Summer 2013 #2: CB-3U, Love Lab

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I doubt I’ll watch Stella Jogakuin Koutouka C3-BU for long. On the other hand, I was about to stop watching halfway through… but something happened. At that point, Yura, new freshman at a ladies academy, completely overlooked by her new classmates and a little depressed, had been watching some war films, as depressed young ladies do, and the next thing you know she’s dragged to the school’s survival games club. It felt like an attempt to recreate the fun of Girls und Panzer with some extra yuri thrown in, but with weaker writing, direction, animation, and voice acting. But when they get down to the actual Rambo-style battle, a strange thing happens. The art gets better and the music’s become a solo string bass, a good choice for stalking people in a forest, I thought. As the battle gets more serious, the action gets better, and the bass is now a full jazz ensemble. It’s almost breathtaking, and completely unexpected considering what we’d seen up to now. After that they go into some weird Rambo-y scenes as Yura realizes this might not be so bad after all, which, frankly, was a letdown after that striking buildup. I still don’t have high hopes for this series, but if they can deliver something that entertaining every episode I might hang on to it.

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Love Lab has Riko, a “bad girl” of a prestigious girls academy, who’s not actually not all that bad, meeting Maki the school’s perfect student council head and perfect princess, while the latter is smootching a bizarre doll for practice. In spite of having no qualifications, Riko agrees to help Maki with love lessons. For most of the episode after that, she gets to help out every adolescent romance cliche in the book, aided by Maki’s overactive and more than a little weird imagination. Not often we get the bad girl being not only the protagonist but also the straight man. It’s not bad. The situations pass by quickly after a few sight gags and silly lines, but by the end it was getting a little stale. After all, you can’t have a good show with just two characters. But next week they’re introducing a new one, so maybe it will be okay. I also can’t believe that the school holds Maki in such high regard when she’s such a weirdo underneath. Nevertheless, the show made me laugh more than once. Worth keeping an eye on.

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