Nines and an Eight: Natsuiro, Sankarea, Eureka Ao, Kore wa Zombie, Polar Bear

Natsuiro Kiseki 9 continues the story on the island in a rather sweet episode where, surprisingly, Yuka says the most important thing: some things you can’t do anything about. This is contrasted by the behavior of Ko, the rude boy from last week who’s actually a girl, who misses the doctor who practiced on the island before and can’t stand the thought of a replacement, and also of Natsume, who can’t bare the thought of Saki no longer living next door to her. And thus the girls can understand Ko and that bit is resolved. It was also pleasing to discover that Saki is treated like royalty once they learn she’s tne new doctor’s daughter. In other words, the island is a good place to live. It was done nicely, with no extra goofiness. The goofiness comes with a second magical rock which they, of course, all manage to touch, turning Saki invisible, probably a sign of her conflicted feelings of moving away and being treated so well, well, whatever, but what it leads to is her wandering all around the island naked, just the sort of weirdness to make the bland emotional story palatable.

It’s not the tale, Meru, it’s the timing.

This week Sankarea 9 dismayed us all by devoting an entire episode to Meru, the laconic, expressionless little sister. Any other week this would be an excellent thing to do. Meru is one of those characters that does very little yet makes you want to learn more, what she thinks of this whole zombie business, what she thinks about doing all the chores all the time. But remember, last week was full of danger. Chihiro had been abducted by a man who wishes to cut his balls off! Rea was almost abducted herself! What will happen? Well, this isn’t the first time Sankarea has delivered a filler episode at the worst time. If you can get over the annoyance you’ll probably enjoy the episode very much. We don’t really learn what makes Meru tick but we get some ideas. It comes clear at the end that she keeps a lot of emotions under wraps, and I’m happy to see Rea innocently slip past her defenses and reveal a few. But otherwise Meru prefers to go with the flow, whether it be this crazy new guest at her home or her friend Ichie’s latest zombie theories. So we really don’t learn a lot. Probably that’s the way she likes it.

Eureka Seven Ao 8 is the silliest episode so far even while it tries to bring up serious themes like father-children relationships. Maybe I’m missing something, but what does Ao have against his father, apart from not being around? Fleur I can understand, after the terrible sacrifice made for her sake; I’d hate to have to carry that emotional burden. But her saying flying for his company is a sort of revenge, which doesn’t make a lot of sense, neither does her attempt at stopping the latest Secret at the loss of her life. The big political picture seems a bit ridiculous, too. Surely in that day and age the US would be able to spot faked footage. Basically nothing much in this episode makes much sense at all.

This bit had nothing to do with the story arc, but little in the episode did.

Kore wa Zombie etc 9 starts out with the gang trying to find an opponent for Chris, that most formidable of enemies. It gets sidetracked by Ayumu’s promise to Saras to attend her next concert. Then it’s the inevitable anticlimatical meeting between Ayumu and the ever-powerful Naeglaria, who turns out to be a sleepy dojinshi artist, and then it turns into a “team up to finish her dojinshi” episode, to demonstrate the ties of friendship. The original goal, to recruit Nene to fight Chris, is apparently forgotten. Oh, some nice bits about keeping promises and a cute Ayumu/Saras scene. What about the two unbeatable foes destined for immortal combat? They’re getting drunk together. So is this a truce or the actual end of the story arc? And who cares either way?

Love!

Polar Bear’s cafe 9 was irritating enough when it spent half the episode on Rin Rin the florist and his creepy infatuation with pandas, but then we get 15 minutes of Penguin trying to get up the courage to confess to the girl penguin. The only thing that kept me going was that it looked like he was actually going to do it. Well, Polar Bear’s wise sayings were amusing enough, especially the last one, about the coupons, though hardly waiting a half hour for.

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