Amaama to Inazuma – 04

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The Gist: Tsumugi doesn’t like bitter vegetables, especially green peppers. Unfortunately, Kouhei’s coworker AND Tsumugi’s grandmother are showering the family in fresh produce.

Health and life lessons aside, Kouhei wants Tsumugi to share his love for a variety of foods, even though he didn’t like peppers as a boy either. Kotori to the rescue! and, of course, and a big fun happy meal together. Even though Tsumugi sneakily doesn’t eat the peppers in her Gratin, she does enjoy the meal over all.

Roll credits…

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Like last season’s Flying Witch, AtI is extremely pleasant to watch because it’s quiet, the characters are charming, and the narrative has an instructional quality to it.

I’m reasonably confident you could make the delicious food Kotori step-by-step walks you through and, if you have small children, I’m sure some of the parenting tips couldn’t hurt either.

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is your child afraid of peppers? try using them as cups for juice…

AtI is a little more formulaic than Flying Witch, in that each episode has a consistent structure. However, that formula makes AtI’s characters feel like they are sharing an experience, where Flying Witch’s characters often felt experiencing the same world, but not the same experiences.

Coupled with the sense of purpose a structure gives to each episode, AtI’s faster tempo probably spares it the criticisms we had for mid-late season Flying Witch: too little purpose or momentum lost our attention.

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The Verdict: Along with Flying Witch, I feel like we’re seeing the birth of a new genre: the instructional feel good show. The goal of this genre appears to be capturing culture that modern families and children may be missing. It’s remarkable how instructive this is without being preachy.

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Mob Psycho 100 – 03

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The Gist: the Body Improvement Club allows the Telepathy Club to keep the room (the BIC only needs it for equipment storage) and everyone is happy. Mob reveals his powers to the Telepathy Club but he’s still not interested in joining them. His focus is on improving his physical form.

On his way home, Mob is pressured into joining a newly formed cult, LOL. It’s a laughter cult run by a hypnotist, who is later revealed as a spirit using low bloodshed methods to take over. In his frustration with Mob’s inability to smile, he pushes Mob too far — into 100% — and he is easily destroyed by the Emotionally Active Mob.

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Later, Reigen reinforces many of the negative things the spirit said to Mob — that Mob’s lack of emotions and ‘getting it’ mean he will cause trouble for people and be bad at love. However, Reigen also shrugs this off because Mob is his own protagonist and he did just save some people. He was the only one who could have saved those people.

Tying up last week’s club-room drama and expanding on Mob’s social circle was a good move. It was also nice and short, which left most of the episode for this week’s cult plot.

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The cult plot itself introduces Mezato from the school newspaper, who serves as our point of reference as humans. We hear her internal conflict before, during and after the spirit affects her and that lends more power to Mob not being effected.

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The Fight between Mob and the Spirit is stylish. Ugly, like everything else we’ve seen, but nicely framed and frenetic. The most interesting elements are the psychological ones: we see how Mob has been hurt in the past by not showing his expressions and the narrator gives us context for why he chooses to hid his emotions.

Finally, Reigen manages a human, not totally cringey scene where he actually mentors Mob. As with last week, the formula works best when we see the least of him but here, we got that AND seeing him briefly in a positive light.

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The Verdict: It had some lumps but this was MP100’s first honestly good episode. It was also the most One-Punch like, with a most of he episode being spent on Mob not being defeated, and eventually splattering the enemy with one hit.

Setting up Mob for multiple 100% explosions, and not just a single earth destroying one, is a clever fake out. It lends a different structure to the show than I was expecting, and I love surprises. It’s still a Butter Face show but the incremental improvements finally make it worth watching.

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Macross Delta – 17

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As the oldest Windermerean soldier smirks at the fact only Lord Lloyd heard Gramia’s last wish—to press their fight until all the galaxy is theirs—Lloyd becomes more interested in Freyja and Mikumo. Targets to take out, or backup weapons in case Heinz falls prematurely?

Whatever his plans, it’s back to work for Delta/Walkure, as Arad and Kaname announce a new plan to infiltrate Vordor (where Var-immune rebel forces are still holding out) and try to find a way to use the ruins to their advantage. Freyja, meanwhile, has totally fallen for Hayate, who sadly seems only a quarter-aware.

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Work Comes First this week, however, and it comes in the form of an elaborate Walkure network and media saturation campaign spearheaded by Reina as a huge, dazzling cover for hacking the galactic network in order to facilitate their infiltration of Vordor.

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It’s Walkure’s most aggressive “tour” yet, able to appear seemingly in every planet in the cluster, and they turn up the heat by, for one, exploiting their sexuality, Makina’s in particular.

While discussion of objectification may crop up in some circles, the fact is Walkure chose to go in this direction; the military didn’t make them. This was all Reina and Makina’s scheme, and it works,

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While watching Freyja sing and glance at him with a bright rune, Hayate starts to maybe-kinda-sorta pick up on all the lovey-dovey vibes emanating from Freyja. He gives her an, ahem, glowing review of her singing, and Freyja is this close to confessing her feelings.

What stops them? An elderly couple waving to her, before walking off, hand-in-hand. At that crucial moment, Freyja saw a future she’d never enjoy with Hayate. It’s the opposite of the Arwen-Aragorn tragedy, with Freyja leaving Hayate by death before he even reaches the middle of his life.

Things get more awkward when Hayate brings up how he hasn’t seen his Mom in a while, but it’s “no big deal” because it’s “just a couple of years.” That stings Freyja to the core, and her rune goes out like a candle.

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Still, her work continues, and with even Windermeran pilots (and Bogue) falling for their spell, Reina’s hidden virus reaches 100% saturation, clearing the way for the Vordor operation.

Before they set out, Hayate runs into the guy who knew his dad, and after getting nowhere answers-wise, Hayate storms the bridge and confronts Arad: He wants the truth, now.

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He gets it, or at least more of it than he’s ever gotten, and it’s nothing good: Wright Immelmann stole a dimensional weapon and dropped it on the NUNs garrison in Windermere, killing all the forces, a good number of civilians, and leaving that scar on the landscape.

Now he knows: his father was, at least according to the facts at hand, a mass murderer and war criminal, a realization that makes Freyja’s rune go darker than ever. It’s not a great place for either of them to end up after she’d gotten so close to telling him how she felt; now the love window has closed for the time being.

Freyja has her job, and so does Hayate. As Mikumo’s voice seems to be changing (and possibly weakening, suggesting she may be a secret Windermerean, nearing 30), Walkure will support Freyja while Mirage and Chuck will support Hayate. Because as long as King Heinz can sing, Lloyd’s not going to stop his galactic conquest.

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