Sakamichi no Apollon 10 gets down to business now that the bad romance has left town and sets up some major plot kernels, but mainly it’s about Kaoru screwing up.
Kaoru has some wrong assumptions about what’s going on. Now that Yurika’s gone it’s logical to assume Sentarou will fall back on Ritsuko, such is the type of guy Kaoru thinks Sentarou is. Especially after Sentarou seems so over it when the school removes that painting of him she made. Because of this he doesn’t know what to make of the mittens Ritsuko knitted for him–and not Sentarou. So he tries to remain distant and thus puts himself in danger of rejection. And he nearly ruins it entirely in the bath scene (Did anyone imagine there would be a “innocently open the door and find a member of the opposite sex bathing” scene in this show? Especially when the families share a bath and ought to know better? Sorry, not buying it). It takes a cute-sick scene, where Ritsuko tells him almost exactly what needs to be done (and could he have forced himself down the steps and out the door in his state if he hadn’t met Sentarou?) before he gets his head straight. And then, we skip a few months and nothing’s happened there. Which is probably fine with Ritsuko. Seeing her two boys together seems to make her happiest of all. I think she’s become a teacher already–to two adolescent boys.
When we aren’t watching and wanting to smack Kaoru around a bit, we get mini-adventures. Sentarou’s in danger of flunking but Kaoru forces him to study. The pop music kid announces that he’s going to win the festival this year, which gets our heroes fired up. But the big event is the impending arrival of Sentarou’s father, and this part doesn’t work too well. The scenes with little Sa-chan were nice, but then Sentarou does something I didn’t expect him to do–run from the problem. He wouldn’t do that. If his father has stopped the boozing, then that’s great. If he hasn’t then the children need Sentarou around more than ever. We understand that Sentarou was never a welcome member of his father’s household, and how deep that wound goes, but he’s welcome now, and he’s not a child anymore. He can defend himself, and he has his family and friends. He’s never run from a fight. Sigh. This is a very good show, but every now and then it slips from smart to silly.
A show like Tsuritama can get as silly with its plot as it wants and no one will care. What it’s not immune to is stock anime penultimate episode things like rallying the forces, reconciling foes and giving the despondent character a pep-talk. You can tick each of those off your list while watching. They’re not bad by default, but here in episode 10 they don’t work that well. The good guys, when you get down to it, have no problem evading or bamboozling the Duck forces, who, on their side seem to have given up finding Haru at all. The pep-talk, all about friendship vs going off half-cocked reminded me of a few from Railgun. Besides, at this point we know what needs to be done, and watching everyone scurrying around preparing for it isn’t all that exciting. But they give us a whammy at the end to make everything a little more hopeless, just the thing to set up the (I assume) final episode next week.
This week’s Lupin III – Mine fujiko to lu Onna isn’t as confusing as last week’s but yet again Mine really doesn’t appear. She’s out of the picture and in no condition to steal anything at the moment. Instead the focuses on the life and quite possible death of Oscar, who we learn was rescued and adopted as a boy by Zenigata. Zenigata was moved by the boy’s pride at not losing his last coin, but Oscar along the way has lost all trace of it in his desire to make Zenigata pursue him the way he pursued, caught–and subsequently bedded Fujiko. It’s a bit ridiculous the lengths he goes to achieve this, even pretending to be her and actually stealing stuff. I had to actually watch it twice to figure out what he thought he was up to. What’s more interesting is that Lupin and Goemon work to undo the big caper at the end, as if they were defending Fujiko’s pride. I suppose Oscar needed some attention, but I rather wished they hadn’t devoted an entire episode. I believe there’s only two left and a lot to clear up.
Finally I watched Nazo no Kanojo X 10, that is to say, I saw Tsubaki acting like a complete idiot for 25 minutes, starting with his denial to former crush Hayakawa that he has a girlfriend (though he finally admits it), then not telling Urabe about the school festival situation. I mean, I really think you should tell your current girlfriend that you’re going to pretend to have another for an innocent purpose. But another moment of great idiocy is the fact that he doesn’t even realize Hayakawa is setting a trap. You could write it off as the hormones working, but Hayakawa practically threw himself on him when they accidentally(?) met. Or maybe this is an act of internal rebellion for him. After all, Urabe gets upset when he looks at a girl that reminds him of her. I might feel a little constricted, too.