Ping Pong and Nanana 5, Nisekoi 18, Mahouka 6

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Ping Pong 5 lowers the intensity a little, except for the dispatching of Sakuma, the guy who dispatched Peco in the tournament. The show seems to enjoy presenting players who are really good only to show how frail they are against people who are better than they are. Except for Kazama, who goes on to win the nationals. It may have been this event that prompted Kong to decide against returning home right away. A single or tournament can have a big effect on everyone involved. After his humiliation, Peco goes to the beach and then drops the game altogether–at least for now. For his teammate Sakuma, it’s a bit more complicated.

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I don’t know how Kaio HS doesn’t penalize Kazama for his remarks after the nationals, where he wins singles but the rest of the team is eliminated. Pro athletes in America might get away with it if it sounds like they’re calling out his teammates for not working hard enough. I think their coach is right: Kazama is undermining team morale. Or maybe their coach is just soft, letting Sakuma play on their team because of his work ethic. You need players like that to set an example. Not that Sakuma is setting any by sneaking off to play Tsukimoto, a breach of rules even if he didn’t get his butt kicked and then kicking the butt of a stranger on the street for good measure.

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Meanwhile, Smile has gone back to machine mode. I don’t understand why he’s become so cold-blooded. Though, thanks to flashbacks, I can see why he might have some animosity toward Sakuma, and it’s good to have no mercy in any competitive sport. But what’s motivating him to train hard beyond that? His forgotten teammates watch him train and sigh at their lower status. Peco watches sadly–we don’t know what’s on his mind, either. In the meantime, Smile gives Sakuma that final push over the edge, Kong trains, and Kazama waits for Smile to switch schools. And once again I have no idea what will happen next episode, and even less idea of what’s going on in Tsukimoto’s head.

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Something I’m trying to figure out about Nanana’s Buried Treasure: is the misdirection deliberate or they can’t be bothered? We start with the group (Isshin has already been forgiven for conning Juugo, it seems) planning a expedition to find some treasure at a beach resort or hot spring or something, I can’t remember now, so I figure this is the excuse to show the characters in various states of undress. Having that to look forward to, we suddenly shift to Juugo’s getting his allowance cut off and being short of money to pay utilities, thus getting a secret part time job, and suddenly we’re in the island’s lawless zone where we meet a whole new pack of weirdos. The boss is some generic tough-talking broad but Yun-chan is a cute little thing. Anyway, stuff happens and Juugo still doesn’t have his money, just his sense of pride of looking out for himself only. Maybe the beach episode or whatever it is is next week, on the other hand, maybe they’ll spend it on Juugo getting up the cash, or maybe they’ll fling something else new and weird at us. Your guess is as good as mine.

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I don’t know if I have or need to say anything besides Nisekoi 18 is a beach episode. It had everything you would expect. The story inches forward or backwards this week with Chitoge wondering if she was falling in love with Raku and asks him what would happen if they WERE a couple, only to get a too-negative reply by Raku that has her not speaking to him. Elsewhere, Onodera bravely blurts out a thing you wouldn’t expect (good for her!), only to have the comedy gods intervene again. She also makes Attack on Titan sandcastles, something else you wouldn’t expect from her … well, Chitoge was helping. Meanwhile, Ruri, Tsugumi, and Marika are introduced at the beginning, so we can see them in swimsuits, and then do next to nothing for the rest of the episode. Next: the cultural festival!

I was afraid of what would happen in Mahouka 6, and I was right to be. First, there’s the terrorist attack on the school assembly (where all the unimportant characters have vanished), which is wrapped up by the good guys in seconds, but it was only a feint, and we discover the terrorists, including Mibu, trying to get access to top secret magical files the school had stored in the library. From what I understand about what they might contain, I might be on the terrorists’ side, but they, too, are quickly dispatched, thanks to Tatsuya. Then it gets worse.

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I figured Tatsuya would lay a lot of pompous speeches on poor Mibu, but with Miyuki’s help it’s worse than I expected. “See how awful the people against us magical people are?” or somesuch. There’s also the condescending “you’re naive, the world is not a perfect place full of happy unicorns,” and adds a line about how if everyone was treated equally, then everyone would be treated equally badly. Correct me if I’m wrong about that line, because I can hardly believe it myself. When Mibu rightfully replies that there IS discrimination there, and that Tatsuya has felt it himself, Miyuki butts in saying that she loves him anyway, and some others like him, and how she pities her, because she’s so unhappy while being so cute and good at kendo. Naturally, this isn’t enough for Mibu, or any rational person, and she flees, only to have to fight Erika, who uses magic, and sophists Mibu into abandoning her magic ring. Mibu is beaten, while Erika says there-there, I actually had to work harder than usual to defeat you, and I’m really a super-elite swordswoman who has magic, and you don’t, so cheer up!

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It gets worse in the next scene, where we learn that Mibu had been discriminated against once at that school, and only once, apparently, and that was actually her mishearing something that Mari said. In other words, she’s never felt discrimination at all! She was such a fool, sob-sob (in Tatsuya’s arms of course)! All the other moments of weeds vs sprouts or whatever must never have happened. Sorry, I’m too pissed off about this group of elite, highly-trained students telling other students bullshit to keep the status quo for me to write anything more. Next week there might be some magic battling. Maybe things will improve. Maybe Tatsuya will be too busy battling to talk.

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