Letter Bee 21, Hanamaru 9

It’s been a long week and I’m tired, but I’ll try to write a competent post …

Letter Bee 21 goes completely off the main story and sends us an extended flashback, about the professional career of herbologist Mana Jones.

Even without seeing part 2 we know it’ll end happily, so there’s not much tension there. It’s how they intend to resolve it that matters, and I’m not sure from this half that there’s anything interesting in continuing. Mana works researching plants at the Bee Hive, but she hasn’t gotten any results. She causes an accident and damages her eyes, and despairs of continuing. It’s her friends Gauche and Dr. Thunderland Jr. to try to change her mind in bizarre ways.

I don't think offering to dissect her is helping, Dr. Thunderland.

And they do, but even at the hive it’s publish or perish, and now blinded Mana has only a week to produce some scientific research that justifies her work. And the episode ends. Say what you will about herbology not being a legitimate science (in this wonderous land of amber spirits and gaichuu you would think they’d broaden their theories a bit), it’s a legitimate demand. But a week? And she doesn’t have the use of her eyes? The administrators have a mean streak. Well, maybe next week’s episode will improve things.

Hanamaru Kindergarten 9, for a change, has two good sections to it, and they’re both a little odd. The first concerns a mangaka named Hanamaru. I’m still scratching my head about that. He’s late with his latest Panda-Cat story, and Yamamoto, no, not that one, but her sister Mayumi, is dispatched to see what the trouble is, then returns as he’s thinking to himself in the park. He’s just met some kids.

They diagnose what’s wrong with him, he’s in love with Mayumi, which isn’t what’s bugging him but is nevertheless true. They do cute things to cheer him up, coincidentally involving Panda-Cat exercises, and urge him to confess, which, of course, he doesn’t do. But he cheers up after seeing some kindergarteners’ drawings. I was intrigued by the self-referential names business, so maybe that added something to the story, because now I can’t think of a particular reason why I enjoyed it so much, though the irony of both Yamamotos knowing that a guy likes the other, but being personally dense about the one who likes them, was a nice touch.

The second one starts with what you want to be when you grow up, and each one gets into bizarre fantasy territory.

Grown-up Anzu greets her hubby after a hard day at the kindergarten.
Hiiragi's dreams aren't bad either.

The fun drops a bit when the teachers sit around and discuss why they all became teachers, but it’s still not bad. Then a little more weirdness, when fitness-crazy Kusano invites Tsuchida over, only to watch a movie so she can admire an actor’s back muscles. This is maybe the most bizarre moment in the episode—scratch that: Anzu describing what her mom and dad do when they come home tops it. Small children with huge imaginations is one thing. In this series, normal, respectable adults behaving oddly is more bizarre.

Oh, another nice end credit sequence which for the second straight week has little to do with the episode. The images remind me of Gainax (well, surprise!) in their Kare Kano days, and the song sounds like late Cocteau Twins.


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