Random Mashup Shit #2
Chihayafuru episode 3
I d’awwwed at Team Chihayafuru and lol’d at Dr. Karuta. I wonder if he’s ever scared kids away from karuta due to being so overbearing at the sight of young blood playing his beloved game. Anyway, the developments in this episode went by a bit quickly for me, but that is probably part of the point — the three young’uns got precious little time to play karuta together, but it was pretty awesome while it lasted. I thought the over-the-top emotion worked pretty well, too: When you find something you’re passionate about, especially when you’re so young, it’s this big, massive thing. It occupies your entire world. Chihaya’s reaction to Taichi and Arata moving away is silly and selfish from the perspective of an adult; however, from her perspective, it’s at least understandable, because this big part of herself that Chihaya has recently discovered has been ripped away from her. At least the doc gets her to understand, though.
The only part of the episode that really struck me as ridiculous is the bit with Chihaya’s sister where she’s like, “Chihaya should just keep gushing about how great I am.” That’s a bit too absurdly egotistical for me to swallow, haha. Most things with Chihaya’s family tend to take me out of the show, actually . . . they’re by far the least subtle element of a show that isn’t particularly subtle in the first place.
Squid Girl S2 episode 4
I don’t recall enough specific episodes of Squid Girl‘s first season to say that this is the best episode of either season so far, but it sure is funny as hell. The first short where everyone learns and refines their English is particularly hilarious. It relies on a lot of silly misunderstandings — why would Cindy assume Eiko is trying to speak English when Cindy knows Japanese and should be able to understand what Eiko is saying? — but the results are hilarious, so I’m not complaining much. The part that made me laugh most is when Cindy think Eiko calls her a bimbo. People have died for lesser insults, Eiko!
The “tentickling” segment is amusing, too, mainly because it’s typical silly Squid Girl. Part of what makes the show work for me is that it’s so earnest and fun; it’s driven by Squid Girl’s curiosity about humanity, and you get an outsider’s look at all the goofy shit we do. It’s a real “squid out of water” tale! (Good god, forgive me!) The Mini-Ika segment didn’t get to me quite as much as others, but I did LOL hard at the final joke, complete with the “Imagine” knock-off piano tune.
Un-Go episode 2
Saw a lot of praise for this episode on Twitter before I was able to watch it, and it definitely lives up to the praises people are singing. Although the mystery in the first episode is a bit clunky, there’s a distinctly cynical tone to the solution and aftermath that I hoped would be explored more as the series went on, and that’s exactly what this episode does. It’s really impressive how this episode presents a compelling mystery and characters, further develops its world and character relationships, and strengthens that dark tone with such efficiency. Sure, the pace is quick, but it’s not because the show is cramming in too much information that it doesn’t have time to develop. I get the feeling from these episodes that Un-Go trusts its audience to be able to keep up and sense what it is developing without having to spell it out in an obvious way.
I enjoyed this perspective of Un-Go‘s second episode from E-Minor. One of the consistently interesting aspects of film noir, as it relates to character, is how the genre’s detectives develop as forces of good in a black, corrupt world. Is it really worth it to push so hard in a world that is so relentlessly dark? Many film noir works have the same basic framework, but develop the question in different ways: Some detectives triumph, even though tough choices must be made (think of Humphrey Bogart’s detective roles). Others fall, because the truth is too dark to handle (Chinatown is probably the most famous example). Still others triumph, but only by becoming as dark as those they fight (Fritz Lang’s The Big Heat is a great example of this). And sometimes technical success can ring truly hollow (The Third Man has maybe the saddest, most hollow victory in the history of cinema).
It remains to be seen which path Un-Go will follow. From the first couple of episodes, though, it seems like it will be interesting!