Natsume 5, Aquarion 6, Kill Me Baby 5

There are a few set pieces in fiction which I dislike. One of them is where a character cannot be somewhere so someone else, through magic or just disguise, takes their place, interacts with the person’s friends and family, and generally makes an ass of himself. That’s exactly what happens in Natsume Yuujinchou Shi 5 when Natsume gets stuck in a small jar and Nyanko transforms into Natsume so no one will suspect. It makes most of the mistakes these sort of episodes do. Nyanko ought to know better than to behave that way in front of Natsume’s adoptive parents, or say those things to poor Sanada, or even make those poses. You’d expect Nyanko to have a little fun with this, and he’s not the most sensitive creature around, but you’d think he’d show some consideration (when he’s not playing Natsume, he’s his usual entertaining self. “I’ll roll you! Roll, roll, roll …”). And, of course, we get lot of shots of Natsume reacting in his jar. Fortunately, Tanuma eventually figures things out, but by the time he does it’s the end of the episode and we’ve got a two-parter. At least we’ll avoid the impersonation scenes.

He just got here ...

Sometimes I have trouble figuring out if a show is being innovative or simply inept. That’s the problem I’m having with Aquarion – EVOL. On one hand the show is capable of playing out a scene, or multiple scenes in a big scene, with a certain elegance. The intruder warning, Kagura’s search for Mikono, and the vectors scrambling to intercept is a good example. On the other hand, they introduce a perfectly good character last week just to kill him off this week. The reasons why Shrade had to fight are never made clear, apart from Shrade declaring that Kagura “means business.” They always mean business! They’re bad guys! Okay, Kagura’s a tool, but still, that’s no excuse. Maybe if they had played up his urgent overwhelming desire to pilot Aquarion I would have been more convinced. But that idea’s only toyed with. A waste of a character, here.

Kill Me Baby 6 is a slight letdown from last week. When a sketch works it’s as clever as anything else out there right now, but usually the sketches, well it’s not that they don’t work but that they’re near misses. Agiri’s fake substitution jutusu was clever, so it made the rest of the scene worthwhile (also the fact that she put a speaking transmitter on a bird that already talks like her. Sometimes Agiri is inspired). Some of the scenes can be rescued by Yasuna’s antics, such as the festival scene. Sometimes it’s up to Sonya to rescue a scene, like with the puppets. Which covers just about every sketch except the dog scene, and that had a little of everything. Okay, so the show just manages to slip by without being inspiring. I still like it. I don’t understand why so many others don’t. Really. It’s not that bad.

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