Kuma Kuma Kuma Bear 3 continues in its cheerful way, Yuna killing so many beasts that Fina can’t harvest them all, and budding adventurers face a shortage of things to kill to level up. So she reluctantly joins Deborane’s group, since she beat him up last episode, and she and Lurina take down a goblin horde. As usual everything comes easy for her, well, the goblin boss was a bit harder to take down than the others. She summons the two assistant bears we saw in the first episode, the white one kind of sulky because she didn’t choose her to ride on, okay, that was slightly difficult for Yuna too. Oh, plus she has been given the name “Bloody Bear,” which she naturally doesn’t like at all. Then she builds a house complete with a harvesting room for Fina, and it occurs to me that the delicate ecological damage Yuna was doing would continue unabated. In fact, she (or one of her assistant bears) take down a whole lot of animals. So the show seems to be forgetting the things it suggested early in the episode. But what the hell, it’s all cute and happy.
To begin with KimiSen 3 has both realms coming down hard on our couple. Iska is told to capture the Ice Calamity Witch if he wants full status back, and the ICW, er, Alice’s mom reminds her of all the atrocities the Empire did to astral mages. Yet off the two go again, on a crazy hunch that they will meet the other if they return to Ein, which is exactly what happens. I really wonder if there’s some supernatural bond between them that is going to appear and overcome the enmity … What I liked about this episode, at least the first thing, is that Iska and Alice talk peace negotiations with witnesses, Rin and the bumbling captain Mismis. It’s because they have no choice but they do it anyway. Also, I wonder if maybe the Empire is really at fault if they persecuted all those poor witches. Then an intruder shows up.
I thought they were going to use Nebulis as a plot pawn later in the series, but here she is now, and she’s pissed off. It also balances the story; Nebulis was terrible to people from the empire, so they’re even, bleh! The other thing I liked in the episode is that both Iska and Alice get pissed off too, and they work as a team to take Nebulis down. After that they talk about being enemies again, but with a major player out of the game (I assume), the peace they’re looking for might be closer than they think. I just wonder how they’re going to explain it to their superiors …
Once again Akudama Drive is dull when the people just talk, and gets fun when there’s action. No fighting this week, but a tense, maybe overdrawn scene when the team splits up to hit two different buttons at the same time. It’s a bit ridiculous that no one in the station seems to notice anything is wrong, but I guess you can write it off as Hacker’s superhuman skills. And when Swindler isn’t just reacting and saying “sumimasen” to the others, she actually has things to do, like sneak in. Her anxieties are too exposed, but she’s showing good instincts when in danger and she’s sweating. Some of it was overdone, I mean, why that citywide blackout all of a sudden? I think they did it because they wanted the effect, but it was misleading. One more good thing about the action scenes is that the BGM gets pretty good. I look forward to what they’ll do when there’s a sustained action scene, which there will probably be next week.
Gochuumon wa Usagi Desu ka? Bloom 3 doesn’t have the laugh-out-loud moments that episode 2 did, apart from the overheard conversation about the posh girls school having a blow dart club. The episode is about Chino and her friends trying to figure out which high school to attend, so they take a tour of the posh girls school with the blow dart club, which Rize and Syaro attend. One thing leads to another and soon Chino, Megu, and Maya are walking around the school in the school’s uniforms, doing polite greetings and attending a few clubs (not the blow dart one) while they try to find each other. In the end they all think that maybe this intimidating posh school isn’t so bad after all. Mainly because this school is like the rest of the show–a veneer of hospitality with hints of lunacy underneath. But what will Cocoa think if Chino doesn’t go to the same school as she does?
Ochigobare Fruit Tart 3 has the girls doing their first show, with a lot of dithering before. I always get worried in episodes where the characters have to perform or do any nervous public thing, so all the lead-up made the episode drag. It doesn’t help that again the episode’s energy was high but the jokes didn’t really hit the mark. The whole thing, up to the performance, dragged for me. There were expected scenes of nervousness and overcoming them, costume issues, all of that. What I didn’t expect (who would?) that the idol group everyone actually came to see had a member who’s Roko’s little (in age) sister, so the big stars are all very nice to the newbies. The sibling rivalry stuff was nice, too. Newcomer Hemo’s adoration of Ino, while it helped settle her jitters, didn’t really add much, but I guess since she’s going to be a new member we’ll see some more sides to her. Oh, the performance was a success.
Now two episodes behind everything, so a couple of doubles coming up. Assault Lily Bouquet 4 has very little action, just Riri trying to recruit classmates to form a legion, like in an average high school they’d be recruiting for a club or team. There are so many girls now (I count roughly 19), each with their own relationships to others, that it’s hard to keep track of who’s what. The most important new recruit is the unconfident Yuuja, wearing a Chinese style outfit though she’s from Iceland, who will or won’t join the legion if Shenlin doesn’t want her to. Some Shenlin mind games force Yuuja into a test, which she naturally aces (Shenlin looked pretty cool too, holding off those bullets), and there’s a lot of arigatou’s after that which repeat a little too often. Shenlin’s a little devious. Unlike Yuuja who is extraordinarly talented but unconfident, Shenlin had to work for all her success, but she seems supportive. I wonder if anything else is on her mind.
Episode 5 is even less eventful. I figured it would be from the preview where Yuyu looks for a present for Riri. “What is the perfect gift?” etc. That the question comes to a person with weak people skills makes the thought of the episode even less compelling. But it turns out right. Yuyu travels all the way to Riri’s home town (largely deserted because of huge, and overgrown very prettily) to buy Ramune, of all things, only to give the precious bottles away to thirsty children on her trip home. Nice to see Yuyu’s kind, sweet side from time to time. The ending is anticlimactic, but overall it worked as well as one of these episodes can. And they finally got all the members they need for their legion, since the show has been working on the Thi Mai/Tazusa angle as an occasional diversion. Tazusa’s gruff exterior and love of cats is growing on me. And, next week, finally we’ll get some action, or so the previews suggest. Good. The show has been dithering around with the girls personalities for too long.
Since I’m too busy to watch everything on my plate right now I was hoping for a show to slip up, or become too routine, maybe Majo no Tabitabi, but episode 4 gave us a single story that was a hell of a lot of fun to watch. After a preamble that almost gives the story away, we watch Elaina visit a city only to find it in ruins apart from the palace, where she finds Mirarose, supposedly a princess, but she’s lost her memories. Outside, at night, a monster ravages the city except the palace, and it’s Mirarose’s job to kill it. Why? Why does she have amnesia? What the hell is going on here anyway?
While the preamble does give us the predictable answers to these questions, Mirarose’s awakening memories and subsequent cold fury keep it interesting. The fight between her and the monster, though one-sided once she gets the thing in the pit, is spectacular to watch. I don’t recall seeing a show using magic wands that had so much intensity. The sound effects alone, warping wind, ice and metal, explosions and monster roars, intensified by Mirarose’s relentless, repeating attacks, would have been effective on its own, in fact, the music cuts out for most of the battle because it’s not needed. The visuals, and the reason for Mirarose’s anger made it almost overwhelming. A bit of a shame that this is simply a revenge story, and Mirarose’s turn to insanity at the end seemed beneath the level of what came before. But now I don’t have an excuse to drop this show, well, until I see what they do next time.
Episode 5, not nearly as intense, has Elaina reunited for a day with Fran, her old teacher who now teaches at a magic university. Fran being the eccentric she is, she has her students chase Elaina down, but they don’t stand a chance against her. I found that interesting because it shows the difference in skills between Elaina the prodigy and the older, more average mages in training. After watching Mirarose last time I thought Elaina’s skills might be just average, not that they competed, but no, she’s the real thing. That chase was the highlight of the episode, though. The rest of it was just Elaina and Fran catching up and the latter giving her more advice, oh, and Elaina, call your mom. It almost felt like a final episode, especially the goodbye business–I had maybe expected to see Fran at the end of Elaina’s travels, though the published “Fran the Witch” book bit (amusing) told us otherwise.