Kage, DIY, Bocchi, Renai 5-6

Cid showing off.

Let’s see, in Kage no Jitsuryokusha ni Naritakuke! 5 we have Kageno facing off against Zenon to rescue Alexia, and we get a side battle with that mistreated monster running amok. Neither have a lot of drama to them, since we know Kageno and Alpha will beat their respective foes, the latter out of mercy. While the action is fun to watch in both, we’re kind of wondering what’s going on with the onlookers, the sisters, proud, skilled fighters, watching in awe while this secret organization kicks the ass that they couldn’t. Not to mention that Alexia is in awe of Iris already. But I wonder if the show will make any more of it. Then, to get back to the human bits, Alexia, free of her engagement to the vaporized Zenon, comes on to her pretend boyfriend, who says “nope.” The body was never found, they say, but we then see him, covered in blood, bumping into a nice girl. The show is still teasing us about Kageno’s abilities, I see.

The gift of chocolates doesn’t go over well.

Episode 6, well, everyone calls him Cid, so I will. Cid, unharmed, visits a confectionery shop with his, as he puts it himself, dependable side characters and is quickly taken up to meed Gamma, one of the Shadow Garden girls, and there’s talk of this other group killing people and calling themselves by the same name. Meanwhile, cute little Sherry Barnett is tasked with deciphering an artifact, which the bad guys want. Cid saves Alexia from the fake SG goons, etc. What makes it mildly entertaining, even when we get interminable side character antics is Cid’s blase attitude toward it all. At one point he suspects Alexia is the one doing the killing, but if that’s what she wants, he doesn’t really care … But it does make it hard to feel interested in the story.

Do it Yourself! 5 brings us Kouki, or Shii, not a name you’d expect from someone from India. She comes in through the roof, eager to join, but gets a little ahead of herself so she and Rei have an arm-wrestling match. Many people might be put off by her overwhelming Spider-man skills and her constant “nyaas” but I didn’t mind it. She brings energy to this often slow-moving show. Intro scenes done with the gang start on the treehouse project, but there’s not enough in the budget for the necessary TABs (Tree Attachment Bolt, I think). Shii suggests taking some discarded pallets from a ware house, further integrating her into the group. Why this source of lumber had not occurred to Rei before I don’t know. However, Rei has a great moment where she nixes Shii and Jobko’s offer to just pay for the materials. No! You use the materials you can find! That’s the spirit of DIY! I wanted to applaud.

Returning home from the beach. Aww …

Episode 6 has the club with enough lumber for their treehouse, but the TABs are still out of their financial range, so they decide to make little bracelets and things to sell. This means gathering materials … at the beach. Yes, DIY has a beach episode! Now, I hadn’t expected swimsuits in this show, and while I don’t mind the occasional cute anime girl in a bikini, that’s not what this series is about. Fortunately, the suits are tasteful and the show knows better to indulge in fanservice. Besides, most of the time they’re in regular clothes looking for shells, driftwood, rocks, etc. It’s also an excuse for Purin, unwittingly invited along, to re-bond with Serufu. She’s THIS close to actually joining the club, in fact, Serufu actually invites her, but the moment is lost by Purin fighting her tsundere nature and an interruption. Well, maybe next episode, or the next. Doesn’t really matter when. It’s another nice episode, and drags only a little.

One thing I’ve wondered about in Bocchi the Rock! is when and where do the girls rehearse? We see Bocchi training with Kita, and others practicing alone, but the show seems to be deliberately refusing us scenes of rehearsals, probably because there are no gags in it, well, there can be if they wanted. So I was a little surprised in episode 5 that they felt ready to perform again. But to do that they have to pass an audition, Nijika’s big sis being hard on her little sis. And so, in a week they do, and are just good enough to pass. Big sis sees something in the band, especially Bocchi’s playing. (I’m looking forward to everyone learning who that great “Guitarhero” YouTuber actually is) You’d think that the pre-audition week would give us a ton of Boccchi-freakouts, and there are a couple, but they spend more time wondering what “growth” as a band, and for Bocchi, as an individual, actually means. Also, why are they a band? Bocchi wants adulation and love, so she says to herself, but she directs it toward making the band better, maybe the only sensible choice for her. Maybe the love she wants are from friends. So in the audition she plays hard for and with them, and doesn’t freak at all. She saves that for the post-audition, er, spewage, shown as live-action water gushing from various dams (“one moment please”). My other favorite bit, beside the performance, wasn’t a Bocchi-freakout at all, but an attempt to be more “band-like” by wearing suits and mop-tops.

Little steps.

Bocchi’s pattern continues in episode 6. Bocchi is in despair about something, here it’s selling those tickets, then someone forces her to do something, since she’d never be able to do it without pressure, and she gets a boost of self-esteem. Here at a loss with the unsold tickets, meets a hung-over girl named Kikuri (I don’t know if the show ever gave her name, but that’s what online sources tell me). Kikuri’s in a band of her own, and a good bass player. She’s either too friendly or drunk to be anything but nice and encouraging, and soon Bocchi manages to do a street performance with her. Kikuri’s most important line is “Don’t get it twisted who your enemies are,” which in this case means the audience, but applies to Bocchi’s life as well. Meanwhile we keep cutting to her bandmates asking Kita what Bocchi’s like at school. “You don’t know how to approach her,” says Kita. But Bocchi manages to play a song, and she even kept one eye open when she did it! A small, personal triumph for our Bocchi. In terms of visual bits this episode is slightly more subdued, but the show twice plays with her eyes, nose, mouth, etc, sliding around or falling off her face to good effect.

I fell behind with Renai Flops, maybe because I’m being very selective of the shows I watch this season and I felt like dropping it, but episode 4 was adequate, though not as crazy as it could have been. We learn right off the bat that Ilya is actually a girl, some nonsense about passing as a boy was her father’s last, and unexplained wish. They win a trip to an old hot spring inn, so Ilya has to share a room, and hit the onsen and sauna, with Asahi, without giving away her secret. It’s an adequate sequence, Ilya using a long-nosed tengu mask to cover up her lower parts, leading to some confusion from Asahi (“He’s a man’s man!). But of course her secret is revealed in the end. So now Ilya is Irina and she gets to wear a dress now. You wonder what that dying wish is all about, but you know they will never explain it. Or that tengu legend.

It’s Mongfa’s turn in episode 5. Her deep secret is that she was once a super assassin spy woman nicknamed “Bloody Tiger,” but she eventually dropped out of it to do some good in the world by becoming a teacher. But gangs haven’t forgiven her and one kidnaps Asahi as bait. She goes to rescue him from a love hotel of all places, and we wind up getting a lot more blood and violence than I expected from this show. In the end she, with Asahi’s help, bring down the big boss, and we have the usual reassuring Asahi routine, what you’ve done in the past doesn’t matter now, etc. etc., complete with the cosmic eye-contact-memory thing that all the featured girls have received. My big question about all this is what on earth was Karin doing sneaking in the house in the early morning? I suspect we’re going to learn her dark secret next episode.

So THAT’S her secret.

I figured Karin’s dark secret was she worked at an all-night cosplay bar or something, but it’s actually much more down-to-earth. She’s a magical girl. Here to save mankind from extinction by preventing an alien invader from attacking men’s crotches and removing their you-know-whats, literally a ball-busting operation. She has a mascot named after condom manufacturers and gives long infodumps which nearly sink the episode, their base is a truck with one-way windows … You can probably guess the rest. She has to build up magical power by getting all doki-doki with someone. Asahi, already stripped naked, gives his weekly lecture, this time about true love and saving herself, which miraculously brings her magical powers to full, and we get a nice light show battle. Not much to it all, of course. I’m just glad that sidekick Yoshio, the first victim of the aliens, gets his package back.

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