I want to say that episodes 4-6 are traditionally some of the weakest parts of longer shows. Not far enough to really get into the story, but far enough to get bored if it’s not going anywhere. But all three shows have been relatively consistent, for better or for worse.
Seirei no Moribito
Moribito has been relatively slow the last three episodes. Balsa had to recover from her wounds, so she stayed with an old friend called Tanda, who has a lot of experience as a healer (because he’s had to treat her wounds throughout her life) He’s kind of rude though, calling her a middle-aged woman when she’s 30. Wonder if that’s just an inaccurate translation.
Tanda’s teacher is an old shaman named Torogai. She’s pretty sassy. The main plot of the series is that the prince is carrying a water spirit inside him. Or more accurately, an egg hatching a water spirit. If it comes out, the lands will suffer severe drought. Strangely enough, that’s not the reason why the emperor wanted him killed, which had more to do with the indignity of an imperial family member being possessed by a spirit and what would happen if it became public knowledge. In any case, it looks like Chagum’s survival would spell great misfortune for everyone… if the situation doesn’t change (spoilers: it does).
At the end of episode 6, Balsa and Chagum make their escape. Some of the hunters close in on them while they’re crossing a cliff on horseback, but then a giant wolf appears out of nowhere, grabs them, and leaps into the canyon. All right, that seems a little random. Turns out the wolf was being controlled by Torogai, but that still looked like it should’ve killed them. All right, sure. The wolf climbs back up, and drops a lock of Chagum’s hair. Chagum got his hair cut earlier, so I guess they took that lock with them just for this purpose? Not really sure, but it sure is convenient since the hunters take it back as evidence that the prince is dead. Maybe they just wanted their job to be done with so they could chill at the palace.
Moribito is pretty good so far and I’m enjoying it. Even the slower-paced episodes have been engaging.
Three times. That’s how often the Sonohara/Tomoyo joke gets repeated in episode 4, the same joke I was already complaining about in the first three episodes. Three times. Are there really people who think “He believes she’s really a guy and gets his ass kicked” is so hilarious they want to see it over and over?
Even in other situations, Sonohara is just awful. The occasional times he’s being helpful, it’s only because it lets him creep on girls. It’s actually surprising how much he’s in these episodes considering he’s a male side character. I wish he weren’t.
This first arc is about Fuko. She hangs around in empty classrooms and carves starfish out of wood, handing them out in order to get people to attend her sister’s wedding. Apparently the real Fuko was hit by a car and has been in a coma ever since, so this is her… spirit I guess?
The sister is a former teacher so Nagisa knows her. They come up with a plan to have Fuko and her sister meet in person by inviting the sister to a school festival. They don’t discuss this with either of them, and just sort of assume that bringing them together will have a positive effect. Which of course it doesn’t, because this is a Key show. Great friends you are. The episode 6 cliffhanger is that the sister shows up and literally can’t see Fuko, but I’ll have to wait and see what happens next.
And the sister’s marriage? She’s not even sure she wants to go through with it, because she doesn’t think she’s allowed to be happy while Fuko is in a coma. So sad.
Oh yeah, and before the accident she’d made a promise with Fuko that they’d go to the school festival together. Because of-fucking-course. So sad.
And you know what? If Clannad was purely this kind of emotionally manipulative drama, I’d probably enjoy it more, because the comedy is way worse.
Episode 5 is when they remembered magical girl shows are supposed to have transformation scenes, and just put them all in at once. Six different characters, one after the other, all in the same episode. It’s kind of funny, but also it’s really boring. Also, everyone turns naked during their transformation except the boy.
It’s almost impressive how little is happening. The newbies are training, but it’s not exciting or informative and it doesn’t develop their characters. They have a real battle in episode 5, but it’s against robot drones so it doesn’t feel much different from the training. Even when they’re investigating who’s behind all this, they just stumble across his name printed on the circuit board. Yawn.
Oh, and we first hear about limiters. All the returning characters have some of their power sealed away, which can only be unlocked in special cases by their superior officers. I guess it’s not too far-fetched when these girls are walking weapons of mass destruction, but the stated reason is to level the playing field and ‘prevent bitterness between units’. Uhh… okay. I’m sure we’ll get back to this plot device later.
Clannad has had a lot of parts that are worse than anything in StrikerS. But it’s also had parts that are better. At least it’s trying to make you feel anything but crushing boredom.