The Infinite Zenith

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Tag Archives: GochiUsa

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.

Gochuumon wa usagi desu ka?? Original Soundtrack set for release on December 25, 2015

“Where words fail, music speaks.” —Hans Christian Andersen

As the Gochuumon wa usagi desu ka? did last year, the Gochuumon wa usagi desu ka?? OST will be set for a release on Christmas Day of this year. Retailing for 2700 yen (roughly 30.71 CAD at the time of writing), this soundtrack will feature one disk with thirty-nine tracks from the second season. Insofar, GochiUsa‘s second season has been a solid offering, consistently finding new ways to allow the characters to interact with one another, and making use of different combinations to give rise to new experiences for everyone. This has been at the forefront of all GochiUsa discussion, so other aspects (such as the soundtrack) have fallen by the wayside as the series progressed. I’ve remarked here and there that there are some new pieces that can be heard in GochiUsa‘s second season, such as a piano version of “It’s Kilimanjaro” and an upbeat piece that plays during the start of several episodes. Older songs, such as “Aoyama’s circumstances” and “Telling a Story” also make a return, but the new tracks add aural diversity to GochiUsa, allowing the anime to project more emotions to better fit in with some of the new moments that arise as a result of different character interactions.

GochiUsa2OST

  • The cover art for the second season’s soundtrack looks amazing, taking on the same artistic style as it did for the first season’s soundtrack. This time, a younger Cocoa and Mocha are depicted in front of the Hoto family bakery, a family-owned business that produces some excellent baked goods.

As is usual for posts of this sort, I’ve made an effort to translate all of the track names into English so that the songs are more easy to recall. Some of the translation conventions were chosen such that they sound more natural in English. The choice to leave onee-chan untranslated in track two results from the fact that the song’s title is probably spoken by Cocoa or Mocha in the third person (functionally, “leave it to me”), and while this would sound awkward in English (“leave it to [older] sister!”), it works for Japanese, as younger speakers often refer to themselves in the third person. For track thirteen, “可憐” has two possible meanings; although referring to a wretched or piteous state, in this context, it can mean “sweet”. GochiUsa is a happy-go-lucky sort of anime, so the latter would be more appropriate as a song name. Track twenty-two is given as “challenge” rather than “game” given how its utilised in GochiUsa, typically when Cocoa is challenging with someone whenever the topics of little sisters is mentioned. I’m quite uncertain as to how track twenty-four should be translated: “覚悟” simply is “resolute”, and “しろ” is white. The inclusion of the Sokuon (i.e. small tsu) throws things off, but I imagine that it’s used here as a glottal stop to suddenly terminate articulation, indicating surprise or anger. Thus, the track itself might be referring to Tippy’s determination in storming Ama Usa An, which results in how I ultimately translate it.

Tracklist

  1. 木組みの街〜雪解けと春のはじまり (Timber-framed town, the spring thaw begins)
  2. おねえちゃんにまかせなさ〜い! (Leave it to onee-chan!)
  3. Rabbit’s Time
  4. しょうがないですね (It’s not ginger)
  5. あんこの夢〜甘兎へようこそ☆☆ (Anko’s Dream – Welcome to the Sweet Rabbit☆☆)
  6. ちょっとむずかしいです (It’s a little difficult)
  7. 〆切は苦手です〜 (The deadline is difficult)
  8. 大好きな笑顔 (Beloved smile)
  9. Eyecatch〜hop!〜
  10. もふもふとご満悦 (Blissful cuddling)
  11. モカの温もり (Mocha’s warmth)
  12. お嬢様の昼下がり (The Princesses’ Afternoon)
  13. 可憐な乙女心 (The lovely maiden’s feelings)
  14. ノーポイッ!〜solo piano ver.〜 (No-Poi! piano version)
  15. おやすみ前のラテアート (Latte art before a good night)
  16. えーとえーと、、あれれ? (Umm, umm, what?)
  17. 困ったなあ (Troubled)
  18. 眩しい光 (Dazzling Light)
  19. 後ろに気をつけろ!! (Watch your rear!!)
  20. ピンチ!! (Pinch!!)
  21. 焙煎しすぎてしまった…!! (The roasting was messed up!!)
  22. 勝負!! (Challenge!!)
  23. 突撃!! (Onslaught!!)
  24. 覚悟しろっ (A resolute white)
  25. 白鳥のパ・ド・ドゥ (Swan’s Pas de deux)
  26. Un, deux, trois (One, two, three!)
  27. トゥシューズの夢物語 (Dreaming of the toe-shoes)
  28. Eyecatch〜café〜
  29. Rabbit House〜BAR TIME
  30. ときめきポポロン♪〜solo guitar ver.〜 (Tokimeki poporon ♪ Guitar version)
  31. 焼きたての香りに包まれて (Wrapped in a freshly-baked scent)
  32. さあはじまるよ! (Now, let’s begin!)
  33. 陽だまりの優しさ (The gentle sunlight)
  34. 秘めた想い (Hidden feelings)
  35. 琥珀色のロマンス (Amber-coloured romance)
  36. 懐かしい安らぎ (Peaceful nostalgia)
  37. ちょっぴりほろ苦さ (A little bittersweet)
  38. またのお越しを〜店主より, long ver. (Another visit – shopkeeper, long version)
  39. またのお越しを〜店主より, short ver. (Another visit – shopkeeper, short version)

  • I imagine that, with only one disk and thirty-nine tracks, the individual songs will probably average anywhere from 1:30 to 2:00 minutes in length. Despite being on the shorter side, the tracks from the first season’s soundtrack were able to capture the mood of a moment within its short running time. This is reflected in the page quote: the background music enhances the atmosphere in GochiUsa through the gentler pieces on the soundtrack.

I reiterate that these translations are probably only approximations at best, although they should at the minimum, make it easier to quickly identify the songs. There are only two more episodes left in GochiUsa’s second season, and the previous episode concluded with the girls making their way into the mountains for a summer retreat. The final two songs on the soundtrack suggest that there might be a possibility that where they’re headed might be close in proximity to the Hoto Bakery. If so, this will be an excellent way to end the second season, but at present, this remains purely within the realm of speculation. Whether or not this holds true, I’m looking forwards to this soundtrack: the music in GochiUsa, though often passed over in most discussion, contributes substantially to the anime’s atmosphere: in the first season, the presence of gentle piano and flute pieces, in conjunction with French-sounding elements reinforces the notion of an incredibly peaceful, relaxing setting. I imagine that the second season’s soundtrack will appropriately reflect on the new character dynamics that have been possible now that everyone’s role in GochiUsa has been well-established.

A Day in Search of E: Gochuumon wa Usagi Desu Ka?? Tenth Episode Impressions and Review

“When you acknowledge the integrity of your solitude, and settle into its mystery, your relationships with others take on a new warmth, adventure and wonder.” —John O’Donohue

The Christmas holidays approach, but things are presently very busy, with a pair of lab tours scheduled for the upcoming week, and besides the conference paper, I also need to implement a simulation of influenza infection, as well as add a new mechanism to the Giant Walkthrough Brain for AR. On top of that, there’s still the matter of Christmas shopping; consequently, I am most grateful that it’s Saturday, which means the tenth episode of GochiUsa has aired. This episode, Sharo and Rize are asked to help out with various clubs around their high school, learning in the process of an alumni who was somewhat of a polymath and was able to help out numerous clubs during her time as a student. Known only as Emerald, Rize and Sharo ask the sewing and blowdart clubs for help, eventually learning that said alumni was a student named Midori. The pieces fit together: when Aoyama is trying to evade her editor, who’s on her tail about a delayed submission, it’s inadvertently disclosed to Cocoa and Chino that Aoyama’s real name is Midori. Later, during her day off, Chino becomes engrossed in building a ship-in-a-bottle, and the others are busy with various things, leading Cocoa to become disappointed when no one’s available to spend the day with her. Dismayed that everyone readily takes up Rize’s invitation for an event, she declines a trip to the mountains and upon learning that Cocoa neglected to read her invitation, Chino does her best to convince Cocoa to join them.

Divided evenly into two sections with a short intermission, GochiUsa’s tenth episode first illustrates life at the prestigious academy that Rize and Sharo attend; it’s as Maya and the others have imagined, being a top-tier academy with the best gear. This part of the episode allows Rize and Sharo’s life at school to be depicted, and although Sharo’s feelings towards Rize have never been subtle, curiously enough, the two have not been given too much screen-time to show how they interact in Cocoa and the others’ absence. It turns out that, despite her admiration for Rize, Sharo herself is surprisingly capable in various things, and this does not go unnoticed: Rize compliments Sharo whenever she notices. As such, this first section shows that Rize and Sharo are definitely compatible as friends, giving an idea into how their days might go when they’re not working or hanging out. The episode’s second half quietly solves the mystery of who Emerald is, and transitions into Cocoa’s failed efforts to spend time with her friends on a day off. This provides Chino with yet another opportunity to express the side of her personality she’s normally hesitant of exhibiting: that she’s willing to act more akin to a little sister to coax Cocoa into coming with everyone illustrates just how much her outlook of Cocoa has changed since the beginning of GochiUsa. While Mocha may be viewed as the catalyst who accelerated Chino’s opening up to Cocoa, Chino had already shown signs of warming up to Cocoa back during the first season, illustrating the sort of impact that Cocoa imparts on the atmosphere in GochiUsa: it’s mentioned that Cocoa’s main contribution is that she’s able to make everything fun.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • Up until now, only glimpses of Rize and Sharo’s school have been shown; this episode finally illustrates a bit more about life at said institute, showing that even in a town as quaint and small as theirs, there’s always something new to explore. Audiences have seen Cocoa and Chiya’s school, as well: it’s more similar to a Japanese high school relative to Rize and Sharo’s school, which may account for why events there aren’t often shown.

  • Rize and Sharo’s school apparently have an equestrian and blow-dart club, and more curiously, Rize’s natural talents make her highly coveted amongst her peers, as they try to recruit her into their respective clubs. Above, I mention polymathy, which is derived off the Greek for “(having) learned much”: it refers to individuals who are highly skilled with a wide range of fields, from the intellectual and artistic to physical: they have the depth to go with breadth. It’s somewhat related to being a jack of all trades, master of none, where one is reasonably competent with many things but is not an expert at any one thing, and I’ve been told that I’m “周身刀,無張利” (lit. “knives all over, none of which are sharp”) for likewise being capable with most of the things I pick up, without ever excelling at any one.

  • Sharo longs for Rize’s feelings to be reciprocated, and after demonstrating a hitherto hidden talent for blow-darts, Rize interlocks fingers with her in amazement, as she herself failed to nail any of the targets. Rize agrees to play against the club during their hunt for one “E”, an alumni who was a jack-of-all-trades and was said to have helped numerous clubs to succeed. As Sharo manages to win, the club’s member agrees to disclose that “E” was Midori, although who she is remains a mystery to Sharo and Rize.

  • Though yearning for another shot with the blow-darts, Sharo drags Rize away, saying that their mission is complete. The single ponytail suits Rize rather nicely: like Haruhi‘s Kyon, I’m rather fond of ponytails for reasons I can’t quite rationalise. I remark that in all of my GochiUsa posts, I’ve been romanising Sharo’s name with an “h” rather than as Syaro:  “Syaro” is technically correct, as it’s what the official documentation states, but force of habit means I’ll continuing using my romanisation.

  • This past week’s been quite busy: I attended a raclette party last Friday with some friends, then had an opportunity to watch 007 Spectre on Sunday after dim sum for lunch. It’s more formulaic in the sense of execution, and some transitions were a bit jagged, but on the whole, it was a fun movie that brought back elements from classic 007 films, including car gadgets, an intimidating henchman and Ernest Stavro Blofeld himself, complete with scar and a Turkish Angora.

  • This week, I spent most of my time touching up my conference paper and began working on my influenza model. Around midweek, one of my colleagues had his PhD defense, and in the upcoming week, I have a pair of presentations to help with. Things are definitely gearing up even though the year’s ending, but I’ve also looked ahead and have tried to schedule things so that I can achieve a reasonable life-work balance: besides my thesis work, I aim to finish Life is Strange and Battlefield: Hardline before the year ends, as well as watch some movies and take the time to read H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine.

  • The Blue Mountain coffee is something that I tried only because of GochiUsa, and in it, I found a earthy, nutty-flavoured coffee that goes quite well with egg tarts. I find myself amazed at the seemingly infinite array of coffees and teas that are available whenever I go to a café: I can tell different teas apart without too much difficulty, but with coffee, I’m more unfamiliar. While serving Aoyama, a frustrated individual enters Rabbit House.

  • It turns out this is Aoyama’s editor, the same hapless kouhai who is ever-exasperated at Aoyama’s casual disregard for deadlines. She reveals that Aoyama’s given name is Midori, (緑, “Green”); audiences will immediately connect the pieces and realise that Aoyama is the jack-of-all-trades who once attended the same school as Rize and Sharo. Moreover, her editor would be the junior who kept Aoyama in the literature club.

  • Unlike Aoyama, I can’t afford to be this casual about deadlines: it’s quite adorable of how Aoyama attempts to drown out her editors’ protests, pretending her problems don’t exist, but she’s soon dragged off into the sunset. In reality, deadlines exist because things need to happen in a timely fashion: once they’re done, they’re done. As a TA, I try to be lenient and, while I won’t allow students to submit assignments after a deadline, I will allow them to resubmit if any issues arise that prevent me from fairly grading them.

  • This is me with a Gundam model kit, true story. Chino’s a huge fan of puzzles and individual activities, and has a bottle ship lined up for her day off. I build Gundam models, and over the summer, I assembled an HGUC RGM-89S Stark Jegan. There’s an MG 00 Raiser I have in storage right now: I bought it last December but never built it on account of being in Taiwan. I’m planning to build this during the winter break, and will hopefully finish before the New Year arrives.

  • I don’t get very many days off, but when I do, I use them to both get a bit of work done and relax a bit. Working from home confers the advantage of a bleeding-fast computer for graphics and game engines, as well as shaving forty minutes off my commute, but I lack a second screen at home, and armed with my incredibly vast library of awesome games, also presents the possibility for distractions. The conflicting forces results in my getting enough work done to not feel guilty when I load up a game.

  • It’s difficult to not feel bad for Cocoa when all of her friends remark that they’re busy: this happens to me on some occasions, and it can be quite disheartening, so when Cocoa finds that everyone is unavailable, I completely empathise. With that being said, it’s more a matter of bad luck more than anything: even I have coordinated several events with more than one attendee previously.

  • Cocoa gives off a similar semblance as that of a baby rabbit under some circumstances. GochiUsa does feature actual rabbits, but I find that, given the character dynamics in the anime, watching this anime is equivalent to watching rabbits frolic on YouTube on the basis that both experiences are immensely cathartic. This is why I rarely have any criticisms about anime that fall under the “cute girls doing cute things” subgenre; if it succeeds in taking my mind off something stressful, then the anime has done its job.

  • Earlier (i.e. where I mention Spectre), Rize was sending out some invitations for a mountain retreat. Today, I was invited to a Christmas party at my supervisor’s home out in the mountains and sat down to a delicious Trinidad-style lunch (flatbread with beef stew, prawns, pumpkin, eggplant and spinach), followed by tiramisu, fruit cups, and Turtle tea (a black tea with almond, sunflower, calendula petals, butterscotch chips and a hint of chocolate). It’s been quite some time since I’ve been there for a get-together, and this time, I was driving (previously, I got a ride with some of my colleagues at the lab). I took a wrong turn and wound up at a dead end, but was extricated by the Maps.me app, which allows users to preload maps onto their iPhone and use Core Location to map one’s location. Thanks to Maps.me, I was able to find my destination without any further difficulties.

  • By the time I got back home, a heavy fog had rolled in, and it’s only thickened since, so I’m glad I left while there was still light. Back in GochiUsa, under the impression that she’s not invited and thus, unwanted, Cocoa rage-quits. The colours in this scene seem less saturated, more subdued probably as a consequence of the lighting: it’s early morning, and it appears that the sun’s light is probably being scattered by suspended water droplets. On a winter day in my city, the presence of ice crystals scatter the light so things become whiter, and on days where the air is dry, sunlight takes on a more golden hue.

  • As of season two, GochiUsa‘s brought out Cocoa’s raspier, Bat-Bale voice on more than one occasion, typically, whenever she’s upset. It’s a new side to Cocoa’s character that we never saw from the first season, and so, while season one might present Cocoa as a happy-go-lucky, ever-cheerful girl who brightens up the environment around her, the second season accentuates the fact that Cocoa is also subject to jealousy owing to her experiences and consequently, becomes more plausible as a character.

  • It takes a surprising amount of effort to coax Cocoa out, and ultimately, it’s Chino who manages to succeed, although how much of this can be attributed to Chino will be left as an exercise to the viewer: it is entirely possible that Cocoa was merely packing, her feelings of jealousy already forgotten when offered an opportunity for adventure with her friends, and that she’s merely buying enough time to finish packing.

  • I neglected to mention this in the previous post, but the GochiUsa soundtrack for the second season will be releasing on Christmas Day, as it did last year. The cover art features the Hoto Bakery, and there are thirty-nine new tracks. I’ll be hopping on the translation of the track names in the near future; it’s become something of a tradition for me to translate the song names for the soundtracks that I look forwards to.

  • Some audience members wonder why Cocoa is capable of solving crosswords as quickly as she does after she confiscates one from Chino, in the hopes of encouraging the latter to enjoy the outdoors more. Armed with my incredibly vast knowledge of history (or at least, sufficient knowledge of history to bring this up!), I draw a comparison between Cocoa and some of the cryptographers from Bletchley Park, the latter of whom were recruited based on the proficiency in solving exceptionally difficult crosswords. The rationale is that an efficient crossword solver must be capable of spotting patterns from clues quickly, which corresponded with spotting patterns in German Enigma transmissions. This ties in with Cocoa, whose been presented as being quite gifted with mathematics and pattern-finding. Consequently, there should be no surprises that Cocoa can nail crosswords with this level of efficiency.

  • I’ll wrap this post up with a shot of the mountains, and remark that I’m presently 6-1-2-1 in my rock-paper-scissors: I played scissors and promptly tied Chino. Depending on the timing this week, I will aim to get a short impressions post on Kimi no Na Wa, Makoto Shinkai’s latest film (set for release in August 2016) and a talk on The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan‘s Pavane for a Dead Princess, exploring why that song might have been selected as Yuki’s leitmotif for the anime, in addition to the aforementioned translation of GochiUsa‘s second season OST.

The girls roll towards the mountains as the credits roll, so I’m wondering if the next episode will be the first time where we’ll get to see some of the areas surrounding the town in GochiUsa. If this is the case, it’ll be a fine opportunity to depict more of the outdoors: most of GochiUsa has been spent indoors, and reflecting this, Chino is very much an indoors-person, preferring her puzzles and models over outdoor activities. Spending time outside, doing summer activities is a fine way of capitalising on the warm summer weather, and consequently, such an episode could be quite nice. With that being said, if there was any ambiguity before, it is plainly still summer in GochiUsa, which ends my hopes to see another Christmas episode. Granted, it will be a little strange to see summer activities with Christmas approaching, but in the previous season of GochiUsa, I watched the Christmas episode shortly after Canada Day during the depths of summer, when the days are long and the weather warm. So, the disconnect is not too substantial, and either way, it will be interesting to see what next week’s episode, titled “Stardust Mayim Mayim”, will entail. I do not believe I have anything major planned for the upcoming Saturday, so posting should return to a more normal schedule for the upcoming, penultimate episode.

The Furball Launches a Suicide Attack and a Cruel Button is Fired: Gochuumon wa Usagi Desu Ka?? Impressions and Review at the ¾ Mark

“The ultimate victory in competition is derived from the inner satisfaction of knowing that you have done your best and that you have gotten the most out of what you had to give.” — Howard Cosel

With the ninth episode, we’ve reached the three-quarters milestone on GochiUsa. The episode’s title suggests something a bit darker than what one might be expecting, but the end result is unsurprisingly fluffy and entertaining: after learning about the rivalry between Rabbit House and Ama Usa An, Chino falls into melancholy, so Cocoa and Rize take the initiative to learn what really happened. They stumble across an old menu and learn that there was a collaboration between the two cafés long ago, resulting in the creation of new menu items (such as the coffee anmitsu and coffee youkan) that hybridised Western and Japanese styles. While attempting to figure out Rabbit House’s menu, Sharo inadvertently causes Chiya to create ever-fanciful names for Ama Usa An’s menu to keep ahead. The episode’s title stems from Tippy’s determination to storm Ama Usa An, although this is resolved peacefully, with Chino and Chiya resolving to run their respective cafés to the best of their ability. Later, Chino takes up a temporary job at Ama Usa An as part of her middle school’s curriculum, and Chiya is overjoyed to be working with someone. Acting on Chino’s suggestion, she tries to convince Sharo to join, but winds up trying Fleur Lupin’s uniform and displacing a button when it turns out the size was inappropriate, much to Sharo’s envy.

Rivalries amongst businesses form the bulk of the discussion for this episode, which ultimately returns to a recurring theme in GochiUsa. I’m no entrepreneur, but I nonetheless recognise the significance of competition; this competition eventually drives progress, as companies and businesses strive to offer new and improved products and services to differentiate themselves from the rest. This forms the basis for capitalism: market forces drive businesses to improve their craft to fulfill the customer’s expectations, and the trend should move towards superior products and services. This is an idealised abstraction of capitalism, but sufficient for GochiUsa shows that the rivalry between Rabbit House and Ama Usa An is really quite trivial: individuals desiring Western-style beverages and refreshments will find it at Rabbit House, while Japanese-style beverages and refreshments is Ama Usa An’s speciality. Both cafés have their own unique points, and so, while they might be competitors, their rivalry is ultimately one that is (relatively) cordial, rather than anything serious; Chino and Chiya’s concerns about it being more serious are a bit of an overestimation, feeling that it is their duty to rectify things. However, it turns out that they did not have the full story, and so, the resolution was rather simple. In the process, the girls have yet another adventure within their town: GochiUsa continues to excel at depicting seemingly complex problems as ultimately having a relatively straightforward answer, and moreover, the right individual in the right place (in this case, Cocoa) can settle disputes spanning years.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • Another Saturday, another post on GochiUsa, and another bit of praise from my end as I find myself impressed at the second season’s versatility: Chino has had, insofar, very little time alone with Chiya. This episode rectifies that to show that everyone’s known one another long enough, and well enough to keep the show going on sheer virtue of their own interactions; uncomfortable silences are rare in GochiUsa.

  • While visiting Sharo to learn more about Ama Usa An’s rivalry with Rabbit House, Cocoa suggests interrogation to get the intel out of Sharo. Sharo’s imagination immediately goes into overdrive, and although it’s amusing that she imagines Rize to entice her into talking, taken out of context, this image can be disquieting. I remark depicting disturbing things in a light-hearted fashion is something that GochiUsa has been able to pull off time and time again: the last two fictional interrogations that stand out for me in the disturbing department is John Clark’s torture at Valentin Kovalenko’s hands in Tom Clancy’s Locked On, and Blazkowicz’s application of a chainsaw to force some information out of Friedrich Keller.

  • These things are not suited for a GochiUsa talk, where the most amount of violence we’ve seen so far is Sharo beating herself over the head with a metal pan in a desperate bid to remember what had happened with Chiya during her childhood regarding Ama Usa An.

  • Some words from Aoyama about coffee anmitsu (a coffee-flavoured jelly dessert served with a sweet syrup) being served at Rabbit House eventually leads Sharo to remember an event from her childhood, but ultimately, seemingly does not lead them any close to solving the mystery of just how deeply-seated the rivalry between Rabbit House and Ama Usa An is.

  • Thus far, we’ve not seen Rize and Chino as small children. Here, Sharo recalls a time when Chiya drags her along to visit Rabbit House with the intent of figuring out their menu; the names of coffee sound rather exotic to Chiya, and she decides to spruce up Ama Usa An’s own menu items, resulting in her present-day tendencies to draft particularly poetic names for Ama Usa An’s offerings.

  • Rize and Cocoa reminisce about how they first met after Rize mentions that her father and another soldier became friends following a successful operation: the other soldier eventually retired and became a bartender, so there’s a slight possibility that this might be Takahiro. With that being said, that Rize’s father is a former soldier suggests that the universe of GochiUsa is not as idyllic as one might think (or perhaps a war was fought many years ago for their present-day liberty).

  • Upon returning to Rabbit House, Cocoa and Rize wonder where Tippy’s gotten. After Rize wonders if Tippy’s gone to launch a one-man attack on Ama Usa An, they see Tippy fired up, ready to make pieces with Ama Usa An and giving rise to the episode’s name. Despite being in rabbit form, Tippy’s determination is incredible, and he single-handedly charges out of Rabbit House, ready to take things to the next level.

  • My heart melts whenever Chino calls out Tippy’s name; for the briefest of moments, Minase Inori sheds Chino’s monotone voice and lets in a slightly more natural voice. It’s equally rare to see Tippy with this many lines in GochiUsa, and his battle-cries are hilarious. In the ensuing chaos, it appears that the writers may have forgotten about Cocoa and Rize not knowing about Tippy’s state: while it’s understandable that Chino is aware, it’s a little strange that Cocoa and Rize go along with things, too.

  • While Chiya’s grandmother does not come out to challenge Tippy, Chiya summons a bokken and accepts Tippy’s challenge, although how Tippy reasonably expects to attack is unexplained, furthering the hilarity. The aura is so intense that it reminds me of the final duel between Char and Amuro; while GochiUsa might be relaxing, the second season capitalises on setting up and executing some rather ridiculous situations for comedy.

  • Before things can really escalate, Chino restrains Tippy and apologises for the trouble that’s been caused. This past week was somewhat crazy; I had the king of all headaches on Wednesday while sitting through the iOS class’ presentations, and I’ve also managed to finish the conference paper’s first draft. I’m over the word count right now, so it’ll need to be trimmed, and once that’s done and proofread, I’ll pass it to my supervisor for additional proofing. Besides that, I will also aim to finish a multi-agent simulation of a biological virus, beat Life is StrangeSniper Elite II and Battlefield: Hardline. In short, December’s going to be packed.

  • Later, after Cocoa mentions the coffee anmitsu, Chiya pulls out an older menu that showcases some of Ama Usa An’s old offerings, in turn revealing that Rabbit House and Ama Usa An once participated in collaborative projects to improve their customer-base. Chino’s melancholy wanes once she learns that the supposed feud between Rabbit House and Ama Usa An might have been blown out of proportion, and Chiya is thankful that Cocoa’s come, befriending everyone and even defusing a years-long dispute between the two cafés.

  • Later, Chino is seen working at Ama Usa An for a school project. It turns out that the kimono she’s wearing was intended for Sharo, but Chiya never summoned up the courage to ask Sharo to work at Ama Usa An. That it is blue, Chino’s colour, appears to be a happy coincidence.

  • Back at Rabbit House, Maya’s working with Cocoa and Rize for her project. Maya remarks that Rabbit House is a relatively relaxed place to work in, and when Rize suggests that they ought to make her work harder, Maya manages to manipulate Cocoa into trying to convince Rize otherwise. Maya has an older brother who’s not made an appearance thus far in GochiUsa, so her mannerisms are quite credible.

  • Aoyama’s yuri tendencies come out full-force, full-throttle as she tries to catch a glimpse under Sharo’s skirt, leading her to try and keep Megu safe. Megu remarks that she picked Fleur Lupin because she admires Sharo’s spirit; while Fleur Lupin initially gives the impression of being a little more provocative than Ama Usa An or Rabbit House, it’s actually an inviting teahouse with an array of herbal teas.

  • Watching Chiya’s grandmother tear down Chino was a little disheartening to watch in both cases, but it’s likely that she’s simply not good with words, which would account for why she and Chino’s grandfather did not get along well. From the few scenes we’ve seen of Chino’s grandfather prior to his passing, he appears to be hardworking and down-to-earth; his rivalry with Chiya’s grandmother therefore would have likely started over miscommunication and subsequently escalated.

  • While Chiya intended to convince Sharo to try working at Ama Usa An for a short period, she winds up giving Sharo the impression that she’d like to work at Fleur Lupin, leading Sharo to bring a Fleur Lupin Uniform for her to try out. Chiya remarks that Sharo knowing of her desire for company at Ama Usa An is sufficient, and is content to prance around in the uniform. Watching Sharo and Chiya’s interactions, Chino

  • I don’t do fanservice screenshots very often, but this one was fun to include. Earlier, I tried applying some first year physics into calculating the amount of force required to accelerate a one-gram button such that it would fly one meter without any deviation in its flight-path due to gravity, and deflect off Sharo with enough momentum to continue flying for at least 1.5 seconds after. The end calculations find that the shirt is under a fair bit of strain to be able to launch the button that far, and I’m not answering any more questions.

  • After Chino messages Cocoa about spending more time at Ama Usa An to have dinner with Chiya and Sharo, Cocoa’s jealousy kicks in: she compensates by sending a photograph of her with Maya and Rize, leading Chino to smile.

  • There aren’t very many scenes set outdoors this episode, but earlier, when Cocoa and Rize were on break, careful inspection of the scenery shows that the trees are still green. At my latitude, trees start yellowing in early to mid-September, so that means this episode must still be set in the summer. I’m holding out hope that we’ll get a Christmas episode for the finale featuring everyone (including Mocha), although regardless of whether or not this happens, I am confident that the ending will be meaningful.

  • Oppai envy strikes Sharo hard, and she chases around Chiya in frustration. That’s pretty much it for this week’s episode, and this time, I leave the episode with yet another victory over Chimame-tai in rock paper scissors. With a record of 6-1-1-1, I’m on a neat little killstreak, and as mentioned during the second episode discussion, I’ll be discussing rock-paper-scissors after the finale’s aired to see how long it’d take machine learning techniques to pick up on Chimame-tai’s pattern, as well as whether or not their pattern can be considered to be truly random.

We’re now moving into GochiUsa’s final quarter, and with three episodes left before this excellent season comes to an end, I’m honestly impressed that GochiUsa has consistently found ways to keep things refreshing each and every episode in making use of different character combinations, allowing them to interact with one another without the other characters’ influences. Thus, while the setting’s remained constant, it’s the characters that really breathe life to the town, illustrating that the place is less relevant than the characters’ experiences. The town’s unique setting allowed season one to give a new take on familiar characters and jokes, and capitalising on well-established characters, the second season successfully creates new dynamics amongst the characters to bring them into the spotlight, even though only one new character has been introduced. If this continues to hold, the final three episodes will continue to offer top-tier comedy set in a idyllic town hailing back to a more peaceful age, so I’m definitely looking forward to what next week’s episode entails, even if the title offers very little insight as to what will actually go down. On that note, next week’s review is going to be delayed somewhat: I was invited for luncheon with lab members at my supervisor’s residence, which means driving out to Canmore. I’m hoping that the weather remains nice, as that will make the drive rather more pleasant, and will aim to get a review out on Sunday.

Sneaking Stalking Stalker Story: Gochuumon wa Usagi Desu Ka?? Eighth Episode Impressions and Review

“Dominic did not need to be reminded, terrorists did not often make it fifty-eight years on this earth by being oblivious to men following them. El Daboussi knew every countersurveillance trick in the book, he knew these streets like the back of his hand, and he had friends here in the government and the police and the intelligence agencies. A hard target, indeed.” — Exerpt from Tom Clancy’s Locked On

With a new academic term arriving, Chiya reveals to Sharo that she and Cocoa were involved in a dispute, since Cocoa seemingly is unaware of the fact that moving up a year entails a possibility of being separated in their classes. Sharo subsequently visits Rize and Chino for advice, and accompanies the two on a shopping trip to a local stationary shop, where they pick up matching pens. Encountering Chiya later, they accompany her to the park where she’s supposedly to settle things with Cocoa, and it turns out that Cocoa’s mind was on something quite separate. With Rize and Chiya, Sharo helps Chiya and Cocoa see that being separated into different classes won’t really change their friendship. Later, struggling to decide which high school she’d like to attend, Maya speaks with Rize, but finds themselves sidetracked when Rize is under the impression that Maya wishes to learn some tradecraft. They follow Aoyama around, who herself is tailing Sharo for story ideas, and wind up themselves being followed by Chino and Megu, who are in turn being followed by Cocoa and Chiya. Maya eventually finds time to tell Rize her concerns, and Rize reassures her that separation does not mean that preclude friendship. So, the main theme in the eighth episode is that friendship transcends spatial barriers; it’s a common enough theme in anime, and in GochiUsa, it’s easy enough to forget that everyone attends different schools because they spend so much time outside of classes together. So, Rize and Sharo spend a majority of this episode reminding the others (and the viewers) of the fact that everyone needn’t be attending the same school to be friends, and moreover, it shouldn’t be too surprising that everyone is quite close to one another in spite of attending different schools.

Though the theme of friendship carries over to the entire episode, the second half is more comedy-driven and lends its events to the episode’s title. Rize’s misunderstanding of Maya’s request lead them to tail Aoyama and figure out her daily routine. Tailing is typically done to obtain information about a target’s habits and patterns, such that additional action (such as determining when they’re away from home to break in and install listening devices) might be taken. It’s featured quite commonly in Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan Junior series, where members of the Campus go around the world to clandestinely eliminate threats to the United States. A typical operation involves following a target around to learn of the target’s patterns, although as Jack Ryan Junior and the other Campus operatives learn, their targets often are well-versed in counter-surveillance measures. More senior members of the Campus, such as John Clark and Domino Chavez, can operate to throw off even these measures, but back in GochiUsa, one would not reasonably expect girls in middle school and high school to employ similar techniques. Thus, the eighth episode’s second half offers a refreshingly light-hearted take on what is otherwise a tense, suspenseful activity: Tom Clancy’s passages are riveting, but watching the girls go about doing things in their own way is cathartic. Nothing’s really at stake, and so, even if the girls are probably failing every surveillance and counter-surveillance measure in the Campus handbook for tradecraft, it’s simply relaxing to watch the girls do things at their own pace. That each team is blissfully unaware that they themselves are being tailed is icing on the cake. The quality of the writing is apparent in this episode; while the second half might be focused on tradecraft, the episode as a whole remains very focussed: Maya manages to voice her fears about being separated from her friends to Rize, who in turn, offers useful advice for her, helping Maya alleviate her doubts.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • Because questions will be asked if I began the post with an image of a tearful Chiya, I’ll kick off this week’s discussion with an image of Sharo’s home. After preparing her uniform for classes, she notices Chiya staring through her window. Note the presence of Wild Geese’s home left of the front door: while Sharo’s not fully over her fear of rabbits, she’s a little more accommodating for Wild Geese, and similarly, Wild Geese seems fond of Sharo, fetching her polished school shoes for her.

  • While Sharo (and by extension, the audience) might prima facie be anticipating something a little more serious when Chiya mentions a fight between her and Cocoa, the actual scope and severity of the situation is par the course for GochiUsa. Such reactions might be considered inordinate given the circumstances, but consider that Chiya reaction also shows that she deeply values her friendship with Cocoa.

  • Tippy enjoys a herbal tea at the Fleur Lupin while Rize and Chino listen to Sharo’s concerns. It’s rare to see him this relaxed, and it appears that he is rather fond of the tea served at Fleur Lupin. Fleur Lupin is French for “Flower Rabbit”, appropriately reflecting on the café’s specialisation in herbal teas. Both Fleur and Lupin are characters from J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter: the former is a participant in the Tri-Wizard Tournament in the fourth novel who later marries Bill Weasley, and the latter is a Defense Against the Dark Arts instructor who was friends with James Potter.

  • There’s a delightful tea house in Canmore, called Communitea Café that serves a variety of teas, sandwiches and pastries. Located at the corner of 10th Street and 6th Avenue, I first visited back during 2010 with the lab, and I returned during 2013 with my family. While this is still a ways off, I plan on making another trip to the Communitea Café to finish my thesis. At present, I’ve got a fair bit of the first two chapters done, and will soon need to direct my attention to the implementation and implications of my project.

  • Back-to-school shopping is a yearly event for families as students gear up for another year of classes, and for the most part, occurs in September as summer draws to a close. Each year, the news presents stories of how families spend a comparable amount of money during back-to-school sales as they do during Christmas. Back in the day, my back-to-school shopping entailed getting new paper, notebooks and pencil lead: besides the TI-84 I got for high school, I averaged around less than 30 dollars per year on stationary: presumably, most of the expenses incurred arise from new clothing, which is brutally expensive.

  • Chino, Rize and Sharo pick up matching pens matching their colours, but also some items unique to their personalities: Chino picks a writing board adorned by Angora rabbits, Rize opts to buy a grenade-shaped eraser and Sharo finds notebooks on discount. With more than half of GochiUsa‘s second season having elapsed, each of the characters’ personalities are firmly established; even in the absence of new characters, giving different characters opportunities to interact with one another adds new dimensions to GochiUsa.

  • As the sun sets, Rize, Sharo and Chino run into Chiya, who’s received an intimidating message from Cocoa. It’s read in the same voice that Cocoa wielded in the previous episode, when, jealous that Rize was vying for Chino’s attention, she challenged her to a showdown. Ayane Sakura demonstrates her versatility quite well in GochiUsa: she’s capable of playing bubbly and cheerful characters (such as Vividred Operation‘s Akane Isshiki and Non Non Biyori‘s Natsumi Koshigaya), as well as more mature, serious-sounding individuals (Kantai Collection‘s Nagato and Charlotte‘s Nao Toumor).

  • With their misunderstanding cleared up, support from Rize and Sharo convince Chiya and Cocoa that things will be okay even if they do wind up in separate classes. This is definitely something that crosses the mind of secondary school students; I recall being quite excited to learn that I shared classes with my friends in junior high and high school (some of the most fun in classes I’ve had were in fact, with my friends), but in classes where I was on my own, things went reasonably well anyways, since we could always hang out during lunch hour and when the technology had reached that level, after classes on MSN.

  • Whether or not Chiya and Cocoa did wind up in the same class, that it is never mentioned shows that regardless of what the outcome was, Chiya is able to make the most of it. The entirety of the episode’s first half is set during the evening, suggesting that the conflict itself was resolved fairly quickly.

  • Procrastination is a surprisingly common occurrence amongst students (even my classmates in the honours program), and although I consider myself to be reasonably proficient at time management, the net results can sometimes be the same, since some of my classmates can pull off incredible feats of paper-or-assignment-finishing in light of a looming deadline. I remark that it’s a rather rare occurrence to see the girls dealing with school-related content: most of GochiUsa is set outside the classroom, so it might be considered more of a work comedy rather than a slice-of-life.

  • There appears to be two major high schools in the town where GochiUsa is set: Chiya and Cocoa attend the public school, whereas Rize and Sharo attend a more prestigious private academy. Chino plans on registering for the public school, and Megu intends to apply for a position at the private academy; this split leaves Maya a little concerned, since she feels that she won’t be spending time with her friends from here on out.

  • Thus, she seeks out Rize in the hopes of gaining a second opinion, and perhaps more so than anyone else in GochiUsa, Rize is the best-versed in counter-surveillance techniques. However, she’s unable to determine that it was Maya who’s following her, responding to a rabbit that jumps out of the bushes instead.

  • Tom Clancy’s novels suggest that the best tradecraft is to appear as if one looks like they “belongs” there. People tend not to pay attention to the ordinary, so it is possible to avoid drawing attention to oneself when tailing someone by simply being out in the open andfitting in with the crowd, rather than sneaking around. So, if Rize and Maya were to employ proper techniques, they might follow Aoyama into the bookstore and monitor her while reading books of their own, rather than following so far behind.

  • Rize restraining Maya was unexpectedly adorable: the latter was trying to peek over the bushes, threatening to blow their cover. While acceptable for a setting such as GochiUsa, Rize’s methods would actually leave them quite open to counter-surveillance; targets of surveillance are often savvy enough to know that they’re being tailed, and employ tails to follow said tails. There have been some cases in the Jack Ryan Junior series where Campus operators find themselves burned (spook-speak for having their cover blown) precisely because of counter-tails, forcing them to go loud.

  • This is a prime example of the infamous Mexican standoff, where two or more parties are in a position such that neither advancement or retreat is possible owing to imminent danger: Sharo is tailing Rize and Maya, and cannot escape without blowing her cover to Aoyama. Rize and Maya, in observing Aoyama, are likewise stuck and cannot exit without exposing themselves to Sharo. Apparently, the term “Mexican standoff” was coined in a 1867 short story set in Mexico.

  • When Sharo realises she’s late for work, she sprints off, leaving Aoyama to follow her and tripping in the process. It turns out that the reason that Aoyama is following Sharo is to gain more insight into the life of an ordinary high school girl for one of her novels, although given Aoyama’s interactions with Sharo in the first season (most notably in the first season), it seems that she’s more fond of Sharo than the others. The implications of this observation will be left as an exercise to the reader.

  • The real fun in the episode doesn’t set in until Rize and Maya head off; it’s revealed that Chino and Megu are tailing them, and better yet, Chino and Megu themselves are being tailed by Chiya and Cocoa. Megu’s Popsicle melts quite quickly, suggesting that it’s a hot day, and dressed in their Sherlock-style garb, Chiya and Cocoa find themselves overheating. The last time such a story was present in an anime was Sora no Method‘s OVA, where Yuzuki and the others tail Shione to determine what the latter’s intents were after Yuzuki’s frustration at not being able to borrow a movie from the library reaches its limits.

  • After Rize shares her insights with Maya, the others pop out of the shadows, and like Batman himself, Aoyama appears out of nowhere. Of the cast, Aoyama is the most ethereal: she seems to come and go as she pleases, and while appearing quite removed from the world that the girls experience, she nonetheless takes some time to offer advice when they need it. There’s a rather gentle piano piece playing in the background, and here and there, I’ve heard some good songs for GochiUsa, so I’m hoping that the OST will come out sooner rather than later.

  • Rize is absolutely correct, bringing to the forefront the idea that one needn’t be in the same class with their friends to be good friends; in GochiUsa, everyone spends most of their time together outside of classes. While I never really noticed this last season, GochiUsa stands in stark contrast to most anime in that the girls’ adventures and experiences are predominantly set outside of class hours and clubs, in turn contributing to the anime’s ability to explore avenues of adventure outside of school.

  • In a bit of Inception-inspired turn of events, Tippy’s been keeping an eye on Cocoa and Chino, and curious to see what Tippy’s been doing, Takahiro’s taken the afternoon off to follow Tippy around. This surprise contributes to the episode’s humour, and this marks the end of the eighth episode. It’s actually quite a bit of a surprise to see how quickly November’s passed, and December’s practically on our doorsteps. In the upcoming month, I’ll be posting about Yuru Yuri San-hai and Gakko Gurashi, as well as some other topics as time permits.

The eighth episode marks a return to the gentler, serene moments that characterises GochiUsa‘s first season, balancing the increased comedic elements seen over the past few episodes. I remarked earlier that it would be quite nice if GochiUsa would depict a full cycle with the seasons, and with the eighth episode dealing with back-to-school, it might appear that we’re beginning to enter the autumn: the trees don’t take on a golden hue until early October, and it does appear to be early September at present. However, Cocoa mentions that she’s fallen behind in her Spring Break assignments, and the Japanese academic calendar involves starting in April rather than September. With this being said, the setting suggests that the school calendars will follow a conventional schedule, and it’s more than likely that Cocoa is a slacker of the highest order. So, I’m still remaining optimistic about a Christmas episode for GochiUsa. Back during my speculations post from last year, I remarked that Cocoa and Chiya’s misunderstanding was the last of the volumes that I had knowledge of: in a figurative sense, we’re now entering uncharted waters. It’ll be interesting to see where things go from here on out, and next week’s episode, titled “The Furball Launches a Suicide Attack and a Cruel Button is Fired”, sounds like GochiUsa is upping the ante.