I’ve always enjoyed the idea behind a childhood friendship that turns into something more. I’ve felt I could relate to the idea of being friends but then feeling the boundaries and limits of that relationship lengthen into something else. It’s scary, too, which I think is part of the fun of reading them. There’s a fear that something changing may cause that something to break or be hurt, or the people involved equally hurt. It can be annoying when two characters play this constant pull back and forth and the reader is basically screaming at them to just finally make that last step. However, even when I’m pulling my hair out, I still feel a sense of empathy for that fear.
She is the Rokurokubi is definitely one of those stories. Set in a world where Youkai live in an unfortunate “separate but equal” place from humans, a human boy, Itsuki, and a Youkai girl, Natsuki, have been friends since childhood and go to school together on the Youkai side. A Rokurokubi is a type of Youkai that can stretch its neck indefinitely. And while that could make the boy and girl very different from each other, they couldn’t possibly be closer. Both of them love a lot of the same things, they hang out and do the same things, and constantly fight with each other like siblings. However, both of them are starting to realize their feelings are changing. As the series goes on, Natsuki’s friends try to help, but inevitably, it’s Natsuki and Itsuki who have to take that final step.
In just a few weeks, Sea of Thieves releases, a zany and fun pirate game filled with magic, mystery, and majestic ocean views. The world of Sea of Thieves is a dangerous place with no safe zones for players (full pvp) and tons of incentives to attack other crews with your best buds. Excitement and action abound! However, one of my favorite things about this game that has me so excited outside of the amazing ship battles, interesting treasure riddles to solve, beautiful rendering of the ocean waves, and amazing weather simulations… are the musical instruments.
From the start, each player is given in their inventory an accordion and an odd stringed instrument called a hurdy gurdy. Rare, the developer, is no stranger to fun within games and these instruments are very cleverly implemented. If someone starts to play a song, anyone can join in, with the game syncing up the playing so that it sounds like anyone else just jumped into the tune, automatically assigning melody, harmony, and bass parts to other players. Because of this, there’s this sensation of unity and fun as a crew performs together using items that would otherwise be a simple addition to the game and wouldn’t really have another purpose.
But it’s the fact the game designers put music that the players can play together into the game that I find so fascinating and important. In a world filled with cannonballs and cutlasses, Rare dropped an element into the game that has no aggressive action to it (besides maybe playing Flight of the Valkyries as people charge into battle). In fact, as the saying of soothing a savage beast would indicate, this element of gameplay is really an antithesis of what most games are about.
I wasn’t really sure what to expect from a show that basically has the synopsis of “girls join a tank club and fight with tanks”, especially since I heard some rather good remarks concerning the recent film that the series had gotten, but I ended up being pleasantly surprised with the series as a whole. While I still don’t think that it’s the best of its kind and other anime, such as High School Fleet have expanded on this sort of “genre” (if you want to call it that) in a much better way, it’s always good to see the roots from what those newer, better shows were built off of, something I addressed in my previous 12 Days of Anime article.
Here we are entering episode four of this journey into cute spies doing devious things and I cannot overstate how solid the quality of this show has been through and through. The team behind this seem to know exactly what they’re doing and the purposeful telling of this story out of order has us guessing at every turn what side the individuals in our main cast are on. I’m so excited to see where this goes and after being burned last season, I am hoping against hope that the crew at Studio 3Hz keep this up. It just seems too good to be true. …Almost as if we’re being lied to- I’m sorry for the crappy joke.
While the last two episodes actually had case numbers that followed each other, we’re back to jumping around again, going from Case 2 over to Case 9 now, a few cases before the first episode’s Case 13. While the jumping around has made me sad because we had such great origin stories for a few characters and the team as a whole, this episode actually touched on similar ideas a little on its own by putting a bit more focus on two characters we know little about: Dorothy and Chise.
The latter being this dork on the right.