Shangri-La Frontier – 13 [Only Resentments About the End of Life Remain]
We got a lore dump episode! Getting some hints as to the creation of the origins of the Seven Colossi, like calling Lycagon “Sooty” implying it was not only someone’s pet but that Setsuna was aware of it’s existence thousands of years ago, as well as some prep for the Wethermon fight. Speaking of Setsuna, we meet Setsuna of Bygone Days, an NPC required for summoning Wethermon and apparently a ghost from a previous civilization. There’s a lot of little hints here about more Shangri-La lore, but what I liked the most was Pencil opening up a bit and getting involved in the game. I really liked how the PKing madwoman has a soft spot for something like this, is still able to get emotionally invested in a game and take it seriously. It’s nice that Shangri-La isn’t forgetting that while this is a game, it’s a piece of media first and foremost, something people can get invested in and can mean special things to the right person. I liked that. I also really liked Sunraku and Katsu’s argument. Hell the relationship between all three of them is just great. They really feel like a group of gamers taking the piss out of each other but still able to be serious and emotionally available for each other when it matters. I guess the best way to say it is that Shangri-La went all in on the emotions this week, and it really worked for me. Plus we got to see Sunraku’s family, which was cool. I swear to god I thought they were all dead or something.
Undead Unluck – 13 [Tatiana]
I’m split on this weeks episode of Undead Unluck. Production wise, it was a miss. Lots of flashbacks, lots of reused scenes, lots of stills frames. Even the engaging direction Undead Unluck is known for at this point could only cover up so much. It was definitely one of the least visually interesting episodes the show has had yet. As for what actually happened? Most of it was tragic Tatiana backstory. We already know that being a Negator means a shit life, that something terrible happened to you. So while the details were novel, Untouchable expanding out and destroying her home/family, the broad strokes weren’t terribly surprising. Still, I did really like how Undead Unluck handled Fuko and Billy. With Fuko, she’s in a very similar boat to Tatiana in that neither of them can touch anyone because of their Negator ability. So when they shook hands, glove on machine, there was a mutual understanding and desire there to get closer that I think worked really well. As for Billy, I’m just happy to see him get some screen time. Being that dad figure, coming in with long cakes so Tatiana can eat solid food for the first time in years, complete with different flavors, reigniting that spark of life in her eyes. It was a really sweet. You have to remember, Tatiana is still a child, so this is all especially hard for her. I think it was these smaller character moments that carried the episode more than any of the action.
The Apothecary Diaries – 12 [The Eunuch and the Courtesan]
This was a pretty slow, slightly weak episode for Apothecary Diaries. We spend most of it on the fallout of the FengMing situation. How all those associated with her family and its businesses have to leave the Rear Palace, and how Mao Mao is included in that. Turns out I wasn’t too far off last week when I said Mao Mao had been kidnapped by Fengmings family. Turns out she had just been sold to them, or someone working with them, and thus has to leave the palace with everyone else. This leads her to having to work at the brothel to pay back some money, though not taking personal customers and such just yet. All that’s fine, slow but fine. The meat of the episode is her and Jinshi, their back and forth about getting her back in the palace, how he wants here there but doesn’t want to treat her like a tool because he really likes her, etc etc. The party scene was nice, I continue to love their back and forth, their dynamic is really good like that and the whole “indirect kiss” thing with the lipstick was great. My only issue with this part of the episode is that it feels like Jinshi is buying her out to get her back in the palace rather than Mao Mao actively choosing to be there. I suppose that’s what their conversation was about, and she expresses that she wants to be there herself, but she never outright says or commits to it prior to Jinshi buying out her loan. I don’t know, I feel like that bit could have been stronger, could have been a much more personal decision on Mao Mao’s end. Still, she’s going back to the Rear Palace, so we can expect more fun in the future. Hopefully after this buyout Jinshi can start to be a bit more upfront with his feelings and we can get some progress there, that would be nice.
SpyXFamily S2 – 12 [Part of the Family]
This was a pretty disappointing way to end the season, I’ll be honest. Anya at home doing some origami stuff, Loid taking Bond out for a walk and some training only to foil some crimes together. It was kinda funny I suppose, a few decent jokes from Bond and watching Loid come to appreciate/figure out what kind of dog Bond is was cute as well. For the most part though, it just doesn’t live up to the rest of the season. You could slap this episode into any part of the season, at any time, and it wouldn’t feel out of place. It doesn’t call back to the cruise ship nor Anya’s time at school. I honestly think SpyXFamily would have been better served taking this and the previous episode and airing them before the cruise arc, letting that be the finale of the season. It would feel a lot more final, and leave a much stronger impression heading into 2024. Still, overall the season was nice, and the cruise ship arc was fantastic. I got what I wanted from the season and that’s good enough for me.
Score: ~High 7 or Low 8/10. Good times, cruise arc was great.