In spite of adding little that’s new, Nazo no Kanojo X 9 is the most interesting episode we’ve had in a while.
Urabe comes to school with bad or, to some, good bed hair, so Oka fixes her up. Suddenly the class can see her face. Her popularity goes up. Pics are secretly taken and sold among the boys. While this would seem like a positive thing for Urabe, and I think so, too, Tsubaki is not so pleased. He’s found himself in an odd situation. He had himself wanted Urabe to change her hair; it was a shame to keep such a cute face hidden (I personally feel that a lot of girls unnecessarily hide their face with their hair because of low self-esteem), but now classmates, potential rivals, are looking in her direction. Well, what would YOU do if your girlfriend was suddenly revealed to be a beauty? You could bask in the pride that you’re dating her, or you could get jealous and ask her to change her hair back. Alas, Tsubaki chooses the latter. Though it leads to a hair-mussing scene which you can add to the list of things the two (and Oka) find erotic.
Then the show makes a sudden turn as the boys decide Urabe looks like a certain pop idol named Imai Momoka. Naturally Tsubaki buys her photo book and discovers they’re right. In a way it’s sort of sweet, that he would admire a idol because she looks like her girlfriend, but it also feels a little unfair, because part of the attraction is that Momoka does things in the photos he’d like to see Urabe do, like, you know, smile. In other words, he’s falling for an image of Urabe that matches what his image of a perfect girlfriend should be. Well, we soon learn how Urabe feels about THAT (drum solo!). The stated message is that maybe Urabe can be as jealous and possessive as Tsubaki can, but I also think it shows that while you can ask things from your partner, you don’t and can’t actually possess them.
Early in Hyouka 7 I wondered why they were using “the ghost, when examined, turned out to be withered flowers” as its tagline when this is true for mysteries in general, before I realized Hyouka had not yet looked at an actual ghost story before this. Though I thought things fell too conveniently into place, it was an interesting mystery. I just wish from time to time they would present red herrings for Houtarou to sort through. As for me, I was too busy analyzing why Kayo didn’t put her names on things, not why Rie did. The other half of the story, again, is the odd relationship between Houtarou and Chitanda as we see the former observes the latter. Chitanda wants a sister but is blind to the idea that they sometimes don’t get along, she is momentarily disappointed that it isn’t a mixed bath(!), is what we see this week, along with her usual adorable curiosity. Her weekly strategy to wheedle assistance out of Houtarou, along with his weary reluctance, is becoming a highlight of the episode for me. He acts as though he gives in to stop her bugging him, but you have to wonder.
Kimi to Boku 2 10 manages to be not nearly as annoying as last week’s (which pissed me off so much I sped through the second half and didn’t write about it) mainly because it brings poor Mary back into the show after Chizuru’s confession. So we get a lot of the two being embarrassed around each other while the others occasionally wonder what’s going on. That’s fine. Mary is a fun little bundle of insecurities, and she is the only one in the show who can actually knock Chizuru off his pins. And it allows Chizuru to show us more of himself than his loud, annoying side. He’s even given moments of introspection and chances to act gallantly, which he does. Too bad it’s only temporary.