Rokka no Yuusha 6 doesn’t really go anywhere. Adlet and the others are still trapped there, and they’ve all pretty much decided that he’s the fake brave, and so must be evil. Only the princess disagrees but no one much listens to her anyway. We spend a few minutes watching Adlet invent possible scenarios that will get him off the hook (“They tunneled in, and then they tunneled out again right when I got there, sealing the stones and filling in the tunnel underneath! Yeah, that’s the ticket!”). Then he escapes with Flamie as a hostage, which isn’t going to improve his status. But after that we get hints of a backstory, but not enough. At least we discover WHY Adlet calls himself the strongest in the world, and it’s a good enough reason. Also, it’s clear that Flamie is warming up to him, in spite of his drugging her and using her as a hostage and all that.
Classroom Crisis 6 feels like more filler apart from the sleazy backstory we get from Nagisa. But it has an entertaining start. Nagisa tells Kaito that the only way to get out of their financial crisis is to innovate–which might be true, but it’s also what rich people say when they don’t want poor people to have extra money. But Kaito turns the tables by forcing Nagisa to pass exams that advanced college students might have trouble with, so he’s reminded that these worthless kids are just as smart or smarter than he is. Apart from the last bit we’ve seen all this before. As for the backstory, well, it explains why one of the company’s founding families hates the other one, or certain family members do, anyway. Not sure I like this. I was quite enjoying the more universal battle between greedy corporations and their employees. To put a scandal into it wasn’t really necessary.
While the preview suggested darker times in Shimoneta, what we got instead is a filler episode where Kajou decides to make, er, stimulating toys, sort of the next step for the horny students. As you can imagine, a lot is bleeped out this week. The main story shifts to Anna, as she takes one of the little vibrators Fuwa made and makes a pendant out of it. You can imagine the rest, or maybe you can’t. Through it all I feel a little bad for Okuma for wanting to preserve his chastity when not only Anna but Fuwa come on to him. And it was fun to see Kajo a little prudish for once. Another fun episode, and as for the toys, the show helpfully provides recipes and directions! Good to see that the staff of this show is dedicated to our happiness and well-being.
In Jitsu wa Watashi wa 4 we see that the show really doesn’t have much more of a story to tell us. There’s only the secret, and however many more hidden monsters they’re going throw at us. This week it seems to be the principal, but really don’t get to meet her, just her horns and a grin. So the show will live and die based on its sketches and gags. While there was some fun to be had with little Aizawa pretending to be a figurine, it went on too long. In fact, they stretched the whole situation into a full episode when half the time would have sufficed. Also, they’ve completely forgotten Asahi’s inability to hide a secret.
Well, episode 5 presents a new wrinkle, so maybe there IS a story arc. Apparently Youko has a childhood wolfman friend who’s grown up to be a thug, and is dispatched to see if Youko is keeping her secret. He’s going to be of two minds about this; he’s either going to be loyal to Youko’s dad, or he’s going to give her secret away himself because he’ll “get” Youko if it comes out. But this all happens at the very end of the episode. Before that we watch filler-episode routines about Youko and the sun, then visiting an amusement park with Asahi.
Classroom crisis‘s latest crisis is over, so it’s time for a graduation trip episode with little bits of backstory tucked in the gaps. The big revelation this week is that Iris lost her memory ten years ago and only Mizuki and Kaito(?) know about it, well, now Nagisa does. To add a little story to the episode, Nagisa needs to finish a project by midnight and his computers keep getting broken in comical ways. Oh, and the show is working on softening him up a little, or at least making him a little more sympathetic. Otherwise it was beach volleyball, splashy-splashy, swimsuits, followed by a traditional inn meal, then to the baths, and the inevitable peeping. They missed out on the ghost story and pillowfight though.
The thing that gets me about Gate 5 is this: why did that asshole emperor take Pina, a bastard daughter, and raise her as more-or-less legit? Maybe she wasn’t in line for the throne (they haven’t told us much about that area), but she can have an audience with him whenever she wants and was given a new military unit for her to lead. He could have just abandoned or killed her. Either there’s a story there they aren’t telling us or the show has had a lapse in judgement. Even if he did send her out to recon figuring she’d get killed, it doesn’t explain everything he did up to then.
That aside, what we’re watching is her first experience in leading a battle. Naturally it doesn’t go well and at the end of the episode she’s frozen up, seemingly forgetting that those green-uniform soldiers are waiting for her orders, and so is Rory, even if they had been set up to be a suicide unit. Alas, none of them get to do anything but wait for those orders (soldiers, don’t you know), though the previews suggest more action next week. Nothing much more to say, except the nice chat Rory and Youji have about his goals for participating in this mission.
Classroom Crisis, that show about high schoolers and corporate downsizing, got downright depressing in episode 3. Nagisa sends in a nasty accountant named Angelina to further humiliate Kaito and the kids, slashing their budget and sticking them in a dilapidated building that the company’s founders first used. A bit of cruel irony there. The founders developed their first rockets there, and the assumption there is that the kids now must be as creative as they had been. It raises an interesting question. Could they actually design something now that’s useful? Has the technology progressed far enough that they need state of the art equipment if they’re going to contribute to the company? Obviously Nagisa and Angelina don’t seem to think so, which is why they stuck A-TEC there. The show decides not to go that route, and I agree. It would demonstrate that A-TEC really didn’t need all that money and equipment. Anyway, half the kids quit and the others mope. Kaito loses every battle he gets into. He’s getting on my nerves.
In episode 4 Kaito decides to appeal to the union, but by this time A-TEC have suffered so many defeats that I didn’t want to get my hopes up, and indeed it looks like the union might just be using Kaito’s reputation as a bargaining chip before the next general election, well, the union chief happily admits it to the students … In other words, Kaito’s just become a pawn in a political struggle, but he will get his voice heard. You have to wonder if the trade-off is worth it. Oddly, the show veers away from that business altogether by having Nagisa promote Kaito to executive level, no longer represented by the union, and it looks like another defeat. Didn’t he realize that he’s just put his enemy in a position of power? Maybe he did; he didn’t seem displeased when Kaito and the kids creative rebuild their labs. There’s that rivalry with his brother. Maybe Kaito stopped being a union pawn and became a corporate one instead.
Watching three episodes of Non Non Biyori: Repeat reminds me of how maddeningly inconsistent the show is. Among the good, the Hotaru getting lost scene was done well enough that I felt genuinely sorry for her. What would YOU do if you were eleven years old in the middle of the countryside with no idea where you were? Then they topped it with an even scarier scene, when she and Komari are in darkness when their flashlight dies out, and this was after a lovely stargazing scene. The ruler pushing game wasn’t bad either. But then you have scenes like the “motivate me” that had me wondering if there is something seriously wrong with Kazuho, and Natsumi’s annoying test behavior.
But episode four makes up for most of it. It helps that it features Renge. It also helps that it didn’t really contain an individual scene but rather lazily strolled from one situation to another. From the rain to Renge’s new bike to her human teru-teru bouzu, to tadpole shrimp to more rain, gently leading us to her reaction when the critters she was observing die, Natsumi’s response (the first time Natsumi’s been useful in two seasons), and Renge’s reaction. None of it forced or rushed, allowing each scene to take as much time as it wanted and giving us some more lovely scenery in the meantime. More episodes like this one and this would be the best show running.
Ranpo Kitan: Game of Laplace 2 wraps up the nice chair arc and makes me wonder what they’re going to do next.
I gather there’s going to be more murders at the school, so I wonder if Kobayashi will continue to be a suspect. That’s rather a nice idea for a mystery series, where the same guy becomes a suspect each time and has to solve the mystery to save his butt. It’s probably been done, too. But getting back to the story … It simply unfolds, with Kobayashi talking about the crime with his interrogators like he was another detective and not the suspect, tossing together theories as fact, with one bit of deception used to reveal the killer (and wouldn’t she have thought that Hanabashi would have turned in that cell phone?), and a teary confession.
Routine. I’m no good at solving mysteries so I’ll take their word for it. But what gets me again about this episode is Kobayashi’s perky attitude toward everything, corpse pictures, being taken in … nothing fazes him. Even the cops are impressed. This made the killer’s line about their murderous homeroom teacher the best of the show: the serial killer fell for Kobayashi because he felt a kindred spirit. I don’t find his attitude unpleasant, though. I rather enjoy it. What I enjoyed even more was the concept that women fell for him and wanted to become chairs to remain close to him. There was so much of this “He wouldn’t make me a chair!” talk that I nearly giggled.
Joukamachi no Dandelion 2 has two separate stories. The first one is rather pointless since it’s more Akane walking to school in terror of the security cameras, though technically it’s her sister Kanade’s story. There’s more talk about the elections. Kanade wants to win it. So does Akane because she can get rid of the cameras, but since she’ll be in the public eye more as king, something Kanade points out that Akane should have thought of. Anyway, pretty pointless, since we know the situation already.
The second story is better. We meet Hana (actually, since there are so many royal siblings I thought it was one of them for a moment, such is the impact they’re making on me), Sakurada’s childhood friend who has developed a crush on him. This means several minutes of watching her making an idiot of herself at school. But then they do a nice thing. Caught following Sakurada and Akane, she actually confesses! What’s more, Sakurada isn’t against the idea of dating her. Wow, several episodes of high school romcom are suddenly cleared out and free for other stories! I wanted to cheer. Still don’t know if I’ll watch this show for long, but it’s a light and breezy watch for now.
Meanwhile, Gate 2 keeps my interest. As they hinted at last week, we learn that the magic world didn’t really know what they were in for when they tried to invade Tokyo. We start with them throwing a few attacks at the self-defense forces and getting destroyed in the attempt. We also learn that this was what Emperor Molt (heh) had in mind. He didn’t commit his own forces and now there’s no kingdom around that can pose a threat. Furthermore, he orders these other kingdoms to get their earth scorched, so to speak, to make sure. Meanwhile, in our world, the American president has got some nasty plans of his own brewing. Looks like neither side can trust their rulers.
Meanwhile, Youji is ordered to go out and try to make friends with the locals to learn more about this world and why on earth they would send medieval fantasy troops against a modern-day army with guns and rockets. He succeeds in making friends with a local village, but we’re not privy to any conversations, which is a shame. I’m very interested in seeing some actual dialogue about how this kingdom works. But along the way they witness some literal scorched-earth stuff going on, Molt’s leveling of his opposition. I wonder if it would have been better if we didn’t know Molt’s plans as it would have added some mystery to our viewing, but at least it’s still a mystery to Youji and his recon team. So is the unconscious elf-girl they find in a well. Hopefully the army grunts and the magical civilians will have a more meaningful meeting next week.
Another stretch of work awaits me, so my look at Classroom Crisis 2 will brief. Nagisa goes around being the asshole he made himself out to be in the first episode, and his plan is to eliminate A-TEC in six months. He aims to be CEO, but his brother also wants it, and keeps sending Nagisa to shitty, dangerous places, where Nagisa excels anyway. So now he’s trying to get Nagisa killed. Meanwhile, the only person to shake him up is Mizuka, who correctly perceives that the boy is somehow interested in Iris. This is mixed in with a documentary feature about A-TEC which shows it to be the modern, innovative classroom experience that any talented student would want to join, which also serves to introduce us to the other kids, badly, as there are too many of them. Kirishima Corp looks to be like any small, ambitious startup that got huge and, er, corporate, and is now betraying the spirit of innovation which made it in the first place. Plenty to chew on in this series. I just hope they turn Nagisa quickly. He gets on my nerves.
The grumpy son of a local priest is told to air out the storeroom, and he trips over a basement door, goes down, of course, and meets Tora, a demon who’s been stuck there for 500 years because of the Beast Spear pinning him to the wall. Ushio isn’t stupid, though he has moments (Tora being even more stupid about his motives gives him away), and he goes back upstairs, well, until youkai start swarming the place, attracted by Tora, and threatening two girl classmates, including the tsundere love interest Nakamura. So Tora gets released to help out and some mayhem ensues.
Not really my thing, but there’s stuff to like here. Tora would gladly devour Ushio, but the kid’s still got that spear, and Ushio needs Tora to drive the youkai away–at least for a while. Tora goes from nasty looking demon to cringing doggie, and Ushio goes from average boy to badass, grinning, long-haired warrior when the spear possesses him, and both are fun to watch. When they shout at each other it’s even more fun; you can tell the seiyuus are having a good time. It’s apparently an older work, so it looks dated, but there’s nothing seriously wrong with the animation. It could be an entertaining watch, but, as I said, not my bag.
Next we have Gate, where Youji, your average otaku is on his way to an event in Tokyo when a gate looking like a roman building appears downtown and a whole mess of demons, fighting pigs, Roman legionaries, oh, and dragons, start pouring out and attacking people. Youji, who’s been a goof until now, snaps into action and starts directing traffic and ordering police around, and I’m wondering where the hell he got the authority. But the show also slips in interesting bits, like two invaders wondering where the hell they are and if this was a good idea. Also, dragons turn out to be no match for military helicopters with machine guns, much less the forces on the ground, and the invasion is soon over. But the gate is still there …
This show could be dreadful or it might be all right. It starts dreadfully since we didn’t know Youji was on the Special Defense Force, but once we learn that it gets more interesting. Japan regroups and now its their turn to go through the gate. Will they meet opposition? Well, yes. Will they meet some fairlyland people who aren’t into all this invading? Possibly, judging from the elf-girls the show teases us with. But I don’t really know what to expect, and that’s a good thing.
Joukamachi no Dandelion has finally showed up. We start with a big, happy family waking up, having breakfast, fighting over the one bathroom, the usual, and then we learn that the father is king, and that his nine-odd offspring are all royalty. They live in a modest suburban home to give the kids a normal upbringing, though why they couldn’t have one more bathroom is beyond me. What’s more, the King has declared that his successor will be chosen by popular vote, and there’s much to-do in the country with monthly rankings. AND, all the kids have their own super-power! Camera-shy Akane can fly, and when she does, people can look up her short school uniform skirt.
Yeah, it’s an odd mix. Maybe the oddest thing of all is that they’re going the happy domestic comedy route rather than murder and intrigue route with this whole successor business. Everyone seems well-adjusted apart from Akane, and she’s just a little shy. They don’t begrudge each other their popularity rankings and cheer each other on during a silly television game show they’re forced to do. For that reason this series might turn out pretty dull. Right now the only thing that stands out is the weird setup. But it’s a cute, happy show, so I might watch it for a while.
Here’s another odd setup: Classroom Crisis.
With a title like that you expect a high school romcom series, and you’d be partly right, except this class is in the future, after more of the solar system has been terraformed. Still, they’re excited about a transfer student. Meanwhile, the CEO of the corporation that runs the school’s brother or son or something has been taken hostage way off on an asteroid mine and there’s no way to get the money there fast enough. But the intrepid kids of class A-TEC, with their engineer homeroom teacher find a way, no, scratch that, the monotoned Iris takes an experimental rocket there, but there are complications …
So it starts out as a hostage story, switches to romcom, then there’s a mad spaceship dash, and the surprise at the end that the hostage probably wasn’t worth rescuing. That’s a lot for an episode to juggle, but it does it well, in spite of some silly science they toss in. The show thought through how hard it would be to pay a ransom to criminals with no bank accounts; details like that make me take notice that this show might not just goofing around (though that’s fine too) and wants to give us a complex futuristic society, albeit with old-school looking spaceship capers. But it also ignores things for story–how did Iris get that ransom money to deliver in the first place? There’s also the conflict it’s setting up about putting people first vs a person’s worth to a company. Some good points, some bad points. Could be interesting. Don’t know if I want to spend a half hour a week watching Kiryu, or hear Sera’s speeches, though Iris is a lot of fun.
Shimoneta to Iu Gainen ga Sonzai Shinai Taikutsu na Sekai (Shimoneta from here on out), set in a Japan where not only porn is banned (there goes the economy), but dirty words or even references to sex. Our hero, Tanukichi, enters the most moral high school of them all to get closer (platonically, he swears) to student president Anna. But he also runs into a indecent terrorist named Blue Snow, who tosses dirty cards to passers by and seems to be the only character in the show who’s enjoying herself. And guess who the student VICE president is?
This is the first show this season that made me laugh out loud. Repeatedly. And it wasn’t the dirty jokes–most of them are bleeped out. They set up Ayame’s transition from stern VP to laughing terrorist perfectly. Suddenly she’s grinning, and you KNOW something isn’t right. And once she’s revealed she’s great fun to watch, with her slightly crazed expression and her rich-girl laugh. Tanukichi starts as a dull male lead but turns out to have excellent straight-man timing. Then they throw in Hyoka, the science girl who’s far too into learning how reproduction works (since the students are not told and so have some weird ideas), and it gets even better. The gags mostly work, the direction and timing are spot-on, and it leads to a terrorist event involving dirty cards, a video of flies mating and ridiculous imagery including Godzilla … Even if dirty jokes aren’t your thing, you might enjoy this.
Finally for this installment it’s Durarara! x2 Ten, where our favorite weirdos and lowlifes sort of meander around waiting for plot to happen. Izaya’s recovering in the hospital, even so he tries to mess with people, setting up a fight with Shizuo, getting the police to call Shinra and ruining the man’s date with Celty. Meanwhile, the spectre of his assailant, Jinnai, grows larger. He’s got Yagiri industries listening to him, and we know Yagiri’s up to no good. And Izaya is confronted by a new character who doesn’t seem to be weird at all, only formerly suicidal.
Basically the show is reintroducing everyone again, thought it wasn’t that long since last season, having them think to themselves about this or that issue, and the incredible yesterday was. Masaomi wants to see Mikado and Anri again, that twin-tailed girl whose name I forget gets some screentime, everyone’s waiting for the new story, or stories, and so are we.