“Always be yourself, express yourself, have faith in yourself, do not go out and look for a successful personality and duplicate it.” —Bruce Lee
After their washing machine breaks down, Cocoa decides to wash everyone’s clothes by hand. Later, the girls have curry together at Sharo’s house, where, curious about Cocoa’s suggestion to lighten up, decides to act a little looser around her friends. With Mocha back home now, Cocoa’s presence is re-established within GochiUsa, to the extent where it was as though Mocha’s impact was “easy come, easy go”. With this being said, there are some subtle differences in Cocoa before and after Mocha’s visit; if it were not obvious before, Cocoa is more competent at her tasks, even though she is still prone to distraction at times. Consequently, it would appear that Mocha’s purpose in GochiUsa is to accentuate the character growth that Cocoa’s had ever since the beginning of season one: recall that she was quite carefree and air-headed when arriving at Rabbit House, but over the course of the past year, living with Chino and Rize has allowed her to mature. Though she’s still as easy-going as she was earlier, when the moment calls for it, Cocoa can be quite capable of getting things done for her friends. This sort of development is most welcome, demonstrating that generic characters with Cocoa’s tendencies (similar to K-On!’s Yui Hirasawa) can still grow in subtle ways, being much more than a static character for the shows they feature in.
Cocoa makes a return in this episode’s first half, but the second half easily belongs to Chino, where a different side to her character is illustrated. Having worked at Rabbit House since she was small, Chino says to Cocoa that most of her interactions with others were customers, leading her to speak in a more polite, formal manner than her friends. However, when she is able to relax, Chino takes an interest in the mundane, smiling when the air fills with soap bubbles while everyone is manually washing their clothes. Later, at Sharo’s house, Chino’s actions surprise most everyone: from the audience’s perspective, it was quite unusual (but again, not unwelcome) to see Chino behaving contrary to her usual self. This is the sort of advantage that a second season typically affords an anime: because audiences have existing expectations on how a character is likely to behave, it can be quite fun to see characters behaving in what might otherwise be considered as unexpected. In GochiUsa, this Chino is overwhelmingly adorable, and leads audiences to view the marked differences in personalities. This is effective mainly because it is true-to-life: people are multifaceted, and much more complex than they initially appear. Being able to capture this in fiction demonstrates the author’s commitment to their work, something that is definitely commendable.
Screenshots and Commentary
- There’s been a lot of excitement about on the ‘net (especially Twitter) in the past 24 hours, given that Girls und Panzer Der Film just premièred in Japanese theatres. This is a film that’s been anticipated since it was announced and saw several delays; insofar, I’ve got no intel in when it’s actually going to be available as a home release. With that being said, I definitely plan on doing a post equal to the Gundam Unicorn finale in scale and scope once said home release does come out: I imagine that 75 images and a comprehensive discussion will be sufficient to articulate whether or not the film is a satisfactory instalment to Girls und Panzer as a whole.
- I understand that readers are scouring this blog for any information concerning Girls und Panzer Der Film, but at present, any discussion on that will have to wait: I’m not omniscient, and my resourcefulness has its limits. That is to say, I’ll write about the movie properly once the home releases come out, and for now, return to GochiUsa (I wonder how many will have forgotten about GochiUsa in Girls und Panzer Der Film‘s wake). This episode marks a return to a calmer, slower pacing that the series is known for. Here, Chino is smiling in amazement as Cocoa’s efforts to hand-wash a large pile of laundry produces a large quantity of bubbles.
- Ever-hapless whenever Cocoa and Chiya begin thinking on the same frequency, Sharo expresses frustrations when both agree to take one another on in a bubble-blowing contest, as they’ve begun deviating from their original objectives: Sharo is a practical and pragmatic character owing to her background, and instructs Cocoa on how to properly hand-wash clothing without damaging them.
- Owing to their weight when wet, clothes can be quite difficult to wash by hand; this episode makes me immediately appreciate my washing machine by a few orders of magnitude. While washing machines are quite powerful, haphazardly loading a washing machine can cause it to jam. The best way to prevent this is to load the clothes in such that they’re oriented with the basket; when the spin cycle begins, nothing gets caught as easily to reduce the chance of a jam.
- Scenes such as when the girls are washing some curtains with their feet, feel incredibly peaceful; this is the first time we’ve seen the backyard behind Rabbit House. It appears quite similar to the state of my backyard, since it’s quite devoid of backyard furniture and lacks healthy-looking grass. In Colmar, a quick look at the maps suggest that such backyards are uncommon, as most of the spaces behind buildings are occupied by other buildings. The odd backyard here and there usually is occupied by trees.
- Chiya rigs one of the drinks to be a vegetable juice rather than a tea from Ama Usa An, to the other girls’ horror. I noted in the previous episode’s post that such a stunt is somewhat mean-spirited, and from Rize’s remarks, it’s unlikely that Chiya is doing this intentionally out of malice, instead, seeing it as a game of sorts. Assuming this to be the case, Chiya could easily be one of the more intimidating characters in GochiUsa.
- Such juices aren’t intrinsically dangerous if they’re made from leafy vegetables, but their taste apparently leaves something to be desired, as Chiya finds out when her plan backfires. Apparently, vegetable juice is quite trendy and alleged to have “detox” properties, hence its popularity. Some studies have found that while vegetable juice can lower cholesterol and have some anti-oxidising properties, it’s not a miracle drink; it’s definitely not a substitute for exercise and good diet.
- Sharo comments that her laundry is secured too well to be blown away by a strong wind, but back at Sharo’s house, undergarments presumably belonging to Sharo lands on Aoyama’s head. GochiUsa looks to be an adorable and fluffy show that might be equivalent to something like Little Bear, but the occasional inclusion of more mature jokes is a reminder that GochiUsa is intended for more mature audiences.
- Chino recalls the uniforms that her mother had made in anticipation of her new friends. Their colour schemes appear to have foreshadowed the colours each of the characters sports: Chiya is associated with green, Cocoa with red, Chino with blue, Rize’s purple and Sharo’s yellow. It appears that the green and yellow variants were never finished, but it would be quite nice to see all of them in a later episode: these Rabbit House uniforms are quite nice. Later, Cocoa pulls an all-nighter to create Rabbit House Uniforms in the style that Chiya and Sharo have discussed, yielding some amusing results and reactions.
- As evening falls, Cocoa and Chino run into Chiya and Sharo: the former’s plans to have saury are placed on hold in favour of curry, and by a strange twist of fate, some relatives dropped by today with some siu laap (燒臘); our original plans to have Portuguese roast chicken will be moved to tomorrow evening.
- While Chino’s resemblance to Non Non Biyori‘s Renge been mentioned previously, nowhere else is it as apparent as this moment, when Chino attempts to speak in a more casual manner. It turns out that Chino’s mannerisms arise from her interactions with more customers, as opposed to peers, accounting for her polite tone.
- Since last week, the C++ model of Michaelis-Menten kinetics in carbonic anhydrase II C is now done, and preliminary tests show that it yields roughly the same results as seen in the literature (I just need to find a more suitable KA value for consistency’s sake), meaning I’ve got a bit of free time to write now. With that being said, I was out this morning at a local meat shoppe, where they had samples of their in-house ballpark sausage, tomato-provolone rolls and pork pies. We were offered discounts on some products, and my appreciation of sales brings to mind Sharo’s own propensities.
- Chino adds honey to the curry, and Rize later adds a bit of dark chocolate. The results are apparently quite good, with everyone finding the curry delicious. Owing to my shopping trip, this post was published a little later than usual: I did not begin drafting it until after a lunch of turkey pie and garlic bread with a glass of ginger ale. The time afforded by lunch allowed me to consider this episode’s contribution to GochiUsa, and I’ve learnt that, episodic posts are more challenging than my usual format, given that I must consider each episode’s contributions. However, they’ve also proven to be quite fun to write.
- I love it when moé characters rest their heads on tables. Rize bought some chocolates to share, and apparently, some of them are filled with a bit of alcohol, causing Cocoa and Chino to a become little insane in the mainframe. I’m reminded of the box of chocolates one of my fellow graduate students brought in on Tuesday, when we were set to give a lab tour to prospective summer students. Earlier that evening, we sat down together with our supervisor and post-doc for dinner (I went with a delicious Buffalo burger with blue cheese, Frank’s hot sauce and smoked bacon).
- The lab tour exemplifies my hectic schedule as a graduate student, accounting for why posts have not been coming out with any sort of frequency this month. On the plus side, I was able to swing by the bookstore and pick up the eighth volume of The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki manga on Tuesday, as well. Returning to GochiUsa, Chino reappears here, conveying the air of Cocoa’s vision of an ideal imouto. It’s surprisingly effective, and I was most impressed that Inori Minase was able to capture a hitherto unseen side Chino so well.
- Cocoa and Chiya melt at the sight of this new Chino, although whether or not Chino’s actions are deliberate or an actual consequence of the alcohol in the chocolates remains speculation. Last week, someone was complaining about censorship on account of Mocha drinking milk rather than alcohol while crying her eyes out about Cocoa. That alcoholic chocolates are featured would blow away any misconceptions about censorship quite quickly.
- Because I’ve already featured images of Rize blushing furiously before, I figured I’d include some of Chino, too. Chino denies that she was under any sort of influence and had been merely trolling the others. Liquor-filled chocolates usually contain so little alcohol that one would need to eat a few boxes to create the same buzz as would be achieved by drinking a few shots; given the evidence, I believe Chino’s claim, which also holds the implications that Chino can act adorable if she chooses to.
- Both Chino and Cocoa have aversions with eating their vegetables, sufficiently so for Chino to call Cocoa onee-san in defiance of Rize’s complaints. Apparently, there are evolutionary factors at play here: some individuals have a gene that causes some vegetables to taste quite strongly and therefore unpleasant, and in general, most animals have evolved to interpret bitterness as a sign of toxicity to avoid ingesting certain plants.
- The question of where all of the chocolates went is quickly answered, and Sharo flies in the air at Rize et al, wanting them to stay for a little longer. I’ve been keeping an ear on the background music in GochiUsa, and I heard a piano version of It’s Kilimanjaro playing in the episode. I’m looking forwards to the soundtrack for season two, as it features some new pieces for the atmosphere around Rabbit House, and I’m hoping it doesn’t come out six months after the finale’s aired.
We’re now definitively over the halfway point, and the scenery around Rabbit House is evocative of the early summer. I presently hedge my bets on at most one or two more episodes set during the summer, before the earth’s orbit and tilt leads to a gradual return to autumn and winter. During this time, the girls will probably have a chance to enjoy a summer day before getting ready to return to classes come autumn and acclimatise to life as second year students. In the manga, the girls spend some time together shopping for back-to-school supplies before classes start, and Chiya winds up in a different class than Cocoa, leading her to become quite lonely. Insofar, GochiUsa has consistently delivered excellent episodes: even in Mocha’s absence, things are as lively around Rabbit House as they’ve ever been, and it’ll be fun to see what everyday experiences await Chino, Cocoa, Rize, Sharo and Chiya as the chill creeps back into the air.