The Weekday Anime Round-up Asks: What Is Even Happening Anymore?
Eggs, healing blood, naked mole rats, and volleyball!
Happy Friday, fellow anime enthusiasts! It’s time to recap this week’s share of anime. It definitely feels like we’re nearing the end of the season for these series, just in time for what April has in store for us (spoilers: it’s a LOT)! This week has left me with a lot of questions and, in some cases (cough cough The Promised Neverland cough cough) lots of frustration, but hey, at the end of it all are mole rats and jellyfish.
Just … go with it, okay?
Tuesday, March 9
Wonder Egg Priority episode 9
Where to watch: Funimation
CW: Mentions of suicide and “guy obsessed with a child’s body”
With every episode of this series I end up questioning wtf is going on, but usually, it’s because of unanswered questions (like Ai’s feelings for Mr. Sawaki) or how the world works with its whole “save the girls in the eggs to potentially revive this statue of the loved one you lost” routine.
This might be my first “wtf” moment because of the direction the plot is going in.
The symbolism is still there, but now we have … threats from the government and research outside of the dream world? Honestly, the research part makes sense since it’s being done by Neiru’s company, and I feel like she’s the type to try and record her dreams to figure out how this whole thing works. But then we learn that her assistant (Misaki) is actually communicating with Acca and Ura-Acca about the girls, warning both of them about what they’re figuring out. It turns out this whole thing might not be about girls’ suicides? And the real reason might make the girls stop fighting – that Acca and Ura-Acca are the root cause.
Also, there’s this plotline with a group called Plati, a group you can’t be part of unless if you have a very high IQ. Neiru is a member of the group, having been born from artificial insemination from one of the group members. The government interference is due to a girl named Kotobuki Awano, who was also born through Plati the way Neiru was. Kotobuki has been in a vegetative state after performing near-death experiments to explore, well, death. When Kotobuki appears in Neiru’s dream as an egg, that’s when Neiru knew that she had died.
This leads to an interesting debate between the girls about Neiru pulling the plug on Kotobuki in real life. The girls are against it, but to Neiru, Kotobuki isn’t really alive anymore. Kotobuki’s last wish to Neiru is to pull the plug because she doesn’t want adults touching her body. This is further illustrated in the dream world where the monster who represents her trauma is a researcher who’d been obsessed with her body. Yes, it’s in a more scientific way than sexual, but it’s still uncomfortable imagery of the monster pulling at her shirt and cutting into her skin.
Kotobuki gives a hint of innocent sorrow being a temptation of death, which is what Misaki reports to Acca and Ura-Acca. As she talks to the two of them, Rika and Momoe overhear the conversation.
The episode ends with Ai comforting Neiru, who admits that she hesitated in pulling the plug on Kotobuki (or rather, pushing the button that’ll shut off her life support). In the end, Neiru ends up pushing the button with Ai by her side.
I’m not sure what’s gonna happen next with this series, but then again, I’m never sure. Part of me isn’t sure about this sudden “scientific research/high IQ group/government coming for Kotobuki’s body” twist because I’m afraid that might take away from the initial appeal of the series which was “symbolism for the things girls face during adolescence.” However, there IS something to be said at the sudden intrusion of adults in these girls’ lives and how adults will come in to do what they feel is best. The fact that the girls’ feelings are being analyzed like a research project instead of actually talked about means something.
I’m also iffy on Acca and Ura-Acca being the big bad of the story. I kinda liked them being observers, then again, that might still be the case? What I do know is that I’m curious to see what they do since I’ve been thoroughly enjoying this series as a whole. I guess we’ll crack the shell at some point here!
Thursday, March 11
The Promised Neverland season 2 episode 9
Where to watch: Funimation
In this episode, Emma told Norman to eat a Snickers, because he’s not himself right now and just needs to eat a Snickers. Or something.
My frustration with the second season of The Promised Neverland is well documented so I won’t repeat myself too much in that aspect, but I will add this: it’s bizarre to me that they would cut out so much of the manga’s storyline to get to Norman’s return, only to spend very little time on it. Since I haven’t read the manga, I don’t know how much time is spent in this part, but knowing that there is SO much content before Norman’s return AND more development on how much he’s changed just makes the rushed pace of the anime puzzling.
Norman changes his mind so quickly, y’all! I expected this to take much longer and for there to be more build-up with this idea of whether or not it was wrong to kill demons, especially when they’re out to kill you. Norman had an answer for ALL of Emma’s questions about his plan, and his answers made sense! But sure, we can just put a pin in that after a heart-to-heart talk.
Here’s the breakdown:
In episode 6 everyone reunites with Norman and finds out about his plan to get rid of demons. Everyone is on board (except Emma).
In episode 7 Norman makes the deal with Emma and Ray to not eradicate the town, but is lying, and plans on doing it anyway. Emma convinces the kids that killing demons is bad.
In episode 8 we get a brief flashback of how messed up Lambda was, leading to Norman executing his plan, but hesitating because, ugh, the demon girl’s name is Emma.
And now? Norman just… isn’t gonna do it anymore because… power of friendship, I guess? Emma gets through to him and now everyone’s friends again. And I mean EVERYONE. Even Barbara, the girl who hates demons so much that she EATS them is on board with not killing them.
It’s just too sudden!
Maybe if the series spent more time on Norman and his group bonding beyond “let’s kill demons” I’d believe that they would be okay with following Norman’s lead here. Yes, I know, Vincent is clearly about to betray them, but this is all too easy. It’s cool, I guess, because Norman and his group are rewarded for their compassion. We find out that the blind demon, Vylk, has Mujika’s blood in him from 700 years ago, and he has part of a pen that, when activated, reveals that there is an antidote for the drug used on Norman and his group back when they were at Lambda.
WHY are all the solutions so simple this season?!
Oh, and Isabelle is a grandmother now. Remember her? They showed her back in episode 4, lol. She’s definitely planning something for when the kids go and rescue Phil and the other kids left behind at Grace Field House. We also find out that Peter Ratri’s plan is to make it so ALL the kids have high IQs thanks to his drug, which means they are ALL high-quality meat.
At this point, I’m just watching out of morbid curiosity about how this whole thing ends. I doubt this gets a 3rd season, not because of fan reaction, but because I really do think they’re gonna end the whole thing in season 2.
2.43: Seiin High School Boys Volleyball Team episode 10
Where to watch: Funimation
It’s time for the big match between Seiin and Fukuho, but first, Fukuho is scolded for their “no you can’t just have a regular-ass snowball fight in this anime without someone getting hurt” moment in the last episode. Mitsuomi’s been taken to the hospital, leaving Subaru to cheer for his team and make sure they win their matches. Mitsuomi (in a flashback) even tells Subaru to just make it sound like he was being a clutz, to make the whole incident as lighthearted as possible so the team isn’t too gloomy about it.
The team is pumped up, playing in honor of Mitsuomi, which, real talk, means that Seiin is in real trouble. Facing off against a team that’s already good who now has the “our teammate was hurt” power boost means… yep, Fukuho wins the first match. Even so, Subaru is clearly affected by Mitsuomi being gone, calling out to him out of reflex for ice packs for his knees and water. However, when it’s revealed that Mitsuomi is being released from the hospital, Subaru decides that the team should wrap things up so that they’ve already won by the time he gets back.
Chika, who’s been quietly counting how far behind they are, steps it up and starts dominating the court. It’s similar to what he did in that match that made Yuni dislike him. When the rest of the team questions Chika and Chika points out how he’s stepping up because they aren’t, he gets scared, thinking that his team is gonna hate him the way his middle school team did. Much to my delight, Misao sides with Chika, pointing out that he’s saying this and dominating the court the way he is because everyone else isn’t pushing themselves hard enough. This leads to the team coming together to win the second match!
The games are tied now, which makes Fukuho (and Subaru) REALLY turn up the heat. Fukuho changes tactics, and targets Yuni, making it difficult for him to really participate in the game. At one point Chika calls out to him to break through the block wall from Fukuho, but the team blocks his aggressive spike, the ball slamming into his face and causing his nose to bleed. Yuni is forced to sit out of the rest of the match, but their captain gives an impassioned speech to go on without him.
Yuni is sent to the nurse’s office, his cousin also there to make sure he’s doing okay. This part is interesting to me because as she talks to him, you really get to see how much he’s grown. She jokes about how he’s always worried about his appearance (since his nose was bleeding in front of everyone) and he snaps at her, saying he doesn’t care, he just really wants to get back out on the court and play. It’s clear that he’s taking this more seriously than he did at the beginning of the series, completely surprising his cousin.
Chika rushes to the office and reveals that they lost the third match, revealing that if they lose this next one, they’re out.
It’s okay because, after the credits, Subaru shows up to talk to them.
Heaven’s Design Team episode 10
Where to watch: Crunchyroll
There have been a lot of wonky episodes of this series, but this one may be the most WTF one out there. We begin with Shimoda walking in on a scene from a soap opera, a hooded man leaving because of what sounds like a tyrannical queen? Enough about that, it’s time to tour this utopian kingdom where nearly everyone looks the same, no one has a name (just a number), and they are endless supplies of potato to eat. Initially, I thought we were getting to see another kingdom, like the insect world, or even Hell, and we… kinda are? Because the paradise is questionable, with clones laying on top of each other with babies, and guards willingly running off to be eaten by an oncoming enemy for the sake of the kingdom. Shimoda’s numbered tour guide is fine with this until Shimoda unintentionally opens their eyes to the truth: if anyone can be queen, why can’t she?
It turns out the queen’s been feeding them We Happy Few pills to keep them complacent, leading to a sword fight that leads to the downfall of the queen, who turns out, used to be a numbered clone herself. I’d delve deeper into this but honestly, there’s no point. It’s all an elaborate simulation into the world of the naked mole-rat and the society they live in. Yes, there are sacrificial rats to fend off snakes, and the queen does feed them supplements to “brainwash” them.
It’s her poop.
Ah, the animal kingdom.
The second half of the episode has another request from Hell, but it gets interrupted by a panicked Shimoda when he sees the creature and the summoning circle. This leads to the poor hell beast being stuck in the circle. As they come up with a plan to reverse what happened, we get an actually interesting lesson on why aging is beneficial in the animal kingdom. It turns out the natural enemy of a creature (illustrated with dots and squares) will go after the weaker, more frail version of its prey. If the creatures don’t age and keep spawning more creatures, their natural enemy ends up going after the children (since they are smaller/weaker). If children are the ones being eaten, then generational change can’t occur, leading to a lack of diversity amongst animals.
With an order from God to make an animal that rejuvenates, the team ends up making the Immortal Jellyfish, keeping in mind the lesson we just learned about aging.
Oops, almost forgot about the Hell order. Let’s get back to trying to get that giant baby unstuck. Since this is Heaven’s Design Team and nothing can go according to plan, the attempt ends up making Saturn younger, the fate of everyone else unknown.
That’s all for this week! See everyone on Monday for the Weekend Round-up!
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