Koufuku Graffiti – 10

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We were a little confused at first by the new face of Uchiki Yuki (Iguchi Yuka; or Index to Ryou’s Railgun), but this was a beautiful episode about anxiety, loneliness, and the power of pizza to tackle both.

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With Winter in its last throes but Spring yet to bloom (much like the weather where I am), Kirin is worried about a lot of things, from getting into high school to making friends there, to the state of the country’s crops and the effect of environmental damage on the earth.

After a horror movie doesn’t help Kirin’s mood, Ryou remembers she left the futons out on the balcony, and that’s when the two of them hear a depressing phone conversation from Ryou’s shy, sad, lonely neighbor directly below them.

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When one of Ryou’s futons slips off the balcony, it takes Kirin with it, which turns out to be a fateful incident. Ryou was ready to stop eavesdropping and go inside, but Kirin’s spill means they have no choice but to interact with Yuki, and vice-versa.

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Because we’re dealing with three uncommonly nice people, the earnest apologies fly where insults might infect the interactions of lesser humans. Ryou and Kirin both notice Yuki gets so stuck in her thoughts she creates and reacts outwardly to entire narratives she cooks up in there.

Kirin sees the same anxiety in Yuki that she herself is feeling, and that anxiety, while negative on its own, becomes a positive because it brings these two together. It also shows Yuki that if someone as bright and spunky as Kirin can feel the same things she can, she suddenly doesn’t feel so alone.

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A ring at the doorbell comes; it’s a pizza delivery girl. And boy, this might just be the tastiest pizza I have ever seen animated. In fact, it is. But while she obviously doesn’t skimp when it comes to quality, there’s still a pointed sadness to Yuki’s practicality: the pizza’s toppings are split four ways so she won’t get sick of it even if she eats it for all three meals—which she’s been doing for three weeks.

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Yuki offers the pizza to Ryou and Kirin for their trouble, but Ryou has a far better idea—an idea borne out of her experience sharing food with others, something she’s still rather new to herself: she invites Yuki upstairs so they can eat the pizza together.

As if the pizza wasn’t tasty-looking enough, Ryou and Kirin sweeten the deal with their usual poetic, over-the-top reactions to enjoying food, a display that Yuki finds both intriguing and uplifting.

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Ryou insists Yuki have a slice herself, assuring her it will taste better if she eats with them. Yuki gives in, and sure enough, she has the same kind of experience we’ve come to expect from Ryou, Kirin, and Shiina. In fact, eating the pizza with them brings out a whole other side of her personality. She doesn’t hold her tongue when it comes to describing the deliciousness.

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The unexpectedly joyful evening, along with Ryou and Kirin’s invitation for home-cooked meal in the future, infuses Yuki with a fresh courage and outlook on her situation, which she uses to bravely face an orientation the next day.

Meanwhile, Ryou learned that a very nice person lives close by whom she should hang out more with, and Kirin learned that as long as she has as a full stomach, she too can face whatever the future brings.

As for me, in all honesty I would have ordered a fancy pizza from a gourmet pizzeria nearby, but it’s St. Patrick’s Day and I’ve corned beef on the stove. Oh well; there’s always tomorrow!

8_ses

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Death Parade – 10

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DP10 was a pleasant up-swing in my ongoing like/shrug relationship with the show. Like Ginti’s ep a few weeks ago, this week had a pleasant mood, which contrasted the obvious overtones of death nicely.

More importantly, episode 10 “got on with it,” developed it’s main characters and put the final conflicts in place.

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To sum up: we start with Decim’s birth, which is essentially identical to Shadow’s empty awakening in episode 2, which is a great scene-to-character parallel because we almost immediately transition to Shadow who is dying in the present. She’s literally falling apart, skin flaking away from the mannequin her soul possesses.

As Decim’s eye life twitch indicated last week, it’s time to judge her and even if Shadow weren’t about to go on her own, Nona won’t let him delay any longer. Also, elevator-kun is tactfully hidden in the background where only we, the viewers, can see him, thus setting up his eventual use as a spy for Oculus but hey… for all my criticism of DP’s obviousness use of false subtlety, at least it makes the attempt.

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Judgement buddies: Shadow and died-of-old-age super-nice grandma that never had kids but instead became a children’s book illustrator Uemura Sachiko sit down for a friendly game of Old Maid. In a smile-endusing twist, Old Maid requires three players and so Decim gets to join them.

The very concept of the scene is nicely pleasant. Decim doesn’t just get to judge — and get to judge without torture — he gets to be with Shadow at the end of her time. Its a nice shared moment and, because Sachiko had a fulfilled life and loves the little details of Decim’s life-moment-based Old Maid cards, no drama distracts us from sharing that bitter sweet moment with them.

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Also we get little glimpses of Decim and Shadow’s life moments on his cards. Decim’s are the empty icons we see him use everyday — a shaker, martini glasses and mannequins — and Shadow’s cards have the the picture book pictures… which Sachiko recognizes.

So the children’s book itself becomes a parallel to Shadow’s plight, and of judgement in general. Sachiko notes that Chavvo, the mute girl in the story, has to rely on something other than words to communicate her intent — her emotions. This is the case for judgements, which can’t rely on a person’s words, and probably a point that will come up next episode and/or be the basis for judgement reform … but that’s hopping ahead and speculation.

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It could also be a statement about Decim, who isn’t mute but ‘can’t hear’ what people mean, because he has no emotions.

Regardless, Shadow remembers her mother reading the book and that her name is Chiyuki, but I won’t call her that because I like typing Shadow more. Then Oculus drains elevator-kun of memory and learns that Nona put human emotions into Decim. Then Oculus is upset.

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My only criticism in all of this is somewhat trivial. Oculus may be a dull, 11th hour villain of sorts to have shoe-horned into a story that didn’t need a villain in the first place. However, I’m slightly more annoyed that Elevator-kun has been spying in the first place.

I mean, it’s not like he has any motivation to be doing that. He doesn’t have human emotions, like all the rest, and he’s pretty obvious about it… so why everyone ignores him so he can spy is weird too.

I just don’t see either plot, or character, as adding anything to the story. Nona herself has barely added to the story but at least she’s _done_ something in the story within the first 11 episodes…

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At this point, you can probably guess that I enjoyed the episode. It wasn’t flawless but the core aesthetic was appealing but also the tone and plot provided contrast to lighten everything. The result was delightfully not boring.

9_ogk