I learned that “Blood In Blood Out” was initially recorded with Rob Dukes’ vocals and it’s possible to find the rough mixes of some of these songs. Not gonna lie, after having listened to them I’m kind of disappointed that eventually the album came out with Zetro’s singing. Rob Dukes may sound pretty standard (why this is a minus is beyond me), but I definitely prefer his much more aggressive style.

Kobayashi-san Chi no Meidoragon S

I’m not entirely sure that the second season of this KyoAni anime about Kobayashi and her dragon-maid was needed. Yeah, after what happened in 2019 the studio had to rebound and demonstrate that they still could create shows living up to the fans’ expectations, but why choose this title? The first season of Kobayashi-san Chi no Meidoragon was not bad, but we shouldn’t forget that it spent half of its time introducing new characters and, in general, was focused pretty much on being a slice-of-life show =) Will it be interesting to watch another 12 episodes of cute nothingness? Seems that the authors were asking themselves the same question and the answer was to add more. More characters! Backstory for everyone! You thought that Lucoa’s breasts were pretty questionable? For sure people want bigger ones!

All these, supposedly, exciting new additions turned out to be not that hmm exciting (Araragi-kun, you need to work on your vocabulary). I didn’t give a damn about the new dragon — yes, she was responsible for one good joke faking to be offended by a guy staring at you-know-what-parts of her body — but other than that she was a quite boring character. All the dramas, all the backstories in the second season are shallow. Maybe I should’ve enjoyed scenes when Kobayashi-san is being Very Smart and giving Valuable Life Suggestions? I don’t know, by the end of the season I got kind of tired of the title character.

Frankly, the only bright spot in this anime is Kanna. Maybe because unlike the rest of the dragons she doesn’t have to ask Serious Questions about her life (I think I’m going overboard with the capital letters but c’mon, I should make sure that everyone understands that we’re talking about Serious Things and not just, you know, serious thingies) and just enjoys being with Tohru and Kobayashi. Episodes with Kanna are warm, cute and unmistakably KyoAni-like.

I’m glad that Kyoto Animation is back in TV-show business but I hope the next time they’ll release something closer to the anime that made so many people follow them closely. K-On, Lucky Star, Nichijou, Hyouka, Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuutsu were awesome and I want to believe that we’ll be able to add new names to this list.

To commemorate the fact that since next week a lot of people in Ontario are becoming second-class citizens let’s remember how we got to this point.

When all that Covid situation started we were told to do several things and the curve would be flattened in a matter of weeks (I think we had the same famous “two weeks to flatten the curve” here but not 100% sure): wash our hands often, keep that arbitrarily chosen distance 6ft and stay home if possible. Amazingly, I’d say that hands-washing so far has been the most helpful advice — not because it helps with this virus particularly but it’s a good habit in general. A bit later some stores started installing plexiglass panels and introduced a surprisingly reasonable policy, which of course got scrapped very quickly — that seniors had their own shopping hours. Then we got our first lockdown, which ended in the beginning of summer if memory serves me well. The indoor mask mandate was announced after that, apparently because such a highly advanced technological device as a piece of cloth over the face had not been known to mankind and not because masks had never worked against a respiratory disease before.

A bit later, in the beginning of fall, masks were declared the tool to save humanity, there were claims that they were as effective as any (potential) vaccine could be and anyone who’s ignorant enough to say that it might be not entirely correct deserved swift punishment. I heard conversations when people were happily describing that someone got thrown from the bus and punched a few times because he didn’t wear a mask. The keyword is happily. “He totally deserved it and had it coming and I’d punch this bastard myself a few times”. Yeah, okay. Despite having Very Effective™ masks and Very Effective™ social distancing we had another lockdown later that fall. I have to mention that all that was happening with zero big gatherings: festivals, sports or music events.

I think around the time of the second lockdown we also were introduced to an amazing Color Zone Scheme, which was supposed to provide a plan for transitioning from one package of restrictions to another but in practice it could totally be “okay, you’re in yellow zon… oh, hold on, panic-panic-panic — no, you’re in grey — lockdown zone!” Then Ontario got a short break from lockdowns only to go on a lockdown again later. The last day before that latest lockdown we went to a pub we used to go to once in a while, and everyone who worked there were furious because they honestly had no idea what might happen the next day. This pub is closed now by the way, that lockdown turned out to be the last straw =)

This time around the vaccines were declared the key to lift the third, spring lockdown. I think the original target was 70 or 75% vaccinated to get rid of most of restrictions. Amazingly enough, the plan never mentioned lifting all the restrictions entirely. Then it was a series of “take the first vaccine available, they all are miraculous -> well no, except this one, this one is not good -> this one is actually not good either -> you can mix the vaccines… probably -> you have to take the vaccine and show the proof if asked and we’re not sure yet but maybe if 90% of you peasants are vaccinated something good might happen”. I’m still genuinely confused who vaccine passports are supposed to protect from whom and why some people think that declaring a significant number of fellow Ontarians unclean subhumans might be a good idea but what do I know.

So yeah, these 18 months have been pretty fascinating. We made a huge progress from washing hands to normalizing the idea that people are nothing more than vessels with disease. Effectively, now we have: social distancing (unless you’re on a plane or something), indoor masking, capacity limits and vaccine passports. Simultaneously. As Exodus sang in their recent single “The beatings will continue until morale improves”.