Whoa! Another is through with being a moody, eerie thriller. Episode 11’s quiet moments happen only to briefly lull us after the last atrocity in order to sucker-punch us with another one. The surprises and twists and blood never stop. It’s wonderful. And it’s all because of people acting stupidly.
Start with Teshigawa. He suspects his childhood pal Kazami is the dead one and during their struggle pushes him over a balcony. Rather than go check up on him, he goes to Kouichi and Misaki (interrupting the revelation from last week). They talk forever instead of doing the obvious thing. Finally, they decide to go, splitting up so that we get double the wild encounters. Kouichi encounters another victim who says don’t look in the dining room. Kouichi does anyway. It’s on fire. The hotel manager is among it all, murdered. Now what would you do? Alert the others and evacuate, of course. Oh, and look out for a bloody murderer while your at it. I TOLD you Another upped its game.
Things get a little muddled here. For a while no one seems too concerned about the hotel being on fire. Well, considering we got an old lady with a cleaver hacking at people you can imagine they’d be a little distracted. Rooms are checked, blood trails, lots of blood trails, are spotted. We get a fresh moment of tension every time they tentatively open a door. Especially since it turns out the landlady isn’t the only homicidal maniac around.
Takako has gone completely ga-ga and broadcasts the tape over the hotel speakers, saying that Misaki’s the dead one. Now we got a whole class of terrified students out to kill Misaki thanks to evidence from a loony. Yes, in this episode, people behave stupidly indeed. Hats off to Kouichi. He’s a scrawny kid, but when he sees Misaki threatened we see his angry courage come out. In the ensuing escape he rescues her twice, even if one of them meant locking themselves into a room. Er, guys, there’s a fire, right? And a homicidal maniac, no, two homicidal maniacs, and a class full of kids frightened enough to kill. People behaving stupidly has rarely been this much fun.
You want surprises? You got ’em. Near-fatal escapes? Right over here. Spectacular, bloody deaths? We got a special this week! Oh, and that forgotten fire makes itself known soon enough, better add a few more to the corpse list. At the end of the episode, they’re STILL not out of it. Whee!
In the Karuta world episode 24 of Chihayafuru would be the biggest event of the year, but for our heroes it’s just a chance to sit back and watch the people who beat them compete for the championship. So there’s nothing at stake, only the chance to watch and learn. The closest thing to serious drama in this event is when Taichi inwardly refuses to stop and help Chihaya practice because HE has some things he wants to watch, too, namely the men’s defending champion, Suo, who seems to play by stealth. There’s fun to be had with every characters’ reactions, especially when the slender, lovely Shinobou is shown to have gained a few kilos. It throws her game off–a little. Kana is dazzled by Shinobou’s kimono. Nishida roots for Yumin. We do go into the minds of the competitors but don’t learn much, maybe a little about Shinobou’s grandma, who apparently has passed away. So with one episode to go, it’s obvious whatever big crises they were going to show us has already happened and they’ll spend the time setting up an inevitable (I hope) season two.
The big crisis in Bakuman II is over before the finale as well. It’s a letdown. After last week where the vote goes 4-3 against, some of them change their votes because they feel they should support their artists, which I don’t understand, since Shonen Jack has gone on a limb for the boys at least twice now. Anyway, it changes what might have been a depressing episode to one filled with high spirits, even a Christmas song by Miho which feels as christmassy as anything done during the proper season. Things continue to look up as Hattori becomes their editor again and is as impressed with the boys’ drive and raw talent as he was before, approving Mashiro’s desire to work with only a script to aid his spontanaety. It also leads to the best comic moments when Miura takes over Hattori’s editorship role with Aiko and is immediately put in his place. It fires up the rivals, too. Fukuda starts working on a one-shot to throw a monkey wrench into the Seiji/Muto Ashirogi rivalry. They’re all delighted their friends are doing well, they’re working hard to beat them. Only good can come of this.