Nines and tens–Heroine Taru Mono, SpyxFamily, Kawaii dake janai, Komi-san

Heroine Taru Mono 9 spends several minutes of nothing much happening except for steady progress. Hiyori competes at a track meet, LipxLip practice hard to get a slot on Countdown Live, which they indeed get, and the three are happy enough that they let their guard down, well, they behave like normal, talking behind the school, etc, but someone has been taking pics of them for awhile, which then get posted on the school bulletin board and show up online. Scandal! Who is this girl who seems too close to the boys, and which one is dating her. A lot of damage control after that. Hiyori gets some harassment from other girls but not a lot, while Yujiro and Aizo plot strategies with management. Others step in to help, both boys’ siblings for instance, though Yujiro’s kid bro Koichiro can’t help much, and Ken just cooks and gives silly advice. In the end, while the boys hold a press conference to dispel rumors and say they’re enjoying high school life (for once they’re not lying) and that the mysterious girl is just a friendly classmate, Hiyori decides to quit being a manager. What’s interesting is that, while she regrets leaving them and feels a little guilty, she sheds no tears. Her manager job was challenging but fun, but she has plenty of other stuff to fill her life with. Well, maybe that’s the face she’s putting on it, maybe she’s forcing the negative stuff down, but the show has plenty of moments where it could have shown her bawling but didn’t. The big question now, of course, is who took the pictures. I’m hoping it’s not Chizuru, though she’s a suspect. Again odd that the show doesn’t seem terribly concerned about that mystery.

I’m not sure what Spy x Family 9 was about in the overall story. After the amusing non-kiss scene involving Yuri, Loid gets suspicious of Yor for some reason. I suppose it’s his job not to trust anyone; I guess it’s the fact that Yuri is secret police that did it. The ironic thing of course is that Yor does have a secret, just not the one Loid suspects, though at the moment she is also focused on being a better wife. So with both parents disturbed, Anya, who knows all but understands nothing, tells them they’re not getting along. After some impersonation business, including a furious Yor telling the disguised Loid not to interfere with her family, Loid either decides Yor is telling the truth, or he thinks it unseemly to spy on his wife, i.e., he developing feelings for her that he shouldn’t as a spy. This is not surprising, in fact it’s one of the show’s main thoughts, and it was brought up in earlier episodes, so again, not sure what the point of this one was.

Damian redeems himself a little.

I suppose episode 10 is useless too, but it’s more fun. We turn our attention back to Anya, who learned that you can win a Stella if you’re the MVP of a inter-class dodgeball match. Yor trains Anya diligently in search of that goal, while Damian and his minions do the same. Turns out they’re on the same team, and the other team has “Bazooka” Bill Watkins, who really shouldn’t be a kindergartner–that’s the joke. So the game plays out full of over-hyped drama that only young kids could dream up, killer shots, heroic sacrifices and speeches, all for a dodgeball match. A nice bit is that Damian, for some reason, tries to catch a ball aimed to take out Anya, maybe because he was, against his nature, impressed by Anya’s otherworldly (it helps she can read minds) dodging skills, a brief moment of respect between the two, maybe a crack in the wall before they go back to bickering (and even the bickering is a step above what they were doing before). In the end, they are kids, Yor’s training doesn’t help much, or rather, Anya isn’t big enough yet to take advantage of it, and there was no Stella at stake after all. Just another day in school. So, as I said, not much to add to the story except that we see Anya and Damian briefly put aside their differences.

I love how Kamiya looks so wistful all the time.

Kawaii Dake janai Shikimori-san, being show with nice high school students, doesn’t go the love triangle route, but takes a closer look at Kamiya, including a Cinderella bit at the start where her prince shows up … and immediately goes to Shikimori and not her. And so the clock strikes twelve. In other words, Kamiya is already resigned to not having the boy she likes because he likes another, and his feelings are more important, right? On the other hand, this takes away Izumi’s chance to choose, even if we know he’s choose Shikimori anyway. Anyway, Kamiya is stuck back in her role of the beautiful, somehow unapproachable girl who has feelings like everyone else, but can’t get close to them. The show takes pains to show her trying to look cheerful but containing a sad side which makes me want to root for her. In the episode, Shikimori begs Kamiya to switch numbers, which, in true self-sacrificing fashion, she does, only to have the number returned later because Shikimori figured out her secret and doesn’t want to deprive her of a nice moment with the boy she likes. A sweet scene with lots of tears and reassurances, both girls know the score and what it means to the other, and the number is torn up. One more thing to take care of is Shikimori’s feelings about having a possible rival, not Kamiya, but in the future. Izumi’s kind nature has already swayed two girls, will there be another, Izumi’s still maturing after all … But we get more reassurances and tears. This scene didn’t have the punch of the first one, but it was above most of the others in the series.

Komi-san 9, a great episode, starts with day two of the Kyoto trip and free time, and the joy of the episode is that it takes two characters, Katou and Sasaki, the other members of Komi’s group, whom we know nothing about and are terribly awkward around Komi, and fleshes them out so that they become a dynamic, fun duo to watch. Not on Najimi’s level, but who is? It starts when Katou, desperate to break the ice, announces a schedule for the day, which means Osaka of all things, and also that historical town I can’t remember the name of. Naturally, hijinks happen. The Universal Studios “Honey Potter” stuff, shark rides, Spider-san rescues them once, and then it’s off to feed deer, which Komi does cutely, of course, and then the episode gets a little ridiculous during the historical town bit, Komi in a kimono (beautiful, of course) suddenly waylaid by evil ninjas, part of an act but Sasaki doesn’t know that … The girls even have a small spat after that, just to settle things down a little. Komi, with her notebook, calms them down.

As fun and silly as these scenes are, maybe the best moments come in the hotel room after, Katou’s embarrassing secret is dragged out of her, and to her surprise, is admired by the other two. … Compare Katou and Sasaki from the their nervous introduction in ep8 to the train home. Now, each girl knows all about the others (well, maybe not Komi), plot to get each one sitting by people they like, and generally behave like an experienced comedy act, and another asset to the series. Great fun to watch, and another demonstration of how this show seems to be able to pull off anything it wants to.

Give him the damn chocolate already.

Sooner or later the show had to do a Valentines Day episode. You know the drill, the girl is afraid to give the chocolates to the boy, time passes, and then finally, in a private scene, she manages to do so. This is exactly what happens in episode 10, but there are a couple of differences. After a silly scene where Kaede invites Komi to her crowded house to make a chocolate cake, which is not given but promptly eaten, the real day arrives, and Komi has absolutely no trouble handing out chocolates to everyone. And everyone else is giving chocolate too. A good Valentine episode will show how each couple, or friend, is actually getting along. So we have Katou, nervously and with some prodding, giving chocolates to a stunned Makoto. Nakanaka’s moody facade is swept away when she gets some. The boys fantasize, as usual. It’s a good scene, but we’re getting ready for the Komi/Tadano angst. The show does a good job of treating it with humor. We sympathize with Tadano’s letdown but the show knows better than to wallow in depression, and seeing it from Tadano’s view meaning they cut down on hesitant Komi scenes. In the end, she manages to deliver the gift, almost an afterthought, and while it’s sweet, it’s the obligatory end and not as entertaining as the chocolate-giving classroom scene.

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