Another 10, Ano Natsu 10, Chihayafuru 23

After watching Another 10 I don’t exactly want to strangle Mei, but only because she’s too cute. I’d just shake her to make that fake eye rattle a bit.

Mei has always been the person in the class that makes everone uncomfortable. Her appearance and demeanor must be a sort of living reminder of the curse they’re under, not to mention a reminder that Countermeasures haven’t worked well this time around. The show sneakily adds a hint of jealousy of Mei over Kouichi, and that’s all it takes for Countermeasures head Akazawa to heap blame for the deaths onto Mei during the most depressing group dinner scene I think I’ve witnessed. Interesting to note that the people who have Matsunaga’s confession tape don’t tell her about it. Their excuse is that they don’t want anyone else to know, and, based on what happened to those two girls last episode, it’s a sensible decision. But Akazawa, as the class rep for death, should normally be included. The tape is interesting indeed. Matsunaga found a way to stop the deaths: send the dead back to death. In other words, kill the person in the class who’s already dead. This makes sense in a backwards way, but it poses other problems. Kouichi states one: could you kill a classmate? The dead person doesn’t know he’s dead, after all. And there is no way to tell … or is there? dum dum dum …

NOW she tells him.

Back to why I want to rattle Mei. She looks at the old photo that Kouichi has finally found (and not mentioned to us) and he’s able to spot the dead person, and so can Mei but for different reasons. Sigh … All this time she’s had the ability to see the color of death in people. Not only the dead, she could see traces of it in doomed people, too. What’s more, she knows who the class’s dead person is! Okay, to be fair, the full implications of being able to see the dead haven’t been important, though it would have been good to know. And you can understand why a young girl with a rather troubled childhood would be reluctant to talk about such abilities, or even use them, hence the eyepatch. But with so much going on she ought to have taken a deep breath, pulled Akazawa or someone aside at least, and LET THEM KNOW! On the other hand, maybe she’s tried but keeps getting interrupted, like what Teshigawara does when she’s about to spill the beans to Kouichi. I bet we’ll have to wait until someone spots something weird in the photo they took; you do realize that’s why they spent so much episode time with them taking it, don’t you? Sometimes it’s not just Mei, I want to strangle the entire series. It can be so good and yet fall into plot devices that come off worse than any of the corpses.

Kanna, screaming. This was a heavy episode.

So, in episode ten of Ano Natsu de Matteru we have not a love triangle but a linear string of people, all of them unhappy except Kaito and Ichika, who have managed to tie a knot at the end (Damn, I’m good with metaphors!). And in spite of its unnecessary SF fru-fru the show has managed to work with the romantic hunt so that we find all the stories compelling, though for me some are more compelling than others. The episode follows them down the line. After a scene or two of Kaito and Ichika being lovey-dovey we start with the moping Kanna, in love with Kaito, who’s visited by Tetsurou, who’s in love with Kanna. Tetsurou leaves and runs into Mio, in love with Tetsurou. All the way down, and climbing back up, things are confessed or coerced. Mio’s already confessed to Tetsurou, but understands the truth. After their scene, Tetsurou meets Kanna again and confesses. She’s the only one to be taken by surprise by any of this. Anyway, she runs off, screaming, and pointlessly confesses to a bewildered Kaito, though she already knows his answer, I guess to make everything clear to everyone. There are a number of sweet moments, such as Mio showing up to comfort Tetsurou after his confession to Kanna, but my favorite bit had to be from the picture above, Kanna, discovering her childhood friend’s in love with her while she’s been rejected by the one she loves, screams about the craziness about it all. They throw in some SF at the end, but who cares, unless one of the unhappy characters falls for Ichika’s sexy sister.

Chihaya, shouting. This is a more light-hearted episode.

Chihayafuru 23 finishes off the tournament and moves on to … nothing much, really. Chihaya doesn’t have to cut her hair after all, thanks to Harada taking the challenge of beating Sudo himself. Chihaya mopes in a locker and comes out. Taichi broods about his love for Chihaya (the first time he’s out and used the word), forbids her to go out with a strange boy who asked her out, and Kana watches it all with frustration. Meanwhile Arata is trying to get his groove back, but apart from a phone call he’s still completely separate from the main story. And there are silly Christmas parties to attend to. It sort of felt like an off-season episode of Cross Game. Little emotional plot pawns moved here or there, people practicing, recuperating, getting ready for the new season. But, damn, it always feels odd when there’s a romantic Christmas moment in a show when in reality it’s nearly Spring.

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