Heartfelt Moment Undermined By ‘Humorous’ Conclusion

Kaguya Sama: Love is War Post Title

Kaguya-Sama Love is War Episode 12 Review

For the first half of this episode I thought this was an absolutely brilliant way for this series to go out. Really was loving it. And then… well, then we got to the second part. See the whole way through this series I’ve really loved the moments where the characters have been allowed to just be characters and interact rather than the contrived matches between the main pair, so seeing Shinomiya genuinely upset by not being allowed to go to the fireworks and Shirogane and the others rallying to help her was really a great emotional moment with a lot of pay-off.

Kaguya-Sama Episode 12 - Shinomiya crying

This was each of the characters at their best. No forced humour or awkwardly intrusive narration. Just a girl upset and the overly dramatic solution with her escaping her house and then her frantic rush to reach the wharf in time, only for it to end in failure. That was so incredibly sad and they held that moment just long enough before Shirogane turned up and delivered such an incredibly overblown line and yet it was utterly perfect for the moment.

Kaguya-Sama Episode 12 - Shinomiya and Shirogane running

Watching them run together, meeting up with Fujiwara and Ishigami and getting in the taxi. Even the taxi driver going all out and probably breaking multiple road rules in order to get them to their destination in time all just worked. It was a well paced, well executed, fun and emotional climax to a series that I’ve found very hit or miss.

And I haven’t even talked about how on point the music was during this episode or how beautiful the fireworks were.

Kaguya-Sama Episode 12 - Fireworks

And then…

Well then we go back to school.

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The president is freaking out because he thinks that he acted foolishly in the moment. Shinomiya is all nervous because she wants to say thank you. The narration is back. The forced conflict is back. Its all just awkward and painful to watch and really about as far from amusing as you can get without actually just sitting in a room full of socially awkward people avoiding eye-contact for ten minutes.

Kaguya-Sama Episode 12 - Shinomiya and Shirogane crossing paths

For a brief span I thought episode 12 was actually going to be the episode that made me think overall I liked the series more than I didn’t. But that second half reminded me of everything I find irritating about the entire set up and mostly while there are some great moment overall I’ve mostly found this one misses the mark for me. I’ll be going back through my episode notes and thinking about my final review of this series a lot, but the bottom line is going to end up being that this just isn’t my kind of show.

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Karandi James
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Fuelling Fiction Through Pain

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Domestic Girlfriend Episode 12

The secret is out and Hina takes it all upon herself (which as the adult in the relationship and the supervising teacher that quite clearly acted in a way contrary to her position it makes sense that she does this). In order to avoid the scandal becoming public, Hina accepts a transfer of position (why she isn’t fired is a question I guess we’ll never understand) and then she vanished from Natsuo, Rui and the rest of the family (though she does send her mother a text). Domestic Girlfriend has been big on these extreme reactions to emotions rather than more measured responses but to be honest at this point this was actually a fairly low-key way to handle the situation.

Hina - Domestic Girlfriend Episode 12

All of which is better than Natsuo’s approach which is to literally hide in his room. I’m going to give full credit to the support cast of Domestic Girlfriend in this instance for not putting up with that. The support they give Natsuo in this episode is phenomenal and Natsuo really hasn’t appreciated Rui enough given everything she’s done for him (of course, her throwing herself at him in the end is all kinds of weird but more or less expected from this story at this point).

Rui - Domestic Girlfriend Episode 12

After being encouraged, shouted at, and dragged to a bath house, Natsuo turns to writing to help deal with his emotions. While at first he ignores the food and other supports Rui brings him, in time it is almost as though the writing provides a release for him and he returns to the world around him.

Domestic Girlfriend Episode 12

Of course, this being the kind of story it is, it isn’t just a personal writing venture. he gives the draft to his teacher who is a writer who just happens to decide to pass it on and the next thing you know Natsuo is winning an award.

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There’s something very unbalanced about Domestic Girlfriend in that some moments are really grounded and touching and then it does things that makes you wonder just what planet these characters are living on. It always takes things just that little bit too far and pushes them past the ability to suspend disbelief.

Domestic Girlfriend Episode 12

That said, for an anime that has been borderline trashy since the beginning, is well outside my usual preferred viewing genres, and is generally full of characters that aren’t all that likeable, there’s been something kind of great about watching this. It is going to make for an interesting review and I’m kind of looking forward to writing it.

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Foolish Hearts and Foolish Choices

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Domestic Girlfriend Episode 11 Review

The drama continues in Domestic Girlfriend but as each of these characters insists on making fairly short sighted decisions I’m more at the point of just kind of watching to see what wrong turn they take next. Rui, for her part actually gets out of this episode fairly unscathed making a number of reasonably sensible choices. The biggest one being to simply push Natsuo away from her thoughts and not hold a grudge against her sister. That could have gotten ugly and certainly would have strained the family relations and so Rui is actually acting the most sensible of any of these characters right at this point.

Rui - Domestic Girlfriend - Episode 11

Unfortunately, Rui being reasonably sensible doesn’t help Natsuo and Hina who are apparently just born to be stupid in love.

Still, before I tear Natsuo down too much, he did do one smart thing this episode (which if I said he’s stupid in love but not actually stupid). Shaken when Rui wins an honourable mention in the writing contest, Natsuo decides he needs to start taking writing seriously if he ever is going to pursue a career as a writer. Fortunately he’s more than determined enough and actually willing to work for it, so the progress made on this front is actually kind of pleasing to see this episode.

Advisor - Domestic Girlfriend - Episode 11

While I still find the adviser guy a little creepy and honestly hard to get a character reading on given he seems to fluctuate in whatever mode they need for the scene, his offering Natsuo advice is actually kind of nice to see and you could actually see these two developing a nice mentor/student relationship. Assuming of course he doesn’t flick back into creepy mode.

Natsuo and Hina - Domestic Girlfriend - Episode 11

However, Hina and Natsuo together are a terrible idea because they both just stop thinking. On a school trip, Hina invites Natsuo to her room to talk. There’s a whole lot of stupid just in that decision. Then Natsuo declares he wants to get more serious with her at the same time that she says they should break up. She then outlines some fairly clear and logical reasons why they should and he just rejects them out of hand. Why worry about reality when you have true love on the table, I guess is the reasoning but it just sounds so dumb. And she accepts it.

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Next thing they are making out and discussing when they fell in love and he even reveals he saw her masturbating that one time… This is while they are on a school trip and she is there in the capacity of the supervising teacher.

But it is all sunshine and roses because he asked her to marry him one day. It really is just a disaster you can’t look away from.

Natsuo and Hina fireworks - Domestic Girlfriend - Episode 11

By the time the end of the episode rolled around you’re just waiting for it and when Hina is called to see the head-teacher you more or less know what’s about to happen. Of course they end it there and I know I’ll watch it next week anyway because this is some great pop-corn worthy melodrama. It’s just terrible and yet unmissable all at once and the only question left is what stupid choices will they make next week?

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Inquiring Minds Want To Know 2019 #10

Inquiring Minds Want to Know

Well this question kind of comes about in response to a previous one. Hopefully you enjoy it and share your thoughts on it in the comments below. And a always, if you have something to ask me you can complete the survey below or by clicking here. I’d love to hear your question.

I’ve been rewatching Yama no Susume over the weekend and then I saw the Inquiring Minds question about OTP’s… And it occurs to me, why do we always talk about romantic partners? Let’s talk about true friends! The pairs or groups that will always be there together and for each other.

Derek

So I guess there are two parts to this question. Firstly why we’re all fixated on romantic partners and shipping characters rather than friendship, and secondly looking at characters that are true friends.

Meiji Tokyo Renka Episode 2

I’m not really sure why, but maybe it is the whole fairy tale upbringing but the whole romantic falling in love and being with the one you love is kind of a standard of stories. As such, having characters fall in and out of love is kind of fascinating. That and it is always so adorable to watch. I’m just not sure I could see the same discussions about two characters becoming good friends and ‘will they – won’t they’ be friends forever debates raging. Okay, maybe as viewers we all just like speculating about a fictional character’s romantic prospects.

Run With The Wind Episode 14 Fireworks

So while I’m not sure why we are fixated on OTP’s and falling in love, I do know there are some fantastic examples of friendship that come through in anime. Recently, Run With The Wind has done an excellent job bringing ten guys together and making them feel like genuine friends over the course of its series and it has been nothing but pure joy watching them celebrate each other’s successes and supporting those who might be having a harder time.

Still, the pair that immediately came to mind when I read this question was Chito and Yuuri from Girls’ Last Tour. While I have read some posts that ship these two, I found their friendship to be an utterly believable one and one that really helped carry the anime (given these two were largely the only characters in it). Both were charming in their own way but the way their personalities bounced off the other really sold the show.

Girls' Last Tour Episode 7

You could completely believe that Yuuri would do whatever it took to defend Chito and she would work to get them out of any tight spots (even if her own lack of forward planning was what had gotten them into that spot in the first place). Where Chito would hesitate to act, Yuuri would take the plunge, leading to the pair making discoveries that might otherwise have passed them by. On the other hand you could count on Chito to keep Yuuri from diving into too much trouble and have the longer view of how they would survive and bring knowledge into the discussion. While the two might have had their share of disagreements, such as when Yuuri burnt one of Chito’s books, the two never stayed put out for long because they needed the other one.

School Live Episode 7

The other anime that immediately sprang to mind was School Live. For obvious reasons the girls had to rely on one another but I believe their friendship grew and was really genuinely portrayed throughout the anime. Yuki would not be alive without the support and love of those around her and I believe she knows that very well and each girl contributes something that is needed emotionally for their survival as well as their more practical skills.

Hopefully that kind of answers the question and I’d love to know what you all think so throw us a comment and let us all know.

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Making Choices and Hearing Truths

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Domestic Girlfriend Episode 8 Review

For some reason, this week Domestic Girlfriend has added in a new character. A male student at Natsuo’s school who has returned from overseas and intersperses English amongst his fairly over the top dialogue. Not sure what his purpose going forward is but he didn’t serve much purpose in this episode other than to kill some time before Natsuo spotted a rumoured underwear thief and the two of them chased him down.

Domestic Girlfriend Episode 8

Then again, he did manage to make a reason for Rui to get annoyed at Natsuo. Alex asked Natsuo to set him up with Rui and when Natsuo tentatively started trying to get Rui to meet him she slammed a knife down on the counter and stormed out of the room. See, communication is a wonderful thing.

Domestic Girlfriend Episode 8
Awkward

Anyway, that then allows Natsuo to take food to her room which leads to them making out before being caught by Hina.

And all of this drama is simply leading to Natsuo finally having an actual conversation with Hina at the festival they go to, after Hina announces she’s moving out on her own, and the two of them more or less admit they like each other. You know, the whole teacher/student sister/brother thing aside. I love how they didn’t even try to address those issues but we get a hand holding scene at the end so I guess we’re supposed to think its all sweet.

Domestic Girlfriend Episode 8

I’m just waiting for Rui to lose it.

Domestic Girlfriend Episode 9 Review

Unexpectedly, this episode begins with Rui running into Hina’s former flame and the two end up at the cafe, accompanied by the literature club adviser. I keep wondering what ethics or code teachers in Japan are supposed to be following because anime does not do a great job of showing much of a line between teachers and students.

Domestic Girlfriend Episode 9

Keeping going with that same kind of idea we have Hina leaving Natsuo a key to her new place. After a hard day of moving, Natsuo returns and the two have a bit of a kissing session before Hina puts the breaks on the whole thing. It seems really weird that she’s accepted that she is going to be involved in a relationship that is questionable from a number of points of view but she doesn’t seem to want to dive in.

Domestic Girlfriend Episode 9

Not sure that kissing a student at school is a particularly good move mind you if the idea is to keep the breaks on the relationship.

Anyway, Alex joins the literature club so apparently his character is going to keep hanging around. I still don’t get the point of his character mind you but there he is.

Domestic Girlfriend Episode 9
This however sounded and looked delicious.

I will admit I was a little underwhelmed by the developments here and while that is kind of to be expected given this has always been a melodrama, previously I was a lot more caught up in what each of these characters were doing. Now it is kind of going through the motions as we set up for the next train wreck.

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Domestic Dramas and More Mundane High School Problems

Domestic Girlfriend Post Title Image

Domestic Girlfriend Episode 7 Review

It feels like this anime put the accelerating drama on hold and decided just to let all the characters ruminate on the current status quo. The end result is a far more satisfying mix of interactions between the characters even if this means a deeper dive into the potential of a relationship between the main three. However, the possible relationship between Hina and Natsuo is problematic as it is, and worse is Natsuo potentially starting a relationship with Rui in order to prove Hina wrong. All and all, this episode just kind of nailed the tension inherent in the situation, added just enough drama to make it entertaining, a bit of sex just because that sells, and mixed it all into what was an overall slow moving but enjoyable watch.

Domestic Girlfriend Episode 7 Hina

I will admit, I had some real tension early in the episode when Hina began leading Natsuo into the ocean. I’m not the biggest fan of drowning scenarios having a lot of anxiety around water and I wasn’t really sure where they were taking that scene. Fortunately they aborted the situation, though I’d really like to know how Hina assumes that double suicide is the appropriate response to the confession of a student/step-brother.

Domestic Girlfriend Episode 7 - Hina and Natsuo head out to see

I did however like that relationship drama, while present throughout the episode, wasn’t the only thing going on. The Literature club that they joined is looking toward its publication for the school festival and there are exams to study for. Life goes on even while these emotional hits just keep coming.

Domestic Girlfriend Episode 7 Natsuo under the covers

That said, finding a happy ending here may not be possible given Hina is clearly still in love with Shuu (who, it turns out was her teacher when she was in high school – this anime loves its coincidences), Natsuo is in love with Hina though he’s trying not to be, Rui is clearly jealous of everyone who gets close to Natsuo and is pressing her advantage at home, and all and all this just seems like heartbreak is right around the corner for more or less everyone involved. At least the parents seems happily married though after actually having a presence earlier in the anime they’ve since slipped into the role of missing anime parents, though the mum did make a brief cameo in this episode.

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Top 5 Obi Moments From Snow White With The Red Hair

Tuesday's Top 5

Tuesday’s Top 5 this week features Obi from Snow White With The Red Hair after a conversation I had with Derek following my Up Close post last week on Zen Wisteria. There is no denying Obi has some scene stealing moments so narrowing it down to just 5 was really hard. Here we go, celebrating this great supporting character. As always, this list is made up of my choices but I’d love to know what you would choose so leave me a comment below.

Honourable Mentions:

This week I’m giving an honourable mention to the scene where Zen has come back to the castle and Shirayuki, embarrassed and not sure how to face him wants to run. Obi originally stands between them but then he turns and tells Shirayuki to run away. After she does, Obi gives Zen the blunt prompt he needs to chase after her. It’s moments like these that make you realise how well Obi is looking out for these two.

Snow White With The Red Hair - Obi

Number 5:

Now I know a lot of people would place this moment higher, and it is a good moment, but for me it doesn’t stand out as much as some of Obi’s, however number 5 is when Obi takes care of Shirayuki when she gets drunk. It is fantastic seeing him joking around with her, trying to keep his distance while still keeping her safe, and mostly just trying to get to the bottom of what was really upsetting Shirayuki. It is a really precious moment between the pair and it also leads to a fairly solid moment between Obi and Zen, so I can see why this would be a lot of people’s favourite Obi moment.

Snow White With The Red Hair - Obi looks after Shirayuki

Number 4:

I love seeing Obi in action, even if I do believe he should actually have broken his bones on multiple occasions after jumping off of walls or out of trees. He’s still cool to watch. There’s a fight early on in season two between Obi and Zen because Obi has decided he wants to accompany Shirayuki when she returns to Raj’s Kingdom. The fight is fantastic and shows off both Zen and Obi in action while also making it clear that while Obi has affection for Shirayuki and wants to keep her safe, he knows he’s keeping her safe for Zen.

Snow White With The Red Hair - Obi and Zen Fight

Number 3:

Alright, this one just made me laugh out loud. Obi is still fairly new in his whole role in the castle and he’s accompanied Shirayuki to the tower by the lake for the test with the bird. The noble guy, having thrown the whistle off the tower thinks he has won and then Shirayuki just jumps in right after it. Obi’s expression as he sees the girl he’s meant to be protecting plummet past the window is pretty priceless. It also shows that while Obi is great in combat he also provides great comic relief in this anime without being too over the top.

Snow White With The Red Hair - Obi watches Shirayuki Fall

Number 2:

Now we get to the tricky ones where I really struggled to split one and two. That’s probably because they both come fairly close together but they are both independently important moments for Obi. At number 2 I have Obi struggling with his feelings. He likes Shirayuki. That is really obvious. And while he remains playfully affectionate around her and maintains a distance knowing she’s with Zen, there’s definitely an internal struggle. Seeing that coming to a head and seeing Obi trying to sort his feelings about Zen, about Shirayuki, about his life since joining Zen is fantastic and it is lovely to see a supporting character getting such a great amount of development. That said, I can totally see why some people ship Shirayuki and Obi, but I’m very much for Zen and Shirayuki with Obi continuing to support the both of them; I really like that dynamic.

Snow White With The Red Hair - Obi

Number 1:

I had to give number one to a combat scene. As much as Obi plays a variety of other roles, he is at his best in a fight and there’s a fight in season two where we see Obi unleashed. After Shirayuki is kidnapped Obi drops the playful persona he’s adopted while in the castle and he goes after her. Of course it isn’t as easy as fetch the girl and instead we see Obi get caught up in a fight. It is over quickly but it is an awesome fight and I absolutely love Obi’s expression during the entire sequence. We almost never see him that serious and it was fantastic.

Snow White With The Red Hair - Obi goes to fight

And that’s my list this week but as I said, I’d love to know what your favourite moments are with Obi so please leave a comment below and let’s celebrate such an amazing character.

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SNOW WHITE WITH THE RED HAIR ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK
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