Owarimonogatari 9 (week nine already?) has, of all things, too much talk.
We start with that half-crab half-monkey apparition, dispatched by Araragi and Kanbaru and then again by Shinobu when the snakes come out … Every time a familiar animal appears I try to make the connection to the times a character would be inhabited by it, and fail to find one. Especially the snakes. … Anyway, after that we get a strange moment involving the swingset to show that no one in this series, save Araragi, does anything straightforwardly, and then it’s off to meet Gaen, where Araragi and Kanbaru were intending to go in the first place.
Nothing wrong so far, except the apparition was offed a little too quickly. But when they finally meet Gaen she starts a very long story about the samurai, apparently Shinobu’s first minion from 400 years ago. It boils down to “He killed himself but couldn’t really die and slowly reformed over 400 years and now he’s back,” but Gaen stretches this out for I don’t know how many minutes. We have the usual beautiful illustrations to admire, of course, but still it’s one of the few times when the show famous talking becomes tedious. Maybe a few more interjections by the others would have worked, or more fanservice. I suspect it will continue next week as Gaen will have to explain where the samurai’s been for the last fifteen years. And why Gaen is pretending to be someone else …
Rakudai Kishi no Cavalry 9 took my breath away at one point with a stylistic trick. The video frame had been narrowed on both sides, and during the battle at the end the black part crumbled away, and a second later they switched it up and did the same to the horizontal edges. All to emphasize the power of SC president Toka, a newcomer to the show and obviously the boss of the good guy’s side. Well done! Oh, she’s Shizuka’s first round opponent btw. A shame the rest of the episode wasn’t all that great. Our lovebirds go on a training trip in the mountains where they’re stuck cleaning. Then Ikki and Stella go into the mountains and the latter promptly gets sick, and it’s raining, leading to a way too long undressing scene in a mountain cabin. Well, it did have the purpose of showing Ikki’s more noble side and got some of that sexual tension out of the way. Most mountain cabin scenes in anime can’t say the same.
Gakusen Toshi Asterisk 9 moves on to the Phoenix tournament, and we learn about it through an infodump midway through that they really didn’t have to do. First week is to knock out the wannabees, the second is where the schools score points. There’s also a confusing speech by the tournament boss about letting alternates in, which must have meant the two autonomous robots we see in the middle of it all. They’re run by Ernesta from that rival school, and it’s hard to take her or the robots Aldy and Rimsey terribly seriously because much of their penchant for humor, especially the robots, who start bickering with each other just after introductions, a surprising comic moment considering how formidable they are and the threat they pose. No, the real danger must be that nasty girl they’re getting out of prison to kill Ayato, but after we meet her at the start the show pays no attention. As for Ayato and Julis, they win their first battle with Julis not even bothering to fight.