OP: 「Zero Centimeter」 by (Ohara Yuko)
“Textbook/Hypnosis/Wake Up/Skipping Stones”
Karakai Jouzu no Takagi-san is a funny sort of series for me. It’s one of those where you find yourself liking it more than you think you should – where the intellectual and visceral response to it are very different. It’s quite obvious to me what I like about it and what I don’t – that’s no mystery. But the interesting part is how far off the equation ends up from where it feels like it should be. It’s like you put a bunch of numbers into a spreadsheet and you know what they should add up to, but somehow you’re getting a different number.
I also think this was a deceptively difficult series to adapt, and if Shin-Ei had gotten the balance wrong even a little, that magical effect I describe above would have collapsed like a house of cards, or Nishikata’s confidence. But that didn’t happen – director Akagi Hiroaki and Yokote Michiko clearly understand why Karakai Jouzu is charming, and they don’t mess with it. And a part of that, to be sure, is the sense of idyll in Shodoshima, where mangaka Yamamoto Souichirou grew up (and where I visited for the first time this year). It’s very much a character in its own right and the anime certainly gives that side of the story its due.
The chapters chosen to start Season 2 are right in the series’ sweet spot – nothing monumental or game-changing here, just a low-key re-introduction to the twisted little story at the heart of this series. First we have “Textbook”, which gives us a little drama when Nishikata-kun forgets his English textbook. The formula is as clear-cut here as it ever is – Takagi is one step ahead (several, really) at all times, and just when she’s about to really twist the knife she gives Nishikata a reminder of what her real motivation here is. In a funny sort of way the joke is on her, because there’s nothing stopping Takagi-san from being perfectly open about her feelings and putting these games to rest. But while she may play it off as part of her teasing, the truth is she’s just as shy about being open with her feelings as Nishikata is.
“Hypnotism” is likewise a fastball straight down the middle, with the caveat that it gives us a little background on Mina, who appears to live in a workhouse from Oliver Twist disguised as a family home in Shodoshima. It’s so in character for Nishikata to get caught up in a dingus idea like TV hypnosis – it’s at moments like this where he almost seems to be begging to be victimized. I was more caught up in “Skipping Stones“, because that’s something I can’t resist doing myself. This put me in mind of a time when I was hiking by a river near Takarazuka and after having my lunch at the little cove where hikers were gathered up, I managed to skip a stone all the way across the river and have it go “plink” against a boulder on the far shore and garnered spontaneous applause from the locals. For a guy, it doesn’t get much better than that.
The thing about this chapter, of course, is that Nishikata had victory in bis hand literally and figuratively – Takagi would gladly have taken the loss – but he just wasn’t quite ready to accept what that would mean. As usual Nishikata proves himself gallant – let’s not forget this whole relationship started with Nishikata getting himself in trouble by doing something nice for Takagi, who he’d never even met (nice call-back to the moment here).
This is where that tricky balance factor works its magic – there’s no denying that Takagi-san has a cruel streak in her, and that gives this series a bit of an edge it never really loses. But Takagi’s strength is really a cover for her weakness – and that’s actually pretty typical for nascent romantic relationships among kids this age. That makes Karakai Jouzu no Takagi-san sang ring true, and maybe that’s the key to why it’s more charming and less off-putting than it really should be…
ED: 「Play」 by (Takahashi Rie)
Ahhhhhh I’m so excited!
How were you able to watch this?! isn’t only a damn Netflix Japan exclusive? I can’t find it anywhere!
Well, I’m in Japan for starters.
But those of us who were around before streaming are resourceful in ways the young whippersnappers are not…
Oh, please pardon me if I seemed like a spoiled child from my initial comment.
I was really surprised since no other blogs are able cover this show. Even in Reddit, only people in Japan are able to watch the episode so… yeah. Pretty much explains my all exclamation marks.
You’re in Japan, so that means you will have the opportunity to watch Tenki no Ko by Shinkai Makoto next week. Damn, now I’m really envious. =_=;
Well, one other blog is covering it…
Seeing movies theatrically is fun, no doubt, and I probably will see Weathering at the theater. But movies in Japan are super expensive (unless you wait for 1 or 2 time per month discount days, which sell out fast) and I’m still at the stage where I prefer to see something subbed if I can.
So how expensive is a movie ticket in Japan? (Specifically, anime movies.)
I remember during my visit to Japan last year that I wanted to try watching Yamato 2202 at a cinema in Osaka or Tokyo. (Even with no English subs, I’d still get the gist of the story by observing the actions of the characters–the good old “Show, don’t tell.”) The reasons I wasn’t able to do so:
– I’m unfamiliar with any cinemas in the Osaka or Tokyo area (only found out about UDX having a theater only after coming home);
– I didn’t know if Yamato 2202 was still showing at the time (July 2018), and;
– I didn’t know how much a movie ticket costs over there. (Not to mention I only had 10,000 Yen for spending purposes, which ended up being spent on a Real Grade 1/144 Tallgeese from Odaiba’s Gundam Base and a KanColle Nendoroid Yamato from Akihabara.)
On the upside, at least you’ll have figurative front-row seats for some highly anticipated anime movies (Bunny Girl Senpai, KonoSuba, and Girls und Panzer: Das Finale).
Well, I won’t with those specific movies, but they’ll likely do just fine without my ¥en.
Typically, a movie costs about ¥1800 and there are no matinee or first show discounts (a few chains do a “late show” discount of a few hundred Yen). Once a month the big chains will do a “movie day” or some such, where tix are about 1000-1200¥.
All of the major cities have at least one English box office website online, so finding showtimes isn’t too hard.
So around PhP900 (amount in JPY divided by 2 = Philippine Peso equivalent) on average…
Suddenly I’m reminded of the times I managed to catch local “Fan Screenings” (basically, “early-bird” screenings) of Nanoha: Detonation (PhP1,000 – approx. ¥2,000) and Gundam Narrative (PhP1,900 – approx. ¥3,800)–both of which had feelies such as plastic folders/clear files, posters, and in the case of the latter, T-Shirt and artist illustrations.
But not all were that expensive, as KanColle: The Movie (PhP355 – approx. ¥710) included a plastic folder/clear file, a film strip containing a scene from the movie (I apparently got a rather spoiler-y scene), and some kind of magnet pin. The (late) regular screenings of the Fate/stay night: Heaven’s Feel movies and Love Live! Sunshine!! Over The Rainbow were around PhP200 to 230 – approx. ¥400 to ¥460. (And yes, I still keep the tickets I have from the screenings.)
It’s gonna be a pain to wait for the local showing of Rascal Does Not Dream of a Dreaming Girl and KonoSuba: Crimson Legend though. The former is likely to be licensed by Aniplus-Asia as they broadcasted the Bunny Girl Senpai TV series, but the latter…I’m hoping Pioneer Films or ODEX picks it up.
I adored the first season. Really looking forward to this one. I absolutely can’t wait.
Takagi is just too cute.
Ah, Yuuki Kaji… Already has Ayana Taketatsu as his wife, still being “teased” by Rie Takahashi. (Lucky son-of-a-gun…) Also had a little chuckle at the opening credits where Takagi is in a witch outfit holding a staff with an orb at the end. (“EXPLO–“)
If the first season didn’t already make you diabetic, this season surely will.
please,please,please,please be the chap 31 is finale of season 2