Donuts were difficult, since I didn’t know if they were a snack or a meal

Tsumugi

Sweetness & Lightning, episodes 1-5

  1. This is definitely the show of the season from my perspective. It ticks quite a few boxes for me personally: I have a young daughter (a lot younger than tsumugi), I’m a teacher, I like to cook. It’s got instantly loveable characters with believable motivations and a touch of tragedy. And it offers a kind of community service: because Kouhou is learning to cook, the weekly recipes begin very simply, so that people can learn to cook alongside him.
  2. I love shows-within-shows, and I would love it if someone made a full episode of Magi-girl, the show that Tsumugi watches. It seems to be a giant robot / magical girl mashup. It needs to be brought into the real world.
  3. I’m not the kind of person who trawls through the credits looking at the production details of shows I enjoy, but Tsumugi’s voice is so authentically child-like… sure enough, the actress is ten years old. It makes a huge difference to the show, as the squeals and giggles create a vivid personality.
  4. I’m still wary of the relationship between Kouhou, the teacher, and Iida, his student. She clearly has a crush on him, but so far he has responded appropriately: taking advice about the appropriateness of his meetings with her, contacting her mother (albeit indirectly), blithely thanking her for compliments paid. It’s genuinely refreshing to watch a show that doesn’t have cheap, sleazy moments thrown in for no good reason, and if he suddenly reciprocates I will be seriously pissed off.
  5. Crunchyroll has the manga, and this is the first show I’ve felt the need to go and read because I can’t wait for the next week’s episode. (Bonus: the manga includes written recipes. I think I’ll give the donuts a go.)

That fat Nazi has to be out of licorice by now, right?

4 Kids Walk into a Bank

4 Kids Walk into a Bank, issue 1

  1. A skinhead gang barges into 11-year-old Paige’s house. She picks a fight with them, then gathers her D&D-playing friends to go on a stake-out and find out what they are up to. This is exactly in my sweet spot.
  2. This is a noir-ish detective story at its core, but it allows plenty of space to let the kids be kids, and they have a great sense of humour. The D&D game that devolves into squabbling because that one kid doesn’t understand why he can’t be a dragon; the ham radio conversation that devolves into “over over over over” because that one kid can’t choose a decent callsign. These scenes have absolutely no bearing on the plot, but they are good depictions of childhood conversations and develop the group dynamic effectively.
  3. Everything about this (the humour, the cast, the stakes, and particularly the art) reminds me of Fraction/Aja/Hollingsworth Hawkguy, and that is a very very good thing.
  4. Paige is shaping up as an excellent protagonist in the Veronica Mars mould. She’s streetwise, self-assured, and an excellent smartarse, but her care and loyalty for friends and family are already evident. I have been thinking about running a game of Bubblegumshoe, and even in the first issue, 4KWIAB is sparking some ideas. This is going to be great.
  5. My one niggling concern is that when you establish a gang of swastika-tattooed skinheads as the villains, it is not a great idea to make the Jewish kid the socially inept one who is barely tolerated by the group. I hope they give him a heroic turn at some point.