The finale finales of Summer 2015: Jitsu wa, Seiyuu

Fathers can be terrifying.
Fathers can be terrifying.

Jitsu wa Watashi wa 13 left me with burning question: did Youko’s dad really get his memories erased by the flying hammer of forgetfulness?  I like to think he didn’t; that would show a genuine change of heart rather than then just a silly plot device.  The series had plenty of those already, really too many for my taste.  It’s not like Nisekoi, where you could tell the cheap tricks (walking in on an innocent but suggestive scene, etc) were being used deliberately and with cruel glee by the winking creators.  Jitsu wa is just an average show.  As for the finale, they made the important points clear: that Asahi would do anything to keep Youko’s secret, and Youko doesn’t want Asahi to sacrifice his own happiness to do so.  All the rest was cheap tricks and fru-fru and some nice seiyuu performances livening up something otherwise completely forgettable.  That’s all I need to say about this show.
Last of all, it’s the end of Sore ga Seiyuu!.  After the big convert last week you might have thought that the series was finished, but the characters made an impassioned plea on the webcomic to watch the final episode, even if there was no more story to tell.  Turns out there was, and it’s quite a big one.  We never got around to Futaba’s yearly assessment.  Now, you’d think that not only the roles but the Earphones radio show and concert would make this a formality, but it’s drilled into Futaba’s head that Aozora has let go such seiyuu before.  And you know how Futaba deals with pressure.
The assessment scene is interesting in that Futaba is crushed down by questions about her future and her motivations, and yet she doesn’t manage to say what the episode had set her up to do: she’s good at playing small boys and she’s come a long way.  Instead she spouts a few banalities about her wanting to be a seiyuu for a long time.  And in the end, her assessment is “postponed,” i.e., she’s sort of on probation, meaning she has another year before she can feel secure, but at least she hasn’t been fired.  Given her character it’s a reasonable outcome.  This show might be happy and cute, but at least it never gets unrealistic about its subject matter.

This week's life advice.
This week’s life advice.

So all the girls pass little milestones and are happy for now, and the series actually ends.  Will there be another season?  I’d like to see one but I was a fan of the webcomic already, so I’m a little biased.  I didn’t like the drippy “try harder” speeches, and I thought the celebrity seiyuus, though welcome, were pretty much wasted since they did little more than say words of advice, well, apart from Yui Horie and Hiroshi Kamiya.  They could have had more fun with the celebs.  In fact, the webcomic is sillier and more fun, with more anecdotes about daily life and strange work events, and I wish the show had done more of that.  If they DO make another season maybe Futaba and her friends will be a little more comfortable and the show can relax a little.

Seiyuu and show creator Masumi Asano sums it up for us.
Seiyuu and show creator Masumi Asano sums it up for us.

Twelves: Charlotte, Jitsu wa, Seiyuu, and Biyori: Repeat finale

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.

Nao's overjoyed reaction.
Nao’s overjoyed reaction.

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).

Yui Horie eats melon bread.
Yui Horie eats melon bread.

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.

One more of Renge.
One more of Renge.

Shimoneta and Jitsu wa 11

Kajou answers her phone and looks shocked at the end of Shimoneta 11, but there’s no doubt that the main story ended here.

Two of the desperate hostages.
Two of the desperate hostages.

It’s a typical action-packed anime finale episode. Okuma and Kajou barely manage to escape, and Gathered Fabric and Kosuri take the buses and hostages to the high school and announce their terms, which is more panties. It looks bad for the heroes, but the moment Otome sees the acrylic paint and gets a gleam in her eye I knew there would be a counterattack. She uses a splendid method to escape (had me fooled), Fuwa gives an inspiring speech, Okuma plans a strategy that only he can carry out, (don’t ask, but it does get Anna into the action), and meanwhile, Kosuri becomes disillusioned with GF’s motives.

The middle of the counterattack, the triumphant arrival of the, er, heroes.
The middle of the counterattack, the triumphant arrival of the, er, heroes.

It turns into one of those scenes where the bad guys threaten, only to be defeated by one good guy after another, rushing to the rescue and spouting an inspiring line as they do. Soon only GF remains, but a new strategy (zone two!) and the combined attack of the main characters ends the hostage situation. Meanwhile I double-checked to see if there was indeed an episode after this one, as Kajou, in a spotlight, natch, gives a speech to the cameras about dirty jokes and then rises above the school with Okuma in a balloon and declares her love. It’s all very inspiring and, believe it or not, sweet. And great fun to watch. Whatever you might think of the subject matter, this has always been a well-done, smartly directed show. I’m afraid that next week’s true finale will be an anticlimax after this one.


I’m pretty sure Jitsu wa Watashi wa is ending soon, too, because they’re setting up the big climax for romcoms: getting the pair together. The complication in this show is Aizawa’s “confession” last week, leading Youko to try and get her and Asahi together at the festival, while Shiho and later Mikan look on knowingly. Really, Youko’s plan is an excellent form of self-torture but she’s too dense to know this until things happen just as they should, with Aizawa on top of Asahi after another fall and making her own realizations. In the rest of the episode, for this all thankfully only goes for half, Akane does her best to knock some sense into Youko and be annoying about it at the same time. Maybe the festival scene should have gone longer, after all.

Jitsu wa, Seiyuu, Biyori: Repeat 10, Teekyuu 58

I can't remember why Mikan is posing like that, but I like it.
I can’t remember why Mikan is posing like that, but I like it.

In Jitsu wa Watashi wa 10 I caught the phrase.  Mikan’s possessed glasses says it as she’s about to confess Mikan’s love for Asahi.  Trouble is, Aizawa was wearing them.  So now everyone thinks Aizawa is in love with Asahi, which she is, but she doesn’t want to say it.  The glasses thought they were on Mikan’s head.  Why did the glasses want to reveal Mikan’s feelings?  To bring her back to her un-heathen ways.  Why were they on Aizawa?  Because, because, er, she took them so that the glasses wouldn’t confess.  The glasses apparently don’t know whose head they’re on.  Earlier the glasses were stolen by Akane for no good reason except to move the sketch forward, people do a lot of silly things to hide their secrets, more evil cream puffs are made and devoured, and we learn that the 1000 year-old demon is something of an idiot, but we knew that.  Yes, it’s a complete mess of an episode.

Run, Rin!  Run!
Run, Rin! Run!

Sore ga Seiyuu! 10 features Rin, the nice middle-schooler member of Earphones, and because she’s so nice and quiet it’s sort of a dull episode.  Basically her advisor suggests she go to a high school where her work won’t interfere so much.  But that would mean leaving her BFF Sayo, the number one fan who has hearts in her eyes whenever she looks at Rin.  So Rin wonders if she should keep up with voice acting anyway, since, she claims, it wasn’t her choice (a lie–she might have been coaxed into acting, but she followed up on it herself).  She also gets the usual veteran actor cameo character advice, this time from Hiroshi Kamiya.  At least this livened things up.  I kept thinking of Araragi and what he would do with a cute middle-schooler, one who’s playing his imouto, and toothbrushes …  Sometimes I should be ashamed of myself.
In Non Non Biyori: Repeat 10, Renge learns to ride her bike.  She catches a cold, and we discover that she might be a math prodigy.  Those are the events.  Then there’s the important stuff, like how Candy Store, in spite of herself and her denials, worries about her.  Also, fall has arrived, so we get some nice foliage and everyone’s wearing jackets.  Oh, and Konomi plays with Renge’s mind with hilarious results.

Renge's mind being blown.
Renge’s mind being blown.

That’s about it, except to say it got rather painful watching Renge fall off her bike so often, even though they spare us the worst moments.
Finally, in Teekyuu! 58, it’s really cold.  But even lower than the temperature is the SPG ratio of 2.73, probably the record.  Good work, Snow Day Club girls!

Nines: Charlotte, Shimoneta, Jitsu wa

Charlotte 9 tells us a hell of a lot, and they’re just getting started.

This song's lyrics were practically begging Yuu to get mental.
This song’s lyrics were practically begging Yuu to get mental.

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.

Not actually his secret super power.
Not actually his secret super power.

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 …

Eights: Charlotte, Rokka, Shimoneta, Jitsu wa

Sala doesn't seem like a bad sort.
In spite of her mysterious background, Sala doesn’t seem like a bad sort.

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.

I'm all for this plan!
I’m all for this plan!

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.

Home EC
Home EC

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.

Jitsu wa, Bioyri Repeat, and Seiyuu 7

I guess Jitsu wa Watashi wa figured we didn’t have enough weirdos in the school.
Not that I mind.  The new one, the demon Akane, thousands of years old but looking like a young girl and acting like a brat, can be fun to watch.  And we learn just why all the weirdos are at the same school in the first place: she admitted them, and Koutomo-sensei, the fierce homeroom teacher, did the paperwork, meaning she’s in on all of it.  Since Koutomo is relatively normal and so is Asahi, it gives them a chance to bond in a “look what we have to deal with” way.  As for the episode, it’s okay.  I like Youko messing with Akane, and them accusing the other of being immature, though it leads to a sexiness contest that had little in the way of laughs and went on far too long.  And they throw in Nagisa for no reason only to have her leave again.  Now I hope they’ll start bouncing the weirdos off each other.  They have enough of them.

Non Non Biyori: Repeat 7 … Is is my imagination or is this season way better than the first?
The plot points for this episode, if anyone cares, is Hikage’s return to the countryside for summer break, and Hotarou’s fear of jumping into the river from the bridge.  With the former, she seems to have given up on trying to impress people with her worldly Tokyo ways, and while she tends to consider her home boring, she slowly and happily slips back into its routines.  As for the latter, of course Hotarou gets the nerve.  She also has a bit of Tokyo envy this episode, but it passes.  There’s one gag sketch where Renge gets Hikage to play dolls with her, Renge style, but after that the show clearly has had enough of what other shows do and takes the rest of the episode off.

... to chase dragonflies and other things.
… to chase dragonflies and other important things.

And so we get one of its best sequences yet.  Well, there’s a plot going on when Hotarou forgets her bag on the bus and she, Renge, and Hikage walk to the depot to get it, but the bag is just an excuse to get the girls walking and experiencing things: fresh water from a pipe, pomegranates, a big dragonfly they try to catch.  One little thing after another with the show’s usual beautiful rural scenery.  This is the only show going where being aimless and pointless are its strengths.
Sore ga Seiyuu! 7 is a happy one.  All three girls are working in the same studios, but for different projects.  Futaba’s dubbing a movie, Ichigo’s doing an audiobook, and Rin a game.  Naturally all three get anxious beforehand.  Futaba has to work with that asshole (named Yamori) from episode one, AND one of her heroes, Koyama Rikiya (who’s done a lot, for me all I remember is Maid-Guy), so she tries not to screw up in front of either one.  Ichigo tends to get into her text as if she’s reading it and not reciting it, and Rin, all alone in her studio, struggles to do lines without knowing the context, and to make getting punched noises.
But, finally, for all their anxieties, they all do just fine.  Futaba plays her zombie part and some bit roles and is only stopped once, and that was because her pitch was too close to the other bit character’s, not her fault and easily fixed.  Nice scream at the end, too.  Likewise, Ichigo and Rin perform, adjust, and perform again.  So at the end of the day they walk out of the same studio they walked out of in episode 1, but no longer in despair.  And they have their umbrellas.  Good for them.  So nice to have an episode that doesn’t have anyone screw up …