And here we go with the mid season obligatory filler episode. Not only done, but this episode showcased Trigger’s typical, silly and limited animation that pops up in episodes from time to time. But the limited animation was essentially the entire episode, very reminiscent of Kill la Kill in that aspect. There was a lot of reused animation and sequences. Not to mention there was basically a lot of very choppy animation that you’d normally see in animatics.
Normally, I’d be annoyed with this kind of animation, however, maybe it’s because of trigger’s style and shot composition that makes it work in their favor. Sure it’s not the prettiest thing to look at, but with how cartoony and silly their style can get, that type of animation kind of goes along with this episode in a sense. Because BNA retains a silly tone at times, I feel like they can get away with that type of animation during the silly and outlandish moments. Especially since this entire episode was pretty silly. Kill la Kill is filled with silly and wonky moments, allowing that choppy animation to work in those scenes. However, that type of animation would not work in series like Darling in the Franxx or Kiznaiver where both series carry a more serious tone and the characters hardly go off model.
Anyways, while this may have been filler, we learn a little more about Michiru’s abilities. Such as it doesn’t feel natural to maintain her human form and would much rather stay in her beastman form. Which makes sense since when she transforms I assume that maintaining an unnatural form takes a toll on her body. We also get to see that she’s actually pretty athletic with how she demonstrates her basketball abilities. While we have seen her play a little basketball in her flashbacks when she was still human, I’m sure that she’s a lot stronger in her beastman form. Which we get to see in action when she is taken to a baseball game and suddenly recruited by The Bears.
I’m pretty convinced at this point that Michiru activates her shape shifting abilities when she has a specific need for something. As shown by her developing gorilla arms to bat and then cheetah legs to run. But yeah, I agree with Oogami that she should really keep those abilities on the down low… but I guess it’s too late for that. Considering she seems to activate these abilities unconsciously at times. Unfortunately, it seem to have caught the attention of who I’m assuming is the head of Sylvasta. I’m wondering if he’s the one who did this to her or had any part in turning her into a beastman.
We also get a little more world building in this city and wow beastman life is crazy. We already knew that the typical mindset of the beastman is survival of the fittest no matter what task. I suppose that goes for sports as well considering they turned baseball into a death and gambling game. I don’t know what I was expecting, but this wasn’t it. Just makes the sport 100% more terrifying especially when players will pull out legit weapons in the intention to hurt and even murder the other players. Going as far as to make dodo beastmen extinct. That’s… definitely a problem. No wonder the mayor wants Ogami to look into it and put a stop to it. Though it is pretty sad that no one seems to enjoy the sport for the sport and only takes part in it for the gambling.
That said, the games were pretty ridiculous to watch. And I thought the violence in the first game was bad, every game seemed to up the ante in violence. The last game basically reminded me of Space Jam when the Monstars basically went in and beat up the Loony Tunes with how busted up the Bears got.
Now, I don’t know about you, but I would be FURIOUS if I were Michiru if I found out that the team that basically guilt-tripped me into playing for them, ended up selling out. Michiru didn’t even want to play baseball in the first place, but took pity on them and wanted to try and help them win the championships, which they claimed was their dream. Only for them to backpedal and put aside their “dream” for money. And while initially I found Michiru yelling at the crowd at how they’re wrong to treat baseball like this, like the typical shounen protagonist. I can see where she is coming from. Taking part in baseball was the first fun thing she got to experience in this city. She was genuinely happy to be playing a sport with others, despite it not being the sport of her choice. This was the first positive experience she’s had after becoming a beastman. So of course she’d try and defend it. So I am glad for her sake that the game continued and Michiru was still able to have fun with her team.
As much as I don’t like the coach, I do feel bad for him. He was the first beastman to play baseball on a team, but was terribly discriminated against and mistreated. Having to deal abuse from his team and the audience. I can’t blame him for snapping and basically attacking everyone around him after taking all of the mistreatment for so long. Unfortunately, when he, a beastman, lashes out, it basically justifies people’s fear of them. The racism depicted in this episode felt very real and it honestly hurt to see just how genuine the coach’s love for baseball back when he was young. Only for, not only humans, but other beastmen too, to just smear that love into the ground and make him believe this was the only way he could enjoy baseball. While his drama was wrapped up rather quickly, I didn’t expect much from a filler episode. But I do appreciate how the coach stood up against the bets at the end and declared he didn’t want to gamble anymore and just wanted to play baseball.
It is a little weird that Ogami is letting the death gambling game continue but it seems that the game is slowly changing with how the audience cheered on the Beats despite them having lost. Which is very different compared to how this all started. And while the mayor still wants to fix this problem, I guess Ogami views it as slowly being changed from the inside and also for Michiru’s sake. Since he saw how happy she was and even forget about being a beastman because she was having so much fun and wasn’t focusing so much on the negatives.
While this episode was… weird, it still had some interesting perspectives and we got to explore more of what Michiru is capable of with her shapeshifting abilities. The premise of this episode also reminded me a lot of the notorious Kill la Kill episode that frustrated a lot of fans where Ryuko started a fighting club. Just the fact that the poverty stricken people the protagonists were working with “sold out” but came around by the end after a rousing speech and actions from the protags felt very similar. But I definitely enjoyed how they handled the premise in BNA’s episode more since The Bears never turned into terrible people and basically resigned to just being “losers” and overall just had a lot more emotional scenes in between. So I didn’t feel frustrated watching this episode as I did with that Kill la Kill episode.
Also, just a random thing I noticed, but that big, white dog lackey was the same one we saw in episode 2 who was fighting for the front of the line at the admission center. Can’t say I’m surprised he became a thug after he got admitted if he did at all.