Amaama to Inazuma – 12

screen-shot-2016-09-20-at-7-07-36-pm

The Gist: Tsumugi and Kouhei grab dinner at an okonomiyaki restaurant but it goes completely sideways when Tsumugi’s expectations are not met. To patch up their hurt feelings, Kouhei sets up an okonomiyaki date with Kotori, who brings all of the major characters together in one big event.

Megumi, Kotori’s mother, finally meets Kouhei (and Yoki, who’s a big fan of her on TV but she totally doesn’t notice he’s there) and there are hints of a potential romance or, at least, friendship between the single parents. However, the episode closes without anything concrete being in place beyond a happy time shared by two teens, 3 adults, and a small child.

screen-shot-2016-09-20-at-7-27-10-pm

The Verdict: another solid, emotionally nuanced episode under the belt, another recipe we could theoretically reproduce, and some parenting lessons we could consider. Finally bringing the cast together, and the possibility of a long term plot goal between the adults, is a long step closer to earning a perfect ten.

But this week didn’t cross that line yet. All the ingredients are nearly perfect — from charm to specific behaviors and effective rendering and framing. But only nearly perfect, due to a very consistent (but not especially wow) color pallet and no official overall arc.

We’re in the final run of the show and the question remains: what will the payoff be? Are we past the point where a twist can work? Will a romantic pairing feel tacked on? Or will the lack of a long term goal lock AtI in as a solid 9 that didn’t totally become excellent?

Next week will tell

16rating_9

Advertisements

Shokugeki no Souma 2 – 13 (Fin)

sns2131

Food Wars 2’s final episode wraps up the brief but wonderful Staigaire mini-arc with, what else, a food war, inviting some familiar faces to help judge the best staff dish, immediately following the end SHINO’S TOKYO’s pre-open.

Inui seems more hyper than usual, but otherwise she and the others mainly here to make curtain calls, and also to provide a distinguished audience and extra pressure for Souma. Whether he passes this Staigaire depends entirely on the dish he’s been developing.

sns2132

Everything, from the camp to the elections to the staigaire, has been building up to this. Souma has always been good at replicating dishes, following recipes, and finding creative, resourceful, even unorthodox ways to succeed. He’s even made quite a few “signature”-style dishes to win.

But this is different. Here, he has to craft something he can only make, but that is also worthy of being placed on a Two-Michelin Star restaurant hoping to win a third. The shounen transition/evolution Souma must undergo is perfectly boiled down to getting pincushioned by a rain of fancy french cutlery (i.e. aborbing French culinary techniquies), which crack his old self and reveal a new, refined chef.

ns2133

He successfully makes that transition by serving a playful oyakodon dish that looks like a classic french whole quail. Shino sees room for improvement before it goes on the menu, but it’s a sucessful dish, so Souma passes.

While Shino has always been driven by the desire to make his mom happy, Souma’s drive is largely sourced by his desire to surpass his dad. He sees that being at Totsuki, a melting pot of culinary knowledge from faculty and peer alike, is the best path to that goal.

That means picking up the box full of shokugeki challenges and getting to work knocking them off, each time learning something new from the process. He wants no less than the first seat; the top rung. As the pot lid falls on this solid second helping of that quest, I’d neither rule out nor oppose a third sometime down the road.

16rating_8

91 Days – 11

91d111

Avilio’s time in Chicago was productive; he was able to strike a deal with the Galassias – just not the one Nero thought. Don Galassia takes a shine to Avilio, as the capable inside man who could help him get rid of the Vanettis.

But it’s also painfully evident that killing Corteo took a bigger chunk of Avilio’s soul than most of the killings. He’s barely keeping it together, catching glimpses of Corteo’s ghost off in the distance.

91d112

The stage for the final act of Avilio’s revenge couldn’t be more appropriate: the grand opening of Vincent’s opera house in Lawless. One gets the feeling like Vincent is willing himself to stay alive just to get to this evening. Little does he know Avilio has been looking forward to the evening just as much, if not more.

Avilio, Ganzo, Don Galassia and his nephew Strega all know the game plan, but things don’t go according to that plan, as Del Toro takes longer to bring down and Barbero gets wise to Avilio’s treachery.

91d113

It matters not, as Ganzo is able to free Avilio, killing Barbero in the process, and give Avilio a free path to Vincent and Don Galassia’s royal box, even as Nero is running off to stop a potential sniper all the way on the other side of the theater.

Avilio manages to do worse than simply kill Vincent: he kills Don Galassia, which is a death sentence to the entire Vanetti family. Strega takes out Ganzo, leaving Strega, Avilio, Nero…and not many others still alive.

91d114

Avilio is pretty happy with how things worked out, as he sits in an alley as sirens blare. The Vanettis have lost everything, just as he did the night his family was taken. But the cost is high, and his decision to kill Don Galassia made him an enemy of Strega, who finds him in the alley. Is he there to thank Avilio for getting his uncle out of the way for him, or to kill him for it?

While the animation continues to be a serious liability, the overall experience this week was some thrilling and heart-wrenching mob drama. Avilio did most of what he set out to do, but he’s even more of a wreck than when he first got that letter. All of this, like Vincent’s murder of his family, might end up being for nothing.

16rating_8