How would you rate episode 7 of
Community score: 4.2
How would you rate episode 8 of
Community score: 4.0
Shy follows up the revelation of its league of child villains with a pair of largely low-key episodes exploring the implications of their grand entrance and digging further into the characters affected by it. They take a step back, and they’re stronger for it. The relaxed plotting gives the narrative time and space to indulge in the scenes and stories that give Shy its distinctive character. I’m not in a hurry to see Teru test her soul’s flames against Stigma’s calcified heart. Teru’s a fun and relatable character, and I want to take my time laughing and cringing along with her follies. She’s not an archetypical superhero, and that’s a good thing.
If we look at where we’re at in the central conflict, the childishness of Stigma and the rest of Amarariruku continues to be the most crucial point emphasized. While childhood is often synonymous with innocence, a cruelty unique to kids comes by way of that innocence. They don’t possess the filters and perspectives that adults develop, so they’re especially susceptible to their surrounding environment. And most environments are unforgiving. Therefore, it’s probably safe to assume that Stigma’s motivations come from an emotionally charged place, and his violent reciprocation comes packaged in the black rings connected to his own heart. While he expresses his desire to “free” hearts, particularly their dark sides, he also molds them to conform to his image. It’s hypocritical, but it’s also the kind of knee-jerk justification you’d expect from someone emotionally stunted. Tzveta’s detached iciness and Kufufu’s manic playfulness are also both facets of immaturity, so it’ll be neat to see if all of Amarariruku follows this pattern.
Their “world peace” goal contradicts the show’s opening statement that all wars ceased with the onset of superheroes. This week’s episode, however, says that world peace is not synonymous with an absence of injustices. Kids still get orphaned. People still discriminate. Society is rife with issues that have nothing to do with war. Of course, that doesn’t mean that Stigma’s solution will be any better. Like all great anime villains, he appears to be on board with Human Instrumentality—at least in the sense of removing the differences between people (by turning them into extensions of himself) and reducing the world to a static yet conflict-free state. That’s not the most original doomsday scenario Shy could go with, but there’s plenty of room yet to throw some curveballs into the mix.
Elsewhere, I enjoy both episodes because they find time to do things unrelated to Stigma and his merry band. Teru’s torture persists as, against all odds, she continues to be recruited for PR campaigns. Revozeale joins a long line of fake magical girls invented to populate other properties, but I award her bonus points for being explicitly radical. More cartoons should be telling kids it’s okay to beat up an evil president. And that message should be broadcast to kids of all genders! It’s charming to see Teru affirm that boys have an inalienable right to enjoy cartoons made for little girls. Her Q&A sesh is cute, too, especially as she surprises herself by getting into the rhythm of it. Shy, at its heart, is a tale about Teru learning to open up to the people who appreciate her. The cringe comedy is nice, but it’s in service to our heroine’s growth.
And if one person is pushing Teru to be more outgoing, it’s her shyness sherpa Spirit. When Kikuri Hiroi stormed onto the stage of Bocchi the Rock!, I didn’t know she’d be pioneering a sisterhood of day drinkers taking wallflowers under their wings. Still, Pepesha appears happy to mentor a manic ball of social anxiety. This week’s episode clarifies her motivations, though. Through the reminiscences at the orphanage, we see a bitterer and more reserved Pepesha, who had to be brought into the light by other people. Thus, it’s little wonder she sees some of herself in Teru and wants to guide her to a healthier place. Granted, I don’t think functional alcoholism counts as “healthy,” but I’d wager that Tzveta’s presence is a strong indicator that Pepesha has some unresolved mommy issues to work through. On the other hand, she’s entirely right about drinking being fun. While I’ve always liked Pepesha as a friendly vodka mom, this dash of background context has made her a fuller character. Are we going to see Teru help her in the same way that she brought Iko back from the brink, or is it Tzveta, whoever she is, who will be rescued? There are a lot of ways this conflict could go.
Shy is in a comfortable place right now. While there’s not a lot of urgency in its overall plotting, the current crisis comes after a lull that leaves me more receptive to some action and melodrama. Like I said earlier, though, the ebb and flow of Shy‘s rhythm is paramount to its identity. Finding the right balance between goofy fail girl comedy, heart-on-sleeve psychological sincerity, and classic superhero action is tough, but that’s what the series needs to do to stand out. And these episodes are about as sure-footed as the story has gotten so far.
Episode 7 Rating:
Episode 8 Rating:
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Steve is on Twitter while it lasts. He is a recovering shy kid. You can also catch him chatting about trash and treasure alike on This Week in Anime.