In Mieruko-chan 2 it’s more of the same. Miko sees something spooky, does her best not to react, and we move on to the next scene. About the only thing new is her younger brother, a decent enough boy who follows her around a bit because he thinks she has a boyfriend. Nothing more comes out of it apart from a gratuitous bathroom scene. But after that there’s actually a lovely moment where we discover that Miko’s dad is actually dead, and those domestic scenes we’ve been seeing have only three living people in it. Rather a nice touch, since the father is not a ghoul, but bathed in light, benign and dad-like. There’s even a better moment in episode 3 where Miko helps a senile old lady home, and a ghoul repeats a number to Miko, which we think is a phone number but is actually a safe combination that the old lady had forgotten. The ghoul actually thanks her afterward. The introduction of Yulia, the little blond girl, is actually a letdown, as she can see some spirits but not the big terrifying ones. There’s a overly-long scene where this is made apparent, and it makes me wonder what would happen if Miko actually acknowledged a ghoul’s presence for a change. What would it do? Well, Yulia is now terrified of Miko, so neither of them is going to make the connection that they both need for a while.
Well, since I’ve fallen further behind I’ll do episode 6 too. Both stories are pretty good. In the first one it’s all Hana’s POV, as she begins her innocent day, but her clock stopped again and a light fixture is on the fritz. Also a nice neighborhood dog keeps barking angrily at her. It’s naturally a ghoul that’s taken a liking to her, because it likes to cook little ghouls in Hana’s positive aura and eat them. A redditor referred to it as “boobacue.” Meanwhile Hana helps a boy by rescuing a dog that went into an old, abandoned, supposedly haunted building, the first time we’ve seen her scared, even if it’s because of a scary building than any of the ghouls. In the second Miko takes Hana to an old shrine to see if it will do something about the hungry ghoul. There follows a fierce demon battle which is good to look at but hard to follow, especially the end, when the ghoul is finally vanquished, but a shrine spirit mentions to Miko “Three times,” which I don’t get at all. Something to do with proper shrine protocol, probably. Oh, one nice bit is that Hana’s gluttony actually increases her positive aura. I thought it just went straight to her bust.
Tsuki to Laika to Noseratu 4 is sort of an interlude, most of it with Lev and Irina going out and doing stuff like drinking at the jazz bar and then a lovely if a bit long scene where Irina joyfully skates and Lev watches. Apart from Irina’s declaration that one reason she is training so hard is that she wants to get to space before any human does. For the characters it’s a respite before Irina goes into the anechoic altitude chamber, a soundless room, for several days. So why not have some fun before things get bad, which they do in episode 5? Most of it is routine, Irina handling the chamber just fine apart from some ugly flashbacks of the army killing her parents, and, finally, solo parachute training. But we keep cutting to scenes from officials reminding us, and Lev, that Irina is N44, an expendable test subject, not to mention that the rocket tests aren’t going well. Well, going up isn’t the problem, coming down is. What’s more, Irina and Lev witness one crash and see the corpse of a dog, which triggers something in Irina, her own possible fate perhaps, and now, emotionally, she seems unfit. Also, a possible complication is that Lev is now a candidate again, but how that’s going to work its way into the story we don’t know.
I have little to say about episode 6. Irina’s emotional breakdown keeps her from eating, and so she becomes anemic. She gets better from drinking Lev’s blood (that he offers freely), but that’s only the physical problem. What about her psychological state? The show doesn’t address that at all, like it wasn’t the underlying reason for her bad condition. But we know that these vampires don’t actually need blood to survive, that they can do so with human food. Well, there’s the point that human food seemed to be a connection to seeing that dead dog, so she couldn’t eat. But when she sucked on Lev’s arm and got the nutrients she needed in a way she could handle, she perked up again. Maybe her mental state wasn’t as bad as the show let on … Anyway, the show threw us a curveball by having good, dependable Franz sabotage the centrifuge so it wouldn’t stop. You can tell he feels bad about it, but … why did he do it? To injure Irina so she couldn’t go up in a rocket with a 30% survival chance? That’s the only answer I can think of. Anyway, it winds up with the asshole scientist with the garlic assaulting Irina and Lev interfering, and guess which one went to jail? So now, less than a week before the launch, Irina doesn’t have Lev to lean on.
Takt op. Destiny‘s road show takes the gang to New Orleans, which is, of all things, a farming community. Must be a new breed of corn. Well, there’s more to it. Turns out there’s a hidden casino funded by a guy who is siphoning funds from farming grants they get, though that doesn’t make much sense either–unless it’s a poorly-run establishment, a casino should be able to make lots of money. Absurdities aside, the episode is really about Takt and Destiny learning some teamwork, Lenny providing the guidance with musical metaphors about harmony. That done, they part ways and Takt et. al continue on their way, accidentally stopping a train which just happens to have some Symphonica people in it, disreputable ones, to boot. We don’t know what Shindler’s game is; he just smirks and talks of musicarts as weapons. We also meet Walkure, who lives up to her name in battle. I think the best part of the eventful episode was Takt telling her what a moron she is. That and a battle with flying monsters (to something resembling Wagner, appropriate) softens her up and she turns tsundere. Kind of cute, actually. An interesting point is while Walkure is a musicart she is not attached to a conductor, what’s more, Shindler abandons her at the end of the episode. We’ll see more of her. I hope to see more of the other musicart, a madwoman named Hell. How much do you want to bet that Hell and Destiny, and maybe Walkure, all get in a big fight later on?
I’m glad to see that Komi-san wa Comyushou desu isn’t focusing too hard on the specific goal of making 100 friends but is branching out with side stories. Also, it relieves the pressure to have the story told in sketches. In episode 2 Tadano, hindered in his task to help Komi by his own unpopularity, introduces Komi to his childhood friend, and actually a guy, maybe, Osana, who is childhood friends with everyone she’s ever met, except for her one defeat in elementary school, Komi. Through a chance meeting with two toughs who are also childhood friends, it works out. Osana is going to be valuable; she goes beyond Tadano’s tentative approach and pushes Komi into situations she isn’t ready for, like ordering a complicated drink at a coffee shop and playing games with the trendier kids in the group. Tadano is almost an outsider here. Then in episode 3 we meet Agari, with social disorders of her own, but again it works out. Then we have the side stories, like Komi getting her first mobile phone, a clamshell of all things. This doesn’t work as well, since it’s clear that Komi wants Tadano’s number but he’s too dense to realize it. The class elections part was just ludicrous. Yet all of these scenes work because of the little details, the well-timed Komi-reaction beats to her googly-eyed look, and Tadano’s voice-over. On the other hand, the written asides and narrator voice-over, often used well, gets a little intrusive at times. Still, overall, the show continues to keep up its high standards.
Shin no Nakama 2 and 3 continue the peaceful, dull life of Red and Rit, lots internal monologue from Rit about how happy she is, and a lot of blushing on both sides. To give us a break from this, the show has Red help out a local sauna by placing aromatics over the fire. And we get a couple of sauna endurance challenges and girls in towels. The show gets more interesting when we get to the troubles. Members of various guilds want Rit to leave town because she’s incorruptible. We think there is going to be a major story when Dir of the thieves guild is bribed to probe Rit’s secret weakness, which, well, I’m not sure they made it clear. Rit tells him she’s happy right now and has no desire to return to her kingdom or go adventuring, Dir has nothing to say … and that’s IT?! C’mon! Thieves Guild, sneaky people, evil plots! What a disappointment. Then there is the matter of Red’s old adventuring party. Albert shows up and Rit roughs him up … but at least that angle has more rope to play. Oh, and a flashback to the party and a flirtatious elf named Yarandrala who makes Rit jealous until they talk it out. I’m waiting for something substantial to appear.