More shows fall over dead: Chocolate, Who’s the sister, Binbougami

Koi to Senkyo to Chocolate ends with annoying obstacles tossed in Yuuki’s path to election victory.

The Katahina faction, whatever the hell they are, put in a last-day-last-ditch effort. The negative article mysteriously put in the online newspaper was bad enough, but they also kidnap Chisato and have Yuuki run around from telephone to telephone receiving instructions to, er, go to the next telephone, OR ELSE. They’re trying to prevent him from making it to the final debate, but the technique is annoying as hell to have to watch. Meanwhile everyone else wonders where he is. Here the questionable ethics that the election runs on begin, finally, to work in his favor.

The first time these two girls do anything useful all series.

Some girls from the school spot him in his disheveled state and make a couple calls, and soon the President and everyone else knows more or less what’s going on. It’s nice to see the good guys battle back, especially when it gives those two girl club members who haven’t done a damn thing all series something to do. And it was nice to see Yuuki and Chisato reunited and declaring love before Chisato’s tsun side appears again. It was especially satisfying to see Yuuki (who OF COURSE got to give his speech, even though he was late) and admit everything that was going on. But it doesn’t change the fact that he managed to win the election because he got a lot of help from questionable forces. Well, he’s in, though the show only begrudgingly tells us this at the end, and as the President points out, his job’s only going to get harder.

That’s nice, Yuuki, but it doesn’t change my opinion of your show.

Not that I really care. This show was a mess. It stumbled from one plot point to another without caring too much about finishing them well and completely forgetting them unless they sprung a new leak. What about that inflammatory article in today’s episode? What was in it? How did they deal with it? Were those two girls only around from episode one to now in order to bicycle Yuuki and Chisata to the debate? What the hell was inventor-girl doing in the show at all? Or yaoi-stick boy? No, forget that, I know why HE was there. Did Yuuki manage to add the anti-discrimination toward financial aid students to his platform? This show felt like it was plotted in a single drunken Friday afternoon using characters pulled from the secondhand anime character stereotype bin they found in the corner. Bah.

Enough of that show. Let’s see if the next show can change the mood. … Oh, dear god …

Fortunately, the scene stops here.

(spoilers) I’ll give Kono Naka ni Hitori, Imouto ga Iru! a little credit: it didn’t try to twist the story up so that none of the girls were Shougo’s sister, or all of them. It was, in fact, one of the early favorites. Not only that, but it seems obvious with hindsight, not from the clues but how the show was structured, who was getting the most attention at crisis time, and that was Miyabi. In fact, they undid the Yuzurina story altogether. That doesn’t mean the episode was very good, however, or the series.

THAT series would’ve been a lot more fun.

We get a lot of talk. Most of the episode is broken into two scenes, that is, after Shougo rejects Miyabi’s confession. The first exposes Yuzurina as an actress. Shougo starts the exposure by putting two and two together and Itsuku arrives just in time with the background facts. This unraveling takes some emotional strength because, well, it’s a big scene, but it goes on too long. Also, if Yuzurina, sorry, Danao Nayuri, former child actress, is just an actor hired to do a job why did she take such obvious evil pleasure in doing it? Even after being exposed she’s got that glinty look in her eye. Well, no matter. After that we get an even longer scene between Shougo and Miyabi. Miyabi has to go on and on about what happened, with flashbacks, and she seems to forget that Shougo knows she’s his sister now, so it’s not like she’ll never see him. After these two scenes there’s no time for anything but last-minute innuendos on the school rooftop and the series ends without Shougo actually getting a girlfriend, just a sister who actually wouldn’t mind marrying her brother if it wasn’t illegal. Who knows how Shougo feels about that …

Your typical harem series ending.

This show wasn’t messy. It was clumsy, not good to look at, and the subject matter was unsavory, but it was straightforward and actually had a real mystery in it. Characters were used and more or less forgotten, like Konoe, but Mei actually got to perform plot duties beyond her story arc. But in the end the show had nothing much to say for itself. It was just a harem series with more cliched characters, and, as I said, unsavory overtones.

Binbougami Ga! wasn’t a great show either, but at least it knew how to end a series.

Ichiko rescues the “good” Momiji and so we have an exciting chase before Kumagai and Momou can catch up and dirty Momiji up. It seems pretty straightforward, and entirely wrong for the series, so you know there’s going to be a complication, and we soon get it: if Momiji isn’t dirtied up in a half-hour she’ll cease to be a god at all, but human instead. And while this doesn’t sound too bad from a human perspective, it still isn’t right. What’s weird is Ichiko’s line of thinking. Momiji’d still be around, but human and thus relatively defenseless. Just what Ichiko wanted, right?

It all leads to a senseless moment where Kumagai has cornered good Momiji on a bridge. Momiji was thinking she was doing the right thing, and actually her reasoning makes sense: she can still appeal to Ichiko’s good side as a human. So the show decides to produce a gust of wind to blow her off into the water, ending the argument when it’s just getting started. Cue the dramatic rescue and the subsequent dumping of Momiji into a garbage scow, and we have our happy, if confusing ending.

Until bad Momiji’s triumphant return, the finale’s tone felt more serious than usual, less fun, though we still had moments of what made the show fun. Ranmaru was a delight from the moment she appeared in the series and she had good moments in the finale. The others did their jobs well. Keita isn’t given much to do except have a brief but important but pointless discussion with Ichiko where he tells her what she already knows. Oh well. As I said before, this wasn’t the best series in the world by any means, but it delivered what it promised, a load of slapstick violence, fanservice and shouting. There should be a series like this every season. Well, there usually is.

One more of Ranmaru.

Four shows that haven’t ended yet but probably should have.

In Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon II 24 the important things come through even if the details are as confusing as ever.

Tenzo, Double Bloody Mary, Elizabeth, and three Excaliburs, I think.

First we get Tenzo, I mean Clothutil’s attempt at rescuing Mary from an execution she actually wants, maybe. Tenzo demonstrates his skills by getting past that sword guy who nearly killed him before (with the help of that bird) and recognizing that Mary and Elizabeth had switched places by comparing their boob sizes. Well done, Tenzo! All that’s left is to pull that sword out of the stone, actually two smaller swords, suggesting that the Earth Pulse feels there’s room for the Musashi people in history, too. Love is declared on both sides, Tenzo lowers his mask and the world doesn’t end (but we don’t get to see his face because he’s kissing Mary) I think. Elizabeth tearfully bids goodbye to Mary, who swears to have a child who will usurp Elizabeth’s throne. She’s actually being comforting, you see, because after that Elizabeth’s job will be done and they can all play in fairyland. A touching but bizarre scene. Oh, Azuma(?) and Kimi beat that emaciated guy and the gravity-doll, but I’ve forgotten what they were fighting about.

Robots defend the Musashi.

That done, it’s back to the Armada battle. Here I kind of lost track of things. Muneshige doesn’t get to die with his forces because Juana rescues him and they start making out on the burning vessel until Tachibana breaks it up. Tres Espana’s flagship, the San Martin, is firing huge slow broadsides from angles too fast for them to move without detection. Turns out there are two San Martins! No, there are three! But one of them gets rammed by Grace O’Malley’s ship. I do not remember who Grace O’Malley is, but apparently she owed the Musashi a favor. But now Espana forces have boarded the ship with baseball bats and explosive balls and are running all over the Musashi. So it looks like more individual duels for the next episode.

In Polar Bear’s Cafe 25 the first part is Penguin’s art exhibit, and then we get to see how Polar and Grizzly met as kids. The latter gets a little too sweet, though I liked how Polar was the only animal around who wasn’t terrified of Grizzly. In fact, it should be the other way around, but Polar had no desire to scare anybody. He could also cook an excellent salmon stew. The first half is better, but like last week I thought it missed a lot of potential laughs. But the combo of Penguin’s highly derivitive or simply blue paintings, followed by Polar’s follow up and Panda’s non-sequitors, had some fun in it.

Kono Naka ni Hitori, Imouto ga Iru! 11 is called “The Sister Trap,” and may not come as a surprise in this lazy series that there is no trap sprung anywhere in it. In fact, nothing much happens at all. The day after the party Miyabi doesn’t come to school, and she later forces Shougo to take her out on a date. It’s the dullest date sequence with music interlude I’ve seen, and it’s completely pointless. Shougo also gets warnings from Ikusu to be careful because those plotting to get at him are close by, which is so obvious by now that I figured it the scene was there because Isusu didn’t have anything else to do this episode apart from looking at someone who might be Yuruzina in some movie footage. Meanwhile Yuzurina, whom we KNOW is evil, stirs the pot by denying that she was the girl speaking to him at the funeral, so either she’s come up with a cunning plan along with the current one (which involves feeding Shougo breakfast and dinner) or she doesn’t know everything, either. Meanwhile, front-running harem girl Konoe isn’t given anything to do for the second straight episode. And, again, no trap. Stupid series …

In most series that have a main character change personalities the big challenge is to return them to the good side. In Binbougami Ga! 12 it’s to get Momiji to change to her bad self. I’m rooting for it too. The nice Momiji bit worked for a while because of the effect it had on everyone else. The class was suddenly in love with her. Ichiko, naturally suspicious, drives herself into a frenzy wondering what she’s up to and when the trap will snap, but there’s no trap. Momiji hasn’t abandoned her mission, either, but now she tries to talk Ichiko out of her spare fortune, using bland speeches that, while true, are deadly dull to listen to. Does anyone want Momiji like this? No! Bring back the bad Momiji! Bring back the sneak attacks and mad violence and screaming that made this show bearable to watch! And that’s the theme of the final arc, to make a character bad, cunning, and smelly again. Oh, there’s a nice Death Note scene too.

Natsuyuki finale, Imouto ga Iru 10, Binbougami 11

I shouldn’t be surprised the Natsuyuki Rendezvous finale was different and a little confusing.

We jump way into the future, where the daughter of Rokka and Ryuusuke is making plans for the shop now that her father has died, and we get a line on how he followed Rokka. So the two have passed on, just as Shimao did. Why is Shimao is still floating around the place? Rokka and Ryuusuke apparently have moved on. It becomes clear when you realize he’s been floating everywhere now; he’s not stuck at the flower shop. The final scene is of him floating lazily in the sky. My guess is that while he managed to leave Rokka for good, he died too soon to want to stop living completely; he couldn’t yet get up the desire to leave completely. So he chats up the credulous grandson, shows him the mysterious room (and never have the storybook flowers seemed so menacing, but it was just a joke) and floats away. Guess he was just checking in. I wonder if he’ll leave for good, now that Ryuusuke and Rokka are gone …

Oh shit …

The stuff before that, in the forest, took an unexpected turn. I hadn’t considered the fact that Rokka might consider dying to be with Shimao. And it’s interesting that she lets Shimao make the decision for her. At that moment she had no idea what to do. In the end I think that was a weakness in the show. Rokka was too passive. She makes a realization during the episode that she’s one of the reasons why Shimao is so miserable. In that case maybe she should have done something about it. We’re lucky that Shimao had seen enough to realize that the best thing for all concerned was to give Ryuusuke his body back and exit. I’m not sure what prompted this decision, but I could never figure Shimao out anyway.

So it ends happily enough for all concerned. Shimao finally did something right and seems happy just floating in the sunshine. As for me, I’m glad it’s over. This was a good series but the unresolved tensions between the three protagonists remained much the same for too long. It sometimes felt like a chore to watch an episode and see little things happen, but nothing big, until the body switching, and even after that the show spun its wheels. I don’t mind subtlety or complexity in my anime, but I don’t care for wasted episodes, either. On the other hand, I’m glad it was on. We need subtle, complex anime, even if makes mistakes like Natsuyuki Rendezvous did.

Nah, take ’em all.

Now let’s turn to a couple of much sillier shows. The first, Kono Naka ni Hitori, Imouto ga Iru! 10, stumbles along in its usual dull way. Shougo, thanks to his newly-found genuine sister, gets to bring ALL the girls to the big party. Which is the way it should be. It’s obvious now that his father probably bedded a lot of women even after getting married, so it’s in the spirit of things for him to bring his entire harem. Once there, however, the show botches whatever opportunities for fun it had. Miyabi gets depressed and wanders off, and only Tendou shows any inclination to enjoy herself. The others might as well not have shown up. They hunt for Miyabi, who gets drunk and tries to bed Shougo. Meanwhile, secretary Seri is revealed to be in a plot to disgrace him by bringing up the whole sister thing. My reaction? Let her try, and Yuzurina agrees with me, but at the end we learn she’s actually on Seri’s side (i.e., evil). Not that it matters. Just let the matter out. The man is dead. Sigh.

The day after.

Binbougami ga! is just as stupid, maybe more so, but it’s also more lively and fun. Episode 11 is the Fanservice Episode, so proclaimed by Bobby and Momou in the opening bit, with a rousing song about tits. I haven’t been so touched since Mayoi Neko Overrun‘s ode to bloomers (which still pops into my head from time to time). The story: everyone in the cast shows up at the public baths at the same time. You can imagine what happens. Yes, the walls come down. Nothing much stands out, except for Keita’s temptation to peek by Bobby. With that and his desire to show Momou and the cat god transform for cash, it’s good to see the boy is prone to greed and temptation like the rest of us. And as an equal-opportunity fanservice episode, the girls and the interested viewers get plenty of glimpses of him as well. Altogether it’s the usual senseless violence and jokes with extra splashing and convenient fog. And since there’s no sentiment this week, it’s a good episode.

Tari Tari 11, Space Bros 23, Binbougami 10

Like in every other episode of Tari Tari, episode 11’s big events are mixed almost evenly with the rest of the side stories and quick looks at characters.

Busy happy activity before the whammy.

Well, that’s an exaggeration. There’s nothing bigger than the school being closed down (after the remaining students have graduated) and turned into condominiums, but if there’s a theme to this series it might be that nothing that happens is bigger than the people involved in it. Wait, I don’t like that definition. How about “Ob La Di, Ob La Da …” But that’s trite. Moving on … We get a first half of cheerful White Festival preparations and the crises each club member faces as they try to fulfill their obligations. From Taichi’s attempt at drawing scenery and sneaking photos of Sawa to the ridiculous story Miyamoto wrote for their production, to Wakana still trying to write that damn song. The show even starts setting up another feud with the “real” choir club. It’s all low-key fun until the whammy.

The whammy.

And just like that: The school will shut down. Not even a White festival. Scene after scene of students and parents and teachers hearing the bad news. In other words, the show completely abandoned its work toward a big festival finish. Even with all the hints they gave it’s still shocking, and it must have been a huge blow to our gang, but we don’t see it. Sawa practices archery, Taichi practices badminton. We see others doing whatever they were going to do anyway, resigned to this less exciting (Can you imagine Miyamoto yawning in this show?) road their life has suddenly taken. It happened. This isn’t the type of show in which the school will be rescued by some benefactor or by a concentrated effort by the heroes. They can’t do anything, they know it, they move on.

Whammy? What whammy?

Except for Wakana. Before the news we see her happily working on the song, struggling at times, but pressing on. After the whammy she’s still writing it, until she’s done. It’s as if the bad news had completely passed her by. All the exterior events had become unimportant to her, maybe inconvenient at worst. Just as what’s happening to the school is nothing more than an aside to these students, inconvenient or sad at the time, but unimportant in the big picture of their lives. Wakana’s proposal to perform it anyway (When? Where?) will be a nice way to give them all some closure, nothing more.

Space Brothers 23 is sort of filler. We tie up some loose ends, particularly with Teshima, who caused confusion by dropping out of the selection after the fact, because he wants to find life in space and there’s a probe going up that will do just that. Nice scenes between him and his stern father, and we’ll probably never see him again. This means that Tenji HAS been selected, but the announced number of qualifiers was misleading, well, it was meant to. Well, good for him. Elsewhere, Mutta the successful applicant still has to earn money, but the Santa Claus scenes are mercifully brief. My favorite bit was Serika, eating two taiyaki (one with custard), doing a little dance, while the plane taking Mutta to Houston flies overhead. Next week … another examination?? I thought they were done with that!

In Binbougami Ga! I was beginning to wonder if they’d ever really resolve this issue of Ichiko sucking the good fortune out of everyone else. On the other hand, if I was her I wouldn’t want Momiji sticking a giant syringe into me while cackling, either. And so, like in many other episodes, we get a few scenes where Ichiko’s reminded of this curse (for that’s what it is, really) and feeling bad about it. Finally the shit god, I mean God of Toilets of all people, gives her a necklace that inhibits the, er, sucking. Now we’ll see what happens, I suppose. Otherwise the episode wasn’t bad. Ichiko really ought to fill Ranmaru in on the situation, especially after she sees Momoe transform, but it was nice to see Ranmaru interact with the others, and that Ichiko thought to invite her over to see the kitten in the first place. I wish the kitten could have remained a cat god, though it was touching to see it rescue Ichiko because of the kindness she had shown it. I could have done with less of the toilet god, though.

Natsuyuki and Binbougami 9, Chocolate 8

Natsuyuki Rendezvous 9 is the most effective episode so far, though in a way it’s the slowest-moving.

Flashback.

There’s only one event, but it’s a big one. As we expected, Rokka encounters Shimao (still in Ryuusuke’s body) up in the mountains. In the scenes that follow it becomes impossible for him to hide the switch, and Rokka realizes she’s looking and talking to, well, basically, Shimao. Naturally, she is completely overwhelmed. At the same time, Ryuusuke is still traipsing about fairyland, books with Shimao’s old illustrations, and the Rokka-fairy turns and calls him “Prince.” His reflection in a drop of dew shows Shimao, a twist I frankly don’t have an answer for, unless Shimao’s begun to come back, and, with his regret in the real world, maybe he is.

Present day.

Reasons why this all works: for one, Rokka now knows something is going on, and now she may be forced to make some decisions about her future, what she can let go. The episode likes to point out that in spite of Shimao’s entreaties she hasn’t gotten rid of anything Shimao asked her to. She kept everything, including the memories. Also, Shimao has an inkling that this is going altogether the wrong way. He hadn’t intended for them to meet up in the forest, meant to string her along, or maybe, deep down, he did, and he now sees how selfish he’s been and what damage he’s doing. Another way this works is through simple storytelling. All those episodes of dallying pay off (well, to an extent), as now they can drag on a moment when Rokka stops Shimao from running (with that ridiculous gait), clutching the back of his jacket, and make it last just enough. The episode switched Shimao and Ryuusuke’s face so many times we’re not sure whom we’re looking at anymore. It’s broken up by Ryuusuke’s adventures in wonderland and its clumsy dwarfs. And all the artwork! This series has always looked good, but nothing yet matches the vivid forest scenes here, the colors and shadows, that make the storybook world look dull by comparison. I wonder if that was intentional? Probably not. Well, I’m still not convinced how good this series is, but this episode makes a strong case for it.

Binbougami Ga! 9 has no introspective scenes, no sentimentality at all, so it’s a good episode. Ichiko and Momiji try to settle their dispute during PE coed tennis, each teaming with two star players, who find themselves victims of powers far beyond them. I felt a little sad for the trauma inflicted on Shion and Gorihara: innocent stereotypes tossed in for one episode. But the gags were mostly good, so who cares? In the second half we meet Kuroyumi, another god of misfortune who’s going to steal Momiji’s thunder but winds up a victim herself–of Ichiko’s cooking. The best bit was her reaction to the stew, entirely off camera, a mass of screams, retching noises with other sound effects thrown in.

This bit doesn’t have much to do with anything, but I think the character’s cute when she’s being sneaky.

Koi to Senkyo to Chocolate 8 tries to be moving and fails because of its inability to make me care about anyone involved. It looks at first like a harem episode. We start with Yuuki pinned down in Satsuke’s room, playing Shogi and hearing some of her backstory along with the flirting she does. Her sister, the drunken Hazuki, abandoned their family years ago and won’t say why. Later we get a scene with Chisato acting weird because she’s afraid Yuuki’s eyes are beginning to wander, though they aren’t a couple in the first place. Sadly, he has to give a “I love you BUT …” speech (this scene also involves a walking squat toilet). Then it’s back to the sisters who do everything they can short of killing each other to lay claim to Yuuki, who is so emasculated by this point he’s got a sign around his neck saying “Prize.” Then we get the tearful family story … which was underwhelming. I can understand Hazuki’s feelings of loyalty to the woman who raised her, but I’d love to hear the mistress’s side of it. She gives birth to a girl, who is taken and raised by another woman, who dies, and now the daughter refuses to accept her biological mother. Well, we get another pathos, or bathos in this show already.

Five episodes that more or less annoyed me

I’ll probably watch Natsuyuki Rendezvous through to the end, but it gets harder and harder. It looks like Ryuusuke has found a way through the ridiculous impasse by the end of the episode, but his impetus, apart from scarily getting caught there forever by dwelling on the past, like Shimao perhaps, are unclear. Fairy Rokka (for want of a better name) said that there was a part of him that wants Rokka to be free; does that mean he’s willing to let her forget him and pursue future happiness, or is it a part of him that actually could not love her? Either way, he’s pissed off about it, probably about his dithering over it and wasting everyone’s time, including those of us watching. Whatever the reason, the show needs some kind of stimulus. I don’t care whether it’s from Rokka meeting Shimao/Ryuusuke while hiking, or Ryuusuke saying “enough!” and booting Shimao out of his body, or … Well, I’ve given up on Shimao doing anything constructive.

Binbougami Ga! lucked out when they brought Rindou along to be a side character. Thanks to her we’ve had two decent episodes in a row. Even the maudlin stuff at the end wasn’t so irritating. One reason is that she’s decided she’s a friend of Ichiko even if Ichiko refuses to accept it. She’s perceptive enough to see beyond Ichiko’s nasty facade and see the human being there, something even Keita hasn’t done. And she’s a tough, broad character who’s capable of a lot of violence. Perfect for this show. And so get the Bad Girls in the class kidnap Ichiko (who’s good fortune apparently isn’t always so abundant), Rindou rescuing her only to find herself with a collapsed building around her, and another mixed reaction scene from Ichiko, which worked because it was her acting on her own impulses. The bit after that with the sob story didn’t work because it’s hard to feel sorry for a girl who rejected all of humanity just because one friend once betrayed her, plus why would she suddenly change? Still, pretty good episode.

The closing credit sequence was the best thing in the episode.

I lost my notes for Yuru Yuri 2 8, but I’ll just say that the best part comes at the end, with some of Chinatsu’s grotesque depictions of herself and her beloved Yui come alive. The rest of the episode was just average, maybe because it was relatively normal. I think I like this series better when shows things like Chinatsu’s hair eating ping-pong balls, or that teacher talking about blowing things up followed by the quiet one saying something we can’t hear, in other words, when the series goes off the deep end a little.

Polar Bear’s Cafe 21 has not enough Polar Bear or Penguin and too much Panda, though it’s amusing enough. Panda gets bored and tries to be other animals for a while. The best part is when Llama does the same and becomes a panda, a popular one, too, since he goes all out with the extra service. Poor Llama is starved for attention. The second part would have been annoying, with Panda’s little sister Mei Mei getting a crush on Mr. Handa, but Kana Hanazawa’s voice work rescues it.

You should talk.

Kono Naka ni Hitori, Imouto ga Iru! 6 just limps along. I was afraid it would when we begin with Shougo deciding to help Sagara promote her failing cafe. The usual scenes, planning publicity, getting girls dressed as cat-maids (with tails which reveal their moods). It’s only livened up by the brief appearance of the newspaper perv girl and of Ikusu, both of whom are so different from the other girls that it’s a relief when they show up. There’s a terrible scene when Shougo confronts Sagara about this whole sister business and we get a lengthy and pointless unraveling of her motives which was unnecessary and dull to boot. It’s a little late in the season to say this, but I’m close to dropping this show again.

They made it through the primary with no room to spare, so in this episode of Koi to Senkyo to Chocolate they go off to “camp,” or sorts. The jump from celebration to next stage planning to the camp is so muddled I didn’t realize they were there until Yuuki is cooking and Isara is sucking his bloody finger. We get various uninteresting night scenes, including Yuuki sharing a bed with the gay guy and later getting chased around by girls because he snuck Satsuki’s drunk sister back into her dorm. And Chisato comes onto him in the bath. It’d have been a good night for him if he had any sense. Oh, Satsuki also apparently comes on to him, but I’m thinking that’s more innocent than it looks. It’s a typical, messy episode. I don’t mind a good harem show, but this one has too many other things flying about. Choose a girl, Yuuki, and then focus on the other things the show keeps bringing up and forgetting.

Those silly shows again

Look behind you! It’s a ghost!

Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon 19 finishes up its story arc, I think. Well, at least the five duels were concluded and interrupted. First we get a history lesson from Master Scarred (cloak-girl) about how Catherine, Anne and Henry VIII all got whisked off by fairies at some points in their lives, which is linked somehow to Carlos I of Espana, but Tenjo can’t stop thinking about Master Scarred’s butt. After that look at the remaining battles. Tachibana dispatches the wolf in bloody fashion with the aid of a banana peel, I forget how Honda got away from Death-guy, and that third girl uses “flat chested evasion” to get out of a jam. In short, none of them lose, so Toori doesn’t have to fight anybody. I thought there would be at least one.

It’s not looking good for, er, whatsherface.

Meanwhile Toori and Horizon have their date, the concept of sadness and loss is discussed, robot to human. Meanwhile Shakespeare reminds Toussaint about his literary failings and now we’re supposed to guess which childhood friend she or he is. Suzu and whatshername decide to get that safety pod of theirs moving, And just when I thought the episode was getting a little too normal, turns out there are two Master Scarreds, a good and evil one, naturally. The episode ends with Tenjo doing a double, no triple take. As for me, I’ve gone beyond ever being surprised by this show.

Binbougami Ga! 7 brings us a new character, Rindou Ranmaru, your typical delinquent type. We meet her in a bewildering scene where Ichiko is temporarily mistaken for a shoplifter, prompting a bizarre speech by Rindou where you aren’t sure if she’s insulting Ichiko or the cops. At least, *I* was confused. Early on Ichiko confuses her for another god of misfortune, but she’s very human, and we learn how much throughout the episode, which proceeds to lose some energy along the way because of it. The overly stern dad who wanted a son, etc. It turns into another example of Ichiko learning to care about something in spite of herself. We even get a girly makeover scene, never mind the forced gender expectations this reinforces and the fact that Rindou is a lot more fun when she acts like a thug, and that some boys might actually prefer her that way. Never mind. She’s looks like a good fit for the show.

At least we know what to expect from Chizuru.

Yuru Yuri II 7 is pretty good, much better than the last one. We see all the characters’ sisters as they interact. Most of them are very nice and patient people, sometimes exasperated by their siblings’ behavior, but you have to feel glad for the girls that they have such people in the family. We get everyone from little Kaede and her adorable interest in Ayano’s boobs, er, well-being, to Tomako, Chinatsu’s older sister, who has an adorable crush on Akari’s older sister Akaze, who has a rather disgusting crush on … Akari. Okay, most of these sisters are as nuts and lustful as the main characters. This is all fine, except now I have a whole new batch of characters and I have to remember who has the hots for whom. I wish this show came with a scorecard.

I can’t blame the show if I can’t figure out all the cultural references.

Apart from Horizon, I take the most notes for Joshiraku, and not coincidentally they are the two shows I have to least to talk about. So (prepares notes), we start with Kukuru depressed, which leads to Christmas which leads to spending too much to boost the economy. They sing an ode to cheer Kukuru up, that religious woman shows up and gets slugged, a miracle occurs, then another, and now Kukuru’s happy but Marii’s depressed and turns into a demon and the only way to get rid of her bad vibes is to rub her boobs. On to part two, in Harakuku and Back-Harajuku which leads to the use of the word back, then tongue twisterscome to life and then on to crepes (there is a Miyazaki section in there, too) and Marii’s problems with ordering and eating them. Finally it’s skin types, including Marii’s big sister skin, then tattoos, “Skin Arranger!” and giving Genkyou goosebumps in a number of confusing and unpleasant ways. Not the best episode.