91 Days – Episode 7: “A Poor Player”

All in the family…

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91 Days outdid itself this week, zeroing in on the Vanetti siblings in an episode packed to the rafters with layered characters, conflicts political and personal, and a tense, rapidfire chess match of scheming from the shadows. Most impressive of all? About half of it happens outside of the dialogue, through subtle (re)actions or off-screen entirely, leaving us with a snapshot of our cast that’s both dense and loaded with uncertainty.

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orange – Episode 7

Guess we’ll be putting out those birthday candles with a steady stream of tears, then…

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It’s Birthday Week on orange, and with it comes a mess of conflicting emotions, much like the holiday itself. We tend to think of birthdays as a celebration of life, marked with parties and packed with presents and frosted goodies, and they often can be. But there’s also an undercurrent of sadness and uncertainty to them, as they’re both a reminder of what’s passed and what might be waiting ahead. Life and death are as intertwined as the past and the future, and orange‘s birthday story line is painfully aware of that.

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Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju – Episode 7

Showa Genroku: A classic love story of boy-meets-rakugo.

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Having at last found his voice, Kikuhiko’s star rises swiftly, as his performances earn him accolades from audiences and masters alike. But one person’s success can sometimes be another person’s loss, and the rapid changes occurring this week are as much about unraveling personal connections as they are about tightening professional ones.

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Noragami Aragoto – Episode 7: “How to Worship a God”

Noragami makes it rain in more ways than one this week.

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It’s a quiet week by recent standards, one-part Bishamon epilogue and one-part (I assume) prologue for the next arc, with a little Delivery God mission tucked up in the center. The series gets to stretch its comedy muscles and remind us that it’s just as good at humor as it is at action and drama, but if you thought that meant they were going to let our feelings breathe after the emotional rollercoaster of the past few weeks, boy howdy, do you have another thing comin’.

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Snow White with the Red Hair – Episode 7: “Let Me Hear”

Facing your fears is hard. Facing your idols is darn near impossible.

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We pick up right where we left off both in terms of story and visuals, as Shirayuki pretty literally climbs a barrier to reach Zen, and the two renew their promise to stick by each other regardless of what others (even the crown prince himself) may think about it. I’m glad last week’s “cliffhanger” ending turned out to be a big tease, because anything less than direct communication would’ve seemed just plain out of character for these two.

Their relationship continues to be wonderfully comfortable, almost casual, filled with little gestures of physical affection and defined by their honesty with one another. Snow White‘s romance doesn’t have the high “squee” factor that a lot of shoujo do, but that just makes it feel all the more solid and real, a bedrock upon which both characters can plant their feet even when the world around them is fraught with tremors.

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GANGSTA. – Episode 7: “Birth”

It’s not just the lighting that’s dark and murky around here.

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I hope you watched this one with your blinds drawn, ’cause otherwise you may not have had the faintest clue what was going on half the time. Don’t get me wrong: GANGSTA has some very good reasons both thematically and practically to place its characters in lots of lightless rooms covered in long shadows with only the occasional faint ray of moonlight passing through barred windows, but man, was my tablet unhappy about it. In addition to those “work of fiction” and “subtitles” notes at the start of each episode, they really oughta add a “best viewed in a closet” notification, too.

Okay, lighthearted snarking over. Let’s get to the serious stuff.

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My Love Story!! – Episode 7: “My Strength”

Turns out the phrase “flat as an ironing board” isn’t hyperbole after all.

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My Love Story!! took a week to be a sports anime—er, kinda—as the high school judo clubs begs Takeo (on hands and knees!) to join for a month and help them defeat long-time rival Bianka High School in the 19th Annual Shuu-Bi Match. Takeo responds like Takeo—with an immediate and resounding “OKAY!”—but his resolve wavers when Suna points out this means he won’t be able to see Yamato very much for a while.

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