Kumamiko 4 has moments that struck me as being very funny and other bits that have me scratching my head. For the former, we started with a scene that went on forever, a procession to bless the rice crop, I guess, where the geezers pulling the cart argued over which of Machi’s shrine outfits was the cutest. That business was tiresome, but I giggled when the discussion naturally went to “whoa” when it began to rain. Little bits like that in an aimless show keeps me watching. On the other hand, I scratched my head over Yoshio’s unexplained decision after trying talk Machi to do more public events. The second half had the overly scary Hibiki, relative of Yoshi’s, bully poor Machi. Not sure why she was so mean to an obviously frightened girl, but things improved when they visited a Shimamura and I learned more than I wanted to know about their clothing and business model, but again I had to ask myself how Machi knows all this stuff? Rural Japan is full of unexplained mysteries!
The big thing I can’t figure out in episode 5 is the same as what Machi thinks: who could possibly have a crush on Yoshino? As for that scene, it left me a little cold. Not only for the fact above, but the whole reading between the lines concept. Natsu says it’s a Japanese thing, and indeed it is a strong concept here. But in this case reading between the lines means little more than noticing that Hibiki is a tsundere. I suppose there’s no conflict, but it’s an odd coupling of traditional and modern. On the other hand, the “scare the naughty kid” scene was excellent, and I’m glad to see that Machi and Hibiki have hit it off.
Bakuon!! 4 has the girls off on a trip to Hokkaido. Along the way, they miss a ferry (well, Raimu doesn’t), drive all night to catch another doing a cannonball run, Hane discovers that motorbikes are in the bible and then receives the Holy Grail. The show works pretty well now that it’s paying less attention to the story and works as many weird gags in as it can. They’ve even turned the near-tragic event of Rin’s dad getting into accidents and turned it into a running gag. And it has the line of the week so far: “Rin-chan, I’m sure that somewhere out there there’s a man with a Suzuki logo on his butt.”
Episode 5 concludes the trip. What I find most bothersome is that recently they’ve been amping up the fanservice. The hot spring scene last episode was okay maybe because a lot of shows have onsen scenes. The drunken sensei scene this episode was pushing it, but the bike washing scene at the end went too far. A shame, because when they didn’t get the girls to show as much skin as possible it was entertaining. I’m not sure what the Suzuki cup, the holy grail from last episode, had to do with Rin’s fox incident, but I’m glad it wasn’t broken. And, though it pushed it, the drunken-sensei scene started well, with good commentary about men and the size of their bikes.