Kotoura-san – 11

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Looking for a bright side, at least Kotoura-san will have a chance to go out on a better note than it would have if this were the final episode.

Kotoura-san - 11 -1I have an awful lot of affection for Kotoura-san so I’d rather not dwell too much on this episode, because it was definitely a slip-up.  Not a particularly surprising one, admittedly, as the biggest reasons were pretty much the same trip-wires that have been threatening the series since the beginning.  Simply put, this episode just wasn’t very good – it was predictable, relied way too much on coincidence, was generally rather silly and not in a good way, and indulged the highly irritating habit the show has for putting characters on the Shinkansen ticket to redemption no matter what it is they’ve done.

Kotoura-san - 11 -2I don’t think too much that happened here was a surprise in terms of plot.  Tsukino-san being the attacker was pretty much a given, and I was probably the last person in the audience dim enough not to have picked up on the possibility of multiple personality disorder being the reason Haruka-chan never picked up on it.  I’m OK with predictability to that extent, really, but I have some pretty big issues with the way the whole plot was resolved.

Kotoura-san - 11 -4Let’s start with Haruka herself. This show has a funny way of approaching her, in that one the one hand it seems to acknowledge that her dogged insistence on blaming herself for all the ills of the universe is very silly.  Yet it never seems to outright say so, and it allows her to continue to do so in such a way as to suggest that it’s supposed to be endearing.  Well, it isn’t – at least not for me or for Manabe.  Does the series get this, or not?  I’m not sure.  When Kotoura-san was moaning to Mori about everything that happened was her fault, all I could think of was just how silly that sounded, and how much of a stretch it was even to suggest it.  Mori did call her out on it, but then everything moved on and that was the end of it.  Very strange indeed.

Kotoura-san - 11 -5As far as the mechanics of the plot go, I could get very irritated about stuff like just how Manabe arrived at Tsukino’s house at the perfect moment, or Haruka’s phone falling under a chair, or even just how the ESP Club managed to get Tsukino’s address and arrive before the cops did to begin with (or why Haruka chose to flee by going up the stairs – sheesh – though at least Tsukino herself pointed out how dumb that was).  But really, that’s all small potatoes and I don’t expect photo-realism from this sort of series.  But Tsukino’s storyline was not only anti-climactic, it exemplified the worst of the “forgive and forget” mentality that this series has defaulted to far too often.  I’m not saying Tsukino-san couldn’t have had a real disorder and felt real remorse, but you can’t ram through a character arc that quickly and that simplistically and expect my buy-in for a sympathetic ending for the person who’s been sending little girls (and one little danshi koukousei) to the hospital.  They’re the victims here, not Tsukino – just as Manabe was the victim in the Mori incident (and I wasn’t too thrilled to see her continue to physically abuse him and have him apologize to her, either).

Kotoura-san - 11 -6It strikes me that the problem with Kotoura-san may simply be that the type of series it is – a 4-koma manga adaptation that relies heavily on comedy – makes it ill-suited to try and handle these heavily dramatic storylines in a cogent and believable way.  I loved the premiere, and it was as dramatic as it gets – and I certainly enjoy genre-bending series as a general rule.  But what we see with this one is short-cuts and cop-outs and coincidences, and those are the signs of a series that’s over-reaching.  It could also be a matter of trying to do too much with one cour, which is certainly a problem that has plagued many good shows that have come before.  I like this show a lot and I have real respect for its ability to juxtapose the very contrary elements that make it what it is, but this last arc has really exposed its vulnerabilities.  I hope we end on an episode that contrasts by giving the series the chance to display its not inconsiderable strengths.

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  1. l

    These last two eps were rather bad. This one in particular was downright terrible, but I have to admit I LOL'd when the tall chick said "to relieve stress". It was so stupid you just had to laugh.

  2. S

    I don't know. stress relief is pretty believable(look at e.g. Dexter). Manabekun getting there without knowing the address nor that they were on the roof is what really was stupid. Pretty much pissing in the audience faces, and telling us to like it right there.

    So they sacrificed a lot of the story for these two super-rushed episodes, I hope the next episode will tell us why and if it was worth it.

  3. R

    "and indulged the highly irritating habit the show has for putting characters on the Shinkansen ticket to redemption no matter what it is they've done."

    Unlike you, who seemingly believes that people should never be forgiven ever. :/ Honestly, get over what Moritani did ages ago already, she's been a sweet girl ever since.

  4. S

    Yeah, Enzo. Get over it. Manabekun saying that Moritanis mind was so filthy it made Kotoura puke was pretty mean and beneath him as a character.

  5. e

    Truthfully I've yet to watch the whole of the episode but…
    @Rosmar4Eva: I think you're beeing a bit unfair here… especially given how in context the sentence you quoted comes immediately before the mentions the MPD cop's actions and Mori is mentioned much later in relation to 'let's have Manabe beaten weekly for oh-so-funny-not gag purposes' . On the latter issue in general I can't say I don't share the blogger's sentiment frankly. That thing got old since it first happened and it doesn't cast a good light on Mori even in case one is prone to gloss over her earlier awful scheming of bullying&beat-up by proxy. But again at least in my case it's more a case of blaming the script/original source for making her character a disservice for everything post-supposed-repentance rather than going into character bashing.
    But really, the quote itself doesn't mention Mori at all. There are other – if not better – candidates on the horizon if we really have to make names … namely Kotoura's mother. There are a few lines and wounds that simply can't be uncrossed and forgiven&forgotten so easily imho.
    Talking by experience there are people and bonds that are toxic and better be severed after all… not that I'm holding my breath for any satysfying resolution on that front, if anything because it would feel horribly rushed and would take precious screentime away from better things :p. Anyway, I'm ready for anything next week.

    EDIT: The MPD was my first suspicion after Kotoura hadn't picked up the lady's thoughts outside school. It struck me as odd while watching that scene. From this angle at least the reveal this week made sense :,D.

    @Stot: I'm evil. Just reading your sentence made me cheer a bit. I think being beaten to a pulp regardless of being guilty can awake one's mean bone at last :PPP.

  6. If that's the best straw man you can come up with it really isn't even worth responding to.

  7. R

    Well, can you think of any anime characters you have forgiven and come around to liking? You basically think of Mifune, Moritani, and Kotoura's mother as complete trash and have from the beginning. I don't mean to strawman, but it does seem like you rarely erase characters from your shit list.

  8. My issue is the speed at which these redemptions happened. It's silly and demeaning to the audience. Once that precedent is established it's hard to get any buy-in on the larger merits of the characters themselves.

    I don't have time to even begin to list the characters who've had believable and convincing redemption arcs in anime that have won me over, starting with something as recent and obvious as Taichi from Chihayafuru or Haru from Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun. We'd be here for hours.

  9. K

    I believe that the reason that Manabe was able to get to the roof in time to save Kotoura was that under extreme duress she was able to transmit a mental message to Manabe about her situation. I always figured that she was going to learn to send as well as receive mental images by the end of the series.

  10. J

    That doesn't keep it from being a total and predictable cop-out.

  11. T

    I like this show, I really do and when I heard some word on the web I was going into it hoping I could defend it but…. I just can't. The only plus's about this episode imho was that we got the whole "mori's confession" deal out of the way, that we just might possibly be done with Mifune's revenge over her mom ordeal and that this arc was so short.

    oh well, here's to the next episode simply being a fun episode.

  12. S

    This show mades me want to cry. In a bad way.

    It started off with so much potential, but the director and series composition clearly had no idea where they were going with this story.

    Full of plotholes and incredible coincidences, I would expect a story like this coming from an amateur writer that hasn't been proofread by an editor.

    I loved Kotoura-san so much (being the only drama show this season), and after being let down by the sloppiness of the execution of this episode and the lack of a proper exploration of the given plot threads, I am seriously tempted to drop this series on the second to last episode.

    Ultimately, it seems that people involved in the production were trying to tell us absolutely nothing with this story, as such, makes for terrible storytelling.

    And the last episode of PsychoPass was simply Gen giving up after he realized he had lost his direction and wrote himself into a corner.
    I really fear for the future of storytelling in anime.

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