Ookami 8, Cross Game 46, Hanamaru 6

Ookami Kakushi 8 continues to answer a questions only to raise a couple more. We learn that the hospital is trying to develop a vaccine for the curse, and they want Sakaki to help, but he’s got his own agenda, basically revenge for the killing of Miera, I believe, but isn’t it really Kaori who did it? And why did she almost cheerfully take on the title of Lady White Wolf? Don’t even get me started on this whole wolf thing.

We do get some interesting internal action. Not only is Sakaki working for his own interests, but Nemuru, the White Wolf Kannon, is beginning to rebel. Cold and laconic to her friends, she continues to spare them when they “fall,” or like Kaname, ask the wrong questions. Nemuru frees Kaname, stops whoever-they-are from abducting Hiroshi, and remember she had also spared Isuzu a couple episodes ago. Though Isuzu hasn’t been seen since. Her family and the cult they’re in do not approve.

The episode ends with Sakaki, having managed to capture both Nemuru and Hiroshi, chuckling to himself about “the truth.” Maybe the two captives can swap a little more information in that shack. Not that I’m convinced at this stage that Hiroshi is capable of acting on his own. He spends most of the episode moping and thinking. On the other hand you can’t blame him too much. He reached out to Sakaki, who then betrayed him because he’s, I dunno, “tempting” to the wolves or whatever they are in this town. He talked to Kaname and she vanishes (though we’ll see her next episode). He has no way to get through this alone, and no one he can trust. But I’m still rooting for him. He’s a powerless wimp, but all of us are powerless wimps in certain circumstances. Hiroshi, don’t let us powerless wimps down!

I should have seen it coming, even in a series as leisurely as Cross Game, that they would line up two momentous events to occur at the same time: the finals game to get to the Koushien, and Akane’s surgery. I’m a little disappointed. I suppose we are getting close to the end and we need a big finish, but Cross Game has never been too interested in big melodrama, just small, inconsequential ones—that is, after we got past ep1.

Although we don’t know when the surgery will happen until the preview for next week, word gets around that she’s going to have it, and it affects everyone in different ways. Akane suspected it would, and she’s insightful enough to deliver the line above to Akaishi, therefore making it impossible for him to continue his slump. Aoba is visibly the next most worried, as she thinks about Wakaba. Kou, annoyingly, shows no concern unless he’s asked, and then says the right things to Azuma. Meanwhile, everyone interacts with each other and little things are spoken. The question of Aoba’s worth comes up, Akaishi considers making a play for Akane, telling Kou, who seems just fine with it, even delivering the game ball to her on Akaishi’s behalf and calling him the hero of the game (in an 8-1 blowout, well Akaishi did hit two homers).

I lost count of how many times he says this. Finally Deebu has to hit him.

For there was also the game. Their opponents have a knack for scoring late and edging the other team by one run, and it’s indeed tense for some time. And the show teases us by pretending it’s still close only to reveal that Seishou had actually built up a big lead. Even the opposing manager seems unaware of this. But it’s the way they merge the play on the field with what’s going around around it that makes this one so exceptional. Akaishi remembers Akane’s warning and hits a dinger. From the hospital, Akane watches on TV and falls asleep immediately after they win. Aoba thinks back to Wakaba’s death, young Kou at the grave, a framed photograph, and then a blazing fastball slices through the image, and she’s watching the game again, as if the past is giving way to the present. Lovely moment.

And Kou and Azuma find four leaf clovers by the river. Someone should tell the Honey and Clover gang about that spot.

Hanamaru Kindergarten
6 begins with a fun day at the pool. Anzu wears a sexy swimsuit to dazzle Tsuchida, but her plans are foiled when Yamamoto shows up.

I know she didn't plan to wear that swimsuit, but still, for a kindergarten class?

… So much for Anzu’s initial plan. But she doesn’t give up. With Koune and Hiiragi’s help she tries alluring him with syncrhonized swimming, and then a life-or-death situation.

Which only makes him angry. On the other hand, he was paying way too much attention to Yamamoto in her bikini, so Anzu’s distress later on is justified. This half of the show works better than the second half, because much of the show’s humor lies in the kids’ imaginative plans. Although the second half has its moments. Mayumi, Tsuchida’s tsundere sister, has come to visit.

Apparently she and Haruhi Suzumiya go to the same school.

And because it relies less on the kids and more on the adults, a fun edge has been taken off. On the other hand, Mayumi’s reaction to her brother’s work was amusing at times, though we could see the end a mile away: Mayumi’s harsh opinion of Tsuchida will soften when she sees he does mostly good things with the kids. And so it happens. And there’s a fun closing credits sequence.

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