Bungou Stray Dogs 7, while not appearing to be, is actually about Kunikida and his ideals, though, like the first part of the story last week, you hardly notice it, at least until the end, when after an entertaining enough battle where the bomb guy, a smirking bishie and thus my least favorite anime character type, gets what’s coming to him by some clever teamwork between Dazai and Kunikida (who earlier was wondering how the hell these two became partners). The connection between the two men, after the surprises and tragedies of the final scene, became more compelling. Kunikida clearly believing in his strong-minded ideals and so frustrating and raging “why!” while the usually foolish Dazai talks about justice being a tool, and the danger of ideals destroying people’s souls. It DOES make you wonder why these two are a team, apart from the fighting baddies, I mean.
Kumamiko 8 continues the emotional abuse on poor Machi. This time Yoshiro cons her into working as one of those poor souls who have to prepare and hand out samples of food at supermarkets, claiming it’s sort of a path to stardom and the city. Naturally he ditches her there and we spend several painful minutes with her being ignored by customers and threatened by the boss. And turns out it’s only because the regular part-timer was off that day. I suppose you could argue that it was good experience of the real world for Machi, but I’d like to punch Yoshiro in the face for continually humiliating her to further his own interests. Though the cold rice dishes Machi and Natsu prepared at the start looked pretty good.
Kuromukuro 7 has no battles, but after the fireworks in ep6 I didn’t expect one. This one’s all about people working out what they should be doing, what they have to do, and DO they have to do it. The character’s stances on these things come out in a sequence of little scenes. Now that she’s seen the face of the enemy, who was NOT a demon, Yukina is adamant about not getting back in the Black Relic. You can’t blame her. She also has painful memories about her father’s absence reawaken, maybe because he had called them demons, but what he meant by that term isn’t clear. There’s also some resentment about being considered a tool by just about everyone, and maybe a tad of jealousy about that princess who stole the artifact in the first place. And then there’s her mom, come home to work things out and failing. Perhaps not surprisingly, Yukina runs off.
Meanwhile Kennosuke is working over his side of the issue. The not-really-clueless Yukina asks him some pointed questions about the nature of his revenge and what he intends to do even if he gets it (telling her he would then die wasn’t the best answer, Kennosuke!). He’s also against forcing Yukina to get back in that mecha, and is socially awkward enough that he doesn’t have the words to convince her. Yukina seems to be turning her back on destiny, or at least her duty to mankind, but how to bring her around? That’s the big question right now, as the bad guys (a bunch of riduculous-looking people wearing armor, who call the Black Relic “Glongur”–sounds like one of Stan Lee’s Amazing Stories monsters–who are so cliched and awful that the nearly sink the episode just by appearing) are trying the trick of appealing to Earth for the relic’s return, a political tactic that complicates things further. Good episode, even if nothing got blown up.
Tanaka-kun wa Itsumo Kedaruge brings us a valentine chocolate episode with no annoying bits, because the chocolates in question were already delivered and the girl is a mystery. It allows Tanaka and Ohta to wander around (miraculously overhearing each of their suspects deny the chocolates to friends), speculate, and eat the sweets, homemade for Tanaka, bittersweet store-bought for Ohta, the presentation of which furthers the mystery. Of course, when we (finally) meet Rino, Tanaka’s sister, we pretty much guess. These later scenes were a little awkward because I couldn’t figure out what Rina’s all about, and she’s not obvious like Miyano is. But as usual, it’s all funny, if a little odd at times: WHY did Rino put the towels on Tanaka’s head?
No matter what I do something comes up in RL and I fall behind with my posts. Sorry about that
Coming into Gakusen Toshi Asterisk 7 things looked interesting, Flora still gone and Ayato, searching for her, on the run from goons. But instead, all of a sudden,we get this new girl Sylvia, who takes an interest in Ayato’s business because, maybe since she knows who he is, trusts him far beyond the bounds of common sense. Also turns out she’s an expert at Phoenix Festa historical rankings in general, a supremely gifted fighter in her own right, and has another super power or two so that she can tell him exactly what building Flora’s stashed in, flirts with him a little and then hops off the top of the building as super-people often do. Deus ex Genestella or something. So the story cops out and now Saya and Kirin just have to blunder in and rescue her and leave our heroes to the match, which actually starts next week. It will probably take two episodes, swinging between itself and the rescue.
Macross Delta 7 has them infiltrating a planet taken over by the bad guys, meaning they have to dress as cats. We get the nyan comments for a while, until they find out the secret of the vars infection. Windemere apples and, whatever planet they’re on’s water. Mix them together and you don’t just get apple juice, apparently. Wonder what a Windemere hard cider would do for you … Anyway, while they’re being sneaky we get a lot of scenes of Makina and Reina working cutely together, learn that that big “scar” on Windemere was actually Windemere’s doing when they tried to wipe out the NUNS, which is different from NUGS … But this week’s medal goes to Mikumo, who stops Freyja from revealing their presence and singing to prove to a kid that songs don’t suck, the typical stupid but sincere behavior that we see too much in these situations.
KumaMiko 7 … I’m still confused as to why the place didn’t go up in flames when the rice cooker short-circuited. Also not sure why Machi and then Natsu were so unconcerned about it, well, Natsu was at first. I was also impressed by Machi’s chopping wood. Didn’t know she was capable of stuff like that. Still, I enjoyed the second part more. It’s like an anxiety dream where you have to get up in front of people but have no idea what to say. Fortuately, Natsu isn’t stupid and uses the situation to his advantage. At least the old folks seemed to enjoy it. Some times it’s good to have a ritual just to get everyone together.
And in Bakuon!! 7 there’s a pretty fun motorcycle race. It’s not the most gloriously-animated one, but they do just enough visually, with multiple heads and quick shots to make it exciting. Also, the show’s done a nice job establishing the pride the girls each have in their bikes, so I wound up rooting for all of them, though I had Raimu picked as the winner (her surpreme skills vs the handicap). Thus I was shocked when she crashed in the first moment, but, you know, it was just to set up the dramatic finish. As for who won, I won’t tell you here, but kudos to the show for the unexpected victor, defeating the typical rules these silly competitions have. Never saw it coming.
Macross Delta 6 begins with Messer belittling Hayate and Mirage’s flying skills, while Mikuno has started to go all catty on poor Freyja. It’s not much fun to watch these sort of scenes, and I wish the show would get over it and settle our couple in. On the other hand, I was surprised to see Mirage on the receiving end of criticism, too, considering how they puffed her up to be so great. It also helped them bond a little, for the triangle that will become important when the couple has time for it.
The main point of the episode comes after another spectacular if confusing battle (everything happens so fast and the ships are in the darkness anyway) was hinted at from the start. Hayate and Mirage only go for the enemy’s wings, i.e., they try not to kill. At the end of the battle, Hayate kills his first man (saving Mirage’s life in the process) and goes into a blue funk because of it. It sort of falls flat, at least for me, partly because I wasn’t sure what was going on at the end of the battle. Just that Hayate was moping on the dock afterwards. “Oh, he must have killed that guy.” Still, nice speech by Mirage, and it was better than what Freyja’s going through, basically more “What are you singing for?” accusations.
Hearing that Kumamiko 6 would feature Village Vanguard, I began to think that this series was going to be about retail chains as much as about girls and talking bears. Instead the show veered from my expectations when Machi panicked in the mall, her self-esteem issues and shame over it giving her some significant trauma, and the second half of the episode was Natsu trying to get her to feel better and dealing with his guilt over sending her on this absurd mission (would Village Vanguard have a DVD on pythagorean devices?). I’m now worried about Machi being able to function in any urban setting, and if she has to do so maybe they ought to send Hibiki with her next time.
Bakuon!! 6 is a scatter-shot series of small bits revolving around the bike race the girls will have at the school festival. There’s the normal, obsessive and opinionated biker behavior (the Yamaha TZR2503MA get attention this week), including different ways to mod your bike (tuning, customizing … and occult). Then there’s the weirdness of the characters, such as Raimu’s betting to buy ALL the colors the Kawasaki GPZ250R came in. The best moment for me came with Hane’s dimwitted modding concept, the “double happy meter,” but most of it was amusing, partly because, apart from the festival, which we won’t see until next week, there was no real structure to any of it.
Sousei no Onmyoji, like Macross, is working on a triangle. Since there’s nothing much new on the Kegare front, apart from a discovery at the end which we don’t need because it just means more nastiness is coming, which we already knew, the show decided to get Benio and soon to be third wheel Mayura to bond a little, meaning Mayura won’t leave poor Benio alone (she thinks Benio’s a delinquent on the side). I thought for sure Mayura would be sucked into evil-land, but the show decided to leave the outsiders out of it. But turns out Mayura knows all about exorcists, which will save some explaining down the road, but didn’t know that Benio and Rokuro were living sort of together, leading to some adorable pummeling at the end. Now that she’s aware of the whole situation, we can get to the triangle story, if the show wants to and I hope it doesn’t.
Bungou Stray Dogs 6 looks at first like a character study of Kunikida, but it really doesn’t feel like it because Atsushi and Dazai are around him almost the entire time. The way character episodes are supposed to work we’re supposed to long internal monologues and flashbacks, and, well, we do get those, but for the most part they’re so brief and matter-of-fact that we don’t have time to get bored by them. You see, I find most character episodes to be boring. The flashbacks we do get actually have meaning for their current case, tracking down the Azure Messenger who’s most likely another azure bad guy earlier. The internal monologues, usually about his book of ideals, are too brief; we spend more time watching Dazai making fun of it. Oh, and Akutagawa shows up again, but he’s driven away before he can mess up the balance of things.
Netoge no Yome wa Onnanoko ja Nai to Omotta?, like Anne Happy, was an show I thought I might drop, but episode 4 wasn’t bad. It started with more of Ako’s confusion between the game and RL world, which would be fine if they were going to force in a deeper, show-altering plot, which I don’t think it would do well, but in the second half the episode got aimless and quite enjoyable. Schwein and Master aren’t around, so Rusian and Ako do some game touring and sightseeing, rather like a RL date, something they both realize. Nothing much happens, but it had enjoyable encounters like meeting their advisor and her old guild. There’s a start of a new story when they meet a utter newbie and Rusian shows her some basics, rather like he did when he first met Ako. Sure enough, now this girl’s stalking him, and it’s certain that this is actually Nanako, a RL classmate. So it looks like some jealousy and possible triangles in the works. … Mind you, if either this show or Anne Happy have bad episodes this week I’ll probably drop either or both.
And after episode 5 I’m still on the fence about this one. The episode wasn’t bad. Ako pulls herself deeper into her shell after seeing Rusian with Sette, who is, of course, that pink-haired girl. Hideki decides to follow her into NEET obsession if that’s what she wants, thus prompting her to realize that it’s indeed NOT what she wants. It alone wouldn’t keep me from dropping it, but I couldn’t get over the moment when Ako repeats “Team … Deathmatch!” completely out of the blue and had me giggling for a good minute.
Tanaka-kun wa Itsumo Kedaruge 4 formally introduces Shiraishi to the group. The perfect student, beautiful, smart, kind, hard-working, but it’s mostly a front. Normally she’s frumpier and wears glasses and a longer skirt. This is “discovered” by Tanaka and Ohta about halfway through the episode, after some aimless scenes that are just as entertaining as what comes after. Tanaka and Ohta now have an excellent, low-energy timing between them, and Ohta can even hold his own with his deadpan replies. Naturally, when they discover Shiraishi’s shameful secret, they say nothing, because Ohta didn’t even recognize her and why should Tanaka expend the energy to say anything? We sort of guessed this, so Shiraishi’s silly stalking was pointless, but again this show managed to make it all funny. A nice comment by Tanaka put this one over the top, when he suggested that her perfect persona might drive some people away.
Episode 5, like the rest, is a delight. In the first half Tanaka and Ohta prove they can hold up the show by themselves as they go shopping, though Tanaka has forgotten what to get. An unexpected sidelight is Ohta’s shopping brains impressing all the housewives. But after that it’s time for Shiraishi to shine again as she realizes she might be falling in love with Tanaka. There are endless amusing bits invented out of nothing, like the “oh” that Shiraishi’s friend says when she admits it, and the sweetness of the whole situation. Getting Tanaka’s love might be impossible, but thanks to “master,” she’s gained a couple of new friends, something the most popular girl in school thought would be impossible a short while ago.
HaiFuri 4 reveals (to us) the reasons for the mutiny on Wilhelmina’s ship, probably what is up with the Musashi, and even why the Harekaze got attacked in the first place. Too bad no one in the show has figured it out, and why would they? A red-eyed rodent-thing isn’t the type of animal that you would expect to cause so much trouble. Well, it led to the best scene: quiet Tama going utterly bezerk and attacking ships that were just bringing them supplies. However, I hope the show’s main villain is something more nautical and warlike. And I hope they can base their stories on things other than running out of toilet paper. Honestly, the girls can’t go 26 hours without it?
… and it’s turning into another show that I should drop but I can’t, not yet. It’s frustrating because the stuff that keeps me watching, time-wise, is a small fraction of the episode’s length. We have the mystery of the rodent, who can apparently send electromagnetic pulses or something, enough to screw up both electrical machinery and human behavior, but they’re no closer to figuring that out, much less fingering the rodent. And we have, at the end, Akeno, swimming in a battlefield, a good cliffhange. Yet to get to this point we had to put up with an aimless swimsuit scene or two, a welcome party for the German girl, seems superfluous, and little character quirks by as many of the cast as they can throw in. I am officially sick of the navigator’s whining, by the way. I’m just waiting for an episode to have a flat ending so I’ll have my excuse to drop it.