There are several reasons this particular episode scratched my anime itch. First, and perhaps I’ve neglected to comment on this extensively in past reviews, but Kyoto Animation delivered some fantastic sequences this week. I was particularly chuffed to see the detail during Tohru’s segment regarding sleep and the privileges of boredom.
The dragon maid goes out into the shopping district where she encounters Elma and the two start discussing how they’ve become accustomed to human life. The conversation is flanked by fellow shoppers, and to viewers paying attention, it’s obvious that that the episode production accounted for a huge array of character designs for the extras. We see an elderly lady walk slowly past, three school girls carrying what I think were traditional Japanese bows, a mother pushing a stroller, two boys hanging out, just a really great snapshot of mundanity and how these details make the world feel lived in. It highlights the theme of shared existence that the segment is focusing on. Even though the moment itself is small and, really, the the message is too, it shows KyoAni’s attention to detail.
I also really enjoyed the other two segments as well, but for different reasons. I was let down last week when Fafnir got to be the focus without any real pay off, but this time we see the broody dragon try to create his own dojin for Comiket and he brings in his
friend fellow dragon Lucoa to model for him because even Fafnir knows that sex sells…he just has no idea how to utilize it. What starts as a recreation of Lucoa and Shōta’s relationship ends up being something vaguely eroguro because it seems like Fafnir has some feelings about Lucoa’s general behavior towards Shōta (or he just has no idea how to write anything ecchi).
As his doujin was retold, Shōta quickly turned into Junji Ito‘s own Sōichi Tsujii. However despite his best efforts, poor Fafnir isn’t able to sell his creepy dōjin while Lucoa completely sells out of her cosplay book (of course she does!). That aside, it was nice to see Fafnir do something nice and bond a bit with Lucoa, even if the interaction was filled with backhanded compliments.
The last segment focused on Kanna and Saikawa again, this time with their classmates as they go to investigate a ghost story for an assignment. This was another bit where the animation really stood out, specifically during their impromptu soccer game. Also, they may be the first time I’ve noticed a direct reference from Kanna about the Ainu. I always suspected her character design was based on Ainu clothing, but hadn’t noticed any other references in the past. During this segment when the kids first start to discuss investigating ghosts, Kanna imagines a ritual that includes the death of a bear and say “Iomante!”
If you want to know more about the ritual of Iomante, you can read about it here. I’d honestly love to know if the Kanna/Ainu tie is just an interesting way for the creator to make references to Ainu culture or if the character herself is supposed to have some kind of interest in it.
This was a stellar episode for the series and I hope we get more like it in the back half of the season.