I guess it’s that TIME, again. Where I team up with the elegant Irina and we discuss the latest episode of Otherside Picnic. This episode proved that even the most dynamic duos get their bonds tested. But we don’t have to do that right, we can get a long well and enjoy a nice picnic together. What does your ideal picnic look like, where would you go? What would you have in your picnic basket?

Why does this sound like a trick question… 

I’ve been quite open about the fact that I’m an indoor kid. I don’t feel the need to thumb my nose at thousands of years of evolution by going on picnics or even worse… camping. But I guess after a year of indoor living, someone might want some fresh air. Still, my perfect picnic would still involve some sort of table. 

I guess I would go, uhm… can I picnic at an Akihabara café? I would bring long island iced tea in my basket. What? It’s tea! People drink tea in cafés!

Visual representation of Irina’s idea of camping
Visual Representation of Irina actually going camping.

That’s not very Laid-back Camp of you. Come on Irina, there’s nothing wrong with going out and enjoying a nice shiny day. Though your idea sounds fun too.

There’s Tension in the Air

When they ask you how you are and you have to say that you’re fine, but you’re not really fine.

This episode we get our first major conflict between the girls, which I guess is bound to happen. Apparently, the weight of their misadventures has Sorawo second guessing if constantly putting herself in deadly peril is really worth it. Which honestly, fair enough. On the other hand, Toriko has a friend in danger and is willing to do anything to reunite with Satsuki.

I think it’s a good conflict, as I see where both sides are coming from. I definitely think Sorawo has good reason given their near-death experiences, and Toriko’s dedication to Satsuki is commendable. What did you think of this conflict brewing between the two? 

I got to admit, I was a bit distracted throughout that scene, because Taco Rice?!?

Turns out Taco Rice is very much a real Japanese dish and it’s exactly what you think it is. Huh… maybe I’ll add it to my picnic basket. 

As for the conflict, it actually works on paper. I understand that Toriko is a bit desperate to find her lost friend and that she would jump to the conclusion that her new friend would help. After all, Toriko would totally help Sorao if the tables were turned. It’s completely in line with her character. As is getting hurt and flustered when this vision doesn’t line up with reality.

And from Sorao’s viewpoint, it’s super unreasonable for the girl she met a few weeks ago to be expecting her to constantly risk her life for someone she doesn’t even know. I think most people would react like Sorao.

Yet, despite the scene being emotionally consistent and logical within the established universe, it still felt a bit overdone and soapy to me. Like Toriko could have gone all sullen or childish, but did she really have to storm out. Nothing Soaro was saying should be surprising. And Sorao could have been softer, they are going to the Otherside anyways, she could have played along.

It’s not like she didn’t know what Toriko’s reaction would be. So the scene played out a bit forced in my view. Like they were trying to bulk up the conflict when a simpler more subtle rift would have been more effective and could still have played out the same way. Toriko could just as well have disappeared after the girls said a mundane goodbye at the end of the meal.

So my head canon is that Toriko stuffed half the food in her purse while no one was looking and just faked her outrage in order to skip out on the bill. It’s amazing how many anime characters dine and dash!  

A visual representation of me hearing Irina’s head cannon and equally displaying mild concern and trying not to burst out laughing.

I agree with what you’re saying, the more subtle approach would have been more effective. One of those things were it’s spelling character motive out when you audience is keen enough to get what’s going on.

It’s Kozakura Time

She’s short, got white hair, and this is her reaction to going outdoors…. it’s the perfect character for Irina.

With Sorawo refusing to return to the Other World, Toriko ends up going it alone. Sorawo feeling worried about Toriko, meets with Kozakura. When the world’s creepiest Jehovah Witnesses knock on her door, the two girls end up teleported into the Other World.

Darn those Jehovah Witnesses.

This episode was a big Kozakura episode and honestly, I loved it. I liked seeing this lazy scaredy cat having to survive in this dangerous environment. Found it put in perspective how athletic, and daring Sorawo is despite not being attributed those qualities in contrast to Toriko. I think Kozakura is the perfect comic relief character for this show, in that she doesn’t necessarily clash with the tone of the rest of the show, but she does add a little needed humor. Did you enjoy watching Kozakura getting a chance to shine?

Well yeah. Aside from the fact that she’s obviously the character I relate to the most, I find that she’s a better foil for the main two than they are for each other. I hope she continues to be a frequent presence on the show. (We’ll get to that later)

I also thought the weird neighbours were very scary and game changing. I knew there was some crossover, but I did not realize the Other Side could so freely and aggressively bleed into the everyday. (The this side???) That means Sorawo and Toriko are never safe.

You can run, but I guess you can’t hide. That was an interesting development, I wonder how consequential that will be going forward.

It Was Only A Matter of Time

This episode we get an appearance from a lot of creepy and cryptic things. I might need your help because I feel like a lot of them flew by my head. There were mossy people, Sorawo has an evil doppelganger, and Toriko is entranced by what looks like a boss fight in a Smash Brothers game? Any thoughts on the other side paranormal stuff in this episode, or I’m going to babble about time travel.

Colors weave into a spire of flames…

This episode features the middle-aged man which seems to be a take on the dimension hopper, or time traveller troupe in sci-fi horror tales. I always like these modern fascinations with time travel, it always seems like the most absurd thing to me. I don’t know if you’ve seen this image of a dude with like a cardigan and sunglasses in the 1940s and how he must be a time travelling hipster.

Then there’s the fun game of cellphone spotting. Apparently, the device of the future is a modern smartphone. There’s one painting by Georg Waldmüller who captures a woman on her smartphone in “The Expected One”. Yet, nobody considers that Georg is a time traveler capturing me as a dope waiting behind bushes with a flower when everyone is on tinder now. All I’m saying is that the painting has new meeting in contemporary interpretations.

Then you have the famed extra of Charlie Chaplin 1928 The Circus. In the clip you can see a woman walking across the frame while what appears to be her talking into a mobile phone:

Which is definitely peculiar because last time I checked 1928 was a little early for a flip phone. There’s a lot of more plausible theories to what is really happening. The most convincing is that it is an old-fashioned hearing aid and she’s talking to the man walking in front of her. Others have also speculated that she might be trying to cover her face from the camera or is just scratching her ear. But who’s to say. Time and space jumping beings are always interesting so it’s interesting to see Sorawo getting foreboding messages from one.

I think I was going to talk about Attack of the Body Snatchers but then I got sucked into K’s fanciful and extravagant world ‘o conspiracies and now I forgot what I was going to say.

I’m not sure which urban legend was being referenced this time but I know that variations of the pod people exist in a lot of cultures. Maybe it’s something like that? Basing this mostly on the brief other Sorao moment which reminded me that the Otherside can mimic real people. Now that we know it can also seep into the this side, I figure it can replace real people, our main cast included.

A Visit from An Old Friend?

We finally get to meet Satsuki…. sort of. We now have at least an appearance of what Satsuki looks like though we didn’t exactly meet the real deal. I was surprised to at least get a glimpse of the mythical Satsuki. It culminates in a pretty endearing ending where Toriko gets personal and we get better insight into her true feelings. Then Sorawo shows how capable she is by making the creature eat lead. Were you satisfied with this episode’s encounter and resolution?

No! They forgot Kazukura. If I was her, I would totally kill them after I stopped crying. Which admittedly would probably take a couple of weeks. Jerkfaces.

To be honest, I thought the resolution was the weakest part of the episode. It wasn’t bad but it went on for too long and we didn’t actually learn anything new. Except for this vague idea that the Otherside is trying to communicate.  That was interesting but it was still too purposefully cryptic to really have any substance to it.

I honestly think this entire scene should have been shorter. The could have stretched out the doppelganger sequence a bit more, that was surreal and both simultaneously fun and scary. Or just given little Kazu a bit more to do, like checked back with her a few times to remind us that she’s still scared and alone. That would make the final scene even more impactful.

That’s just me.

Also, since I brought up getting personal, maybe the most interesting aspect of the episode was Sorawo oversharing her tragic backstory. It was a lot to unpack but it was a very fruitful way to get to know her better. I also wonder if there was more to it, definitely seemed a little unnatural. I also enjoyed that this was revealed to Kozakura who I believe Sorawo would be more open to with less Yuri tension between the two.

Also, neat to learn that Toriko is an ex-Canadian military kid. It gave a little backstory and shows a little thought into how and why these girls act and operate the way they do? What did you think of these new backstories for the girls?

In case you didn’t know, us Canadians are weirdly obsessed into pointing out other Canadians. I am most definitely going to have to mention that Toriko is Canadian every post from now on. Canadian’s are tough, it tracks!

So What Did We Think?

Honestly, I thought this episode was definitely one of the best in the series thus for. It was refreshing to change the dynamics up by throwing Kozakura in the mix. I enjoyed seeing a healthy episodic conflict between our heroines, and the episode unloaded a healthy dose of backstory and maybe even some foreshadowing.

On the other hand, I still feel that I’m disappointed by the action in this series. I mean we are 4 episodes in, and this is the 2nd time we’ve had a creature whose power is mental illusions and was defeated by shooting at it with a gun while it stood there and did nothing about it. Maybe I’ll be delightfully surprised, but at this point I’ve just given up that there won’t be a problem that can’t be solved by shooting it, touching it, or running away from it.  At this point, in my opinion the scariest thing about the Otherside is that it’s an active land mine field with those glitches pretty scattered throughout.

I will let you have the floor and close us out. What’s been the most frightening thing about the other side? How do you like how the series is progressing, and how did you like this episode?

Like I mentioned, I think it was a bit uneven. It had some pacing issues in my opinion and some repetitive and wasted reveals. With these types of shows, there’s always the danger of quickly going from playfully burying the lead and carefully constructing a mystery to losing the plot, getting bogged down in nonsense and falling down plot holes. 

This said, there were also some very good moments in the episode. Better establishing the link between the Otherside and the this side is a great step to bringing the story together, as well as establishing an MO for those other creatures. The chemistry between the cast remains one of the strongest aspects of the show and was nicely bolstered. And Kazu is cute. So I think it’s a net positive for me. I still want to know what happens next.

Well put, agree with what you’re getting at. All in all it’s shaping up to be a rocky journey but one that is enjoyable none the less. I hope you all have a pleasant weekend, we’ll be back next week on the comfort of Irina’s blog. Take care, and I’ll see you at the movies!

One thought on “Otherside Picnic Episode 4: This TIME It’s Personal

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