Classroom Crisis has a suitable ending that is rousing enough for the low-to-middle expectations I had of it.
Most of it jumps between two different scenes going on more or less at the same time. To start with, we get an odd bit where Mizuki stops Iris from going off on the new rocket, saying she’s not fit to fly it, etc. Then the lights come on, workgirls come in to prep the rocket, and Misuki does a full 180 and practically begs Iris to fly it. Right before Iris was about to reveal her big secret. Then off they go (both girls), to rescue Nagisa. The actual rescue scene is briefer than I would have liked, but appropriately tense. Having some music that sounds like they stole it from Sidonia didn’t hurt. Then they develop the love triangle a bit, and Nagisa starts making bold pronouncements from the rescue craft, to the other scene, the CEO meeting.
While we’ve been jumping from space to corporate offices, it’s fitting that the action finishes here. Kaito does his “Don’t dump A-TEC” speech to a skeptical group of suits who grow more interested by the minute, especially when they get live footage of the rescue. The only argument against was “This new rocket is great in theory, but let’s see you test it first!” After the CEO does his “hum-hum, we voted down A-TEC last meeting, hurr hurr,” Kaito does something he should have done in episode one. He resigns. Why this hadn’t occurred to him earlier I don’t know, apart from the well-being of his students. But then I can’t believe he could be so dumb as not to know that the new, tested engine is Kirishina’s property. What an idiot. Nice timing then for the revived Nagisa to tune in …
As for the show as a whole, Kaito’s character sums it up. Ambitious, starry-eyed, attempting to be inspirational but seemingly blind to reality. Also, he tried to take on too much. In the show’s world, it’s okay because it’s fiction and we allow it if we buy into the story, but for this show, it tried to juggle too many things and dropped too many balls. When did they suddenly come up with this new rocket design? What was the whole point of the Iris/Nagisa identity switch, really? Well, I’m going to give the show some credit for trying hard. I don’t think they copped out on anything they put into the series, they just couldn’t handle them all. It had some fun bits, not least the idea of small company turned giant and working to squash the independent spirit that created it in the first place. Overall, not bad, but not great either.
Charlotte‘s finale goes a long way toward redeeming the series.
Since they only had 25 minutes for Yuu to remove all the abilities in the world, they didn’t waste any time. We spend all our time with Yuu as he goes from one place in the world to another, quickly picking up the ability to identify users and efficiently removing them, one by one. While he does encounter some interference, he’s gained enough abilities by now to get through them. Part of the fun is that we don’t know exactly what he’s picked up, so when he encounters some new threat it’s a surprise to see what sneaky trick he’s got to counteract it. While I think in real life the users would band together more efficiently and get governments and other powerful people involved, the show makes it makes his success plausible, even with mundane things like getting on aircraft. They even think about those people whose powers haven’t awakened yet. Turns out Yuu’s picked up an app for that too.
And while he goes around doing what he promised to do, he’s also slowly cracking up. We are reminded of his earlier breakdown when Ayumi first died, except there’s no Nao around to keep an eye on him. The question of whether he’ll turn and use his powers badly occurs to us, and to Yuu, but there’s that ring of flashcards he still keeps with him which reminds him of a promise he no longer knows the reason for. At the beginning of the series, and even after his first crackup, he might have broken the promise. That he keeps it now shows us how much his friends and sister have redeemed him. And, at the very end, when we see the price he pays for his mission, I felt it was sad, but not hopeless. He still has his friends, and even if he doesn’t remember who they are, they know who HE is.
An excellent episode, really the best the show could have managed under the circumstances. There wasn’t time to show much other than Yuu, and his adventures and slow breakdown were paced almost perfectly. His rescue near the end by a girl about Mayumi’s age was a nice touch. And any quibbles, like how Shunsuke found him, aren’t worth pursuing. Maybe the episode felt a little too relentless, but I don’t think there was any room for the silly comedy the series could lapse into, not until the end, but there the characters have bonds to remake. I frankly hadn’t expected such an optimistic finale, but I think Yuu earned it. As for the series as a whole, this episode lifted it from good to very good. If I had a complaint about Charlotte it’s that it wasn’t as consistently good, early episodes in particular. But I feel much better about it now.
After all that happened last week it was a probably necessary for Charlotte 12 to be a sort of healing episode. We watch Yuu slowly rehabilitate while at least one other ability user blames him for letting Kumagami die, the idiot. But it does place a sense of responsibility on Yuu and leads to his big plan to fix things, a ridiculous plan, but even so … Along the way we get to see some loose ends tied up. Misa says goodbye to her parents and to Yusa, and leaves (the two best scenes in the episode). And Yuu confesses to Nao.
And off he goes to take away everyone’s ability. No idea how he’s going to do that, and no one around him seems to know, either. But he considers it’s the only thing he can do, and wants to make sure the abilities can no longer take people away from each other. You could argue that people find other ways to hurt people all the time, but that’s not part of the show, I guess. My question: is this mission going to destroy him, even after they set up a romance with Nao if he succeeds? Is he going to sacrifice himself? While he seems of sound mind, he might have some residual guilt that drives him to it. Anyway, I’m interested to see how it will turn out, which is a good result for a penultimate episode.
Jitsu wa Watashi wa 12 bumbles toward a big finish next week using the one or two plot things available to it: Youko’s father and secret, and Aizawa’s third point of the love triangle. They set it up nicely enough. I was taken by surprise by the sight of big bat (father) flying Youko away even though we had gotten the foreshadowing before. In the time before that I was ready to strangle Aizawa for interfering, but at the same time I could understand her pain and confusion. And as it turns out it was more entertaining than the alternative: Asahi reaching the roof to find she had already given up and left. At least this way we get a giant bat, and Aizawa has a direct way to make amends.
Sore ga Seiyuu! 12 is not the finale, in spite of its big finish, closing credits over the concert, and lack of a preview. At least that’s what online sources say.
It moves predictably. Ichigo tries but can’t hide her ankle sprain from the other girls, but insists it will get better. After this week’s big celeb cameo speech (Yui Horie again, looking even frumpier than before. She must have a great sense of humor to allow the show to tease her like this).
Futaba puts her own, uninjured foot down and insists Ichigo tell the staff. Naturally, everyone pitches in with solutions for her to perform without straining the ankle, and all goes well. The concert almost sells out, too.
In a way I think it was a blessing, at least for Futaba, for Ichigo to injure herself. Instead of falling into her usual pre-show jitters, she instead has to concentrate on new choreography and getting Ichigo through the concert. Nothing like a minor crisis to take you mind off unimportant stuff. And so I managed to relax while they performed. The worst thing that would happen would be for Ichigo to hurt her foot again, and I suspect the audience of fanboys and girls would forgive her if they knew the truth anyway. But what about next week? Probably something lighter and sillier, more in line with the original comic, which is more of a series of anecdotes rather than a serious story anyway.
The final moments of Non Non Biyori: Repeat say something about what the show is about, and my expectations while watching it. After the closing credits they return to a shot of the characters sitting under the blossoming cherry tree, a shot they had given us just before. We wait for something to happen, someone to stand up or say something, but all we get are floating blossoms and the sound of the wind. Then the show switches to the clouds above, and we wait, and nothing happens. The scene fades away. And nothing could make me happier.
In fact, the whole episode felt slow, calm, and deliberate, moving at the pace of the countryside, maybe more than any other episode. Renge and Hotaru drop by the school, then everyone goes digging for bamboo shoots, which they prepare and eat. Then they kill time before the whole gang goes out to do hanami, cue the slow fade. The time-killing scene was a perfect example of a moment that would be deadly in some other show but feels, necessary (and amusing) in this one. First, it’s all the girls, then Komari and Hotaru decide to make tea. Renge runs after a butterfly and Natsumi follows. Now, no one’s in the picture. Suguru wanders in, looks around, wanders off. Finally, Komari and Hotaru return with drinks. Throughout, the camera hasn’t budged, as if was showing a moment of human life in the country the way a documentary would film a nest with birds.
The show was always at its best when it turned away from gag scenes and showed the characters interacting with the rural world around them. Not that the gag scenes were always weak, but they were inconsistent and things you could find in a lot of shows. I think in its second season, Non Non Biyori focused more on its strengths, and, curiously, I think I enjoyed the characters more. Renge didn’t need the help: she’s as great as she was in the first season, but this time I got to enjoy the others more, even Natsumi, who stopped being such a brat and became more of a wild tomboy with obvious affection for Renge. It makes me a little sad to see the series go, but I also wonder if any good would come from a third one? Well, why not? There’s still plenty of things in the country that they haven’t shown us.
In Rokka no Yuusha 11, the bad news is they’re still at that damn temple. The good news is we might actually be close to moving on.
Nachetania, now a little crazy, tries to kill Adlet. Then Maura and Goldof join in, with Flamie on the other side, and we get a nice-looking fight scene. Flying metal things, smoke, and bodies fly in the air for a while, while Adlet, who had just promised to protect Flamie, runs off to find Hans while she provides cover fire. In the end, it’s two against one for both Adlet and Flamie, and both go down, and now, unfortunately, it’s time for more talk.
This whole situation could work well as a locked-room mystery, except instead of a murderer there’s an impostor, but the situation can’t live up to that. They have to recall a side character we haven’t seen, who can control the sun’s rays and thus create a fog. In a real mystery the answer can’t depend on something the creators never bothered to tell us. That’s cheating. Well, the show never said it was a mystery series, but since they’ve all spent goodness-knows how many episodes stuck at that temple trying to figure out who the seventh brave is, it sure felt like one. And in true mystery fashion, they don’t bother to tell us, but leave us hanging until next week … How much you want to bet they don’t tell us next episode, either?
Gate 11 settles down to crank up more story arcs now that the fetishes, er representatives of fairyland, have returned. And so the episode is split into a number of unrelated scenes. First we get Pina’s diplomatic initiatives, meeting with Cicero (who’s dressed like a Roman, as is everyone else at his feast, even the Japanese diplomat. We learn and are not surprised that there are hawks and doves in power, and Pina’s current strategy is wooing the senate. But nothing more is done this episode. A shame, I’d like to see the fairyland politics in action.
We kill time catching up with little events, like the camp turning into a town with (so far) peaceful intermingling of races. Souvenirs are bought on both sides, everyone is happy because no one’s trying to kill them for now. Meanwhile, Tuka is looking around for her dead father (want to bet he’s not really dead?), drunk Rory comes on to Youji again. And then the other big story arc shows up in the form of dark elf Yao, in search of the green people because there’s a wounded fire dragon her people want offed. It hit me then that this series is far from over. I’m also worried that we’ve seen the last of the political maneuvering on our world, that the interests of three superpowers were polished off with that Keystone Cops scene last episode. Well, if this is a longer series, hopefully they’ll get back to that.
I was wondering what Charlotte would do now that Ayumi was back, but I had forgotten the outside threats. This episode was one of those supremely depressing ones to set us up for the finale. Let’s see, some foreigners, no doubt American, blackmail somebody and manage to abduct and torture Kumagami until he spills the beans on all the other ability users. So Yuu, the real target, is ordered to go in alone. Tough for the guy since he thought he would have to spend the rest of puberty in that bunker, kicking back and watching DVDs and losing at Mahjong. And, though he is sort of a coward, he goes in and pretty much ruins the bad guy’s plans.
So, rather abruptly, the big threat is gone and there’s no big story arc they’re hinting at. Like each of the others, the show uses the outside threats as a means to mess with the characters’ lives and well-being. This time Kumagami pays the price (and no more time traveling to fix it), and Shun bears most of the guilt and sorrow. Trouble is, we haven’t known Shun long enough to really emphasize with him, and while Kumagami was an admirable character, he wasn’t a main one, instead just a helper who showed up when the plot needed him. Glad he could save Nao, though. I figure next week there will be plenty of grieving, but what else are they going to do?
I forgot all about Rokka no Yuusha last week, showing how much the show has captivated me. So I waited for episode 10 to arrive and now I’ll do a two parter, with very little time spent on the first one because it’s more of the same. Okay, the battle and defeat of Chamot wasn’t bad. I guess Adlet figured to do something unexpected and quick so that Chamot wouldn’t be able to react in time. But after that it was more of the locked room mystery. I can’t figure out the twists of logic that Adlet is working on Flamie and Hans is trying on Maura anymore; besides every time they they make a point the other person says, “Yes, but …” and introduces a bit of factual information that we at home knew nothing about. At least Nachetanya is working with accidental slips of the tongue in her latest theory (that it’s Hans). There was one nice moment near the end where Flamie asks Adlet to stay with her, because she wants to try and believe him, basically a person who trusts no one and is living in darkness reaching out to someone. Otherwise, I think Mutta spent more time in that pod in Space Brothers than these guys have at that temple.
Episode 10 isn’t much better. First, in spite of her softening last week, Flamie decides she’s going to kill him unless he tells her the truth, so he tells her he loves her. This has the desired effect for maybe five seconds and then she tries to kill him again. And so we spend a lot of time with Adlet on the run and others deciding how to handle whatever they’re handling. Maura sends out a call using her super-voice (which she didn’t bother to use in any situation before) to announce that Adlet tried to kill Hans, making Hans go “Huh?” and so now EVERYONE’S out to get him. Meanwhile Nachetanya decides all of a sudden that the others are right and goes a little murderously insane. When Maura and Flamie catch Adlet he does another clever show using a drug, to prove that Flamie didn’t activate the barrier, though again, why not use that before? Anyway, now it’s Flamie and Adlet on the run and homicidal Nachetanya confronting them. Just flip a coin, guys. I don’t care anymore.
I’m pleased that Charlotte didn’t use time-travel the way Madoka or Steins;Gate did, that is, go back in time only to make the situation worse than it was before.
We start with a flashback to jump-backs, as Shun explains what exactly happened. He jumped back to prevent ability users from getting caught by the still-unexplained evil forces, first befriending Kumagami, then others. Over and over again he tries only to figure out that what they need first is a few friendly adults and a lot of cash. And we learn that Shun overused his abilities and that’s why he’s blind. Sala, her own blindness, and her music are not mentioned, alas. And we learn, well, Yuu does, that he has that looting ability. Now let’s go back and rescue Ayumi!
I kept expecting something bad to happen. But nothing really does. When Yuu “loots” Ayumi’s nascent ability I was surprised that it was done so matter-of-factly, also relieved. Then it’s time for box-cutter girl. A couple of questions: why didn’t Kumagami and Medoki participate more actively? They seem to come and go depending on whether the plot needs them or not. Also, how did they know about box-cutter girl? They never saw the actual confrontation. How did Yuu know to hide in that locker at that time? And did anyone think to get the girl needed some therapy afterwards? Well, it doesn’t matter much; I was too relieved that they didn’t try to pull a Homura on us I guess. Also, they added some silly comedy when Nao and the others try to infiltrate. I enjoyed it, again because it hinted that maybe things would go well this time. Even when Yuu and Ayumi were walking home together I thought something bad might happen. Happily, nothing did. But in terms of the show: now what?
With Shimoneta 10, it looked like a satisfying end to the Gathered Fabric arc until Kosuri pulls a surprise.
First, Gathered Fabric do their big move and hijack a lot of city buses to get the passengers’ underwear. This is made more interesting by how our characters, stuck on different buses, manage to subdue three hijackers without even trying or thinking about it. Each one whips out their eccentric character traits (Fuwa–scientific curiosity, Anna–lust for Okuma, and Gouriki, well let’s not talk about that). Then it’s time to lure White Peak’s bus to a certain area. There’s a lot of talk about the finer points of underwear fetishism, done with dramatic spy music and a big confrontation with WP until Kosuri screws it all up. The fanatical terrorists always ruin it for the rational terrorists, I guess. As usual, a lot of fun if you don’t mind all the dirty jokes, or that they’re mostly bleeped out.
Charlotte 9 tells us a hell of a lot, and they’re just getting started.
We start with the Zhiend concert, Nao fangirling and Yuu amused, and then the actual concert. The last song was pretty good and I was getting into it when Yuu suddenly screams and we’re in a flashback, though that’s probably not the right word. Here, Yuu and Ayumi are in an institution with lots of armed guards, the very situation that Nao and everybody else feared might happen. The show starts feeding us tidbits, like Yuu’s big brother who can do time jumps and is thus stuck in a special cell. Also, Yuu has a power no one knows about. Also, there’s a plot to do something afoot, but we don’t know what.
And then it gets worse. Ayumi is forced to awaken and in doing so nearly takes down the entire cell block. But at least she’s alive–for now, since she’s going to be dissected soon, so the plot is put into action. Because we still don’t really know what’s going on, or what the consequences are, apart from death, it’s an exciting sequence. And it raises other questions, such as what happened to Yuu’s other special ability, who those other people are and how much they know about this past existence in the regular one. But apparently, back in our world, a lot of people were waiting for Yuu to get this part of his memory back, because he’s led to a secret base, meets his brother, and learns he can rescue Ayumi, which might be where the show is heading now. Good of the show to play so many cards at once for us, but this episode left me a little overwhelmed.
Shimoneta 9 sets out to exhibit Kosuri’s growing dissatisfaction with SOX’s unaggressive (to her) actions, and SOX’s dissatisfaction with Korsuri’s more harmful approach to things. This wouldn’t take too long, so they invent some failed attempts to catch Gathered Fabric’s minions and throw in the usual perverted behavior in order to fill out the 25 minutes. For a while I didn’t know which side was working for who. Okuma catches lewd boys, and Oboro–wait, turns out she’s a boy too–and Anna, while in his SOX lack of uniform, and no one bats an eyelash. Odd to see SOX working on the moral side for once. But the episode seemed to go nowhere. Just the usual jokes, most of them bleeped out. Though, as Okuma points out, Oboro’s lack of identity except how it revolves around Anna is a pathetic life to lead.
Jitsu wa Watashi wa 9 takes just about everyone out to the pool. It was supposed to be a date, but you know how that goes. There’s a little of the usual comedy, but mainly it’s Asahi teaching Youko how to swim. And after the gang leaves the pool, the two sneak off to the school pool and practice some more. … and that’s it, just a brief pause between story arcs to let them enjoy themselves. It teeters on the edge of romance, but it seems that the two may not ready for that. The only revelation is Kouko saying how much she enjoys school life now. I think that was the point of the episode, and the creators didn’t want to inject any drama where it doesn’t belong, so we get a sweet, happy scene witn no bad consequences. Though I wonder if we’re being set up …
After an episode where they kill off Yuu’s cute kid sister and one of Yuu descending into the depths of despair, remorse, rage, etc, Charlotte 8 tries to make it up to us by giving us a bit of a healing episode. Yuu happens to meet Sala, the lead singer of ZHIEND. Stupid coinkidinks aside, it’s rather a nice episode, though there’s almost nothing plotworthy until near the end (they have enough time spend a couple of minutes on Misa’s new music video. I actually like the song a little). They walk, Sala sensing Yuu’s tragedy and insisting that she get to light some incense, Nao surprisingly not caring to meet her, though I understand her feelings about it, and they talk some more.
It feels good for Yuu, showing off his good side (and happy to be back in school with his friends), and it feels even better for Nao’s brother Kazuki, who’s busy ripping up the bedlinens as usual when Yuu brings Sala to visit. I had expected something bad to happen in this scene, but instead we get a good end–Kazuki calms down, and later recognizes Nao. So Yuu’s helped his own recovery by successfully doing something good for someone, or two people. As for the plot, there’s Sala’s claim that she lost her eyesight in exchange for rock and roll success, or something, and that reinforces the weird connection Yuu and perhaps Nao have with this band. So a good, relatively peaceful episode that also tantalized us with foreshadowing. Wonder how that concert’s going to go next week? They better show it.
Meanwhile, in Rokka no Yuusha, they’re STILL stuck at the temple.
Well, at least there’s some action. Adlet manages to let loose another bomb, but it blinds both him and Hans, so they run about stumbling over things for a while. But then Adlet is cornered again, and it’s talk time. I don’t think Hans should have lowered his guard so easily, not that it did him any harm. Adlet might have had good reason not to kill Flamie or any other brave and still be evil, or, as I suspect, the seventh brave doesn’t know he/she’s the seventh and we won’t find out until much later, maybe, at the rate this is going, episode 257. Well, it’s moot after that “dying man can’t lie” business, which is good enough logic for this show.
While Adlet and Hans were fighting and talking it out, the other pairs were just talking. Goldof is accused of jealousy when he asks why Nashetania defends Adlet, when he could merely be wondering at Nash’s strange behavior and whether it’s good for the team. And Maura and Flamie get some bonding time in. It looks like Flamie’s totally in with the group now. But they’re still stuck there and suspecting each other until Chamot gets bored and has a nifty idea about killing everybody, more or less. All I can think is … if it pushes the story out of its funk, let’s try her plan out.
And Shimoneta remains funny even if the story is getting a trifle confusing. This week we not only have Kosuri show some of her nastier side, but we get a new, er, villain, named Oboro, who was sent as a prefect on lewd matters. Right now Oboro and the prefects Anna enlists are the more immediate threat, as they’re getting trained on what is lewd and what is not, meaning the students will soon be able to enforce the rules themselves. Crazy logic since SOX’s goal was to educate the kids on all this stuff already. It won’t matter much. Oboro can be instructed to find anything lewd, or NOT lewd, depending on how clever the argument, so she won’t be an enemy for along. Besides, she dances with the others in the ED.
As for Kosuro, they set up Kosuri’s bad tendencies last week, let it simmer, and bring it out in a rather confusing fashion. She infiltrates another school and messes with the love lives of their student council as she infiltrates. While this is not very nice behavior, it’s so shoujo that I can’t really feel appalled by it. The business at the end, where she tries to make Okuma her slave or she’ll … what? I don’t understand what hold, what advantage she has over Okuma that he would give in to her. I’m not sure HE understands, either. Well, she dances in the ED too, so she’ll get straightened around soon enough.
Jitsu wa Watashi wa 8 is two parts with a single, tired theme. In the first one there’s a make-up home EC class where Asahi and the girls have to make curry. Everyone does their own character-styled take on the klutz cooking theme and there’s not much to it. The best part came early, when Aizawa confidently leaped into the battle and made perfect curry, except it was chocolate cake, and that leads us to part two, where Akane threatens the world with destruction by asteroid if she doesn’t get another taste of Aizawa’s curry, er, cake. A shame that what could have been a splendid series of accidents and coincidences wound up being yet another klutz cooking scene, because Akari wanted to punish Akane for reasons the show didn’t bother to tell us.
Rampo Kitan – Game of Laplace has always had vivid, often extreme imagery, but in episode 7 it gets so stylish that the story gets completely swamped. But at least we start normally enough. Kobayashi and Hashiba are taking exams, and Kobayashi challenges Hashiba and Akechi to some card game to bet on whether even bother. The game itself involves both strip poker and Hershey’s kisses and we never do figure out what it’s about. I also don’t know why Kobayashi is dressed as a girl again. It’d be nice to think that he’s developing into a transvestite, but the show gives no indication apart from an earlier thought that it’s easier to solve certain things dressed as a girl, or get taken hostage.
Anyway, another Twenty Faces has appeared, and all semblance of normality goes away. First a visit to Black Lizard, then a trip to a murder scene, an island where a theme park is being built by a dubious major corporation. Island residents appear as mannequins, we get a song and dance by the two builders, who turn out to be the victim, another three-minute murder thing, the bizarre murder location (the victims were crushed by giant mannequins), Akechi talking to characters who aren’t there. More mannequins representing the people who discovered the bodies … It was all Akechi gathering clues and depositions, you know, detective work, but throughout I worried that the show had forgotten what it was there for. When it does return to normal Kobayashi (still in a dress) and Hashiba have arrived via helicopter, maybe the most normal thing in the episode.
The cliffhanger of Gate 6 turned out about as expected.
Episode 7 doesn’t do much else but revel in the JSDF otaku meeting a cat-girl and a bunny-warrior. After that it’s just clearing the way for Youji to meet the Diet, bringing along the magical characters they’ve already met, all of them female fetish objects. This is possibly the best strategy for Youji and the local command to win over the diet and make them think twice about taking over the other world, not that I think it would work. There are too many forces on our earth eager to profit from this new world, and not just in Japan. But the show apparently doesn’t want to work this in yet. So it’s mainly deciding which girls should go. Why Youji is so reluctant to have Pina come along I don’t know. She is the closest thing to a head of government who’s coming. As for Rory … I don’t know if bringing her would be such a great idea.
To be fair, I really should have watched Classroom Crisis next, but I decided to watch Charlotte 7 to see if she’s dead.
Okay, no trolling. Instead they chose the manipulative way out–fiddle with our emotions for no real reason. Well, the alternative was pretty manipulative, too. Unfortunately it meant we got to watch an entire episode of Yuu mourning in his own way, that is, holing up in his apartment, lashing out at everyone who comes near him, getting driven out, living in internet cafes and the streets, and taking delight in hurting thugs. Until Nao puts a stop to it. Sort of a shame. It’d have been fun to see him turn into the show’s villain.
On the other hand, you have to admire Nao’s perseverance, and wonder a bit at her restraint. She watched all the scrapes he got into, saw him sinking further and further, and didn’t interfere. Well, HE didn’t interfere when she was getting beat up … But why did she wait so long? It seems to me she could have kicked him much sooner than that. The only thing I can think of is that not enough time in the episode had passed. As it was, Yuu’s descent was effective to a point but went on far too long. As for Ayumi, I think we haven’t seen the last of her. Misa can channel spirits, remember.