Penguindrum 18, Chihayafuru 6, Ben-To 5, Bakuman II 6

Another dazzling episode of Mawaru Penguindrum this week. It’s one of the most suspenseful, yet doesn’t sacrifice any of the eccentric imagery and humor that defines the series.

It starts with an impressionist painting in Keiju’s flashback, and continues to tell Keiju’s story in a beautifully executed series of images and sounds, up until his rescue by Momoka at that generic factory setting. It looks great, and as we learn what Keiju has lived through, the premature, self-imposed stifling of his talent to salvage his mother’s love, and we can understand why he did his heel turn. And I was kicking myself for not realizing that every character in this show has something twisted in their past and a hidden motive, so why not Keiju? He can’t just be a pure voice of reason. Purity of that type doesn’t exist in this show. I’m guessing even Momoka has some more surprises to her. Too many people regard her as a saint for her to actually be one. But while we can understand why Keiju worshipped Momoka, given his rescue at her hands, why this would propel him to punish the Takakura children for their father’s crimes I don’t understand. Well, I don’t understand why any of them are trying to hurt these kids. But, of course, it’s not as simple as revenge. Keiju is convinced that Kanba knows where his father is, that he’s the one providing the money for Himari’s treatment. I’m sure he’s right. It’s hard to read Kanba, because he manages to look sneaky no matter what he does, and while he seemed earnest in his denials I wonder if he isn’t wondering about it himself.

As for the big crisis, Keiju is surprised to see Kanba refusing to let go of Himari’s cable in spite of her entreaties (so sad and earnest that for a moment I thought she was really going to die this episode), exactly what Momoka did to save him years ago. And … it hits home. He rescues them from the trap he set and walks away, calling himself a failure. I suppose because he doesn’t have that kind of devotion to anyone, except maybe Momoka. He can’t comprehend it. A failure? Maybe. But for me he became a failure the moment I learned he hadn’t grown beyond his bad experiences, that he wasn’t actually the steady person who can help the ones around him get on with THEIR lives. On the other hand, he could have exacted revenge, but didn’t. Kanba announces that he has taken the punishment, but he’s talking about his injured hand, though he couldn’t have known about Keiju’s hand, or Momoka’s. In other words, I’m not sure what happened. Kanba doesn’t, either. Shouma, missing out in the end, certainly doesn’t.

Er, Shouma, get her to the hospital, like, NOW, okay? Shouma?

So where do we stand? Yuri has half of the diary. Natsume the other. Keiju’s had his fun and I suspect he won’t play a major role in the final episodes, no, leave that to his wife in his “pretend family.” She’s a more interesting character, anyway. But as it stands the series feels like it’s at a crossroads. Apart from Masako probably taking another shot at Kanba next week (gosh!), which is nothing we haven’t seen, it’s impossible to say where the show will take us for the final episodes.

Apart from a couple of pointed moments, Chihayafuru 6 finally turns away from Arata. Good thing, too. They’ve done all they can do with that relationship for now; it was getting to feel stifling. Instead we watch as Chihaya and Taichi meet a potential new member, an odd, flighty girl called a lot of things, but I’ll call her Kana.

They say she was born in the wrong era. She reads “old books” and since her parents run a traditional clothing store, that’s what she wants to wear. She’s attracted to the Karuta club because the invitation poster had Chihaya in a kimono. She is disappointed when she sneaks a peek and sees Chihaya and Taichi wearing regular gear. In other words, she’s a bit of a nut, but then, so is Chihaya. She’s also quite sensible, like Taichi, though she’s not such a stick-in-the-mud. She and Taichi see the problem immediately. Chihaya is interested in competition (or Arata, but she’s still working that one out, as shown by a moment of silence when Taichi mentions that very thing), while Kana loves the history and tradition of the game. This marriage can’t work … except I remember that Chihaya wears a kimono in the OP.

The inevitable occurs when Chihaya visits Kana’s store and mentions her favorite karuta poem, only to learn from Kana she’s interpreted it all wrong. This sets off her formidable nerdiness and soon she’s asking Kana to explain ALL 100 of the cards. And the next day she’s crushing Taichi in practice because the poems have come alive to her. Two things I don’t buy here, well, three. She got explanations for all the cards in one sitting? I’m sure Chihaya can memorize fast, but to simply take down the information would take even longer than it would for the sun to set outside the store window. Second, she had absolutely no idea or interest in the 100 poems before this? None? And third, she could assimulate this information almost immediately to improve her game? No, I’m not buying it, but the whole sequence gives us some nice visual things to look at, we learn a possible significance to autumn leaves we saw so many of earlier in the series, and the karuta club, on Kana’s insistence, is going to look a lot classier than it does now. As a whole, the episode was just what we needed. Kana is a fun character, and we see more of the game than we’d seen before. It’s like they opened the window and let a fresh breeze into this show.

Reactions to Satou's new clothing style.

Ben-To 5 (I know, I’m a week behind) leaves me scratching my head over how this series works, why it’s so effective. We get Satou, in his underwear, again on the run from a school somebody or other, meets a new weirdo named Asebi, who is pretty much forgotten after stealing her scenes, threatening talk from the Gabriel Ratchett and heir leader, the Monarch, who wants to destroy Satou for some reason, all leading to Satou wearing a girl’s uniform over his trunks and a silly hat and getting the shit beaten out of him by the Monarch, who wants to take over the west side of town. And just about all of it works! From quick-dialogue reactions to Satou’s outfit to the fight scene itself, as wild as the others. I’m hoping that the underlying cause of the Monarch’s plans, which involve another new character named Matsy, won’t bog down the organized oddness that’s carried the show so far. That is to say, I don’t want it getting too serious on me.

It is indeed a sad dilemma that Saiko and Takagi face in Bakuman II 6. Should Saiko get the rest he badly needs and risk his manga’s new-found popularity, or draw on despite the odds and make himself sicker. The answer for everyone, apart from maybe Takagi, is the former. Even Jump’s editors say the health of the artist comes first, okay, while they’re also reconsidering the wisdom of subjecting highschoolers to the pressures of weekly deadlines. Only Saiko is fine with continuing the schedule even though they’re going to take a PART OF HIS LIVER OUT because of it. In the end, sadly, it comes down to the woman (Miho) supporting her man in spite of all common sense, in spite of the fact that she has to put the pen in his fucking hands. God, this show drives me crazy sometimes.

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Old episode catchup dump: Ben-To, Kimi to Boku, Bakuman, Horizon

Ben-To is one of those episodes where they introduce a new character who shakes things up a little and then settles into their role. Since this is Ben-To, the introduction of Shaga, Satou’s eccentric cousin, is a bit more … extreme than it would be on another show. Much of the first half has her coming on to Satou in embarrassing ways, and then it’s poor Oshiroi’s turn. She’s also a formidable wolf known as the “Beauty by the Lake,” but the episode lets us know early on that while she’s dangerous, she also is flighty and occasionally vulnerable, as we see when Ume wreaks revenge on her for her indiscretions with Oshiroi. And that’s the episode’s moral: concentrate on the goal. Because she doesn’t, the Beauty by the Lake is defeated by the Ice Queen in that night’s bento battle. Moral lesson delivered, we go back to observing Shaga as she flirts with and abuses her cousin some more. A character study, sort of.

Even Yukki gets irritated at Chizuru.

One thing that’s both good and bad about Kimi to Boku is that all of the main characters can be jerks. It’s what saves Chizuru from being yet another overly hyper side character. It’s also why I often have a hard time wondering why anyone could be friends with Yukki or Yuta. It’s that former thought that saves episode 5 from being another episode 4. Chizuru spends mouch of the episode annoying one character or another in some fashion, as usual, but it’s how he treats Masaki that he takes a step forward. He doesn’t understand why she’s getting so upset about things, or why she has a thing for Shun, or why his jokes rub her the wrong way (because they’re usually a dig at her). Also, it’s funny when he tries to make it up to her, in a “win a prize for the girl at the festival” scene, his success is unrewarded. Sometimes the show’s mean streak gets too mean for my tastes, and sometimes it’s done just fine.

Bakuman II 5 has no real side plots in that everyone is preoccupied, in one way or another, with the weekly Jack rankings. They go up, they go down. Our heroes, happily, work extra hard and go mostly up. The rivals go through the same thing. Saiko and takagi are overjoyed when they tie for third. Then it’s sixth again, and so it goes. They’re both the spectators and the racehorses in the event. What they might not understand, at least our heroes don’t, is that this is a race with no finish line. They have to run that track every week. Sooner or later someone’s going to break down. Bakuman is not a subtle show. From nearly the first scene it’s clear who that’s going to be. Good. The boy needed the rest anyway. But it’s interesting to watch every artist react and decide what they should do to increase their rankings, or rather, improve their work. Collapsing from exhaustion aside, I like watching the boys work hard and actually improve. And Miho got a bit in SKET dance! I gotta catch up with that show.

Then, let’s see. In Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon 5 we start with Honda and Kazuna the robot maid warrior squaring off against a big armor thing, Tres Espana Heavy Armor thing to be exact, and winning. Kazuno gets blown up a little and now Honda’s up against Muneshige Tachibana, successor to the name of ‘Godspeed,’ Gaercoa Sevarios of the Tres Espana Special Military Unit or “Strike Forcers” for short. Also, he is one of the Eight Great Dragon Lords, entrusted with one of the Deadly Sin armaments–the Lamentations of Sloth. The subtitles are small enough that they manage to fit that into only two parts. Both sides describe their weapons for a while. Kazuna the robot maid wakes up and adds some more exposition about blowing up a reactor, but which one? Then a gigantic door opens, we get more maids, and this guy:

Mikawa’s going to get blown up, or SOMETHING is. Both combatants are taken aback by this “Professor” person, so I figured maybe they’d team up to save Mikawa from disaster, right? Nope, they go on fighting until I THINK Muneshige dies. Well, he’s not moving, anyway. Oh, we learn from the Professor that there are not eight deadly sins, but nine, and all this time I thought there were only seven. What’s more, “Jealousy” is not one of the originals.

Of course. Look how excited they look.

Meanwhile, our main character (who’s been involved in the action so rarely I can’t remember his name) runs off and his classmates chase him. Kazuna the robot maid sticks out her tongue at Honda and reveals a dark pearl there, which of course is the soul of Honda’s late wife. There are more explosions, but the lights go down and nothing got blown up. We’ve learned that that other robot is actually the ninth weapon, but before anyone but the girl with the botched sex change operation gets to her, the Italians land and take over. Then things that were shown pointedly not blowing up, blow up anyway. Including Honda, in true anime hero blown-up style as the credits roll.

You know, if I tried to make sense of the plot, Horizon wouldn’t be nearly as much fun to watch.

Ben-to 3, Guilty Crown 3, Working’!! 5 (whoops), C3 5

First, it’s time catch up (by one episode) on the two shows I’m watching that have backlogs. The thing is with shows like these is that they’re usually the ones I’m enjoying the most. I’ll be about to click on one, but think “I think I’ll save it for when I need to watch something I know is good.” And a day passes, and another … And now I’m thinking I’ll just watch one of each, because I want to save one for when I need to …

Ben-To 3 brings us new contestants in the battle brawls. Geez, is there anyone out there who DOESN’T fight for bento?

This is after a bizarre opening involving You running around in his underwear, for reasons we’ll learn soon enough, in fact, quickly after the credits, when Ume decides to punish him because Oshiroi hangs out with him too much. You know, the usual. Meanwhile, Oshiroi is proving herself to be the most entertaining character of the lot. Even if she’s really not involved in the scene, furtively looking at You in his underwear, she steals the scene. Anyway, You is invited to join the Hounds, yet another batch of people after the bento. In their spare time they’re the schools kendo club. And they have strategies which make it relatively easy for them. Easy food! So tempting!

You makes his decision

But the show makes it clear that something’s wrong with this. First, they’re “hounds,” like in dog, and You is striving to be a wolf. And You is not satisfied with the food he wins with them. We know why, and the show, alas, doesn’t do a great job of making him realize. He just reminisces about a game he used to play, pauses, and Sen smiles. And while the next battle is fun to watch, well, they all are, I don’t quite like how You makes his decision to leave the Hounds. They gave him an invitation and allowed him to get a taste, so to speak, with no pressure and the utmost respect, but he turns on them in the middle of a brawl. Not very classy, even if the kendo instructor does not disapprove. Other than that, it was another fun as hell episode.

The other trouble with having multiple episodes around is every now and then I get sloppy and click on the wrong one. Which is why I’m talking about Working’!! 5 today, not 4. But with this show, does it really matter what order I watch it in?

It's a long story.

The little events are as follows. Everyone grumbles because Kyoko’s lazy and spoiled and eats too much of the restaurant’s food. Yamada decides she wants to be spoiled, too, more parfaits are eaten, to the point where Kyoko isn’t allowed any more food, and they find a lost little girl, and SHE gets spoiled. The gags mostly work. The show lets the characters drive them home. You can imagine Takanashi’s reaction when he finds the cute little girl, and the other characters’ reaction to his reaction. And the show has gotten good at using beats before gags, or tossing the gag out in different ways, such as an inaudible conversation between Yamada and Takanashi. What’s more, Inami didn’t hit anyone! Not once! Yeah, this show has taken a step up in quality since last season.

Yup, it gets worse.

At the end of Guilty Crown 2, a noitaminA show, for chrissakes, the sexy thing Inori who has all these weird powers, did that standard anime thing and transferred into Shu’s school. Maybe it was just an aberration. Nope. The next thing you know, Shu goes home and finds Inori has moved in. To “protect” Shu, because he had been spotted in the raid by a schoolmate. The rest of the episode mixes wacky high school hijinks, poorly done, with a more serious issue of what to do with the witness when they find him/her. The morality issues were handled well, in fact, much better than expected, with a surprise ending that made me think this might be a better show than I expected. But there are a hell of a lot of flaws in this thing. Inori, supposedly sent to protect Shu, did a piss-poor job of it. The boss of the Undertakers, or Funeral Parlor, whatever, having shown his visage on TV, walks around the city like he’s no terrorist at all. Maybe it’s that Void thing he has. As for those voids, they’re not a bad invention, at least in how they manifest, but right now they just work as a gimmick to drape this show around, like many other anime SF shows, and certainly not like a noitaminA show. The disappointment continues.

Just one of many great images of Whats-her-name.

I guess C3 is like too many other shows that tries to do several types of shows at once and makes a mess of it. Which is not to say that it’s all bad. As I’ve said before, some of the visuals are fantastic. When it decides to do dark and bloody, it does it with panache. This week we saw the end of the battle with ,,, er … I can’t remember her name, so, in honor of her favorite word, I’ll just call her “Bitch.” A fitting name for such a twisted girl, and the show loves to show every sneering pose of hers in every combination of angles and colors and art styles they can think of. I got the impression that the animators really loved this character. It’s like a labor of love. I thought she was a one-trick pony myself; you note how I can’t even remember her name. But they did such a great effort with her defeat, a montage that made me actually pity her, that I feel kind of bad that I forgot it.

Fear gets some good imagery too. I could see 'EF' doing this.

The show’s concept isn’t all that new. Fear has to learn to control herself in order to free herself from her past as an instrument of torture, i.e., she is a potential time bomb sent to live with your typical harem lead male, with (so far) two buxom girls vying for attention. Laying on thick slabs of cult-babble doesn’t add to the originality, either. Let’s see, Ueno, the class president, who had been patiently waiting at the door since last episode for the Bitch to take her hostage and slice her up, turns out to be Not Dead Yet because of her cursed bondage underwear, called Ginstrang’s Love, and also has the River of Black Strings as a weapon. She’s an ancester of Chia, but is not a member of the Knights of the Rear Guard but instead an unwilling helper of a research institute called Nightcrawlers. Hmm. The Index franchise does names better. The Bitch’s sword (Dance Time!) notwithstanding.

Pretty much my reaction to the show's backstory.

I don’t mind a mash-up of bloody supernatural combat with cursed weapons with silly harem hijinks, but C3 just doesn’t do it well. The fake sex business near the end was tiresome, not titillating, and nothing really comes together well. But it looks so good that I’ll keep watching.

Crazy girls and competitions: Mirai Nikki 2, C3 3, Chihayafuru 3, Ben-To 2

Mirai Nikki 2 … I thought the first episode was twisted …

Minene Uryuu, perhaps jealous of Yuno’s status as chief psycho in this series, goes for the gold herself, first by trying to kill Yukitero in a classroom, then by holding the entire school hostage with all sorts of hidden bombs. She then tries to kill him by setting them off based on what she reads in her diary. But Yukitero has a diary too, and so does Yuno. Together they manage to escape injury. I can’t say the same for many of the students, however. But they’re still trapped inside the school, and Minene is still in the courtyard shouting crazy things into a megaphone and holding a detonator. Time for some introspection. Yukitero, turns out, is thinking the same thing I’m thinking. First, he’s a wuss who’s avoided people out of fear his entire life, and second, he’s got a girl protecting him. It’s a delicious thought that the only person he can confide in is his crazed stalker.

Yuno isn't giving up her title of Craziest Girl in the Show without a fight.

Meanwhile, we see a couple of sides of Yuno. When Yukitero becomes despondent, she shows gentleness in telling him he has a whole school worth of friends out there. And when these so-called friends turn on him and drag him outside to Minene as ransom, we, er, see her other side. On one hand, it’s good that Yukitero has such a defender; on the other, if I ever see her on the street I’m going to run away as fast as I can. I don’t want to give away the moment, but it’s great, violent fun unless you’re an innocent bystander.

Man, you can't trust ANYBODY in this series.

To further spice things up, not only is Minene a diary owner, but so is the cop, Kurusu. He says he’s not out to kill the other owners but we really can’t be sure what his agenda is. Especially when he nearly decides to shoot Yukitero to save the remaining students. As it turns out, he winds up giving him cover fire while Yuno shouts directions through a minefield and the students, first friends, then enemies, now friends again, flings things at Minene to distract her as Yukitero makes a final dash at Minene. Allegiences shift in this show as fast as Minene can escape (the cherry on top of the episode). I have the feeling the show is going to have to settle down eventually. Probably we’ll get a lot of mind games and soul searching, well, we have that already, but the delightful surprises the show’s brought so far will become routine. I’ll enjoy it while I can.

Yet another crazy girl.

I guess I didn’t have enough of crazy girls, so I put on C3 3 to see what kind of show it would be this week. Cute fish out of water, or crazed bloody action? The answer is: both! Well, after Fear fights off whats-her-name she’s still in bezerk mode and goes after Haruaki, but after that we switch to a new mode: melancholhy. We get a lot more talk about her sins as a bloody murderer, maybe with guilt mixed in. Anyway, she goes off moping, nearly kills a classmate but stops herself, then tries to kill herself. Again, I don’t know if she’s trying to atone for sins or wash away her curse. She seems to feel no remorse for her past, but honestly likes the kindness Haruaki has shown her and regrets that she isn’t entitled to it. Anyway, she and Haruaki make up, or come to an agreement, and it’s back to normal:

Finally, a normal anime show moment.

I’ll add that while the story is a little silly and the thoughts aren’t very deep in spite of the trappings, the show is whipping out some lovely visual moments. Interesting enough to see what else they have whipped up for us.

Let’s turn away from crazy girls for a while and look one who’s just a little obsessed. Chihayafuru 3 continues in the past and shows the three kids bond and, naturally, play Karuta together. Most of this happens in the first part on their visit to a local club where they are immediately goaded into playing a three-on-three match (is every opponent in this show going to be a dickhead?).

They're on the same team.

Arata doesn’t really trust Chihaya and Taichi’s abilities yet. The two get a little annoyed, and the result is they provide more competitiion between themselves than anything the other tean can throw at them. Chihaya is hooked. We get a montage of scenes of them practicing and playing and bonding while they train for an upcoming tournament. “Let’s play karuta together forever!”

We’re only halfway into the episode, so naturally bad stuff has to happen. Taichi, who’s always sort of tagged along with the others, gets into a prestigious middle school with a long commute. Arata’s grandfather, a karuta legend, is mortally ill and has to leave. They can’t play together forever! The first part of this is well handled; Chihaya runs off and temporarily abandons the game, but is easily called back in time for the tournament. But after that the scenes get a bit maudlin. Well, it’s not terribly dramatic to just be dragged off to other places against your will, so there’s not much the show can do. But there are too many moments of one of them sobbing and saying “We’ll never play together again!” Though it is interesting that Chihaya is the first one to bawl. In a later scene she’s recovered enough to console the next person. The music doesn’t help. I’ve praised the soundtrack in the past, but this episode it gets a little overbearing. But hopefully we’re done with the pre-adolescent antics and will move on to the present day.

Two episodes in and I wonder how Ben-To is going to keep up its rather narrow premise, but I’m getting some ideas. Throw in some characters and create a subculture around the bento battles–and lots of fighting.

“The Ice Queen” Sen gives us some basic rules, but after that we don’t see much of her this episode. Instead it’s Satou and Oshiroi, and she bows out early because of her owh situation. The ones picking up the slack of foils are other battlers while they all wait for the “God of Discounts” (the guy who puts on the half-price stickers) to finish his work. We see breaches of etiquette, as a woman named “The Boar” breaks all of the rules. There is the concept of “pigs” (dishonorable) and “wolves” honorable. Oh, Wolves will fight each other, but you see, it’s honorable when they do it. Satou learns as he gets beaten up.

The Wizard out-duels The Boar.

There are more personal matters. Oshiroi is protected by Ume, a fearsome student who’s in love with her and deals with all threats with violence. Since Oshiroi’s been spending time with Satou, he’s been getting abuse in school as well as out of it. And there’s “The Wizard,” the most dangerous of contestants and formerly a member of Sen’s club. Why doesn’t he attend the meetings anymore? Sen doesn’t say. So the show has plot things to work with and a fresh world to do it in, but I still don’t know how much mileage they’ll get out of it all. But after two episodes it’s one of the more entertaining shows of the season, so I’m happy to watch and see what they’ll try.

Episode twos and ones

Damn, I still can’t get 10-bit files playing right on my machine. It’s not only the bricks, but the fact that mplayer overwrites each screenshot I take with the next one. It happened last week, too. So this is the only one I got left. Damned if I’m going to play the episode again to get more …

Well, let’s see. Fate/Zero 2 has a lot of scenes of the servants getting to know their masters. We start with Waver and Rider. I hated Waver from the start, and dreaded having to watch his scenes, but Rider is a hoot, the exact opposite of the little punk. What’s more, he’s more than happy to slap Waver around if he says something stupid. Maybe not what a servant is supposed to do, but it adds a fresh dynamic to these relationships. Then it’s a parlor-room scene between Irisviel and Saber, and more talk about goals. Then we meet a fun-loving killer and his accidental servant, Caster; all I’ll say is that the servant/master shows yet another side … poor kid. Waver/Rider are comlete opposites while Ryuunosuke/Caster are of the same mindset, a sick one. It also shows that the show is perfectly able to get cruel and depraved if need be. It will be fun to see what happens when Caster’s desire for the Grail clashes with Ryuunosuke’s … simpler desires. To finish off the episode we get a battle. Wait, one of the servants is dead already? I’m not buying it, or there’s something to the master’s strategy that he hasn’t shown yet. “Go kill Tohsaka. Don’t worry about Archer.” “Duh, yes boss.” Don’t worry … Sheesh.

'Once more unto the breach, dear friends ...'

Ben-To has the best premise of the season, one of those “only in Japan” type ideas. But this doesn’t mean the show is going to be any good. Take that show where they mixed baseball with Peter Drucker. Awful, just awful. Ben-to, however, has a more promising start. Our hero, Satou, finds himself unconscious in the supermarket and nobody caring much apart from a white-haired girl who says something through the window. It’s only the next day when he returns that things become a little more clear: he was a victim of brawl over the half-priced bento. On the third day, bandages and all, he finds himself competing, only to get knocked unconscious again thanks in part to the girl, known as the “Ice Witch.” There are lots of good little bits strewn throughout: the brawl doesn’t start until the guy with the half-price stickers is finished and leaves the floor. Afterwards, two opponents say a cordial goodbye, until tomorrow. Some of the characters are interesting, like Oshiroi, the bespectacled thing who is too fascinated by Satou’s injuries–Aoi Yuuki strikes again. We’ll have to learn more about Ice Witch Sen. Satou scores points by being both appalled by the fighting and drawn to it–or maybe he’s just starving. Yes, the series has promise. But my big question is: how the hell are they going to milk an entire season out of this premise?

She LOOKs scary, but ... well, okay, she IS scary.

Mirai Nikki follows Amano, a weird kid, who likes to observe rather than participate, which means he doesn’t have any friends, except for an imaginary one (Air Friend!) named Zeus. Turns out Zeus is god himself, and for kicks he sets Amano’s phone diary to show what will happen in the near future. It’s great for Amano at first, aceing tests, avoiding bullies, so we’re waiting for the bad stuff to happen and to get some moral lecture, some monkey’s paw type conclusion. So I’m getting a little bored … then the show ups its game. A girl named Yuno seems to know too much, and then his phone diary announces his death. Suddenly the show has gotten interesting … only to fall a little flat as there’s this serial killer to dispatch, and Deus shows up again and explains the rules to what turns out to be a twisted game. Last one left standing becomes god. Looks to be a confusing time-paradox type of show with lots of mayhem, but with one difference: Yuno is another contestant, and she swears she will keep Amano alive, which is good, but she’s a stalker who’s out of her mind, not so good. I don’t normally care for shows like this, but when it was on its game I was fascinated. Also, I didn’t expect the funny coda. If the show continues to keep me off balance, I’ll keep watching.

Squid girl II 2 had it’s best moments early on, when Ika goes to the elementary school and rouses the kids to join her in her plans for invasion. That’s it! Infect their minds when they’re young! She should have thought of this before! Too bad an incident in the playground distracts her into a silly soccer game. As for the other skits, hmm, I can’t really remember. Cosplaying and weight loss.

I started watching C3 confident that it would remain the same–dumb and predictable, so I could safely drop it. But the show had other plans. Mainly, this woman showed up.

After the usual first-day-of-school shenanigans this crazy lady named Peavy Barroy comes out of nowhere and attacks our cute little girl now named “Fear Kubrick.” Harauka and Konoha join in the fun, and it’s soon blood and screaming and distorted faces. Not only that, it’s directed well and looks great. Alas, I have to keep the show for at least another week.

So I watched ep2 of Maji de Watashi ni Koi Shinashi. Last week everyone was playing military games and it wasn’t very interesting. This week they go after a lost dog and discover a warehouse full of weapons, henchmen, and ninjas. It still isn’t interesting. The hero is bland, though his sister is a lot of fun. Miyako can’t go a paragraph without an innuendo. The others just run around. Even the dog was dull. Dropped.