Seitokai no Ichizon 9, Kimi ni Todoke 9, Trapeze 8

I suppose I shouldn’t have watched any anime yesterday after seeing Kiki’s Delivery Service for the first time. Anything else is bound to be a letdown. So I chose Seitokai no Ichizon 9 in hopes that its fast delivery and silly, referential humor would provide at least a change of pace. It pretty much succeeded.

Non-sequitors help, too.

The ep starts odd with an unexplained scene showing Chizuku comforting Sugisaki over something or other. I figure it’s a reference to another show. Then the silliness kicks in, then it gets serious again as Chizuku walks out to reconcile with a girl who once bullied her, while the others read a letter intended for her but addressed to the Student Council. More silliness, but the acoustic piano music comes in (a sure sign of mood change) and we get another quiet moment.

It sort of works. With this show we can never tell if a quiet scene is meant to be serious or a setup for a gag. Since we don’t know what the hell happened in that Chizuku/Sugisaki scene, or the reason why they seem closer at the end of this episode, it left me scratching my head.

But I usually like the sillier moments, so it's okay.

Then, the next day …

Kimi ni Todoke 9 still takes its sweet time getting anywhere. The major event is that Kurumi comes out and makes nice with Sawako, even calling her a friend.

Yano and Yoshida seem worried about this, Kazehaya less so, but goodness, what goes on in that boy’s head, anyway? And most of this happens in the final scene. The rest of it concerns practicing for the sports festival, a fun routine where Sawako considers getting a perm, and a slow buildup to Sawako and Kurumi’s new “friendship,” which, of course, is anything but.

There’s also too much of Sawako’s squirming and sighing any time anyone has a reaction to anything she does. This ep lays it on thick, but there’s something else going on, too. Since we’re viewing this show mostly through Sawako’s point of view we see firsthand how insecure and shy she is, but we can also see the bigger picture. Sometimes we see it when the POV switches away from her, as it did for a second to learn what Kurumi really meant when she said Sawako was “like a doll,” but other times we stay in Sawako’s head and can still see the important things she can’t. This makes her seem even more helpless and vulnerable, and I usually have two reactions: one is to sympathize with her, the other is to yell at her to get her head together, because it’s obvious Kurumi only pretends to like you because she wants Kazehaya, damn it! Sawako! Listen to me!

Ahem, sorry. Why is it fictional characters never pay any attention to us? Anyway, here are two images that single out much of what I do like in this series, apart from Yano and Yoshida.

And now it’s time for my shot. In Trapeze 8 we have Iwamura, whose career as a reporter is jeopardized by his obsessiveness that he left the gas on, or the kettle, or a lit cigarette in an ashtray, etc. Dr. Irabu applies therapy in his usual, professional, clinical way.

Through the ep we see Iwamura get steadily worse, until something odd happens. Obsessively chasing a suspicious homeless poet around (and looping to a scene from another episode—spotting the references has become half the fun of this series. Earlier we got Bandoo! I love to say that), then distracted by an obsession concerning loose auto tires, and god knows what else, we watch as other things that might obsess him fly away, ignored. I don’t think that was the point they wanted to make. The point they DID intend is that thanks to these escapades he lands two, maybe three scoops, and his career is saved. Obsessiveness is an asset to a reporter. Irabu even points that out to him, though I have to wonder if encouraging the disorder’s more destructive aspects is a useful way to go about it.

You're not helping, Dr. Irabu.

And in the end, he’s not cured one bit. But like the guy last week, he starts to learn how to cope with it. Irabu drops a hint as to how. Nice job, Irabu, for once.

Oh, I dropped Kampfer. Why it took me so long to hate this series I don’t know.

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