Sixes, sevens, and some eights

I dropped all the other fantasy shows, I think, so I think it’s okay to keep Shijou Saikou etc. The trouble is, I’m having trouble caring about it. For one thing, episode 7 has a new redhead that I simply don’t remember before. Oh, I remember the hothead, but I thought that was Ginny, or … oh, yeah, I think I remember now. Anyway, not much to the episode. It’s the school festival and it has the usual stuff, eating in stalls, an “erotic maid cafe,” where all the girls fawn over Ard until Ireena shows up, and Ginny. Naturally, to add to Ard’s stress, he’s entered against his will in a magic swordsmanship tournament, and naturally, he winds up fighting Olivia. The only striking thing about the episode is the reappearance of Elraldo, the bully from eariier, overweight from depression and self-loathing, honestly regretting how he treated Ginny before and happy that she’s gaining back the confidence he took from her. I always like it when a bad character has second thoughts, and the fact that he admits this all to Ard was a nice touch. We’ll see more of him.

Nah, couldn’t be.

With episode 8 I relearn that Sylphy was Lydia’s little sister, whom Ard “betrayed” in some way. I thought both Sylphy and Ard were aware of each other, but apparently Sylphie has a hard time believing that Ard is supposed to be her mortal enemy. Some asshole in a mask shows up to brainwash her, and, after an amusing festival play, a reenactment of a battle Ard was actually in centuries ago, and an anticlimatical sword tournament battle, Sylphy attacks Ard with two swords she got from that tree that has a secret, well, no more. It actually looks tense for a while; either Ard doesn’t want to hurt the brainwashed Sylphie or he is genuinely in trouble, but apparently Lydia’s soul or something was in one of her two swords and tells her to knock it off. The masked asshole tries to interfere and gets killed by Ard before any of them, or us, get to learn who he is. Well, they got his severed arm as a clue … And show the show goes from interesting to cliche in a single battle scene. I would have much rather enjoyed the school play and Ard’s reaction to it.

What’s funny about this scene is genki Hiyori’s complete nonchalance.

Another episode dump, this one for Heroine Taru mono!, a two-parter and a standalone. Both had interesting bits. Hiyori’s childhood friend Nagisa is coming to visit and Nagisa decides to get dolled up, but she’s never done that before. When she put on a cute dress as a girl Nagisa told her she looked weird, so there are some esteem issues working here. The two boys decide to help her out. I frankly didn’t like the dress she had on, but her hair was nice. Nagisa turns out to be a handsome lad who everyone thinks would be a good catch, but his jealousy issues kind of bug me. He is NOT pleased that she’s a manager for two handsome idol boys. Well, it works out. Nagisa confesses, Hiyori thinks about it for a while, then decides she’s too busy and having to much fun doing it for romance, so no big drama here, just another thing to toss in the plot, oh, and another bit where Hiyori befriends a girl who, unbeknownst to her, is also an idol. As for the standalone, it’s the sports festival, and it works out the way we expect it would. What I liked the most were two other romances the show is beginning to develop, especially Koichiro and a twin-tailed tsundere named Arisa. Nice to see a lady-killer make an eccentric choice. Meanwhile Hiyori runs about the place being cheerful, as usual.

The best part of Spy x Family 7 came at the first, when Anya goes to her first day of classes fully intent on apologizing. Of course it wouldn’t be easy, and the overly concerned Loid doesn’t help by sneaking her reminders. Between trying to find a place to apologize (Becky keeps getting in the way) and the lessons which are way over her head, the weight of the world has fallen on this little six year-old’s shoulders. That she finally manages to apologize is the biggest triumph of the episode. The rest is Loid returning to plan A (grades) and Yor suggesting he hold off, let Anya enjoy her life at school even if she doesn’t make the elite scholars group, and I hope he does, because it’s nearly painful to see the pressure that Anya’s encountering, especially with her mind-reading ability. Besides, there’s more going on. In a nice twist, it seems that Donovan may have fallen for Anya, the first person who’s ever stood up to him. And while his pride leads him to reject her apology, it seems that a friendship may still be possible. I expect most episodes are going to be partly Loid’s assignment and partly learning to live together as a family. And the occasional monkey wrench, like Yor’s brother Yuri learning his sister got married. I wonder what secrets this new character is hiding?

Yuri in a nutshell. Or just a nut.

Anya’s had enough for one episode, so she’s put to bed for most of episode 8, where we meet Yor’s adoring younger brother Yuri. Naturally he has secrets too–he’s a member of the secret police and knows about the existence if not the appearance of “Twilight.” In other words, he’s dangerous, and put off because Yor didn’t tell him about her marriage. Well, I would be, too. The fun comes from the ultra-professional Loid catching on to Yuri’s secret, and while there’s something of a crisis at the end, the drunken Yuri insisting that Loid and Yor kiss … well, it could be a problem if we didn’t see the preview for the next episode, and Yuri freaking out as the lips get closer. So let’s see. Loid and Yor don’t know each other’s secret, but Loid knows Yuri’s secret but Yor does not … it seems like Loid is in command here, except both Yor and Anya can act independently. So Loid’s probably two-eights in command. Anyway, Yuri was set up as a threat, and he might still be, but it seems that, because of his love for his sister (a hilarious montage of flashback scenes where a young Yor comes home covered in blood with gifts for the shocked but delighted young Yuri), he can be compromised. On the other hand, he might well investigate this evil “Loid Forger” and come up with some dirt. A very interesting set of relationships at work here. Good thing Anya slept through all this.

Kamiya is either easy or hard to read.

It’s school festival time in Kawaii Dake janai Shikimori-san, and our lovebirds are being kept apart by various duties, giving them plenty of chances to pout cutely. We also get the story of how they became a couple thanks to a random number drawing gimmick. That’s sweet and all, but much more interesting is the reappearance of Kamiya, the volleyball ace and friends with Izumi thanks to library duties. Elegant and kind most of the time, she gets weirdly curious about how Izumi and Shikimori’s relationship is going. It becomes clear that she has a thing for Izumi, not sure why, except that he compliments her in his earnest way. Now, Izumi believes that Kamiya actually has a thing for Shikimori, and we can’t rule that out, though I think it unlikely. At any rate, they’ve both drawn the same number for this year’s festival, so there’s some plot coming forward. However, Kamiya’s heard the story and frankly, I don’t think she intends to interfere. It could be Shikimori that will cause the raucous, a chance to see the insecure side of her.

I think this might have been the best scene in either episode.

And Komi-san brings us another high school event, the trip. Well, first they finally have to introduce Naruse the narcissist, a one-joke character, alas. They do get more mileage out of it by also introducing his friend Kometani the commentator, though frankly they could have done just as well with the woman who usually does the comments. But he does a good job and the woman deserves some help. We get the expected trepidation by Komi, that it’ll wind up like her JHS trip where she felt unwelcome in her group. A little ridiculous as obviously every wants to be close to her. That done it’s the usual travel hijinks, the shinkansen, etc. It’s dragged down a little by the attention they pay to the bus guide, wno is almost totally ignored. I expected some stuff in the bath scene, and Yamai doesn’t disappoint. What I didn’t expect was the episode’s highlight–the men’s bath, with Naruse and Makoto posing half-naked and the other boys joining in for the hell of it, along with some innuendo. Good to see Naruse fitting in and contributing some fun. I also didn’t expect to see Najimi sleeping with the girls. Just what gender is Najimi?

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