Kanojo X 7, Hyouka 5, Moretsu 20, Kimi to Boku 8

Nazo no Kanojo X 7 has Urabe at her most mysterious, and at the same time at her most “normal,” and childish. Early on, taking a cue from Ako, she visits the flu-ridden Tsubaki, and after drool has been exchanged, leaves, not even showing him the swimsuit she had on underneath her coat, because she was shy. It’s like she goes through the motions of social behavior but doesn’t always understand the reason. Then at the end she almost grows angry at Tsubaki for suggesting she join the track club. We know why he’s doing it, because he didn’t want to hold her back from something she might enjoy. She determines through saliva that he wants her for himself, well, the legs, anyway. Apparently the idea that he wants to sacrifice his enjoyment of their walks together for her sake because he cares about her is too complex for spit to convey. For someone who can share feelings and emotions like Urabe can, she can be awfully insensitive.

The rest of the episode is confusing. Why did Tsubaki recover so quickly when Urabe’s spit wasn’t supposed to work? They switched sensations? Then why didn’t Urabe come down with the flu? On the other hand Ako keeps me entertained not only with the sophisticated and erotic ways that he handles Ueno (she can do better than him, really), but her ability to shake up Urabe and slyly come on to her. What’s her mother been teaching her?

Hyouka 5 surprised me by actually polishing off the story arc. I thought it was one that could go on and on if it wanted to. And the final answers Chitanda was looking for came to her. The only thing that seemed like a stretch was the “lame pun” in English that gave the club journal (and, perhaps significantly, that of the show) its name. Houtarou pulled that one out of thin air. The entire mystery was mundane, as most mysteries are after you solve them, yet the episode itself was vivid and powerful. Nothing new there. With this show I’m getting used to people sitting and talking calmly taking on great significance through imaginative visuals.

And this time there was the added weight of Itoigawa remembering a painful time of her life, to say nothing of Chitanda discovering the what her uncle had said that had made her cry. And when she cried this time (the arc would not be complete until she did), it was, as befitting the atmosphere, done calmly, a few tears and a smile. I kind of wish the club would next investigate what happened to Jun in India, but I suspect that would be too much for the club and this show that does just fine with small mysteries.

Ai will not be outdone! Not when she wears that hat!

Moretsu Pirates 20 patiently unfolds the new story arc. There are things they’re not telling us, just sowing seeds, like the new organization who’s trying to horn in on space, and apparently Marika might get involved. It’s odd to see shady, nasty looking people in black suits snickering about things while their goal is to actually protect the heroine, not do away with her. And we got the fact that someone’s trying to sabotage the annual dinghy race. Why they want to do such an EVIL thing as mess with people in dinghies they don’t tell us. Perhaps the answer lies in Marika’s high school being banned from the thing for interference five years ago. A lot of tasty mysteries. Then we get the mundane silliness of Kane training the girls through some extreme measures, simulations in the Red Spot, windsurfing while the Bentenmaru fires on them, and wearing a tiny Speedo. And, far away from intrigue, little Ai gets lots of chances to show off her navigation skills and radiate sheer joy while doing so. It’s a lovely contrast.

Kimi to Boku 2 8 is one of its sweetest and sneakiest episodes, even though it has a boy who asks too much from a girl and gets it. One irony is that the boy, Shun’s younger brother, Fuyuki, asks to touch Mamiya’s chest at a moment when mother-hen Shun has ceased to worry about him doing ecchi things with her. Another irony is that it’s possible none of the main characters have gotten as far with a girl as Fuyuki has, in spite of their advanced age. The actual moment, and the aftermath, is handled gently, with even the karoake noises stilled. The aftermath has bad vibes but turns comical, and we see that what we’ve got here is just two kids who are trying to figure out their urges. Plus an older brother who worries too much and his friends, along for the ride as usual.

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