「アリス, オカネガタリマセンワ」 (Arisu, Okane ga Tarimasen wa)
“Arisu Can`t Make Enough Money”
Ever since Animegataris began, it’s made itself abundantly clear that plot is not its strongest suite. The twist at the end where Tsubaki is under direct orders from the principal makes that distinction apparent. Instead of developing on the threads that have already been pulled out, they want to include more to the equation.
It doesn’t clear up the air, but rather creates more confusion on what’s happening. Who’s influencing the principal? What does he know about the old anime club? Does he have any information on the beret or Neko, or the role they play in the anime club? Does Erika feel deja vu around Maya because of the Animegataris skits they starred in back when they were doing promos for a Ghost in the Shell movie? Why is Kouki sketchy? These were fun episodes, but the push for the anime club to set up an exhibit definitely feels like an obvious distraction while the show still tries to figure out what exactly it wants to get at with its story.
What makes this frustrating is the fact that it does lighthearted referential comedy very well, and would’ve been perfectly fine without trying to force a deeper story. It was funny to finally see Minoa’s dad outed as a hardcore otaku, giving her a device to record the remaining dubbing because he can’t stand to see anime in trouble. I’m surprised Minoa didn’t catch on at all to her dad being the guy who showed up to Comiket to ease the line of patient otaku, especially since they actually talked about him being a pivotal part of the convention enough so to have studied his face. The revelation that he remembers the anime Minoa watched could also hinder what makes her mixed up anime memories significant since they could just leave it at the anime simply being some average childhood series that her dad remembers her liking. If I put my thinking cap on the shelf, however, it was a joy to see Minoa’s dad come out of his shell, and openly share his obsession with anime with his daughters.
What helps the episode is that the anime the club made was adapted in its entirety in glorious MS Paint-esque fashion. The hodge-podge of ideas the club had about what their anime should have shines the brightest through the slapped-together artwork that genuinely looks like something a high-school otaku would make. It reminded me of a manga my high school anime club was trying to come together to make. The plot was a mess, but I remember we planned on having a gimmick similar to Yui’s fanservicey work-out routine where a character would begin the chapter with a cardboard cutout of a letter of the alphabet, counting down to Z and eventually moving towards Roman numerals.
The slapped-together feel and heart-felt love for anime that encompasses anime clubs is presented with flying colors the the show’s execution and tributes. Reusing the ED theme with the CG girls was a bit weird, even if it was revealed to be a flash forward to the performance of their anime’s theme, but it’s made up right away with the Lucky Star homage in the ending credits. Hopefully, we’re getting a little closer to finding out why everyone’s so hush-hush about the previous anime club, or what’s going on.