The last finales: Asukara, Yakuindomo

Finally, Nagi no Asukara crosses the finish line. They added a little sprint at the end to shave a second off their time, but frankly, it didn’t amount to much in the long run.

Looks like a nativity scene, actually.
Looks like a nativity scene, actually.

To start this episode we got the people on the surface trying to figure out just what the hell is going on with all the waves and weird lighting. And we see Chisaki pulling Manaka onto a salt-flow(?), and she’s cured! She even has her ena back! Turns out being surrounded by fragments of Ojoshi-sama’s feelings cured her! Of course, it doesn’t happen quickly. We have to undergo a narration by Manaka explaining that the pieces were telling her that she loved Hikari, and a flashback to what really happened in that legend, or rather, what that bastard sea god was up to when he took Ojoshi’s memories away. Anyway, she remembers she loves Hikari! Yay! Story over.

Oh, that's right.  Forgot about her.
Oh, that’s right. Forgot about her.

Hikari’s rescue of Miuna is a typical example of his shouting and hitting things to make his point. He fuels it with his perceived guilt over how he treated Miuna (i.e., he didn’t love her, hardly a sin) when she had fallen in love with him and helped him so much when he had returned all naked to the surface. And he’s pissed because love sucks sometimes, so take his ability instead. The god seems to take him up on this, throwing in a light show, but it seems the god was having a realization himself.

Not much has changed after all.
Not much has changed after all.

It only seems fitting that this god, shallow and capricious enough to want a sacrifice every year, all of a sudden realizes, after many years, that taking away Ojoshi’s ability to love was stupid because she loved him, too, not just that other guy. You’d think after bearing two of his kids would be enough to get it through the god’s head, but instead he waits for centuries not figuring it out until some middleschoolers get tangled up in a love heptagon. Nothing this episode did raised my opinion of this guy. And in spite of the overall good vibes of the episode (by the way, the climate change crisis that was threatening the well-being of billions of human beings is averted, not that that’s important in this show) I can’t say the finale raised my opinion much. It was a fairy-tale the characters had to take as fact, not as legends full of metaphors, and stories like that fall apart because you’re not supposed to look too closely at it. Over that we have some middle-schoolers who were mostly either annoying aggressive, or dully passive, who all fall in love with one another. It didn’t add up. I will say that it looked great and was well-produced, but, as I’ve said before, I expect nothing less from PA Works.

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The Seitokai Yakuindomo phew finale hardly plays up its own love-square, or rather, it simply gets a situation where Uomi and Shino both appear at Takatoshi and Kotomi’s house to feed them dinner when the parents are away. They wind up staying the night. There’s a scene where Takatoshi tries to take a bath. Then they watch a film (Méliès’ A Trip to the Moon, if you want to know). Then more food, they sleep, and the next day clean the house.

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Back at school there’s ANOTHER interview with Hata, then other scenes with underused characters, including one hapless male student who actually gets a line. The student council works late and gets home late. Later Suzu and Takatoshi work alone, and we are reminded yet again that Suzu is short. Some other girls complain about the double-standards concerning male and female behavior in society, and the Judo advisor worries about his baldness.

Takatoshi has just said something innocent but that could be taken the wrong way.
Takatoshi has just said something innocent but that could be taken the wrong way.

Then its graduation, a straight-up, sentimental affair, with a surprising realization (by me) that is quickly turned into maybe the best gag of the season. It’s not even dirty! However, naturally, things get dirty before the end, and they’re done. It was pretty much the same as the first season, and my reaction was more or less the same, so I’ll let Shino have the last word:

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Asukara 25, Yakuindomo ?, Nisekoi and Fool 12

The events of Nagi no Asukara 25 seems to be all about gods playing dice with the loves of adolescents and young adults.

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Actually, for a while it looked like things had settled down. Hikari loves Manaka, and if Manaka could, she’d love him back. Miuna isn’t happy about this because she loves Hikari, too, but you know how that goes. Meanwhile, Chisaki loves Tsumugu and vice versa, but Chisaki has to come around to it. Kaname and Sayu are on their way to become a couple, so they’re taken care of, too. All that’s left is to get Manaka’s love-ability back, and they decide to have another boatdrift show to see if that works, because you remember how well the LAST one turned out.

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During the event, among some lovely-looking scenes (I haven’t said too much about PA Works’ artwork in this series recently, believe me that the show still looks great), we get another violent sea upheaval, and Manaka goes overboard. Everyone with ena dives in to save her, except Kaname, who goes to Sayu. Miuna gets to her first, ena and thoughts are exchanged, and so it’s Miuna who winds up in that weird graveyard, because she’s expendable, I guess, and this time there’s no getting her back. So in the last episode either they’ll go down with some digging tools and REALLY piss off that sea god, or everyone will mope all episode, or someone else will offer themselves. Hey, how about Akari, the little kid. I can’t stand him anyway. Kudos to Hikari, though, for reminding Miuna before the festival that they were doing it so that maybe this ecological disaster might be averted, not to work out the love-lives of some adolescents.

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Seitokai Yakuindomo is another show that’s not quite dead (okay, the finale just came out, but I haven’t watched it yet). Let’s see … It’s New Years, so they go shopping and meet Uomi, Kaede, and Hata. The third trimester begins, so Hata interviews everyone about their New Years resolutions. We get the penultimate Squid and Takatoshi episode. It’s cold. Their lunches are cold. The judo team needs a manager. It’s still cold. It’s Valentine’s day, so Dejima teaches the girls to make chocolate gifts, which they give to Takatoshi. “Todoroke Nene’s Trivia” is actually interesting, though still dirty. Takatoshi meets Uomi while shopping for White Day, and the girls, and a joke is made that has consequences later. Then it’s the final Squid and Takatoshi, and the culprit is … After the closing credits, Shino makes the Tsuda kids a bento. Then the consequence business happens. Everyone thinks Takatoshi and Uomi are dating. For real. Actual plot.

Always dithering.
Always dithering.

Nisekoi has lots of little plots working out from the main story. Most of the time they’re an unwanted distraction, unless they’re funny. But here in episode 12 they start right up with sort of the main story. Chitoge is going to test her key out on Raku’s locket. Since the episode was getting to the point right at the start, I forgave and actually had a mind to laugh at Chitoge’s nervous blabbing. Well, that’s not fair. I often laugh at this show, even when it does digress too far. I won’t try to analyze the symbolism of a girl’s key entering a boy’s locket, and when the key breaks, I’m not going there. But it was funny enough, forgivable because you KNEW something to delay the proceedings would happen. I’m just proud of the two kids that they got their gumption up and try the obvious, after so many episodes. After that, and an infodump by Chitoge’s dad (helping the plot along), the digressions inevitably happen, this time with the pictures from their camp on sale. It’s predicatable, but I did like how Chitoge wants a copy of just about every one. It shows how far she’s come as a social being.

Yeah, I don't think the gods are pleased by this event.
Yeah, I don’t think the gods are pleased by this event.

With the new season starting very soon I’m tempted yet again to dump Nobunaga the Fool. I haven’t made up my mind yet, and this episode did nothing to sway me either way. Basically, they have the tea party, after what seemed like weeks of preparing for the tea party. It was livened up a little by potential mayhem by Mitsuhide’s stealth minions, but that didn’t happen this week. What did, after it became obvious to everyone watching but no one in the cast, was Ichihime agreeing to become Caesar’s bride. The fact that she agreed and wasn’t just taken makes me happy, because she’s basically unreadable as a character apart from her devotion to duty, which is her reasoning here. It will save the land and its people, etc. That might be true, but I’m waiting to see what deviousness she might concoct behind enemy lines. The only other thing worth noticing this week is Nobunaga becoming a little more humble, not a good sign in terms of bloody battling. Still on probation.

Asukara 23, Zvezda 11, Dandy 12, Fool 12, Nisekoi 11

(I’m dumping what I got here because I’m off sightseeing for a couple days. Kyoto!)

Nagi no Asukara 23 has the all the usual characters limping around emotionally, in love with people who don’t appear to be in love with them, but who knows?

Oh, she probably does.
Oh, she probably does.

Nobody seems to know what’s going on. Manaka has an excuse; the asshole sea god took her ability to love away. This episode it actually seems to bother her. We get in especially in once scene where that little tyke writes her a love letter and something seems to hit her. Also, the sea gets really loud when she’s thinking in this episode. Other times she comments how she doesn’t know what love is in that “never been in love” way, to which you should be smug and say “you will,” but around her no one is sure she will, so instead we get tragic looks that she doesn’t understand.

Finally!  Someone says it!
Finally! Someone says it!

Besides this week’s spoonful of plot, about doing another boatdrift festival, using that stone Manaka has (will she give it up?), and talk about detritus being the memories of living things, we get one interesting scene. Kaname’s been wandering around with that always-a-bridesmaid attitude he gets, and Sayu, who knows he’s in love with Chisaki, who’s in love with etc., gets sick of it, or maybe’s she’s sick of everyone in the show wandering around wondering if they’re in love, SHOULD they love somebody (Chisaki is especially annoying about that this week), or CAN they? So right then and there, at the train tracks, she confesses to Kaname. Since nothing every goes right for Sayu this is especially brave of her. And kudos for Kaname for actually thinking “Hey, she likes me. Maybe I ought to see what she’s like. It’s not like I have anything else going on…” Other characters in this show have confessed, of course, but they always make it as complicated as possible, or their would-be partner does. So I had to cheer or these two side-characters who are going to work it out. Also, nice speech, Sayu.

Not Kate's best idea.
Not Kate’s best idea.

With Bouryaku no Zvezda 11 the worrisome thing is not that the bad guys (Zvezda) are about to lose, it’s that the real bad guys are going to win. The darkness that began to overrun this show last episode got even worse this time (I got an unpleasant chill when Jimon’s father announced the annexation of West Udogawa, thinking of the Crimea situation happening now), even while there are signs of life in Zvezda, starting with Natasha and her tears (what the hell was that about?), and Jimon’s announcement to Renge that he was going away. And Goro, lying there in the morgue, well, I don’t count him out yet. Jimon’s departure (after a sweet little scene with Renge) I take the least seriously, because he’s the most powerless. What’s he going to do? Confront his father? The man’s not even human anymore. As for Kate, judging from her reactions to her stuffed doll, I can only assume she showed up at the ceremony in order to die, maybe to be reborn somewhere else and try again. I don’t know. Every main character is acting so weirdly. Well, they always have.

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After three good episodes, Space Dandy falls back into predictability in episode 12. The boys try to catch a Chameleonian, a creature who can look like anything it wants. Naturally, they bring one onboard without knowing it, naturally it imitates each of them until the boys, naturally, are beside themselves. Naturally they have to play a game to guess who the real Dandy is. An offshoot of the “evil twin” story that I first saw in Green Acres; who knows where it started. I will say that though the writing is hackneyed, the direction isn’t. The show managed to keep moving even as I was cringing from the predictable scenes. And they add a nice touch at the end, where Dandy begins to question his identity and the chameleonian forgets his. And I liked the digression they added with QT becoming a fishing nut. Too bad it came early on and they didn’t bother with it afterwards.

Now that you've said that: no.
Now that you’ve said that: no.

Damn, I wish Nonunaga the Fool would be done with Caesar, already. Smug villains bore me. As for the episode itself it wasn’t bad in terms of the story, that is to say, there’s a battle, though we know that since we see Nobunaga announcing his strategy to Mitsuhide and Hideyoshi, that it would fail in some way. Well, be fair, it didn’t. It was working to perfection when Caesar called upon a god or a dragon or something and leveled up, and now it looks like he might have won this battle. Ho hum. I suppose it was too early to get rid of him, since he lusts after Ichihime but hasn’t actually met her yet. Also, the card of the week is Death, so, in spite of DaVinci’s commentary on how that could mean the death of their robot armor if they overheat (basically a way to feed us information on the upcoming battle), we know someone’s gotta die. Turns out it was mainly peasants and small soldiers. I feel let down. The only thing it does to the main characters is give Jeanne a big guilt complex.

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In the first half of Nisekoi 11 we had to watch Raku go through all the usual agonizings he usually does when he finds himself on a non-date with Onodera. The coffee shop scene was especially irritating (apart from the laughing waitress), and it looked like more of the same when Onodere, more proactive than usual, takes him to her secret place, which isn’t THAT hidden, really. We watch Raku torture himself (and us) while trying to ask a simple question about her birthday, while we knew it was a pointless question to begin with and it won’t get us anywhere. But in a flash of comic plot, he blurts out the real question: was she the friend from years ago? FINALLY, the story takes a step forward! Of course, no way could they get any further than that, like, you know, try out the key and locket. Not a chance. The gods of comedy wouldn’t allow it, and they’re too busy dithering over the implications to think about it. The second half, until the final line, is more wheel-spinning. Well, the gang learn that Chitoge’s family are mobsters, but they’re fine with that. Rather sweet moment when they find out, actually. Raku gives Chitoge the most ridiculous bday gift ever, and it made me laugh. What the hell was he thinking? And what store gives out Chitoge gorilla dolls?

Asukara 23, Chuunibyou Ren and Yakuindomo * 10

Sorry, busy with work so I’m falling behind.

I think I like Manaka better this way.
I think I like Manaka better this way.

Nagi no Asukara 23 spends most of its time not trying to figure out how to get Manaka’s ability to love back, but instead whether she’s better off without it. On the pessimistic side are Chisaki and Kaname, with Hikari and Sayu doing the yelling for the other side. It’s an interesting question. Manaka looks happy enough these days even though she can’t love. On the other hand, she hasn’t been told this, and I wonder if keeping this secret from her is a bigger moral and philosophical question than the actual problem. Meanwhile Manaka goes cheerfully on, getting an answer from that sea slug from so long ago I myself forgot what she asked for, and perhaps wondering why people act the way they do around her, like burst into tears.

Tsumugu's turn to get ena'd.
Tsumugu’s turn to get ena’d.

In other, more annoying news, Hikari goes around insisting to everyone who seems interested that he’s NOT in love with Manaka, or that he is but it’s not going to happen. Everyone else thinks “bullshit,” but that doesn’t faze him, until he learns that Tsumugu is in love with Chisaki. Hikari is shocked. So is Chisaki, as she appears just at the moment he says it to Hikari to get him to shut up, one of the show’s weaker plot moments. Oh, after that, he develops ena, so now we have to put that information into our jigsaw puzzle of emotions and legends that this series has become.

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At least with Chuunibyou Ren you have an idea what each character is thinking and who likes whom. Plus, the supernatural elements are rightfully products of each character’s imagination rather both being real and being metaphors and plot devices. So this show can take more time to have fun. And they better, since they stretched out Satone’s revived feelings for Yuuta to last the entire episode. By now everyone in the show save Yuuta is aware of how she feels and spend most of the episode dancing around her as she struggles to banish Yuuta from her thoughts. The series high production standards keep it from getting too tedious, but a few more episodes like this and, well, I’ll still be watching, though with gritted teeth like I watch much of Asukara nowadays. At least they didn’t simplify Satone’s feelings, though. Banishing the one you love from your thoughts isn’t as easy as Satone thinks.

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Seitokai Yakuindomo * 10 starts with Ecology Month, so after visiting a farmers market the SC goes into the mountains to look for edible plants. Mushroom jokes. Suzu has a cute bell. More mushroom jokes. It rains but they get to a cabin. Bath scene, followed by a delicious dinner. But the cabin only has two bedrooms. Oddly enough, they don’t make more of this situation than they should. After that it’s back to school, where Takatoshi thinks about getting more exercise. Did you know that the SC has a lost and found? The joke isn’t even dirty! It’s boring in the SC offices, then it’s busy as they prepare for the Halloween Festival. Rain threatens but does not cancel the cosplay event. Everyone has a good time. I’ll add that the mountain scenes had some lovely background art.

Kill 21, Asukara 22, Chuunibyou Ren 9

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Kill la Kill 21 kept up the intensity it built over the last few episodes, but it felt like it was spinning its wheels. It was all about how to snap Ryuuko back to normal, or get that godrobe off her, and you knew that if it did happen this episode it would happen at the end. The episode tried to get everyone involved, but most of the time they were standing by or dealing with the Nui distraction. Plenty of battling, but not much action.

So is every regular character in this show going to wear Senketsu at least once?
So is every regular character in this show going to wear Senketsu at least once?

Still, it was mostly fun to watch. You’d figure that Satsuki and Senketsu wouldn’t have the bond to defeat Ryuuko (though I think I said the opposite last week). So it turns out the four devas had another plan. Then Nui shows up, so they had her to contend with. Meanwhile I payed attention for anything that would suggest a change in the situation, like Satsuki’s comment to Nui about how she hasn’t abandoned her scissor half, or Mako’s latest alleluia speech. Mako, inadvertently wearing Senketsu(!), entering Ryuuko’s mind finally worked, but not before we had a false Mako death (I really wasn’t worried about that, since it was a dream sequence of sorts, but the the blood spurting out did give me pause) and a moment of despair before Ryuuko did her surprising turnaround, which, by the way, wasn’t explained well enough for me. She “kills” Mako at that fantasy altar, the wakes up and stabs Nui. Huh? … Never mind. It wasn’t as effective as previous episodes, but still entertaining.

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Nagi no Asukara 22 continues to irritate me, with these angry, indecisive or useless characters. This week Hikari discovers that Manaka has seemingly lost some memories since returning from the Ojoshi-sama graveyard. Of course, they’re memories connected to his possible relationship with her, so he’s upset about it. This is about the only interesting thing we get in the first half. The rest of it is spent with people standing around, looking sad over innocent comments someone else has said. In the second half Hikari and Miuna (trying to figure out why he’s in such a huff) stumble upon a shrine, and there’s Uroko-sama, whom Hikari’s been looking for. He instantly gets creepy around Miuna and then lays a long, confusing infodump concerning a tale that seems to be repeating now, showing us that, as usual, gods are selfish, vindictive, narcissistic types who don’t deserve the worship people give them. So basically the sea god decided to take away Manaka’s ability to love someone because she wanted to return to the surface. So there! Neener! Not only that, this climate disaster is only going to get worse for everybody. That’ll show ’em! Punish all those innocent people because one middle-schooler regrets something! Not that any of that matters to the human characters in this show, apart from Tsumugu; they’re too busy trying to figure themselves out or messing up their love lives. Man, if this show wasn’t so damn close to its end I’d drop it like a stone.

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Not sure what’s going on with Chuunibyou Ren 9. Everything happens at a beach where they’re working at the behest of Kumin’s aunt, so it’s a beach/swimsuit episode. But the central story is that of Rikka losing her powers, which seems to mean she’s beginning to lose interest in her tyrant’s eye delusions, to which I say: good. But Satone, who seems to know exactly what Rikka’s thinking, gives her an ultimatum of sorts: sacrifice the delusions for the sake of her boyfriend, or embrace them like she did, though it’s becoming obvious that she now regrets her decision. There’s also a token involved. All this will be developed later on, I guess, but I don’t see that it’ll be very interesting–everyone on this show’s too nice to let anybody get too hurt. Also Touka shows up out of nowhere (EVERYONE’S in this beach episode, even the cat), with both her ladle and a small girl named Cento, who buys into all this 8th grade syndrome nonsense and has a great time. Touka is both relieved and disappointed that the romance involving her sister is hardly moving forward. As for me, I’m getting annoyed. Like I said, I don’t Satone can pose a serious threat, but then what will the show do for the next few episodes?

Kill 20, Asukara 21, Chuunibyou Ren 8

After watching Kill la Kill 20, I give up on trying to predict what the show will do next.

I NEVER expected to see this.
I NEVER expected to see this.

It’s too much to say that they turned everything 180 and now we have to root for the villain to defeat the hero. Ryuuko’s simply brainwashed and needs someone to talk or knock some sense into her. But if we had seen the screenshot above a dozen episodes ago we wouldn’t have believed it, or we’d have invented some other story line. But now I’m already breaking my vow. Maybe Ryuuko won’t get her senses back during this fight. Maybe she’ll win, and that ship will sink with everyone on it, and someone else will have to betray Ragyo, maybe Nui. … Nah.

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Besides, thinking about it, I don’t know if she CAN win. True, even without Junketsu, Ryuuko was able to slice building up, but she’s not herself. A couple of episodes ago she was able to tear life fibers out of her brain! This episode, she gave up pretty easily. Also, I remember Satsuki having difficulties controlling Junketsu, and though it didn’t matter at the time, I suspect now that they inserted those bits as foreshadowing. On the other hand, if Ryuuko is a life-fiber monster she shouldn’t have such a hard time. On the other other hand, Satsuki is wearing Senketsu with the clothing’s permission. While she had struggled to dominate Junketsu, she asked Senketsu for his help. They’ll do their best to cooperate.

Seriously, who could possibly have imagined?
Seriously, who could possibly have imagined this?

So place your bets, if you dare. What will happen next week? Will Satsuki get through to Ryuuko? Will Senketsu? Maybe Senketsu will get through to Junketsu instead! Will Mako succeed where she failed this week? Will the four Devas be able to assist? Will Nudist beach manage to do anything useful at all? Don’t ask me. I just don’t know anymore.

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For Nagi no Asukara, I suppose it’s not fair to complain because the story arc might give a little hiccup and move forward once an episode, because at this point I can’t figure out what the actual story is. As for the characters, they can’t take care of the mysteries of this cooling period, or waking up the people underwater, because they don’t know enough. Besides, they’re all trying to get their personal lives sorted out. On that side, Manaka’s awake and delighted by … well, I was going to say everything, but she seems fixated on the salt-snow at the moment. Everyone’s happy that she’s happy, except Miuna, who thinks she might be happy about it but feels guilty because maybe she doesn’t. At any rate, she’s been shoved aside in the Hikari sweepstakes. The others go on the way they always do, especially Chisaki, who, Manaka implies, hasn’t changed at all. I can’t remember now, but does she WANT to change? And so another episode slides smoothly past, until the surprise fish at the end, suggesting that asshole god is around, hopefully to speed up the plot.

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Since the important story of Chuunibyou was taken care of in the first season, a lot of us worried or wondered if Ren would have a backbone strong enough to hold up new stories, and while watching the Yuuta/Rikka romance slowly blossom has been cute, the new season has been less compelling to watch. But episode 8 manages to find something interesting. A fake Mori Summer appears and has bamboozled Sanae away from Shinka. My first reaction was “So what’s the problem?” and indeed, Shinka was, at first, relieved. I liked this reaction. She had tried to put Mori Summer behind her, and this reaction showed that she had succeeded.

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But this would ignore the fake Mori and her interest in Sanae. She comes off as creepy in her first scene, and when we (and Shinka, Yuuta, et al.) get in our heads that she’s interested in more than Sanae’s pure spirit, or purity for that matter, the episode becomes less comic. After all, she’s a deluded, love-struck stalker. But it manages to remain light, since in order to battle her Shinka must remember Mori Summer stuff she’d rather forget. The big imaginative battle at the end stretched my incredulity somewhat, I mean, with the others cheering her on, it’s almost as if that big light show was actually happening, but the show hits just the right note when Shinka gives her big speech at the end, with that heavenly music playing. It’s one of the best moments of the season, and it made Sanae come somewhat to her senses. I do feel a little sorry for the fake Mori Summer, however, while at the same time I worry that she won’t let go and Sanae will have a stalker to deal with. Nah, not that kind of show.

Kill 19, Asukara 29, Chuunibyou Ren 7

I don’t really know what to think about Kill la Kill 19.

Well, mostly.
Well, mostly.

I didn’t expect a huge episode full of fights and revelations after that craziness last week, and I didn’t get one. Not to say it was sedate. Instead, the episode concentrated on getting us caught up with what happened to everyone AFTER last week, since they jumped ahead five months, with moments of characteristic action bubbling to the surface. But it felt off, like there was now a distance between me and the characters and events. Maybe it was that the circumstances had changed so much. Revocs has pretty much won. Nudist Beach, with the Four Devas helping, can do little more than rescue some people and fiddle with new weapons. Satsuki is hanging from her arms in a cage. Ryuuko won’t wake up. Or maybe it was the “all is lost” feeling about the whole thing.

There.  It's official.
There. It’s official.

About the only things that I managed to get excited over was the Mako / Gamagoori Ship Watch, which took another couple steps forward after Mako gets sucked into a Cover and is later rescued by him, and some of the signs of life the others show near the end, such as Satsuki’s toenail, and Ryuuko waking up. Of course, the Ryuuko we have now is bitter and nihilistic about her own existence now, a “life fiber monster,” as she describes herself. But, hell, she’s awake, and more capable of doing damage than anyone else on the good guys’ side. But what were those harp things supposed to be? That’s where the show took a further step away from me. And why is Ragyo going on now about rage, and is Ryuuko’s rage what she’s talking about? Okay, plenty of stuff to enjoy and think about this week, but it didn’t have the impact it should.

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Meanwhile, Nagi no Asukara is still making it hard to care about anything at all. Plot-wise, Manaka is still unconscious, and they take the whole episode trying to figure out ways to wake her up, and when she does at the end, saying the most profound thing I can remember her saying (“Ue?”), it’s not clear whether any of the things they tried worked or not. Let’s see, she woke up when Miuna and Hikari were arguing about whether to wake her up with a kiss … maybe there’s a connection there, maybe not. Well, it’s better than kissing her and having her wake up. The show’s not stupid like that, just slow and pointless at times. Elsewhere we spend time with Miuna, who’s afraid that she actually doesn’t want Manaka to wake up because of something she blurted out earlier in the episode. This is silly, but she’s in middle school and can be forgiven beliefs like that. And there’s the question of why Miuna now has ena and Manaka doesn’t–is it a passing of the torch between the two? Are they suggesting that Miuna is the one Hikari should wind up with? But considering that I don’t really like both Manaka and Hikari, I can’t find the energy to care. Sad to say that this has become the dull, downer show I watch after Kill la Kill …

But then they get sensible.
But then they get sensible.

I guess Chuunibyou Ren is somewhere in between. Here, the little romance takes a step forward after nearly falling apart, thanks to Satone crashing Yuuta and Rikka’s school-trip date. What’s surprising here is how Rikka behaves. She is rightly upset that Yuuta tries to help out Satone, watching the two of them perform some nearly flawless magic on a monkey, and running off afterwards, but once she settles down she also shows more sense than I expected. It wasn’t their fault the monkey chased them and made them fall off that ledge, hell, just helping Satone out was the decent thing to do. And later, when Satone calls her out, they have a sensible chat. In spite of their degrees of delusions, they know enough now to drop the childishness when it’s important. But the biggest shock comes at the end, with the “I love you.” There was no beating about the bush, no lapse into Tyant’s Eye speech, no steam coming out of Rikka’s collar, no hesitation at all. If anything, she sounded playful, maybe enjoying the surprise on her boy’s face. A lovely moment. If this second season is simply going to be about the two of them getting closer, this episode was a good way to do it.