Some shows continue, others finish or restart, and two cross over

I thought that The iDOLM@STER 13 was the final episode, but apparently they’re just getting started. This episode does, however feel like a finale as the girls perform their first big show with some minor complications. Like the main act running late because of a typhoon, and then, just for fun, a flat tire, and then traffic. I was waiting for the plague of locusts.

Last-minute show changes.

This all resonates with me. Anyone who’s ever performed knows the feelings the girls go through: pre-show jitters, key performers running late and the scramble to cover, wardrobe malfunctions (offstage), all of which happens to them. Plus, it’s their first really big venue, an important concert if 765 Pro is going to keep getting bigger. How they overcome the big and little crises will come as no surprise, this is a predictable show, but iDOLM@STER is always a little better than its source material.

While each character gets a moment, some characters are more equal than others. Thus Miki gets a lot ot time. As she and Makoto (who, alas, isn’t as equal) are my favorites, I don’t mind a bit. Plus, she still has to make up for her antics of the past two weeks. And so, because they’re adding and mixing up their repetoire to give Ryuuguu Komachi time to get through the typhoon, flat tire, locusts, zombie attack, etc, she has the choice of doing several exhausting dance numbers back-to-back, to which she, of course, agrees. And though it’s not easy, she succeeds. She not only carries the team but she turns some heads in the audience.

Of course, no one fails. They struggle and have panic attacks, but in the end they turn an audience who are impatiently waiting for Ryuu Komachi into 765 Pro fans (Ryuu Komachi finally do show up but we don’t see them perform. It isn’t their episode). Utterly predictable. What gives the episode an extra bump is the collective energy of the girls (iDOLM@STER’s best weapon) and solid direction and animation (its other best weapons). The concert scenes combine the two、 The girls give their all while the camera whips around them and the audience energy feeds them. Nice stuff. Since it’s not the finale after all, I wonder what they’re going to do to top it?

SKET Dance 26 is pretty funny, especially after the two-part downer they broadcast before. I bet I’d find it even funnier if I watched Gintama.

As it was, I could only guess at some of the jokes. Happily, the episode makes things easier for me. SKET Dance loves to break the fourth wall, so it’s natural that the characters from both shows would recognize that this is a crossover episode, and I was able to learn something about Gintama just by watching the characters interact. They play with the fact that Gintama is an established hit and SKET Dance is new, “A poor man’s Gintama,” says Gin-san. Kagura is rude to just about everyone. Shinpachi, I guess, is the butt of a lot of jokes. And then there’s the staff to consider.

Two Tomokazu Sugita characters meet.

You get the idea. Everyone bickers about the other’s show of doing things, discuss their time-slots, and, because I suppose there should be a plot, race through back episodes (while the Gintama characters mock the blatant show padding) in search of Shinpachi, and then his glasses, since he’s fading away from “separation from his primary feature.” Oh, and since they’re using a time machine, Switch tosses in a “Too-do-doo!” just for fun. It’s that kind of episode.

Audience age differences.

The gimmick had the desired effect, too. I watched the Gintama side of the crossover. Lots of jokes about Gin-San and Bossun’s inadequacies as leaders, a direct ripoff of the Toriko/One Piece crossover. Good stuff. The creators obviously had a lot of fun doing both episodes.

Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu Ni finishes. I can’t say that the second season lived up to the first one. There were too many slow moments where they tried to push the romance buttons, even though the show depends on the characters never actually giving in to romance. Though it’s okay when there’s a misunderstanding that causes Yoshi some grief, if not broken bones. And there weren’t enough battles, not enough frantic manuvering and outlandish schemes. Yes, there were some inspired moments, but they were loosely scattered about. But if they want to take a stab at a season three to redeem themselves, I’ll happily watch it.

And finally, Squid Girl is back. I dropped the first season fairly early, but what the hell? There’s nothing else to watch right now.

Aww, look at the cute widdle vengeful invader!

… And I’ll probably drop it fairly early, again. It’s got a fun idea behind it, a being from the depths of the sea, hell-bent on revenge, who’s just so cute that you can’t take her seriously. Plus she’s got that cool hair, er, tentacles. But the side characters don’t have much to them, and many of the stories just don’t pan out well. It’s most fun when Ika’s in invasion mode, contrasted with the relaxed beach lifestyle she’s trying to destroy. I’d like to spend a day or two relaxing on that beach and watching Ika’s antics, but I don’t know if I want twelve episodes of it. We’ll see.

Episode catchup dump post

Alice, early feminist in training.

Ikoku Meiro no Croisée 8 is another good episode, though it’s a mystery to tired ol’ me how the tension between Claude and Camille came about. All I know was that their little scene had so many secret meanings and unspoken facts going on that it tired me out just watching it. But it looks like their separation isn’t only because of status and wealth. Much more interesting are the folktales and stories that Yune and Alice tell, well, not the stories, but the way Alice reacts to them. She has constantly sniped about the roles women are stuck with in society. Until now I wrote it off as the babblings of a girl unaware of the enormous pressures women face, but now we learn that Alice is much more of an independent spirit than her older sister, and always will be. Alice is turning into quite the interesting character. As for Yune, the title character, she serves as a catalyst, nothing more.

As usual, no big plot dramatics for Usagi Drop 7-8. Though it looks like it at the start, with cousin Haruka and niece Reina leaving their home and showing up at Daikichi’s place. What we get are a lot of adult conversations, and comparisons of parental lives while the kids run around in the background. And since these scenes are all good it doesn’t matter what the dramatic level is. My favorite bit comes after Reina tells Rin that her parents fight all the time, and Daikichi and Haruka start to bicker … Though any one of the scenes where Haruka describes her home life, or the “strength” metaphor are worth noting. It makes an interesting comparison to episode 8 and Masako’s reaction to secretly watching Rin and Daikichi. Seeing Rin now seven years old, no longer a baby, she realizes what she has lost by giving her up, and decides to dive further into her work, the thing she gave up Rin for. That’s what she wanted right? Even though she already works so hard she’s about to collapse. Or maybe she sees her action as a mistake she must atone for, even at the cost of her well-being.

An attempt at drama.

It seems I skipped an episode of Idolm@ster. No matter. I enjoyed (this is a relative term considering the subject) episode 7 for the things it did not do as much as for the things it tried. At first it looked it’d be all about Lori seeing how the commoners live and embarrassing herself, sigh, but Lori quickly adapts to Yayoi’s crowded and lively home and the drama is the kid brother running away. I was so pleased by this turn of events (and Lori’s pep talk to the boy) that I happily forgot that the drama wasn’t very interesting.

Both Sacred Seven 8 and 9 had no real point to them. Episode 8 has Tandoji and Ruri going off to find something to fix Hellbrick, but really it’s an excuse for them to have a date. So they argue, Ruri objecting that Tandoji just says “whatever” all the time and isn’t really interested in this saving the world thing. This is not true, of course; Tandoji always finds motivation to do heroic things. But they bond a little. I guess they both had to talk it out even though we already knew they were fine. But is Ruri’s concern about Tandoji because he’s a valuable teammate or because she likes him? Who knows? Episode 9 is even more pointless, two separate battles with no ramifications, almost a filler episode. But these two evil darkstones, lampposts of destruction, were fun to watch. Why Ruri and Tadaki didn’t realize that the fat one was feeding off the energy they throw at him I don’t understand.

We meet new characters in Yuru Yuri. Episode 8 brings us Chitose’s twin sister Chizuru, which leads to a long and, I suppose, inevitable character confusion scene involving Kyoko at her most annoying. Why the hell did no one in the cast know Chitose had a twin? Even Ayano didn’t know. Chizuru’s best trait is that Kyoko bugs her and she isn’t afraid to retaliate with violence. I wish the other characters would show such initiative. A nice scene where Chitose announces she’s lying, but then says she lied about lying, so in other words, the Student Council president DID explode. I scratched my head over this until I saw episode 9, where we meet said president, Motsumoto and her favorite teacher, Nichigaki, who likes to do experiments. Normally, I like people who like to blow up things, but Nichigaki comes off as dull. Meanwhile her sidekick Motsumoto speaks so quietly that no one can understand her. But together, they’re a bit more interesting. “We’re explosion friends!” So two episodes, three new characters of varying interest.

It's been so long since I watched it I don't remember why they're freaking out.

In Nekogami Yaoyorozu 7 nothing happens. The girls/gods prepare for the festival, sleep over, and tell ghost stories. I didn’t expect any scary stories from them, but I figured on some half-funny ones. Wrong. Only Mayu tells a story that has anything spooky to it. But isn’t it odd to for gods to tell ghost stories in the first place? Once again, I defy my own tastes by finding the whole think kind of cute.

Oh, shut up and go back to Osaka already.

Whenever I watch an episode of Kamisama no Memochou my overall responses are “That was put together well enough,” and “But who cares?” And I feel a little offended. The show assumes I have bonded with these characters, when in fact to me they’re all ciphers, seen just often enough so that we know who they are and what they do, but not enough that I feel any attachment to them. My interest in the Renji and Sou conflict was diminished because I don’t like either character. Let ’em kill each other. It didn’t help that I knew Hison was alive the moment embroidery-guy said “he” had pain in his abdomen. And while the characters can consider it a success that the gang showdown at the concert was a success, we hardly saw any of it.

And finally, Baka to Test to Shoukanju‘s thrilling conclusion to the “I must expose the blackmailer even if it means peeping in the girls’ bath!” story arc. Er, a bit of a letdown. They finally get a good strategy, the blackmailer is exposed, the boys are suspended for a week (they never get the breaks), etc. The only real surprise came at the end, shown in the picture above. Now I’m only one episode behind. Sigh. But I can’t watch anymore.

Penguindrum 6, Sacred Seven 7, Baka to Test Ni 5-6

Very little actual plot happens in Mawaru Penguindrum 6. We do get some answers but we also get more questions. And a lot more colorful weirdness.

Not real. Look, she's transparent.

We learn what the diary is. It belonged to Momoka, Ringo’s sister, who died long ago. And it puts a twist on Ringo’s obsession with Keiju. Before, I had simply thought that Ringo’s behavior was an unhealthy crush, but if we can take her thoughts as the truth (and should we?) what she’s trying to do is become Momoka, using the diary as her guide, in order to save her family (symbolized by two stuffed animals she insists on keeping with her). She’s not doing this strictly for Keiju, she’s doing it for her family. If she succeeds she confirms her sister’s fate, and all will be well. All of which makes me realize that for any unhealthy obsession there’s always more going on than the object of obsession. There are other needs at work, too.

None of this explains what the Schrödinger’s cat metaphor is doing there, or how she can move so many belongings out of her apartment without her mother noticing, or us, for that matter. And it doesn’t tell us a damn thing about Penguin-Himari, who has returned, unaffected by last week’s craziness, to berate Shoma some more. In fact, Ringo’s story seems completely unrelated to Himari’s. You wonder why she sent the boys off to investigate Ringo in the first place. And my thoughts are no longer “How does Ringo fit into this?” but rather “Will she get the help she so obviously needs?”

So we learn some things, but nothing gets resolved. Shoma meets Ringo’s mother, that’s all. There’s more plot in Kanba’s story. No news on how he got that money, but we see that Asami has lost her memories of him, and while he’s with two other former girlfriends they to are shot by Natsume’s cool slingshot and the same thing happens, leaving him with nothing but the remains of a red pellet with a penguin emblem on it. There was also a penguin emblem on a sign on the rooftop where the girls sat. And Natsume has a penguin, too, the fourth one from the OP. The unpleasant-looking one. But that’s as far as we get in this part of the story. And so I muddled through it all, trying to find significance in birthdays and death days and curry days, odd animated signs in the subway (“Look out for the trap at your feet”) and wonder how soon the next episode will come out.

Sacred Seven 7 begins with Fei siphoning Ruri’s blood, while Ruri undergoes the greatest tortures imaginable.

The oldest trick in the book. Naturally, it works. In terms of plot contrivances and unbelievable things, it’s the most blatant, but not by much. It will come as no surprise whatsoever to learn why Kijima and Fei are so upset about Kenmi’s lab. It’s only a little surprise that Fei’s supposedly dead brother is alive, if you can call that living, but why on earth didn’t Kenmi let what’s left of Fei’s brother loose earlier? Well, these things actually go under the category of predictable. Let’s turn to the other categories: Inexplicable and Silly.

When the base collapses Tandoji finds an enormous boulder on his back, which he must support or get crushed along with Ruri and Fei, who are stuck underneath him. He shouldn’t be able to support that boulder, but he does, heroically–and stupidly, for the girls make no effort to squirm out from under him. Okay, you think, they can’t move. That is, until Fei sees Kijima is hurt. Then she’s out of there like a shot. Only then does Ruri does the stone-kiss thing, even though she or Tadoji (I forget who) had suggested it minutes before. At the end, Kenmi denies all accusations with a speech so phony that only an idiot would believe him. To their credit, Tandoji and Ruri don’t, and it’s the maybe the best moment of the episode. It felt honest and real, and presents the heroes with a real dilemma. Kijima’s not playig with a full deck, but his pursuer, though intelligent and sober, might be worse. Much more interesting than the flawed adventure we had just undergone, even if the brief fights were good.

I watched two episodes of Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu Ni so I could see the end of the story arc, but there’s at least one more episode to go. You notice I didn’t do that with the Sacred Seven arc, even though that one has a possible betrayal and lives at stake, while the Baka boys are merely trying to peep into the girls’ bath. That’s because, I admit, Baka to Test can be enormously entertaining. The episodes leading up to this had been slower than usual, but this arc we get a return to the frenetic, nearly exhausting pace that made the first season so fun. And tiring.

It would take too long to explain everything that's going on here.

And not just in the battles. The quiet, talky moments go off on crazy tangents, too. One character will try to make a point, get misunderstood, chibi versions appear, then other visual effects, then more characters with more silly lines and visuals, all of them reacting to or affecting everything else. It’s crude but it’s one of my favorite things: when so much is happening, aural and visual, that my brain races to keep up. I’m happy to see the show back in top form.

And while I was writing this, new episodes of Sacred Seven and Baka to Test have appeared. Sigh.

I stumble through some more early episodes.

Idolm@ster 2, just like 1, isn’t as bad as I feared. It’s not good, either. It’s not a show I’d recommend to someone I’d actually like to have a conversation with. It’s often inane and it gives an overly-nice view of the idol business, but they do just enough to keep the episode from wallowing in its expected mistakes. What worries me after seeing ep2 is that they’re going to make each episode a little lesson instead of the mindless fun it should aim for. This time it was “individuality.”

Onward, up the great pyramid of ... I forget.

The younger, stupider members, in spite of being professional idols in training, try to be individualistic by and wind up looking like 8 year-olds who who trying out their mothers’ makeup (and bras). And so the lecture begins, with examples. This is actually just fine as we see characters posing for a shoot in ways that show their strengths and keeps them from talking too much. And since we constantly hop from one girl to another there’s no time to get sick of any of them—yet. And in spite of my quibbling, the episode was more mindless fun than moral lesson.

Baka to Test Ni has the same quick, inane gags and setups as before. But it seems different. Was the show this sparkly last time?

Hideyoshi is sparkling!

Three episodes into Morita-san and my reactions are pretty much the same. “Huh?” or “That’s it?” or What was the point of THAT bit?” And why are they so scared of Morita and not treating her like an unfortunate speaking-disable case?

I said before that I thought Nekogami Yaoyorozu 1 was cute. So’s episode 2, but the story was so lackluster that I may drop it anyway. They get a big pot sent to them, Mayu throws it away, but naturally it’s something very important. Everything takes too long, from the discovery of what the pot is all about, to finding it. New characters show up and hang around until they are used briefly, then pretty much forgotten again. Things got a little better when the cherry blossoms bloomed, but then THAT went on too long. But I still find the damn thing cute. I like Mayu’s voice acting. The poverty god isn’t bad, either.

Kamisama Dolls 3 gives us a little background, brief action, and some good plot twists, but the way it accomplishes this does us no favors. First we learn of a rivalry between the Huga and Kyuga families from two extras just before they get skewered by the annoying Aki, and then it’s one new annoying character after another.

New annoying character #1 (on the right).

First there’s Suou who makes a fuss over Utao for too long, and then Aki shows up again to act like a jerk and bug Kyohei. I really get tired of insane murderers smirking about how the hero is the same as he is. The only similarity between Kyohei and Aki is that they’re bores.

New annoying characters #2 and #3.

Then more annoying people show up. We got the posturing Koushiro and some brat who’s name I didn’t get who launches a truck at Utao. Happily, Koushiro is more interested in trying to kill Aki, part of the village family feud, I’m assuming. No wonder Kyohei decided to leave.

Three new shows and an old one: Usagi Drop, Baka to Test, Penguindrum, Idolm@aster

Usagi Drop, the second NoitaminA show is about a bachelor who takes in an abaondoned waif to live with him. I suppose we’ll get all sorts of episodes where the girl (Rin) does something a kid would do and Daikichi learns patience, responsibility, love, etc. I’m not a big fan of this story. But the first episode is promising nonetheless.

Daikichi’s grandfather has died and he returns home to help with the funeral arrangements and meets Rin, the illegitimate offspring of his grandfather. And we get to meet the family, the mother who’s ashamed, and uncles and sisters who’d also rather have the girl not there as well. These are nice little scenes; the family isn’t hostile to Rin, they just don’t know what the hell to do with her, and if they agree to take her in we get a sense that they’re abetting grandfather’s shameful act. Daikichi is the only one who takes any notice of her.

The kind, supportive family.

But why? Maybe at age 30 he is tired of living alone. Maybe he’s stung by the accusations that he doesn’t participate within the family as much as he should. Maybe it’s because Rin, though skittish, seems to like him. For the most part she’s floating at the sides of the gathering, not participating or being asked to participate, picking flowers, staring at the trees. The family even thinks she has a speech problem, since she doesn’t talk. But she talks to Daikichi and even falls asleep on his hand (to his discomfort). Then there’s the fact that she clearly loved her father, er, Daikichi’s grandfather (Daikichi is the only one who finds any humor in the situation), and one family member tells Daikichi that he looks like him at age thirty. So off they go together. If the girl is going to cause any trouble it’ll start next episode, and the show is slow and patient, admiring little moments, so I don’t think the crises will be big.

Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu is back. Apart from a “ni” at the end of the title, nothing whatsoever has changed. Akihasa is still stupidly earnest, Kirishima keeps gouging out Youji’s eyes, Mizuki is still pink, Minami is still flat, Voyeur is still Voyeur, and they won’t let Hideyoshi on the beach without a top. For this is a beach episode. You can probably imagine the scenes already. But I don’t care. It may be a stupid show, but it’s good-spirited. My only complaint about the episode is that it wasn’t as frantic as the show’s best episodes, but then there were no test-battles, either.

The plot of Mawaru Penguindrum seems to be this: Shouma (our narrator), his brother Kanba and their sister Himari live together. Then Himari dies, only she doesn’t, for an entity is inhabiting her body and prolonging her life so that the boys can obtain a precious item. In anime terms, this is a perfectly acceptable storyline. But the way it plays out … heh.

After a nice domestic scene in a very colorful little shack, the boys take Himari to the aquarium. It’s all happy, until she keels over and dies. I’m fuming. “So, it’s going to be this kind of show: get us to like a character and kill her off immediately.” Then the show, which up to now had just been eccentric, gets outright weird.

I’m tempted to list all the strange things that happen, but that would take a long time. I will say that not only is there weirdness, but it escalates. At one point Himari shouts out her (I assume) signature phrase “Survival Strategy!” and we (and the boys) find ourselves in either a magical transformation scene or a song-and-dance number, or both. This is when I hit my WTF state. I stared at the screen, open-mouthed, unable to believe I was seeing this. Not a lot of shows do that to me. Utena did, so I wonder if it’s a coincidence that this show has the same director. That may also explain the disturbing incestuous scene at the end. The other sobering element in the show, apart from Himari maybe being doomed, is the concept of fate and the characters relation to it. I’m sure we’ll get more of that. I hope they surround it with odd girls with more power-hats and helpful penguins. The new season has just become worthwhile.

I’ll say this about The Idolm@ster 1: it wasn’t as bad as I had feared.

The girls, learning that the documentary is a fake, turn on the cameraman.

Oh, it was pretty annoying at times, but the mock-documentary format they used to introduce the characters worked. They were only able to work in one song. Sadly, real life idol training is probably a lot more cutthroat than the happy day-in-the-life we see here. The girls probably don’t spend so much time cutely chasing hamsters, for one. We’ll probably see the regular format starting in episode 2, whereupon I’ll probably drop it.

Two finales: Baka to test, Hidamari Sketch

After a wild ep12, Baka to Test to Shokanju‘s finale is relatively tame, no, I take it back; it’s dull.

Yoshi insists on fighting Class-A again, but they can’t for three months. He digs out a favor and convinces the principal to make an exception. She agrees, but with certain conditions. It’s one-on-one between Yoshi and Shouko, the valedictorian. This dropped my interest level. The other battles, not to say other effective moments of the show, were wonders of manic energy, with so much happening it was next to impossible to keep track. It was one of the things that kept me watching. Here it’s just the contestants sitting behind consoles while the classmates squirm in their seats. Worse, before the battle begins we have a few scenes where Yoshi doubts his own abilities and has to get cheered up by other people.

The show does its best. I was amused that they repeated test questions we had already seen. A couple of them I wouldn’t have known before I would have gotten right, just through repetition (Okay, I would have gotten the first question wrong, and sudden death would have been over). And it was sort of encouraging to see Yoshi, king of idiots, continue to get them right. And he wins, probably because Shouko chose to fail.

And so it ends, with a few more wishes granted and turned inside-out. I mostly enjoyed this show. As I wrote before, I liked the energy, and while the characters were all stereotypes, they were likeable stereotypes that stuck up for each other, even Voyeur. But thirteen episodes is enough, actually, twelve was. The show was in danger of wearing out its welcome.

On the other hand, the Hidamari Sketch finale was one of its best episodes. The tomatoes they planted so long ago (As the show progressed we saw them grow) are ripe and ready to eat. The finale will feature tomatoes, and eating! Another simple Hidamari Sketch storyline, and it has charm and humor everywhere, not to mention 36 ripe tomatoes.

First they must be photographed and sketched (these are art students, after all), then recipes must be chosen, and the cooking is divided up into three different apartments. They draw a restaurant sign and put it on the apartment door. Nothing dramatic happens. No one botches a recipe. They just happily knead, cook sauce, chat and grow hungry. In fact, it made me hungry just watching it.

I wonder what's in my fridge ...

And they eat. Enjoying the tomatoes they grew and prepared. The landlady comes over, then work-weary Yoshinoya. It’s all happy-happy. And the entire series was like this. You didn’t watch Hidamari Sketch because you wanted dramatics; you watched because you wanted to enjoy generally happy people having fun doing things together with some silliness thrown in (especially if Miyako was around). Sometimes the lack of action, the endless talk (like the time they talked about what they talked about) did get on my nerves, not every little story worked, but when put together right, like this one, a Hidamari Sketch episode can lift the spirits of the most depressed anime viewer.

Oh, that's right. They also look at a star.

Durarara 12, Baka to Test 12, Hanamaru 11

After the wildness of last episode Durarara 12 almost feels like a final episode. Things settle down, life goes on. On the other hand there’s a lot of talking about what to do next. It’s as if the show itself isn’t really sure. But this is after a rather large revelation.

Mika Harima didn’t die. Shinra did some cosmetic surgery to make her look like Celty’s head, and Seiji fell for it. The fallout is extensive. Seiji is crushed. Celty angrily goes back and confronts Shinra. His motives are overt. He doesn’t want Celty to regain her head because she might leave him then, or disappear, which amounts to the same thing. Celty is torn. She has an attachment to Shinra, but it’s her head, damnit! But she is afraid of death, and fearful of what might happen if she does indeed get her head back.

Compare this to the final scene, where Izaya is talking about what he wants to do next, all the while carrying Celty’s head around like a football. He imagines that Celty, and all dullahans, are the same as valkyries, and she is simply awaiting for a battle which will reawaken her. So maybe we get an inkling of what’s to come. But where will the fighting come from? Yagira Pharmaceuticals?

I swear, Izaya is everywhere this episode. He pops up unexpectedly to needle people before sauntering off, or running away from Shizuo.

In between we have sort of a filler between story arcs series of scenes. Izaya tells Mikado that what is strange and exciting at first will become mundane shortly, and you must keep evolving to overcome it. Mikado broods on this before deciding to hit on Anri. Celty becomes at peace with herself. Has she given up on the search? Seiji has accepted Harima, at least for now, and even makes peace with Mikado. As I said, it’s almost as if the show was ending and they were tying up loose ends. Or maybe they’ll focus on some new characters now.

Baka to Test tired me out again. There’s so much going on, puns and sight gags and weird action, all of which I love, but not so much when it’s tossed in haphazardly. This episode is a little better. There’s a single goal: Defeat Class-A!


Now, supposedly the battles are supposed to be won and lost by test scores, but you can get a good individual matchup against a better student who happens to be weak in one area, or simply gang up on an individual. So running around the place looking for an advantage plays a part, too, something Class-F uses. They feel they’re more practical than the other classes, and more cunning, and they’re almost right. It also adds physical slapstick to the virtual avatar battling. This improves the show’s flexibility but can lead to wearying moments when they try to do too much.

Line of the week.

It’s not a bad idea. Con or give favors to have the other classes mock-attack Class-A first in the hope of tiring them out. Then set elaborate traps for them. It almost works, until Yoshi’s avatar-thing blows up and the school roof collapses. After that there’s a sweet scene where Yuuji rescues his opponent and torturer Shouko and Yoshi rescues Himeji. And I collapses from fatigue. One more episode …

Hanamaru Kindergarten 11 is a low key episode that concentrates on the adults. The only child that has any significant screen time is Anzu.

You might think that this is an episode where Anzu tries to help and makes a mess of things, and there is a little of that, but the focus belongs to Tsuchida, who’s got the blues. He messed up his confession to Yanamoto and has been down ever since. He’s also wondering why he became a kindergarten teacher in the first place. This events around him, with Anzu coming over repeatedly to clean or do his laundry, forms a background of irony.

He takes Anzu home and talks with Sakura. She asks him to write about nineties videogames for her magazine because she’s got a huge deadline and employee shortage, and he’s good at it, suggesting he is good for other things besides being a kindergarten teacher. And he wonders if he was working so hard just to impress Yanamoto. But he chose this profession before he even met her … Doesn’t make sense. I think Tsuchida just has the work blues. Like Izaya said in Durarara, the strange and interesting become mundane pretty quick.

Meanwhile, there’s Anzu to keep him occupied. In a cute little scene, broken up between bits with the Yanamoto sisters, comparing their density, he tells Anzu a story that encapsulates his entire situation. Anzu is delighted by the story. Tsuchida seems delighted to be telling it. All’s really well, in Hanamaru-land. Just working blahs.