Watashi ga Motete Dousunda – 10
I don’t think there’s any question that Mutsumi-sempai is the sleeper contender in Watashi ga Motete Dousunda – the tortoise in this race. While the other slow starter Shinomiya, never really felt like a threat, Mutsumi always came off as a lurking factor. It was really just a question of his rousing himself from his passive persona and entering the ring.
I think the other guys (and Shina) were wondering the same thing I was – is this really who Mutsumi is? Could anybody really be that nice? Maybe he is, but there’s probably a certain amount of denial that went into his whole “I like everyone!” routine. The catalyst to rouse the sleeping giant is his older brother Kazuma (Nakamura Yuuichi). He’s introduced to the story through a bogus treasure map he drew as a prank when he was in the History Club three years earlier – which his brother found and led everyone on a wild goose chase to Mt. Fuji because of. But Kazuma becomes a real factor when he shows up at the school as a teacher in training.
Like his brother, there’s some question as to whether the facade we see is the real person – though in Kazuma’s case, it’s whether he’s really as sneaky and predatory as he seems. Nii-san might be playing the threat in order to motivate his little brother to be proactive in going after Kae (if he is, it’s working). Or he might really be interested, in which case Asuma-kun asks exactly the right question: “Do you really think it’s all right for a teacher to put the moves on a student?”
I like the change in dynamic Kazuma brings to the story – not least because things are more interesting if Asuma is actually an active participant himself. But if the elder brother turns out to be a serious competitor in this contest, I sincerely hope Watamodou smacks that down as the seriously icky development that it is.
Drifters – 10
Drifters continues to be the most confounding series of the season for me. At times it’s eerily smart in the way it dissects historical events, at others shockingly idiotic and even reprehensible. It’s almost as if the whole “St. Germin” subplot has been inserted to remind us that the prejudice-free world Kubo envisioned for Yuri on Ice certainly doesn’t exist in anime yet.
One thing I can say for sure is that whenever Oda speaks, Drifters becomes impossible to look away from. His explanation to the Dwarves of why muskets are superior to bows and arrows was positively chilling, especially when he thought to himself that the real power of the weapon is that it puts a layer of remove between the killer and the feelings of guilt for doing the killing. He’s right of course – and that’s why both the historical and this fictional Oda are such fascinating characters. They exist on the line between great leadership and sociopathy, forever seeming to waver between one and the other.
The really scary part about all this is that one imagines Hirano, the mangaka, getting turned on as he writes Oda’s dialogue here. Or nodding his head silently as St. Germin extols the virtues of Adolf Hitler’s leadership style. There’s been a sense of something ugly about Drifters right from the beginning, but it’s a kind of compelling ugliness that’s hard to look away from (and the author wants us to force us to stare into that ugliness, clearly). And given the seeming likelihood that the Black King is in fact Jesus, who in the world knows where Drifters will go from here? I could see it degenerating into a full-on rant against multiculturalism and racial diversity, though I think it’s more likely to continue to be a story rooted in amorality and savagery where the only law that matters is survival of the fittest.