Musings and Reflections – end of Winter 2021

The start of the New Year was the time when after some time off I came back to see whether I still like anime. I guess this winter season was a pretty good for me to return to it – there’s lots of shows that are sequels – which I couldn’t watch because I haven’t seen the first seasons or simply didn’t caught up with the current season. I’ll definitely get back to Attack on Titan some day, Re:Zero and Non Non Biyori are also my possible targets, and everything else… Well, there’re many ok shows but anime that seem to be right up my alley aren’t that numerous. So yeah, such a season left me either a small number of shows that I knew should be good (and were)  – that’s you, Yuru Camp, or should be pretty good (and more or less – probably less – were) – hey, HoriMiya. And yeah, that one wonderfully (yep, pun intended) memorable show that I binge watched after it (sort of) ended. I doubt there’s anything else I might come back to later on. Still – a pretty normal season compared to ones I remember.

Yuru Camp 2

Episode enjoyment level 88%

  • Slice of life shows aren’t that rare, but what is rare is a show that you can constantly trust to provide. There was hardly a week that I wasn’t excited to see what new things the girls have thought up.
  • I might even think that this season was a bit better than the first one. When the characters are established and the themes are set, there’s enough space to try to play with it, and while some shows struggle to provide anything interesting apart from an interesting premise, Yuru Camp had no problems in this department. For example, I think that the girls’ facial expressions were more fluid compared to the first season. The rigidity and constantly staying on model isn’t bad per se, but for comedic purposes some wiggling space is always welcome.
  • The show also spent it’s time very well by allowing all sorts of combinations of trip participants – Nadeshiko and Rin got their solo trips, Aki, Ena and Inuko attempted an almost disastrous overnight stay and the final episodes gathered all the crew together.
  • Another important factor was family – Rin’s parents and grandpa as well as Nadeshiko’s sister certainly weren’t always on the stage, but their presence was always welcome.
  • So yeah, all in all Yuru Camp has been a very pleasant and healing experience. Sad to see it finished.

Yuru Camp receives the award of the favourite show of the season. Just as I said – the first season set some guidelines, and the second one came and delivered everything extremely confidently and with great interest rate. Thanks, show.

Hori-san to Miyamura-kun

Episode enjoyment level 46%

  • I guess I’m a bit disappointed. People were quite hyped about the show before it began, and they seem to like it quite a bit even now. I may have expected too much.
  • It’s not that the show’s bad. It clearly had its moments, but generally it’s just very mundane. I doubt I’ll remember it after a year or so, and even if I will, it’ll be hard to differentiate it from other romcoms.
  • As usual, Horimiya started by introducing characters that seemed different – Hori had to take care of all her family and seemingly had absolutely no time for anything while trying to look like a model student. Miyamura was even more unique – a gloomy kid at school, while a punk (though not really) in his free time. That didn’t last long. By the middle of the show, Miyamura had cut his hair to look like a typical Protag-kun, had hidden his glasses, his ear piercings or tattoos were probably not even mentioned (in the present tense) anymore. Not even once did Miyamura appear with his earrings after his first encounter with Hori. Well, I feel a bit cheated. The premise suggested two quite unique individuals getting together, but by the end their uniqueness was not present at all. Both Hori and Miyamura were just usual protagonists of a romcom, having plenty of time to play around. It’s just too normal.
  • I have to agree that Hori’s unexpected wishes to be quite forcefully scolded by Miyamura were something spicier, but even so, the pair’s relationship by the end seemed too safe, too normal and too boring. I became far more invested into the relationship between Yoshikawa and Ishikawa. That led to nowhere, sadly.
  • So yeah. It isn’t bad. Nor is it that good. To me it seemed just too plain to become really invested.

HoriMiya receives the random reward as an anime that managed to neglect the main couple so much that I became way more interested in rooting for the supporting cast.

Wonder Egg Priority

Episode enjoyment level 79%

  • Well, say what you will, the show clearly is worth attention. While I (and probably the majority of the viewers) feel cheated as the final episode is scheduled to come only after several months, the journey more or less was worth it – there’s just so much you can extract from the show. The themes of student suicide, and how it affects others, the price of bullying, complicated relationships of teenage years, and everything wrapped with gorgeous animation and always-on-point soundtrack – what’s there not to like? Well, the problems began when the production crashed, a recap happened and the finale was postponed.
  • It’s unrelated, but thematically the show also shifted a bit, and in my mind not for the best – at first the whole story seemed to be just about four girls dealing with their friends’ deaths by coming to a dream-world. Then this magical world was explained to have scientific roots (parallel worlds and stuff and I don’t know), with the two scientists also having their complicated backstories and stuff.
  • In the end I have to admit that a production that started pretty much brilliantly, by the end had derailed and (temporarily) left the stage without much explanation (for example Neiru’s story is far from finished). Still, there’s lots to like and lots to analyze. And this kind of show is the best.

WEP receives the award for the most memorable character – that being Ai. WEP‘s colour schemes generally are very satisfying, and while having a protagonist with heterochromia may seem like cheating to attract viewers, at least in my case it worked – that together with the saturated yellow hoody and saturated blue hair as well as self-searching determined personality made a very memorable mix.

WEP also receives the award for the most memorable OST. Actually, it should be a tie between WEP and Yuru Camp, but as I expected nothing less from the latter, the former one pleasantly surprised. While I can say nothing of one of the composers DÉ DÉ MOUSE, the other, Mito, has been on my radar for some time, and the joined effort worked really well to enhance the atmosphere.

The satisfaction levels over the weeks remained rather stable, with probably only WEP experiencing the production crash more or less visibly. When drawing such graphs, it’s always fun to try to boil down the whole show to one colour. In WEP‘s case Ai’s yellow was the obvious choice, though other girls can also boast of being represented by strong saturated blue, green, and red. For Yuru Camp it was either bluish-grey Rin’s hair or Nadeshiko’s pink. It’s was a bit harder than in the case of WEP, but still, the general pastel colour scheme of Yuru Camp also works really well. About HoriMiya… Well… In the sense of colour scheme, the choices are as bland as the show itself. The supporting cast might imitate a rainbow with their hair, but apart from that it’s just boringly grey.

Moving on, there are still two categories left. The favourite OP of the season is that of WEP. Somehow the song Sudachi no Uta by Anemoneria feels less like a usual J-pop stuff, but something from decades (or even more) earlier, which at least to some extent feels consistent with old-style saturated colours of the show. The KyoAni-like calmness and some real-life photos blend really well to give a feeling of something unique.

Selecting favourite ED never has been so easy. Since the very first episode I just knew that Yuru Camp will be the winner. Evening calmness after a tiring but very rewarding camping trip – that’s the feel, and nothing else could outcompete Haru no Tonari by Eri Sasaki.

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2 Comments

  1. If you like laid back shows, you should definitely check out Non Non Byori.

    Liked by 1 person

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