The holidays are approaching.

I was given a free advent calendar today. I don’t care much for those kind of things, but free chocolate is free chocolate.

Beginning with Love Live! Sunshine!!, and what is the first of a two-part story; something I’m glad they have introduced to this franchise. Now that a clear path has been set for Aqours, it is time for a little reflection as the third-years are set for graduation. Aqours are invited to attend the regional qualifiers in Hokkaido, where their rivals duo-unit Saint Snow hail from. While third-year Sarah has put her differences with Aqours aside, her younger sister Leah refuses to, and the friction between her and Aqours gets worse as Saint Snow collapse on stage, therefore failing to qualify for the Love Live finals.

love live sunshine

As they visit their family restaurant whilst sightseeing in the town, Leah tells everyone she quits in a fit of rage but Ruby sees straight through this, as she knows that Leah is feeling the same thing that she is; what will she do when her older sister graduates and leaves her? In a heart-to-heart, onee-chan Dia tells her that she has grown up and is capable of carving her own future as a school idol. This is turn will lead to next week, as Ruby attempts to ease Leah’s feelings and get her to come back on the stage.

This was an episode of onee-chan worship. It’s been too often in Love Live! Sunshine!! (both this season and the last one) where we get the impression that Ruby can’t seem to function without Dia by her side, and from what we see in this week’s episode, the same can be said as Leah worships the ground her big sister Sarah walks on. Something I can’t totally understand, as I’m not really that close to my older sister. She has her own family that are her biggest priority. The holidays are fine enough for me in terms of visiting…

love live sunshine

This week also subtly reinforced the relationship between Yoshiko and Riko, who have almost become a comedy duo now, acting like fire and ice, or yin and yang.

Moving on, this week I had this vain hope that I’d actually see Kino again…and of course that did not happen.

Kino's Journey

Kino’s Journey this week gave us a story that centered around the new group consisting of former prince Shizu, talking dog Riku, and mute girl Ti. They visit a moderately well-off country who has a dark secret: centuries ago, the population were controlled by an unseen force who had implanted machines into their heads, and broadcast radio waves enabling them to do crimes. So it is down to the three of them to either destroy this unseen force, or to disprove it as a centuries-old myth – although a ghost story that you’d tell children who had been naughty would be a more accurate description to this.

Kino's Journey

The sociopathy doesn’t appear to end with Kino either, as you will find out halfway through this episode. Even though Shizu says to Ti that his plans are, in fact, to find somewhere to settle (and not travel constantly like Kino), it often seems like the way he goes about it, it’s as if he’ll find nowhere that will welcome him with open arms and take his sociopathy. Almost as if he is doomed to live like Kino; constantly travelling, because nowhere is good enough for him.

It already irks me that I’m not seeing the adorable Kino more than I ought to, although when this show was first announced back in the summer, it didn’t really give any hints that it would center around her, despite her being the titular character. Not watching the original show or the movie reinforces this, as I went in totally blind with this, having the grand idea that Kino’s Journey (this series, not the original) was just going to be a gentle road-trip anime with some action. But time for some constructive criticism…so far, this show shows us that humanity does indeed really suck most of the time. We can build the most advanced technology, create weapons of mass destruction, run tyrannical empires and kingdoms, and believe in nonsensical things. Neither Kino or Shizu give us an impression that humanity can be saved though; if anything, their combined sociopathy and lack of caring of others show that humanity sucks even more. This is why I sometimes get depressed when watching this. As this is aired on Fridays (on Crunchyroll), I often have to pick myself up with a happy show…which is usually The Aqours Show…

It’s certainly not Land of the Lustrous that is the happy show to pick me up after watching Kino’s Journey. In fact, I end up watching that on Sundays (instead of when it is aired on Amazon/HIDIVE).

After hearing voices from the water, Phos ends up losing their arms. Master Kongo suggests that the Chord Shore (where the jewel people are ‘born’) has something to replace them, but all they end up finding are gold and platinum, neither of which are really on par with the jewels in terms of Mohs scale…but that doesn’t necessarily mean that Phos can find a use for them.

Land of The Lustrous

This has gone on for a good while now, but Phos appears to be on this drive to better themselves, only for that drive to become self-destructive. First being consumed by a giant snail, then losing their legs, then nearly getting Amethyst captured, now losing their arms. It is evident in the show that with each part that is missing from a jewel person, memories disappear. Now with all 4 of their original limbs gone, what does Phos have now? Now that they have gotten other jewel people involved, can Phos do anything right? It often seems like whenever Phos ‘evolves’ (whether it be communicating with snails or having new legs), we get the impression that they are capable of at least something, but like I said last week, no matter what task Phos is given, anyone else can do a hundred times better. Even Cinnabar, who is shunned by the others, has something they have grown good at (the night shift).

I will be finishing up The Woman Called Fujiko Mine early for the holidays, so expect me to wrap that up in a couple of weeks. Meanwhile, the people have spoken, and my classic/out-of-season show has been decided: Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun. This is another show I have watched before, like with Haibane Renmei, but that was a good while ago, but I do remember enjoying it, and so this should be a fun watch.

Monthly Girls Nozaki Kun