The Infinite Zenith

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Tag Archives: Cocoa Hoto

An Early-Access Preview of Gochuumon wa Usagi desu ka?- Dear My Sister

“Home, more than anything, means warmth and bed.” —Vivienne Westwood

Announced a year and a half ago, Gochuumon wa Usagi desu ka? (GochiUsa for brevity) was to receive special episode taking the form of an OVA, titled Dear My Sister. Originally intended to release back in May of this year, the OVA was delayed and at present, is set to screen in over forty Japanese theatres come November 11. The cast who performed in GochiUsa‘s earlier television anime will return to reprise their roles in this OVA, but rather than White Fox, who handled the animation of the first and second seasons, the studio Production doA will step up to the plate for Dear My Sister. A newcomer with no other titles underneath their belt, it will be interesting to see whether or not Production doA will execute Dear My Sister with the same warmth and sincerity that White Fox had successfully captured in the anime’s televised run. Besides the OVA itself, the theme song will also release on November 11, while a character album will release this month ahead of the screenings. The latest trend does appear to be that specials for Manga Time Kirara anime are to be screened theatrically before being sold as home releases at a later time – Kiniro Mosiac‘s special, Pretty Days, only became available four months after the theatrical release, and being of a similar ilk, it is not unreasonable to imagine that Dear My Sister will only accessible to the world at large come March 2018, a considerable distance away from the present. I remark here that this post is structured similarly to my earlier preview posts, and below the twenty screenshots below, there will be a bit of an outline (constituting as spoilers) for what Dear My Sister will entail.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • Two years ago, it was a pleasant Saturday morning, and I watched the opening episode to GochiUsa‘s second season before putting out a post about it in record time. I subsequently spent the rest of the day playing the Star Wars Battlefront open beta, and opened my journey in Crysis 3 after Thanksgiving Dinner. Four episodes into GochiUsa‘s second season, I did an episodic review, having decided that this was an anime that offered enough to talk about each and every episode. While not quite CLANNAD, GochiUsa has its own unique charms that make it an incredibly heartwarming anime to watch.

  • I have the internet’s first and most comprehensive set of high resolution screenshots with this post: the lower resolution images on Pintrest and Tumblr have nothing against the quality here. It goes without saying that the trailer and manga will give away the entire narrative to Dear My Sister, so this post is essentially one large spoiler. To take a page from Kylo Ren, if you do not already know that Dear My Sister is set in the summer and deals with fireworks, then you should leave right now. Here, Cocoa and Chiya share a tearful farewell: despite leaving for only a week, Cocoa remarks that she’ll never forget the time she’s spent with everyone. The emotional tenour of the moment leads Maya and Megu to assume that Cocoa’s leaving for good.

  • For long-time readers of this blog, it’s no secret that I am very fond of rabbits. For me, watching GochiUsa is functionally identical to watching videos of baby bunnies frolicking about, relaxing and otherwise, doing things that baby bunnies do best. Since the availability of the home release to Dear My Sister won’t be known for a while, I imagine that the videos I linked do will have to suffice for the present. Dear My Sister skips over the first and second chapters of volume five, which sees the girls work on summer uniforms to seek relief from the summer heat and attempt a test of courage.

  • In Cocoa’s absence, Rize decides to whip Maya, Chino and Megu into shape. Rize’s fiery spirit causes Chino to recall Rize’s first days at Rabbit House. Beyond her tough exterior, Chino learns that Rize is friendly and approacheable. The third chapter also reveals that, if people think I am big on Tom Clancy, Battlefield and the like, I remark that I’ve got nothing on Rize. Her character seems to be tailored towards folks like myself as far as interests go.

  • Because GochiUsa is known for scrambling the order of things, there are some scenes seen in the Dear My Sister trailer that I cannot immediately place. When I did the preview for season two based on the manga some years back, I hit some of the stories covered and missed the others. As a result, knowing the manga, while yielding spoilers, won’t mean that one won’t be pleasantly surprised when watching Dear My Sister for the first time.

  • Maya and Megu are two of Chino’s friends from middle school; after meeting out of a curiosity when Chino mentions her wish to be a barista, they’ve since grown close with one another. Maya and Megu perfectly complement one another in terms of personality, and while their presence in the first season is limited, they appear with a greater frequency in season two, joining Cocoa and the others in their adventures.

  • A joke from GochiUsa‘s first season (corresponding with the manga’s third volume) makes a return: immediately after Cocoa leaves, Chino finds herself making iced cocoas, a nod to when Chino similarly became “Cocoa-sick” after Cocoa left to study with Chiya and Sharo, Chino similarly made a bunch of milk cocoas. It’s something that Chino is likely unwilling to openly to admit to the others, that in the absence of Cocoa, she misses the warmth and energy that Cocoa brings in.

  • Located deep in the mountains, the Hot Bakery is also Cocoa’s home. There is something particularly charming, even romantic, about a good eatery in a rural or small town setting, and one of the directions that GochiUsa has yet to take in its manga is to have Chino and the others visit the Hot Bakery.

  • Back home, Cocoa’s mother and Mocha both notice a degree of change in Cocoa; this stems from her spending time with the disciplined and focused Rize, Sharo’s unparalleled eye for sales in the name of saving money, and Chiya’s uncommon way of thinking. Friends certainly can have an impact on one another, bringing to mind cases where couples begin resembling one another in terms of facial expressions over time, and when dogs look like their owner.

  • In Chinese, bread is given as “麵包” (pinyin “miàn bāo”), which translates literally to “flour package”, describing the fact that bread minimally is a small parcel of flour and water cooked together to form a cohesive unit. The Japanese word for bread is “パン” (romanised “pan”) after the French pain. In English, “bread” is derived from Germanic languages, referring to the shape of baked bread as a unit or morsel, similar to the Chinese descriptor.

  • Mocha was a welcome addition to the cast in the second season, creating new dynamics amongst the existing characters that proved most enjoyable to watch. Some folks feel Mocha’s presence to overshadow the other characters, and while this is perhaps an exaggeration, the anime became noticeably quieter after Mocha returns home. I vividly recall the seventh episode of GochiUsa, released the same date that Girls und Panzer: Der Film premiered in Japanese theatres. The weather was pleasant, and I spent the morning shopping for deals at a nearby M&M Food Market.

  • If the trailers were indeed produced by Production doA, the art style has remained quite consistent from White Fox’s: here, Chino is not particularly enjoying the protracted farewells and asks Cocoa to set off with more expedience when Cocoa delays, asking the others to look after Chino for her. This frame is almost identical to the original manga, and having seen the trailer, I’m reasonably confident of Production doA’s ability to execute. One of the possible reasons why Dear My Sister was delayed could be the unexpected change in studios.

  • After recieving a request to make a delivery, Cocoa decides to take her bike, as town is a ways away. However, while Cocoa’s learned to ride a bike, Mocha’s taken things one step further and has gotten her introductory operator’s license, allowing her to drive a moped around. Essentially bikes with small engines, the requirements to operate one are not steep. Apparently, the naming is a portmanteau of “motor velocipede”, although I somehow always read it as the past tense of “mope”.

  • I don’t think Megu and Maya sharing a bath with Chino occurs within the same chapter, but the animated adaptation of GochiUsa has always presented a coherent, enjoyable flow of events despite the liberties it takes. The page quote deals with home this time: while the official GochiUsa website gives the plot as dealing with Chino asking her friends to watch the summer fireworks with her, the trailer suggests that Dear My Sister is going to be about more than just the fireworks, rather similar to how Pretty Days ended up being about more than Shinobu working hard to finish all of her tasks ahead of their class play at the school cultural festival.

  • The manga reveals that everyone’s gotten Cocoa-sick to some extent: Sharo starts speaking in a highly flowery, optimistic manner while meeting up with Rize, Chiya begins naming various food items after Cocoa, and Rize herself loses her cool after smiling the warmest smile ever, outright begging Cocoa to come back. One of the main themes of the second season was just how much of an impact Cocoa’s had on those around her, and even if it’s not quite the same as Yoshino Koharu had on Manoyama in Sakura, the second season’s strength really lay in illustrating the magic that a single individual can have.

  • In light of troubling events around the world as of late, I think that it’s important that people never lose sight of what’s important, doing what’s right for others and taking the time to step back and relax in a manner appropriate for them. This is the reason that I am particularly fond of GochiUsa and anime of its class: it helps me relax and take my mind off challenges from the real world: anime that engages too many neurons are not my cup of tea despite their narrative and technical excellence, and I further consider it a folly to take relaxing anime such as these too seriously.

  • One of the questions I’ve seen floating around on Reddit is the unusual syntax of “Dear My Sister”: in English, referring to one’s beloved takes the form “My Dear Sister”, but in this case, the title is intended to denote “Dear, My Sister”: the OVA is intended to act as a letter of sorts, and while the trailers do not show this, it is possible that the OVA could be presented in such a format. Armed with the manga and using Pretty Days as a precedent,

  • While modelled after Colmar, France, the town in GochiUsa also derives elements from Hungary from an architectural perspective, while elements of Japanese and German culture are quite prevalent, as well. To the best of my knowledge, Colmar does have a summer music festival, Festival international de musique classique de Colmar, but it’s not structured in the same manner as Japanese summer festivals – as per its name, the Colmar festival is a classical music festival. The town in GochiUsa is the ultimate combination of cultures, and it is with a mark of pride that I can say that I live somewhere where such cultural diversity is a given.

  • In Japan, I saw folks wearing yukata while visiting the Kinkakuji. Being modelled after the Japanese Yamato Nadeshiko, Chiya is seen wearing a yukata in the Deak My Sister trailer, and it is only in the likes of something like GochiUsa where one can have a Japanese-style summer festival amidst the Alsace area. In the manga, the summer festival ended up being quite short, but the biggest advantage about the animated medium is that things like fireworks and visuals of the town under festival lighting can be rendered in exceptional detail.

  • Like the quiet Saturday morning two years ago, the weather today is looking quite pleasant, although I’ve heard reports that things could darken later on. However, unlike last time, there are several differences: first, I will be heading off to lift weights in a few moments. Further, Thanksgiving dinner will be tomorrow evening. It goes without saying that I’m absolutely excited about Dear My Sister, but unless there’s an ARIA-level miracle, I won’t be watching or writing about this for quite some time. Thus, for the present, it’s time to get this day started, and here’s to hoping I can get some good experiences out of the beta today.

Dear My Sister will cover the third to sixth chapters from the fifth volume of GochiUsa: Cocoa is leaving town and spending a week with her family out in the mountains. While Chino appears unperturbed by Cocoa’s absence, in contrast with Chiya, who visibly misses her already, Chino unconsciously expresses her longing for Cocoa. To take their mind off things, Rize tasks Chino, Maya and Megu with cleaning up Rabbit House. Chino begins reminiscing when she first met Rize, and later, they work to patch up a stuffed rabbit that Rize had given to Chino when they’d first met. Back in the mountains, Cocoa is spending quality time with her mother and older sister, Mocha. She returns to find Rabbit House a very lively place, and later, Chino asks everyone to attend the summer festival with her. Before they can do so, they must help Aoyama finish her manuscript ahead of a deadline, only for her to accidentally spill coffee on it. Even though Cocoa’s forgotten to finish her summer assignments, the girls enjoy the summer festival to their fullest, culminating with the fireworks that Chino’s wished to bring everyone together to see. This is about the scope of what I imagine Dear My Sister will cover. There are other chapters in the fifth volume that remained uncovered, and a third season is not outside the realm of possibility, as well. However, before we reach that bridge, there is quite a distance separating the present from the point where I will have an opportunity to write about Dear My Sister. As such, it is appropriate for me to step off and enjoy this Thanksgiving Long Weekend – while Thanksgiving dinner might be happening tomorrow, this time, there’s going to be cheesecake.

Is The Order a Giant Walkthrough Brain?: On the use of setting to immerse users in virtual spaces

“An author knows his landscape best; he can stand around, smell the wind, get a feel for his place.” ―Tony Hillerman

The construction of neurosurgeon Joseph Bogen’s “Modest Proposal” for a Giant Walkthrough Brain museum into a special performance that was one part musical and one part science lecture during 2014 represented a pivotal milestone for game engine environments: built for the Beakerhead 2014 performances, the Giant Walkthrough Brain utilised the Unity game engine to present a virtual space that augmented Jay Ingram and his band’s performance. By providing 3D visualisations of the locations within the brain, audiences immediately connected with the different areas of the brain and their attendant stories, following figures in brain history ranging from Phineas Gage to Auguste Deter. By all counts, the Giant Walkthrough Brain was an absolute success. From Jay Ingram’s first performance at the Banff Center in July, to the flagship showings at Beakerhead and several subsequent performances, The Giant Walkthrough Brain opened to a sold-out audience. The software infrastructure designed for The Giant Walkthrough Brain would be utilised extensively in one of my colleague’s Master’s project, and principles would later be adopted towards my own thesis work. There is no denying that The Giant Walkthrough Brain has had an impact on a great number of individuals: it is a powerful example of applying computer science in a community setting through presenting scientific talks in an approachable manner. What is perhaps surprising, then, is that some of the design elements of The Giant Walkthrough Brain parallel those found in 2014’s Gochuumon wa Usagi Desu Ka? (GochiUsa for brevity). While a seemingly far-fetched comparison, there remains the fact that I directed the design development of the application and navigation tools that would eventually become integral towards building a virtual world that helped to guide audiences on a journey of discovery.

The element from GochiUsa that made its way into the Giant Walkthrough Brain that these two unrelated works share is the attention paid to details. In GochiUsa, I noted that the first season’s charm was primarily in its exceptional setting: the town Cocoa finds lodging and friendship in is modelled after Colmar of France, and the animators had taken great pains to ensure that the cityscapes were authentic. From the design of timber-frame buildings to cobblestone streets and gas lamps, the town of GochiUsa presents an idyllic environment for Cocoa and the others to explore. It creates a sense of immersion and uniqueness that really draws in viewers; in fact, the first season proved quite distinct from any slice-of-life anime I’d previously watched, and in retrospect, it is not unreasonable to say that the town in GochiUsa‘s first season was a living, breathing entity as prominent as any of the characters. It is not until the second season that the characters begin coming into the spotlight to present a tangible narrative, and consequently, when I finished watching GochiUsa, I began looking at the architectural and design elements that made the first season such a pleasure to watch and applied the principals towards displaying 3D spaces of a virtual brain. GochiUsa succeeded because of its commitment to a consistently authentic environment, and so, I strove to ensure that the tools and logic implemented into the Giant Walkthrough Brain was similarly consistent in creating an authentic guided museum tour. The pre-set paths were carefully placed to give the sense of walking along a walkway or taking an elevator. Transitions between different scales were scripted, reducing the abruptness of moving from the brain into a synapse where neurotransmitters could be seen. A minimap provided audiences with constant context of where in the brain a story happened, and I used Unity Pro’s powerful functions to construct a system that allowed The Giant Walkthrough Brain to double as a slideshow for both images and video. Much like how GochiUsa creates a compelling European town’s historical district, the end result for The Giant Walkthrough Brain was a visualisation tool that really enabled audiences to feel as though they were moving through a vast brain museum that Joseph Bogen had envisioned fifty years previously: seven consecutive sell-out performances speaks volumes about as to whether or not the learnings from GochiUsa were successfully applied to The Giant Walkthrough Brain.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • It’s been quite some time since I’ve written about GochiUsa, and three years now separates the present from when I started work on The Giant Walkthrough Brain. In my original post on GochiUsa, I did not discuss any major themes in the first season because quite frankly, there were no central messages or ideas the anime conveyed. This is not a bad thing by any stretch: what I found was a fantastic slice-of-life anime whose use of setting set it far apart from any shows in the genre that I’d previously seen. While conceptually similar to other anime of its type, the exquisite setting is ultimately what set GochiUsa apart.

  • One of the aspects about GochiUsa‘s first season is that unnecessary exposure is a lot more commonplace than the second season, and Cocoa’s first encounter with Rize is with the latter in her undergarments. She claims to be hiding from an unfamiliar individual, and the gun she’s wielding is a model Glock 17. Whether or not it was a real weapon was one of the biggest topics of discussion in the first season: if we go by French gun laws, Rize is wielding a model gun. While it is legal to own a weapon chambered for the 9 x 19mm Parabellum cartridge provided that the weapon’s magazine does not exceed 20 rounds, the wielder must be at least eighteen.

  • It may come as a surprise for folks that GochiUsa does have a few Hinako Note-like moments, such as when Rize images herself in a revealing outfit complete with mammary oscillation and subsequently is embarrassed by the thought. Revisiting GochiUsa means being able to look back on the different moments that characterised the first season, and finding more entertaining frames, such as this one. For the purposes of this post, I have thirty screenshots, each chosen to be different than those of my first discussion from three years ago.

  • Rize and Cocoa run into one another with increasing frequency when Cocoa tries to make her way to school, leading Rize to wonder if she’s entered the multiverse of Rick and Morty. During their respective commutes, the streets of the town are shown in loving detail, and it became quite obvious that the town itself was as much of a character as each of Cocoa, Rize and Chino.

  • The moment that Chiya and Cocoa meet for the first time is adorable, as Chiya is trying to entice some wild rabbits with chestnut Yōkan, and Cocoa is cuddling with the rabbits hanging about. A couple of lop-eared rabbits can be seen in the upper center part of the image, and after learning that classes don’t start for another day, Cocoa and Chiya strike up a fast friendship. of everyone, Cocoa grows closest with Chiya the quickest, since they share similar outlooks on life.

  • Cocoa describes herself as having very little talents to speak of, but is reasonably skillful as a baker and has an eye for mental mathematics. With her newfound friend, Chiya, Cocoa, Chino and Rize spend a day baking bread and enjoying the results. Bread is said to be the only thing Cocoa can prepare properly, and while we’ve not seen her prepare other food items, one can surmise that she’s not exactly incapable to the point of creating lethal dishes.

  • Although refined and seemingly of regal background, Sharo is actually quite poor, living in a small wooden shack beside Chiya. Her being honest to the others about her background forms her internal conflict for a portion of GochiUsa, and when she finally comes forwards with the truth, it turns out that Rize and the others don’t mind at all, showing that everyone is friends with one another because they choose to be.

  • Here, Cocoa watches as the herbal tea leaves are steeped at the Fleur Lupin, French for “Flower Rabbit”, on invitation from Sharo. All of the cafés the girls work at have some relation with rabbits: “Rabbit House” is rather plain to spot, while Chiya’s Ama Usa An (甘兎庵) approximates to “Sweet Rabbit Cabin”. Throughout the town, rabbits can be seen this way and that: in my town, there aren’t any rabbits, but plenty of snowshoe hares (L. Americanus) roaming the streets, and it takes great care to ensure I don’t hit any while driving about.

  • While the town’s idyllic setting and older architecture in GochiUsa seemingly suggests a world set in an earlier time before the rise of modern technology, but the characters’ use of phones plants their time period as being similar to ours. Cocoa uses the Fujitsu F-01C, a feature phone that dates back to 2010, while Chino uses the Sony Xperia SP, a mid-range smartphone. Chiya rolls with the  Sharp Aquos Phone SL, a phone in the same class as Cocoa’s, while Sharo rocks a Honey Bee 201K, a rudimentary Android Smartphone. Rize has an iPhone 5, the most expensive of the lot and a device that can still hold its own even five year after its release.

  • Here, Chino and Sharo are shopping at a local supermarket. While I did an episodic review for GochiUsa‘s second season, this exercise came out of the blue when I realised that there was quite a bit to discuss and talk about during the second season. The result was my first-ever attempt at episodic reviews, and while immensely fun, it was only possible because my thesis project was progressing at an acceptable pace. Looking back, I’m actually not too sure if I would have been able to do a talk on GochiUsa‘s first season back during 2014, if only for the fact that most of my time was spent working on The Giant Walkthrough Brain.

  • GochiUsa‘s first season features numerous locations in town that showcase the area’s unique architecture: this is the local library that Chino and the others visit to study, as well as to find a book Chino’s been seeking. The diversity of locations in GochiUsa is nothing short of impressive, as are the details taken to render all of the structures: close inspection of this image will find that reflections of the sky are seen.

  • Rize and Chino share a short conversation about the latter’s doubts about performing well during a badminton mini-tournament at her school. It would appear that Chino is not particularly athletic and skillful with arts, as seen in her reservations about performing and drawing, but given her character, it stands to reason she’s pretty studious.

  • This is another instance of the beautiful architecture seen in GochiUsa: Cocoa and Chino overlook a ramp, and Cocoa contemplates the joys of having a bike here, while Chino’s imagination is rather more gloomy in outlook. As far as content goes, GochiUsa‘s first season has enough to talk about so that I could probably have done an episodic review if asked to revisit it, but my schedule in the three years since the first season has only become busier.

  • There’s a right way to pick up rabbits: they are quite fragile and start easily, so most suggestions involve gently using both hands to reduce the risk of frightening and injuring the rabbit. The preferred method is to place a hand underneath their chest and then gently lift their hindquarters, while here, Cocoa’s method is used for moving a rabbit short distances – their heads should always be above their hindquarters. That the rabbits of GochiUsa do not mind being picked up suggest they are very much acclimatised to a human presence; in general, rabbits do not like being picked up.

  • When I was working on The Giant Walkthrough Brain, I would watch GochiUsa during lunch hour, and this scene of Rize making a heart stands out to me – I still vividly remember watching this in a windowless player in iTunes while Unity and Monodevelop were open underneath. By this point in the summer, I had become quite comfortable with the Unity Engine and C#, having created the prototypes of almost all of the systems that we would utilise for The Giant Walkthrough Brain. The project was progressing very smoothly until a request came in to incorporate a slideshow with movies: back then, Unity could only handle static images in its free incarnation.

  • I ultimately received permission to upgrade to Unity Pro, and promptly implemented the movie playback functionality. Returning back to GochiUsa, Sharo has leporiphobia, a fear of rabbits, and befriended Rize after she’d saved Sharo from feral rabbits. Here, the rabbit who would later become known as Chuck Norris Wild Geese is resting on Sharo’s café’s fliers, causing her to beg for mercy. Rize arrives to help shoo the rabbit away.

  • Cocoa presents Sharo with a baby bunny to see if Sharo can lessen her fears slightly. Rize’s dome is just visible in this image: she’s still recoiling after a bug lands on her. Strictly speaking, the rabbit in this image is probably three to four weeks old: they’re small enough to rest comfortably on one’s palm, attesting to how small young rabbits are. My friend had two rabbits once, and when I’d met the first, she was roughly this size, but grew to full size in no time at all.

  • While imagining herself under the effects of coffee, Rize fires a Barrett M82A3 anti-materiel rifle. A recoil-operated, semi-automatic rifle firing 50-calibre rounds, the weapon is immediately recognisable by its distinct muzzle brake. There are bullpup versions of the M82, but the magazine of the rifle here has a conventional placement. Rize’s firing rate and stance suggests a semi-automatic firing mode: the M95 looks quite similar but is a bolt-action rifle.

  • If memory serves, I do not think it ever rained in GochiUsa during the second season. Weather remains generally pleasant in all of the episodes. By comparison, season one has a bit more diversity in weather, ranging from snowfall to rain. One detail that is subtly present in GochiUsa is the fact that the ground becomes increasingly reflective as the showers continue – this was done previously in Tari Tari, and is a subtle but clever touch, indicating that more water has fallen during the course of the showers.

  • Besides a library and swimming pool, GochiUsa‘s first season also brings Cocoa et al. to a movie theatre, where they watch “The Barista who Turned into a Rabbit”, a film adaptation of Aoyama’s novel. The older architectural choices of the theatre fit in with the timber-framed buildings in town, and also brings to mind some of the LEGO models of modular town buildings.

  • Regardless of where one goes in GochiUsa, timber-framed buildings dominate the architectural scene. The styles seen in GochiUsa are derived off those seen in the Alsace region, which have a strong German influence. Such buildings can be constructed relatively quickly, and the framing itself accommodates flexibility of interior walls and doors. However, preserving timber-framed building can be tricky, as the buildings may undergo deformations that make them difficult to maintain, and the wood itself can become infested with fungi, moulds or other pests.

  • Chino runs into Aoyama here after the latter misplaced her fountain pen and loses the motivation to continue writing. She subsequently takes up a post at Rabbit House as an interim job and provides advice for customers. In the background here, the leaves are taking on yellow-gold hues as autumn sets in, giving the town a new feeling. While most of the season is set in spring and summer, the arrival of autumn and winter adds additional depth to the anime: the second season is set during spring and summer, with only the first episode really being winter.

  • While this image without any context would not make much sense, Cocoa is helping Chino look for Aoyama’s fountain pen by evening. The warm orange glow is indicative of an autumn’s evening, when the air is cool and the days slowly grow short. Cocoa grows distracted chasing rabbits, but Tippy locates the pen. Numerous sources state that Cocoa is implied to be the reason why Chino’s grandfather’s spirit inhabit Tippy’s body, suggesting a supernatural cause not unlike that of Your Name, but beyond this, everything else in GochiUsa is quite ordinary.

  • The customers at the Ama Usa An seem bewildered as Chiya and Coca dance about in delight, underlining their friendship. I certainly would have no objection to seeing this happen at a sweets shop, myself, but owing to the culture here, such a display, however adorable it may be, would be very unlikely to witness. While Rabbit House employees, Cocoa, Rize and Chino have worked at Ama Usa An and Fleur Lupin to some capacity: Rize did so to earn some extra money to purchase a Father’s Day gift, while Chino does so as a part of her school’s curriculum.

  • In a stroke of luck, the artbook for GochiUsa‘s first season was restocked, and I hastened to order it online before stocks depleted once more. As with the second season’s instalment, the artbook is beautiful, filled with artwork of the different locations and even photographs of Colmar itself. Both artbooks are perfect companions for the anime, essential for all fans of the anime. They cost 2500 Yen apiece before shipping, but provide insights into the anime that genuinely demonstrates how much effort went into creating the world that Cocoa and the others live in.

  • I’ve chosen to skip over the Christmas episode of GochiUsa, having done a whole post on it two Christmases ago, but in this talk, I’ve also included some winter screenshots of the town covered in a light dusting of snow. Rolling through episodes one per day, every lunch hour, I finished GochiUsa on very short order and found an anime whose world was simply magical. It was influences from GochiUsa and its immersion that led me to translate Jay Ingram’s script into a more fluid adventure through the virtual brain: I wished for The Giant Walkthrough Brain amaze and immerse audiences the same way GochiUsa had done for me. Thus, the incarnation that went into the Banff Center Show was a modification that I made after deciding to take audiences through a more interesting route, and during a demonstration to Jay, he and my supervisor approved of it, making a minor request to time the route with the script.

  • In the end, The Giant Walkthrough Brain ended up being a great success: during our first showing, the power had gone out. There was a thunderstorm in Banff that evening, which was surprising considering that it was clear skies when we had sat down to dinner in the Banff Center’s canteen, a modern area with large glass windows that provide a beautiful view of the Bow River valley. Fortunately, the fact that The Giant Walkthrough Brain had been optimised to run on a 2013 MacBook Pro laptop, paired with Jay Ingram’s exceptional improvisational skills, meant the show progressed very smoothly.

  • Back in GochiUsa, Cocoa, Maya and Megu walk into the sunset after Cocoa helps them learn more about local cafés (even as her wallet takes a few hits) during the finale episode. After the Banff Center performance, I spent the August of three years ago further refining The Giant Walkthrough Brain. One of the biggest concerns I had was the fact that our next venue, the Telus Spark Science Center and its dome theatre, could present problems for our projection, but after learning the requirements were to accommodate a flat projection, the month was dedicated towards tuning the model, as well as adding new features and visuals. The Beakerhead shows were a massive success, selling out fully both nights.

  • Unlike Hinako’s friends, who totally prank her while she’s sick, Cocoa’s friends genuinely care for her when she catches a cold. We’re nearing the end of this post, and I’ll take a moment to say that, for folks who are curious, I am following Rick and Morty, and the third season’s second episode is bloody phenomenal, being hilarious and dark, as per Rick’s promise in his opening rant about their adventures. The biggest joy about Rick and Morty is its unique combination of over-the-top black comedy with quasi-scientific concepts that invite discussion; it’s similar to Futurama in a sense, but with a bit looser feel to it, and much more gratuitous violence. Unlike GochiUsaRick and Morty is certainly not for everyone.

  • While some folks consider the ending a little unusual, having Chino step into a snowy night to find medicine for Cocoa shows that despite her cold attitude towards Cocoa, she does care for her. It’s a subtle character growth that is further explored in the second season, and with this, my revisitation of GochiUsa comes to a close. Some posts upcoming in August, which is looking to be a much quieter month after the excitement that was Your Name, will be a talk on the Amanchu! OVA, and the Brave Witches OVA. Because of the unexpected depth and enjoyment Sakura Quest has provided after eighteen episodes, I will also be visiting this very shortly. Finally, Battlefield 1‘s Łupków Pass map will be released later this month in advance of In The Name of The Tsar, and having tried the map in CTE, I’m looking forwards to seeing how it will play out.

I originally concluded GochiUsa‘s first season was enjoyable for its portrayal of a calm, cheerful life in a European-style town but otherwise had very little to say about the characters and their experiences. In GochiUsa‘s first season, the setting ended up being the star of the show – it was not until the second season where the characters really began to shine. However, as the star of the first season, GochiUsa‘s intricate, consistently high-quality and authentic setting contributes substantially to the immersion that the first season was able to confer. As a slice-of-life anime, this set GochiUsa far apart from other shows of this genre that I’d seen previously, and it continued to hold my interest long after I finished the final episode a month before The Giant Walkthrough Brain’s opening night at the Banff Centre. The reason why GochiUsa is so successful is because its first season was able to capture the feeling of an old town consistently to create a place that is inviting and friendly. The Giant Walkthrough Brain likewise makes use of visuals in order to create a very specific image of the brain to maintain the audience’s attention. By fully capitalising on the visual elements to evoke a particular feeling or impression, both The Giant Walkthrough Brain and GochiUsa make the most of their respective formats to immerse audiences into another world – it is this immersion that my old supervisor aims to capture in biological visualisations, although I would imagine that Jay Ingram, his band, my colleagues and supervisor would be a bit surprised to learn that some of the design choices I imparted into The Giant Walkthrough Brain come from an anime with bunnies. I say surprised, but not displeased; these are very open-minded people, and I was able to cite Rick and Morty in my thesis, after all.

The Treasure is Your Decisive Moment: Gochuumon wa Usagi Desu Ka?? Finale Impressions and Whole-Series Review

“There is nothing like looking, if you want to find something. You certainly usually find something, if you look, but it is not always quite the something you were after.” ― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit

All good things come to an end, and on Boxing Day, the last GochiUsa episode released. Their vacation over, it’s business as usual at Rabbit House, but Chino now has a fervent desire to take photographs of Cocoa and her friends. After a short-lived photo frenzy, Cocoa decides to continue working and while dusting an image, finds a treasure map of sorts. It turns out to be a “Ciste Map”, where participants utilise clues provided by said map to locate a hidden cache of treasure, and subsequently must provide a treasure of their own alongside of a new map to perpetuate the game. After learning that Cocoa’s never partaken before, Chino, Maya and Megu decide to join up with Cocoa; it turns out that such a treasure hunt is how Chino became friends with Maya and Megu. They eventually stumble across a hidden garden, and, with Cocoa too broad to fit through the small gap, Chino, Maya and Megu swap out their treasures. Later that evening, Chino reveals that her desire to take ordinary photos was motivated by Mocha’s request. Moved to tears by the truths that the two respectively bring out, Chino and Cocoa share their mutual appreciation for one another and embark in a pillow fight of sorts. With Maya and Megu, Chino later organises another Ciste Map for Cocoa and Rize, and back at the Hoto Bakery, Mocha reads letters from Cocoa and Chino. Last week’s episode felt distinctly like a finale, but as with life itself, there is no finale, allowing the series to continue for one more episode to really illustrate just how much has changed since Cocoa arrived more than a year ago. Having matured as a result of working at Rabbit House, Cocoa has also a nontrivial impact on those around her, bringing joyfulness and even change into the lives of her friends and co-workers.

Cocoa’s influence and gradual maturity therefore forms the main theme for all of both seasons of GochiUsa: though she’s rather airheaded and can be quite clumsy, her ceaseless spirit and energy brings people together. In doing so, she gradually becomes more dependable, more mature (even if she does not realise it). Were it not her friendship with Chino, Rize and Chiya, Sharo, Megu and Maya would not have entered the main group to share numerous adventures and experiences with one another, bringing everyone together for Christmas, inadvertently settling the rivalry between Ama Usa An and Rabbit House, and most significantly, acting as the driving force to open up Chino to the others, who has become more expressive with her emotions relative to the first season. While season one might have presented Cocoa as a seemingly-generic, energetic and happy-go-lucky sort of individual, the second season adds more depth to her, suggesting that she’s long desired to mature and become more capable through acting as an older sister for others. Moreover, she’s also prone to jealous streaks, but is resuscitated by her friends on all occasions (whom she had a hand in bringing together in the first place). Thus, the very bonds she builds both hurts and helps her to mirror the dynamics of friendship, helping her mature in the process, and this is where GochiUsa truly shines: people are complex, multi-dimensional beings, and GochiUsa allows its characters to fully experience the good and bad. Far from being static characters common to most slice-of-life anime, the characters of GochiUsa‘s second season feel alive and unique; the first season excelled in crafting a workplace comedy with its setting, and the second season makes use of this to explore more facets for each character.

Because the characters are reasonably familiar after the first season, GochiUsa‘s second season is able to waste no time in setting up various combinations of characters to see how their interactions play out. In doing so, rather than resulting in the same sort of end result that may arise, different opportunities for comedy are created by varying the groups up. Cocoa and Sharo is one such example; the latter ends up decking the former to motivate her after Cocoa laments falling behind her sister. Similarly, watching Megu and Chiya hunt for wild edibles together was quite entertaining, and Rize spends time with Maya to tail Aoyama. These are merely examples of the second season diversifying which combinations of characters form a part of the episode progression, allowing different personalities to bounce off one another and creating new opportunities for comedy that would otherwise not arise. Therefore, by season two, the town merely becomes the backdrop for all of these events to occur, and the focus becomes shifted towards the characters themselves. Seemingly-familiar characters gain new dimensionality, and far from being yet another generic anime about “cute girls doing cute things”, GochiUsa‘s second season is able to keep things novel and refreshing with each passing episode; at no point does the anime ever feel repetitive or stale.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • As the finale post, there will be thirty images here; I’ll use the figure captions to comment on both events within the episode, as well as make broad remarks about elements from GochiUsa as a whole. To kick things off, it’s been an incredible ride from start to finish: GochiUsa began during Thanksgiving and ended on Boxing Day, with each episode being an absolute delight to watch. Originally scheduled to come out tomorrow, I had a bit of time today to get the post out, and moreover, my copy of the OST’s arrived, allowing me to listen to it and learn which tracks correspond with the pieces of background music I enjoyed the most.

  • The finale appears to begin similarly enough to the first episode: this time, it’s Chino who’s photographing everything around her. Upon first glance, it appears as though Chino’s taking after Cocoa, who was photographing everything in sight during GochiUsa‘s first episode: this decision was probably deliberate, chosen to illustrate that for her mature and collected mannerisms, Chino can resemble Cocoa at times as a consequence of how much time they’ve spent together.

  • Some discussions erroneously state that the cameras are old-school, dating back from 2005. This is false, given that most cameras from 2005 have a bulkier frame. I have already identified the cameras as a Sony DSC-W630 Cybershot based on the aperture, flash and autofocus lamp placement during the first post; the cameras are not meant to evoke nostalgia, being present simply to allow the girls a means to photograph their friends and surroundings. As further evidence, the DSC-W630 Cybershot does come in blue.

  • As a clever callback to the eighth episode‘s recursive tailing, as Chino tries to photograph Tippy, Cocoa decides to photograph Chino. Rize then aims to photograph Cocoa, and Sharo photographs Rize. Chiya outdoes everyone, capturing the perfect shot with all four of her friends.

  • Besides the farewell party for Mocha, Rabbit House has remained quite quiet this season. I think I’ve mentioned this before, but the seemingly low patronship at Rabbit House seen in GochiUsa is probably a consequence of the anime deliberately choosing to depict more relaxed moments: rendering many patrons on-screen would doubtlessly be expensive from a technical side of things. It’s been remarked that Rabbit House normally isn’t crowded, but there probably is a sufficient number of patrons, given that Rabbit House has stuck around for a non-trivial period of time.

  • While dusting a frame, a map falls out. I remark that the puzzle that Chino and the others built during the previous season does not appear to be visible anywhere, so it’s quite likely that Takahiro rotates the decor every so often to keep things fresh at Rabbit House. Cocoa learns that most everyone has been on a Ciste Hunt and grows teary-eyed at the prospects of being left out, so Chino decides to bring Cocoa on the latter’s first-ever hunt.

  • The notion of a Ciste hunt became popular in Europe during 2007 and the rules are succinctly described in GochiUsa. A map is used to locate the treasure box, and upon finding it, one must take one item from the box, replacing it with one of their own. The word ciste is derived from Greek, referring to a basket used for ferry gifts to Gods, and cite hunts in the real-world are quite popular, with thousands of participants coordinating hunts using online communications.

  • The point of these hunts is the thrill of the chase, and the activity is functionally similar to Geocaching. Thus, that GochiUsa manages to distill out the core essence of a ciste hunt: that the journey matters more than the destination, is no surprise, although the anime takes things one step further and removes the electronic component, forcing the girls to carry out the activity using just their wits. Together with Megu and Maya, Chino and Cococa explore parts of their town that the audiences have never seen before.

  • The subject of numerous photographs and paintings, a door covered with vines is but one of the many hitherto unseen locations that Cocoa and the others encounter during their ciste hunt. There’s a special sort of magic about locations such as these; while browsing calendars for 2016, I came across a garden calendar that featured these doorways. I eventually went with a calendar featuring mountain paintings: there’s a mysticism to see traditional buildings from an older age under the mountains, and a part of me yearns for a simpler time, despite my own love for technology and sciences.

  • It turns out that Chino’s friendship with Maya and Megu result from a innocuous mistake, where Maya misinterprets “barista” as “ballista” on account of the phonetic similarities between the “r” and “l” sounds” and imagines Chino to be strong-willed, resembling an ancient missile launcher. They go on their first ciste hunt but eventually lose motivation, and it’s thanks to Cocoa that everyone’s excited to do another hunt.

  • I’ve remarked previously that each character’s namesake is related to their contributions towards GochiUsa: Maya and Megu were already friends before meeting Chino, and their friendship with Chino has helped the latter open up to some extent. Looking around some recipes, I’ve found that nutmeg can be used to spruce up both Jogamaya tea and Cappuccino, suggesting that the girls’ friendship forms a sort of synergy that’s helping each individual mature.

  • The GochiUsa season two soundtrack came out on Christmas Day, and my copy only arrived recently. I’ve had a chance to listen to it in full now, and it’s a fantastic complement to the anime. Like the first soundtrack, the music is quite diverse, ranging from distinctly French pieces that capture the regional spirit (木組みの街〜雪解けと春のはじまり and Rabbit’s Time), to gentle pieces like 大好きな笑顔 and おやすみ前のラテアート, which convey the sort of lightheartedness associated with Cocoa and the others. There’s also more tense music for when the girls grow anxious, or when Tippy mounts a one-rabbit assault on Ama Usa An (後ろに気をつけろ!! and 覚悟しろっ, respectively) The piano version of キリマンジャロだね turned out to be 可憐な乙女心, and it’s become one of my favourite tracks on the OST.

  • The clues on the map points to a small hole that Cocoa can’t fit through, and there is mention of Hobbits here. First conceptualised in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit, Hobbits are known for their short stature and fondness for comfort, but also their incredible resilience: Gandalf remarks in The Fellowship of the Ring that Hobbits are quite surprising despite his own knowledge of their customs and lifestyle. I imagine that the comparison is drawn for Chimame’s smaller size, allowing them to go where Cocoa cannot.

  • Arriving in a secret garden of sorts, Chino, Maya and Megu find a treasure box located at the end of the plaza. Resembling the one seen in GochiUsai‘s opening sequence, it appears that this episode’s been foreshadowed since day one. However, given the complete lack of discussion or even recollection, it’s definitely fallen from the viewers’ minds since the first episode, only to return in a big way in the finale. This is why I remark that there could be hidden tidbits inside the opening sequences of anime; sometimes, the opening sequences offer insights into an anime in ways that viewers do not consider.

  • Amongst some various articles in the treasure box, a discount coupon and massage voucher can be found. The girls quickly pick their treasure and leave behind the items they’d brought with them, as they wish not to keep Cocoa waiting for too long.

  • In contrast to the first season, GochiUsa‘s second season completely dispenses with visual fanservice, instead, making use of a good balance of humour and more touching moments to drive the story forwards. Bloggers elsewhere have remarked that something like GochiUsa would be immensely difficult to write about because purportedly, nothing happens in anime such as these.

  • This holds true under some cases, and slice-of-life anime are often overlooked simply because typically, they lack a cohesive narrative from which literary analysis might be carried out. However, GochiUsa‘s second season in particular seems to manage just fine, subtly conveying a moral or lesson through the events in each character’s everyday life. Although it is presumptuous for me to say so, it takes an uncommonly keen eye to pick these elements out in an anime prima facie about “cute girls doing cute things” and write posts that are distinct from one another, to step away from any notions of saying the same thing too frequently.

  • With that being said, it’s more than acceptable if audiences can’t pick out the more subtle thematic elements from anime such as GochiUsa: although authors may have worked them in to impart a particular interpretation of life lessons, their intent is for the show to be relaxing overall. Thus, audiences can most certainly enjoy GochiUsa without thinking too deeply about what all of the girls’ actions and reactions entail. The photo here was taken back during the previous episode, and Cocoa has difficulty recognising that it’s her.

  • Although Chino never calls Cocoa onee-san of her own volition, it’s clear that by this point in time, the two have definitely become closer to what sisters as can be, having a minor fight of sorts when they misunderstand the other’s feelings. The conflicts on GochiUsa are always on a small scale, being readily solved within the space of minutes. On the note of it seeming difficult to effectively make episodic discussions for anime such as GochiUsa, I’ve found that the anime’s given no shortage of topics to discuss with each episode, and I’ve found myself referring to physics textbooks, Tom Clancy novels and even Survivorman in previous posts to augment discussions.

  • With the season now over, the reception in the places I frequent has been overwhelmingly positive: other viewers similarly remark that GochiUsa is a relaxing, fun anime that was over all too soon and also come to the conclusion that the characters themselves might be likened to rabbits. 2015 has been a solid year for anime such as GochiUsa (Hello! Kiniro Mosaic and Non Non Biyori Repeat come to mind, alongside the first two Tamayura: Graduation Photo movies).

  • At episode five’s end, the bar below is shaking from an unseen force that’s dislodging dust from the ceiling. It foreshadows the massive pillow/stuffed animal fight that Chino and Cocoa are having. Contrary to their relatively small stature, the effect implies either that the two can be quite rambunctious at times, or else, Rabbit House is an aging building, allowing for the girls’ activities to be noticed in the bar below.

  • It turns out that the reason why Chino was particularly keen on photographing things earlier was in response to a letter from Mocha requesting conventional photographs in and around Rabbit House: the photographs that Cocoa take tend to be more spruced up, and while fun, might not necessarily be the best representation of life at a coffee house. One of the strengths in GochiUsa is that details seemingly forgotten over the course of an episode are neatly incorporated into things at an appropriate time. Thus, nothing is left unanswered, yielding closure for things that do happen.

  • For those wondering, the reason this post did not come out on the day of the finale’s airing was because said airing coincided with Boxing Day: I got up bright and early so I could visit one of the larger malls in the area to pick up 2016 calendars on discount, along with a new three-piece suit for myself, new gloves, a toque and scarf. I also bought a hardcover on JSOC’s operational history for a third off. The next day, I spent most of the time working on the publication: we’re getting close now and merely need to trim some sections so it fits within the four-page limit, then attended my first-ever Zoo Lights. Then yesterday, I finally got around to watching Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens.

  • After enjoying the results of their own Ciste hunt, Maya, Chino and Megu decide to rig a new hunt for Cocoa and the others. They craft new maps and invite their senpai for a hunt that is not shown on-screen as thanks to Cocoa for having helped them complete their own hunt. The notion of Ciste hunting is remarkably fitting for an anime such as GochiUsa, as it reinforces the notion that moments are memorable because of who one is with, rather than anything material.

  • Aoyama and her editor are seen walking around the town’s streets. Although GochiUsa‘s second season places more empthasis on the characters rather than their environment, the town is still lovingly depicted. With all of the activities described earlier, there’s been very little time for blogging thus far, but today, I’ve had an opportunity to sit down and hammer out the posts. GochiUsa‘s second season marks my first attempt at doing episodic posts, and it definitely was a fun experience to figure out what each week’s episode was about and put that into words. While a little tiring, it was well worth it; I’ve a respect for anime blogs that do episodic reviews owing to the effort it takes to make them each week, and being able to experience that allows me a bit of insight into how larger blogs necessitate more than a single author.

  • The Hoto Bakery is seen again as GochiUsa draws to a close, and as per predictions, Mocha does indeed make another appearance in some form. A ways back, I came across a disagreement on whether or not Cocoa and Mocha’s last names were more appropriately romanised “Hot” or “Hoto”, with some less-informed individuals opting for the former in order to make obvious a pun. The preferred romanisation is “Hoto” on the sole virtue that the “o” sound in -to can be silent, so the pronunciation still allows for the pun to be kept. However, this way allows for the Kanji, 保登, to be retained: translating roughly to “always rising”, it would double as a metaphor for the Hoto family business of baking rising bread.

  • Careful inspection of Cocoa’s letters show that they were sent via air mail. This might serve to compound the mystery of where the Hoto family bakery actually is: it’s definitely deep in the mountains, sufficiently far away for Mocha to take the train to visit Cocoa, but that air mail is used suggests they’re either quite far away, or else Cocoa was merely itching to send her letters quickly.

  • Cocoa and Mocha’s mother is also shown on screen now, so the only person whose family hasn’t been shown is Sharo and Maya. Voiced by Yuuko Minaguchi (Kanon‘s Akiko Minase and CLANNAD‘s Kouko Ibuki), Cocoa’s mother is hitherto unnamed, but it was quite the pleasant surprise to see family for most of the characters in GochiUsa. So, seeing Sharo and Maya’s family on-screen might be left for a third season.

  • With this post nearing its conclusion, I remark that GochiUsa‘s second season has had a phenomenal run, bringing all of the elements that made the first season so enjoyable and finding new ways of elevating things to new heights. At present, the manga is still ongoing, so there’s definitely enough material for a continuation, and should sales for GochiUsa be strong, a third season will almost certainly be made at an unknown point in the future (although I stress that this is merely my own speculation).

  • Given that it was mentioned briefly that everyone was moving up a year back during the fourth episode, it is quite conceivable that Rize will be graduating soon, and a third season will follow Cocoa et al.’s journey towards their own graduation. If this is to be the case, then the third season might become a little more serious in nature as the girls figure out what they will be doing after high school ends, and for Chino’s friends, as they make the transition from middle school to high school. This could make for an interesting third season, although given that there is a manga, one could check that out to catch a glimpse of what a continuation will be like.

Consequently, GochiUsa is something that can be recommended quite easily to a diverse audience. Naturally, slice-of-life fans will find this to be most enjoyable, but GochiUsa is also an excellent accompaniment to the lives of anyone who’s quite busy, acting as a relaxing, cathartic countermeasure to the hustle of their daily lives. There are numerous anime, dubbed “iyashikei” (lit. “healing anime”), that strive to serve such a purpose, but amongst a crowd of technically excellent anime (K-On!, Tamayura, Kiniro Mosaic and Non Non Biyori), GochiUsa is able to find its place in the sun and distinguish itself from the others. Through its charming setting, life-like characters, high animation and artwork quality and a soundtrack with tracks to accompany a wide array of situations, GochiUsa masterfully makes use of each element to bring Cocoa and the girls’ world to life. Taken together with solid writing, GochiUsa earns a strong recommend: I cannot readily think of any strikes against GochiUsa that detract from it, hence my assessment. Looking forwards, the manga is still ongoing, and so, there is definitely a possibility for continuation if GochiUsa‘s sales in Japan are good. I imagine that any third season will likely follow a similar pattern as YuruYuri San☆Hai!, which was released three years after the second season but managed to similarly keep things sufficiently novel to impress audiences. For the present, though, GochiUsa comes to an end, and it was an incredible experience to watch and write about it.

The Girl Dons a Red Coat and Drives a Team of Rabbits Across the Christmas Eve Night Sky: A Gochuumon wa Usagi Desu Ka? Christmas

“Christmas is the spirit of giving without a thought of getting. It is happiness because we see joy in people. It is forgetting self and finding time for others. It is discarding the meaningless and stressing the true values.” —Thomas S. Monson

Though it aired a full half year (and six days, to be precise) before Christmas 2014, the eleventh episode of GochiUsa’s first season was set around Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, following the girls as they visited a Christmas market to purchase ornaments and plan out a Christmas Eve party after-hours. Though Christmas Eve turns out to be quite busy, with patrons lining up to try Rabbit House’s Christmas Pancake special, the girls are in fine spirits to continue with their party. Later that evening, Cocoa assumes the role of Santa Claus and clandestinely makes her way into Chino’s room to deliver some gifts, but winds up falling asleep by Chino’s bed in the process. The next morning, Chino is pleasantly surprised by what “Santa” had delivered during the course of the night. Filled with elaborately drawn scenes of Christmas around Rabbit House and its setting, the episode stood out as a king amongst kings: GochiUsa’s first season featured memorable episodes, but the Christmas episode was particularly unique, making use of the winter season to capture each of the characters in their element. Consequently, GochiUsa’s Christmas episode raises the bar for what one might reasonably expect from anime with an episode set during the winter holidays. While this could be seen as surprising, given GochiUsa’s relatively simple premise, there are elements that set GochiUsa’s Christmas episode above the rest.

The main reason why GochiUsa’s Christmas episode is so remarkable is because, rather than using the Christmas season as a backdrop to frame certain events, the concepts underlying Christmas itself is captured within the episode. Most anime (for instance, CLANNAD: After Story, K-On!, Lucky Star, The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan and SoniAni) utilise Christmas as an opportunity to add a bit of festivity to their respective stories. Quite simply, Christmas is fit into the anime. Conversely, in GochiUsa, the episode is fit around Christmas. This is visible when, upon arriving at Rabbit House and seeing that Chino and the others are still inundated with customers, Chiya, Sharo, Maya and Megu lend a hand to help out. This progression fully captures what is known as the “true meaning of Christmas”; coined in the mid-nineteenth century, the phrase refers to selflessness, to bring happiness to others, and this is exactly what the girls are doing in helping Cocoa, Rize and Chino serve their customers (the latter themselves are spending their time to ensure that Rabbit House’s customers have a good time). However, although they are busy, the girls have an opportunity to be together in their work (and later, deservedly enjoy their own Christmas party). Up until the Christmas episode, the girls have not been seen working together; another significant aspect of Christmas is about being together regardless of what the event is, and on a busy Christmas Eve, the girls find joy in working hard together to serve their customers. That the story is able to draw from such distinctly Christmas-related themes is impressive, and while not quite as well known as Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol or Charles Schulz’s A Charlie Brown Christmas, GochiUsa nonetheless expresses what Christmas is about as effectively as these classics.

Additional Sceenshots and Commentary

  • This is the Christmas post that would have come out last year had I not been in Taiwan and Hong Kong during the winter holidays, and might also be a reasonable approximation of what a GochiUsa post for the first season would have looked like had I done an episodic review for the first season. The only difference is that there are thirty screenshots rather than the usual twenty, and that is a consequence of the episode featuring an above-average number of special moments to discuss.

  • Because this post is special, all of the images are in 1080p and available for viewing in full size; on that note, if you’re reading this on Christmas morning, I’d like to wish you Merry Christmas! Here, Cocoa and the others visit the local Christmas market while Chino is searching for ornaments to display at Rabbit House.

  • I mentioned this in the GochiUsa first season review, but there’s a store in Banff called The Spirit of Christmas. They sell all manners of Christmas ornaments, decorations, lights, nutcrackers and Christmas lighthouses; even during the middle of summer, the shop gives off an air of Christmas. For individuals seeking the Christmas spirit during the spring and summer, this shop is as close as it gets.

  • The Spirit of Christmas has over five thousand square feet of retail space and has been open for the past twenty-five years. It appears that the shop in GochiUsa is rather smaller, but nonetheless conveys a very warm and inviting atmosphere.

  • Cocoa and Rize discuss gift ideas for Chino while the latter is perusing the merchandise within the store. I’m noticing that as of late, going Christmas shopping for other has been most enjoyable: it’s fun to think of what gifts might be suitable for someone, being something they’d enjoy while conveying appreciation. I usually begin considering Christmas gifts for family and friends as early as October and will get my shopping done ahead of the holiday rush to avoid the associated stress of über-crowded malls.

  • Cocoa decides to gift Chino a music box, and decides to buy a spooky-looking rabbit for the gift exchange. I began learning how to properly wrap gifts two years ago when I began doing more Christmas shopping, and at present, though I am a little slow, I am minimally capable of wrapping rectangular gifts. Strangely-shaped packages remain beyond my skill level for the present.

  • Cocoa’s winter coat makes her resemble a snow angel. Her carefree, ever-cheerful spirit reminds me of the joyfulness that children express during the season for the winter weather, festivities and gifts. As people mature, happiness appears to become increasingly associated with being able to tangibly express appreciation and love for others: at that unique interface between childhood and adulthood, Cocoa radiates the happiness seen in children, while simultaneously demonstrating an adult’s maturity in considering how to best express her appreciation to Chino.

  • The university sent out an email reminding staff that campus was to be closed at noon on Christmas Eve, so all staff have a half-day off; originally, I had been planning on using the half-day to get work done, but as I’ve been maintaining reasonable pacing, I was able to take the whole day off.

  • While handing out fliers to Fleur de Lupin on Christmas Eve, Sharo briefly imagines herself as The Little Match Girl, a Danish poem by Hans Christian Andersen about a poor girl who’s tasked with selling matches. Despite the bitterly cold conditions, she continues on pain of corporeal punishment, and eventually lights a match to keep herself warm. Though the ending is gut-wrenching, Andersen intended the story’s ending to be optimistic one, for in death, the girl’s suffering ceases.

  • GochiUsa‘s Christmas depicts various locations around town by night as the snow begins to fall. These scenes are very peaceful and show the extent that a particular place can change under different lighting and weather conditions.

  • Thus, there’s a bit of magic in seeing very familiar scenes transformed during the Silent Night; up until this point in GochiUsa, the town has largely been depicted by afternoon or evening during the spring and summer. It’s not often that an anime goes through the lengths of characterising distinct seasons, and I believe that besides GochiUsa, one of the best anime to profoundly capturing the seasons is Non Non Biyori.

  • Back at Rabbit House, Maya and Megu arrive early to find that it’s still fairly busy. They’re soon recruited to help out and do so with gusto. Cocoa, being Cocoa, finds herself struggling to stay on target once she sees the two dressed up and ready to roll for Christmas.

  • The Rabbit House Christmas Pancake special is a work of culinary art, composed of three pancakes stacked on top of one another, interspersed with layers of banana, strawberry, blueberry and whipped cream. Theres also a confectionary bunny up top (probably a pastry of some kind) and the entire creation is drizzled lightly in chocolate. Maya and Megu promise to get to work after trying one, and I remark that this pancake, if scaled up, would be worthy of a Man v. Food challenge.

  • Whereas Rabbit House is depicted to be generally quiet, it’s packed and full of life on Christmas Eve. I imagine that most of GochiUsa depicts the periods in between customers as a consequence of practical constraints (animating many moving entities can be costly) and to ensure the focus stays on the girls’ interactions.

  • I spent most of yesterday working on the Master Grade 00 Raiser, and consequently, my fingers hurt like a thousand needles, even after a much-welcomed chicken sandwich for lunch. The day before, I finished grading the iOS assignments with my supervisor, and was pleasantly surprised to see that most of the submissions were high-scoring. One team implemented an app for wait times at a restaurant, and I cannot help but wonder if Rabbit House could benefit from using this app: all they’d need is an iPad.

  • Once Sharo arrives, she despairs that she’s left one workplace to enter another. She subsequently enters the zone and begins delegating tasks to everyone, even Rize, resulting in a dramatic increase in efficiency, presumably because she most wishes to party with everyone else, and becomes willing to work harder to make their Christmas party happen sooner.

  • GochiUsa‘s first season primarily focused on making use of the setting to yield insight into Cocoa and the other girls’ lives in such a picturesque town, and consequently, everyone in the first season could be readily matched with an equivalent personality in K-On!. By season two, with the cast and setting well-established, GochiUsa capitalises on familiarity to begin exploring new directions, and consequently, the second season does feel distinctly different compared to season one.

  • Prima facie, how Cocoa’s Santa-themed party hat manages to stay on is a little bit of a puzzle, but it’s likely bound to her hairband, allowing said hat to rest at an unusual angle. I’ll drop by after the finale to GochiUsa‘s second season airs and do a full review on what the second season contributes to things. It’s actually quite substantial, and for an anime that’s about cute girls doing cute things, plenty of interesting new directions are explored.

  • I’ll save the actual review for after the finale comes out. A year ago, I was on a plane outbound for Hong Kong, and at this point in time, I think I was somewhere over the Pacific Ocean. The Taiwan/Hong Kong vacation last year was quite fun: it marks the first time I’ve traveled anywhere while on winter break, and Taiwan/Hong Kong was quite pleasant by winter. Far from being the icebox my relatives describe, it was pleasantly warm.

  • It was Christmas Day by the time our flight touched down in Taoyuan Airport, and after being whisked away to our hotel for a short sleep, we explored some of the sights in Taipei, including Taipei 101. The afternoon was spent driving through Taroko National Park, where we visited a Japanese-style town and spent the night at the Leader Hotel in the middle of the mountains. The next day, we traveled to the southern part of the island and stopped for an all-fish lunch at a restaurant underneath a massive bridge near the Yanchao district.

  • If anyone’s actually interested in hearing more about Taiwan, you can find me on Facebook or Twitter. I’m going to return to GochiUsa for the present, where, after the last of the customers pay their bills and head off for the night, the girls are finally free to begin their Christmas party, opening off with a toast. I’ve never celebrated Christmas at my workplace before, mainly because it’s a research lab with expensive computers and fancy VR technologies.

  • The closest I’ve had to a workplace Christmas party was when I visited my supervisor’s home out in the mountains two weeks ago. I’m immensely grateful the weather remained quite pleasant: we’ve got a White Christmas this year on account of snow. I included this image because it’s yet another example of how much attention is paid to detail pertaining to food. The holidays are a time for rich foods, and Christmas dinner tonight is set to include an oven-roast, bacon-wrapped scallops, jumbo garlic shrimp and fully-loaded potatoes.

  • Sharo is impressed and somewhat bewildered at the impressive array of foods as Rize prepares to carve the Cornish game hen (it’s too small to be a turkey or even a chicken). On an unrelated note, the Hibike! Euhonium and Locodol OVAs released earlier yesterday, but owing to the holiday schedule, I’ll try to get the reviews for both of those out before we get too far into 2016.

  • Aoyama and Tippy share a moment together, watching the girls enjoy their evening. I was initially hoping that GochiUsa‘s second season would have returned to Christmas, but given that we’re apparently in the middle of summer, that’s definitely not going to happen.

  • As the evening wears on, snow begins falling again. Apparently, what constitutes a “White Christmas” has a very specific definition: Christmas Day must fall on a day where there is persistent (so, more than 5mm) snow on the ground, and a “Perfect Christmas” is a special kind of White Christmas where snow is also falling.

  • Closed for the night, the Christmas Market is deserted, illuminated only by the central tree. Coupled with the snowfall and gentle music, this scene captures the sense of what a proper”Silent Night” might feel like. In Cantonese, Christmas Eve is also referred to as “平安夜”, literally translating to “Peaceful night”: the world takes on a calm on Christmas Eve, and everywhere, children find themselves struggling to fall asleep for anticipation of Santa’s arrival.

  • I shared a discussion with my supervisor a few days ago over a peppermint Mocha (I’ve finally had Mocha’s namesake, it’s sweet like a cocoa but has the distinct edge with the espresso, so my claims stand), and 2016 is going to be quite eventful. We’re kicking off the year with a pair of presentations, then I’ll have to apply for a few more conferences and journals, consider 3D printing parts of my project for augmented reality, and as I’m enrolled in his biological computations course, I’ll have a chance to build a much more sophisticated influenza simulation. For the present, though, I’ll set aside all of my work and take it easy, then resume working on my conference paper once the weekend is over.

  • Cocoa’s longed to play the role of Santa, and as she comes from a family where she’s the youngest sibling, she’s likely not had the chance to do so, with Mocha taking the helm. Thus, when presented with a chance to gift something to Chino, she seizes the opportunity, moving quietly to ensure she does not wake Chino up in the process. It turns out that Takahiro has the same idea, although his execution is rather smoother.

  • The next morning finds Rabbit House under a light dusting of snow, enough to satisfy the criterion for a white Christmas. I’ll go off-mission for a little bit and recount a story in my childhood, where I figured out that “Santa’s” handwriting looked suspiciously familiar, and the following year, “Santa” suddenly switched formats, making use of a word-processed letter. Fortunately, Santa continued to visit thereafter.

  • This marks the end of my first-ever Christmas post, and if you’ve gotten this far, I’ll again wish you a Merry Christmas. I’d love to stick around, but there’s a host of things to do today. For one, I’d like to finish building the 0 Raiser and GN Sword III, then begin making use of a shiny new 4 TB hard drive. I’ll return to do a double-posting on December 30: one for the GochiUsa finale and one for Life is Strange.

Besides a particularly well-written theme about the meaning of Christmas, GochiUsa’s Christmas episode makes extensive use of artwork to enhance the sense of festivities in and around the town where there anime is set. The details that capture the Christmas season in the episode are astounding, from the individual stands and Christmas tree of the Christmas market, to the miniature light-up Christmas village models seen in a small shop Cocoa and the others visit. Despite the cold weather, the town itself feels warm and inviting. As the hours grow later, and the last of of parties draw to a close, a gentle snowfall blankets the town, turning familiar locations into a winter wonderland. All of this imagery allows GochiUsa to depict a Victorian Christmas, of an old-fashioned town covered in snow, and folks dressed in great coats carolling under a winter’s night. Such images of Christmas have continued to endure despite concerns that the holiday has become increasingly commercialised; this demonstrates that modern Christmas institutions notwithstanding, messages of togetherness and charity so central to Christmas have endured through the ages, and while GochiUsa might be an anime, its Christmas episode ultimately succeeds in expressing the author’s own thoughts on what the true meaning of Christmas is.

Stardust Mayim Mayim: Gochuumon wa Usagi Desu Ka?? Eleventh Episode Impressions and Review

“Every fisherman knows what it’s like to be skunked and to mutter under your breath with every cast, ‘come on, a bite. Just one. Just one hit.’ To be skunked when it’s your very survival, it’s hard to take.” —Les Stroud, Survivorman

After realising that they’ve forgotten to bring any food with them on their outing into the mountains (and being unable to communicate with their driver on account of bad cell reception), the girls decide to go fishing along the river. While the others catch fish after fish, Chino is frustrated that she’s unsuccessful, growing doubly so after managing to catch one only with Cocoa’s help. A gust of wind displaces the hat Cocoa had given her, and while trying to retrieve it, she winds up on an island, requiring Rize to rescue her. In the process, Chino finds that she was able to catch a fish after all. When Chiya and Megu return from foraging for wild edibles, the girls have a water fight. Later, Chino wakes up after a terrifying nightmare, and joins the others as they roast marshmallows under a starry sky, where they make wishes upon seeing meteors. In spite of their mishaps, the girls manage to turn a difficult situation around with their easygoing attitudes, in a way that even Les Stroud might approve of. This episode again reiterates the importance of having good fishing equipment, as well as the will to live: in this case, the girls’ spirits are simply so high they manage to make the most of everything and get by just fine. However, this isn’t a Survivorman talk, and as the episodes before it, this episode has one core element to it.

The eleventh episode deals predominantly with Chino’s experiences on her first outdoor trip with her friends: having no opportunity to do so previously, she finds that it’s quite eventful and enjoys it. Chino’s interactions with Cocoa represent the culmination of twenty-two episodes and more than a year’s worth of growth. Frequently mentioned as a beacon of joyfulness in GochiUsa, Cocoa’s contributions to Chino gradually opening up to her and the others becomes most apparent in this episode, as she finally consents to hold Cocoa’s hand, and through the amount of effort she puts in to retrieve Cocoa’s hat. It’s been quite the journey to reach this point, and in contrast to the first season, Chino relents more frequently, suggesting that this is a more accurate representation of Chino’s personality than what we normally see from her. That it takes someone like Cocoa to draw out this character implies that Cocoa’s presence in GochiUsa is nontrivial: she’s the force that disrupts the status quo and acts to bring people together. Besides the growing closeness between Chino and Cocoa, this episode also provides an opportunity for Megu and Chiya to spend time with one another, continuing on the second season’s propensity to mix up the interactions between the characters to create novel scenes and moments of comedy; the eleventh episode continues to deliver consistent measures of hilarity and adorableness.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • This is the first episode that’s set outside of the small town. There are mountains near Colmar, France, but rather than the sharp-peaked mountains of GochiUsa, which resemble those of the Alps, the mountains in Colmar are a bit older, being more similar to the Appalachians of the Eastern United States. Because the settings in GochiUsa draw inspiration from so many real-world locations, it’s easier to classify as a fictional location.

  • Consequently, for folks wondering why GochiUsa and Kiniro Mosaic might not gain a crossover, this is why. Cocoa remarks that this area resembles her home, which implies that the Hoto family resides deep within the mountains. The Hoto Bakery thus brings to mind the Lake Anges Teahouse, which is located 3.5 kilometers from the more famous Lake Louise and offers tea, sandwiches and soups in addition to a beautiful view of Lake Anges.

  • En route to Rize’s cabin, the girls stop alongside a river to take in the mountain scenery. The first half of the episode is set along the river, and consequently, allows White Fox to showcase some of their skill in rendering water effects. Here, a still surface allows the river to mirror the landscapes above it, creating a pleasing effect.

  • Upon arriving at the cabin, the girls express a desire to explore and relax, but Rize learns that their cooler was not packed properly. Lacking a phone signal in the mountains, Rize is unable to call their driver, and it appears that they’re now twenty klicks from home. Although such a distance is walkable, Chino becomes visibly shaken, so Rize, Cocoa and Sharo turn their efforts towards reassuring Chino that they’ll manage.

  • Thus, face with an all-to-common predicament of having no food in Survivorman, Cocoa, Sharo, Rize, Chino and Maya decide to go fishing, while Chiya and Megu hunt for wild edibles. There’s a chainsaw in the cabin, and in any other sort of setting, a horror would unfold as some unseen threat materialises to take down the characters, one at a time, but this is GochiUsa, and so, something like this is most certainly not going to happen.

  • Despite having promised to help out, it turns out that Chino, Maya, Sharo and Cocoa have never actually fished before. Everyone is seen using bamboo poles here: these were popular from the 1870s up until the 1950s, during which fibreglass rods were introduced. Despite being quite uncommon, expert fishermen find that the rods are very smooth to use, and with proper maintenance, can last for several decades.

  • For beginners, Sharo and Cocoa perform remarkably well, reeling in fish after fish from the river. While Cocoa proposes a contest of sorts to see who can catch the most, Sharo and the others are merely content to fish until they have adequate supplies. On the other hand, Maya decides that she’s fully experienced fishing after catching just one, and is content to relax in the shade while the others continue.

  • It’s quite rare that Chiya and Megu spend time together: here, they’re gathering wild edibles, but because Megu and Chiya don’t seem to be too familiar with mushrooms, gather some wickedly poisonous ones. The general rule of thumb is to avoid mushrooms if uncertain about which species it is, since the poisonous varieties can be lethal or introduce serious illness if consumed. Consequently, the mushrooms they gather end up being forgotten.

  • Somewhat envious of the others, Chino resolves to continue fishing until she gets a bite (forming the basis for the page quote, which was taken from the Tierra del Fuego episode of Survivorman). A sudden gust knocks her hat into the river, leading her on a short chase to retrieve it. In the previous episode, Cocoa had lent her said hat, and the lengths to which Chino goes to recover it is a reflection on how she presently views Cocoa.

  • It’s absolutely adorable to watch Chino pursue the hat, in part because it’s so heart melting to see Chino get swept around by the river’s current, and upon reaching an islet, she realises she’s stranded. Thinking that Chino is signalling to them, Rize and Maya wave their arms, and eventually, Rize decides to swim over to check things out. It’s only later that Rize learns that Chino was stuck, and Cocoa plays the part of a proper older sibling her, reprimanding Chino that she’s more previous than the hat or a fish.

  • While subtle, all of the characters in GochiUsa do mature and grow in convincing ways. Much as how Chino becomes more willing to be adored, Cocoa proves that she can be responsible, too. After Chiya and Megu return, a water fight breaks out. Calling on her 1337 ballet skills, Megu boldly creates a small waterspout in the river, spraying everyone simultaneously.

  • After an eventful morning and a lunch of grilled fish, everyone lies down for a break in the early afternoon under the shade; even Rize remarks it’s okay to stop for a while to smell the roses. However, when Cocoa decides to photograph everyone, Sharo and Rize immediately go after her, and Chiya decides to snap her own photos, too. With Christmas less than a week away, I’m losing the inclination to work; my visualisation of influenza is largely complete, and all that’s left in 2015 is to wrap up a draft of the VRIC conference paper.

  • Basking under the warmth of an afternoon sun eventually leads Chino to fall asleep, and, the seniors manages to get her into a sleeping bag. Thinking to prank her, Maya and Megu convince her that their cabin was assaulted by the undead. GochiUsa is not the first to employ the unusual combination of undead and moé: Gakko Gurashi‘s entire functional premise is based around thus, and tells a rather compelling story about the implications of extreme duress on a high school student’s mind.

  • Maya and Megu manage to convince Chino that their seniors fell to the hordes of undead, and Megu fakes an infection, frightening Chino sufficiently to lead her to try and escape. It’s actually a little mean-spirited given what one is accustomed to seeing from GochiUsa, but it’s also quite amusing. The reference to ketchup is a clever callback to the first season, where Cocoa “died by ketchup” after being spurned by Chino when she’d accidentally burnt the latter while making pancakes.

  • Apparently, there is some faulty lighting and an insufficient number of beds in the cottage, leading the girls to rough it outside. While Rize’s feeling that the screwups might’ve detracted from everyone’s trip, it turns out that everyone had in fact, enjoyed it. Making use of the coffee maker that Takahiro had given her in the previous episode, Cocoa brews up a cup of Rabbit House’s in-house blend, reminding Chino of home.

  • The girls decide to stay up a bit more and play a game of sorts, eventually just spinning around the campfire at 120 Hz until the circle decays and everyone, even Rize, flies asunder. The dance they propose here, the “Mayim Mayim”, is a Hebrew dance that was created in 1937 to celebrate the discovery of water. The episode’s title takes its name from the girls performing a simplified variant of the dance under starlight. Surprisingly, Chiya manages to land without any difficulty, and again, armed with her incredibly vast knowledge of ballet, Megu keeps on spinning. The game is reminiscent of the Chinese song “氹氹轉” (lit. “spinning round”), a song that I’m rather fond of, and was used as a joke in Sam Hui’s  最佳拍檔 (“Aces go Places”), where King Kong (Sam Hui) uses the song to trick the cops into letting him go.

  • Upon seeing a shooting star, Chino makes a wish to continue to spend time with her friends. A second meteor prompts Cocoa to wish to surpass Mocha, Chiya to wish for Ama Usa An’s success and Sharo to yearn for consistently being able to put food on the table. Metallically Ironically, Rize wishes punishment on the forces responsible for throwing so many wrenches into their trip, and back at Rabbit House, Rize’s father’s drink spills for no reason. That wishes should be spoken out loud is contrary to what I was told: that wishes should be kept to oneself.

  • While having a friendly-spirited debate about whether or not the drink is on the house, Takahiro and Rize’s father challenge one another to a blow-dart contest, with Takahiro remarking that they’d once fought in the desert. Given the presence of cell phones and the characters’ approximate ages, I conclude that Takahiro must be referring to the Gulf War. It must be the middle of August at this point in time, given the number of shooting stars that are seen. The Perseids peak mid-August, and I recall seeing a fireball, plus six smaller shooting starts ovre the course of an hour when I last went to watch the meteor shower.

  • On break, Aoyama hangs out in a veranda and sees a meteor of her own, prompting Tippy to wish for Chino and the others to have a grand time. Aoyama wishes for Chino’s grandfather to speak to her through Tippy, and Tippy promptly obliges. This episode was a little strange for the end credits, which did not feature the usual ending sequence and rock paper scissors game.

  • I’ve got a Halo 2 LAN party to get to, so it’s about time for me to wrap up this post. Fortunately, this is not the end of the season; as the episode draws to a close, the others reverse the table on Cocoa, leading her into a panic (so, we can reasonably assume that the undead prank was one of Cocoa’s machinations). I’m wondering if Mocha might make a return in the next episode, and as the preview offers no insight as to what will happen, anything is go for next week’s finale. That’s pretty much it for this post; until next time, take it easy.

We’re now down to one episode remaining in GochiUsa’s second season, which means that next week will mark the end of the first series that I’ve done episodic posts about. It’s been quite surprising as to how quickly time flies by, and in the blink of an eye, an entire academic semester has passed by. In part owing to the respite that GochiUsa delivered each week, things never became too overwhelming or stressful. After a week’s of code implementation, publication and thesis work and other things associated with being a graduate student, it was most welcome to kick off the weekend with an episode of GochiUsa, relax and then resume working hard. Now that half of December over, Christmas will be here in less than a week; next week’s episode, titled “The Treasure is Your Decisive Moment”, is the finale and will be air on Boxing Day. I was in the mountains and gorges of Taroko National Park last year on Boxing Day, taking in the warm air and fish luncheons of Taiwan, but this year will be more conventional. The finale post will be a little lengthier than the episodic posts seen so far, as I will give my overall impressions of GochiUsa’s second season in addition to the episode’s contributions and if possible, a discussion of the soundtrack, as well. Consequently, the finale and whole-season review post will be tentatively set for publication on December 30, and before then, I will drop by on Christmas Day to talk briefly about how GochiUsa’s Christmas episode from the previous season seems to capture the spirit of Christmas more profoundly than most anime.