Durarara 12, Baka to Test 12, Hanamaru 11

After the wildness of last episode Durarara 12 almost feels like a final episode. Things settle down, life goes on. On the other hand there’s a lot of talking about what to do next. It’s as if the show itself isn’t really sure. But this is after a rather large revelation.

Mika Harima didn’t die. Shinra did some cosmetic surgery to make her look like Celty’s head, and Seiji fell for it. The fallout is extensive. Seiji is crushed. Celty angrily goes back and confronts Shinra. His motives are overt. He doesn’t want Celty to regain her head because she might leave him then, or disappear, which amounts to the same thing. Celty is torn. She has an attachment to Shinra, but it’s her head, damnit! But she is afraid of death, and fearful of what might happen if she does indeed get her head back.

Compare this to the final scene, where Izaya is talking about what he wants to do next, all the while carrying Celty’s head around like a football. He imagines that Celty, and all dullahans, are the same as valkyries, and she is simply awaiting for a battle which will reawaken her. So maybe we get an inkling of what’s to come. But where will the fighting come from? Yagira Pharmaceuticals?

I swear, Izaya is everywhere this episode. He pops up unexpectedly to needle people before sauntering off, or running away from Shizuo.

In between we have sort of a filler between story arcs series of scenes. Izaya tells Mikado that what is strange and exciting at first will become mundane shortly, and you must keep evolving to overcome it. Mikado broods on this before deciding to hit on Anri. Celty becomes at peace with herself. Has she given up on the search? Seiji has accepted Harima, at least for now, and even makes peace with Mikado. As I said, it’s almost as if the show was ending and they were tying up loose ends. Or maybe they’ll focus on some new characters now.

Baka to Test tired me out again. There’s so much going on, puns and sight gags and weird action, all of which I love, but not so much when it’s tossed in haphazardly. This episode is a little better. There’s a single goal: Defeat Class-A!

Charge!

Now, supposedly the battles are supposed to be won and lost by test scores, but you can get a good individual matchup against a better student who happens to be weak in one area, or simply gang up on an individual. So running around the place looking for an advantage plays a part, too, something Class-F uses. They feel they’re more practical than the other classes, and more cunning, and they’re almost right. It also adds physical slapstick to the virtual avatar battling. This improves the show’s flexibility but can lead to wearying moments when they try to do too much.

Line of the week.

It’s not a bad idea. Con or give favors to have the other classes mock-attack Class-A first in the hope of tiring them out. Then set elaborate traps for them. It almost works, until Yoshi’s avatar-thing blows up and the school roof collapses. After that there’s a sweet scene where Yuuji rescues his opponent and torturer Shouko and Yoshi rescues Himeji. And I collapses from fatigue. One more episode …

Hanamaru Kindergarten 11 is a low key episode that concentrates on the adults. The only child that has any significant screen time is Anzu.

You might think that this is an episode where Anzu tries to help and makes a mess of things, and there is a little of that, but the focus belongs to Tsuchida, who’s got the blues. He messed up his confession to Yanamoto and has been down ever since. He’s also wondering why he became a kindergarten teacher in the first place. This events around him, with Anzu coming over repeatedly to clean or do his laundry, forms a background of irony.

He takes Anzu home and talks with Sakura. She asks him to write about nineties videogames for her magazine because she’s got a huge deadline and employee shortage, and he’s good at it, suggesting he is good for other things besides being a kindergarten teacher. And he wonders if he was working so hard just to impress Yanamoto. But he chose this profession before he even met her … Doesn’t make sense. I think Tsuchida just has the work blues. Like Izaya said in Durarara, the strange and interesting become mundane pretty quick.

Meanwhile, there’s Anzu to keep him occupied. In a cute little scene, broken up between bits with the Yanamoto sisters, comparing their density, he tells Anzu a story that encapsulates his entire situation. Anzu is delighted by the story. Tsuchida seems delighted to be telling it. All’s really well, in Hanamaru-land. Just working blahs.

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