Between the Sky and Sea episode 9: Mehstival.

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Harsh

This episode felt like it was meant to be one of the emotional high points of the series. It very much wasn’t.

One of this show’s big issues that nothing ever really exists until it’s convenient. Everyone in town coming together to help Ruby is an obvious peak to a story arc that never happened, as the problem was only introduced this episode and had no build up. I’m not sure they even implied that her mother was dead before now, she’s certainly never worn or mentioned the purse before, despite it being ostensibly extremely important to her. This very important item just popped out of thin air at the start of the episode.

That wasn’t even the only example this episode, as the preamble to the festival featured some clumsy exposition about Namino’s previously unmentioned dislike for one of the male space fishermen. They’ve spoken roughly two times in the entire run and there’s never been any real hostility there. Admittedly with Namino it’s hard to tell given her default reaction to anyone else breathing is adversarial. But regardless we got a brief scene at the beginning of the episode to establish that she totally doesn’t like this guy, honest, leading into an awkward backstory dump from Haru, who apparently went and asked Namino’s grandparents off screen for no apparent reason. We’re not really given any justification for it, she just went behind her teammate’s back to ask about something she was clearly not willing to share herself. Haru’s kind of a jerk a lot of the time honestly. The ultimate point of this scene was so that they could show how much Namino has changed by having Haru declare that “you don’t actually hate him do you, you just can’t say it”. Because this show needs to just sort of tell us things about the characters rather than conveying it in a natural way. All this happens in the space of about five minutes incidentally. Maybe it’s setting up for a future reconciliation but that feels kind of pointless in and of itself given this has never been a thing we were meant to care about until now.

The festival itself was fairly standard anime summer festival fare, mostly as an excuse for Ruby to lose a purse her dead mother gave her. While this definitely should have been a big moment the whole thing ultimately just served to reinforce how little investment I have in any of these characters. Ruby herself has had about ten lines since her intro episode 5 weeks back. As with anyone the current episode isn’t focusing on she’s faded into the background. The only mildly interesting thing to happen was a brief shot of the deities hanging out in the real world. Which is mostly notable for entirely breaking the rules they already established for them. Being able to enter the real world in a non space fishing context was outright stated to be Misapyon’s thing, and now here they all are sitting around drinking on a rooftop, because consistency is for chumps I guess.

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The real highlight of the episode actually comes after the whole festival storyline is wrapped up. At which point, having reached a logical endpoint for the episode we instead hard cut to space. With absolutely no setup or transition the girls are now space fishing again. The abruptness of it is kind of amusing and it feels taped on to fill space. Until the twist. Randomly out of nowhere Maiko brings up her missing brother. Literally half a second later her mech picks up a wrecked pod nearby. She goes to check it without telling anybody and gets ambushed by another one of the ridiculous murder fish in order to set up a cliffhanger. The whole thing is so contrived I ended up laughing, which probably wasn’t the intended effect but what the hey, at least it was entertaining in its badness for once.

Between the Sky and Sea episode 9: Mehstival.

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