In the sixth part of the preliminary series, I will be looking back once again on Higurashi: When They Cry - Sotsu, Night Head 2041, Sonny Boy, That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime plus Scarlet Nexus seeing how all those shows are developing. After this I will write an overall take of what I think of the summer season so after. That is after I see Jahy-sama and Magia Records! Stay tuned for those and my future article. Meanwhile enjoy!

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Higurashi: When They Cry – SOTSU

I am pretty sure most people know that Higurashi is high in gore but for those not aware I got to lay a disclaimer that if you are squeamish about violence then now maybe the time to check out of this anime.

If the previous two episodes were the questions side of Higurashi then what comes in episode three is the answers bit. And just be prepared cause when comes to answers Higurashi goes all in providing some brutal answers to any niggling questions you may have had! Yes, what I am saying is we get the signature gore scene that made Higurashi so infamous. As a newish viewer I have to say there was not much in the way of mystery and what transpired, whilst shocking, is not exactly unexpected. Nonetheless it is pretty gruesome to behold and is quite the crescendo to the earlier build-up.

The fourth episode kicks off by laying the groundwork for what is likely to be the future dynamic of this series. What happens here all goes back to the cryptic message Satoko Houjou conveyed right at the start of episode one. I got to admit I do not recall this featuring in the original Higurashi so this seems to be a new thing.

In any case after this backstory is done away with, we get introduced to another question arc. This time the focus is more on Satoko her family background plus a little backdrop for Mion Sonozaki. It is still too early to say what will happen exactly (unless you are a veteran Higurashi viewer). Beyond that it looks like the show is beginning to paint a villain in this series but that could be a red herring and will keep my options open there.

From what I have seen so far Higurashi is many ways similar to the past version but at the same time there are significant deviations from the old formula. This seems to be more of a thriller than mystery series and whilst there were some supernatural elements in the original this latest showing gives this element greater prominence. On the whole though Higurashi is a good watch and I will give this a 7/10 after four episodes.

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Night Head 2041

Not sure how many people ever watched Night Head Genesis but if you have done so then this third instalment will ring quite a few bells as it is a retelling of one of the earlier arcs told in Genesis. The main difference being the pacing is sped up so events come thicker and faster which could please or displease you depending on your disposition.

There are significant differences however as the psychic’s power works a bit differently. While what was shown here made the power seemed more dramatic, at least in the moment, it is actually the Genesis version that had a greater long-lasting impact. I say this because while the powers shown are similar, the Genesis version worked in a more subtle, less direct way. This meant the effect it had on people was more insidious and harder to uncover. Saying that the narrative here is clearly more action orientated whilst Genesis wanted to projected a sense of mystery so I can see why they took this creative decision.

Whatever the case maybe it is good to see a twist made on the old formula. Beyond those powers the addition of an enforcement agency plus another resistance group all add more intrigue in what was pretty packed episode. It had a lot going for it perhaps a little too much which is ironic considering my complaint over Genesis was the story was paced too slowly.

The fourth episode was also pretty solid as we learned a little more about Night Head 2041 dystopic future. There are internal conflicts which hint that there could be wavering alliances and perhaps even betrayals in the future. There are some good action scenes to be had and after some drama we left pondering after what will the Kirihana will do after all is said and done.

My thoughts on Night Head 2041 after the first four episodes are largely positive. Many of the criticisms I had over Night Head Genesis have been addressed in some fashion as the plot is already progressing at a faster pace. The Kirihana brothers are more tolerable and it is good to see Naoya having a backbone cause in the previous outing he was rather irritating. On top of that with the addition of an enforcement division plus resistance group pushing things along this show has a clear direction, a point that was lacking in Genesis. 7/10 and a series worth watching.

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Sonny Boy

Whilst the opener was dramatic and had a real sense of discovery and adventure these following episodes in contrast had a much more mundane feeling at least relatively speaking. The supernatural events and setting are still there alright but the emphasis and problems encountered are more grounded in normal everyday life.

For example, in the third episode an investigation is started after certain strange appearances started occurring. On the surface this is a supernatural investigation that has been taken based on a new phenomenon that has been taken place in the island. However, if we go beyond the surface this is really an examination about how people take to the new rules. Going further still much of the dialogue here also has an extra subtext that I think everyone got but the main character! You know how dumb protags can be!

This trend continues of rules and authority goes into the fourth episode as while the talk is about some wacky game again there is a hidden subtext that takes on a more serious meaning. Whilst I can appreciate the message conveyed here the dressing for the message is on a subject matter I am not interested in much. It would have been better if they used the more refined British version but I digress.

Those thoughts aside, the common element I get from this and the opening episodes is that Sonny Boy is exploring the relationship these children have against figures of authority plus the following of rules. Their reactions and actions have been explored with various challenges presented to them. These challenges will continue based on what I have happened right at the death of episode four but my primary concern is that this series, like the cast and island seems to be running rudderless. The danger I see is Sonny Boy could turn into a series that makes a bunch of social commentary but since it is has no overall direction there will be no substance behind the comments and it will just feel like it is pontifying for it owns sake. I hope that isn’t the case but it needs direction and so far, I am not seeing it. For now, this gets a 5/10.

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What! They are still talking!
That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime season two part two

There are two versions that can surmise the developments of the last two episodes. The short version is we get a couple of episodes that amount to Rimuru Tempest discussing his overall strategy in creating the world he wants. I am not sure at this point if it is strictly necessary that you see these episodes or it will be possible to make a pass and just figure it out later when the inevitable battle comes. If the latter choice is viable, I would do that!

The longer version is that the third episode is a round the table discussion between Rimuru and his closest allies. Much of the talk will centre around his alliances and his plans in dealing with the country of Falmuth. We do glimpses from the other side on what the demon lords are concocting which was a nice change of pace but on the whole; this episode was a drag and did not interest me at all.

To be honest the fourth episode is not much better as the political talk extents to this one too. The only difference being the direction of the talk. Instead of Falmuth the topic of discussion is about a key adversary. A few fanservice moments were thrown in to keep the fans from bouncing off the walls but I felt at this point they were just feeding us scraps.

On the whole I was pretty disappointed with these two episodes as it means this second part has got off to an even slower start than the first part. We have already gone through a third of this cour yet story wise we have gone nowhere. I feel the creators need to get their skates on with the story as whilst some people may enjoy these political discussions, I strongly believe the vast majority will consider these talks to have overstayed their welcome. My other major concern with the lack of story progression is that with only eight episodes remaining there is a danger that either sections of the story get rushed or worse yet we get an incoherent ending to the season. Now I am hopeful that is not the case as Slime Reincarnation has tended to end on a high note.

In any case judging from what I have seen so far, and not what I think may happen, I will give this anime a 5/10. I will not drop this show but I will only hang on because I got faith things will improve.

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Scarlet Nexus

Where to start with this one? It hard to think cause so much was crammed in these last two episodes. I suppose if I had to sum things simply it would be: the shit hits the fan. Yes, a lot of things go wrong for Yuito, Kasane and their crew. While the conclusion to the cliff-hanger would in many cases be dramatic in itself, it is the stuff that happens afterwards that has even bigger ramifications.

Do you remember those hints of a conspiracy that was sprinkled in the first two episodes? Well, those chickens have come home to roast and my are those chickens big! A standard “bug hunt” mission quickly morphs into something quite different. Quite being an understatement. What happens from here is really just a clusterfuck for our main protagonists who are faced with not one major dilemma but two!

It all leaves the main cast (and the viewers) confounded and at a loss for words. Details of what happened are given a partial explanation in the fourth episode but some of the answers simply yield more questions. To give a rough outline on what happened; a faction desires to implement changes in the way the country is governed. That is not the full extent of the events that taken place however as others things have transpired and those elements are left unexplained.

A lot was thrown in these two episodes, perhaps a little too much. There is bloodshed, drama and more. Honestly it seemed like it was all too much and would have been better if the events were spread over more episodes. Seeing as this is a game adaptation and there are only 12 episodes to cover what I imagine is 30-40 hours of gaming content then perhaps this was an inevitable issue that damages the narrative.

The issue I see is with the fast pacing is we cannot grasp all the details as well as we would like. What is more troubling however is the relatively little character development means that the impact of what I believe are key events has been diminished. Not sure this can be remedied given the time constraints of 12 episodes but the show does suffer from it. I would say for now this gets a 5/10. It is not a bad series but suffers significant flaws.

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