it struck me just now, while I was reluctantly settling down to write about episodes 2-3 of Owarimonogatari that, apart from possibly Ougi herself, nothing supernatural has happened in the new series yet (EDIT: Okay, I forgot about them being sealed in a classroom), not even a hint, again, save for Ougi, and apart from her scary intuition about things that she refuses to tell anyone, her weapons are those favorites of the franchise: words. For a moment I thought maybe that had something to do with the intensity I’ve felt this new series. Or maybe it’s because we’ve all our time so far in what almost seems like an analyst couch for Araragi.
Well, not all the time. Most every scene in both episodes are memorable, but perhaps the highlight, though it’s practically an aside in the story, was meeting Sodachi and getting a load of her bitterness toward the world and Araragi in particular. Marina Inoue, along with the grim music and Shaft visual tricks, do a splendid job of raising the intensity until Senjougahara interrupts them. Naturally her nasty thoughts are couched in some nice metaphors. Water that thinks it boiled itself, i.e., people who are unaware of the things that helped them in life, i.e., Araragi. This obviously strikes home for Araragi, but perhaps not as sharply as the mechanical pencil in his hand. Leading to, heh, well, you’ve probably seen it already, but let’s just say that it leads to one of Senjougahara’s best lines, and the verbal-physical fight that follows shows that Senjougahara is still the champion.
What the episodes do after that is have Araragi consider what Sodachi had said, that he’s unaware that he is not responsible for his good fortune, and that his ignorance makes him, in Ougi’s words, “rootless.” And then we get to the flashback even farther than the one we’re in, his days as a cute middleschooler boy who is led to an “abandoned” house by the mysterious girl, a consideration of the “Monty Hall Problem” (damn, this show makes me want to study math), and the question the two episodes started with: why does Sodachi hate Araragi like he had killed her parents? … I think the phrasing is important there, by the way. That question is interesting, Araragi’s dealing with it is interesting, Sodachi’s bitterness as a whole is interesting, and Ougi can be downright scary. This series is off to an excellent start.
On to lesser shows. Rakudai Kishi no Cavalry is turning somewhat into a mess. Episode 2 brings us Shizuku, Ikki’s overly-close sister, who takes on the sister role in the harem and comes on to Ikki at her first opportunity. Oh, there’s also that blonde girl, but she’s more comedy relief at the moment. Then there’s Nagi, or Alice, a boy with the heart of a maiden, who seems like a decent sort. I found it interesting that not only is she rooming with Shizuku but that the girl opens up to him very quickly. The opening up, by the way, is about Ikki of course. There’s also a lot of talk about strength and kindness from just about everyone, but not much happens with the story in this episode, apart from the details about the intramural tournament to choose reps for the big rumble with the other schools.
In episode 3 things get considerably darker. For no reason whatsoever except to show off the various characters’ abilities and have them bond a bit, the show tosses in a hostage situation at the local mall, where they just happen to be. I’m reminded of Raildex’s tendency to bring in thugs just to liven a scene up. And we also get to meet another new character, a smirking bishie named Kirihara who trash-talks at Ikki. Guess who Ikki’s fighting in the first round? As for the similarities to Asterisk this time: harem additions, talk about protecting loved ones, heroes jumping from high places … probably some others I can’t remember.
Sorry, I watched Comet Lucifer 2-3 but I have almost nothing to say about it. Nice action scene at the end of #3, though I hated the villain, and it bugs me that Gus is going to recruit him for his team because we’ll have to see more of him. Moura bugs me even more, and every time he’s onscreen I want to fast-forward. The same goes when we see a pot of curry on the stove; you know it’s going to be on the ground before the scene is over. Find a new schtick. Felia was cute for her first five minutes of consciousness, but she got annoying fast. On the other hand, I like how Roman, under the circumstances, decides to put off the wedding until the crisis is resolved. I tend to like rivals who are bright enough to put aside their differences when a bigger problem shows up and fight alongside the heroes.
Finally, back to Teekyuu!, THE GREATEST ANIME SERIES EVER, and episode 61 felt more intense than usual, and at the same time, more scattershot. Still, it ties the record with an SPG of 2.72. It would have had more except Kanae had a jokeless speech that lasted all of five seconds.
And #62 sets the new record of SPG 2.64! Maybe my criteria for what makes a joke has softened up. Either way, these two episodes felt more exhausting in two minutes than many shows do in their 24.