“Don’t Tell Me”
After all the laurels I’ve placed on this show, I now have to give a show more critique than earned praise. Granted, these are not critiques of the entire show itself, but when one bad egg starts to show from a group of perfectly good eggs, the entire perception of the package is affected as a whole.
First, a minor gripe about the animation dip. It’s a subtle quality dip, but it definitely is something getting harder to ignore. The most prominent flaw lies within the second-hand animation, where some of the characters look downright ugly, rushed, and should have never passed quality control given enough time. I get that these transition and background scenes are on a different level of standard, but there is a point where such non-quality starts to stand out rather than blend in. Next up would probably be the caricature scenes, where there is slight decrease in the quality of these animations–careful inspection will show certain proportions being ‘off’ or certain scenes lacking the visual pizzazz of the previous episodes. Some scenes came to the point where it looked more like cutting corners rather than purposefully adjusting the mood for comedy. The only real preservation of drawing quality here was the focus on Chinatsu-chan’s character, which the primary animators did a great job in preserving. I’ll be sad if this continues to be a declining trend though. One of the primary reasons why I love covering Kawaisou so much is the dazzling display of animation–if they take that away, a lot of the magic gets taken away.
In terms of the pacing of today’s episode in terms of jokes and plot, today’s episode seemed to plod along just barely, while rushing over many plot points that make this episode feel less purposeful in favor of a series of jokes that were less than laugh-out-loud material. One particular instance that got really glossed over was Chinatsu’s actual perception of Shiro and how that lead her to become interested in him. The show’s characters even wonder why Chinatsu sees so much in Shiro, but that point is ignored in favor of focusing more on Chinatsu’s sadist nature. I admit that her wit is pretty funny, yet the show perhaps focused too much on this fact while ignoring the real meat of developing both Chinatsu and Shirosaki. Maybe I’m just not into the sadist jokes that much, but the Shiro gag is perhaps the least funny recurring theme of the show, at least to me. I hope for at least some people, the jokes and laughs make up for the critique coming up next.
All those are minor concerns though–my main concern really relies on this point of fully self-aware characters and how this episode got a strikeout in this regard. Now oh yes, the other characters interacting with one another was completely normal–Ritsu is still very much self-aware of how her words affect Usa, Sayaka still is very much observant and so forth, but when most of these characters (minus Sayaka) observe Chinatsu’s situation, it takes them almost the entire episode to figure out what should’ve been obvious 10 minutes in (the especially observant in 7 and a half). Normally, the entire cast (minus Usa) is very observant in knowing “what’s up” in terms of the indirect, but this episode felt especially dense. Perhaps that’s why the pacing of the episode seemed so slow–the problem was already staring the audience in the face far longer than it should’ve. Add onto that fact that the resolution wasn’t anything too spectacular, and you’ve got a lukewarm episode. Now all along, I’ve emphasized how this show isn’t trying to do anything original, but it seemed like today’s episode was really trying to make a ‘twist’. However, when the show has built up this smart cast of characters, it seems almost an insult to both the characters and the audience for the cast to suddenly dumb down (minus Sayaka) for the sake of said ‘twist’. In the end, it just makes all the characters feel fake again, as more characters on a screen rather than characters in reality.
Perhaps this wasn’t my week (I am studying for finals after all), but overall this episode was just…okay. Not much was achieved in terms of character development, and what development we did get from Shirosaki was limited. We know that he’s a good guy already, so now we just know that he actually has quite the creative mind and caring heart. Good traits definitely, but not especially interesting. I hope things do pick up next episode, since we’ll be getting the force of two seniors instead of one!