Sukitte li na yo 2 continues to give the shoujo romance tropes little twists to keep them fresh, though some of the storytelling effects that made episode one stand out are missing this time. What amazed me the most about this episode was how quickly Mei accepts new friends. Naturally, she’s a little uncomfortable being in a group singing karaoke but no one really minds that. Her new best girlfriend is Asami and before you can blink she’s asking Mei if she likes Yamato and admitting that she herself does. Mei has every reason to be embarrassed or run away from these new social things but she doesn’t, which I find very interesting.
I also like how they handle some of the other common shoujo things, like our pair of backbiting bullying bitches who make fun of Asami for her big chest. Standing up to them was a nice thing to see (though why didn’t she use her excellent kicking skills?), but the surprise was that we don’t see the fight. Also, nothing is resolved. You know that Asami will continue to get abuse from them, and so will Mei, probably. Bullying is a fact of life in that school, an ongoing nuisance, and probably for this show a convenient tool for moving the story along when someone needs to be tested. And there is the side story of Kenji the fool, trying to do some good and only making it worse, until he takes a tip from Mei (already someone he can trust) and makes everything better than it was in the first place. (Nice confession, Kenji!).
But the most interesting pot stirring comes from Yamato. The story goes around that he’s kissed every cute girl in the school. Asami’s in love with him and isn’t surprised when Mei says she is too (no dilly-dallying for Mei. She won’t lie to herself and extend her indecisiveness for episodes or like that other show, an entire two seasons). Everyone likes him because he’s so nice, but you begin to see here that this might simply be a way of manipulating people, especially girls he wants to kiss. At the episode end Mei confronts him about this kissing business, so he plants a few more on her. After the third or fourth Mei is completely defenseless, and he knows it. How many other girls has he done this to? Another good episode, but as I said, the story was told more straightforwardly than usual. Too much to tell, less time to get flashy.
Space Brothers 28 takes a little time to digress about the UFO. Why not? The show takes its time doing everything, and I was curious about what that footage Hibito had recorded actually was. So are the astronauts, showing their wondering, geeky sides as well (I loved that. These men and women are trained physically and mentally to do practical things in space, yet they still have a trace of “wow!” sensibility) It shouldn’t be a surprise to find out what it was. The point of the whole thing was to demonstrate the bond the brothers have, that one of them would do so much to make the other one happy, and protect him from bullies. Even if the footage was bad enough that no one would believe it. It was pretty much a farewell episode for Hibito, even if he hasn’t actually gone up yet.
Zetsurn no Tempest 2 tells us very little we didn’t know already. We get some talk at the beginning in the “Now, let me get this straight” category to fill Yoshina in on the situation, and to remind us, I suppose. Hakaze wants off the island, Fuwa wants his bloody revenge, and we spend much of the episode watching Yoshino try to figure out what he wants, apart from staying alive for the time being. Yamamoto’s still gunning for him,, you see, and come to think of it I wouldn’t have minded some explanation as to why. I honestly can’t remember why she’s pointing guns at people. In the end it looks like Yoshino’s decided not to abandon his friend. Good thing, too, since Fuwa, gleefully quoting Hamlet, has taken on a Samon guy who’s probably too powerful for him. And so we have a pretty good idea of the two boys’ basic differences. And it looks like I was wrong about that girlfriend in the next town.
The first half of Polar Bear’s Cafe 28 isn’t terribly interesting. Panda switches places with Polar Bear and runs the cafe. He actually does a pretty good job when they finally get him to unlock the door. Polar Bear trying to be Panda was the funnier bit. Part two, all about Full-Time Panda, is a lot better. FTP, pretending to be Panda-kun, asks the creepy Rin Rin out, and the whole thing resembles a scene where a jealous girl is confronting a boy about another girl he likes better, except the girls in this case are pandas and the boy is creepy. To be fair, Rin Rin acquits himself well, patiently listening to FTP’s increasingly drunken speeches and coming to the zoo the next day to give him cuteness tips. I think they could have done more with that scene and less with the aftermath, but it’s a good segment nonetheless.
Teekyu 2 is as frantic as #1. I had to watch it twice and I still missed some of the jokes. And trying to get a decent screenshot is a nightmare. But it’s only two minutes, what the hell.