Because I can, I will tell you some more of the things I’ve been watching before I take an actual vacation …
Idolm@ster 3 splits the story between the girls’ performance in the sticks, and Yukiho’s fear of men and dogs. The sticks part works all right. The girls adapt and help out in ways they didn’t anticipate. The other part had far too many Yukiho freakouts and bonding scenes and was dull as dirt, except for the performance. She gets the audience to respond to her. I’ve seen it before. Some performers like performing because they like the control they have over the crowd, full of people that they might not be able to handle one-on-one. But that’s my observation, and certainly not a reason to be watching this. Why AM I still watching this?
I know why I’m watching Steins;Gate. It’s excellent, though I’m so lost with all the time traveling that I don’t quite follow what’s going on anymore. Which is why I haven’t said anything about it. But a couple questions: first, what happens to the old timelines? Do they simply vanish or do they go on their merry way? So while characters regret things that they will lose when Okabe jumps, will those things carry on in other timelines? Second, I found an IBM 5100 on Ebay for about 8 grand, after 1 minute of searching. Why haven’t they thought of that? Maybe they don’t have the funds?
You have to ignore a lot of things in Uta no Prince-Sama in order to enjoy it. In episode 4 Ren was able to come up with a full arrangement for his lyrics in so short a time, and Haruka manages to find all those eeny-teeny bits of paper. Fortunately, the insert song is so forgettable that it’s safe to ignore it altogether. What’s maddening about this show is they give us a painful Ren flashback only to leave questions unanswered, i.e., why did his father hate his mother? And his dilemma about staying or going doesn’t work; does he slack off only because he was forced to come to that school? What triggered these thoughts about his mother? Not a very satisfying episode, even for this show.
In Kamisama Dolls 4 good scenes are followed by dumb ones, and by the end all the antagonists have been introduced to one another, to the regret of Kyohei.
Good scenes include the ones between Aki and mad-scientist wannabe Kuuko, who’s tied him up and attempts to torture him. They’ve both got a twisting obsession within them, but it’s not the same one, and it’s nice to see Aki taken aback by an outsider who’s just as crazy as he is. Dumb scenes include the completely unnecessary bath scene and the one where Aki enrages Kyohei by mentioning “Sensei,” causing Kyohei to go beserk. I hate this sort of thing, when the smug villain says THE BAD THING just to piss off the protagonist so he gets to say “See, we’re actually the same,” in order to justify his own psychotic actions. Like any of us DON’T have a very painful memory that causes us to react foolishly.
Worst of all is the kid who does the smug bit to little Utao, the one character who’s totally innocent. Apart from his voice and his size he’s playing an adult character. The fact he is indeed a kid just makes him more annoying. Unfortunately, he’s obviously going to be a long-term villain in this series, and he’s already started the “You’re the same as me” bullshit by announcing that he’s Kyohei’s brother. Sigh.
“If there’s someone you want to see, you aren’t alone anymore.” That’s the message, I suppose, of Natsume Yuujinchou San 4, and I don’t buy it. Or maybe I’m thinking not about being alone, but being lonely, something both Natsume and the unnamed youkai of the week have suffered from.
At first we think the story will revolve around Natsume’s grandmother (or whatever she is) meeting an old elementary school classmate and resolving a little fight they have, but that turns out to simply be the theme for a story involving old friends and differences we remember. We watch it mainly through the youkai’s POV, and she’s a lot of fun. Frustrated by the fact that humans can’t see her, when she finds one that does she takes delight in scaring him whenever she can. Pretty childish behavior, but the youkai in this show are rarely models of maturity. So in spite of the problems she causes poor Natsume, I still enjoyed her antics, sitting in her tree, hrumphing her frustrations.
What she doesn’t realize is that she liked having Natsume around not because she could scare him, but because he could actually see her. Being bitter and immature meant she dealt with this the wrong way. It takes the boy Natsume lashing out at her (and an interlude where she becomes a cat and befriends him—did Natsume know all along?) and finally getting shunted away to the next relative before she realizes this. When she does it doesn’t help her mood one bit.
But even if she hasn’t matured, Natsume has. He knew they parted badly and goes out of his way to visit. It’s a simple ending which leads to the Natsume quote above. Okay, maybe you aren’t alone if you want to see someone, even if from time to time you pretend to the world, like Natsume and the youkai do, that people aren’t worth the trouble. It doesn’t make the loneliness go away. Natsume has learned that sometimes you can do something about that.
Nekogami Yaoyoruzu 3 is better than last week’s (I think. I don’t recall what it was about at all). The gang are enlisted to help Yukina, a manga artist and diviner, make a deadline when her familiars run out on her. So half the show is them making a mess of things, and the other half is them trying to capture the wayward familiars, and making a mess of things. They set up the idea of the cat goddess being useless and then forget all about it. There’s a nice bit where we read a bit of the manga and the characters do the dialogue. That’s about it.
In Sacred Seven 4 Alma and Kagami must stop a darkstone from interfering with the school festival. With hilarious results. Well, not really. It looks like next week we’ll return to the drama with … a beach episode. Certain to be followed up by a hot spring episode, a karaoke episode, athletic festival episode, home center episode (To my knowledge, only HidaSketch and K-ON!! have had one. It’s underused cliché fodder), etc.
There, that’s done. Tomorrow I catch a train to do touristy stuff.