If it was just the voice acting in this series that was as great as it was, this series would already be amazing. But it’s not just that: the music is brilliant, and in fact got even better in this episode with its combinations of piano and string pieces. And on top of that the expressions are wonderfully drawn in this series: its ability to convey emotions also is completely unrivaled in this season. And the bizarre thing is: this is Dogakobo. What really surprises me is how they suddenly got themselves some awesome producers who could bring together some people who really know what they’re doing. What triggered that? I mean, these are the guys who are behind the many seasons of Koihime Musou. They only did one series once that didn’t involve blatant moe: Ryoko’s Case File, but that was nowhere as well executed as this series is.
I mean, there is also the way in which they got Ryo-Chimo to direct the OP, but what also surprises me is how tightly everything is produced: Kou Matsuou is involved everywhere: he directs, he writes the script, he even directed the ED. On top of that, every episode director so far also personally wrote the storyboard. I know that originally these roles were pulled apart in order to allow for more consistency in the anime production process, so that even with an average staff you could produce a great episode because the workload is divided, but it’s still good to see that the people who have the time and skill to do both at once are still there, because this in my opinion allows for a more creative control over each episode.
What the creators did in this episode brilliantly was show how hopeless Atsushi’s situation is. He’s pretty much forced to watch some random guy start hitting on what he still considers to be his girlfriend, and being sick for his entire life he really became a sympathetic character here after his charades last episodes. And really: Hazuki is one of the most flawed main characters out there, but in a completely different way from usual. This guy is cold and brash, not polite at all. Yet at the same time, he’s very sharp-witted which despite him being an asshole at times, makes him really great to watch. My one nitpick about this episode was that we got to see very little inside the head of Rokka herself. That was what made her so interesting in the first two episodes.