Sixes: Nisekoi (actually 5), Show by Rock, Mikagura, Euphonium

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While it’s been clear for a long time that Nisekoi is going to play its ridiculous story out as long as humanly possible, and possibly not resolve at all, it doesn’t mean that it can get away with too many meaningless side stories like we get in episode 6.  Or maybe I’m annoyed because both feature Marika, my least favorite of the harem.  In part one we learn that she has terrible grades, not because she’s not bright, but because she’s unmotivated.  So she invites Raku home to help her pull a math test all-nighter.  Fortunately for Raku, Chitoge’s there too.  And the expected stuff happens.  In part two Raku takes care of Marika’s parrot, whom she has named Raku, and knows all sort of embarrassing (for Raku) phrases.  Naturally it gets loose and flies around the town.  Naturally all the other girls are around to hear it.  C’mon people, I know the plot is never-ending, but the show loses its edge when you don’t actually pursue it.

At least Show by Rock! has an active story arc going on, with an actual crisis to resolve first thing!  Let’s see how … er …

Not the scene I expected ...
Not the scene I expected …

It looks like this show has chucked everything away in order to get the girls in swimsuits, but we quickly flash back to where we were before, with Cyan’s secret revealed to everyone.  I’m still wondering why it was a secret in the first place, but anyway.  Before we can get anymore misunderstandings the guitar gives the girls the full story, including stuff we didn’t know about the bad guy, Dagger Morse, and his evil plan.  Mr. Berry (which is a good name for a guitar) goes on to clear Cyan of all blame, in other words, refusing any misunderstandings that still may exist, and I’d like to thank him for that.  The show was getting a little dark around the edges.

See?  I am TOO an alien!  See?  SPACESHIP!
See? I am TOO an alien! See? SPACESHIP!

But they still have to deal with Retoree’s sense of betrayal.  Fortunately that’s done with one heartfelt speech and a song Cyan sings alone that everyone overhears and start adding to, etc.  You know the kind of scene I’m talking about.  But it gets better after that, because don’t forget the show’s ridiculously clumsy arrangement of Moa, another girl from another world who must return, making two of four in the group.  Even the other band members think its too much and refuse to believe her until she calls down her spaceship.  At least the show knows how to enjoy it’s ridiculous, contrived situation.

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One thing about Mikagura Gakuen Kumikyoku that I like is that it deals with things you often find in high school shows in a haphazard way, and things don’t wind up the way you expect.  Also, it deals with side character issues in a quick and perfunctory way.  In episode 6 the focus starts on grumpy, arty third-year Kyouma, who’s feeling the burden of great potential, but after a depressing intro scene and some backstory from Shigure, we shift back to Eruna and her first-years battle.  I thought for sure she’d battle Azumi, the evil band girl, but that threat is dispatched by Tonkyun.  Later, Tonkyun is dispatched by Eruna, and before you can breathe, we learn offhandedly that Eruna was dispatched by the broadcast club girl, a match we didn’t even get to see.  Hell of a way to build up tension, not that the show (or Eruna, who has the attention span of a gnat) cares too much.  Meanwhile, Kyouma watches all this, cheers up and gets his art groove back.  So that’s sorted.

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After the evil (not really) Taki announces that they’ll be holding auditions instead of letting everyone play, Hibike! Euphonium decides to ignore the internal strife that naturally ensue and focuses instead on Katou, a beginner musician, playing a tuba that’s almost as big as she is.  She’s almost already written herself out of the band’s final ensemble, but Kumiko and the others convince her that she should at least try.  There follows some amusing scenes where she learns to take a tuba apart, takes it home to practice without dying, while others try to keep her motivation up in silly ways.  The “answer” is a little pat, but true enough.  I’ve heard tuba players practice, hooting out those notes, and wonder what the point was (I’ve thought the same about euphs, but don’t tell Kumiko).  Playing in an ensemble IS more fun than playing alone.  As usual, Kyoani makes the episode fun to watch, and I enjoyed the joyless, self-abusive reasons the other tuba players give for playing.

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