this revelation that the fish we keep seeing isn’t actually what Aoi normally draws. It makes me wonder about the nature of Hitomi’s magic, since she continually sees it. It’s hard to speculate without knowing too much about the magic of this world, but maybe her magic resonates with Aoi’s personal insecurities or something and manifests itself as the fish.

I mean, I guess the drama of this relationship is still going. I can’t really be upset since it seemed like Asagi made at least a little progress in this episode.

walking around with fake clouds

There’s no way I’m going to pick up on all of the symbolism in this scene, but it was still a great scene. I like the scribbles and X marks that seem to be representative of Aoi’s current frustration with his art.

shadow chasing after the fish

I’m not sure whether this scene is meant to represent Aoi or Hitomi. The argument for Aoi is pretty strong, since you could see the shadow as a representation of Aoi searching for the same feeling or success he had when he drew the fish. But the fish seems more linked with Hitomi and her own struggles, so I’m actually a bit torn.

Hitomi getting some advice

The way this scene played out was really interesting. It doesn’t seem like much, but I saw it as a nice step forward for Hitomi. In the previous scene, she discusses her relationship with Aoi with Kohaku, the person she seems to trust the most. Kohaku basically tells her that their relationship will work out fine. Here, Kurumi and Asagi give Hitomi similar reassurance, which leads to Hitomi trusting them more. Again, progress is nice.

Hitomi seeing Aoi talk to another girl

I definitely expected this scene to devolve into a typical misunderstanding between Aoi and Hitomi, but I was happy to see how it turned out. Once again, Kohaku’s support is amazing, and it was great to see Aoi go after Hitomi to clear things up immediately.

Hitomi looking out to see color

I can’t believe Hitomi got her colors back already. I was honestly expecting that to be a climactic scene in the show. Don’t get me wrong. This scene was still really strong and impactful. It’s just so early…

Irozuku Sekai no Ashita kara Episode 5: The power of sand

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The relationships in this series progressed surprisingly far in this episode. Kohaku’s quite the effective support character, huh? That being said, I’m still not completely sure how I feel about Asagi’s character. She definitely seemed to be building towards a breaking point, and she mostly just fizzles out in this episode. I’m sure there’s still room for resentment in the future, but it seems a bit sketchy. Anyway, it looks like next week’s episode might finally go into why Aoi is so reserved about his art.

I find little scenes like this one incredibly charming. Oh, Bangkok has a long official name? Whip out the phone and find out.

Uhh, anyone else think that this scene is strangely mean to Hitomi for no reason? Granny knows that Hitomi can’t see color, but she comes up after the customer leaves to tell Hitomi about the catalog. And what kind of customer asks a new face for “the usual”?

It’s really refreshing seeing how Kohaku uses Hitomi’s trust to nudge her along. Normally, I’d expect Hitomi to freak out and end up hiding her gift from Aoi, but I guess I’ve been watching too many romantic comedies.

Huh…from the name, you’d expect all star-sand to do exactly this.

Wait, since when has everyone known that Hitomi is colorblind? I mean, it’s not too hard to figure out from everything Hitomi’s done, but these are anime characters we’re talking about.

So, I guess they’re fine now? Yay? I mean, I don’t have a complaint about dodging the drawn-out drama-fest, but that’s still surprisingly quick.

It’s hard to tell without knowing how magic works in this world, but I wonder if this fish is an image Hitomi is giving to Aoi through the star-sand. If so, it could be an interesting way for her to convey how his art has affected her perception.