7-9s: Takt, Shin no Nakama, Sakugan, Komi-san, Senpai ga Uzai

Takt op. Destiny 9 takes the team to New York, seemingly unaffected by D2 action apart from there being no music, and straight to the Symphonica headquarters where big sis Lotte does the examination, the tuning, that we’ve been long waiting for. What follows is a pleasant tour of the city with the new knowledge that there’s no way to break apart the bond between Takt and Destiny, and that if they keep fighting they will die. But they don’t have to. Lotte tells them that they could live normal, peaceful lives and let others do the violence. So it’s various NYC things, Central Park, the John Lennon memorial, trying on clothes, various eateries of course, along with the assessment of their future. Destiny knows nothing but fighting, and Takt won’t be fully alive until the music returns. It really isn’t hard to figure out what they will decide. And there’s a threat that Destiny senses deep underneath the city, which Lenny confirms while asking Takt to flee the city. So, like other shows, a breather before the final story arc, where the two might possibly die, along with Lenny (death flags flying over his phone call) and Titan. There’s also a question of what secrets the Symphonia are keeping and why Heaven frowned at Lotte in that one scene.

He doesn’t get it.

Shin no Nakama just can’t resist keeping the plot wheels churning. Well, I suppose it’s for the best because the sexy-but-no sex scenes between Red and Rit get a little dull. Anyway, we get both sides one-upping each other, with Bighawk revealed to be possessed by a demon in order to further the plan of getting everyone in Zoltan to drink the juice and become a savage army that will defeat the demon horde. In several talky confrontations, the whole story comes out, but they are outdone by the good guys. The one person I can’t figure out is Albert–wasn’t he in the hero’s party, but now he can’t get out and is stuck being a champion in a backwater? I must have forgotten some bit of story. What I found most interesting is that Bighawk was “blessed” with the torturer role, and can’t stand it, an interesting wrinkle in this ogre that looks like he’d LIKE torturing people. This drug allowed him to change blessings, so he took it. What if we could all escape the roles assigned to us? Hell, I myself would consider taking the drug in that case. On the other hand, Red perhaps has more power than he’s let on, but he’s chosen not to use it … I suppose the message here is that you don’t have to follow a destiny if you don’t like it. … The threat to Zoltan is finished for now, but we got that elf Bui smirking evilly, and in the end, Albert and Warhawk captive at the hands of Ruti … in the desert … how did they get THERE? Yeah, the plot keeps churning.

Ruti tries to blend in.

And in ep9 the story takes a new twist. Ruti interrogates that goat-guy and learns about the Devil’s Blessing drug … and is intrigued and takes some. This is not the sort of thing I would expect her to do. Does she want to switch blessings and not be a hero? It doesn’t seem to affect her, but she decides she wants a steady supply, so heads to Zoltan to jailbreak Godwin, from the earlier arc. She and Tisse desert the others and fly there on the airship. While scouting Tisse meets Red, senses his abilities, and warns Ruti about it. Little things happen and at the end of the episode Red and Ruti are reunited. Well and good, and a bit early, but if he can convince her that the Devil’s Blessing is a bad thing it’s for the best. Otherwise this episode had more gag comedy than usual, as Ruti is warned not to attract attention but to blend in, and innocently does the opposite.

Sakugan seems to be less and less about Memempu’s goal and more about the secrets behind the characters. Episode 8 is basically about Zackletu and the load she’s carrying. Turns out she is Gagumber’s old teammate Rufus’s younger daughter, though she went as a boy, Zack, back then. With some intel and Memempu’s grumpy condition she snaps somehow, holds Memempu hostage, and attacks Gagumber when he shows up. Her rage is fueled by the fact that Gagumber never returned after Rufus died, leaving her to grow up alone. She blames him for her brother’s death (which appears to have been accidental) and for the fact that he never returned to her to apologize, or anything, and NOW the big oaf still can’t admit to things he ought to do and won’t apologize to Memempu (things marked upon earlier in the episode). It’s a good scene, Zackletu shooting and setting off explosives while Gagumber runs and fights and tries to explain. It’s so good, in fact, that this little plot-thing, the “Gale,” a chip implanted in Gagumber that aids his speed and senses, that he had blocked, seems like silly, added baggage to the entire story, though when it gets unblocked and he manages to save Memempu, it adds a nice resolution to the scene. A strange ending bit with Memempu and Zackletu preparing to go off on the quest, but without Gagumber, who stands there watching. Okay, he’s injured, but is he really staying behind, or was it a symbolic thing?

Memempu’s attempt to generate power. It works.

Episode 9 does manage to throw a little plot in, with an attack on a city we see at the beginning and end, and cryptic words about finding the next child. But that’s all we get. Instead, we get the team, still together, in spite of the events from last time (Memempu is a little surprised by this), following Memempu’s dream of that place and growing frustrated at the cavalier attitude of the grown-ups around her. Well, I mean, it’s hot; why not take a dip? They get flooded and lost due to a cave-in, and are stranded without power. Memempu looks to create a power source and/or other ways to get out of there while the others sit back. In the only interesting moment of all this, Memempu tells Gagumber that he dies in her dream. He doesn’t care, and the point is made that you can work as a team without being 100% on board with the others; this week’s little grown-up lesson for Memempu. Anyway it ends with Merooru of all people showing up. You wonder what he knows about the attacks on the city and what he’s going to rope the gang into doing.

Komi-san wa Comyushou desu 6 has mostly predictable scenes bouyed up by the show’s expert timing for gags. First it’s trying to tell jokes. After that everyone goes shopping for clothes with a contest on who can dress Komi the best. Frankly, I don’t know what the others were thinking, except maybe they just wanted to see Komi wear certain outfits she’d never wear in real life. No surprise that Tadano makes the best choice, a simple summer dress. The weakest scene follows: Komi goes to the hairdresser which we see through the eyes of the apprentice Kamiko. Failure to communicate scenes are common in this series, but usually there’s Tadano or Najimi around to give humorous vocal or internal asides. Here it’s just a girl who has no idea what is going on with this beautiful, silent girl, and these long “wha-wha-what should I say? Did I offend her?” bits drag. The senior hairdresser was pretty cool, though. Then it’s studying in the library where Najimi moves the action, and gets tossed out. Then it’s summer holidays, another draggy scene where Komi and Tadano want to call each other but are afraid to–until, again, Najimi intervenes. Thank god for Najimi. Anyway, we get a pool episode next week. I wonder what tropes the show will toss out, and how they’ll mess with them?

And the answer is: the expected ones. We three harmless vignettes that I don’t have much to say about. Everyone visits the pool and you can imagine the rest; they try to inject a little sadness by having Komi scrape her knee and feel like she’s putting a damper on the fun, but it doesn’t really work. Maybe the best bit was her father walking her to the library and stopping for shaved ice. The father is almost as laconic as Komi and their communication is almost telepathic. You can see the love on both sides without either of them saying anything. The bits after, the library and the playground, have Komi not with any of her friends (well, Tadano passes by to observe), and suffer a little for it. However, it’s nice to see the normally reclusive Komi go out and do things by herself for a change.

Is this a date? They’re not sure.

Senpai ga Uzai 8 brings everyone to Golden Week and a little time off, which they spend in various ways. Most of the attention is on the “date” that Souta and Sakurai go on. Souta is determined to make a good impression, so I was worried he was going to make an ass of himself, but he’s too reserved for that, and they’re both astute, so he does fine. They go to the aquarium and have a lovely time. As for the romance angle, it’s creeping forward. When Souta meets up with the obligatory mashers who make a move on Sakurai he says “She’s mine!” (he later admits he got it from a manga) but that’s as far as it gets between them. A nice bit with a dolphin that has the same unfriendly stare as Souta, and has the same name. As for Futaba and Takeda, the former sees something scary on TV and Takeda comes over and they go out … and do the things they do while on the job, ramen, walking around. Well, there’s a trip to the arcade. I was rather hoping to see the coworker who intended to pick up girls did, but I guess we already know. A nice, relaxing episode.

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