This has been a weird season for me...

…and I can’t quite put my finger on why. I ended up dropping a show, only to decide to rewatch missed episodes. I chose another show that turned out to be better than I expected it to be. I ended up falling behind on my classic/out-of-season show. Plus my writing workload is set to increase beginning next year. Some year this has been. I also bought myself a new laptop this week…one that isn’t a potato like my last one…and am currently in the process of transferring all of my files; having to rely on one flash drive isn’t making this any quicker.

If only a show like Love Live! Sunshine!! would make me feel better; sadly not this week. We had a filler episode, as the New Year arrives and the third-years all announce what their future plans are when they graduate. Dia has been given a recommendation for a college in Tokyo, Kanan is going overseas to get a diving instructor’s license, and Mari is moving to Italy, even though the job title of school director was offered to her. While the thought of Aqours breaking up is on her mind, Chika decides to remain focused on winning Love Live! before she can think about the future of the group. With the third-years going, Aqours wouldn’t be the same and so I would not be surprised in the slightest if they decide to ceremoniously disband.

Now that I’ve realised that Kino’s Journey operates on short stories than solely on Kino herself, I’m beginning to enjoy it more. Although I know that my initial thoughts of the show have somewhat ruined any enjoyment I have of it.

This week sees Kino & Hermes arrive at a perfect-looking walled country. It had received a lot of criticism in the past by previous travelers, telling stories of them closing shops for them, serving them bad food, being rude to them, etc. When Kino & Hermes arrive, they are welcomed with open arms and treated like VIPs. She can’t shake off the feeling that something is wrong, but Kino still enjoys the three days she spends there, as she becomes friendly with young tour guide Sakura.

Fun fact: I discovered today that Aoi Yuuki’s (Kino’s VA) debut was Sakura in the original Kino’s Journey.

This episode has a very tragic ending, however, which I will not spoil. All I will say is that I saw a lot of similarities with the Ship Country that Shizu and Riku visited and met Ti. The inhabitants of the walled country know nowhere else, and would probably die out if they suddenly left, and so making the best out of what they have is the only thing they can do.

Moving onto this week’s Land of the Lustrous, which continues to impress me. While Phos keeps on impressing the rest of the school, it becomes clear to see that they are still haunted by the ‘ghost’ of Antarcticite. We also get the impression that, due to losing so many original parts, Phos has seemed to have forgotten their past self as a weak and reckless troublemaker. As I said last week, Phos’ new strength has come at a very high price; not only have they lost a lot of memories, but they seem to be still lost in the “What if?” when it comes to Antarcticite. At least they have stopped becoming the one to poke at out of curiosity, and even Bort has begun to take notice in their potential as a defender. I initially saw them as a potential antagonist (of a sort), but I was way off; Bort is just intensely focused on battle and defending the school, and has no time to think about anything else. But this week showed us that there is more to Bort than meets the eye.

As Sensei is meditating, Bort decides to partner with Phos temporarily, which troubles Dia. I often got the impression that Bort does not share the same level of bond and unity that Dia has, but when a new form of Lunarian proves too tough for Bort and Phos to beat on their own, Dia begins to feel that they should not have to hide behind the shadow of their beloved any longer.

This episode had the best fight scenes of the show so far, with Bort, Phos and Dia all in action attempting to take this new Lunarian down, and this week proves to us that CG anime can work very very well, providing it’s done properly…I despair sometimes when Polygon Pictures (Knights of Sidonia, Ajin: Demi Human, Blame!) often mess it up. I’ll admit that I’ll miss this show when it’s over, and I’m glad I picked it at the last minute when I decided to drop Just Because!

The Fall season always seems to be the time when anime studios are keen to impress with high-quality shows and this year has been no different, with not just this, but Girls’ Last Tour, Blood Blockade Battlefront & Beyond and Black Clover impressing. Last year brought us Flip Flappers, Yuri on Ice, March Comes In Like A Lion and season 2 of Sound! Euphonium. It also brought us the hilariously insane Keijo!!!!!!!! too; that show may end up as a future classic/out-of-season show for me to watch, just for a laugh.

Ending this week’s post with my full review of The Woman Called Fujiko Mine, the classic/out-of-season show I have been watching on-and-off this season, as opposed to one episode a week like I have done with past shows I’ve chosen.

It’s been a trip, I’ll tell you that much. Sadly, it won’t be enticing me to the Lupin III franchise…one reason being that I’m sure the other shows are very different to this one, and I would end up comparing them all to this. But I can totally see why this show is so revered.

The final half of the show reveals more about Fujiko herself, and answers some of the mysteries and questions that have been left unanswered. I have since learned that she has made appearances in many other Lupin III outings, as someone who is not a part of Lupin’s gang but nonetheless takes part in their antics as either a partner or competitor. While her previous outings have been written to match the more comical Lupin III shows, The Woman Called Fujiko Mine chose to take a very different take on her, reflecting the dark and more serious mood in its manga. While they decided to keep her as an amnesiac, by the final episode, we as the viewer are given the impression that she has been a thief, con woman and occasional assassin for a long time, and possibly a sex slave too.

Perhaps I needed to watch some of the other shows to understand Fujiko Mine a little more; I did go into this franchise totally blind, and I leave this show still mystified. This show left on a somewhat open-ended note. After chasing her in this show for so long, Lupin decides to let her go…or does he? As she interacts with Lady Aisha at the end, we see more of a humanity in Fujiko, but is this short-lived? Well, as the franchise is a long one, no doubt she will go back to her thieving ways. Maybe this needs a second watch in the future.

My next classic/out-of-season show is something a little more recent, and a little more jovial: Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun. I’ll be starting that in January. Also, Justin and myself will be taking part in the 12 Days of Anime project (see here for more). We will be alternating days, beginning on December. 14, and ending with a joint post.