Chu2Koi 8, Bakuman3 7, Polar Bear 34

Thinking ahead to Chuunibyou Demo Koi ga Shitai! 8 I was hoping for something really big. Rikka’s been leading this little fantasy life of hers ever since her father died and now, having to accept reality, she prepares for an epic battle against the overlord, her older sister. It won’t be the same after this. Even though we knew how the battle would turn out.

The battle itself turned out to be the usual, except that in fantasy-mode there was nothing around them at all except the house, which burns away after Tooka slaps her. Finally Yuuta intervenes, but all he can really do is point out that unlike the others in the family Rikka had no time to prepare for her father’s death. Tooka doesn’t even need to bring up that it’s been a while now, but Yuuta’s further point about platitudes about reality don’t do a damn thing, true though they may be, softens her a little. Next thing you know Rikka runs off and the episode moves on. 

Could we get back to Yuuta and Rikka please? Or even the girls? Anyone but you.

Rikka is surprised to find Yuuta thought she might be on the train home, while the other half of the story is so trivial it feels like an irritation when they switch to it. Kumin goes out at night to look at the moon, and Isshiki joins her, leading his frantic phone calls about what to do with a girl and proving again that he is probably, in terms of action, the most pathetic harem lead sidekick in anime history. The girls aren’t terribly interesting since all they do is reprise the jokes (sunburn, friendly dog) they were given last week. These scenes only show some life when they speculate on what Yuuta and Rikka are doing alone, hem hem.

No, nothing naughty happened.

And what DO they do? Superficially, not much. Rikka has to stay the night alone with Yuuta, so we get a few moments of terrified realization from Yuuta coupled with the usual keeping up with whatever antics she’s up to. Rikka’s behavior is more interesting. Beneath the speeches she’s also nervous about being alone with a member of the opposite sex, but she’s also more intrigued by it. Something begins to stir in the void beneath the pure darkness of (oh, stop it). He even catches her watching a romantic movie in the middle of the night! But there’s more to it than the hormones. Yuuta had told her that he had drifted toward the dark flame business while he was with friends and yet felt totally alone. Perhaps Rikka took on her affectations for similar reasons… but now there’s this boy she likes, who puts up with her outlandish talk and posing, who came with her when she needed to escape and knows where to find her … They haven’t done anything romantic yet, but the second half of this episode it sure feels like they did.

Naturally, everyone else shows up as well.

I really couldn’t care less about Bakuman‘s Hiramaru/Aoki’s side story, but they do a nice job in pulling it off. And it’s nice to see the pressure on someone other than our boys. And it unfolds cleverly. On Hiramaru’s side, he wants to confess to a girl, but his evil editor doesn’t want him to because it will mess with his manga drawing. And he’s exactly right. So they set up a situation where Hiramaru ditches the others and takes Aoki off alone. As Fukuda (because all the others, naturally, are roped into the chase–more fun that way) says, he’s more worried that Hiramaru will screw up the date than anything else.

To add to the ridiculousness, Yoshida hints to Mashiro that there might be a double suicide involved. Anyway, it pans out beautifully. Aoki’s been put through a lot of male crap in this series, but here’s a guy who sincerely likes her, runs away with her as if it were a shoujo romance, and spouts all the right things about how he feels in his passionate verbal duel with Yoshida. Naturally, Fukuda, the boys and Kaya are arrived to cheer him on. What’s not to like about him? The irony is that if they had been left alone in the first place the date probably would have ended badly. Well, like all the artists, it’s back to work next week, with a new super-talented rival to worry about. Oh, congrats Fukuda, on Road Racer Giri getting an anime.

Polar Bear, disguised as a panda, visits Brown Bear’s Cafe.

Polar Bear’s Cafe 34 doesn’t live up the the standards set by previous episodes. Neither half really stood out. Also, it doesn’t help the mystery of why Penguin-san is spending more time at another cafe recently when the story title is “Penguin-san’s New Love.” As for the first half, Wolf casting about for a new goal in life, it plays out like any tv drama. I hope he’s happy at his new job. I liked the sparse decor of Brown Bear’s cafe, though. Not fancy, but full of books to read. A good place to settle down with a book and some coffee for an hour or two. And brown Bear is a bespectacled, bookish-looking type.

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