My shows are getting better and better, thanks.

Even Sakura Quest is starting to pick up, even though it’s now firmly in the ‘filler episode’ stage. This week, the Manoyama tourist board decide to shoot a promotional movie. With Maki’s great experience and knowledge in acting (or lack of…she had a small part in a failed detective show), Yoshino thrusts her into the main role. I can’t entirely tell if she is relishing the idea or dreading it, to be honest, but I think this is the little things like that that have made Sakura Quest the kind of show it is.

I picked this up last week, and it’s something that’s come up again this week. We begin to get a proper look at these 5 girls and see that they’re not the atypical cookie-cutter female characters you see in any other show and if I think that something P.A Works excels in (when they get their shows right, that is)…it’s good character design. This was evident in Hanasaku Iroha, Shirobako, The Eccentric Family and A Lull In The Sea, and it’s very clear here as well. Yoshino, Maki, Shiori, Sanae and Riri are all crazy and quirky people, but they all have something in common, and it’s a je ne sais quoi.

Over on this week’s Little Witch Academia, they’ve decided to focus on the other misfits at Luna Nova. Last week saw the Amanda episode, and this week we get some screentime of the girls who hang around her: Constanze and Jasminka. While Constanze is grumpy and loves tinkering with machinery, Jasminka is shy and has a passion for food. It could be said that Amanda’s gang almost reflect Akko’s gang; I like to see it that way, anyway.

As a hunting festival takes place, Constanze’s input is a ‘battleship’. Akko ends up getting involved when she accidentally breaks one of her robots. Sure enough, Constanze and Jasminka don’t steal the show (and don’t intend to), so this was another one of those “mini-stories-that-have-elements-of-the-main-plot” episodes. We’re up to episode 18 of 25 now, so I would have thought that they’d have got their skates on by now. Akko still has 2 more Words to find, Croix is becoming even more popular and influential, and Ursula/Chariot is still stuck with her tail between her legs, powerless. Please…I love this show…so let something happen!

Saying that though, this episode has already shown us that the antagonist’s plot to create havoc is pretty much ripped off of Kill La Kill. Croix’s use of magic to generate panic in the festival attendees in order to collect ‘fuel spirit’ is something that Ragyo Kiryuin would dream up.

Meanwhile, Saekano Flat just seems to be getting better and better too. We began the show with rival circle Rouge en rouge daring them to make a better game than them, then it turned to the drama involving what script to use (which ultimately killed off Utaha’s chances of getting Tomoya), and now the focus is turning to Eriri. A lot of work and pressure has been piled on to her to get all of the illustrations finished; so much that she is forced to retreat to a family house for a week to meet the deadlines. This catfight between her and Rouge en rouge’s Izumi seems to be really hitting her pride. We all know that she doesn’t stand a chance of getting Tomoya, plus her antagonistic and pessimistic attitude makes her a very unlikeable person. We’ve had Utaha’s ‘episodes’, so now come Eriri’s ‘episodes’. The epilogue, meanwhile, teased us for what will happen next week; something in Tomoya’s and Eriri’s childhood that started off their friction, possibly…

But, as always, Megumi steals the show without any effort. In the scenes of the show that look straight out of any standard visual novel, she just strolls in with her ‘normalcy’, acting totally oblivious. And that’s why I love her so much.

Carrying on with shows that get better as time passes, episode 6 of Haibane Renmei brings its drama to the next level. I said last week that the end of episode 5 teased us about what Kuu is up to, well this episode shows us, and it’s quite a tearjerker.

As Rakka moves out of Reki’s room and finds her own room to live in, she starts to get closer to Kuu, who is the youngest of the ‘older’ Haibane in Old Home. Kuu is only 2 years old, but Rakka still sees her as a senior figure, despite her clumsiness and playful nature. In the few months that Rakka has been born, she has only known Kuu to be like that, so when she finds her behaving differently, giving away her possessions, going off on trips to the woods alone and seeing her halo beginning to fade, Rakka begins to worry and tell the others, but it’s too late. Kuu has vanished into the Western Woods (the forest closest to the walls) into a thunderstorm, and the other Haibane panic that Kuu’s Day of Flight has arrived.

Reki explains to Rakka that every Haibane has a Day of Flight; the one time when they leave the town and go beyond the walls, never to return. This ‘Day of Flight’ could be interpreted as many things, considering the mystery of the walled town itself:

  • Death. A Haibane’s time within the walled town is just as finite as a human’s time is.
  • Rebirth/reincarnation. Is the walled town a metaphor for the afterlife? If so, then this could definitely apply.
  • Departure from purgatory. It is suggested a lot that the walled town may be some kind of no-man’s land between life and death.

As a forewarning (of sorts), this episode is a kind of precursor of what is to be expected in the second half of the show. Haibane Renmei is no simple slice-of-life show; it is, in fact, a very tragic yet heartwarming fantasy story about a world we know does not exist, yet draws many parallels to our own. This won’t be the last time we hear about a Haibane’s Day of Flight.

This has been a strange week, in that I’m very satisfied with all of the shows I’ve chosen…okay…except that show that will no longer be named…