Ben-To is one of those episodes where they introduce a new character who shakes things up a little and then settles into their role. Since this is Ben-To, the introduction of Shaga, Satou’s eccentric cousin, is a bit more … extreme than it would be on another show. Much of the first half has her coming on to Satou in embarrassing ways, and then it’s poor Oshiroi’s turn. She’s also a formidable wolf known as the “Beauty by the Lake,” but the episode lets us know early on that while she’s dangerous, she also is flighty and occasionally vulnerable, as we see when Ume wreaks revenge on her for her indiscretions with Oshiroi. And that’s the episode’s moral: concentrate on the goal. Because she doesn’t, the Beauty by the Lake is defeated by the Ice Queen in that night’s bento battle. Moral lesson delivered, we go back to observing Shaga as she flirts with and abuses her cousin some more. A character study, sort of.
One thing that’s both good and bad about Kimi to Boku is that all of the main characters can be jerks. It’s what saves Chizuru from being yet another overly hyper side character. It’s also why I often have a hard time wondering why anyone could be friends with Yukki or Yuta. It’s that former thought that saves episode 5 from being another episode 4. Chizuru spends mouch of the episode annoying one character or another in some fashion, as usual, but it’s how he treats Masaki that he takes a step forward. He doesn’t understand why she’s getting so upset about things, or why she has a thing for Shun, or why his jokes rub her the wrong way (because they’re usually a dig at her). Also, it’s funny when he tries to make it up to her, in a “win a prize for the girl at the festival” scene, his success is unrewarded. Sometimes the show’s mean streak gets too mean for my tastes, and sometimes it’s done just fine.
Bakuman II 5 has no real side plots in that everyone is preoccupied, in one way or another, with the weekly Jack rankings. They go up, they go down. Our heroes, happily, work extra hard and go mostly up. The rivals go through the same thing. Saiko and takagi are overjoyed when they tie for third. Then it’s sixth again, and so it goes. They’re both the spectators and the racehorses in the event. What they might not understand, at least our heroes don’t, is that this is a race with no finish line. They have to run that track every week. Sooner or later someone’s going to break down. Bakuman is not a subtle show. From nearly the first scene it’s clear who that’s going to be. Good. The boy needed the rest anyway. But it’s interesting to watch every artist react and decide what they should do to increase their rankings, or rather, improve their work. Collapsing from exhaustion aside, I like watching the boys work hard and actually improve. And Miho got a bit in SKET dance! I gotta catch up with that show.
Then, let’s see. In Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon 5 we start with Honda and Kazuna the robot maid warrior squaring off against a big armor thing, Tres Espana Heavy Armor thing to be exact, and winning. Kazuno gets blown up a little and now Honda’s up against Muneshige Tachibana, successor to the name of ‘Godspeed,’ Gaercoa Sevarios of the Tres Espana Special Military Unit or “Strike Forcers” for short. Also, he is one of the Eight Great Dragon Lords, entrusted with one of the Deadly Sin armaments–the Lamentations of Sloth. The subtitles are small enough that they manage to fit that into only two parts. Both sides describe their weapons for a while. Kazuna the robot maid wakes up and adds some more exposition about blowing up a reactor, but which one? Then a gigantic door opens, we get more maids, and this guy:
Mikawa’s going to get blown up, or SOMETHING is. Both combatants are taken aback by this “Professor” person, so I figured maybe they’d team up to save Mikawa from disaster, right? Nope, they go on fighting until I THINK Muneshige dies. Well, he’s not moving, anyway. Oh, we learn from the Professor that there are not eight deadly sins, but nine, and all this time I thought there were only seven. What’s more, “Jealousy” is not one of the originals.
Meanwhile, our main character (who’s been involved in the action so rarely I can’t remember his name) runs off and his classmates chase him. Kazuna the robot maid sticks out her tongue at Honda and reveals a dark pearl there, which of course is the soul of Honda’s late wife. There are more explosions, but the lights go down and nothing got blown up. We’ve learned that that other robot is actually the ninth weapon, but before anyone but the girl with the botched sex change operation gets to her, the Italians land and take over. Then things that were shown pointedly not blowing up, blow up anyway. Including Honda, in true anime hero blown-up style as the credits roll.
You know, if I tried to make sense of the plot, Horizon wouldn’t be nearly as much fun to watch.