“I think perfect objectivity is an unrealistic goal; fairness, however, is not.” –Michael Pollan
The return of Gochuumon wa Usagi Desu Ka? is doubtlessly welcome news: the third season will be titled BLOOM and be a direct continuation of the second season, with the episodes airing in October 2020. With the announcement of season three to GochiUsa (BLOOM for brevity from here on out), the series is venturing into territory seldom tread by Manga Time Kirara adaptations. BLOOM illustrates the high popularity of GochiUsa, and season three is set to adapt the fifth volume, plus chapters from the sixth volume, as well. This is territory that Manga Time Kirara series rarely ventures into: K-On! and Kiniro Mosaic, despite their popularity, has only had two seasons so far, and while there is sufficient material for a third season for both series, neither series did end up getting a third season. K-On! eventually received a movie featuring an all-new storyline as a sendoff for the series, and Kiniro Mosaic is set to receive a movie, as well. While movies are excellent in capturing stories at a much larger scale, as K-On! The Movie demonstrates, films also have their limitations, forcing the narrative to follow a more linear and structured progression to fit within the movie’s runtime. Conversely, the episodic nature of a TV series provides a considerable amount of freedom, and this is the sort of freedom that is appropriate for a series like GochiUsa, whose core appeal lies in its ability to depict snapshots in each of Cocoa, Chino, Rize, Chiya and Sharo’s daily lives. Being one part adorable, and one part touching story about the wonders of friendship, GochiUsa has seen success as a combination of its fantastical setting and captivating characters. With a third full season, BLOOM is given the time and space it needs to bring the fifth and sixth volumes of manga to life.
Screenshots and Commentary
- The announcement for GochiUsa BLOOM was made a few weeks back, and it gives a concrete launch date for the third season: October 2020. This means that the first episode will probably be aired closer to Canadian Thanksgiving, just as season two did back in 2015. I’ve already gone over what arcs and volumes BLOOM will adapt during my old talk on Sing For You back during the previous Thanksgiving, and it should be the case that BLOOM will pick up during the summer months.
- From there, the seasons will return us back to autumn and winter, bringing things full circle once more. It speaks volumes to how rapidly the quality in GochiUsa‘s run improved with time: the first season was an introduction to the town and the characters, and the second season capitalised on the viewer’s familiarity with the characters to give them more opportunities to spend time with one another in different circumstances, creating gentle humour that helped everyone grow, as well. By Dear My Sister and Sing For You, the impact of Cocoa’s arrival in town become very apparent, especially for Chino.
- BLOOM looks to take the series in a direction the series had not previously explored; while the school setting is a staple of Manga Time Kirara series, GochiUsa has spent surprisingly little time in school, preferring to portray the characters on out-of-school activities. One of the biggest things the series needs to answer, then, is how Cocoa and Chiya are as students, specifically in relation to how they impact their classmates; we’ve seen the two amongst their friends outside of classes, and BLOOM will take everyone back to school for at least a few episodes as Cocoa and Chiya take on a bigger role in helping their culture festival preparations out.
- With the arrival of summer (a distant concept at the time of writing), it’ll be interesting to see how Cocoa and the others devise solutions of keeping cool. The basic Rabbit House uniform looks like it is better suited for any month that isn’t summer, and Cocoa has previously expressed an interest in making alternate uniforms for Rabbit House before. If memory serves, Cocoa is wearing the same yukata here as she did in Dear My Sister, whereas Rize and Chino sport one of a different design.
- GochiUsa makes extensive use of funny faces to convey the ludicrousness of a moment or intensity of emotion, and over the course of the previous two seasons, viewers have had the chance to see characters act in different ways that might be seen as contrary to their usual selves. BLOOM looks to feature even expressiveness in its characters: I’ve never seen Rize sport such an expression before, and here, she’s reacting to an episode of Phantom Thief Lapin after the girls decide to do a Netflix party. Rize eventually gets into things to an unexpected extent, showing yet another side to her character.
- I won’t discuss too much of season three as far as specifics go; besides having already made an estimate of what will happen in the Sing For You post, knowing what happens is actually not as critical as seeing how BLOOM will play out. For folks who’ve already read the manga, what matters more in an anime adaptation is whether or not the latter can bring the former to life. Since anime has the additional advantage of sound and motion, it can bring out the emotional tenour and mood of a given moment to accentuate the authors’ intents even more effectively when done right.
- GochiUsa has traditionally excelled in this category: the manga is a joy to read, but watching the voice actors, animators, artists and sound engineers give the series life as an anime is to experience GochiUsa in dimension even the manga cannot capture. This was the mindset I had going into The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan: I’d already read enough of the manga to know what was happening, and so, I assessed that series based on how well it brought the anime to life as I wrote about it, leaving my overall impressions of the original manga for the finale.
- As I recall, I was one of the few people who thought positively of The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan: I already rather enjoyed the base story shown in the manga, and the anime improved over time with respect to its technical aspects. GochiUsa does not have that same problem, being almost universally acclaimed by readers and viewers alike. It is difficult to gauge what makes slice-of-life work (or fail) for different people, but for me, the strong point in GochiUsa is its setting. The wood-framed town creates a unique atmosphere that sets Cocoa, Chino and the others in a relaxing, yet unique world where adventures, large and small, can be found around every corner, if one seeks it.
- Encourage Films (of Isekai Cheat Magician fame) is to take over from Production dóA for BLOOM, and if the preview trailers are done by them, then I have no doubts the third season will at least match the quality of those seen in Dear My Sister and Sing For You. I admit that I am very excited to be writing about GochiUsa again: slice-of-life can be tricky to write for, and when GochiUsa‘s second season aired five years ago, no blog picked it up for the simple reason that their authors were unaccustomed to writing about series where nothing dramatic, part of a larger narrative, happens.
- Conversely, because I approach anime like GochiUsa from a less conventional approach, I ended up finding ways to convey what each episode contributed to the series and what I was thinking as things progressed. It turned out to be most enjoyable, and I hope that folks do have a chance to give BLOOM a shot once it begins airing this Thanksgiving. I intend to write about BLOOM on an episodic basis once October rolls around, and with this, my final post for March draws to a close. Coming up next will be a talk on Hibike! Euphonium: Chikai no Finale. I’ve been waiting for this one since last April, and a year later, I finally have a chance to share my thoughts on the next installment to Kumiko’s story, as well as address a few lingering questions left over from the Liz and the Blue Bird days. I aim to have that post out for April, and then wrap up Magia Record, alongside my thoughts for KonoSuba‘s first season.
It is therefore wonderful to hear that GochiUsa will be adapted into a third season. However, even for a self-proclaimed slice-of-life connoisseur like myself, someone who greatly enjoys slice-of-life series for the relaxing and enchanting atmosphere they bring to the table, expectations for this series are going to be quite high, and BLOOM will need to work especially hard to continue keeping fans engaged, given that the second season and specials continued to raise the bar for what could be explored and portrayed in this world. In short, BLOOM needs to do something new. Fortunately, it looks like the fifth and sixth volumes have some tricks up their sleeve: we’ve only ever explored a small segment of the GochiUsa world, and similarly, focus has been predominantly on the main cast. Looking ahead, Cocoa and Chiya’s classmates will play a larger role than in previous seasons, and similarly, the different seasons will allow for Cocoa, Chino and company to see different events and festivities around town that were not previously shown. The significance for showing new events and new faces in a familiar setting is two-fold: the wood-framed town that Cocoa’s spent more than a year in now feels more life-like than ever, and this in turn accentuates the themes that GochiUsa emphasise. Consequently, BLOOM is going to have large shoes to fill, and this time, with Encourage Films taking the helm from Production dóA, one must also have a little bit of leniency as a new studio works on a series with a very-defined aesthetic and established reputation. This means there will need to be at least one pair of eyes on things to ensure that BLOOM is fairly, and justly presented – my eyes. I am looking forwards to writing about GochiUsa BLOOM on an episodic basis come October, and I am especially curious to see if it is possible for me to simultaneously write for two series in an episodic fashion; Strike Witches‘ third season, Road to Berlin, is also airing come October 2020.