Illness has mostly gone away, so I’m finally up for catching up on this season. The next intro paragraph for these Impressions won’t be about still being behind. Promise.
Suwa’s an incredible guy, and deserves a lot more attention than Naho’s narrative gives him. Because she’s fixated on Kakeru, we along with her neglect how much Suwa is doing for her and the group. How much positivity everyone is bringing. Compare this group dynamic to the teens who struggled to even call themselves friends in Kiznaiver. These friends thrive off their solidarity. Seeing Suwa deal with Ueda, without making much of a show, was a powerful moment this week.
Like Kiznaiver, we can see how important moments fix the bonds between these people in place. Naho’s thank-you to Suwa got him tearing up – he’d always been so calm and collected before. We also got to hear our cast musing on the premise of the plot this week – the sense that we can only be in charge of our own universe. A further background for intensifying the importance of every step Naho takes in trying to save Kakeru. This isn’t a do-over – it’s just an alternative world. And it could turn out just as badly. Or worse.
Mob Psycho 100
Being unsure about the power you wield is one thing: seeing someone misuse theirs is another. The leaders of these gangs of delinquents have the ‘popularity’ Mob was searching for last week. But they only use their strength for prideful gain, and are brought down low by the humbler and stronger. Teru’s the height of all this, using his psychic powers to rule the banchou stereotypes and never become one himself. He thinks he’s the ‘main character’, but there’s nothing heroic about him. Perhaps Mob can humble him.
An extended look at Ritsu this week also fleshed out the greater plot. Ritsu is My Hero Academia’s Deku to Mob’s Saitama. Mob doesn’t struggle to exert his power: he struggles to contain it. Meanwhile his brother believes he deserves powers too, but hasn’t manifested anything. I’m glad the sibling ‘rivalry’ isn’t hackneyed; there’s genuine brotherly respect from Ritsu. But what will happen if Ritsu does develop powers? Teru represents the path he could fall down, if he fails to understand why his brother holds back so much.
Glad that Dimple, though hovering like a ‘mascot’ character, adds a lot of flavour to Mob’s thoughts and interactions. A good foil to his washboard persona, and another good example of the pride Mob rejects.
I love how quickly shit can hit the fan in this town. The cold calmness with which these gangs embrace killing – the heroes and the villains – keeps me feeling that no-one is safe. So asking for protection from Fango, of all people, is more sane than it sounds. And Fango’s more sane than he sounds, too. I loved his sarcasm that cast out the cliche take one could have on his character – the character he gives when he’s out on business. His mindset makes for thrilling diplomacy.
What blurs the heroes and the villains in this story is the balance of care with killing. Bruno is working to avenge his family, for their honour. Nero’s life is demanded by the Orcos in order to preserve their honour. Fango’s far more of a villain with this in mind, howeever; he makes his demands based on what he wants, at the expense of the favour of those around him. The families whose feuds he’s complicating all have an element of looking out for each other above their own interests. Communal security is valued over individual prowess.
He’s not the cliche kind of guy who’d want revenge over the death of Serpente. But that’s what marks him as dangerous. The cast can’t trust him, and neither can we.
Amaama to Inazuma
Shinobu’s certainly keeping Kotori’s feet on the ground; after she leaves her, she leaps to massive conclusions about Tsumugi’s safety with an unfamiliar face. But who would blame her? Yagi may be innocent under his shady surface, but he’s the antithesis of her love of food. But at least his sloppiness when it comes to nutrition inspires her to cook something creative with Kouhei.
The trio have their first real failure in the kitchen, and it was warming to see how maturely Tsumugi handled it. Her declining shop-bought doughnuts speaks of how undemanding she is. Her confusion over what kind of food a doughnut is likewise tells us a lot about how aware she already is of her own eating, even if she will binge on snacks when Yagi’s supplying them. Making doughnuts has brought this group even closer, showing Tsugumi how their cooking together can extend beyond mealtimes.
At this rate, how long will it be until they all start living together?
Subaru admits it: he’s got nothing, and lived a life of nothing prior to joining this world. He was always pretending to be the hero and never accepting that he wasn’t one. Not yet at least. But it was the pretense that Rem fell in love with; the potential to be a hero. Subaru’s narrative is established from here not as one of failing to be, but one of trying to become.
Him asking for help was the first giant leap. Wanting to run away was the final backwards step. He just wants to move on to another place, like a kid changing to another game because he isn’t good enough at the one he’;s playing. He needs something that makes him feel like a hero. But Rem has revealed that Subaru has someone who can give him that confidence, in her. The Subaru in her head isn’t an arrogant delusion like the Emilia in Subaru’s head was. It’s a positive hope for him, that he can be hero for other people too. For Emilia too.
Spent the majority of this episode in a state of emotional paralysis. Now Subaru begins the the real story. Now, it seems, is the time to root for him.
- Bananya. Using a word like ‘narcissist’, I’m beginning to wonder if this isn’t directed as little kids after all, and is a genuine masterstroke of hiding existential comedy in the silliest of places.
That’s all for this week. See you next time!