Girls und Panzer 4 brings us one of the sillier armored combat battles you’ll ever see. I’m sure it won’t be the last.
The friendly between our gals and the St. Gloriana (or whatever) Academy brings us back to the original episode, but, happily, very little repeated footage. We see Miho’s tank draw off the more experienced enemy, who claim they know it’s a trap, but proceed anyway, Just as well; Oorai’s cunning plan nearly leaves them surrounded and soon two tanks are deserted or damaged and they retreat–right into town, while the townspeople either cheer or look on with curiosity (apparently they’re heavily insured and are quite used to tan battles). They take advantage of the local obstacles and get done in by others. Loved the parking garage bit. Through it all I was wondering if Miho was an inspired commander or the other team was a loaded with incompetents, especially near the end where Miho takes out two tanks in about ten seconds due to a turn. Never mind. It was a harmless battle with that cheerful martial music they play. It’s hard to resist.
Back to reality. In the time left we get a personal crisis, this one involving Hana, who’s mother is shocked to learn she’s on the panzer squad and not arranging flowers. It’s not much of a crisis right now even though she gets kicked out of her home. She was living in the dorms anyway and is sure she can get her mother to come around eventually. The whole thing is settled (for now) so quickly there’s still time to start the national championships drawing. Naturally, Oorai gets to fight one of the tournament favorites in the first round. So we had a battle, personal crisis and the new story arc this episode, and each was done as superficially as the others. Just as well. If this show gets too deep it’s doomed.
We spend most of K 4 watching Shiro go about trying to prove his innocence. The incident was over an hour away from the high school, so if he can prove he was at the school, he’s okay. This proves to be more difficult than he thought. No one can remember him being around that night. He didn’t have his PDA so he can’t prove he was or wasn’t there, etc. Meanwhile Kuroh gets more and more irritated, until Kukuro remembers seeing him. Then he goes home and finds bloody clothes. So he’s all confused, as you can expect. That’s basicially the story for the episode.
The thing is, the show is trying very very hard to be clever and stylish, not to mention blue-tinted (I swear, I wanted to check my screen settings). We’re treated to numerous flashbacks of an incident (Mishino elaborately confessing to Kukuro and getting shot down) from various times and angles, eccentric stuff, and meant to put an absurd edge on this serious matter of establishing an alibi, and while it’s amusing enough I didn’t really care about it. I knew that something would happen somewhere to contradict Shiro’s story; it was just a question of where and when. Also, Shiro gets on my nerves so I don’t care if he lives or not. Finally, its clear that the show has taken such great efforts to shove weird characters in our faces, two gangs and a high school, not to mention a cat girl and a ninja-cook, but none of them really matter, and they keep getting lost or ignored. At one point Kukuro has just innocently destroyed Shiro’s alibi, Kuroh has drawn his sword to kill him, Neko has jumped in his way and … what happened to Kukuro? Isn’t she surprised by this? It’s like there’s an offstage that she retired to until her next line comes up. The show feels like a collection of lunatic scenes placed in order, not a story.
Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo 4 wraps up the first story arc, but I’m not really sure what causes Sorata’s change of heart about leaving the dorms. Like last episode much time is spent stewing over the fact that so many of the others around him are focused geniuses while he isn’t sure what he wants. And we also get time with Jin talking about how hard it is to survive when near extraordinary talent. Wait, I thought Jin was really good at something too, apart from the women. This isn’t the normal type of problem in high school romance anime, so I was interested. So what makes Sorata change his mind? Ryuusuke hinted that he hasn’t actually tried to achieve anything on his own, yet. But that doesn’t mean he has to stay in that dorm; in fact, he’d probably get more work done elsewhere. It couldn’t be because he wants Mashiro to have a better ending for her manga, because she changed it anyway. After he tells Mashiro he’s going to follow these suddenly-recalled dreams she calls it his “debut.” So why is he staying? Has he decided he’ll risk being burned by the bright lights around him? It’s a shame I can’t follow the logic here, becausse the first story arc was surprisingly good, though I don’t know what they’ll do next.
Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun 5 is some sort of filler episode and about the only thing we get out of it is some more background on Haru and a possible rival at the end. They hint at a crisis where Haru’s brother Yuzan shows up and talks about their father wishing for Haru to return now that he’s cleaned up his act a little, oh and sweets. But it’s no crisis at all because Yuzan doesn’t want him to return. Haru “hates” his family and wouldn’t return anyway. Shizuku certainly doesn’t want Haru going away, either. All three are in agreement, but they decide to have a confrontation, anyway. The other thing, about glasses-girl Chizuru, might be more interesting if only what it does to Shizuku. She admits by the end of the episode that she would miss Haru if he left, and what’s more, she would miss hanging out with the people she’s met. So this possible rival could put her in a blue funk. But only her. I don’t see Haru straying from her, and Chizuru doesn’t seem the type to up and try to steal Haru away, even if she could. In other words, it’s going to be an examination of Shizuku under jealousy. Maybe.
I had heard that Lychee Light Club was a cruel and disgusting work of manga, and maybe it is. But the two five-minute episodes that have popped up on the web aren’t all that depraved. Maybe the club members get worse. Anyway, the first two mini-episodes have the various club members come up with ideas for a problem (punishing an intruder and converting the robot who kidnapped the girl), which are either implemented and get laughs or get shot down by the club’s leader. Some of the suggestions remind me of Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei, but everyone’s a guy here. Well apart from the girl, who doesn’t seem to mind being kidnapped and has made friends with the robot who abducted her. The animation is crude but I like the character designs, half grotesque, half cute, and the rest of the art. Not bad.