The last of the finales: KimiSen, Usagi Bloom

That doesn’t look good …

I really didn’t want to watch KimiSen 11; it would be a long-talk episode where I would get more confused on who’s on whose side, and what Alice would think about Sisbell hanging out with Iska, especially if she saw that brooch. And as I expected, there’s a lot of talk and intrigue, but at least for the finale it boils down to one thing: Sisbel is being targeted by the Zoa faction who wants her for treason, for not-good motives of their own, and she’s being targeted by the Empire for being a pure-blood princess and alone in a neutral city. So at the end, after, actually, a good discussion with Iska (someone is targeting the queen to bring about mayhem, she needs someone to trust, and they establish their positions) Mask-guy comes to arrest her AND a giant robot comes to kidnap her. Okay, that’s the sort of thing I was hoping for the finale.

And, yes, episode 12 does bring us the big finale with multiple confrontations and things blowing up. In terms of the battle it was pretty good, with the sudden, heroic appearances of both Iska’s team and, of course, Alice, right when Iska and Sisbell needed them. I particularly liked Jhin against Mask-Guy. Jhin has always been a good back character, calm and no-nonsense, but we’ve never seen him actually fight before. Nice to see that he can hold his own against MG. But of course Alice’s arrival right when the empire super-bot was about to steal Sisbell away in spite of Iska’s best efforts was the highlight. And again the enemies team up like they’ve been fighting together for years.

Mismis gets serious without realizing it.

So while it was a satisfying battle, it was what was revealed during the battle that made it interesting. There’s the giant bot using astral magic for one thing–it seems the Empire has been dabbling in the enemies’ magic. And there’s Mismis’s mark, which started up at the right time during the Jhin/MG fight. MG says she drew power from the vortex after she got kicked in there (by him), but what will it mean when she returns to her duties in the Empire? There’s a lot of magical stuff each side uses which may, I think, be the same stuff overall. If that wasn’t enough, during the credits the show drops plot-things by the bushel. Elletear is an impostor, Salinger broke loose and is chatting with the Emperor, MG is grooming Kissing to be the next queen, and finally Sisbell more or less confessing to Iska, while Alice is standing right beside him. That’s going to be the cute story among the intrigue and fighting. Watch it unfold in season 2! … if or when it airs.

Well, both, actually, and other things as well.

I may watch it. I found the intrigue a little confusing at times, but that’s because I’m unfamiliar with the whole story. I wound up keeping two pages of notes while Tonikaku Kawaii took only half of one. So many people to keep track of. On the other hand, the show did its best to keep things as clear as possible. I liked our cute enemy couple Iska and Alice, getting embarrassed and acting tsundere when they weren’t battling each other or alongside, and the contrast between them, Alice is royalty, Iska is a soldier. The side characters, those close to the couple, did their jobs. I would have liked to see them more involved at times. Most of the time they were watching the heroes wishing they could help, or evacuating people, or, like Sisbell, wandering into danger. If we do get a season 2 I expect we’ll learn more. I’ve grown more fickle in my watching the last couple years, but I watched KimiSen to the end, so in spite of its faults, it kept my interest. Not a great show, but a good one.

One more of the other guys, who didn’t get the attention they deserved this season.

Skipped an episode of Gochuumon wa usagi Desu ka?, so had to go back and watch it because episode 11 is practically a part II episode, what with Christmas and all, naturally in this show cute and sentimental, undercut with sly barbs:

The Spirit of Christmas.

Basically the Rabbit Cafe gets popular and Chino is swamped with customers, but luckily Chiya and Syaro step in (what about their own cafes?), then Megu and Maya. And everyone opens their secret santa gifts … based on the presents it’s a good thing I went back to watch episode 10. And while the sentimentality keeps the gags down, come on, it’s Christmas in a cute girl show, what did you expect?

Chino found the ring in the pie, you see …

So we get to the finale, which is, surprisingly, not as sentimental as I thought it would be. Partly it’s the show’s knack to go for the gag if things get TOO mushy. Little moments, like Rize announcing she passed her college entrance exam, are simply touched upon, brief celebration (pelting her with snowballs), and moving on to the next thing. The episode’s theme is maybe moving on, or being both curious and afraid to experience new things and places, since this is Chino’s main concern this week. The last bit, between Chino and Cocoa, is Chino thanking Cocoa for helping her do just that, and it’s a “thank you” and a fade. And the episode didn’t really start sentimentally at all, even with the reveal that Chino and Cocoa’s moms went to school together, with Cocoa’s big sis Mocha trying to brew coffee and her mom’s spit-take. … Oh yeah, what was that about the two dads and the performance they were planning? It never happened.

Apart from that it was all good. What turned this show from a merely passable CGDCT thing at the start to a truly great one is partly the cute, but mainly the precise balance between the sentimental and the goofy. The latter could come from Rize’s special ops background, a dry rebuke from Chino (she’s a master of that), Syaro’s brilliant freaking out, or simply a pratfall with a good sound effect, like that spit-take sound this episode. All that helped the softer moments feel sincere and not overdone. Well done everyone. So, is there enough material for another season, and the girls will be getting older … I hope so.

One more of Tippy, with his two best friends.

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