Non Non Biyori 9 is mainly about Natsumi, so there’s a lot of lying and stupid behavior in play. This show is weakest when it shows antics like this, Natsumi trying to cover up the fact that she and Hikage ate all the moon-viewing dumplings, or in another episode, Hotarou trying to hide all of her Komari dolls. But even though you knew Natsumi would break her mom’s watch from the moment they brought it up, it didn’t really turn out so badly. At one point she even tries to apologize, and when that fails, she is put to work, which she earnestly does. The fishing scene had her dive into the pond for a fish, and it’s followed by the other girls trying to make this tomgirl look cute. I guess we saw a lot of sides of Natsumi this week, except the bright and kind sides we saw a few episodes back. However, all these skits meant the moon-viewing scene didn’t last as long as I wanted it.
Rampo Kitan, Game of Laplace 9 shows us most of the show’s strengths and one of its flaws.
We have Akechi, with Kobayashi’s help, trying to refine Namikoshi’s social behavior program to put an end to Twenty Faces. It’s mainly talk about what the program should be able to do, interspersed with Hashiba’s worries about Kobayashi getting too involved and neglecting his studies, and well he might, since we get a moment where K sees H as a silhouette figure for a moment, one of the people he just doesn’t see because they’re not relevant to his current passion. Kobayashi’s rebuttal, that trying to help people and put an end to a social disease is more worthwhile than passing his makeup exams, is a good one, sort of examining the priorities between the two kids. Also interesting that Kobayashi finds the program’s flaw: Akechi failed to include himself and his actions in the formulas. There’s talk about how this is a natural mistake for Akechi to make, that he doesn’t consider his presence to be a factor, though Twenty Faces fans have been tweeting about him for a while.
Then the show decides to get a little crazy on us. They perfect the program, predict the identity of the next vigilante and the victim. And there’s a showdown between Akechi, the cops, and … well, I won’t spoil it, apart from saying it’s not only completely unexpected, but kind of nutty as well. But turns out that’s a red herring, and there’s another Twenty Faces … again, I won’t give it away. It’s supposed to be a shocking moment, but again the show’s sense of style, distancing itself from the action and the character’s emotions, means it doesn’t have the effect it should. Oh, it’s a great plot twist, but I can’t really find myself caring too much. Sure, a little, but not in an emotional way. Anyway, I predict that Kobayashi, the outside thinker, who is probably NOT in Twenty Faces’ mind, will play an important role from here on out. Too bad he’ll probably miss his exams, though.
Sore ga Seiyuu! 9 features the young and serious manager Konno as she does what Futaba and the others have been doing–working hard, making mistakes, getting scolded, and improving. The events are mostly flashbacks, particularly Futaba losing a role to Rin, but seen from her side. She’s inexperienced enough to not know how to handle Futaba’s setback and later tries to make up for it by getting her hopes up about a bad audition. In the end, all she can do is give the girls the opportunity to work and get better, and, this being a mainly happy show, succeeding in the end. And while the girls sometimes have it rough in the studio this episode, Konno’s POV means we don’t have to see much of it, thank goodness. The guest cameo, btw is longtime vet Noriko Hidaka, most notable (to me) for singing the Baka Song.
Finally, in Teekyuu! 57, the girls try to bake potatoes, multiple times. I think the SPG ration was 3.33, but I suspect some of the jokes were obscure Japanese potato-roasting references not known to the average foreigner like me.