Hello, everyone. Please accept my apologies for being so late with this week’s episodic review of Aharen-san. My laptop troubles have been a consistent theme for the last week-ish, and keeping it alive for even a modicum of time was impossible. However, things seem to have settled for the better, at least for now. Unfortunately, the anime I returned to did not get the memo from the prior episode.
Indeed, we have reverted back into the quality of entertainment more reminiscent of the mediocrity seen in episodes 1-3. Not even an admittedly very cute ending scene could do much for episode five’s overall worth to me.
Episode 5 Synopsis
Aharen and Raidou continue to embark on the fragile path of nurturing a social relationship. For a time, though, a familiar face from before gets to have a subplot focused on her effort to get a boy to like her. Otherwise, much of the same.
I realize that oftentimes, when I say I’m going to keep things short, I end up rambling on anyway. This time, I am really going to keep things succinct. It’s getting to the point where episode six will be out within 24 hours and this post has been delayed for far too long already. (I even considered making the next post a dual 5 + 6 double review.)
As briefly stated in the opening paragraphs, episode five is a disappointing return to the passable-at-best feel of the first three episodes. Very little of interest here outside a lot of the same doesn’t-translate-as-well-in-anime-form humor that made the manga more appealing. Jokes take far too long to tell and end up losing steam about halfway through the execution. Anime just doesn’t have the convenience of skimming past things that don’t stick.
A couple notes I will make is an observation and a small slice of praise. First, episode five of Aharen-san actually dedicates an entire segment to referencing the F.E.A.R. tactic in Pokémon games. What is this? Let me explain:
- An overpowered pokémon attacks their opponent, but by holding an item called the Focus Sash, the opposing pokémon survives the attack with 1 HP.
- The opposing pokémon then uses a move called “Endeavor” to have the overpowered pokémon’s HP match their own (1).
- On the next turn, the opposing pokémon will use a move that allows them to attack first (such as Quick Attack) and defeat the overpowered pokémon.
Does this sound funny? Perhaps it’s funny in a fate of cruel irony, but having Raidou commentate the whole match by elaborating on the tactic itself, it feels more like a lot of convenient gobbledygook. Should one have the context of knowing this technique, it’s neat to point and go, “Hey! I’ve seen this one!” Otherwise, it’s just long and obvious from the start.
Then we have the ending scene, which features an intimate moment between Raidou and Aharen where the latter hugs the former out of relief that she was finally “able to help him.” Obviously, we as viewers know that this is not the case—her assistance and impact on Raidou’s life has been apparent from the start. Still, after a long day of commuting between places, under the setting sun as it fills the classroom with a glossy orange glow, it was nice to see a genuine act of gratitude from an otherwise muted character.
This is likely something that episode three wished to do with its ending centered on the looming prospect of seating the two leads away from one another. T’was an obvious comedic ploy and at that point, it didn’t feel earned. Now that we’re a little farther in, the act itself, via a hug, is both representative of the time they’ve spent together up until this point and clearly took much resolve for Aharen to go through with. It makes sense and is a proper signal of their growing relationship.
Now if only the sixteen-ish minutes that came before weren’t so largely ignorable.
Hey, look: I still ended up writing more than I intended to. Gosh, writing is just too much fun.
Anyway, Aharen-san has taken a dip back into the pool of comedic emptiness. Not a single smirk escaped me watching this episode, and aside from a sweet final act, it was largely forgettable. Pokémon competition enthusiasts will at least recognize a specific reference, I suppose.
Thank you for your time. Have a great timezone.