Once again, Island takes a complex story arc and polishes it off in one episode. In episode 5 we focus on Sara, the cute little shrine maiden with great hair, as she has Setsuna do a few weird things. First, catch a dangerous sea snake (the venom might help cure Soot Blight Syndrome), then a dangerous massage, then make him ride her all around the island to give the old folks massages, er, that aren’t dangerous. Setsuna does it all with his usual good nature, and then the really weird truth comes out. She has to go back in time and conceive herself, with Setsuna as the father, and yes, Heinlein is mentioned. That way she can also prevent the terrible fire that killed her mother, I mean, her, and become a child of god again. If you think that’s weird, the true story of her famous family (which is conveniently in a book Rinne finds) is even weirder, and especially nasty. But there’s a happy ending, well, apart from the shrine burning down. For all the events it’s actually a nice, compact little episode, but they’re running out of people for Setsuna to help.
Harukana Receive 4 has very little to do with the current story arc, which is about the junior tournament everyone’s training for. The episode is mostly about how Haruka can get Kanata to trust her more on the court (is “court” the right word for beach volleyball?), and it’s not one that is solved through any dramatic conflict, it’s little gives and takes, like choosing matching swimsuits. Haruka wants this one set, but they’re snapped up by another volleyball team, Ai and Mai, a convenient way to introduce more characters, so they go with the set that Kanata wants. Emily steps in, at the request of Narumi, encourages Kanata that it’s okay if she partners with someone else. Meantime, Haruka is doing secret training so Kanata will entrust more of the floor (sand?) to her. Apart from the expected “geez, I wish you had told me?” lines, everything is accomplished, and the two are now calling each other by their given names. How it’s going to work when they actually play together is anyone’s guess.
Episode 5 brings us the first round of the tournament … well, naturally they are going to drag it out so we don’t get to see who wins the match with Ai/Mai. This is thanks to some flashbacks of Ai convincing Mai to try volleyball (indoor), because it’s a game where short people can defeat tall people, or so Ai says, whereupon they lose a match because, Mai thinks, she isn’t tall enough. Ai is determined to make it up to Mai, and Mai becomes an unlikable competitive trash-talker. Unused to beach volleyball they make a few mistakes, but by the episode’s end they seem to have their groove, and Kanata is so devoted to the pokey that Ai/Mai are now picking it up easily, and Haruka hasn’t gotten her block timing down yet. I wonder if Kanata’s strategy is to let Haruka find her groove, or she’s just pointing her obvious pokeys up because she doesn’t know what else to do. Meanwhile, Eclair win their match easily and then turn to adding sideline comments to Harukana’s. Because it’s only the second set, expect another episode just like this one next week, full of flashbacks and “We’ll definitely win!” comments. I’ll be looking forward to Eclair’s commentary.
It’s never a dull moment in Hataraku Saibou, just one disaster after another for this hapless human. Last week it was two types of flu, and this week it’s food poisoning probably from bad sushi. But it gives us a chance to meet another new cell, the Eosinophil, sort of like last week, she’s seen as weak against invading germs, though brave, and other cells make snide comments, but then another threat arrives, a parasite, something that even our regular white blood cell can’t handle, and she gets to show what she’s really made of. The visualization of the first germ, the enteritis vibrio, was kind of lame, though white blood cell killing it from the inside was fun. The parasite, Parasitic Anisakis, was pretty cool–a giant monster dolphin. The format is all getting kind of predictable, a new threat, a new cell to combat it, red cell going “What’s that?” and the white cell explaining, a bloody battle and some heroics. Next week it’s cedar allergies. Boy, this poor body can’t catch a break.
At least episode 5 deals with something mundane, well, pollen allergies are a yearly annoyance, but usually not life-threatening. But inside this body it wreaks more destruction than the other pathogens and viruses combined, to the point of legends of the apocalypse. The fun is that it’s two different body functions (B-cells and mast cells) who are trying to help and making things worse (“the B stands for baka!”). Their fight, coming right when things are at their bleakest, teardrop floods, mucus flooding, multiple sneezing launches, etc) was probably the funniest moment of the series so far. Also, I had wondered when and how the show would introduce a drug, and I figured it would be something robotic, and I was right! What do I get?
Meanwhile, in Planet With 4, even as we get new revelations, gets more confusing. We see what the sealing power can do to a human, as Nezuya appears, not weird, and with the fire out in his eyes. Then a sweet scene between Nozomi and Souya where he tells her a lot that he didn’t need to, and she thanks him for defending the town, which he did, and he’s taken by surprise by this fact. This might become important later when he squares off with Takezou and tells him that, essentially, he chooses whom he fights, i.e,, he’s amoral. The idea that he actually does care for some people and will defend them, like Nozomi, hasn’t struck him yet. Meanwhile, Takashi is set to battle the dog faction of Nebula after his nice secretary turns heel on him. In other words, two cliffhangers. So we got both Nebula factions in battle, and Souya and Takezou, who are Nebula and whoever the good guys represent. I don’t think they even know. Why Takezou is going against Souya when they have the same goals is beyond me, but in this show a lot of things are.