Even though the Film Club has been inundated with requests from other clubs to produce promotional shorts, Kanamori explains how far below minimum wage their contract ended up being for the Robot Club. Their new plan, she declares, is to produce an OVA to sell at the nearby doujin convention happening in three months.
Later, Kanamori drags the crew out into the city to have lunch at a quirky little noodle joint, staffed by a fan that their short attracted at the culture festival. Throughout the trip, Asakusa explains some of the town’s idiosyncrasies to Tsubame, and the pair marvel at others together, to the point where the setting of their new short is decided to be Shibahama itself.
After relaying an anecdote about a formative experience with a family-owned store, Kanamori goes on to coordinate with the noodle proprietor to have the short funded by the local chamber of commerce. With a secure budget (even more crucial now that the student council is putting the kibosh on their side hustle), the trio and their sound engineer brainstorm for the anti-UFO directed energy weaponry to be developed for the project.
Kanamori is kind of scary. We seem to see the full extent of her plans from the perspective of her clubmates, and her only commentary when asked is “All I did was help the two of you brainstorm” before changing the subject. Those who remember our coverage of Promised Neverland know that this is not my favorite storytelling technique, and it does irk me a little that we’ll probably never know exactly what her thoughts on the matter were at the start.
At least we’ve finally gotten her Tragic Backstory, such as it is. The flashback is done in the same loosely-colored style of Asakusa’s and Mizusaki’s imagination sequences, and we also get a little bit of Kanamori herself providing sound effects. It’s a great way to round out her inclusion in the main cast.
Asakusa gets some good screen time in this episode as well, and my favorite parts are probably her bouncing around as she attempts to convey how stuff is supposed to sound. A close second is reading the notes in her sketchbook margins, which are always worth hitting pause:
I’m curious now how much of Shibahama is based on actual places, given that the theme of this episode in particular is the setting of an anime in a “real-world” location due to the unique way in which its features have evolved over time. Apparently it’s a snow town, even though west was confirmed to be towards the mountains a couple of episodes ago, and most of Japan’s snow falls on the western side of the country’s central mountain ranges due to regional air dynamics. This presumably puts us somewhere in eastern (or perhaps central) Tohoku, based on my cursory googling of annual snowfall maps, but anyone with better information is, as always, encouraged to set me straight.
Meta-commentary-wise, the season seems to be broken up into three equally-sized chunks based on the club’s projects (Prototype, Test, and Production, if I may), which means that the four of us are ending up with episodes at similar points in the process each time, but c’est la vie. Since this is likely to be my last entry, I did want to point out a couple of minor details that have been on my mind from the beginning: firstly, I think I’ve hit Honorific Bingo now that I’ve heard characters regularly address each other with the media-formal shi (ironically, I assume).
[Screenshot missing, because nobody subtitles this level of pedantry]
Second, from a young age, Asakusa is very often seen with a brown, x-mouthed rabbit, either in the form of official merch or as a motif that she draws on a lot of her stuff. This seems like an obvious nod to Miffy, a Dutch children’s character who was once involved in a copyright case with Sanrio over Hello Kitty in general and over their own rabbit character Cathy in particular. The case was dropped after the 2011 Tohoku earthquake/tsunami, with both sides donating money earmarked for legal fees to reconstruction efforts in the area. This might actually be another point in favor of Shibahama being in Tohoku, since the settlement likely generated some amount of good will – the town’s on a pretty big river, but doesn’t seem to be directly on the coast, and could be far enough inland that it didn’t suffer substantial damage from the disaster.
Anythewho, I remain curious as to how the UFOs are going to interact with Chekhov’s Kappa, and look forward to the girls navigating Not-Comiket.
Another solid entry, with entertaining explorations of the characters and the setting.