If I’m going to catch up at all I’m going to have to stop reviewing every episode for a while. So a quick look at Shin no Nakama 2 and 3, the former introducing Rit, formidable B-class warrior and princess, who shows up at the apothecary and immediately flirts and blushes at Red, finally deciding to move in before Red can even think–the long beat when she broaches the subject was very funny. We also get flashbacks on how they met and why she’s not so keen on a warrior’s life at the moment, mostly to do with her comrades getting killed. Episode 3 is a bunch of little vignettes of buying beds, giving kids an infodump on what blessings can do for you, and to you. Interesting in the world-setting sense but dull to watch. What is more interesting is how Red and Rit become a formidable team, Red with the expertise and Rit with the business sense. And even more interesting are the switches back to the party Red/Gideon was kicked out of, and how the others turning on Ares and deciding to look for Red. This is still not a great show, but it’s planting some good seeds.
And now I’m going to break the policy I just set for one more new show–Komi-san wa Comyushou desu, partly because it’s new and partly because it might be the best show of the season. Basically, we got Tadano, average boy, entering a prestigious high school and determined not to make waves, who finds himself seated next to a fabulous, aloof beauty named Komi. His greetings and questions seem to fall on deaf ears but he quickly realizes (more than anyone else ever did), that actually she is too afraid to speak. They find a way around this via blackboard, and her frustrations come pouring out. Tadano decides to help her find the 100 friends she desperately wants. Trouble is, she’s almost unapproachably beautiful, and it’s a high school full of weirdos. It’s not going to be easy.
The opening bits, walking to school and Tadano’s narration, aren’t new to school rom-coms (if this is indeed one), but it’s cleverly done, lovely sakura-drenched scenes undercut with something silly. Moments where it looks like Komi is going to react, negatively or positively, get tripped up by her freezing up, with sound effects and the jump to her hilarious wide-eyed-in-terror look. This leads to the lovely scene where Tadano gets Komi to use the blackboard to communicate. The tension comes from whether she’ll run out of the room or freeze up some more, and every time she or Tadano writes something new there’s a sense of relief. But the show doesn’t overplay the warm feelings. To the end of the episode, any scene can fall into slapstick. An excellent first episode. I’ll be watching more of this.
The radio show for Sakugan was hilarious after the first episode of the anime aired. I didn’t understand what they were saying, but I didn’t need to when the members were all crying out in mock despair “Lynda! LYYYYNNNNDAAAAA!” throughout. Anyway, episodes 2 and 3 had crazy chase scenes that would have killed anyone but an anime character, but we forgive the point considering how much fun they are. Episode 2, after getting rid of the two kaiju that are chasing them, is mainly getting over the deaths of Walsh and Lynda (LYYYYNNNNDAAA!) and preparing to be cast out of Pinyin. Apart from the opening chase, a relatively calm episode. Ep3 is back to crazy, and a further examination of the father/daughter relationship. Memempu has built in an override control so that Gagumber can’t control “Big Tony,” as she names the bot. Naturally, this causes some problems, especially when she decides to take a dive into a newly-opened crevice alone and is soon about to be devoured by nasty giant bugs. Naturally Gagumber saves her, and so a little peace is maybe made between them. Also, Gagumber now feels more comfortable with Memempu controlling things, a symbolic switching of seats in Big Tony and all. More important, they further realize that down here, they need each other.
Senpai ga Uzai Kouhai no Hanashi is still cute, but it’s falling into routine. Episode 2 is mostly about Futaba’s sudden preoccupation with her bust. Well, considering that all her friends are comparatively well-endowed, I guess it’s not too surprising. But it means we get her asking Sakurai if she has a special trick for making hers larger, impulse bra-stuffing, and other ridiculous things. Then there’s an annoying confrontation with a hentai on the train (Takeda judos him) that I guess is to prove that she is still considered attractive, either that or it’s the further acknowledgment that Takeda is watching out for her. More cute is the growing side-relationship between Sakurai and Kazama, after he fakes a phone call to get her away from a guy who keeps hitting on her. Episode 3 is even more routine, the Christmas episode where Futaba buys Takeda a gift but can’t find a way to give it to him. I hate these sort of situations. Naturally it drags out to the end. Meanwhile the Sakurai-Kazama budding romance continues to grow, with no complications. Considering what Futaba puts herself through it’s a relief.
In Gyakuten sekai no Denchi Shoujo 2 Hosomichi is introduced to the weirdo er, rebel’s base in, where else, Akihabara. He’s still planning a quick getaway, but Anju the loan shark reminds him of how much money he still owes, and so it’s off to schmooze Rin, whom he had disappointed before. But it doesn’t work, the bad guys attack fail only because they’re about as incompetent as Hosomichi and Rin are, especially Rin, who just curls up into a ball. So what’s needed is for Hosomichi to rediscover the boy within him, which happens in episode 3 through a weird shared dream sequence, and the inspired couple defeat Hayate, about the only competent person in the True Army, partly because she’s overwhelmed by the lovey-dovey going on on the other side. There you have it. I’m still somewhat entertained by it all, believe it or not. Maybe it’s Hosomichi’s manipulative nature towards women, being a former host and all. But now the show seems to have cast that aside, and he won’t schmooze anymore. Well, we’re going to get a new girl next week. Maybe that will liven things up.
Deep Insanity – the Lost Child 2 has Kai screwing up a mission, mulling things over, and then the team goes back and does the mission right. Along the way he discovers that Sumire, their “sanity anchor” is a would-be idol that is trying to reinvent herself here after falling into the unmentionable pit that failed idols fall into. Yes, it’s bizarre, and her mood swing at the end, though deliberate, suggests that for a sanity anchor she might be the least sane of the lot, even though it was a weird metaphor of diving for a chance that leads the team to killing the monster the second time. However, for a show with the word “insanity” in the title, there are no mind-screws yet unless you count Vera’s offering to Kai of a job to assassinate someone at the end of the episode. Maybe it will be the humans driving each other insane rather than any lurking threat in a pit that will cause the insanity. Ep3 is some world-building as Larry drags Kai along on a secret mission into the Asylum for some rare seeds and they meet a girl named El-Cee, whom they protect, but it turns out that’s who Vera wants to assassinate. Oh-oh. I thought for sure it would be the asshole making speeches at the beginning of the show, or maybe he comes later. These two episodes were a little dull, lots of people standing around and thinking, especially Kai, but at least the second opened up more of the world, or the Asylum, to us. And we get a good look at Larry, who is incapable of fear, and thus jumps into bad situations too often. Kai tells him that fear is a survival mechanism, and thus useful, and that other guy points out that even if Larry can’t feel pain, he can cause pain to others by his death. Nice touches, so I’m wondering if we’re done with Larry for now.