Kuma Miko – 04

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I never expected Kuma Miko to carry last week’s costumes over to a second episode and, coupled with the village ceremonies, the village men chatting about the costumes they preferred, and watching Machi and Natsu eat sushi together, the first act is a master class in slice-of-life as world-building.

It was slow, comfortable, almost joke-free but still enjoyable. The fact Machi gets more character designs and the in-show world responds to it is a nice play on anime convention.

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Then the second act comes out of nowhere and introduces Yoshi’s childhood friend Hibiki and goes off on a tangent about the Shimomura clothing retailer. Hibiki aside, the Shimomura segment is a lot like last season’s Dagashi Kashi, as I have no context for this company and have no idea why the writers felt a possessed Machi rambling off factoids about this company would be funny or even interesting.

Because Hibiki is introduced to us abruptly, and Machi is wearing her ‘flashback’ school clothes AND because we’d seen flashbacks in the first act, I initially though the entire scene WAS a flashback. Put it all together and the second half is a confusing mess.

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Last week I called out Kuma Miko for being overly safe and relying on it’s central relationship’s quirkiness for all it’s humor. I’m not sure that is still true this week, with the introduction of Hibiki and Machi’s relationship.

However, the second act is so random and disconnected from the show that playing it safe may be all Kuma Miko is able to do? Definitely watchable, strange, but not really ‘good’ as an alternative.


One thought on “Kuma Miko – 04”

  1. The first segment was definitely stronger and more cohesive than the second, and I’m sure Zane would concur with the second’s similarity to Dagashi Kashi’s random “tagentry.”

    But clothes and clothiers were center stage in the second segment, and clothing is an integral part of Machi’s life. In her traditional (or any of the alternate) Miko garb, she’s transformed into something more than an ordinary girl. When “off-duty” or going out, she’s tended to wear the only non-Miko garb she owns: her school uniform.

    The intense focus on this particular store also tied into the Uniqlo obsession two weeks ago. It’s almost as if this show is trying to be both a mildly-supernatural slice-of-life and a commentary on the Japanese commercial fashion industry.

    But where Uniqlo was just a destination (and Machi’s crazy journey was far more important, resulting in the best Kuma Miko episode so far) the journey to Shimomura is far faster and less eventful (aboard Hibiki’s bike) and once they got there, well, the detailed discussion of Shimomura’s practices was a bridge too far in terms of randomness, and as you said, her trance was a gag that went on too long.

    Had Machi actually tried clothes on, thus serving as the reluctant “dress-up doll” Hibiki brought her there to be, things might have been more interesting. Alas!

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