Asukara 8, Monogatari SS 18?, Noucome 7

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Nagi no Asukara 8 is a sweet and pointless episode, where Miuna believes that no one makes Akari feel welcome, so she goes off to buy a gift for her. The gang all join in. There’s some false tension raised because the kids are on the surface, far from the sea, so their “ena” might dry up. In fact, early on, Chisaki was rubbing her skin like it was dry, so I thought “Aha! There’s our crisis this week,” but false. As it turns out, Miuna had the ena situation taken care of. What a nice girl! Nice enough, in fact, that she succeeds in what she wanted: making Akari happy, and I’m happy for her, too. Some other things happen on the side as characters feel each other out about that boy or that girl, and Hikari almost gets confessed to, but either Chisaki’s too shy or she realizes she won’t be able to get through Hikari’s thick skull, but no real progress is made on the love front. The only big plot thing is the mysterious salt snow–on the surface.

Monogatari SS 18, after the surprise of no recap episode, brings back Kaiki, and does its best to change him from foul scum of the earth to a sort-of loveable rogue.

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They do this in a couple of ways. First, he shows some respect to Senjougahara, even flying to Okinawa to meet her, after learning that she went to Okinawa because he was supposedly there. And there was the flinging coffee in her face when she suggested raising money by selling her body, so quick that it had to be a instinctive movement. His bathroom soliloquy, where he brought up reason after reason to do the job Senjougahara wants him to do, shooting each one until hitting on the idea of Kanbara, who’s as uninvolved as you can get, was him simply trying to talk his unscrupulous side into taking a job that will gain him nothing. Finally, there’s the fact that he decides to change into a Hawaiian shirt, just like Oshino (who Senjougahara can’t reach) used to wear. Taking his place, so to speak.

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Senjougahara, meanwhile, is asking her arch enemy for help, a fact that shows you how desperate she is. Worse, Kaiki is a master manipulator, and who knows what he might do to her. Maybe that’s why she wears that ridiculous mask throughout their scene, a line of defense. But though she’s practically begging him, she does allow herself some barbs and threats, in her usual calm, quick voice. In fact, her usual delivery works at a contrast to what she’s asking. Asking Kaiki to deceive Nadeko? How and why? It’s ridiculous, but even so, she’s perhaps naive (her sophistication and naiveté run parallel) enough to think it might work. Maybe that’s another reason she chose that mask, because she didn’t realize how silly she looked.

Yuragi gets a little more interesting this week.
Yuragi gets a little more interesting this week.

Noucome 7 reminds me just how much this series is a routine slightly ecchi high school romantic comedy, with all the things you’d expect and have seen before. I mean, I KNOW that, but the execution has been so good I didn’t care. This week the show’s superb comic timing is taxed to limit to get laughs out of the battles between the five most popular students (who really aren’t that bad) and our heroes, the losers. Happily, execution beats clichés this week by the same score that the losers beat the populars: 3-2. Kudos to the crowd watching the battle, because their odd reactions put the show over. Yuragi’s yandere little sister act also helped.

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