Well, folks, here we are almost at the halfway point of the Summer 2020 season. This just feels…weird. The middle of a season always seems to creep up on me, and it always feels as though it gets here so much faster than anyone would really expect it to. And as a teacher, it took me by surprise even more than usual, since I’m preparing to be back in the classroom in a handful of days. However, I am pleased to say that everything I’ve stuck with has yet to really disappoint me, even this deep into the season. This week, as with last week, I’m going to highlight a few series that I want to give some special attention to. Check ‘em out!
The God of High School
Ah, Jesus, uh, where to start with this episode? I think the most important thing to note about this episode of The God of High School is that we really start to feel the inklings of a larger story moving into place. The previous episodes have established some smaller story concepts and given a brief look into our core trio’s backstories, all of which is good information to have. However, this episode pulls a lot of things into focus – we get a clearer picture of the hooded organization, Nox, who is trying to do some shady things behind the scenes of the GoH tournament. We briefly see Jin’s grandfather fighting Nox, and after seeing his obscene power, Jin’s own strength makes more sense. Jin, Mira, and Daewi are all selected to move to the next round of the tournament, as it has been decided that there will be teams of three from each region competing. We’re introduced to a powerful group of six warriors (aptly called The Six) who are assembling in order to fight against Nox. One of The Six decides to take Jin on as his disciple to train him. And, on top of all of that, we have…major character deaths.
Like, damn, y’all.
While I personally disagree, a number of folks watching the show have taken issue with the show’s pacing in terms of the amount of action we get versus the story that’s being rolled out. Again, I think that the pacing has been perfect for the show, but if you have concerns over the show’s story, then this should satisfy any qualms you might have had with it. It’s great to see this show continue to heat up, and man, I’m just excited to tag along for the ride.
Have you ever seen someone’s heart break in slow motion? If you haven’t, you’re about to.
While this episode is, ostensibly, about Hachiman beginning his counter-prom idea, it’s really at its core about Yuigahama. Yui is one of the most interesting characters I have ever been able to witness in anime. She is, on the surface, a genuine, sweet, kind girl, and that’s also true of her on the inside. But she also is the kind of person that acts as a social chameleon in order to feel like she has a place to fit in. This has been one of her defining characteristics through the entire series, but her evolution over time has been so interesting to see how aware she is of that part of her, and how much she has really come to love the Service Club and her friends in it. More than anything else, as graduation is coming at them at a blinding speed, she is trying desperately to cling on to the things that she loves – the status quo of spending fun, full days with the Service Club, but also spending time with just Hachiman himself.
By getting to work with Hachiman on the counter-prom, she gets to spend that precious alone time with him, like she would love to have. However, she knows from the bottom of her heart that both things she loves – time with the Service Club and with Hachiman himself – must and will come to an end. It’s a beautiful, crushing episode, and with another six left until the story is concluded, I just don’t know what more could possibly happen, and how much more these kids are going to have to suffer before this is all over.
Hey though, I’m not trying to spotlight only heavy episodes here – Appare-Ranman! was a shitload of fun this week. We get to see the race really start in earnest, there’s some EXCELLENT “holy shit will my racecar beat the locomotive” shenanigans, Appare doing the whole brain math meme but for real, a good bit of additional development for a lot of our cast (both heroes and villains alike), and the introduction of some major roadblocks (figurative and literal) for the race ahead. If you haven’t been watching Appare-Ranman!, this is honestly a great time for you to jump in and give it a go. It’s honestly just a ton of fun and a breath of fresh air each week, and I can’t recommend it enough. You will not regret it.