NORA’S WEEKLY ANIME DIGEST — WINTER 2022, WEEK 4

Greetings everyone! An IRL fujoshi friend of mine had traveled to the city I live in, so meeting her and spending time together was my priority, hence the lateness of today’s post. We had an amazing time together but still, apologies for the delay. Here’s what I thought of this week’s episodes and let’s welcome a new addition to my weekly reviews ~

Newcomers

Salaryman’s Club Episode 1

The story centers on Mikoto Shiratori, a childhood prodigy at badminton, but who never recovered from a major loss during a high school competition. Now, he works in the sales department of the Sunlight Beverage company, playing badminton on the side. 

Do you hear me panting all the way across the screen? I’m sure you do. Excuse me as lose my mind and forget how to act.

I don’t know where to start so I’ll start by mentioning production. When I saw the studio was LIDENFILMS I thought to myself that this was going to be a good series animation quality-wise, but at that moment, couldn’t really recall which series I saw that made me look into this specific studio. Turns out, it was another sports anime that focuses on a high school badminton team, Hanebado!. While Hanebado! suffered a bit from its drama being a bit too over the top for a 1-cour sports series, was I in love with their emphasis on bulky muscles and sweat. All the camera angles and detail in the movement were mouth-watering. Similar stylistic choices felt familiar immediately in Salaryman’s Club. It’s safe to say that I have great expectations from the rest of the series in terms of animation quality.

The romantic first encounter everyone has been dreaming of!
Oh my, he’s even deciding on a ship name for us, thoughtful king ~

I knew a bit from kendo how serious the company teams actually are in Japan, contrary to where I live. There are even specific tournaments for company teams and the competition is truly high-level. I also wasn’t a stranger to companies hiring employees talented in the sport solely for the team. This is also the go-to method to form a national team as kendo cannot be an Olympic sport, hence there cannot be paid, professional athletes. Oops, I side-tracked. Anyways, I never thought lots of favorites of mine would be melted in a pot: Suits! Sports! Angst! Age gap! Adult, good-looking men! Add a dash of good animation, sprinkle good OP and ED music with great sequences, colors that pop at you, and finally Enoki Junya and Shinichirou Miki as VA’s for the main duo. I knew I’d love this series the moment I learned about its existence but now that I’ve seen the first episode, I’m sure this mixture literally cannot fail me.

Jokes aside, I was on the floor after the splendid performance of Shinichirou Miki as Miyazumi because he genuinely sounded like a tired old man after the match. The detail he managed to convey was astounding.

Continuations

Akebi’s Sailor Uniform Episode 4

After deciding on the photography club and embracing her interest in taking photographs, Tanigawa asks Akebi to be her model for a pamphlet. Together, they visit their friends while they are engaging in their respective club activities, doing an outdoor shoot with Akebi only after completing the rounds. They are about to end their day when an unexpected softball flies their way and soil Akebi’s precious uniform. Feeling responsible, Usagihara takes Akebi and Tanigawa to the dorm so they can wash the uniform and the girls take this as a chance to deepen their friendship.

Akebi’s Sailor Uniform continues to be charming and surprises me in ways I don’t see it coming or I notice details that amaze me. Like the accidental burp Akebi lets out in the second half or noticing the holes on her socks when she takes off her shoes before entering the dorm. I’ll risk sounding dumb for getting excited over such a thing, but Akebi’s Sailor Uniform takes almost mundane, totally human details that might be embarrassing to admit or things that are supposed to be covered up and bring them on the screen. They happen very naturally and there isn’t additional focus to portray the act comically, but the embarrassment following the action is where we find ourselves laughing.

This also happened with Erika in the first episode when she was cutting her nails and she smelled the nail clipper secretly, or so she thought. Because such moments almost never make it to the screen, or only for us to laugh at the character for how ‘quirky’ they are instead like it’s something that we have almost done at least once in our lives, actually seeing these details is so refreshing. I love it. Then again, this series’ attention to detail is insane. You can even see the difference in the shapes of the two girls’ legs. Even though it’s a brief, non-important second, the studio makes sure that every character is different from the other.

Life With an Ordinary Guy Who Reincarnated Into a Total Fantasy Knockout Episode 3

After the one-punch K.O. with that white, fluffy creature in the first episode, Jinguuji now is a level 1 Huntsman. He has learned how to skin and preserve its meat from the villagers as well. Too bad that it’s actually the guardian deity of the Elves we saw at the end of the 2nd episode. Although it’s mostly Jinguuji and Tachibana’s fault that the deity is gone and their forest has burned down, Jinguuji has no plans of apologizing or taking a step back. His not being phased by women’s physical beauty helps keep his composure and they manage to run away. In the second half, a drinking party with good food awaits our duo and Tachibana’s drunken shenanigans cause some stir.

Fantasy Knockout makes sure we don’t forget it xD

I’d say I liked the part with the Elf tribe less than the drinking part in this episode, maybe because the first half relied too heavily on the screaming. I also enjoy Jinguuji and Tachibana’s dynamic a lot, so watching them spend time idly, be it walking around, eating together, or getting to see their past memories through flashbacks is so much fun for me. And these two are enough to keep Fantasy Knockout interesting!

You know they had to crown that talk on gender with a rainbow.

My Dress-up Darling Episode 4

This week’s been hard on Gojo. Between his upcoming exams and Marin’s cosplay event in two weeks, which he has no idea how long it’ll take to complete, his grandfather injures his hip. The cause is kind of the lace stockings that slipped out of his grandson’s shopping bag, but that’s a discussion for another day. Gojo is stressed and has trouble sleeping, because how can he let down an enthusiastic and accepting friend who asked for his help! He manages to complete Shizuku-tan’s dress in time and even finding out that Marin actually didn’t plan on attending the said event after all the stress and agony doesn’t lessen his eagerness to see Marin in the dress.

I’m seriously going to cry from how good My Dress-up Darling is, but what else is new. It was very in-character for Gojo to put all those expectations on himself and neglect his well-being by pushing himself all the while enduring all the stress and anxiety all alone. How could he not? He idolizes his grandfather, and as any person who’s stepping into a world of craft that’ll take tens of years to hone, he’s anxious. He’s unsure whether he can really take over his grandfather’s shop and live up to his name.

On the other side, there’s this charming new friend who’s so accepting of his love for hina dolls. Even though she technically belongs to a ‘different world’ than Gojo, they have similar attitudes towards their passion. What’s more, the skills he’s been developing for his craft are useful to make Marin’s dream come true. Better yet, he can make Marin happy. So, not exerting himself is not an option. I have to say, when I saw the state of his house, my heart broke a little. Gojo sinking deeper into negative thoughts and feeling defeated, then when everything was resolved and Marin was wearing the dress, the relief and happiness on his face had such an amazing build-up and pacing. The series really hold my hand and lead me to feel what Marin felt, step by step. I still stand by my theory that My Dress-up Darling episodes last only 7 minutes.

Also, may I interest you in the jeans’ detail and how it was pulled back because of Marin’s belt??? I’m even surprised at myself for catching that.

Sabikui Bisco Episode 3

This week, we get more information on why Akaboshi has become a target of multiple districts and specifically the military organizations through Jabi, who just got better thanks to the efforts of Milo. In the meantime, Pawoo is duking it out with Akaboshi and he tries, once again, to explain that the mushrooms actually help clean the Rust. However, it’s a long-held belief that they are the cause, Akaboshi has no other option but to knock Pawoo out. Leaving her behind and pairing up with Akabohsi to find the Rust Eater, the legendary mushroom, Milo is ready to set out on a journey with his hot-headed partner.

I wish the plant caring videos I watch would give me more straightforward tips like Akaboshi.

Let me start by saying that I love this ill-tempered, mess of a boy called Akaboshi more and more each episode. The reason behind why people are wary of mushrooms and how that belief is further reinforced through authoritative figures and establishments in these districts actively fighting the keepers was so satisfying for me. It was a very straightforward way of incorporating how the way we perceive things in our daily lives naturally shapes what we think of the world or how it works. The world-building is consistent and still very interesting. 

I also love the way this series construct its characters in a consistent way and especially Akaboshi and Milo aren’t just caricatures of their archetypes or one-notes. They remain engaging and varied but manage to stay true to their nature. I doubled over at the scene where Milo was saying goodbyes to his sister and was taking his sweet time since he may not be able to see her again and then there was Akaboshi anxiously tapping his feet or clenching his fists because okay he may have urged Milo to take one last look at Pawoo but did he need to go into K-drama mode? And while he may not exactly act like the crazy scientist trope we know, happy to see the gleam in Milo’s eyes and catch a glimpse of his love for research. 

Sasaki and Miyano Episode 4

In this episode, Sasaki continues to learn the interesting varieties of BL works and shipping dynamics while they continue to exchange their preferences over the manga Sasaki borrows from Miyano. While Sasaki is sure of the nature of his feelings and is trying to keep the beast (!) in him in check, Miyano is still on the quest of coming to terms with them. He tries to get help from the only source at hand that he knows of, but it’s questionable how much of help they are. The episode ends with Miyano lending an ear to Ogasawara, who’s still troubled over his girlfriend’s preferences in fiction, and Sasaki getting a tiny bit jealous over their interaction.

The progression and the dynamic of Sasaki and Miyano’s relationship continue to remind me that yes, BL stemmed from the shoujo genre indeed. The series feels like a classic shoujo manga, only both of the protagonists are male. Just to be clear, though, this wasn’t a complaint at all but more of an observation. From the ways Sasaki shows his interest in Miyano to how Miyano’s reactions are portrayed, from rivals to tropes, everything has that fluffy pink, sparkling tone to them. And I continue to go KYAAA whenever they happen. I’m weak like that.

Now that I think about it, Sasaki and Miyano is really like an entry-level guidebook to BL.

My favorite moment from the episode was the accidental kabe don in the first half! While I don’t have any preferences that are set in stone and am open to all kinds of possibilities, as I have mentioned in the last week’s post, I do adore delinquents or bulky/tall guys being the uke in the relationship. But now I must ask the most crucial question. Who do you think is the uke or seme in Sasaki and Miyano? Poll below!

Saying Goodbyes

I’ll be saying goodbyes to Love of Kill and Tokyo 24th Ward as they continue to be uninteresting for me and while I do watch them when I find some free time, I don’t want to spend energy on reviewing them. I need to focus on more important stuff. Like Marin’s pretty nails, or when will we see the cast of Salaryman’s Club‘s drunk and act stupidly.

It looks like I’ll be mini-reviewing a total of 6 shows this season, with Salaryman’s Club gracing us last week. I will also share gifs and screenshots of this series as gallery posts because… do I even need to explain? It’s a sports anime! How was this week for you or what did you think of the episodes I reviewed? Let me know in the comments!

If it’s your first time visiting my blog, you can click on the image below to find ways on how to connect with me ~

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