Whoo, boy. This one’s gonna be a doozy.
If nothing else, I will say SukaSuka has been a ride, though not for all the right reasons. First and foremost, let me state that this show continues to impress me because when it hits, it hits solidly. I revel in the genuine and beautiful moments that this show has to offer and I love when this anime goes out of its way to cleverly layer exposition in very natural conversation. For what faults we’ve seen up to now, this show has just as many great ideas and scenes. However, the issue is that this show is not just its high moments, and that becomes the unexpected downfall that I’ve found while watching this episode.
Like Tofu said previously, I had hopes that past halfway, this show would start to pick up and really push hard on those good points it wants to us to remember. To an extent, it definitely does. We come out of the gate swinging in this episode with very interesting threads and plot points. We first see Chtholly start to suffer from unexpected memory loss as her condition begins worsening, something that appears to be the first of many terrible symptoms to come outside of a few bad day dreams and some red hair. With this, we find ourselves on a time limit for this show. While the clock had always seemed present, especially since this story is told as a flashback from the first scene, we finally seem to be hitting around ten or eleven to midnight on this doomsday clock. This becomes more obvious as we see the ship that was attacked in the first episode rear its head as we’re told that in fifteen days, our main characters will be on it.
Luckily for our main cast, a new dug weapon is found, which may help save Chtholly, and just as coincidentally, it’s found in the ruins of Willem’s home town. It seems a little too convenient, but these threads will at least hopefully lead us to some interesting plot points later down the road. With the emergence of a possible cure, our cast has a hope of helping Chtholly where once there was nothing. We have a goal and a time limit. It’ll be interesting to see how this comes down, then.
However, before we get to that, Willem walks with Chtholly through the streets, a tinge of worry touching the scene as Chtholly had forgotten their first meeting, indicating her condition. They shop and having another fun time around town as our two characters get time alone with each other, a callback to the city scene in the first episode, which is made more apparent with an upbeat and cutesy version of the beautiful song from that previous scene.Each of these moments so far in this episode show what I’ve liked about this anime. The show loves to build to future endeavors and starts laying interesting groundwork early. We now see Willem forced to the surface to deal with his past as well as work towards both his and Chtholly’s future. We see even greater foreshadowing to the climactic battle to come. However, the anime never stops giving us these sweet and endearing scenes of our characters living their lives in this fantastic world. On top of this, the exposition comes off naturally when Chtholly and Willem stop for a break on a bench, showing a clever use of dialogue that I appreciate.
And let’s not forget that wonderful scene where Chtholly calls Willem out for thinking she’s weaker and demands that she go with him to the surface, even stepping over him to make sure it happens. It was a powerful scene considering it’s the first time she’s ever said no to him, a turning point in her own ability to take charge in her life, followed up by putting the screws on Willem to further their relationship with her very obvious want to be called his lover or wife.
All of those moments make this first half one of the stronger ones in the series. The basis for all the plot points of future episodes has begun and we even get endearing and sweet moments along with way, all while making us worry for the future as Chtholly has begun to lose herself. This is what this show is supposed to be and it hits all the bases before wrapping up with a pretty sunset as our two main characters make their way home.
So color me surprised when in a matter minutes, it all comes crashing down.First off, this is not the first time I’ve felt uncomfortable about a scene that involves Ren and Willem. Ren very clearly wants to be treated like a child (like episode five, where in a very serious meeting, she sits on his lap the entire time), but given her actual age, especially in comparison to Willem, it just strikes me as not okay. Increase this by a factor when we have a “joke” that Ren has been sleeping on top of Willem. The show does it’s best to play it off with the typical light novel card of “we acknowledged it, so that means it’s okay, right?” before adding an even further creep factor on by Ren fully admitting she is okay being treated like a pet, rather than a child or even a human being, though, that term is a bit of a misnomer here.
If it was just that, we wouldn’t be any different from other episodes of this show (as much as it pains me to say). Accidentally falling into light novel tropes seems to be an unfortunate fate of this anime. In fact, we even follow this up with a moment of Willem admitting he has feelings for Chtholly, but for no explainable reason, says he can’t act upon them. This makes no sense given that there’s technically only a two-year gap in age. Both people like each other, Chtholly has admitted several times to his face that she loves him, and they’re already dealing with a time limit, so best to at least be honest. However, he can’t because… reasons I’m sure are very important to him, but are never communicated to us.And once again, if it were just that, I could wrap up this post feeling a bit disappointed, but overall still enjoy the better moments of the episode. However, this is then followed up by the most asinine five minutes of this show to date.
A love misunderstanding.
We begin with the “angry girl who has feelings for protagonist going rightfully off on him”. Then, we follow this up with the real clincher that grinds the show to a halt: Willem turns her down. She asks the hypothetical if she were to sleep with him instead of Ren, what would he do? He answers that he would push her away. This begins the next several minutes of our protagonist confused as to why some girl is upset with him now.
We’re not dealing with a dumb protagonist. Time and again, Willem has shown that he’s intelligent, to the point of pulling some bullshit fingers guns not a few episodes ago. He is clearly supposed to be smart and exercises this around his grand wizard friend, as well as to show up Chtholly in her fighting. And yet, he suddenly becomes confused as to why something he said upset the girl who loves him.
So what does he do? He decides to ask Nygglatho. She explains it’s because Chtholly loves him, an already known fact. His response?
I’m sorry, Willem, you didn’t know that she loved you? You mean to say, the multiple times this girl has flatly said she loves you just… never happened? Or is it that you just don’t believe it could ever work out? This man has worse amnesia than what Chtholly is suffering from. The amount of times that both of these characters have clearly shown their emotions to each other apparently just… didn’t matter. He even plays it off, pulling his typical card of “I’m an adult and too old.”
This scene left me incredulous. This is just stupid writing. Owningmatt mentioned this before in his article. The main character constantly changes personality and intelligence. He’ll be a wise father figure, then he’ll be an ass who thinks he’s better than other people. He’ll be lovey-dovey with Chtholly, then he’ll reject her and stupidly not know why something is occurring.
To me, this is just poor writing.
It seems like the writer isn’t sure who their main character should be, or they’re just not sure where the main character will go, so they fall back on the overused and idiotic tropes that are seen in all light novels, and we’ve finally reached the bottom of the barrel when we start writing the smart protagonist as the thick-headed one.
Why? This anime has so much going for it, so why fall back on trite methods? The writer clearly knows how to tell compelling stories and has shown earlier in the episode that they can do great interactions and compelling dialogue. So why make an entire scene about how the protagonist doesn’t get women, especially immediately following a scene in which he directly comments that he understands this particular woman and also has feelings for her? It’s idiotic.
Every time that I think this show will get better, it does. It honestly shows just how compelling it can be. But then it destroys that progress in the very same episode. At times, it feels like they have two different directors working on the each episode, constantly failing to mesh with each other. The first half was one of my favorite episodes so far. However, this second half has quickly dashed that to the side. Nothing is happening in the plot or character development because we’ve stopped everything to have this subplot where the main character forgets literally every scene he’s been with Chtholly and how she’s confessed to him. And there are several confessions in this show. And since he’s apparently too stupid to remember this, the show grinds to a halt just to help him do so. Meanwhile, no meaningful character interaction happens, no progress is made on the world or the plot, and we get zero new information.That’s the hardest part about this. What started as incredible suddenly turned unoriginal and filler, which unfortunately ruined the following scenes of falling stars, hand holding, and dramatic cliffhangers for the next episode. Every step forward feels like such a sublime breath of wonderful fantasy in a beautiful world filled with interesting characters, endearing romance, and dramatic plot elements. However, every step back feels like someone punches that breath right back out of me, leaving me clutching my stomach, gasping for more air.