Still More Finales: Bakuman II, Amagami+, Kill Me Baby

Mashiro's dead uncle rises from the grave!

Other finales have the villains defeated, or the hero getting the girl, or vice-versa, but in the Bakuman world the heroes reach a goal only to get another one thrust before them. The boys spend the episode overworking, again, changing their chapter one manuscript in any way they can to improve it, not even attending the New Years party (leading to an unexpected penalty for Hattori) because Mashiro was reworking the character designs (inspired by Kaya’s phone strap thingies) and Takagi was thinking of new character names. I thought it was too much, but it does make the story better. And we are introduced to two new assistants, Moriya and Shiratori, who start bickering immediately over that old question of art vs. popularity. I suspect they’ll be useful for aesthetic questions down the road. And it ends in triumph, PCP’s first chapter stomps the competition, yay, then gets turned on its head when the boss says he will won’t hesitate to cancel the series if it slips too far. Maybe he still feels burned by the boy’s rebelliousness and that committee vote. So this workingman’s anime goes. There’s always another deadline and more challenges. Their success drives their competitors (who are also loyal friends) to work harder, which inspires the heroes to work harder. Happily, there is a season three coming.

Nowhere do all the girls appear on screen at the same time. This is the closest I could get.

Amagami SS Plus 13 promised us an all-girls bath episode, and that’s exactly what we got. Junichi does actually appear at the start, but mostly it’s the girls attending a baths opening, half-price for women, and for some reason the place is mostly empty apart from them. I hope that’s not a bad sign for the business, but I digress. What we get is, of course, the girls wearing towels and little else, and we get to see references to the first season. I don’t rememeber Kaoru and Ayatsuji being so competitive about staying in the hot water. Haruka brings Jessica along. We get a reprise of Rihoko and the dead skin-eating fish, and her laughter. MY biggest laugh came from Ai’s discovery of the ramen bath, the ramen metaphor being my favorite part of the original series. There are endless boob references mostly inspired by Sae … you get the idea. Miya wanders around and laughs a lot. A silly episode to end a silly series that rarely lived up to the original. But it mostly had the same lightheartedness, the sense of fun that made the first series so watchable. For that reason I’m a little sad that there won’t be any more, but then, what would they do with more episodes?

Oh, and Kill Me Baby ended. Okay, this wasn’t a very good show, but it wasn’t as bad as many people say. This episode had Rie Kugimiya on helium!

Last Exile 20 (22?), BRS 8, Amagami+ 12, Inu x Boku 11

Last Exile 20 (or 22) overcomes the problems the show has developed by giving us terrific action. We’ve pretty much had our moral issues discussed. It’s time for the fighting!

But first, the philosophical talky stuff.

Okay, though this show has been something of a letdown with its clumsy storytelling (and that happens in this episode as well), it’s handled the issues fairly well. We’re not talking about simply good vs. bad here. Sadri, the one general still actively supporting Luscinia, knows something about Fam, and even if he didn’t you can tell the man is simply doing his duty. Meanwhile we have turncoat generals reuniting (Sorush’s return was one of the bits of clumsy storytelling I was talking about, as is the Anatory guy), and most of all Dian, who murdered Millia’s sister, and is now asked by Millia to lead the vanships against the Grand Exile. This is not a question of forgiveness, but of necessity, yet it’s the kind of reaching out to enemies that defines Sara’s view of peace as opposed to Luscinia’s concept of peace through conquest. Millia puts it into practice, though the reality is that it must be killing her.

In spite of the blizzard it still looks pretty good.

But enough about moral complexity and peace. Time for the fighting. We start with everyone who can still fly going to what’s left of Glacies, where Luscinia has taken Sara, to revive the Exile there. Millia changes into commander duds and leads the assault as if she had been doing this all her life. A little ridiculous; maybe it’s part of that power she inherited from Lilliana. Lots of shots of her and other commanders giving sweeping instructions mixed in with the actual combat, most of it hard to discern through the blizzard. Pretty lousy conditions to place a final battle, surely Gonzo could have worked it so it happened in a place with more visibility. You never see this problem in Rinne no Lagrange. Never mind. The battle is big and grand, and we can see enough to know when one of the Exiles snake things takes out a warship. Luscinia prepares an Exile attack on distant Turan, just to shit on them, I guess, in case you didn’t already think he was a total bastard, but Millia, with Dio’s help, starts to glow and soon its Exile vs. Exile. Stalemate. There’s a chess term they haven’t used!

Visibility gets better when the vanships get through a hole in the Exile (which seems pretty fragile when attacked, really. Maybe that’s Sara’s doing) and we get some of the show’s best visual effects yet, as Fam and Dian pilot their vanships through huge open spaces and tiny conduits, encountering star-shaped enemy ships we saw in the previous series, the first time I remember seeing them this series. Maybe not, but anyway, they brought to me a rush of recognition and dread. It’s one good moment after another until they reach Luscinia and Sara … and of course the episode ends. But it was a good one. Fam, our hero, is brought back into the action, and the action is good throughout. I hope the series can conclude with such a positive effort.

Black Rock Shooter ends with the feeling I’ve had for awhile that there was less here than meets the eye. In the conclusion we catch up with Strength beating the crap out of BRS, until Yuu (okay, actually strength) decides enough is enough and decides to off herself by jumping into a big hole, meaning Yuu (the real Yuu, posing as Strength) would return to the real world, which she doesn’t want to do, because it’s scary up there. Much better to be a nearly invincible weapon of death down here. I can’t blame her for that. And, in some fashion I can’t now remember, Mato finds herself in BRS form facing BRS, who proceeds to beat the crap out of HER, because Mato won’t fight back, because she doesn’t want to inflict pain and doesn’t want anyone to take her pain for her. Well and good, but then the show veers into overly simple homilies about how you can’t feel pain without hurting others. And here’s where the show has never worked. You could argue that these are young girls and so the words are on their level, but that makes them imprecise and often wrong. In the end they salvage it with the thought that you can’t truly live without experiencing the bad as well as the good–something Strength apparently picked up in the Real World, but it’s hardly a profound statement. Well, no one watched this show for the philosophy. You might have watched it to see how the girls all ended up, and that ending is satisfactory. Or more likely you watched it because you wanted to watch cool figures fighting epic duels, and there the show succeeds. Too bad they couldn’t find a story worthy of the fighting.

Thinking about Amagami SS Plus 12, I wonder if all the Morishima girls used the same cheap trick to get their guys to propose to them, letting on that they’re going away after graduation in order to hasten the boy’s marriage proposal. Be fair, this was Jessica Sexy Morishima’s sneaky trick, not Haruka’s, though I wonder if Haruka wouldn’t actually approve. No matter. It spiced up the episode nicely. Up to about halfway it was simple domestic games and Junichi’s little fantasies … and annoying “She’s in the bath, what should I do?” moments that went on too long. Junichi learning about Haruka’s leaving would have been just as bad, but they gave us little comic bits to help out. But I knew things would liven up at the graduation scene. I knew Junichi would do something completely foolish and probably triumph with it. I didn’t expect Haruka’s amazing leap to the podium, but who did? And with that leap, the Haruka arc reclaimed its position at the top of the Amagami sequel. Next week’s girls-only onsen episode will appeal to some fans, I’m sure, but I wonder how much I’ll like it without Junichi anchoring the show. On the other hand, we’ll get a lot of Miya.

As for Inu x Boku SS 11, I can’t say I was surprised by the supposed secret Soushi’s been keeping from Ririchiyo all these years, especially since it was there on Wikipedia when I’d go to get a character name right. In fact all through episode 11, the long story of Soushi’s emotional rescue at her hands, I kept wondering why Ririchihiyo could ever think Kagerou could write such letters anyway. On the other hand that doesn’t mean she knew Soushi wrote them. The long flashback, NOT a confession as I first thought, went on and on, but the more I watched the more I decided it was the proper length to show Ririchiyo’s constricted upbringing, the scheming, soulless young man he became because of it, and his gradual transformation while impersonating Kagerou in his letters. I’m hoping the actual fallout from the confession next episode will be as elegant. And I rather like Kagerou this episode (for once). You get the idea that he forced the truth out both because it would be fun, and because he wants Soushi to succeed, a bit of decency amidst the narcissism.

Elevens: Amagami+, Moretsu, Symphogear, Kill Me Baby

I’ve said before that so far Amagami SS Plus hasn’t lived up to the original series. But the return of Haruka as the main girl has brought back a lot of the fun. She was the first girl in the original and has had to wait the longest for her return bout, but she’s making the most of it.

Why no, Junichi, Haruka doesn't have anything on her mind. What makes you ask that?

I’d forgotten some things about Haruka. I know she was into playing little games, but not that she would take it to such extremes. Take that impulsiveness, the fact that her grandfather had proposed to her grandmother on her graduation day, in a big-ass British cathedral, and her cousin Jessica Sexy Morishima had the same thing happen, and the gears inside this impulsive senior are spinning like crazy. Soon she’s got Junichi enacting a wedding, visiting the doctor about her “pregnancy” (skipping the wedding night, to Junichi’s chagrin), and a family dinner, dragging poor Hibiki along to be their straight man. The whole thing is playful, much the way the original was and the current series isn’t, though it tries. Then Sexy shows up in Japan.

Think of a girl just as playful as Haruka but less inhibited. What’s more, she’s keen on getting our lovebirds on the same romance/marriage schedule as the rest of her family. So is Haruka, actually, but she’s afraid to beg. Meanwhile, Junichi’s begun to worry what will happen when Haruka graduates and leaves him for college. You see where this is heading. No crisis this time, just a slow realization that they better act fast. So it’s a little odd that the big cliffhanger is Junichi inviting Haruka to her house, even if no one else will be there. It doesn’t matter. This was the most fun I’ve had watching the Plus series. We even get Miya doing an American style laugh: “Ni shi-shi, shi-shi!” I just hope the finale will live up to it.

A good miniskirt captain knows how to use viewscreens to protect her dignity.

Moretsu Pirates 11 gets by with nothing getting in the way of its single-minded mission of getting to the golden ghost ship so that Gruier can do whatever it is she had planned to do. Oh, and they need to avoid getting ripped apart from earthquakes and space jumps or getting blown up by the other Serenity ships out there. And they make it. All very straightforward apart from whatever palace intrigues Gruier isn’t telling the Bentenmaru’s crew about, which causes her to gasp and frown every now and then, especially when she discovers her kid sister (and political rival?), Grunhilde is on the Serenity battleship. Whatever. Marika shrewdly takes it in but says nothing much about it. It’d be easy to say she’s now fully in command of the Bendenmaru except that Kane has no problem issuing commands if need be. Or maybe that’s just deferring to the expert. I’ve never been a captain. Anyway, lots of rumbles and bangs and pretty light shows this episode.

Wait until you hear her EVIL PLAN!

On one level, Senki Zesshou Symphogear 11 is compelling. Hibiki’s beloved school is pretty much destroyed, while Ryoko reveals herself as Fine and infiltrates the underground base to find the sword of Durandal. We get Genjuro putting up a manly fight against Fine until something happens that I didn’t quite get and gets skewered (but still alive). The girls fighting near the end made up with story what it lacked in pure action, though the action wasn’t bad. Good, exciting, we-near-the-show-finale stuff. On the other hand, the whole backdrop of sword fragments and reawakened magical figures fighting through history gives the entire thing such a ludicrous bend that the whole thing is in danger of collapsing on itself. The shaft leading to the base turns out to be a tower in reverse. Fine makes it go up instead of down. Apparently (in one of those speeches where everyone stops fighting to listen to her) God destroyed the first tower of babel and so Fine’s built another one. It’s really an ion cannon. To destroy the moon. Yes, to destroy the moon! That will break the curse, she says. I assume she means the curse of multiple languages and the cure for that is song, but they don’t get to that. Yes, this whole plot was in order to destroy the moon. But Chris sacrifices herself (well, sings her swan song, but Tsubasa survived hers, so there’s hope) so that the cannon only blows off a chunk (the moon is apparently a mile or so over the earth). In terms of the characters it’s a moving episode. In terms of the overall story and concept, it’s hard to keep from giggling.

Oh yeah, and Kill Me Baby.

BRS 6, Lagrange 9, Amagami+ 10, Papa is not really in this episode 9

Black Rock Shooter 6 gives us some background, but not enough, rather, just enough to be confusing. Mato is now in the fighting world and not enjoying it at all. Every time Black Rock Shooter takes a hit, Mato feels the pain, so you can imagine her state of mind when the fighter’s arm is ripped off (It grows back). While she’s floating there, screaming, her real-world self is in a coma. Yuu drags her to Saya’s place, which sounds like a bad idea, except now we get to learn some of the counselor’s experiences, and here it gets confusing. The flashback of Saya in high school has her befriending the deeply troubled …. Yuu. Same girl, same light build, only with a look that suggests she’s seen too much. She’s the one who knows about the connection between the worlds, and in the end, Saya’s guilt over a hurtful assumption (hurtful but perfectly logical–I would have done the same) gives her the pain-credits to become “Black Gold Saw.” So, what is Yuu? When did she live? Does she live in this world, really? Meanwhile, in the fighting world, Black Rock Shooter is fighting Saya’s entity with Mato and Saya’s voices both interfering. Or something. There’s the moral question of whether they should allow the fighters to shoulder all that pain, but Saya admits she put mental stress on Yomi (who is cured enough to delete Mato’s phone messages) in order to waken Yomi’s fighter. Also, something about “true powers” that I don’t want to think of right now. The motives and desires of all involved confuse me right now, and that’s all right. The more the fighting world is explained, the less power it has for the viewer. Best to use ambiguity to keep it potent.

It's hard to take the villains seriously in this show.

Rinne no Lagrange 9 drops the Madoka and her Vox business for an episode, well, apart from a couple of brief conversations that tell us nothing, and instead gives us a silly episode to prepare for more important stuff later. The villains, such as they are, are pretty much left to their own devices. Izo watches a samurai movie and gets inspired to duel Madoka, leaving the other two to find him, or Madoka, misinterpreting local customs along the way. As I said, silly. The one in the maid getup (which, another points out, he hasn’t taken off yet) winds up working at that cafe to foot his bill. That was predictable. Better was Izo’s going to Madoka’s school, and the third guy actually meets Madoka (who is being heroic, as usual), but doesn’t know it. And they all learn nice things about her along the way, setting up their face turn. Not that they were effective heels to begin with. It’s a more cheerful than usual episode of a generally cheerful series.

Thank god for this narrator.

Sae’s finish in Amagami SS Plus isn’t an improvement. She has a rough time with the Founders Festival preparations, which we all expected. Junichi casts about for something to do with her too busy for him and finds one. They had toyed with the idea that Sae would mature enough that she no longer needed to lean on Junichi and how that would affect his superficial need for such dependence, but don’t follow through apart from Ayatsuji’s advice that he help her in any way she needed. I kept waiting for something interesting to happen, but nothing does. Even Sae’s being in the infirmary turns out to be a red herring. The only distractions are from Miya with her goofy scene “Best Couple” scene with Sae that was the episode’s best moment in that it showed Sae being outgoing, spontaneous and mischievous for the first time, and the amused narrator who’s more than willing to have a joke at Junichi’s expense. Okay, they have their happy ending (one kid and counting). Time for the girl who could turn this sequel around!

With the housing crisis over with Papa no Ikukoto wo Kikinasai! 9 takes an episode to focus on Miu, the middle one. That’s fair. She doesn’t get the shoulder-responsibilities scenes like Sora, or the innocent, sometimes unbearable cute bits like Hina. And while we don’t learn too much about her, only that she likes dressing well, we get to see the effect her new circumstances are having on her. It’s hard to hide her situation from her classmates, who pity her, which she doesn’t like. On a half-day, she decides to go off on her own and just happens to meet Nimura, our playboy with a heart of gold. He treats her to some innocent fun, gets her dirty shoe repaired, in other words, treats her nicely. It’s basically what she needs: a nice day out. It’s not a very interesting episode but it’s time Miu got some attention.

Amagami+ 9, Moretsu 9, Papa drops a plate 8, Kill me Baby … er …

Sae, being so quiet and shy, could have been the weakest girl in the original Amagami SS series, but they covered for that by adding more comic bits. With Plus the same bits are back, and again what could have been a deadly-dull episode was … satisfactory.

There are still dead spots. While Sae has blossomed under Junichi’s tutelage and is now a school idol, now capable of talking not only to vending machines but to human beings, she’s still too quiet to carry a scene. Worse, Junichi has begun to feel the pressure. “What’s THAT loser doing with our beloved Sae?” That sort of thing. It leads to an excruciating scene where he tries to order her lunch and agonizes forever while the queue lengthens behind him. I hate scenes like that. Happily, nothing much comes of it. In the Amagami world many moments which seem important turn out to be nothing at all. The show breezes on.

I hate to think of this series without Miya messing things up.

As for the added bits, they come again through the perpetually amused narrator, and especially from Miya, mishearing some minor news that leads her to believe Sae’s having an arranged marriage. As for the story this time, I’m still looking for it. Junichi panics at the false marriage news which leads to a cute scene. Sae’s put in charge of the founders festival, and Junichi, eager to play instructor again, tells her to go for it. There’s a moment where Junichi’s talking to his buddy and seems doubtful about something, though what, I don’t know. Maybe of what he could possibly do if Sae grows to the point where she doesn’t need him anymore. The episode is called “Doubt,” but apart from that I don’t know what anyone’s doubtful about.

The most annoying thing about Moretsu Pirates is that almost every time the Bentenmaru has a crisis, it turns out to be nothing that requires blasters or explosions. Not to say that the opening scenes in episode 9 were disappointing. It was nice to see Marika quickly snap into action and defuse the potential battle, with Gruier’s help, of course. Um, why did Marika dress her as a pirate, anyway? Was it to see how cute Gruier could look in the pirate captain outfit? … So two dangerous people from a Serenity ship greet Gruier … and then just leave. But, aha! we got a new plot about looking for a mysterious “Golden Ghost Ship.” Sounds like fun … And Marika returns to school. These little deflations will be the death of the show. Why do it? So Gruier could have more cute scenes, this time with the Yacht Club?

Why this scene was in the episode at all?

Be fair, the show is prepping for future scenes full of intrigue and danger! At least I hope. So after those scenes, and a bit with Chiaki which hints that they may be rivals in this ghost ship hunt, we thankfully return to action as the Bentenmaru prepares to search an impossibly huge sector of space, full of black holes and “clouds,” for the ship. What happened to school? I know there was all that business of learning to fake attendance, but this search realistically could go on until Marika is older than her mom is now. Never mind, it’s a real mission this time. No one’s said anything but Marika seems to have passed all her Bentenmaru training tests and is a real captain. When did that happen? This show skips some important things and pays too much attention to others.

The evil landlord is challenged by the forces of cute.

Papa no Iukoto wo Kikinasai 8 is kept interesting by having more than one possible outcome. Yuuta’s friends could find him a new place (what’s wrong with that one place? Relatively luxurious, just a few spirits haunting it. Geez …), they could get evicted and live like rats on the streets, or Sawa, the mean landlady who made Hina cry, could have a change of heart. I was betting on the first, not figuring the amazing powers of cuteness that the girls have on stone hearts, particularly when the heart belongs to a 29 year-old single woman probably wants children of her own. Well, it helped that the actual landlady was the nice older woman whom Hina had already taken a shine to. Overall the episode was a nice mix of little hopes and big worries. Yuuta does most of the latter, but Sora’s doing a good job of sharing them and keeping him honest, telling Yuuta not to stretch himself further than he already has. And she’s right. Much of the appeal of the show is watching how Yuuta copes with enormous challenges. For me, that is. You might just like the cute girls.

Oh, yeah, I watched Kill Me Baby.

Nisemonogatari 8, Symphogear 8, Amagami+ 8, Papa gets evicted 7

Hoo boy, with Nisemonogatari, half the time I don’t know whether to be appalled and amused. But I try to keep my perspective.

Let’s start with the “amused” part. We wrapped up the Karen arc last week, and this week I fully expected an arc starring the littler little sister Tsuhiki, a rather mysterious thing who really hasn’t gotten much screentime yet. And this week we start with Araragi’s brief monologue about her, suggesting that she is immortal, and, of course, another fake. So the episode starts in earnest and what do we get? An episode-long conversation with Karen! Not that I dislike Karen but she had her time, seven episodes worth … Okay, we didn’t get to see a lot of her, in spite of everything this is Araragi’s show, but still … The conversation is livelier than some others, often the case with the ever moving, bouncing, attacking Karen, but little is really discussed. Karen wants to meet Kanbaru and asks Araragi to introduce her. When bouncing around in a short skirt doesn’t work, she tries completely supplication, then violence. The usual for Karen, and fun to watch. As for Araragi, he doesn’t want to the two to meet because of Kanbaru’s … proclivities, which is a laugh considering what the two get at next.

As for the “appalled part,” there’s a sexual undertone that the show likes to emphasize whenever Araragi chats with a female, which is almost all the time. It doesn’t matter if the female is Senjougahara or Karen. We’ve already had lots of it this episode when Araragi proposes a contest: if Karen can stand Araragi brushing her teeth for five minutes, he’ll introduce her. It sounded innocuous to me, too. His point was that he was going to invade a personal part of her body, but come on, don’t tell me Karen’s never seen a dentist before. So he starts to brush her teeth. Turns out Karen gets turned on by it, Araragi too.

I’m getting slightly appalled here. After Tsuhiki (finally!) appears and goes off to buy an awl to kill them, breaking the spell, to my surprise they talk about going right back at it. Now I should be appalled and I am, a little. But then I think back to other episodes of this series, or go back to Bakemonogatari. Like when it looked like Kanbaru’s sexually assaulting Araragi at the end of that one episode. When the next one begins it’s like nothing had happened. And that’s the point. Maybe nothing did. You can’t take half of what they show you in Nisemonogatari seriously. Look at that moment when Tsuhiki leaves–through the wall, or the fight Karen and Araragi had last episode where he was flung against concrete bridges. Did that actually happen? No. So I’m not too worried that they show us something that might appall me. Not too worried.

Senki Zessho Symphogear 8 starts by throwing us a curveball. It’s not a stroke of genius, but it is clever plotting. Okay, not showing us how Chris got away from her boss was either laziness or a missed opportunity for action, but to have her, on the run from Noise, exhausted and collapsing, meet Miku, was a pleasant turn of events that I didn’t expect. Okay, you pretty much knew how it would play out after that. Miku shows Chris some basic kindness, Chris is unaccustomed to this but tries to repay the words with advice about her estranged friend Hibiki “Beat the crap out of whoever it is.” Chris is fun as hell in her current state. Trying to atone, trying to recover from yet another betrayal, and abrasive as hell. The Hibiki/Tsubasa co-advice scene isn’t as interesting, mainly talk about making flaws strengths, how songs aren’t just for destruction but can be inspirational. The battle scene is absurd, with Miku insanely wanting to help by running out there to attract the noise, though Chris’s part in it was just fine. So now everyone is friends again. Next up is more Chris rehabilitation and a scene where she and Hibiki pair up to do some noise control.

Don't worry, in thirty seconds they're laughing again.

Amagami SS+ isn’t living up to the original series. Thinking about it, I don’t think it really could. The original story arcs were probably better planned and were already guaranteed some quality from the original series. The new series feels tacked-on with less time to make each story really compelling. Plus, in every instance but one, Junichi’s already got the girl. What happens in “happily ever after” isn’t going to be as interesting. All the show can do is depend on the characters and come up with a couple sparks of the old magic. Which is what happens with episode 8. Kaoru was my favorite girl for a few reasons, but mainly because she and Junichi could have fun together even if they weren’t lovers. The story of their getting stranded and getting through it (with the utterly absurd but somehow fitting rescue via Umehara) was an example of just that. They argue a lot. They have further adventures. Junichi’s mind wanders like it does. Finally, they both realize that it’s more fun to have fun than to bicker. Sorry to see Kaoru go. Time for Sae.

Papa no Iukoto wo Kikinasai! can be appalling, too. It’s got three disgustingly cute underage girls who all adore their uncle in-law, and while the fanservice isn’t high, at least for the girls, the show can’t resist a scene where the three join Oda in the bath. I thought it would be great for Oda, a harmless weirdo, to meet the girls, then she did, and nothing much happened. She likes them, they like her, except that Sora’s jealous, hence the bath together. Nothing much more than that. Why Sako comes along when everyone thinks it’s a bad idea is anyone’s guess, and here the show hits its low points. Not only is behavior appalling, but they add a split second before each of his comments, as if the show hit a bump and bounced out of rhythm. More interesting is watching Yuuta coming to grips with making enough money to go to school, pay for the girls’ school and Hina’s daycare, not to mention putting food on the table. These problems are not fun but they’re real, and they’re the type millions of people face all the time. Thus, the unexpected whammy at the end hits especially hard.

Nisemonogatari 7, Amagami SS+ 7, Inu x Boku 6

Nisemonogatari 7 finally ends the Karen Bee arc with what feels like little more than sophistry.

Karen, about to converse.

We get three conversations, the first, Araragi/Karen being the shortest and most violent. The upshot again is that the being right doesn’t mean much if you’re not strong, that being strong isn’t meant in a physical way, but in your will, and that sacrificing yourself for others puts you at the mercy at the will of others (mostly conversed about while Karen is beating the crap out of Araragi, perhaps symbolically, since the highway cloverleaf couldn’t have sustained all that damage without anyone noticing, and Araragi’s wounds healed instantly … well, he IS part vampire …). I’m not sure I agree with the third part. Self-sacrifice is an act of will, anyway, and there’s nothing to say such an act is actually the will of others, but rather, because of what is right. It’s also ironic that Araragi trumps most of these arguments because he’s acting out of concern for his sisters, not because of self-sacrifice, but because he loves them. Anyway, he gets her home safely and we move on to the biggest and most confounding conversation:

Here he goes again ...

Senjougahara/Kaiki, with asides to and from Araragi. Part of the problem here is that Kaiki is a con man and, as Senjougahara says, you can’t take anything he says seriously. But she says that early on. We get several minutes of maybe lies and half-truths from the man. Some of it is con-man talk, how he doesn’t believe in the supernatural but knows the people who do, thus making it easy to con them. Yet without being told he is aware of Araragi’s taking half of Karen’s poison within him, so this is a lie. Whatever he says, he isn’t able to make much of an impression on Senjougahara, who knows all too well what he’s capable of. And when it’s over I was disappointed. Kaiki might have been right about being a fake, undramatic man leading an undramatic life, like the others in this story, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t want to see him getting his ass kicked like Karen did to Araragi in conversation 1. The third conversation, Araragi/Senjougahara, simply ties up the loose ends. Kaiki had said that Senjougahara had been in love with him before, while Senjougahaha dismisses it as infatuation with someone who might help her. Who’s right? Kaiki’s line that there is no truth might be right, after all. Well, it’s over. I guess next week it’ll be Tsuhiki’s turn to get into trouble.

It's not what they think.

Kaoru was my favorite girl of the original Amagami SS series. She was so lively and since she and Junichi already knew each other well the story didn’t have to spend time getting the two familiar with each other. In Plus, nothing has changed. The two together always seem to be having an adventure. Now they get a real one when they budget bus tour they take strands them at a rest stop. I guess it’s better than the Ai conclusion; it has scenes of them being silly together and shocking the passers-by. I could watch that for 25 minutes and not have a crisis, but oh well. I liked the comment that all they do now that they’re lovebirds are the same things they did before that. How they’re going to get past that while alone at a rest stop, I don’t know.

Inu x Boku SS 6 is supposedly about Karuta (Not the game, that’s another show) and how she’s actually just as perceptive about people as anyone else, if not more, but I think it’s really about Ririchiyo and her ongoing struggle to interact normally about people, which isn’t to say that the Karuta stuff isn’t fun. Spacy girls who do weird things are usually fun in anime, not only for themselves but for what the people nearby make of them, and here it’s more fun than watching Ririchiyo trying yet again to figure out her own behavior, where the problem is more execution than intent. She goes into snark mode out of habit, but sharing her lunch with Karuta was a natural act of kindness. That Karuta later returns the favor isn’t unexpected; she’s not as hard to figure out as the creators are making her out to be, probably because the show is predictable. Fun to watch, but predictable.