Growth, Beating It, and Despair – Summer 2020 Week 5 Check-In

I think we’ve lucked out in the seasonal anime department, y’all, because this is going to be another week where pretty much everything was rock-solid. While it would be fun as always to briefly highlight everything I watched, I think it would be more fun to switch things up a bit for this post, though, and focus on just a handful of shows that were really on point this week. So without further ado, let’s dig in!

The Millionaire Detective Balance: Unlimited

This week’s episode of Balance:Unlimited was a little different than the first three we’ve seen. There was no crazy car chase, no penthouse party raid, no train hostage situation standoff. Instead, our case to solve was…a kid’s missing dog? Normally, this would be no issue whatsoever, as Daisuke could just use his AI butler to find the dog in a matter of seconds. However, that’s not the focus of the episode. See, Haru called Daisuke to help him on their day off, and Daiskue was in the middle of having a small “running away from home briefly” episode, and as he did that, he forgot his butler earring, his phone, and, most importantly, his money. And with no money, Daisuke can’t operate the way he normally does.

What’s great about this episode is that we get to see both Haru and Daisuke peeled back a little bit. For instance, Daisuke solves the case without the use of his money or butler, showing that he is actually a capable person behind all of the riches and tech he has. We also get this great scene of Haru taking Daisuke home, and they eat, get drunk, and watch detective movies. It shows a lot of Haru’s dedication to pursuing his own justice in his line of work, but also gives us a view of Haru as a caring senior on the job, and that Daisuke may not be as much of a little shit as he appears to be. (He is definitely still a little shit, though.) All in all, it was an excellent episode, giving us a good bit of character development, and laying the groundwork for some potentially interesting growth in the future.

Rent-a-Girlfriend

I didn’t think that I could ever say this about a show I’ve watched, but man, Rent-a-Girlfriend proved me wrong: somehow, it managed to make a prolonged masturbation scene into a genuinely important plot point, complete with emotional growth. 

Yep.

In the middle of beating his meat to his ex-girlfriend Mami, who dumped him and then tried to manipulate him into dating her again, Kazuya suddenly can’t stop thinking about Chizuru, but all of the flashes are completely and utterly non-lewd, which stands in stark contrast to the bevy of horny images he conjures up about Mami. Again, it’s wild to say this, but that scene managed to actually be a genuinely interesting and powerful scene about Kazuya’s own emotional development. He’s actually starting to fall in love with Chizuru, and that can only make what’s ahead even more messy, especially considering that Chizuru may also be falling for him after he pulled her out of the ocean and saved her from drowning.

Couple all of that with their grandmothers covertly getting them a room together at a hot springs resort, and you have a serious molotov cocktail of an episode on your hands. It’s so good, and so messy, and such an absolute unending nightmare, and it has me so incredibly excited for the rest of the show’s season.

Deca-Dence

This episode is just brutal. With the unwinnable event in full swing, Gears are dying by the handful, and Tankers are on their way there, too. Natsume does her best to fend off the unkillable Gadoll, and while she’s definitely able to land some hits, she’s no match for it. Ultimately, it ends the only way it could – kaburagi, defying fate, swings in and absolutely stomps the event boss Gadoll, thus changing the event’s storyline. That in itself would be bad enough, as it’s clear that Kaburagi is not going to get off scot-free for doing that. However, it gets worse – killing that Gadoll triggered the spawning of yet ANOTHER boss Gadoll, and this one is larger than Deca-Dence itself. It is also, notably, unfinished – it still needed some additional development time before it was actually ready to be deployed. 

It’s an absolutely beautiful battle sequence, and it’s so unbelievably hype, and its defeat is incredibly satisfying…for a while, anyway. After all of the work the human soldiers put in, after being told that defeating these Gadoll, they would destroy the nest and Deca-Dence would be free of conflict, after putting everything that they had on the line for one last-ditch effort, as the fog clears, more Gadoll begin to come over the horizon. And after Natsume remembers Kaburagi saying that the fight would never end, and the reality of the situation begins to sink in for all of the humans still on the battlefield, the sense of despair is palpable. And to top it all off, Kaburagi disappears, and is decommissioned after saying that bugs are necessary in their world. Whether he is dead, or if his physical avatar is merely destroyed, things are not looking good. 

If you’ve been sleeping on Deca-Dence, I can’t recommend enough that you really give the show a shot.

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