Kokoro, Binbougami, Campione 3, Polar Bear 16
Kokoro Connect 3 has one terrific scene, when you look at it, sort of contradicts what it was trying to do.
But first we get the aftermath of Inaba as Taichi’s confession that he likes Fujishima. Two things interested me about it. First there was Inaba’s calling Taichi a “selfless freak,” someone who would rather sacrifice himself rather than trouble anyone else. It’s interesting because it helps to explain a later scene. The other thing was it cemented in my mind that Inaba should learn to keep her mouth shut, or rather, someone ought to be doing something to figure out why she gets so blunt and hurtful. After that an amusing fake confession scene which also cemented something in my mind. Taichi and Aoki can be blithering idiots at times, though I thought the whole thing funny.
But it’s forgotten when Aoki asks an innocent question to Yui about her shaking whenever she’s close to a guy, and it comes out that she’s afraid of men. While everyone in the group hate the idea, especially Aoki, what can be done about it? Taichi and Aoki, being boys, can’t help, and Inaba, who’s known for years, hasn’t been able to. That night Yui and Taichi do a switch, which, with hindsight feels rather convenient, and go out to talk. Yui tells her story, and she tells it to a guy, the irony is of course that at the moment he isn’t one. She probably could never have told Taichi, or any man, otherwise. What’s more, Taichi as Yui isn’t just a girl, it’s Yui’s body, part of herself.
That alone would have made this a good scene, but we get something that almost tops it, contradictory as it is. Taichi as Yui kicks Yui as Taichi in the nuts–hard, the point being that if she gets attacked again, that’s the body part to go for. The switch back pretty quickly after that so that Taichi can experience some of his own medicine. I might suggest that he did all this to punish himself for the violence instigated by his gender, but I don’t think that was the intent. It does, however, recall the first scene. He inflicted pain upon himself in order to help out a friend. But think about it, what he actually did was attack Yui. It didn’t matter what body she was in at the time, he assaulted her. That’s the contradiction I was talking about. Still, an excellent scene, and the fact that he was able to help Yui (though she gets “cured” too quickly for my taste, and didn’t she know already how effective a shot to the groin could be?) while her would-be boyfriend Aoki could not. That might have ramifications later one. What has ramifications now is Inaba’s sudden collapse at the end, but that was so sudden and unexpected for speculation.
Binbougami ga! 3 is as formulaic as it gets. The spoiled rich girl meets a poor boy (Keita) and learns how the other half barely manages to live, complete with cute children under his care, etc. But some things make it watchable. Keita’s parents ran away to escape debt claiming to be searching for the lost treasure of something or other, so at least one part of his sad life is actually pretty funny. Also, Ichiko states at least twice that she doesn’t care about nobodies, including this family everyone else in the world sympathizes with. She’s pretty nasty toward them; I like how the show doesn’t sugarcoat her attitudes. And when she does actually want to help someone just to help them she’s almost stunned by this completely natural feeling. In other words, she is capable of sympathy but she’s never had the need or opportunity to express it. Finally, there are her fights with Momiji which allow both VAs to let loose their full-throated fury, the highlight of the episode again. It’s almost enough to make you forget the cliché-ridden poor family.
I’m still not sure about Campione!. Episode 3, in spite of everyone saying events are happening faster than expected, is mostly talk.
We get a pointless high school scene, then Mariya talks for a while about the “Gorgoneion,” the stone disk Erica gave Godou before, and why did he bring it to Japan, you idiot? I’m not convinced by Erica’s explanation, that the prophecy (via Princess Alice) says a campione must defeat the god after it, or something. But I thought there were seven of them already? Erica is up to something. Then Erica joins in the talk and gets Mariya to talk more, this time about the goddess seeking the gorgoneion, one of my favorites: Athena. We learn that in this form she’s rogue and young, which might explain the school uniform she’s wearing. Anyway, they seek out Athena and there’s more talk, from Athena this time. What little battle we get is stopped when Athena french-kisses Godou and he dies again.
Meanwhile Mariya encounters a new divine something-or-other named Liliana, and they talk some more, then fight. And Godou wakes up with Erica and they talk some more, and there’s another sloppy kiss, this time to convey information, the sloppiest infodump I can remember. I hope every time there’s a new enemy they don’t have to explain all their attributes and weaknesses, it slows things down. I could do without the saliva. I had enough of that from Urabe last season.
The sheer absurdity of Polar Bear’s Cafe 16’s first half overwhelmed anything the second half could put together, thought there were lags while Grizzly went on his trip to forget about Polar’s death (eaten by otters). Too many scenes of Grizzly on his bike, shouting. Did you know that polar bears enjoy habaneros? Well, this one does. The second half tries to convey what a relatively normal person would do if they visited the cafe, which led to too-long bits where the man tries to figure out what to do with the bamboo he ordered.