I have been slacking a lot when it comes to seasonal shows. I am two weeks behind on Koikimo, one week behind on Higehiro, and like, I don’t know seven-week behind on eighty-six. Though I cannot totally say it has been lack of time that has lead to this but more the fact I have been catching up on manga. 100 or so chapters of Seraph of the End. 50 odd chapters of Beskerk, and I have been thoroughly enjoying Chainsaw Man, much more than I thought I would. But in all of that manga reading, I have made it clear that one show I will not get behind on, the bully fest that is Nagatoro.
So as I close out episode 10 of the series I was filled with so much hype I did not know what else to do but write about it, because, that is like, what I do. For those who haven’t read the manga, I will go ahead and say three major arcs play out in the series. The festival arc, cold arc, and (yes even THIS series has one) Judo tournament arc. Even though the book is close to 100 chapters, a continual story that spans more than one chapter has been rare so these arcs really stand out. And with that, episode 10 of Nagatoro set up fantastically the festival arc, and honestly, it is the best arc the series can end on.
If my memory serves me correctly, and knowing this season will only be 12 episodes the show could tie up on the best arc in all the series. To give some context, the president of the art club has been MIA for most of the year, leaving Senpai, Nagatoro, and her friends the only active people there. This sadly has caused a rift within the school, the once prestigious art club had become a hangout for trouble makers, something president Buchou will not stand for.
Checking in one day she discovers Senpai had been drawing Nagatoro in her famous cat outfit, promptly leading her too harshly criticizes the work, this was the art club after all, not the manga club. Not being able to defend himself (like he ever does) Buchou approaches her younger clubmate with an ultimatum if he isn’t going to take this club seriously there is no reason for it to exist. Unable to hold back anymore this leads to Nagatoro bursting into the room, quickly defending Senpai and challenging the president, stating that what she is doing is selfish since she was the one that had been skipping club for months on end.
It is in this scene the anime does one thing that I have praised since day one. It paints the world in this heavy saturation, Nagatoro’e eyes and hair becoming more detailed, everyone around them subtle movement become highlighted all in the faith of showing the viewer just how impactful what is happening on the screen is. Though the anime as a whole hasn’t been 110% faithful to the source, it is in these moments I truly believe the show translates what Nanashi was conveying into a beautiful and touching moment.
The episodes close out on the challenge, the very thing that sets up the arc. Nagatoro states that Senpai has not only been working tirelessly for the club but he has done so alone, relying on no one but himself to keep it afloat and that the president had no right just to walk in and take it away from him. Calling her challenge Buchou says fine, if that is the case prove it. The art club is her club and they will have their own art show at the festival, her underclassmen their own separate from the club. The rules are simple, if Nagatoro and Senpai’s art gets more votes from the student base, the club will stay, however, if the art club wins, it will no longer exist.
This arc in a lot of ways is the first of the series that Nagatoro and Senpai really move beyond the teasing and bullying that defines the show. It is the first time either of them is actually confronted with a challenge at the risk of losing something they hold dear. This of course can only be overcome if they look within themselves and each other to create the best art possible.
This arc is without a doubt my favorite and a touching bit to a mostly sadodere series that I wasn’t expecting. It made me invest in Nagatoro to a level I was never expecting and truly made me find a new respect for Nanashi as a storyteller. I am extremely excited for the next two Saturdays and the closing of the first season of this show. It was been a wonderful ride that is set to close on one of the most beautiful stages in recent rom-com history and I am just glad I was here for the ride.
If by chance any of you were turned off by the first chapters or episodes of this series. Unable to stand Nagatoro being an utter asshole that made fun of this random guy’s dream to the point he cried, I get it. But I do want to say the start of this series is not how it as a whole goes, they all grow, they all change and inspire one another, and it is truly enjoyable to see.
As always, thanks for the read!