Twos and threes: Horimiya, Mushoku, Biyori2, Slime, Wonder Egg

Drama!

The thing about Horimiya, well, two episodes in, is that it covers the romcom tropes, what to get Hori for her birthday, the misunderstanding over the missing SC files (and Sengoku the prez being a bit of a jerk), and the whole thing with Miyamura’s first name (Izumi), oh, and Miya’s mom, but then they’re all cleared up with no repercussions or lead-ins to the larger story, if there is one. They’re all just incidents in your average high school life. Nothing wrong with that. In fact, it’s kind of refreshing not to get serious “drama” in every scene. The closest they got was the missing files and the hallway confrontation. I thought for sure something would come out of that, it was all so serious, but a Miyamura head-butt and the returned file took care of everything, on to the next bit. The only big arc is of course the relationship, and our yet-to-be lovebirds wondering how long this happy thing can last, which is not dramatic, but a little melancholy. Watch now as episode 3 introduces BIG DRAMA and proves me wrong …

Hori’s double-jointed finger is a good excuse for hand-holding.

Well, I suppose you could call it drama, but really episode 3 is more of the same, jumping from one thing to another, namely the ramifications of the possiblity that Hori and Miyamura are actually dating, but taken as little anecdotes like before. Hori almost tells Miyamura that she loves him, and then Miyamura actually confessing, but it’s a quiet thing, more of an affirmation than a revelation, and things go on as before. Then we get Toru and Miyamura getting into a fight because Toru kept pushing the question about the relationship, but again it’s just a high-school bro fight and nothing more. We also get Ayasaki pissing Hori off about “taking” him … I’m on both sides with this. The two are ini a nice relationship but somehow refuses to believe that the other one is romance material, or rather, they’re afraid to admit it. This holding pattern can’t last forever, but I wonder if the show will be the same if they do take the next step. Also, we get some Miyamura backstory about being left out at school, and then a lovely moment in the present where the class is assigned to form teams, and three desks (Hori, Toru, Yuki) clatter up to join Miyamura’s desk before he can even think. Nice to see Miyamura coming along, to his own surprise.

Rudy goes outside.

Mushoku Tensei 2 is your typical child begins to mature before going out on adventures type of story you get in long series. Normally, it’s one that I would sigh and be patient with, hoping that things pick up later on when he meets new people and makes a few friends and enemies. Fortunately Rudy still has that dry interior monologue to keep things entertaining, and there’s also the depressing history of his past life to deal with. Bullied mercilessly at school, he became afraid to go out at all until family kicked him out, practically literally. He still carries that baggage now as Rudy. I’m a little surprised that he’s been afraid of going out of his backyard, that wasn’t made clear until now, but it’s no problem because he trusts his teacher Roxy. Put the unhappy past life together with the trust and support of the present one, and you get the rather nasty otaku he was actually being thankful for the efforts of a girl that he at times still considers a sexual fantasy.

The important thing about episode 3 is of course that Rudy makes a friend, and he makes it bravely, saving Sylph(iette) from bullies. This would make his father, Paul, proud. Which leads me to the second important thing: we get to watch Paul do his best to be a good dad. He flies off the handle when Rudy is accused of hurting a boy but regrets it when he learns the whole story. After that he just talks to Rudy, gets the story, and gives advice, like after Sylph is revealed to be Sylphiette in an unfortunate bath scene. It was nice to see Paul become more than just a befuddled warrior dad whose son is chosing a different path. As for the bath scene, it’s my main complaint of the episode. I don’t know how I would have shortened it but it went on too long. The repercussions–advice from Paul and the making up were much more interesting. Meanwhile we continue to get the contrast between the “innocent” boy Rudy and the slightly conniving and hentai adult.

This bit wasn’t bad.

Non non Biyori Nonstop 2 and 3 together have the three main traits of the show. Two of them I love: nature and Renge. The third, kid hijinks, I’m less thrilled about. Episode 2 starts well enough with the tomato planting and the greenhouse, because it’s interesting to me, a plant-killer, to see gardening, and Renge is there to liven things up. The continued assimilation of shy Akane into the mix didn’t work as well, it just happened. I’m not keen on watching Hotarou act her age, and the next bit got old fast. Which leads us to episode 3, all about Natsumi and Hikage fighting and making up, both in the present and in the past. The Komuso bit was funny visually, but in spite of the sweetness of the rescue bit, I didn’t really care and felt like skipping forward. Maybe it’s because I’m not that fond of Natsumi, but I often feel like skipping ahead when she gets in trouble and tries to cover for it.

And so the fight ends.

As expected, Tensei Shitara Slime datta ken‘s battle proved to be more or less a test of Rimuru’s gang vs. Eurozania’s, and it’s over quickly … nice to see that Rimuru also had a chance to show off his abilities by eating that giant energy ball Shion couldn’t get rid of. That impressed the delegation. Then drinking and negotiating. I like how most of the dull stuff is passed over. Koby the merchant dog is left to do the talking and Rimuru and we move on to the next scene. After that, happy progress, but nothing dull. I’m not sure how the show does that. The only thing we get out of intrigue is that scheming guy and his blackmailed servant Myulan (Is she new? I don’t remember her. Whatever, she’ll turn to the good side soon enough), and also the mention of the Sir Phobio guy, who’s “in confinement.” Wonder what that’s all about?

Caught sneaking out of the hostess club.

Episode 3 touches again with Myulan as she joins Youm’s party after kicking his ass to prove herself, and since King Gazel told Rimuru that he doesn’t trust Falmuth’s king, and the next episode is called “The Scheming Kingdom of Falmuth,” we know where the next story arc is coming from, but who cares. This episode has some interesting conversation between Rimuru and Gazel, who disapproves of Rimuru’s un-kingly speech but approves of his country, and, better yet, another trip to the elf hostess club! The dwarves and orcs make drunken fools of themselves there, which of course is what hostess clubs are all about, and we get a nice scene of them getting caught by Shuna and Shion. It has nothing whatsoever to do with the story, well, the head hostess said she LIKED his speech for the sincerity, and some alcohol is examined, but those are excuses. The show will drop everything to have fun sometimes, which is I think one reason why it’s popular.

Minami, episode 2’s victim.

Wonder Egg Priority 2 has Ai first trying to befriend Neiru, the girl who buys lots of eggs, and seems to be in a business of buying and selling, then jumps into this week’s victim-girl, Minami, who is terrorized by her cruel gymnastics teacher. We also learn (from speaking machinery) that Ai’s job is to kill the “Wonder Killer,” but she doesn’t learn how to do it. She can’t beat it by running, the electric fan says, but by standing up to it, which is odd advice since the episode has her killing the monster-coach, like she killed the monster last week. After the two episodes I’ve watched this is the pattern: she runs from it, gets her gumption up, and fights back to win. Meanwhile, what about the victims, who go poof! after the fight? Are they back in the real world? Are they dead, perhaps moving to heaven now that their traumas have been dealt with? The only one we can count on returning is Neiru, and she seems to be on a suicidal track …

Ai meets Rika.

Episode 3 breaks a little from the norm. First, we meet Rika, a formal idol of some sort, superficial, judging on looks, and determined to save a fan named Chiemi, probably because Rika called her fat and told her not to come to any handshake events, so Chiemi died from an eating disorder. Anyway, she barges into Ai’s life, scrounging egg money and inviting herself over. So much time is spent on this that the story will be continued next week. Also, at the end Rika seems to become a statue of her own–interesting. Anyway, the theme seems to be fans who take it too far, mixed with adults taking advantage of children. Chiemi takes it out on herself. This week’s monster was an older woman who tried to take it out on others. So, if you accept whatever cruel punishment comes your way, you’re a victim, a statue or someone who goes poof!, and if you fight, you’re a monster. Maybe not. Perhaps Rika is becoming, er, statuesque, is because of the harm she’s inflicting on herself (cuts on her arms). Or guilt? Well, Ai has plenty of guilt but she’s not becoming a statue. Anyway, maybe the best episode of the three so far, with its usual excellent battle scene.

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