K 5, ROBOTICS 4, Polar Bear 31

I’m still looking for K to get its act together and do something, but episode 5 is no better than what we’ve seen before. In fact, it’s worse. Shiro, mulling over the bloody clothes he found which throws serious doubt on his innocence, leaves the school with Kuroh and Neko to get more fireworks. At roughly the same time, members of the Red and Blue team show up to apprehend or kill him. The Blues get in their “legally,” by strong-arming school admin, a nice way to demonstrate their clout in society, I suppose. Included in the team is Saruhiko, who used to be red but is now blue (actually, a little of both, as it turns out). He does nothing to improve the characters’ overall annoyance level, taunting Misaki (skateboard kid) so much that NO ONE wants to hear that name again, let alone Misaki.

The least exciting well-animated battle of the season.

So the two of them fight, and it is a total bore. Misaki leaps and grunts, Saruhiko just parries and giggles. Then the other Blues show up and tell them to knock it off. This is a high school, you know! … Could have fooled me. The students are supposedly prepping for the annual festival but the only ones we see are groups of two or three who run off when they see a Red. The courtyard where the fight happens is completely deserted. I honestly don’t know who’s running this thing. A big budget and cast and none of the creators want to DO anything with them. Everyone’s just mailing it in.

K 5 felt like a wasted episode where nothing really happened. ROBOTICS;NOTES 4’s dithering has more purpose.

Kaito should have joined the K creative team for the week.

Much of the episode involves Akiho’s trying to raise money for the robot fund while Kaito and Suburu sit around not caring. About the only things that happen (that matter) are that Suburu gets Kaito to be his pilot at the upcoming world games, and Furugoori, the show’s new crazy chick, moves in next door to the robot hanger. Kaito losing to Suburu after 21 wins suggests that he actually doesn’t mind piloting that robot, or maybe he just gave in. I suspect it’s the latter because Suburu’s robot can’t be as much fun to pilot. But that plot point seems to be a distraction, really, unless it means Kaito’s going to have another Elephant-Mouse Syndrome attack. … That’s right: the show has two plot points and an infodump at the end, though not a dull one since we get flashbacks and not just a talking head explaining it, with a mysterious event to top it all off.

A wicked grin. That’s more like it.

The other point, Furugoori’s moving in, is where the story is really heading–certainly not in Akiho’s desperate and amusing attempts to wheedle money out of anyone she suspects has it, scenes which padded out the episode. A girl who can move into a old building and get it refurbished to do mysterious stuff already makes her interesting. Her twisted grin is also interesting. Her messed-up way of speaking is not (though I love her voice), but she drops a few hints of things she knows or suspects, which at least makes what she says interesting. More interesting this episode than Ahiko, supposedly a main character, running into indifference and shouting at it all episode. And let’s not forget that gray-haired girl who’s been in the ED all along but finally makes a sort-of appearance in the actual show. Very interesting indeed. Good, now that they’ve laid all these interesting plot and character possibilities on the board it’s time to move some of them. Unlike K, I have some confidence they know where they’re going.

Polar Bear’s Cafe 31 is one of the best yet. The two sections exhibited the show’s odd strengths.

Penguin tries bullshitting his way out of it.

First, it’s crisis time (again) for Penguin, as all seven of his would-be girlfriends confront him at the cafe. Which does he like the best? Can he even tell them apart. Polar Bear and the others try from time to time to intervene. Llama shows that he is quite the ladies man, or would be if he could get anyone to notice him, by being the only one of any species who can tell them apart. Penguin tries a comeback, then Panda joins them and ruins everything in his own unique way. Every character interacts using their strengths.

(fangirl squeal) It’s YAMA ARASHI!!

The second half works on the show’s knack for putting animals in human roles, allowing us a splendid WTF moments, in this case, porcupines as an idol group named Yama Arashi. Mrs. Panda and King Penguin adore them and have a super time at their concert in the dome! I sort of wanted a more direct parody of one of the idol shows we’ve had recently, but, face it, porcupines aren’t known for their dance moves, nor the capybaras backing them up. Besides, this show doesn’t have the budget. But there’s something irresistible about the lights coming up on four porcupines to the screams of thousands of girls, a panda and a penguin.

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