Dantalian no Shoka provides us with a flashback episode as we go back to WWI and Huey’s experiences there. But Huey is not the center of this story; that belongs to his friend, then enemy, Ilas.
It’s a typical episode for this series, beautiful to look at with occasional stunning animation and images, tied to a flawed story. Ilas meets the young and cocky recruit Huey and instantly becomes his mentor through the use of a phantom book he is writing himself. The next thing we know Ilas has switched to the German side and has become a ace pilot, the “Faceless Phantom.” Okay, but why? Unless I missed something, no explanation is given for Ilas turning traitor. The point is made often that Ilas (and Huey) live only to fly, and you can do that on either side of this war, but to switch in the middle of it? To be fair, Huey is just as bewildered about this as we are.
When he isn’t flying around shooting at Huey, Ilas broods a lot. He talks to a bartender, then to Sefer, another library-keeper girl. We learn that the book is incomplete. He hasn’t forced in enough emotion in his poems about flying and battle. He lies around in an enormous bedroom. The mood is more sober than we’re used to for this show. And Dalian doesn’t appear, so we get no snarky comments. So we wait patiently for things to pan out, for it to make sense.
And it doesn’t, really. At first I thought that Ilas switched sides because of what Sefer said, maybe to turn traitor was the way to create the emotions needed to finish the phantom book, but he was in that bedroom when Sefer first talked to him, and it becomes clear that that room is sort of a death-place, an in-between, because he’s back in it before his last flight, made after he had died in a bombardment. Which leads to the oddest scene in the episode. Ilas, quoting lines from his unfinished book, becomes a giant, cloudy demon who not only swats at English planes but stomps on German ground batteries. to Ilas, war is more important than the armies themselves. But Huey, reading from the same book (rescued from the bombardment, we assume) shoots him down, and Sefer admonishes him for not getting beyond the wall. And he goes poof. But if the book is incomplete, how could it work? Why did Ilas become such a monster? The show raises too many questions for the episode to succeed, but I’m now watching this show for the visuals, not the plot.
Natsume Yuujinchou San finished, but we’re getting a fourth season in just three months! With that news this episode doesn’t feel like the poignant goodbye it should have been, but it’s a lovely episode anyway. The series likes to contract Natsume’s relatively happy present life with his dark past, and while we get some sad flashbacks, the rest of the episode is silly good times. After a rather long opening scene which is only there to show Natsume fully integrated into school life, making jokes with friends, etc, the youkai invite (meaning force) Natsume to a party in his honor. Their reasons aren’t clear except maybe it’s a good reason to party on a day when the sake will taste especially good. And we make the comparison betwen his human and youkai friends, all of whom want to do things together (well, with their own kind), with Natsume. The boy’s come a long way.
The other thing that both Natsume’s classmates and the youkai wonder is: what do adults do for fun? So we’re off with an extended shadow tag match, with the youkai adding little variations. Sadly, this goes on for too long, but it is a chance to meet some old characters again. And it ends with Natsume meeting his human friends again, and deciding that both are important. Not quite as good as other episodes, but still entertaining. Besides, we won’t have to wait long for more.
Kamisama no Memo-Chou concludes with a pretty good episode that made up for in ideas what it lacked in thrills. Indeed, the Angel Fix drug storyline finished with the whimpering of addicts in a basement. The operation had been broken with little violence, apart from Narumi cutting loose on Toshi after the fact. Indeed, the story was never about cracking a drug ring but rather for Narumi to try and rescue Toshi for Ayaka’s sake, and to avenge her after she fell. Alice’s little revelation at the end, and Ayaka waking up at that moment were thus oddly placed, rushed through as they were during the closing credits. And, as usual with this show, I didn’t care too much. I never found Narumi compelling enough to care about his story. And while the show reached for metaphors linking addiction, angels and death to Alice’s claim to speak for the dead, to the point where she pretends to be an addict’s angel, the connections are too unclear for it to work. However, I should praise the show for even trying things like this. Kamisama no Memo-Chou was an ambitious show, and while most of the time it didn’t succeed, at least it tried.
So in The iDOLM@STER 12 Miki gets all pouty because of a broken or misunderstood promise and has to be coaxed back to rehearsals before the big show. Yes, she’s acting like a brat, but the point is made that she is only fifteen years old. With this knowledge in mind the producer goes off and rather than yell at her, just follows her around, indulges in all the things she likes to indulge in, and waits for her to waver. What the producer lacks in management skills he makes up for with patience and tact. Though I wish the other girls had beaten her around a bit when she came back for putting them behind schedule. There are TWO sides to this, you know.
And Nekogami Yaoyorozu finished. I said at the beginning that I was watching this show only because I thought it was cute. And that’s how it turned out. I hardly ever paid attention to the story. I was watching because I like a show where cute, happy things bicker in cute voices over something entirely silly. And you can’t get sillier than the final story. This whole thing about forcing Mayu to get married, a revelation that shocked and saddened everyone and inspired rivals Sasana and Meiko to invade the cat palace, was all a misunderstanding that the groom didn’t clear up because he wanted a laugh. Oh, and the haunted plate wasn’t really haunted. Maybe there’s a lesson in there about taking things too seriously when everything’s really all right … Nah. Well, the characters in this happy show get a happy ending, time for me to move on.