Fours and fives: Haruchika, Shoujo-tachi, Dagashi

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Haruchika can annoy me a lot, and one reason is know-it-all Haruta.  Happily, episode four introduced us to one of his terrifying older sisters, Minami who knocks him down a few pegs.  Unfortunately, we still have to witness his boy genius act, this time involving a so-called haunted apartment… which leads me to my next beef.  Haruta isn’t one to be frightened off by a ghost story, so why didn’t he just agree to take the apartment from the start?  Well, I guess it would have ruined the christmas miracle timing, but you could shift things about.  Second, who was putting the money in the slot?  The eccentric (I’d say perverse) uncle?  But he died.  I must have missed something, but if I did it’s because I was beyond caring in the first place.

You know, if you google elephant's breath you get a lot of hits.
You know, if you google elephant’s breath you get a lot of hits.

As for #5, Haruta continued to pull clues out of his ass to show that the old man wasn’t in San Francisco or Chicago in 1966, but had gone off to fight in Vietnam.  Well, maybe not out of his ass, but it’s rather like the other episodes–the clues and evidence are tenuous and could be seen in other ways.  I’m more interested in why the old man went to Vietnam in the first place.  Was he actually conscripted?  Did he volunteer?  I can’t see the former happening to a Japanese citizen (correct me if I’m wrong) no matter what kind of visa he had, and if the latter–Why?  That’s a far more interesting question to me than the silly talk about colors.

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Shoujo-tachi wa Kouya wo Mezasu 4 flings a couple uninteresting minor crises at us.  Bunta can’t get any words out, get some inspiration by making the story less weird, writes a script that’s “pretty good,” (words of doom to him), gets another block, talks to a successful game writer who Kuroda just happens to know, who tells him to stick his butt in a chair and sweat it out–rule #1 for writing, and that’s that.  The other one, Yuuki-chan overworking herself, is less interesting.  I was more worried about the game’s schedule than her, sorry Yuki.  But it’s all good after she collapses.  And so the production moves on in a rather dull way, which is how it is in reality, I expect.

A scene that has nothing to do with anything.
A scene that has nothing to do with anything.

#5 squanders one of the better sources of conflict, Andou vs. Kuroda.  Andou started making unauthorized changes to Bunta’s script and Yuuki’s art, she gets called out on it, has a brief confrontation with Kuroda, and walks out.  Naturally Bunta “reels” her back in after a bewildering sequence on her fishing boat which had nothing to do with anything.  Why did they make it so dramatic?  Was it to show how it affected Andou as a child?  Nah.  Was it to fill time with a silly adventure of the raging sea?  Yeah.  They talk a bit about it afterwards but we saw nothing that suggested a change of heart from her.  I guess, like most shows, they have to introduce each character using a crisis.  The loud girl will be next, after next week’s beach episode, another staple.
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Dagashi Kashi 4’s first half, in which we learn all about the joys of funashi (yet another treat I’ve probably seen in stores here hundreds of times and never thought to buy), including a blindfold test with some erotic overtones.  Once again, the show manages to entertain me with only one situation thanks to the voice actors’ talents and the education I’m getting, that and the erotic overtones.  The second half is less successful, but goofier.  Kokonatsu and Hotaru are so involved in this concept of # meters per Glico Caramel that when they run out it turns to a heroic death scene.  Unfortunately that bit was dull.  They should have dumped it and come up with another box.  Gonna look for those caramels tomorrow.

Hotaru's gambling addiction gets worse.
Hotaru’s gambling addiction gets worse.

And episode 5 brings us some unpleasant vices, the first being bottle ramune powder.  Hotaru and You have been sneaking it instead of selling it.  And like in every episode, we learn all the strange ways you can consume the stuff.  As for me, I never liked the powdered candy when I was a boy …  The best part were Hotaru’s declarations of an addict in denial: “It’s perfectly safe.  It’s not addictive at all!”  We also witness gambling and quick-cash schemes thanks to Yatta Men and Sour Grapes candy.  Trying to remember if we’ve had gambling in the show before.  We’ve had lots of challenges and contests …  Mixed in the middle is a predictable Youtube video story where we learn about Baby Star Ramen, rescued by Kokonatsu’s passion.

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