The latest Lupin/Fujiko is a near-miss. There’s something about the franchise that this episode lacked–a sense of fun, maybe. You might argue that the show was concerned with weightier issues than crime capers, that the show was trying to do something different, but in that case I’ll argue that their way of approaching the time period, reinventing the Cuban missile crisis with fictitious names (Friadel Kestro, the Roniania Union, etc) worked against it, in spite of the whimsy of the names (I was disappointed that they didn’t name the Kennedy character). I started to make comparisons to what little I remember about that incident. The crisis was in 1962, when no one was called a “rock star.” The Beatles didn’t make it big until 1963-4. Never mind things I could forgive, like Goemon atop a biplane keeping pace with much more powerful aircraft, you see, that’s part of the fun. I was also distracted by the show’s decision to have the Soviets, er, Ronianians, shoot first. So I really couldn’t care less about the confusing showdown in the air when Kestro’s plane is seized, you know, the actual story.
Eureka Seven Ao begins a new story arc and finishes one that we didn’t even know about. The personal one involves the death of Bruno, the father-figure for team Goldilocks and the man who told Ao to not hurt the people who love him. It’s a mystery why the man crashed into the Secret and I suspect that will come up later on, the important thing is that he’s dead. Little pilot Chloe, who was especially devoted to Bruno, and Ao exchange pep talks, which leads to what I think is actually a third story arc, Ao’s purpose and importance with GenBleu. He dispatches those doubts. The other main story arc makes a sandwich as we meet a shape-shifter who calls himself “Truth” (sigh) as he effortlessly kills drug dealers and whoever that rich guy was. Now he’s gunning for GenBleu in an unsubtle way considering he can take on many forms. His true form (I guess) is that of a smirking white-haired bishie. This worries me no end. The show was going perfectly well without tossing in a character like this.
Finally, AKB0048 comes back to earth. After three episodes of uninspired drama about girls wanting to be idols, surrounded by a premise of brazen, jaw-dropping weirdness, they lose the weirdness and we get only the uninspired drama. The girls meet two understudies who may always be understudies, and one of them, Kanata, is Sonata’s sister, and dead set against Sonata following her path, and so acts like a big meanie. It plays out like you’d expect. Chieri, being, thank heavens, the coldhearted pragmatist, says Kanata doesn’t have the right aura, or something. I argue that the deck is stacked against her and her partner Mimori, having to sing a bland ballad as a warmup to AKB0048’s big loud song and dance and lightshow number. Kanata’s stated reason for singing is ridiculous; didn’t it ever occur to her that her father was fighting because he loved the cause? And the reconciliation scene was predictable and maudlin that I nearly fast-forwarded it. I hope the creators realize that the thing that has set this show apart has been the crazy universe they’ve invented. Lose that and we get second-rate iDOLM@STER, unless they start working with the characters better.
Kore wa Zombie desu ka – of the Dead 7 finds some plot. Naturally it makes no sense. Something to do with the mana that Haruna stored up in that thing she made last week, which gave her her powers. Oh, she can’t speak now, but Eu can. The big bad guy makes his appearance this week, a middle-aged school teacher who also happens to be the drunken fairy. A shame. I was very fond of the drunken fairy. She’s going to, apparently do something bad, but after a lot of threats and shooting people off into space (they come back) she vanishes. Then again, if this show’s story did make sense I would be disappointed.
Polar Bear’s Cafe gives us a surprise: Penguin actually gets his drivers license. But Polar Bear steals the episode by managing to be an effective straight man and voice of reason, but still being able to act silly when the situation calls for it. And he gets a free sushi meal out of it.