Tsuritama 9, Eureka Ao 9, Natsuiro 10, Kore wa Zombie finale, and Polar Bear 11

In Tsuritama 9 we get … plot! Lots of plot. It starts with plot, it ends with plot, we have big armed forces plot, we have friendship plot, we have bro/sis plot. Really, what we get is everything the show has labored to develop finally coming to a head.

The mighty forces of Duck!

Start at the beginning, we see more ships running aground and people, touching water, coming under the alien mind control and carrying out the nefarious orders of whatever it is, by doing the Enoshima dance. Frankly, this is the happiest alien invasion I can think of. Meanwhile the forces of Duck have arrived and working to evacuate the islanders and find Haru. So we get people running around and hiding from sinister men carrying silly-looking alien sensors and whose water protection suits squeak with every step. The happiest of invasions combating the silliest of defenders. I expected no less from this show.

But it’s not all silliness. The show has developed the characters (perhaps for too long) enough that what happens to the actually matters. Haru and Koko go to meet or fight the alien under the water. The show didn’t work with Koko as much as the others, but the show takes time to show the bond they have before … whatever happens. Seeing her glasses but no Koko is a bad sign, but this series isn’t the type to lash out and kill like that. I think we haven’t seen the last of her. But Haru does, and in his grief goes berserk and squirts everyone he can with his gun, including Yuki and grandma, which leads to the most frightening moment for me, the nice old lady lying unconscious on the floor.

Heroic pose, with heroic duck.

Then there are the friendships. Akira, betrayed by Duck, tries to find Haru and convince Yuki to leave Enoshima, then goes further off orders and decides to work alone. Natsuki needs no second thoughts. He escapes evacuation and somehow returns. It’s Yuki who has the hardest time. He wants to follow Akira’s advice, but obviously has doubts. Well, that’s what grandma (not hurt. Hooray!) is around for. But why are they trying so hard? The threat is obvious. They’ve seen the dancing. But they also know that their friend is not acting like himself. Maybe the thought that they must also save the world has entered into more minds than Akira’s, but the story’s thrust from now be on rescuing Haru. This is just how it should be. Good episode, and just what I was waiting for.

Eureka Seven Ao 9 introduces us to Nakuramura, a guy who works for the Japanese military and has big plans for his country. He wants to get the Nirvash back, but more importantly he wants his hands on some of that Secret technology. I’m surprised every country aren’t going for that, actually. Imagine weapons that can take on any form and look cool to boot. His other stated goal, strangely enough, is to “destroy Japan,” but perhaps he means that metaphorically. Hopefully he does considering the coral burst 70 years destroyed Tokyo. That stuff’s kind of dangerous. Anyway, he’s part of a military plan to stimulate “plant corals” (same as scrub corals?) for whatever reason. Of course things go wrong and GenBleu come to the rescue. In addition we get more internal conflict as Ao discovers his mission isn’t to save lives but to rescue the quartz from coral, so naturally he goes off half-cocked into battle as usual. Alas, Truth is also around, killing people and leering at everyone. But no Naru this week. It’s a routine episode, not very exciting. I suppose they’re moving the pieces around for a big story arc finish.

Natsuiro Kiseki 10 presents more evidence that this mystic, wish-giving rock has a sense of humor. Imagine if the girls want to remember exactly what happened four years ago when they went to explore a haunted building not knowing there was a typhoon coming. You’d think they’d just get their memories back, but I suppose you can’t make an interesting episode out of that. Instead the younger versions of themselves appear in the present day (in which another typhoon is scheduled to appear). So the older girls have to keep an eye out on the younger ones to find out what exactly did happen, and to make sure they don’t get into any trouble. I mean, they obviously survived it four years ago, but this is NOW. Any anomalies that occur, like being spotted by parents, are either brushed aside by the characters or the show itself. Since the girls remember seeing ghosts and thieves during their adventure you can probably figure out what happens, or happened, but it’s all cleverly done nonetheless. Young Saki going after Old Saki with nunchuks was possibly the high point.

Two seasons gone and not much has changed for Ayumu.

And Kore wa Zombie desu ka – of the Dead … ends. Just like that. It’s a good final episode that gets a trifle sentimental but doesn’t go overboard with it, and there’s usually a good gag to undercut any potential tears. The finale is appropriate. They must defeat Chris, so Ayumu undergoes a test to become a full magical girl–and fails, losing his memory in the process. So the others go into his mind to get it back, which we are told is the makeup test, though all it seems to do is undo the damage of the first test. And in the end they don’t even get around to fighting Chris. This is how the show rolls, lurching from one ridiculous situation to another and maybe once every few episodes stumbling upon the story arc. On the way the girls must battle manifestations of Ayumu, all of the smug bishies spouting pretentious lines even the other characters in the show wince at, and it was a pleasure to watch Haruna kick their ass. Eu gets to talk a little. Sera adds her insults. The show ends well, even if everyone forgot the story.

A not bad episode of Polar Bear’s cafe. Episode 11 has the zookeeper Handa coerced into a group blind date at a karaoke place, and Panda and Polar bear come to even up the numbers. You already know what is going to happen, but it’s not all bad for Handa when the girls discover he’s Panda’s keeper and not just a lonely, single male lump. Panda naturally wins over the girls through cuteness, and Polar Bear, mainly staying out of the way (perhaps aware that this outing was not for his benefit), still gets to use his charming personality to get the girls attention. A polar bear who also runs a cafe! And there’s one of the show’s more surreal moments early on at the cafe when Sasako brings Penguin pot stickers, even though they’re not on the menu. What was that all about? Just another one of the show’s gentle mind games.

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