Zvezda 9, Dandy 10, Nisekoi 9
If there’s one thing in Bouryaku no Zvezda that I laugh at more than anything else, it’s the way they play with coincidences. Earlier we found that a legend made up in a few seconds for convenience was actually real. This week, both Zvezda and White Light decide to take business retreats at the same time, to the same hot spring, which requires masks, and that the elderly proprietors are representatives of the two warring factions–but are unaware of it. Imagine keeping THAT kind of secret from your spouse for decades! It’s all absolutely ridiculous, as is White Robin being unaware of who both White Egret and Dvo are, and it demonstrates the overall playfulness of this series which helps the underlying sadness go down easier. But we’re getting closer now to the end and I’m afraid the sadness might come up and tip the scales. We see Jimon and Renge travel back home, and the landscape is now all ruins. When did that happen? And something bad happens right at the end. They haven’t yet told us the details about why Jimon ran away, either. Meanwhile, Miki has spotted her superior fraternizing with the enemy, which can’t be good for Renge. And Kate hasn’t gotten much closer to conquering the world, either. Though she conquers milk this episode. A lot of stuff to get to, mostly dark. I hope they can sustain the playfulness as we slog through it.
Space Dandy 10 takes an old standard of fiction and a horrible SF trope and mixes them to good results.
Dandy’s ship springs a leak or something and so they go to the nearest planet to get it repaired, which happens to be Betelgeuse, Meow’s home. So I’m settling in for an episode where we learn about Meow’s background, and indeed we proceed with that for a while. A few things I didn’t expect. I thought we’d get scenes where the father shows resentment toward his son for going off into space, but instead he’s shown as a decent, quiet man who goes off and earns his paycheck every day. Otherwise, it’s nothing out of the ordinary, until day two arrives and it looks strangely like day one. Yep, it’s an Endless Eight.
But kudos to the show: the narrator immediately steps in and explains what’s going on (the reason for the loop aren’t worth mentioning), and I love how he offers apologies for it. The show knows as well as we do what a pain the groundhog day story can be, and, though we have to wait a bit, the characters catch on soon enough. But until they do we can consider the idea they’re giving us. This is a dead-end planet where everyone mostly DOES the same thing every day, time loop or not. Its repetition begins to suck the life out of Dandy and Meow, and you can see how this can happen to anyone. If we’re going to do an endless eight, this is a terrific way to use it. The episode was also clever at feeding us clues, to the point where I realized it was the wall calendar’s fault only seconds before the characters did. And that lead to the rest of the story. That’s two good episodes in a row for Space Dandy.
You know, I wouldn’t mind that Nisekoi has a hot springs episode in it, where Raku is caught in the women’s bath. High school romcom series are full of scenes like that. And Shaft never hesitates when it comes to fanservice, after all. But if you’re going to put Raku in that position, at least do something for the story, like have him overhear one of the girls talk about him, or feed him more information about those keys (okay, Chitoge was going on about them earlier, but she drops it completely to get ready for the trip). And since Raku apparently has perfect hearing even underwater, there’s plenty he could learn. But what happens? Nothing. He spends half the episode trying to sneak out with Chitoge’s help while everyone on the surface passes the ball of their crushes to someone else. You could argue that it’s a plot point that he doesn’t hear anything new, like Onodera’s first love, but I’m not buying it. This show will go to amazing lengths to avoid moving the story forward.