Sakugan and Senpai ga Uzai 4-6, Komi-san 4

Sakugan‘s quest seems to be to toss in as many different types of plots as it can. In episode 4 they arrive in Jolly-Jolly, a town of passion, so they say, and it has Roman ruins in it, everything is Italy-based, which is great for the endlessly curious Memempu and not so much for Gagumber, who stoops to trying to pick up girls in bars. One of them, Zackletu, is actually a crook wanted by the mafia, and naturally Gagumber gets involved in an attempt to get her. So we get lots of minions in suits, an androgynous Don, and a lot of chases and captures. It’s fun enough, and obviously Zackletu is going to show up again, if only because Gagumber now owes her a million (what?) for helping him escape. So that story done we switch to our team helping repair some damage to ancient equipment that’s keeping an underground paradise alive. An odd combination of trees, grass, and birds (what are the vultures eating?) with giant metal pipes, valves and leakages of dangerous fluids. The search for the source of the problem gets a little dull with them being trapped for a while and just talking. However, it does help establish Merooru, the grey-haired suit that seemed like a corporate villain at first, as a good character who loves discovery and wants to maintain the wonders of the underground for future generations. In short, he and Memempu bond, and even Gagumber has to admit he’s not a bad guy. But what now? Gagumber and Memempu are still in trouble with the authorities, and the preview suggests that they’ll be in Jolly-Jolly for another episode. When will they continue the story, and where are they going again? That’s right, to find Urorop. The series gets sidetracked so easily that I forgot.

Yuri’s gang.

Well, they weren’t in Jolly-Jolly for long. We get quick look at events and then it’s off to the colony of AreYaar, a place of great equality except for the people who don’t fit in, who live in the sewers. It looks to be another moral lesson, especially when a gang led by a boy named Yuri force Gagumber and Memempu to work for them and plot revenge, er, justice. Things go well, but an announcement that the orphanages are closing down drives Yuri to make a big attack on the tower, which every colony seems to have. Here the simple morality gets more complicated. Interesting to see Gagumber, remembering a past mistake, seeing past Yuri’s declarations for justice for what they are: youthful anger and foolhardiness against a system that is unfair but beyond his abilities to solve on his own. Sometimes being a 30-something grownup has its advantages, even if Gagumber usually plays the fool or long-suffering dad. In contrast, the nine year-old tech genius Memempu is nearly taken in by the colony’s illusion of equality, then taken in by Yuri’s talk of it. It all ends well and it’s off to the next colony, with Yuri in tow, I’m sorry to say. That kid bugs me.

A big catch-up with Senpai ga Uzai Kouhai no Hanashi, where for the most part we see more possibly romantic anime situations. First Futaba gets sick, so Takeda comes over to help her out. Then HE gets sick and we reverse the situation. Good for an episode. After that it’s Valentines Day, where, to her credit, Futaba doesn’t waste an entire episode giving Takeda her chocolates. But actually the other couple, Kazama and Sakurai, have the better story, though still predictable. Fun to see Kazama’s behavior when he thinks Sakurai is dating someone else. An interesting twist is that he only gets a chocolate bar because the weird coworker Tsukishiro snuck and ate his. But the misunderstandings are cleared up. Things liven up a little in episode 6 when Futaba’s grandfather comes to visit and thinks Takeda is up to no good. However, this leads to annoying scenes where the two huge men compete in various ways, fishing, batting center, even picking up trash by the river. It’s more fun when Futaba is there, watching them growl at each other and knowing there’s not much she can do about it. Naturally the two men gain respect for each other and bond a little. And finally, this anime Tokyo is full of losers going around threatening kids and young women, so Takeda or ojiisan can come to the rescue, all at times that service the plot. Kind of like Academy City in that respect, when a group of toughs try to threaten Misaka or any of her friends, to their everlasting regret …

Komi-san wa Comyushou desu 4 introduces us to two classmates. The competitive Makeru is dispatched quickly and it’s time for Yamai, who really wants to be friends with Komi. I figure we’re going to meet a lot of people today, but instead they spend the rest of the episode with Yamai, who it turns out is a borderline psychopath, kidnapping Tadano and sticking him in her room, only to invite Komi and Najimi over because an afternoon with her idol overcomes what common sense she has. I never said she was a smart psychopath …

Anyway, the plot is discovered quickly and we get to the best scene of the episode, with Komi suggesting through notes that maybe she and Tadano shouldn’t be friends, because it puts him in danger. It had been a silly episode, but the show is excellent at portraying Komi’s worry for Tadano working against her honest desire to be friends with him, hiding her face behind her notebook. And I literally jumped when Komi began to actually speak. How this show manages to have this effect on me I can’t figure out. I also can’t figure out why everyone was so quick to forgive Yamai, who, after all, kidnapped and threatened to kill a person … Well, Komi needs all the friends she can get.

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