Hidamari Sketch – Honeycomb 8 brings us to the preparation and the actual school festival. Last year each got its own episode but that was because Yuno had a small crisis. This year her class’s program illustrations are their exhibit, so their actual project, a haunted house, doesn’t need much buildup. Besides, we’ve seen all the possibilities of cultural festival haunted houses, haven’t we?
But there is prep work to be done, and to complicate matters Miyako falls and sprains her wrist. Yuno takes it on herself to do help Miyako with the things Miyako needs doing, which primarily means eating, not that she needs any help with that. You wonder how much Miyako actually needed the help and how much she was letting Yuno be helpful. Actually, apart from the wrist, Miyako had a lot of fun this episode. You could tell she was having a great time walking around the festival in her bloodstained kimono and wideface (Unlike others I’ve never had a problem with the wideface, and Miyako’s is my favorite because it shows just how delighted she is by whatever’s happening), and she also gets to play extra tricks on just about everyone.
Of course, the others have their own activities. Sae and Hiro help run an Udon restaurant, very traditional looking, and so not very interesting until the bloody Miyako shows up). Nori’s class does Romeo and Juliet where both are male. Remembering Wandering Son last year I expected something more, but judging from bit we see I’m glad the scene was brief. Whatever adolescent gender issues Hidamari Sketch has will come out as sly humor for shippers, which brings me to the bonfire dance. Both the Nori/Nazuna and Yuno/Miyako couples looked very sweet together (Sae and Hiro are sitting that one out). Nazuna’s class fills a classroom with balloons, good for ten second scenes, which is enough for this show.
Thinking about it, Hidamari Sketch is well suited for cultural festival episodes. Since it’s mostly short scenes strung together it allows the characters to hop from one exhibit to another without messing up the show’s rhythm. But not all of it worked. Yoshinoya was kept on a leash in the episode where she should be allowed to cut loose, not that she didn’t try. Having the parents show up was just annoying, especially since it meant Yuno missed out on more time with Arisawa. Stupid parents … But mostly it was another solid episode, and the second in a row where everyone ignores graduation issues and just has fun.
On to Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure 8 where the characters are too busy shouting and ripping each other apart to have any fun, which is not to say WE don’t. It’s the final (hah!) battle with Dio and it’s momentous and epic … well, sort of. For me a battle between two men or a group of men and zombies can’t reach the epic level of a space battle or, say, Rider’s conquests. Plus the whole freezing and rippling stuff is getting a little old. I’m a fickle, spoiled viewer. I want new variations!
Okay, that’s pretty good. So was Dio using his bodily fluids as a weapon that pierces Jojo’s hand. But the best part was Dio “pulling himself together” after getting pretty much sliced in half, gently nudging the two sides of his head as a final adjustment. And part of the fun is that the fighters and onlookers explain it all for us, because some of the stuff would be inexplicable. Along the way, Jojo defeats Doobie rather easily, while Straits easily dispatches Page, Plant, Jones, and Bonham. I’m looking for some symbolism there but can’t find any. Oh, Dire dies early on. But the final big fiery punch climax moment was a bit of a letdown, and you knew even though he was disintegrating that Dio wasn’t dead yet. We’ll have to wait next week for that. Maybe.