I was worried that Bocchi the Rock! wouldn’t be able to keep up the quirky energy that made episode one so delightful, but I needn’t have worried. Well, it does drag a bit in ep3 with Kita apologizing for flaking out on Kessoku Band, and their entreaties to rejoin, but I attribute that to watching two episode back-to-back and burning out a little bit. Anyway, episode two explains the quota system where the band has to pay if they don’t bring in enough paying customers, so they all have to get a job! Fortunately for Hitori, Nijika suggests they all work at the club, so they’ll all be together. So she does. Now, scenes like these with a socially dysfunctional character being forced to interact with customers would normally drive me crazy, but they don’t dwell on any single moment, except to watch Hitori’s still funny self-loathing routine, not to mention the consistently superb voice-work. She manages to get through it and gets to see a popular band perform, too, showing her the fun of being united in a show. One step taken (which the show presents as one of a thousand). Oh, one other interesting bit. The club’s manager (and Nijika’s sister) might have recognized Hitori’s playing …
Episode 3, well, I said I was tired, so it seemed to labor at the end. Hitori manages to ask the popular Kita to sing and play with them (hilarious bit where she’s afraid to go to Kita’s classroom and peeps in the door, shaking, only to have Kita call her by her name–once more the show knowing when to cut out the angst and doki-dokies and get to the point of the scene), but Kita’s afraid to go back to the people she ran out on. But after a night working at the club, and Hitori’s nervous, jumpy request, plus the others, she agrees. A bit long, but I guess you have to draw out the emotional bits sometimes. As for other emotional bits, Hitori improvises two songs to express her despair which made me giggle throughout (She doesn’t do light material and hates it when a dark band she likes becomes popular–Seishun Complex). The only thing that bugs me about the episode is that Kita is a bit of an idiot. I don’t mean that she initially joined because she has a girl-crush on Ryo, I get that, but she says she can’t play guitar, but she has callouses. Where did she get them? Turns out she was actually trying to play a six-string bass. That was a bit too much for me. Otherwise, two solid episodes.
In Renai Flops‘ first episode Asahi, on the way to school, had unfortunate run-ins with a bunch of girls, only to have one, Aoi, after school, confess to him after losing her panties, leading to a not-hilarious dialogue because she hadn’t noticed. How could she not notice she’s gone commando in a short skirt and a stiff breeze? Anyway, each of the girls he annoyed in the morning come on to him on the way home, and when he gets there he finds all of them waiting for him with “Do you want dinner, a bath, or …” type lines. Turns out his absent father arranged this. All the girls will be staying there, take your pick. He comes close to throwing them out, especially when they do things like sneak into his bath, but relents because they have no place to go, even the teacher. So, instant harem. And that’s about it for this episode. Now that the premise is set up I’m going to watch maybe one more episode to see if the humor plays out. Though it’s clear he’s going to choose Aoi anyway.
Akuyaku Reijou etc keeps acting like a highlight reel of a longer story. We’re dumped into situations and we have no idea what happened because the show doesn’t bother to tell us the backstory. In episode 4, right off the bat, we learn that Keith has been selling demons to pay for some sort of debt. Where did this come from? Also, it triggers Claude’s rage, which turns him into the monster that will be an end point to the story. The rest of the episode is all about Aileen’s attempt to stop an event that, since it’s just thrown at us at the last minute, we don’t have the ability to care for. What’s more, when the big scene happens, and Lilia is about to strike down the transformed Claude with her Sword Maiden sword, Aileen steps in the way and … absorbs it. We learn that she too has sword maiden blood. You’d think they would have set that up some time earlier … I guess the emotional points are Cedric kidnapping and nearly molesting Aileen–at least that gives us a tense moment. And at the end Claude and Aileen have an engagement ceremony. It feels like an ending to a series that’s only four episodes in.
So I guess Aileen has taken care of the death flags in the first game, but in episode 5 we learn of a sequel, with a bunch of new characters. Apparently there are some disgruntled demons in another province who reject Claude marrying a sword maiden. Claude goes to act as proxy governor and tells Aileen to stay behind. Naturally she doesn’t, but instead cross-dresses and enters a school where all the game II characters are. Some intrigue ensues involving Rachel who’s supposed to be evil but seems to be a victim, and a nasty professor. Also there’s “demon essence,” which causes demons to go into rages and ups humans’ strengths. Sounds like a fun unlock. Let’s see, SC prez James is the final boss, and there’s Selena, who is a decent sort but devoted to Lilia and hates Aileen for taking that sword … Not sure where any of this is going.
Now that Bond has joined the family and the crisis is out of the way, Spy x Family 4 takes a breather and gives us two stories without much to them. In the first, Yor, desperate to be a better wife, begs her coworker Camilla for cooking lessons. Of course, they set it up to make it look like she’s on a deadly mission, cuts on her fingers, determined glare, etc. And after botching it all up several times, manages to make a decent stew. Though she can’t make anything else and they can’t eat that every day … In the second story, Franky begs Yor for help with a girl she has a crush on. So it’s conversation rehearsals and replying options. But you know, Franky is a little guy. At least the show spares us the humiliation of his attempt and the girl’s refusal. Both stories aren’t much, really.
I don’t know how long I’m going to keep watching the few shows I’m watching now. If I have to make a cut it will probably be Shinmai Renkinjutsushi no Tenpo Keiei, which has switched back into happy mode after the grizzly attack last episode. Repairs need to be made to the shop, items (the bear parts) need to be sold for it. There’s some wheeling and dealing with the mayor, and then Sarasa heads off to the next city over, whose name I didn’t write down. After a rather gothy guy at one shop tries to undersell her, she finds success at the other place, which looks more like a cosmetics place than anything else. So deals are made. She goes back and Leora suggests they make a kitchen, so they do, and so Delai at the inn buys a couple for herself, more profit! This show, apart from the occasional kind gift of thanks, is about the cash, which is refreshing. And so they all sit down for sweets and tea, except they forgot to tell Iris, so she’s cutely miffed. Meanwhile I keep thinking about that first alchemist shop that tried to rip Sarasa off. The guy looked fun, if not entirely scrupulous. Hope they get back to him.