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It Doesn’t Have To Be Monday To Round Up Some Anime!

Are those new series in the line up???

 

Itadori in the 2nd opening for Jujutsu Kaisen

Happy Monday 2.98 Final Mix, aka Tuesday. Since yesterday was a holiday it meant no anime round-up, but I’m back with more series to add to everyone’s watch list and updates on what I’m already watching. Just like all my previous round-ups, there will be spoilers for everything in this article. I’ll also be working on the assumption that readers have watched any episodes prior to the ones discussed so recaps will be brief.

Content warning (suicide) for the following series: Wonder Egg Priority (the aftermath is shown on screen) and 2.43: Seiin High School Boys Volleyball Team (mentioned).

  • Otherside Picnic Episodes 2 and 3

Sorao freaks out because her crush is standing too close to her

Where to watch: FUNimation

What day is it released: Monday

In the second episode, our heroines go to meet with Toriko’s friend, Kozakura, the one she sells the mirror cubes to. They also want to figure out what’s going on with Sorao’s now blue eye and Toriko’s now translucent hand. While Kozakura can’t do anything about that, we do find out that she and Satsuki (the girl Toriko’s looking for) were friends, Satsuki being the reason why Kozakura started researching the Otherside. Kozakura herself has never gone to that world, thinking it was too dangerous (she right) so Satsuki recruited Toriko to investigate with her.

It’s here that Sorao starts to question why she keeps going along with Toriko, after all, none of this really involves her and, real talk, being tossed into dangerous situations to help the girl you’re obviously crushing on find the other girl she cares about kiiiiinda sucks. This hits even harder when the two return to the Otherside and meet Mr. Abarato, a man searching for his wife. Sorao realizes that he and Toriko have entered this bizarre world in search of someone dear to them. This wasn’t the case for Sorao who, when we first met her, was fine being in the world alone as she wondered who would even care if she disappeared.

The trio continues to explore together until they run into Lady Hasshaku, a ghostly woman who, just like the wiggle waggles, is based on an actual urban legend. Mr. Abarato sees her as his wife, only to disappear when he gets close. Toriko moves forward, thinking she’s seeing Satsuki, and Sorao tries to pull her back… only to realize that she herself was being tricked into seeing Toriko leaving her behind. Once Toriko pulls her out of it, the two work together to defeat Lady Hasshaku. Sorao discovers that her eye allows her to see creatures in the Otherside for what they are and Toriko’s hand can grab at their weak point.

The third episode delves further into Sorao’s uncertainty considering how dangerous their last adventure was. Toriko continues to assume that Sorao is always going to come with her, but Sorao is struggling with the whole thing as she tries to come to terms with why she so easily says yes to Toriko (it’s cuz you got a crush, girl). We also get more info on Satsuki who, somehow, knew how to navigate the Otherside even with the threat of glitches (something Mr. Abarato warned the girls about in the previous episode). Glitches completely evaporate whatever touches them, and while Toriko and Sorao have to carefully navigate the land, Satsuki, apparently, knew how to make it through.

Huh. That’s … curious.

Toriko and Sorao stumble upon a village that looks straight out of a Japanese horror game and run into creatures known as Big-Heads who… look kinda silly, which might be due to the sudden use of CG. The girls escape and have a somewhat sweet moment where Toriko admits that Sorao is her rock and feels that they should keep teaming up. Sorao agrees but quietly wonders (again) how Toriko could want to keep going forward when it’s so dangerous, which puts her right back at where she was at the start of the episode: uncertain about her standing with Toriko and whether or not she should keep helping her.

I … kinda wish Sorao would just… tell her that? I get the uncertainty, honest, but stop agreeing and actually tell this girl that’s how you’re feeling.

Also, Toriko saying she’s her rock is ironic since throughout the entire episode rocks are what the girls toss around to spot where the glitches are, the rocks being destroyed by the environment around them. Coincidence? I’m not sure.

  • New Addition: Wave!! Let’s Go Surfing!! Episodes 1 and 2

Our main character meets his surfing inspiration

Where to watch: Crunchyroll

What day is it released: Monday

I actually didn’t realize this had been released until late last week, hence me talking about two episodes instead of just one.

And y’all.

The subtext?

P H E W!

Now granted, any sports anime enthusiast will tell you that the name of the game is teamwork, determination, and an ongoing ocean of subtext. But I SWEAR this series feels like it has nothing to do with surfing and everything to do with a baby gay getting his very first boy crush.

The series follows a pretty predictable sports anime formula. The main character (Masaki Hinaoka) doesn’t have much going on in life, but boy, when he sees surfing for the first time he’s just so inspired to dive right in. Except this isn’t the first time Masaki’s been exposed to surfing. His best friend (Nalu Tanaka) surfs all the time. So what pushes Masaki forward? Well, he sees the new transfer student, Sho Akitsuki, surfing, and it emboldens him to give it a try.

Even if he doesn’t know how to swim.

It doesn’t matter, though, because he’s the protagonist so of course the first time he tries surfing it goes well. After that, he’s determined to make it a regular thing.

It’s hard to describe Masaki as anything but “boy with a crush.” Nalu even asks, numerous times, why this is the time he decides to surf when he’s been trying to get his friend to try for a while now. Masaki always gets flustered and changes the subject. In fact, whenever he and Sho share a scene he’s either blushing or determined to look impressive out on the water because Sho’s watching. I’m no stranger to the main character in a sports ball anime being in awe of the game, but being SO determined to do well that you go out surfing in the middle of a thunderstorm WHEN YOU CANNOT SWIM is … too much.

If you watch sports anime you know where this series is headed, though it does feel extremely fast-paced. That reckless surf during a thunderstorm moment is in the second episode, and after Masaki gets scolded the trio of boys decide to… participate in a tournament? That’s because Nalu is gonna go to school in Hawaii after graduation. Yeah, even the conflict of “last summer of our youth or whatever” is alive and well in the series.

Still, it’s kind of charming to watch, if for nothing else, to marvel at the fact that two episodes in and, as far as I can tell, Masaki STILL can’t swim. It’s so ridiculous at this point that I can’t help but laugh.

The only two things that really bother me about the series is the CG animation that splashes onto the screen whenever a character surfs, and Nalu, who I really wanna like, but he feels the need to play the ukulele and talk-sing his dialogue at the most random times. It was cute at first but is starting to wear on my patience.

  • New Addition: Wonder Egg Priority Episode 1

Ai is ready to fight

Where to watch: FUNimation

What day is it released: Tuesday

***Don’t forget the content warning: suicide***

Based purely on a tweet I saw talking about this series I thought I’d give it a try, and wow, I was not disappointed.

This gives off the vibe of a visually trippy series where, when you get down to it, is a story about the hardships faced during our adolescent years. Such is the case with the protagonist, Ai Ohto, who finds herself in a dream world where she follows a bug to an escalator that looks like it came straight out of Us. The bug tells her the first one is free and we find out she has come into possession of an egg. When she enters the dreamscape again she finds herself at school, two students defacing a locker and a teacher on the intercom saying that it’s best to ignore bullying when it happens. When Ai runs into the bathroom, she’s told to break the egg by the… roll of toilet paper… and out of the egg hatches a girl.

Things just get more bizarre (and tragic) from there.

As the two girls are pursued by creatures known as Seeno Evil Ai learns that she can’t be harmed in this world unlike Kurumi, the girl who hatched from the egg. In fact, the creatures are only pursuing her, and despite Ai and Kurumi developing a friendship, Ai is too scared to go with her when the evil returns. This is when the series starts to make sense as we see a flashback of Ai walking through her school and discovering the body of a girl named Koito, her only friend. Koito jumped off the roof and killed herself (and you get to see the violent aftermath of it), and in this dreamscape, she’s now a statue at the edge of the roof.

We get another flashback on how the two met. Koito was a new student and made an effort to become friends with Ai. Ai didn’t accept the gesture at first, revealing that she’s usually bullied because of her eyes (they’re two different colors thanks to heterochromia). Koito thinks her eyes are beautiful and Ai is happy about having a friend, but we know that friendship will come to an end because Koito goes on to kill herself. With Ai being so apologetic as she sits with the statue in the dreamscape, it’s easy to assume that Ai feels responsible for what happened to Koito. She doesn’t specify what it means when she says she betrayed Koito, but I have a couple of theories. 1) Koito was bullied and Ai didn’t do anything about it, too scared to because she was already being bullied herself, or 2) Ai did something that led to Koito being bullied instead of Ai being the victim.

This comes to a head when Kurumi appears on the roof across from where Ai is, still pursued by the Seeno Evil. Ai decides that she’s had enough, leaps across to the roof, and destroys the main instigator chasing after Kurumi. Even if she succeeded in saving Kurumi, she doesn’t get to continue hanging out with her. Kurumi disappears, and we learn that she is “like Koito” according to the bug from the beginning of the episode.

When Ai returns to the real world she discovers that the injuries she got in the dreamscape are very real outside of it. Her mother has to take her to the hospital, and a now unconscious Ai returns to the dreamscape in the hopes of bringing Koito back. What the bug meant when it said that Kurumi was “like Koito” was that in her own space, she’s a statue like Koito, who’s waiting for her friends to rescue her. This potentially means that Ai can do the same thing for Koito. When she asks if Kurumi also killed herself, the bug says no comment.

The episode ends with Ai seeing another girl gathering a suitcase full of eggs, potentially trying to do the same thing Ai is there to do.

Honestly, I could delve into the second episode, but this feels like a series I need to take my time with. I’ll watch it later and report back in next week’s round-up. If you have the mental capacity to handle wildly symbolic anime that’s gonna touch on themes of bullying, suicide, regrets, and (I’m assuming) not being able to change the past (I don’t think Koito’s coming back from this) then I highly recommend giving it a watch, but you might want something lighter to check out afterward.

  • New Addition: The Promised Neverland Season 2 Episodes 1 and 2

Emma praying over the bird she just killed

Where to watch: FUNimation

What day is it released: Thursday

So… I may have binged the first season last week just so I could get caught up.

I’m gonna level with y’all. I’m not someone who plans on having children. However, after watching an entire season of this show I’m ready to adopt all of these kids. Every single one. I’ll make room in my house.

Since season 2 isn’t that far along I thought I’d talk about both episodes!

The first episode picks up right where season 1 left off. The older orphans of the house formally known as Grace Field are on the run, having escaped Mother after burning that mf’ing house down. After two episodes we still don’t know what happened with Phil and the younger kids, but we do know that Emma, Ray, and the older kids are running for their lives. Literally. There’s a terrifying creature chasing them in the forest. Before we follow that scene, we get a flashback showing the kids exploring the land, consulting the books of William Minerva, and using the pen that Norman left behind for them.

Now we can cue the giant monster.

Ray decides to lead it away from the pack, unknowingly headed toward more higher-ranked demons who are in pursuit of the missing children. Meanwhile, Emma passes out due to her injuries from when she cut off her ear in season 1 to remove her tracking device. Fortunately, Emma, Ray, and the children are rescued, but Ray points out that their rescuers are demons.

Episode 2 reveals that their rescuers (Mujika and Sonju) aren’t interested in eating them. They are considered to be heretics amongst demons, choosing to not eat humans for their own religious reasons. Since the kids are finally around characters who don’t wanna hurt them (for the first time, like, ever), they get to ask more in-depth questions about the world. It turns out that this relationship between humans and demons isn’t recent. Humans and demons waged war against each other a thousand years ago, finally coming to an agreement where they live in separate worlds, humans making offerings to demons so they only eat specific humans (hence the orphanages serving as farms to get children ready for demonic consumption). This gives Emma and Ray hope, oddly enough, because that means there’s a world where only humans exist. Even if Sonju says it’s impossible for them to enter that world, the kids still want to try.

Sonju and Mujika begin training the kids so they can survive, leading to Emma learning how to hunt living creatures and kill them so they can have food along the way. Sonju also teachers her about Gupna, the vampiric plant used to drain creatures of their blood, leading to their death. Emma puts two and two together and realizes that the “food” isn’t killed immediately, instead the creature lives until the plant drains them of their blood.

This means Connie, who was the first kid Emma and Norman saw brought to the demons (and who kicked off this entire story) was alive and drained by the flower.

Emma’s okay. Honest.

(she’s not)

  • Heaven’s Design Team Episode 2

Kanamori being wonderfully dramatic

Where to watch: Crunchyroll

What day is it released: Thursday

As the characters continue to follow God’s will by making more animals, it becomes clear that the series is gonna keep making up these wacky DIY stories behind nature’s finest while teaching actual facts about them. This episode starts with the introduction to the insect department which, I’m with Kanamori on this one, ICK!

(Actually, Kanamori continues to be an entire mood).

Fortunately, the department decides to make smaller versions of their insects so we don’t have giant bugs flying around all over the place. We also get to see the kinds of creatures Meido likes which fall into the category of … um … cute? I guess a poisonous frog is … cute? When she’s challenged to make something that is cute, but not cute, she creates a koala, which is most definitely a deceptively cute disaster animal that only eats eucalyptus plants (which are poisonous) and has children who eat their mom’s poop so they can inherit the microbes that make eating eucalyptus plants possible.

… kawaii?

After that, horse lover Tsuchiya continues to try and make a unicorn, which turns into an absolute trainwreck. Something good does come of it, though, as Unabara takes the horn and creates a narwhal with it. This, somehow, leads to an animal battle between Unabara’s sea creatures and Meido’s giant squid? I don’t ask questions, I just watch.

I still don’t foresee any kind of overall plot, but if you’ve got 20 minutes to spare it’s not a bad way to use the time.

  • 2.43: Seiin High School Boys Volleyball Team Episode 2

Yuni cries when he realizes his mistake

Where to watch: FUNimation

What day is it released: Thursday

***Don’t forget the content warning: mention of attempted suicide***

Yuni’s at home trying to decide whether or not he should look up information on what he heard about Chika from Yori. He begins typing it into an Internet search since there would certainly be stories about a hospitalized student/suicide attempt, but he gets interrupted and decides not to pursue it. When Yuni and Chika speak later, Yuni tells him that he doesn’t have to tell him anything and that, instead, Yuni will form his own opinion of Chika based on his own interactions with him.

The boys continue to train with the rest of their school team, getting ready for their upcoming tournament. Their first match goes amazingly well, but Yuni starts to get nervous during the second match. This leads to Chika becoming an unstoppable, one-man show, the team winning their second match. Yuni wonders why any of them need to be there if Chika can play all by himself, which takes the joy of the game away from him.

When Yuni’s cousin, Itoko, is injured, he uses it as an excuse to visit her at the hospital instead of going to play in the team’s last two matches. Itoko isn’t here for any of that nonsense and insists that he go and play in the game. As Yori drives him to the match, Yuni reveals that he was not only trying to prolong going to the match, but he called the team and talked shit about Chika, frustrated that he was able to play all by himself.

The credits roll, but we get one last scene afterward.

When Yuni gets to the match he’s surprised to see that it’s already over and the team lost. Their coach reveals that Chika couldn’t play alone and needed Yuni to be there, in fact, he was counting on it. Basically, he won yesterday because it caught the opponents off guard, but Chika very much knows that this is a team sport and was hoping to play with Yuni. Yuni’s the one who gave up yesterday and shifted the blame on Chika, and because of Yuni’s actions, Chika not only dislocated his finger, but he clearly sees what Yuni thinks of him.

Yuni realizes his mistake but the damage has already been done.

Now listen, sports anime, you’re not supposed to hit me this hard with feels until midseason, not in the second damn episode, how dare you!

  • New Addition: Jujutsu Kaisen Episode 14

Gojo reveals that Yuji isn't dead!

Where to watch: Crunchyroll

What day is it released: Friday

Damn it feels good to be baaaaack!!!

The episode starts with our villains hanging out at a hot spring, Mahito lamenting on how he and Yuji are destined enemies or something because Mahito got that ass BEAT in the last episode. They agree that it would be best to win Sukuna over by offering him more of his fingers so he can rise to power. What’s interesting about this is that characters like Jogo don’t care if they have to die to make this happen, as long as curses are standing above humanity at the end, that’s all that matters.

That’s probably a good attitude to have, I guess? I don’t foresee Sukuna working with. .. anyone … even if they help him.

Geto says he has a plan to retrieve the six fingers at Jujutsu High. He doesn’t say what the plan is, but I have a feeling we’ll find out soon.

Meanwhile, it’s time for the Goodwill Event and, more importantly, it’s time for Yuji to be reunited with his friends! The boy has been through a LOT so it’s good that he’ll be able to spend time with his peers again. Gojo, being the absolute genius that he is, decides to surprise everyone by, I kid you not, delivering Yuji in a box that he jumps out of to reveal that he’s alive.

It goes about as well as you’d expect.

Before that, we get to meet all the kids from the Kyoto school and get reacquainted with the ones we already know. Now that Yuji is back, the Kyoto kids are tasked with… killing him during the event. This actually isn’t surprising considering how folks feel about Yuji housing Sukuna, some going so far as to just refer to him as Sukuna’s vessel. The request to kill Yuji is made by the Kyoto school principal (the old man Gojo likes to pick on) who feels that the event would be the perfect opportunity to do it. Aoi (Mr. “What Kind Of Girl Do You Like”) is annoyed with the plan since he’s most definitely one of those characters who would think that doing such a thing is underhanded. Some of the other kids are hesitant about it, too, but settle on attacking Yuji together.

While this is going on, Gojo talks to one of the teachers from the Kyoto school (Utahime Iori) and reveals that there’s a mole somewhere working with curses/curse users and asks her to keep an eye on the Kyoto group.

Before the Tokyo kids head off to start the event, Megumi asks Yuji if something happened, being able to sense the lack of sunshine in the sunshine boy because yeah, Yuji had to deal with losing Junpei all by himself and, wow, that really sucks. Yuji confirms that something did happen and says that he’s determined to not lose. Megumi agrees and the team moves forward.

Oh, and we got a new opening and ending, and frick, now that I’m caught up on the manga the images in the opening hit even harder. It’s so good, y’all! And the ending is full of feels as Yuji takes pictures of all his friends, most likely thinking about the one he lost (Junpei) and how he’s gonna make sure to hold on tightly to what’s in front of him.

  • SK8 the Infinity Episode 2

Reki is amazed by Langa

Where to watch: FUNimation

What day is it released: Saturday

After Langa’s amazing display against Shadow, Reki is in awe of his entire existence. He wishes to see it again and Langa is happy to deliver… only… he doesn’t know how to skateboard.

Snowboarding and skateboarding are two different things.

Cue a cute episode of Reki showing Langa the basics of skateboarding, the two getting closer, and Langa falling more in love with skateboarding because it’s infinite (which means you can skateboard anywhere compared to snowboarding needing, well, snow). It turns out Langa hasn’t felt this pull in a while, not since his father died, which I called in the first episode.

We also get to meet some of the other skaters and the dynamic they have with one another. To my delight, we get to meet Joe, that giant hunk of a green-haired man who’s a chef by day and a blissfully open jacket skater by night. He doesn’t get along with Cherry Blossom at all, the beautiful pink-haired calligrapher who looks like a flippin’ ninja when he skateboards. These two banter all the time, solidifying their status as “bickering husbands” in my completely professional opinion.

Then there’s Shadow, who apparently works at a flower shop?! When he’s not being a menace?!?! It’s … so wholesome?!?!?!

Oh, and the Maximillion Pegasus dude who is clearly the villain of the series wonders why Langa hasn’t been to any of the “S” battles lately.

There’s not much else to the episode, focused primarily on Langa getting used to skateboarding by learning the necessary basics (something Wave should take some time out to do and teach its main character HOW TO SWIM). It ends with Langa being challenged by Miya, the middle schooler from the opening. We don’t know much about him, but I have a feeling that’s what the next episode will be about.

  • Horimiya Episode 2

Miya laughing at Hori because she wouldn't ask him what his first name was

Where to watch: FUNimation

What day is it released: Saturday

Definitely the anime sweethearts of 2021. Don’t take my word for it, just ask Hori’s mama. Yep, the constantly working woman makes an appearance and is thrilled that her daughter has made an, ahem, new friend.

While talking to her mother, Hori is surprised that despite hanging out with him nearly every day she doesn’t know Miya’s first name. This leads to comical attempts of her trying to find out his first name instead of just… asking him. At one point she even peaks into the boy’s locker room in an attempt to overhear someone saying his name.

It goes about as well as you’d expect.

When nothing works she does finally end up asking him, Miya in complete hysterics over the lengths she took to find out. His first name is Izumi, by the way, and Hori is even more embarrassed to learn that he already knows her first name (Kyoko)When Miya tries saying his first name she falls more in love than she already is and decides to stick with using his last name to preserve her already fast-beating heart.

The rest of the episode introduces us to the student council where we learn that, for some reason, Hori continues to help them when they fall behind even if she’s exhausted, oh, and she’s not a member of the council. This is because she has history with the president (Kakeru) where she bullied him as a child and he swore he’d tell everyone her secret.

Sometimes I forget that slice of life anime is pretty low tier on the drama, which is nice during an anime lineup that involves The Promised Neverland.

While helping the student council the budget papers go missing thanks to Kakeru’s girlfriend, Remi, but Hori ends up taking the blame for it. That is until Miya takes off his glasses like some kind of goth Superman and clears up the entire situation, showing that he’ll always have Hori’s back.

The episode ends with Miya and Souta celebrating Hori’s birthday, Hori wondering how long Miya will be around since they’ll soon be approaching their third year of school. Souta’s right, Hori, you should definitely be honest about your feelings. Tell that boy you like him!

  • Theatre of Darkness: Yamashibai 8 Episode 2

Screencap from "Death Day" episode

Where to watch: Crunchyroll

What day is it released: Sunday

This week’s episode Death Day focused on a family who always comes back together on the anniversary of the mother’s death. New to the tradition is a woman who recently married into the family who gets to see just how seriously the family takes it. They all sit at a table, leaving a chair empty for their mother and waiting for her spirit to return. That’s kinda… questionable… especially when the door opens and someone (or something) takes a seat.

_

This concludes this week’s round-up! What series are you keeping up with? Anything on this list that you’re watching, too? Anything I should … gulp … add?

(Image: Crunchyroll)

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Briana (she/her - bisexual) is trying her best to cosplay as a responsible adult. Her writing tends to focus on the importance of representation, whether it’s through her multiple book series or the pieces she writes. After de-transforming from her magical girl state, she indulges in an ever-growing pile of manga, marathons too much anime, and dedicates an embarrassing amount of time to her Animal Crossing pumpkin patch (it's Halloween forever, deal with it Nook)