Ping Pong and Nanana 6, Mahouka 7

Ping Pong 6 has all the characters who were in freefall landing, somewhat hard, and dusting themselve off. Oh, and it’s a Christmas episode, too.

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I absolutely loved the Christmas scene. It’s not the first one I can think of where you get shots of characters doing their thing while a pop song plays, but it’s still an excellent way of showing how each character is doing. And I think the happiest one must be Kong, who’s mother visits and, together with a bunch of friends, prepare a feast. In the meantime, he seems to have accepted what happened and is taking his role of team ringer seriously. Other characters work on down from there. Kazama and the girl’s relationship … well, they act happy, but I’m wondering how they really feel. At the low end we have Smile, in a dark house with no one else to celebrate the day with, blowing out the candles.

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As for Peco, he hits his own low at about that point. The scene with Sakuma, who’s predictable speech is mocked by passers-by (the show is good at poking holes at whatever sports cliche it decides to use) gets genuinely frightening when he jumps into the river, and I actually thought he was going to die and began to wonder what direction the show would take after that, but this scene too is deflated and mocked. But I was surprised that Peco even jumped off the bridge in the first place. He might have been reacting to Sakuma’s declarations that he had been a hero. “Hero” was the key word this week, and we see both honest and cynical takes on the subject from various characters. Anyway, now that he’s hit bottom, how far will he come back up.

It's fun watching Tensai play detective, not because she's good at it but because she has fun while doing it.
It’s fun watching Tensai play detective, not because she’s good at it but because she has fun while doing it.

Nanana’s Buried Treasure, the other noitaminA show, flounders around trying to get a grip on something. They actually get to that hot spring this episode, and Juugo has managed to scrounge up the money somehow. We learn how at the end of the episode, and by that time I was past caring why. By the onsen there’s an abandoned house, but they only need to look in one room, and some people go on ahead, so that the big challenge is the puzzle of stone pillars, and like last time they don’t do a very good job of involving us in the puzzle such as it is. Juugo and that other guy just leap and leap. Then the treasure is stolen, recovered, and the culprit exposed, and it’s the same old people. And then the real anticlimax. I figure this is a standalone filler episode, or at least I hope it is. Because most of the treasure hunting so far has been a bore.

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Mahouka 7 gets off to a promising start when Tatsuya and his band of avengers crash through a gate to get at the bad guys who are hanging out in an abandoned big building, then fizzles as they easily defeat them. There are some light shows to enjoy, but it’s mainly Hayama, the leader of Blanche, giggling evilly and trying to do a Geass on Tatsuya, who, as usual, sees right through it. Even Erika and the rest of them, told to hang back, get bored by all this. Afterwards there are a few scenes where everyone talks about how great Tatsuya is. When Mibu falls in love with Kirihara and not Tatsuya it’s because she knows he is too great for her. And so the first story arc of the series FINALLY comes to an end. It was a distasteful bore. The two villains we meet at the very end don’t appear to be much better, but it’s a change.

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