I really don’t know if I’ll continue to write about Isekai Shokudou. There’s so little to say about it. I’ll just say that for episode 2 we have a fleeing couple, Romero and Julietta (of course), who flee into the restaurant and wind up enjoying a nice steak with some red wine. Meanwhile, we’re all thinking “Why do they have those dark bags under their eyes?” Turns out they’re bats, maybe vampires for all we know, but the show doesn’t bother to explain. The beefsteak is commented on in the usual food-critic style that everyone, from dragon to dwarf, uses when they visit. The second episode reintroduces Princess Adelheid, Renner, and Shareef. Not much happens except Adelheid discovers that it’s more fun to eat with others, and back home forces her maid to join her for Choux Creme. Naturally the maid lapses into food-critic talk as well.
Mieruko-chan is still being called a comedy, and there was some attempt at humor in episode 2, but my problem is that the jokes fall flat when you see those gross ghouls wrapping around everything. The first half concerns haunted lockers, and a visit to the nurse’s office, oh, and a trip to get donuts. Most of the humor revolves around Hana forgetting her panties and going commando, and ghosts very interested in wrapping themselves around female bodies. Of course, only Miko can see them. It makes me wonder again if the ghosts are metaphors for predatory males, but considering that the show itself seems to be obsessed with female anatomy, I doubt it. But we do learn a little about the ghouls. They don’t seem to like alcohol, which of course we discover when Miko douses Hana with disinfectant, making her shirt transparent. Also, some of the otherworldly things seem to be benign, such as when Miko gives a stray kitten to a threatening-looking guy who has white, gentle cat spirits hanging around him. This is nice to know, but I hope they get the blonde girl who seems to know something involved in the action and move things along.
Episode 3 is looking a little better. As for my male predators theory, it takes a twist in the first scene where Miko sees a useless, pretty man, with a spectre of a woman bugging him (which he can’t see). Obviously jealous when Miko makes eye contact, the ghoul turns into jealous girlfriend and approaches her. Miko wrangles out of it in an amusing way (that bit was actually sort of funny, and shows us that the ghouls can be conned), and then the guy’s actual girlfriend shows up–with a bunch of male ghouls right behind her. So the ghouls’ obsession works with both sexes. Even better is the prayer beads section. Miko buys some (Don Quixote has everything!), and they seem to work, until an enormous girl mutters “itchy” and the string breaks. We finally meet the old lady, whom I’ll call the “Godmother,” a con-lady who drops her con when she recognizes Miko’s situation. But we don’t know when she’ll come back to the story, as the experience sends her to the countryside to live with her kids. Meanwhile, while we see the blonde girl, she still doesn’t enter the story. Now that the Godmother is temporarily out of the picture, I hope it’s soon. It’s getting tiring watching Miko try to ignore ghouls.
Tsuki to Laika to Nosferatu 2 settles in predictably with training for Irina, er, N44. It’s basically training scenes with little moments of interaction between Lev and our vampire. The training scenes are predictable. Running, then a humorous examination scene with the overeager Anya, followed by centrifuge testing and an hour-long sauna, made worse by Sagalevich, the doctor who hates vampires and wears a string of garlic around his neck, and pushes the punishment further. Nonetheless Irina manages to survive. I’m glad to see that Irina (I keep wanting to type “Laika”) isn’t superhuman, that it’s difficult for her. Especially the parachute training–turns out she’s scared of heights. The scenes between, the physical examination, the soda water bits, etc, are chances to see the heroes slowly bond. It’s rather fun to see Irina’s sly smile when he catches Lev looking at her, or pout when Lev catches her enjoying lemon spritzer. Irina is turning into quite an interesting character. As for Lev, we get some more background. He got demoted for punching somebody, or doing some violence, probably deserved. And we are also reminded that N44 is no more than a test subject that the government has no worries about killing, but that’s a threat for the future.
Episode 3 starts with questions in the central committee about what to do with N44 after the flight, assuming she survives. Some want her killed, and another, the beautiful and calculating press secretary Lyudmila has her own ideas. We also learn what happened to Lev’s elementary school teacher when she said something inappropriate. This is a sick society they live in. But it doesn’t compare to the wonderful scene where Lev decides to take Irina on an airplane for the first time, in order to overcome her fear of heights (if she can’t do it, she might fail the testing, and we all know what will happen to her). As the plane takes off and Irina’s terror rises, the music switches from tense orchestral to a jazz combo, and her fear gives way to joy.
Lovely scene that overshadows everything else apart from maybe the later parachute drop from an actual plane, where’s there more fear, but she fights through it. Much is made of Irina’s refusal to give in, but the show keeps reminding us that it might not be enough to save her. But we have cute bits too, like Anya, who seems like she was lifted out of another anime altogether, wanting to call the vampire girl “Irinyan.”
Takt op. Destiny takes us back to after the monsters attacked but before Cosette became Destiny. A quick look at Takt losing his father in a D2 attack, a declaration of no music playing by a leader named Sagan, and then to Takt grumpily playing piano in a garage, hindered by Cosette wanting to clean. There’s a music festival coming to town, though why that’s permitted when no music is allowed isn’t quite made clear, something about a truce and a lessened threat, I guess. The early scenes take a little too long, but they do establish the bond between Takt and Cosette, and that the latter can play a little, too, while Anna continues her long-suffering act. Also taking too long is their performance at the music festival, but since it’s the first time we see Takt actually enjoying himself I don’t mind too much. Besides, they finally lay off the Beethoven and play jazz standards instead. All the while I’m wondering then the attack is coming. Sure enough the violence happens and we get the transformation–I knew it had something to do with Cosette’s jewel. After all the dry talk and the long performance it was a relief, even if Cosette “dies” and Takt loses his arm.
Episode 3 has the infodump we’ve been expecting, with the sudden appearance of Lenny and Titan, fellow maestro and musicart respectively, who help wrap up the D2 situation in town when Takt and Destiny find themselves out of energy. Turns out Destiny is the first natural musicart in the world–normally they have to go through training. Thus, she’s unstable, and “untamed,” as Lenny puts it. She shows this the next D2 attack with her willy-nilly approach, and again it’s Lenny and Titan to the rescue. Lenny is full of reassuring lines and dark forebodings, suggesting that Destiny (Cosette is apparently dead) is devouring Takt’s life force when she fights. That’s not good. One way to find out is to take her to the NY Symphonia to get her checked. Since their house got blown up in the fight, they might as well begin their road trip. Next stop, Las Vegas. The question is, how long will Lenny and Titan stick with them? They aren’t seen in ep1. And Lenny hints that the D2s might be targeting Takt, making this a fun road trip indeed …
Shinka no mi Shiranai 2 has a nice little twist to it. Seiichi is still plotting to escape from Saria the massive girly pink gorilla, but when he stumbles into Dark Lord Xeanos’s cave it’s Saria who saves him, and Seiichi realizes the love he has developed … over a gorilla. I had expected him to fall for Saria as the naked girl from ep1 (Did any of us NOT realize this?), but that he could find it in his heart to love someone who loves him, even a different species … That was a nice bit, and you could say he was rewarded for his open heart by having Saria turn into fanservice. So that’s the first girl of his harem. What he’ll do when the others show up is anyone’s guess. We do switch to the other kids, stuck in combat training, with the bully kids impatient and complaining, and the three good kids riding it out, but they’re so far apart at the moment that it doesn’t matter, and they’re dull.
And ep3 is the inevitable find a town, register at the guild, and do a few quests. The twist is that the guild seems to be full of perverts, but the register anyway. Seichii escapes from three bondage guys in a sequence that made little sense, and they’re taken then by the tsundere member of Seichii’s future harem, Artoria the Calamity, named so because she brings calamity to everyone around her, such as Seichii in this case. But he’s fine. It’s nice of the show to give some background on Artoria: she keeps people away because they’ll get hurt, so she’s brusque by necessity, not by nature. This sort of information is usually given later in a series, not in the first episode the character shows up. Meanwhile Seichii bumbles through it all, making side comments, while Saria is just along for the ride. She was more fun as a gorilla.