Sekai Seifuku: Bouraku no Zvezda 8 dumps a lot of backstory on us, so it’s not the best episode of the lot, but it’s salvaged by the fact that it’s given to us in little bits, as Kate leads Jimon and Roboko to a live robo-butler show which is, of course, part of an elaborate scheme to infiltrate Zvezda headquarters. But the majority of the backstory comes via Goro visiting an event starring master patiessier “Pierre,” which itself part of the same elaborate scheme. Pierre’s initial coldness to Goro didn’t make much sense considering the loyalty-swings he exhibits later, but we get a pretty good idea of what the two men shared in the past through muttered lines about Tsubaki and a few brief flashbacks. Then the two main stories come together, stuff gets blown up, and we get some of new antagonist White Falcon’s own backstory with Zvezda. I suppose you could call this Goro’s episode except he only got half of it. A more confusing episode than usual, but done with the show’s usual charming and bizarre sensibility.
The usual bizarre art and the solid comic direction rescues Nisekoi 8 from the fact that there was almost no story for the most of it. We spent almost all the time watching Tsumugi attack or threaten just about anyone who gets close to Chitoge, especially Raku. Then we watch her heart go thumpity-thump whenever he’s around, but doesn’t know why, so we get a bunch of scenes of her asking people. Then she goes into extreme tsundere mode for a while. But surprisingly, it was only during the asking around business that I felt the show was dragging. It was so much fun watching the little bits they tossed in, like Onodera and Ruri rising in the air when Tsumugi slams a desk, and later, banging her head through the fourth wall. Tsumugi is a lot of fun when doing the tsundere. There’s also her situation: she’s devoted to Chitoge but falling in love with her boyfriend. I’d be confused, too. The plot-stuff at the end was almost as good, though it featured Chitoge and not Tsumugi, for all the same reasons. As for that plot, now we have two girls with keys and one boy with a locket. I wonder how many more keys there are?
Speaking of bizarre art, Space Dandy 9 gives us some of the trippiest visuals I’ve seen in anime since Kaiba.
If we’re to look at this series as a bunch of stand-alone episodes, each one exhibiting different creative talents, this one is really the only successful episode so far. Its view of the world called Planta doesn’t look like any of the others; it’s unique, and while the look isn’t completely original (I’ve mentioned Kaiba, there was also the game Botanicula and that head-trip episode of Occult Academy), they use this imaginative, colorful world to tell us a relaxed, spacy story that doesn’t feel a need to rush.
Basically, Dandy and Meow transport, rather roughly, onto Planta in search of Code D, an unregistered alien. Meow winds up in the south, and it’s clear early on what’s going on with him, so we spend more time with Dandy as he’s captured and released by Dr H, an intelligent plant (it’s all plant life there), and they, along with the spore-like daughter, travel to find this mysterious alien. There are small adventures along the way, but more than once the show decides it’s more fun to just watch the amazing variety of plants, seeds, roots, leaves, and spores which float or amble by and happy, silly music plays. And they’re right. Later in the episode I think the show got a little TOO laid-back, but for most of the time the episode is a visual and aural treat. A shame they’ll have to switch to something else next week, but you can’t stay on Planta forever. You’d get nothing done.