I'm no longer ill.

…and as the Spring shows wind down, they begin to get better. At least they’ll be ending on a high note.

If last week’s Saekano Flat brought us up, then this week’s one (ie. Episode 11) brought us back down to earth. While a good part of the episode was still told in flashback (Utaha and Eriri making the decision to leave the circle), when we are brought back into the present day, we see a Tomoya who has accepted the decision but still feels raw on what has happened.

As we watch it from the girls’ point-of-view, we begin to understand why they chose to make the decision. Eriri in particular realises that staying in the circle isn’t helping her grow as an illustrator; it is in fact stifling her creativity. So when you look at it from a professional’s point-of-view, their reasons are valid, instead of what we saw last week, when it appeared that the two of them decided to leave without putting much thought into it. We also learn in this episode that Iori and Izumi have decided to leave their own dojin circle as well; their departure is also a proof that a lot of time and progress has happened from Tomoya putting his first proposal of cherry blessing to Utaha and Eriri in the first episode of season 1, to now.

What is more interesting is Megumi’s return after a couple of episodes. With Tomoya still rather restless, out of the blue she asks him out on a date…and I have a good idea why…she has heard that Utaha and Eriri are gone and is finally able to get the chance to open up without any fear of repercussions. Unless she has an ulterior motive, which is doubtful, cos Megumi is Megumi.

I continue to have issues with the most recent episodes of Sakura Quest, though. Last week annoyed me due to its ‘sanitised’ portrayal of Ririko’s Social Anxiety Disorder, while this week has something that I can’t quite describe. I was expecting Sanae to have her time to shine, but alas we have to wait for just a little while longer.

Instead, this week comes a documentary crew who do a series on country towns and villages. While the Tourist Board are very eager to jump on board, every other professional department in Manoyama is more skeptical. It’s also here where a little home truth hits Yoshino: aside from being chosen as Queen due to mistaken identity, she has absolutely no remarkable talents to speak of. She couldn’t find a single job in Tokyo, and only jumped at this chance in Manoyama believing it was only for one day, and not one year. Also, the documentary producer (who also happens to be a Manoyama native) begins to get frustrated at everyone’s “but/what if?” attitude, chastising them for not being optimistic and hopeful. I think it’s only that a major band (something the TV company decided to bring in and pay for) will be Manoyama’s biggest chance to be on the Japanese tourist map, but while Yoshino might have all the skills, she is still as normal as they come, compared to the other 4.

I said last week that the next week’s Little Witch Academia would be special, and boy it did not disappoint. Instead of Croix becoming the major antagonist, the role switched suddenly to the magical technology she developed, which has now gotten out of control and has turned against her. Originally intending to stop her no matter the cost, Chariot is forced to change strategy when the Grand Triskellion rejects Croix, and is forced to save her. I like this sudden change and approach to the antagonist in this show, which is essentially a family-friendly show, despite the frequent satire and references more suited to a more mature audience.

In her eyes, Chariot has done enough damage; losing Croix and Akko, and allowing this technology to consume everything would make what she has already done look like child’s play. Thankfully we got none of that, as her ‘supermom’ mode went up to its maximum in this episode. The long red hair suits her so much better than blue.

I won’t lie to you; I was actually tearing up at the end of this episode. Now if only the show could end like this…but no. They are all going to have to band together to destroy this technology before it’s too late.

Meanwhile, the penultimate episode of Haibane Renmei both explained a few things central to the show, and gave us more questions. Firstly, we learn that Reki was so bitter about her mentor (Kuramori) disappearing on her Day of Flight, that she convinced Hyoko to help her try to open a wedge in the Wall (in the hope that she could see her again), critically injuring him in the process. For this, she was punished and jailed. Also, this episode was central in that we discover that every Haibane has not just a name that describes the cocoon dream they had, but a “real name” – a name that not only better describes their dream, but their existence before becoming a Haibane. As the Communicator tells Rakka that a Day of Flight only comes when a Haibane discovers their real identity, he hands her two tablets…one with Rakka’s “real name”, and the other with Reki’s “real name”.

Rakka’s real name translates as ‘meddling nut’ (thanks go to Haibane Wiki for that); instead of something trivial, it relates to the bond she is able to share with others. It is noteworthy that, as she comes to in episode 1, her bed robe smells of nuts – whether this is related or not is unknown. I know Reki’s real name, and what it actually means, but that becomes more relevant in the final episode, so I’ll keep quiet on that, for now.

Next week will be the final Spring post, where I not only give overall show reviews, but take a look at what I missed.