Trouble finds her, no matter where she goes.
I felt like this episode was better paced, more evenly divided between (quick) fights and funny antics, and there was a good thematic thoroughfare: that of Sumi’s mistaken ambition about being the leader. She’s so wrapped up in being the reliable one that she starts out the episode looking down on the others—not in what she would consider a mean way, but it’s definitely rude. This, despite how Gin slew the second vertex (the first one too, though that comes down more to her skill set) and Sonoko came up with the plan that defeated the first. The theme was executed well, because Sumi’s hesitation was both in character (she’s always been the type to think too much and get in her own way) and an excellent kick in the face to make her realize her mistake. She might be the diligent one, but what was that old saying? A German general divided his officers into clever, diligent, stupid, and lazy officers, and usually two characteristics were combined. He considered the clever and diligent to be useful, but it was the clever and lazy who were “qualified for the highest leadership duties, because [s]he possesses the intellectual clarity and the composure necessary for difficult decisions.” If that isn’t Sonoko, I don’t know what is.
On a more macro level, it still feels like the construction of this prequel isn’t up to the original’s standards, though it’s mostly in small ways. (The big ways all have to do with emotions, and we’re still building up to that.) For example, if everything depends on these little girls fighting effectively, why wait until after the second vertex to get them some group training. And why are they bothering with school at all? (Unless they’re meant to fight forever, in which case . . . *shudder*) Though I suppose the original had a lot of fridge logic like that, it just wasn’t so apparent that there was a large organization behind them since they operated largely on their own.
Another thing these first two episodes have made me realize is how little of the lore of the Yuuki Yuuna universe I retained. Did I mention this last episode? I’ve forgotten so much of the worldbuilding that I can’t even remember that. What I remember, though, is the emotions the first series engendered. I might not remember jack squat about the mysterious agency that manages these heroes, but I remember Itsuki’s dream, and what nearly became of it; I can’t not remember that. That’s no indictment on this series, by the way. This prequel is only six episodes long and we haven’t gotten to the heart-quaking material yet. It just helped codify something I already suspected.
The big question from this episode is whether the revelations about Gin—that she’s taking care of her younger siblings, can’t not help others, and is unlucky—are meant to draw us (and Sumi) in and finally make the group whole, or whether it’s death flags galore. Death or drama flags, we don’t know! (Some of you might know, but kindly zip it.) On that I do not know. We’ll find out before long, though.
Blogging note: I haven’t decided whether I’ll blog this yet. Even if I don’t, I’ll probably end up doing a finale post, and definitely doing an intro + possibly other episodes for the sequel, at which point I’ll have blogged about half of the season anyway. Still, I might like to have a few Fridays to myself, plus I’ve always had trouble blogging shows with negative worldviews. I’ll decide by next week. Thanks and cheers!
- Sonoko is such a good HanaKana character. She’s good at pulling off out-to-lunch without verging into annoying/stupid, which opens the door for Sonoko’s quick thinking and good sense to work their leaderly magic. Plus I just like silly air-headed HanaKana voice, so there.
- Sumi-chan would definitely play Kancolle. No doubt.
My SECOND novel, Freelance Heroics, is available now! (Now in print!) (Also available: Firesign #1 Wage Slave Rebellion.) Sign up for my email list for updates. At stephenwgee.com, I’ve begun blogging again! The latest post: Help Houston.
ED: 「ともだち」 (Tomodachi) by Mimori Suzuko, Hanazawa Kana, Hanamori Yumiri