Ookami 11, Baka to Test 11, Hanamaru 10

Ookami Kakushi‘s story ended with episode 11, but there’s still one to go. Probably some silly filler thing. So, after all this time, I never figured out the situation. Gods and fallen gods, wolf princesses wearing white, it all became a dull blur in my mind. But at least this time they were able to concentrate on an immediate crisis, stopping Sakaki from opening the dam.

Sakaki’s evil plan to destroy the town has to be one of the stupidest ever. Not the opening the dam part, because that would certainly work, but instead causing a ruckus at the funeral, telling people he’s going to open the dam, then stopping even before he’s finished doing it, simply staggering off. First, why didn’t he just go and shoot the dam guy and open it before? Because he wanted to warn the humans? But how was he going to do that without warning everyone? So in the end Nemeru and her cohorts managed to get to the control room and seal the dam up before the damage grew too great. And why hide the bullets in the forest?

On the other hand, we get to see Hiroshi finally take matters into his own hands. Standing in front of wounded Isuzu, giving brave speeches, even leaping at the gun as Sakaki is about to shoot Nemeru (and weren’t these godlike figures awfully weak and defenseless this episode? All they do is offer Sakaki the chance to shoot them), and getting the gun pointed at his head a few times. He feels responsible for the entire situation and tries to act. Very good, Hiroshi! Unfortunately, for all the bravery he shows this episode, he’s still a scrawny boy, and he spends a lot of time getting flung around by Sakaki before Kaori and her gang show up. Well, at least he tried.

Darker than Black 2's ending was more confusing. But that was a better show.

As for Kaori’s appearance and subsequent sacrifice of her life, I’ll just say it adds to the confusion. Was Kaori actually Sakaki’s deceased fiancee, transformed into a wolf princess or whatever she’s now called? Sakaki acts like she both is and isn’t. He’s horrified when she gets in the way of the shot, and he goes over the cliff with her like it’s a romantic double-suicide. And after that, it’s like nothing happened at all. Time passes, everyone behaves like normal (well, like humans) and no one talks about it. We just get some ruminations from Hiroshi on why can’t we all just get along, and that’s about it. Talk about a letdown …

As I said, there’s one more episode, but from the preview it looks a little silly.

Speaking of silly, we next turn to Baka to Test 11, where we have two epic battles in one episode! Unlike other episodes which run this way and that, this one is nothing but strategies and battles, little of it making sense, but that’s the way this show rolls.

Apparently doing battle here requires strategy. You have to find good matchups against the other side, and then find a teacher to open the summoning field. This all means we get a confusing array of diagrams and damage reports along with the actual battling. Many jokes fly by which are understood by people other than me.

So I just sit back and enjoy the battles. Never mind that I don’t know who the hooded guys with scythes are, or why Yoshi could just use his avatar and slam a hole in the wall—is that allowed? Or what the deal was with the 46 year-old virgin math teacher, or countless other things. It’s loud and has a lot of energy. But once again the show wears me out before it’s over.

Hanamaru Kindergarten brings us sports day, and Koude worrying that she’ll come in last place. Kusano trains her. She’s ahead in her race but falls. It takes her older brother at the finish line to make her continue. It’s sweet, but not much more.

No, it’s the second story that matters. I’ve said that the show is better when the kids are involved, but here the best scenes feature only adults. The teachers go out for some drinking, and the pressure is on Tsuchida to confess to Yanamoto. It’s a fun scene. Kusano and Kawashiro conspiring, Tsuchida drinking more to get his courage, and Yanamoto sitting there, utterly clueless. The subsequent little bunny hop sequence the characters do is inspired.

Thanks to the alcohol Tsuchida can’t remember what her answer was, and the kids find out about the confession, thanks to Kusano.

I must say I’m warming to Kusano. She likes to mess with Tsuchida’s head as much as Sakura does, and she has more opportunities to do it. Add this to the straightforward encouragement she gives Koude while they train and you’ve got a fun character. I wish Tsuchida was this much fun. He’s only fun when people are messing with his head.

And ANOTHER outstanding closing sequence. I think they might be the best thing in this show, apart from Hiiragi, Sakura and Kusano. You can tell that Gainax is having a great time with these. I’d put in a screenshot but then I’d have to put in dozens.

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