91 Days – Episodes 10-11: “Proof of Good Faith” & “All For Nothing”

All aboard the pain train!

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We’re looking down the barrel of our final episode, and as expected of a show that keeps using lines from Shakespearen tragedies as its episode titles, everything is collapsing right on schedule. Since the vacation put me a week behind, you’re getting a double whammy of commentary this week, and fresh off an Episode 10 rewatch, too! Everything is terrible! Let’s talk about it.

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orange – Episode 11

Things fall apart.

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With the relay race over and the gang’s bond tighter than ever, it looks like we’re safe to slip back into relaxed slice-of-life bantering and gradual romances…for all of half an episode, anyway. orange picks up the pace this week to take us from our highest crest straight into our deepest trough. For the first time, it feels like changing the future may not be a given after all.

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Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju – Episode 11

You know, if we stop watching now, we can pretend they lived happily ever after…

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My goodness, was that a delightful episode. While Showa Genroku makes for a fascinating character study, it’s not what you’d call a “feel-good” series–our protagonist’s dour outlook, our cast’s ongoing struggles, and our knowledge of the eventual conclusion weigh too heavily on the story, infusing it with a quiet sorrow even in its brighter moments. This week, though, for perhaps the first time since the premiere (or at least since Kikuhiko’s first triumphant performance), we had an episode that was positively resplendent with joy. My grin was nearly as wide as Konatsu’s.

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Noragami Aragoto – Episode 11: “Revival”

A God of Fortune always pays her debts.

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I spent a lot of the Bishamon Arc praising Noragami for its tightly woven, character-driven narrative, where every scene fed into the next and every plot point developed naturally out of individuals acting in ways true to their (limited) perspectives and experiences. This—I guess we’ll call it the Ebisu Arc—hasn’t been as strong structurally: There are gaps in the cause-effect between one event and the next, unexplained motivations, and sometimes people behave in ways that seem designed solely to move the plot or another character’s development forward rather than out of an organic extension of their own personality, desires, or what have you.

The hodgepodge plotting has been mitigated and at times hidden entirely thanks to great production values, strong emotional beats, a good sense of comedic timing, and some fascinating character details (particularly where Yato is concerned), but it really comes to the forefront during the first half of this episode, which I can only describe as a nonsensical way to mark time before the finale.

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GANGSTA. – Episode 11: “Absence”

That’s about as apt as an episode title can get.

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A whole lot of characters see screen time this week, but this one’s defined more by who isn’t present than who is. Alex spends most of her time in a fugue state off camera, her brother Emilio is heard but not seen, Erica’s the topic of much discussion but never shows her face, and of course the Handymen themselves are absent altogether, and barely even mentioned by the other players.

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Snow White with the Red Hair – Episode 11: “Experiencing…”

Okay, Snow White, now you’re just making the other shows look bad.

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Do I really need to say anything about that one? You watched it. You saw. You know the art was gorgeous and the staging elegant and the music sublime and the characters so wonderful that my notes are like 75% caps lock, underlines, and little heart drawings. I literally wrote “I can’t even” in large block letters at one point. Trying to parse it out and describe it almost feels like I’m cheapening the experience.

But not writing about it means I can’t share this experience with you, and I want to do that. Oh, very much. So hit the jump for some screenshots, gushing, and analysis. But mostly the first two.

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