Oh my gosh golly, was that just the BEST episode of Otherside Picnic we had yet! When that thing happened at the end, I freaking lost it. Who could have guessed that that person was going to show up. And completely changed my whole perspective of the show.

It just reframes the entire series, doesn’t it? That’s why you can never judge a show too early, stuff like this can just throw everything you thought you knew out of the window. And man, for an animated series it can sure pack an emotional and tension filled punch. Oh my!

( I don’t know if people are excited by this show anymore so I’m just going to hype it up to make them think they must read the rest of this review. Don’t worry I’m definitely going to edit this out, but maybe if we tease something really special happens this episode they’ll stick around and read the rest)

 I have no clue what K is talking about but I’ll just play along because I want him to think I’m cool. Peer pressure, always live by it!

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I feel this is how cool I consider Irina to be.
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I also felt this matched Irina too. What can I say I’m a huge fan.

How are you Irina, hope things are going well for you? It was nice to see the girls are going to try your version of a picnic this week by going to a barbeque, which did sound very tasty. Anything you’d like to say before we jump into episode 10. I mean despite this show leaving something to be desired, I am a little sad to see our collab reaching its twilight.

 That is my version of a picnic, except for the meat part. I’m not sure there’s much left to bbq. It’s not a very vegetarian friendly cooking style. Although you can get decent veggie kebabs and grilled corn on the cob. I might be hungry. I’m considering this bbq thing way more seriously than I have approached most of my reviews.

A Slow Start

Maybe it was just me, but I felt like this episode was animated like you weren’t ever supposed to get this far. I don’t know, like in the very opening Sorawo takes phone call and proceeds to talk off screen while we are stuck in a nothing shot of her bathroom for like a minute. Then a good chunk of the episode proceeds to be just the two of them standing outside talking with little no moving people filling out this outside area. Isn’t Japan super overpopulated, it’s hard to believe you can be out on the street at peak dinner hour and have it be almost a ghost town.

Maybe it’s just the abundance of notable short cuts in this one. From the Scooby Doo run cycle in a magic 3D Cylinder to reusing the same wakeup shot it just seems to be really slammed by the budget on this one. I know it’s not exactly a dip in quality as I can’t say that these aren’t issues throughout but this episode really seemed plagued with them. I know you’ve been more astute and consistent in your comments on the animation quality any thoughts on it this time or the slow episode start in general?

 I agree with everything except the offscreen conversation and bathroom shot in the beginning. I think that was very intentional and narratively significant (?). The blurry and difficult to make out image of Sorawo in the mirror with what appears to be completely different hair is another tie-in to the idea that Sorawo may not be who we think she is (or even who she thinks she is) that has been building up in the past few episodes. More specifically that she is Uruma somehow.

We see Sorawo noticing this and getting a bit bothered but then the phone call distracts her and the moment is gone. Except not really. Something off is lingering. Her empty bathroom shot seems ominous to me, haunted. 

And it’s a real good way to put in a super cheap still shot for a few seconds there…

In any case, I actually really liked the opening arc. Whether in my head or not, I thought it build some diffused tension and I enjoy seeing the girls do something as mundane as plan a dinner together. I think it adds some balance.

The Gang is All Here

However, I wouldn’t say this is a bad episode of the show. I did enjoy finally getting to see the main 4 in on the action at the same time. Kazakura, got some drip, looked adorable in her Marty McFly jacket. Wish she would have brought her domesticated tanuki with her, but I will take it. I don’t know I would maybe argue that Kazakura running to catch up to them, so excited to eat BBQ only to realize they’re going to the Otherside was probably my favorite moment of the show so far.

 Kazakura is the breakout of this series. It’s a good time whenever she’s on screen. She should get her own spinoff, Kaza and Coonuki supernatural investigators!

As for plots go, a simple rescue mission is sufficient enough. Of course we can’t have nice things and have a nice Dinner With Andre episode, we have to go save Akari from some spooky stuff. Also haha remember the soldiers they ditched midway through the season. I thought it was hilarious how they dropped that in, even more randomly than I just did. I was hoping we would see them at the BBQ place. I thought that would have been funny. Just staring across the room and you see the fort February troops.

Spying its always sunny in philadelphia GIF on GIFER - by Aragami
I wanted this so bad!

 Now see, you had to go and do that. Of course a Dinner with Andre episode would have been amazing. Now I’m bummed out that we didn’t get it. I’m holding out hope on the spinoff though. 

In my opinion, Otherside Picnic is just generally bland. The characters are sort of bland, the plot is surprisingly unexciting considering the premise and the series is not doing itself any favours with the pacing. However, a lot of that could be helped with the inclusion of some filler episodes, in my opinion. It would give the show a chance to develop their characters a bit and make them more engaging as well as the simple contrast of a week showing very normal events followed by a trip to the Otherside would naturally up the suspense a bit. 

A Big Problem

While the positive of this episode is seeing the main 4 sort of bounce off one another and have some conflict between each other I think this episode has a huge glaring problem. The issue with this episode is that it’s just a recap episode….under the façade of not being one. While it might not exactly be using clips and flashbacks of previous events, it just sort of repeats them.

If you think about the major happenings of this episode or what we learned, it’s stuff we already sort of got a taste of before. Kazakura joins them but is a huge scaredy cat: seen it. The girls have to run away from a smokey or misty ghost cloud: seen it. Spooky phone call with some form of miscommunication happenings: Seen it. Sorawo is somewhat annoyed but concerned about Akari being involved: seen it. Episode ends with a Satsuki tease that doesn’t further it just again teases it: seen it.

The narrative didn’t progress anywhere, not really in a meaningful way. I’ll listen to any argument you are someone in the comments may have but it was all retreading on things we already know and have seen. The only significant thing that you could argue is learning that their Otherside powers can detect strong entities and will warn them about it. The other being more of the message of Kazakura being really caring because she is willing to put fear aside and maybe Sorawo learns to have a greater respect for her.

I don’t know, didn’t feel they did a spectacular job with that message. I never really felt that the focus was on Kazakura and Sorawo possibly being agitated by her cowardice. If that was what they were going for it was framed kind of poorly. Yeah, did you find enough “new” things to be pleasantly content with this episode or did you also find it to be repetition for the sake of repetition.

 I thought of it as a build up episode although you are correct, it was building on already established elements. The Uruma-Sorawo connection being most present but also once more telling us that there is a space between the Otherside and the established normal that is in fact more dangerous as it does not seem bound by any rules. This is probably a near/far shore metaphor. The return of an unusually strong foe to remind us that there are unusually strong ones. The tingling feeling in Toriko’s hand. I am assuming that they are reminding us of all these specific plot points (instead of rehashing Kazakura’s relation to the Otherside for instance) because these are the elements that will be expanded on in the next few episodes. 

At least I hope so, or else it really is just a useless episode.

One bit of writing that annoyed me was regarding Kazakura’s cowardice actually. The entire bit where Kazakura does the noble sacrifice speech. I’m impressed you managed to massage some type of deeper meaning out of it because it felt completely hollow to me. What’s more, Kazakura wasn’t the last to arrive at the elevator or to get in. So the visual storytelling clashed with the text making the entire speech not only useless but sort of nonsense. 

It would have been way better if they leaned into the gag more and had Kazakura start running 10 minutes before everyone else and give that little speech while being a good 15 feet in front of the other  girls. That would have been funny and sort of in-line with her personality. She means well but…

See You on the Otherside

I think that is all I have for you dear Irina and dear reader. Feel free to go into anything you feel I’m not covered yet. Overall, it was, well how do I put it. Kind of reminds me of some commentary from the NBA dunk contest this weekend. “That would be a 10 [out of 10] dunk, if I hadn’t seen Zach Lavine do it in warmups last week. Yeah, this was a perfectly fine episode, but the fact that I’ve partially seen it before makes it not very impressive.

But what are your closing thoughts on this one. Hope you’re enjoying coming to the movies and even though next time will be your last for Otherside, just know you’re always welcome here if you’d have another show to collab with in the future. 

You know, I didn’t hate the episode even if it was a bit of a collection of missed opportunities. Personally, I would have liked to at least see part of the dinner. Or a flash forward to the two main girls drunk in front of empty plates while the two others wonder how they are going to get them home and try to pay with their credit cards or something. See what i mean, missed opportunities!

The one huge warning bell I have is that the episode had a ton of leading shots. Moments that the camera was focusing on supposedly empty spaces, pieces of set dressing or characters that weren’t doing anything. It did seem to me that the episode was trying to imbue these moments with some meaning or at least a foreboding or something. And this could have an interesting payoff if the show can carry it through. However, I’m not so certain that it can. And if it doesn’t, all these little moments amount to more or less dead air. Both visually and narratively uninteresting in any way. And that is a big problem.

Thanks for reading everyone, have a good one and we’ll see you next week on the Otherside.

One thought on “Otherside Picnic Episode 10 – Because of the Karate

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