From its darkest days to its most riveting restorations, these two episodes span the widest dramatic gamut we’ve seen out of Do It Yourself!! yet. And the show’s never been better. Together, they form a confident thesis statement on the series as a lighthearted hobby anime and a piece of pro-DIY propaganda. The girls are endearing, the jokes are funny, the ideas are articulate, and the crafts are immaculate.
Actually, the crafts aren’t immaculate, and that’s the point of episode nine. Serufu, worried that her clumsiness is stopping her from pulling her weight as a club member, stays up all night and tries to hammer some dexterity into her fingers. This resolves as expected, with the gang reassuring her of her other talents and reinforcing that the “yourself” part of the title is a bit of a misnomer. “Yourselves” would be more accurate since the DIY Club tackles their projects as a team, allowing them to prop each other up and utilize everyone’s unique strengths.
Do It Yourself!! envisions DIY as a collaborative effort first and foremost, and that idea also drives the big resolution to the tenth episode. We’ve seen it on smaller scales before, but this time the girls cast a net over the whole city, finding allies in friends, neighbors, acquaintances, strangers, and even DIY Club alums with plenty of lumber to spare. The treehouse project itself becomes secondary to the circumstances of its revival—circumstances that align with their advisor’s little speech about the value of DIY in an increasingly technological age. This is the most “soapboxy” the show’s ever been, but like all people, I don’t mind soapboxing when it’s something I agree with. I’ve articulated those ideas in these reviews already. Working with our hands provides a tactile conduit through which we tangibly transform a thing into a craft. We put work into something, and that work becomes value, and that value becomes a piece of connective tissue to ourselves and everyone else that craft touches. These are straightforward concepts to understand in the abstract, but they’re so much more powerful when experienced firsthand.
Okay, themes aside, I also love how bold these episodes are. Let’s begin with what I’m sure is unanimously considered the most surprising part of episode nine: Serufu’s actually brilliant! Somehow, it fits her character (and contextualizes some of Purin’s frustrations with her), but I mostly love watching Kurei’s escalating disbelief and horror throughout that scene. The finished pig house for Meat is one of the cutest things I’ve ever seen, and the whole building sequence is cute, aside from the part where Serufu almost slices her abdomen open with a power saw. Oh yeah, there’s the part where they lose all the building material they’ve been saving for half a season.
I never expected Do It Yourself!! to deliver one of the most dire cliffhangers of the season, but somehow it does, and it follows through with the dexterity of an adept dramatist. The depressive register of the tenth episode’s first half almost seems anathema to the airy, pastel-infused mood of the show so far. However, the presentation is impeccably dour; moreover, it slots perfectly into the show’s aspirations. Failure and disappointment go hand in hand with any creative endeavor, including DIY. You will screw up. There will be setbacks. And a lot of it will be out of your control. The real test of mettle is not in avoiding these mistakes but in learning how to get back on the horse after it has bucked you off. For Serufu, this apparently involves going into a fugue state and hallucinating about Meat clones, but whatever works!
This dark night of the DIY soul also releases the final latch holding Purin back from being honest with Serufu. While she delivers arguably her most powerful pout yet, her genuine concern for her childhood friend lets the two finally share an authentic moment again. In this scene, DIY transitions between humor, desperation, and warmth with incredible litheness. As much as I’ve been enjoying the series, I didn’t know it had this kind of dramatic flexibility. This helps catapult the series comfortably into the upper echelon of esoteric hobby anime. And, of course, this all builds to the whole season’s climax: Serufu proposing to Purin by handing her a power drill. If that’s not love, I don’t know what is.
Assuming that Purin doesn’t go tsundere supercritical, I hope we get to see her build the treehouse with the rest of the gang next week, and when the finale airs, I hope the entire series ends on as strong a note as episode ten did. In a ridiculously stacked season of anime, it’s hard for DIY‘s subtler charms to stand out, but I think these episodes throw a one-two punch that proves these crafty girls can hang with the heavyweights.
Do It Yourself!! is currently streaming on
Steve is a regular freelance contributor to ANN and also the guy who called Arataka Reigen an internet sex symbol that one time. Feel free to roast him on Twitter about this. Otherwise, catch him chatting about trash and treasure alike on This Week in Anime.