Happy December.

Aside from the upcoming holidays, the first weeks of December are usually seen as rather meh weeks. As so many people love to rush around with their holiday plans, weeks 1 and 2 of December see a lot of people twiddling their thumbs and going ‘Well, we have the holidays later, but what do we do now?’, often out of impatience. As someone in their mid-30s now, the holidays mean less and less to me, and that doesn’t really bother me so much now. For me, this month is about wrapping up shows and not presents (yet).

Starting with this week’s Land of The Lustrous, and…wow…

Antarcticite’s loss has affected Phos deeply, and has finally given them a purpose in life: to take over patrol for the rest of the winter. They feel responsible for the loss; every time they close their eyes, Phos sees Antarcticite, like some ghost that is doomed to haunt them for the remainder of their long life constantly asking them why they couldn’t save them.

Phos’ new arms have given them a second metamorphosis, this time one that has finally given them their dream of being able to see battle but this new strength has not given them any new happiness. More memories have been lost, every time the alloy liquefies, it goes deeper into the main jewel, since Phos’ Mohs scale is still very low, they can’t run as fast as before due to the weight of the alloy…this dream of Phos’ has come at a very great price. And it has irked me that the remaining jewel people, who were so quick to dismiss them and not acknowledge their existence before, decides to make Phos the most popular jewel in the school now. And it has nothing to do with the newfound responsibility they have gained.

The mass of fan art I have seen of Phos with their liquid arms has arrived on my Anitwitter feed is quite astonishing. Once I see someone cosplay this, then I’ll be even more impressed.

Now, this would be the part where I throw shade at this week’s episode of Kino’s Journey, but instead I’m not going to, because it’s at this point where I finally see how the writers of the show have chosen to approach this adaptation; telling mini-stories that don’t really have any time constraints…and I feel like a bit of an idiot for not really seeing this sooner.

5 ‘stories’ featured in this episode: a duo of mountain hunters watching out for trouble who encounter both Kino and Shizu, Kino visiting a country who laws operate on a strict points-based system, Kino being praised by a food-mad country despite being a terrible cook, Ti writing a good luck wish on a holy statue, and Kino and Hermes visiting (then suddenly) leaving a country to realise she lost her memories of going there.

I guess that, now I realise (after so long) that this adaptation of Kino’s Journey is told as short stories combined into a single cour of episodes, I should be able to enjoy this show some more…perhaps…I think maybe a second watch after the season is over will change my mind, and help me see the show in a much more positive light.

Given that the Winter blues affect me bad, I need happy shows, and dramatic and moody shows like Land of the Lustrous and Kino’s Journey only serve to depress me at times like this; that’s why we have a show like Love Live! Sunshine!!

In this second part of this onee-chan worship story, the first-years decide to stay in Hokkaido to get Leah to show to her older sister Sarah that she is capable of standing on her own two feet once she graduates. This has been much of a journey for Ruby as it has been for Leah. Sure, there’s no way we can imagine Aqours without Dia, hence why it’s highly likely that they’ll do a ‎μ’s and disband when the school year is over but the close dynamic between Ruby and Dia is just one of the many key things that make this show highly enjoyable.

The two are inseparable. Ruby has constantly felt powerless without her sister holding her hand, and Dia despairs when she sees her down in the dumps. So having Ruby doing her own thing and helping Aqours’ former rivals regain their love of idols acts as a major confidence boost in both of them – Ruby in that she’s not the timid mouse we all love her as, and Dia in that she doesn’t need to worry about her messing up, since she can pick herself up again.

This week’s episode also gives us Aqours’ equivalent of ‎μ’s “Snow Halation”: “Awaken The Power”, an upbeat about gaining self-confidence and standing on two feet. This is something not just Ruby will have to learn at the end of the school year, but Yoshiko and Hanamaru as well, as they will be growing up fast, and life hits us all hard at some point in time.

Oh, and some more Yoshiko x Riko jokes as well…proving my theory that their couple is almost as legitimate as Chika x Riko.

At the beginning of the Fall season, I threw a lot of dirt at the show Just Because!, mostly due to the fact that I got frustrated by the animation and the lack of depth in the characters from the opening episodes. Well I have been told that since then it got better, and so I decided to go back to it and see for myself.

I can say that it did get better, but I still won’t return to covering it week-by-week.

In the time that I’ve missed, all sorts of confessions have taken place. Firstly, Haruto confesses to Morikawa, who rejects him, only to regret replying straightaway and so asks for more time to think about her decision. The relationship between Izumi and Natsume appears to be on-and-off permanently. He still holds a lot of feelings for her, for when they were in the same class in middle school, and she feels almost obligated to thank him for spending the time they had together before he moved to Fukuoka. Then second-year Komiya comes in to put a spanner in the works. She originally annoyed the heck out of me, but she turned into a solid character.

Her relentless pestering of Izumi eventually paid off, and when she got into trouble with the police for taking a stranger’s photo without permission, he came to the rescue. Both Haruto and Natsume notice straightaway how much time Izumi and Komiya seem to be spending together, even if most of it turns out to be accidental or coincidental. In time, Izumi begins to accept Komiya’s eccentric attitude and begins to admire her passion for photography and to keep the school club alive. It’s only when she asks him out is when things begin to get awkward.

Personally, I think the two of them suit each other, as I have grown to like Komiya more and more now that she has become much less annoying, and Izumi has come out of his grumpy shell and has begun to open up to not just his third-year classmates, but to Komiya as well. I still have no idea on whose heart will be broken by the end of this show, but I am actually interested to find out…but Just Because! can wait until the end of the year, or maybe next year.

Next week will see me marathoning the end of The Woman Called Fujiko Mine, and so I’ll be doing extended coverage of that. That will be one show ticked off before the holidays approach. Just a dozen more to go.