SAO 10, Dandy and Nozaki-kun 9-10

An endless scene begins.
An endless scene begins.

Sword Art Online 10 starts well but falls into a hole, or cave, halfway through. It’s not that they shouldn’t have put that cave scene in the story; it was necessary to clear the air between them, and to allow Sinon to tell her story and make a decision or two about herself. In fact, it’s a good decision. Rather than revert to that terrified girl who shot a bad guy, she decides to toughen up, even though she doesn’t want to. It’s a hard thing to decide. And though she had to go through several emotional stages to get there, they all felt necessary. But then Kirito had to tell HIS backstory for the umpteenth time, with the flashbacks we’ve all seen before. While Sinon needed to hear it, they could have handled it better. Besides, I thought she already knew … And at the end of the episode they were STILL in that cave, talking. I was looking forward to Death Gun showing up, even it it meant more scenes of a shocked Sinon being unable to pull the trigger, which they overdid anyway.


Space Dandy 9 is one of the better ones. Our heroes visit satellite Grease to win dance contest only to learn that the thing hasn’t been held in 500 years, so they help to revive it. And as luck would have it, a certain native plant or something is ready to reproduce, and there’s a sort of cosmic danceathon ending where everything is reborn, or dies and is reborn, or something. I didn’t quite follow. The show tries to peak on a big funky beat and when it does the episode stops making sense, so to speak. Well, it was great to look at, they had some funky music playing, so who really cares?

Dandy and Scarlet run from Scarlet's ex.
Dandy and Scarlet run from Scarlet’s ex.

And episode 10 is more straightforward, where two characters who dislike each other pretend to date only to kind of fall for each other. At least there’s no locket involved this time. We pretty much know where the episode is headed, we just wait to see if they’ll throw us any curveball. Not really, though I didn’t expect the bittersweet ending. I always liked the idea of a Dandy/Scarlet matchup, and since the show can bend time and space and toss other dimensions at us I thought the least they could do was let the pair hook up and explain it away with physics jargon so they won’t have to be a couple next week. Next week it looks like we’re getting a lover from another dimension, so it’s not that the creators didn’t have that idea at their disposal. Kind of cruel.

Tilting the umbrella toward the girl is supposed to be romantic.
Tilting the umbrella toward the girl is supposed to be romantic.

Also catching up with Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun. Odd that I let it lapse because it’s about the only light comedy series I’m following now, unless you count Free!, and I do look forward to it. Anyway, episode 9 had plenty of Sakura in both halves, so it’s a good episode all around. In the first half they explore the umbrella-sharing romantic bits and poke a few holes into the concept, but it’s pretty straightforward. Better is a visit to Miyako to see how she’s holding up with that terrible editor she has, the type who, when Miyako calls to complain about something, makes her apologize for something completely different. And then there’s all the tanukis. Again, predictable but the actor deliveries and reactions make up for it.

Yuu sings--this episode only!
Yuu sings–this episode only!

Better than episode 10, where, first, Yuzuki and Hirotaka go to a movie and enjoy completely different things. Well, it’s more that Hirotaka enjoys the normal things and Yuzuki enjoys the bad guys and the violence. It’s pretty much what we expected until the end, where Hirotaka agrees to go to an amusement park with Yuzuki in order to spare other potential victims, which make me think that this might be a real, though twisted, relationship budding. Naturally the date was partly Nozaki’s doing, to aid in his research, though the characters he’s based on the non-lovebirds have their genders swapped. At least there are no tanukis. The next part is better. Yuu’s attempts at singing bring out a new art style in the show, one suggesting depression and pain. The finding a warm body to play a role in the school play wasn’t bad because we could see Hori interact with various characters via stage combat. The series is always better when it lets the characters bounce off each other, and when there’s plenty of Sakura.

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