Chihayafuru 11, Kimi to Boku 12, goodbye to C3

Chihayafuru 11’s national Karuta prelim final match had the ups and downs you’d expect, but for some reason, for me, it didn’t have quite the energy and excitement that the previous episode did. Maybe because I had accidentally learned the outcome before. But it still should be exciting to see HOW they all succeed, right? I guess so.

Ways to succeed at Karuta include broad slaps ...

I think the main reason was the Chihaya-Sudo match. In spite of its wonderful and unexpected payoff at the end, I’ve lost track of what makes Chihaya tick as a karuta player. It’s her blinding speed, of course, and an instinct for the cards, but when she stumbles, as she does early on (it wouldn’t be dramatic otherwise), I wasn’t sure if was anything more than getting rattled by a trash-talking opponent who knows something about mind games. She gets some interior monologue about how she’s a part of the team, and we see all of them cheering each other on while working on their own matches, but I don’t really see that as the reason she snapped out of her funk. I suppose it helped, but then what was all that about Sudo’s hands, reminding her of you-know-who? I know there can be a series of reasons for regaining focus, but it all felt a little messy to me.

... Barrel rolls ...

The other struggles are covered by order of importance for the win. Porky, up against a kid he used to beat regularly but has now passed him in rankings, has some angst first about Arata beating him long ago (get over it), but more importantly, how it made him quit. You can have a nice discussion about how unimportant it is to stress winning to children, especially if a loss discourages them too much, but I won’t go any further with that. Porky’s internal struggle (and the kid’s another trash talker. I hate it when every member of the other team is a total asshole) is at least easier to understand, and so’s his response-to get pissed off and do a barrel roll taking a card, which, naturally, fires everyone up on his team. Taichi’s struggles are less worrisome. He seems to know that he only needs to concentrate in order to win, but he also feels pressure as the team leader–not that he needs to worry about that. He’s doing a good job of it, as his old mentor immediately notices, and when he doesn’t, he takes the responsibility. Kana and Desk-kun are there to get pump their side up when they actually manage to get a card, and in one entertaining scene, Desk-kun lobbies for a point he feels cheated out of. He goes down, but he goes down fighting. That’s all Porky needed to see to get his own game up.

... and flicks of the wrist.

Getting back to the main matchup, one more thing bugged me. Sudo was meant to be playing all these mind games with Chihaya, but near the end when Chihaya comes roaring back, we get the same sort of inner confusion stuff that we’ve seen before. Suddenly he’s thinking about his mentor, and how the game is fun (doesn’t look like much fun for him at that moment), and how he wants to take his team to the nationals. I can understand him losing his focus when Chihaya shows him what she’s capable of, but his particular internal monologue feels out of place, not natural from him from what we’ve seen before. Never mind. The good guys win. We’ll see Sudo again, I’m sure.Now I expect we’ll take a break from competitive matches for a bit and get Arata back in the show as more than a bystander.

Kimi to Boku 12 is one of the better episodes. Shun’s younger brother Fuyuki needs a notebook, so Shun and the gang go to his middle school, where, save Chizuru, they all used to go. Naturally Fuyuki is nothing like his older brother. Foul-mouthed, abrasive and sex-obsessed. You know, a middle schooler. His tough act is quickly undone by circumstance, because it seems to be a rule to this series that everyone is not exactly how they appear, well, that’s a rule about life, but this show likes to play with it. Soon Fuyuki’s secret girlfriend, Mamiya, gets involved, things get more complicated, there are upper-arm references, confiscated cell phones (Chizuru, at his most annoying, manages to get HIS confiscated as well, and he doesn’t even go to that school), injured ankles, and the smell of kendo armor. One moment of oddness: Chizuru has been knocked unconscious, and his life-force or soul or whatever comes out of his mouth, like you’ve seen in other series. We see Yuta stuffing it back in. This show doesn’t normally go for that sort of humor.

And finally we say goodbye to C3, next to Horizon, the most confusing show of the season, at least out of those I watched. In the final episode Alice uses her magic mirror to make copies of herself, and by then using a combination of attacks and guilt trips, almost has the good guys defeated, until …

C3's latest torture implement.

C3 love to stick something incredibly silly into the most serious of moments, but at least Shiraho and Sovereignty turn the tide, then leave, thank goodness. So the good guys win, in spite of the fact that the evil Alice truly loves them. Never could figure her out. She also gets some help from old characters (I assume, since I’ve forgotten them) and escapes, and then there’s the usual happy ending:

Back to normal.

But I never watched this show for the bondage gear, or the weird weapons that Fear would produce, or the concept of sins and forgiveness. No, I watched because it would do something at least every episode that was visually stunning. If often had little, if anything, to do with the story, and there are other shows more deserving of such images, but, hell, they got me to watch this inane series all the way through. Here’s one more from the final episode:

Last Exile Fam 9, Tomodachi 10, C3 11

Last Exile – Fam had two terrific battle episodes in a row. So you can’t blame them for easing up on the blam-blam-blams for #9.

So it’s time to crank up the political intrigue and bring Sara and the conspirators back into the fun. Surprisingly, apart from a cryptic opening scene and the arrival of Vincent Alzey, the head of some nation or province or rebel group or another at the very end, we don’t get much politics. Oh, Tatiana mutters a few things about Gracies, and a couple of them show up while Fam goes to pick up a ship he’s caught, but most of the episode concerns Gisey and her decision to leave the Silvius–for the wrong reasons. This being Last Exile, there was a very good chance she would make good on this decision and come back later in the series. On the other hand, she’s a main character, and she hasn’t gotten to do anything yet. Everything has revolved around Fam and Millia. The only question is, how will they handle her decision? Turns out, pretty well. Early on she says some frustrated things about not being needed to Fam, all that is needed to set them both to thinking. Gisele would never hurt Fam, and Fam had not realized that her sister in all but blood was upset.

So we wait for the inevitable, and it’s done well. Fam has no sudden revelations, she knows right away what she’s done. A talk with Dio via tube helps clarify. And Gisele, for her part, tries to think of ways to make Fam happy again. She doesn’t tell us, hell, no one does, that that she’s going to stay. We are … informed by certain actions, especially her talk with Tatiana (A scene that seems to fail the Bechtel test even though the man’s a woman. Through so many scenes I have to remind myself that Fam’s a girl). Even Tatiana’s line to Fam, “She’s left the ship,” doesn’t mislead us. Then all it takes is an impromptu deck hockey game to reunite the three. What could have been a long-standing feud between Tatiana and Millia just strengthens everyone’s friendship. So NOW we can go back to the political intrigue next week. We’re a bit overdue for that.

Their 'Ume!' poses need work.

I can’t think of a series that had a swimsuit episode where the trip gets canceled midway, like Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai did. Maybe to make up for it, they devote episode 10 to beachy things. Everyone does the expected. Yozora is mean to Sena, who exposes herself, causing Kodaka to have to lie to her again. Rika finds the oddest things sexually suggestive, and during a longer scene more funny than it should be, tries to climb into Kodaka’s bed. Bonus points for the ghost story scene: all the stories save one don’t scare anyone, but they don’t bother to show us the failures. Come to think of it, no points given there. This is the kind of show where I would have liked to hear any stories these weirdos have. Bonus point, however, to Yozora, who wears the striped full-body swimsuit to the beach. Half point off for not wearing the horse head.

Happy to say that I understood much of if not all of what’s going on in C3 11. Alice wants to take Fear with her to be in her Family, though I don’t know why that meant killing those people. Even if (as it turns out) they were already Family members and came to Kuroe’s hair salon in order to be killed. I also don’t get what this Family is all about. If you are non-human and you join, you can do anything you want, apparently, including killing your owners, who won’t mind at all. Something about taking more pain and curses to achieve greater salvation. I can’t say I’ve ever understood this line of crazy christian thinking. But anyway, Alice rather easily kidnaps Haruaki, Kuroe and Kirika, and there’s a long discussion about this, with pantyshots, until a member of the Laboratory rescues Kirika, who will have nothing of leaving her friends … And by the end we have a showdown. Not much in the way of wild EF-like imagery this time around, though we do get the normally doll-faced Kuroe making this face as she imagines Haruaki and Kirika together.

As good a way to end a blog post as any.

Two nines: Ben-To, Tomodachi, and two tens: Kimi to Boku, C3

I could have picked a screenshot from any scene, really.

Ben-To 9 is a random episode where we see various characters doing the things they tend to do. It’s not bad, though again little attention is paid to Sen. We got Ume and the twins confronting each other about people at their respective schools, allowing us not only a staredown but a freakout by Kyou. Asebi causes a lot of damage by accident, and, in maybe the best scene, creates for Satou a “Taste Deconstruction Bento,” where everything tastes unlike the food it actually is, if it tastes like anything at all. Such a concept, probably common for molecular gastronimists, is the intellectual high point of the episode. Ume also serves a bento, to poor Oshiroi of course, providing us with the weekly requirement of Ben-To fanservice. She also slaps Satou around, as usual. As you can see, Satou doesn’t have a lot of fun this episode. And Sen, sadly observing Satou’s modern cooking ordeal, is not seen at all after that. Good points. Bad points.

Yes, Yozora, there is. Why the long face? HAHAHAHAAA!

Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai 9 can be broken down into two sections, and you can argue about which was more entertaining. For me, it’s a toss-up. Do you go for Yozora wearing a horse’s head and freaking everyone out? Fine with me. Or do you prefer Kodaka and Kobato’s visit with Sena’s father and subsequent eventful sleepover? That’s fine, too. Both show off what I consider the show’s strengths. One reason these people don’t have friends is that they’re downright weird, well, except for Kodaka, our straight man. But often they’re weird in imaginative ways. A horse’s head and full body suit? I want to be friends with someone like that. But you wonder if she’s doing it to hide her skin or because she knows she’ll freak people out (and Maria provided the best freakout in the scene, beating Kobato by a nose, to use a horse reference. Whatever her motivations are, it was inspired. The other section was more low-key and had “meeting important grownups” overtones to it. Until you learn that Sena’s father “Pegasus” Kashiwazaki (another horse reference!) is pretty weird himself. And the calm, understanding steward Stella has sudden moments of strangeness as well. And while this part didn’t have the same outright lunacy as the first section, Sena’s running naked into Kodaka’s view and the realizing it was another comic high point. AND, for once, everyone in the show is happy at the end.

I was expecting more of the boys making Kaname’s life miserable in Kimi to Boku 10, but apart from laughing at his ghost outfit (everyone does) they pretty much lay off him and enjoy the cultural festival. And so the episode turns out better than I expected. The emotional highlight part (you can tell because that guitar does that bit) was Chizuru trying to cheer up Masaki after she flubs a line in her play, and apparently begins to develop a little crush on her. Since she rightfully despises him most of the time, I assume it won’t turn out well. On the other hand, it was nice to see him TRY to cheer her up, even when he manages to say the wrong thing over and over. The twins, having no set victim to set their wit on, turn it on things around them. Yuuta’s comments on being dressed as Snow White were some of his best. Overall, a happier episode than I was expecting.

I sort of follow the action in C3, but as I’ve said before, I don’t try too hard (Unlike Horizon, where I don’t try at all). I’m in it for the images. As for the plot in episode 10, the polite bass lady is killing people and it turns out they were all customers at Kuroe’s hair salon. And Ume collapses and then, for the bondage fans, tortures herself to cheer up.

Penguindrum 20, Chiayafuru 8, C3 9 and Bakuman 9

Mawaru Penguindrum 20 was more low-key than others, but the confusion factor is raised yet again.

The show loves to work with phrases and images, such as “survival strategy” or, this episode “low-lifes who will never amount to anything.” But this time they are both said by the father Takakura at one of his secret meetings, before the attacks. He has never uttered them before, at least not on the show. It’s a shock to hear him say them. Then come the visuals. The young Masako is standing with Mario, beside Kanba. To her right is a crate filled with red balls, the ones she would fire at people later in life. And the wall is covered with notes, maps and pictures of the Antarctic, where penguins come from, including the picture the expedition the father went on, with penguins. “This is a frozen world,” he says, meaning the corrupt modern society he’s trying to rip apart. So what does it mean, that picture of him and his crew when they were, literally, in a frozen world? Also, it all suggests that he is behind the entire penguin thing the kids are undergoing. But that can’t be, can it?

Now, can someone tell me what’s going on with the families? It’s official that Himari is not related to the Takakuras by blood, in a oddly chilling moment, both boys acknowledge this in a way that makes it sound like they’re beginning to reject Himari. Either that or they’re trying to separate themselves from her for her sake, so that she won’t receive the retribution being unfairly handed down to them. If that’s true, it won’t work. The reason Keishu targeted Himari was to take something away from them, while they had to go on living with that loss. And rejecting Himari would please Masako no end. Because, apparently, she and Kanba are sister and brother. Great! Now I gotta go back to the Masako episode with that tool of a father she has, and try to figure out where THAT fits in. Meanwhile, it’s clear that her father and the elder Takakura are part of the same organization. How else are they related? And when she sees Shouma outside fooling around with an apple (another metaphor that’s driving me crazy, with not only it being the Fruit of Fate, but Ringo’s name …), she asks Kanba who he is. Kanba decides not to tell her (or HE doesn’t know, which would make me collapse from mental exhaustion). Either I’ve missed something obvious or they’re going to whip out more family links in the handful of episodes that remain. Probably both.

Much of the episode shows us Shouma befriending Himari. And more familiar metaphors show up, enhanced by another cryptic discussion between Himari and Sanetoshi, about running and chasing, the useless of trying and the useless of getting caught. All I got from it was that Himari is again worried about her place in the world, especially if her beloved boys go elsewhere. That and the fact that Sanetoshi is doing the chasing in his own game. But back to the flashback, where Shouma tries to chase(!) down a garbage truck that has their adopted(!) cat in it. They gave the cat a ribbon, which was removed before the landlords took the cat away. Himari has a scarf, given to her by Shouma, but she keeps it, and later, he rescues her. And later, the rescued Himari takes up knitting … Ribbons, scarves, yarn, red strings of fate, god my head is going to explode. All right, creators, I think you’ve done quite enough with the metaphors now. It’s time to take them all and wrap them up. No, that was not a metaphor.

Chihayafuru 8 brings the team one more member, and so it becomes legal, so to speak. I barely remember the fat kid. He went up against Arata early on and lost. Chihaya hasn’t forgotten.

More recruitment.

Porky, or, as he understandably prefers, Nishida, is on the tennis team, and in a nice rejection of stereotypes, is a splendid player. For the next ten minutes, however, that’s the only decent thing we see. Chihaya, doing her usual dorky stalking of potential, spies on him as he effortlessly fires one volley after another. She overhears him mutting 100 poets lines and instantly, miraculously, surmises that he’s using tennis as a coverup for karuta, that his heart truly lies in slapping little cards about. Sad thing is, she turns out to be right. He had loved karuta until he started playing to win and lost the sense of fun, and no one can beat Arata anyway, etc etc. So, we wait for the turnaround, which naturally comes from playing a match against Chihaya to get her off his back.

Chihaya sends another cameraman to the hospital.

Bit by bit, the show’s been sneaking in more karuta rules and strategy. Well, not really “sneaking,” since Taichi spends time teaching the newbies these things, which is about all they get to do this episode. I can’t follow the strategy too well, so I spent time trying to figure out if the rule about touching the wrong card on the same side was a metaphor about Porky, I mean, Nishida’s conflicting interests. Meanwhile, the match is close and fun to watch. And so Nishida rediscovers his love of karuta, though he loses out on a month’s worth of pork buns. Meanwhile, the gang have probably made an enemy of their science teacher/tennis coach. Not the most subtle episode, but now the team is complete and we can move on.

Like Penguindrum, C3 can be confusing too, the trouble is that it doesn’t intend to be. Episode 9 is a little lull between story arcs. We meet the adorable Kuroe, another doll-person, and just about the sweetest thing in the world. She’s working off her curse and is almost done with it. We also meet the evil person who’s after her, Alice. After some of the twisted facial distortions on other villains on this show it’s a relief to find one who’s so polite. When she first shows up and states her intentions I was wondering why Haruaki didn’t just invite her in for tea. Surely they could work out their differences. It’s also refreshing that Kuroe’s chanting when she casts a spell didn’t really mean anything. She just thought it sounded cool. As for the episode, it just lurches about between foreshadowing and fanservice until the end, where Alice, who’s just had Kuroe, her prey, cut her hair at Kuroe’s salon (that’s how polite she is) says something that, if she were a more unpleasant woman, sound threatening.

Bakuman II 9 came as a surprise. Quite frankly, I didn’t expect the boys’ series to be cancelled. It’s only when I look at the whole episode that I see it was inevitable. The hiatus didn’t help, and then when rankings stayed low they panicked a little and tried to throw in fan suggestions. The artists for Jack have always pandered a little to their audience, but it was a relief when Miura nixed the new turn. And Trap kept dropping and dropping. Nakai and Aoki are in the same position, and there’s nothing they can do but keep plugging away–until the inevitable. When, after they’ve been axed, they sit back and reflect that they had accomplished a hell of a lot for their age, I began to see the bigger picture. Yeah, it’s depressing to be cancelled, but this was their rookie effort. Now look at them: they’re still very young, but that means they have energy and drive. AND now they’re experienced pros who know something about the industry and their own abilities. And I was getting tired about hearing about Trap. Time for a fresh start! Besides, they can’t keep Miho waiting until she’s 40, right? Good episode.

Working’!! 7-8, Tamayura 7, Boku wa Tomodachi 7, C3 8

I’m tired for reasons I don’t get, too tired to write, but here are some extra-quick thoughts about some shows.

No, Soma, it really isn't. Asshole.

Working’!! 7-8 exhibits some of the show’s strengths and weaknesses. There’s a molester who hangs out on the way Inami goes to work. This alarming news reaches the Wagnaria staff, and is diffused in a number of silly ways until you almost forget there’s something to be worried about. Because working is a day-to-day routine, and big things don’t usually happen. This is a good thing about the show. It can take some event and have each character play with it from their angle until it’s run its course, and by then the characters are paying attention to something else, if anything. That’s a strength. The show’s weakness is when they get on too long with something. The molester is an odd person who is probably Yamada’s older brother. The show has some fun as he tries to examine each female staff member (and we learn some very interesting information about Takanashi which I’m not sure I like, in terms of character, though it leads to a very sweet moment with Inami), but the Soma decides not to let them meet, and far too much time is spent with that. Well, now that they’ve introduced the molester maybe they’ll move on. The only other important news is that Nazuma is now as tall as Takanashi, meaning Popura gets petted on the head a lot.

The girls are in the back.

Tamayura – Hitotose 7 whips out its usual feel-good, as the girls prepare for yearly festival, one that Fuu never got to see with her father. Of course it threatens to rain, of course it lets up in time. It’s a nice touch that Kaori is as keen on Fuu having a good time at the festival this year as Fuu has. And again we get a lesson on subtle background music. It never seems to start or start, it just always seems to be there, or not there. Perfect for a show such as this. And I particularly liked the tune for when the rain comes.

Admit it. You did stuff like this too.

Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai brings up a dilemma that I’ve seen before. Intelligent people who have no need for new technology can come across as blithering idiots when forced to learn to use them. It can be sad, as I learned at my old job when the economy went sour and many laid-off people came into the library to make new resumes, but could barely use a mouse. Here it’s not so sad. Our friendless bunch learn to use cell phones. There’s an amusing but completely unbelievable scene where Yozora and Kodaka learn catch up on what the cool kids (a year younger) are doing with their newfangled infrared gizmos. Then, this being the type of show that it is, once they’ve learned few things about their phones, it’s time to abuse them. A typical, usually funny and mean-spirited episode.

C3 8 has the gang removing Sovereignty’s curse and thus saving her and Shiraho. Not that it matters. I watch it for the visuals. Here’s another good one.

I only wish C3's story was as good as its art.

Episode dump: Guilty Crown, UN-GO, Kimi to Boku, etc etc etc

Guilty Crown 4-5 brings us Shu’s indecision between following a repressive regime who thinks it’s saving the world from evil viruses, and the rebels headed by a megamaniacal handsome guy who everyone claims is wonderful. He wonders if he’s just jealous because of Gai’s charisma and the fact that everyone follows him blindly and tells Shu to shut up whenever he asks why, jealous because Inori seems to be shacking up with him, pissed off because Inori lied to him about her feelings (in fact, the lie is a lie, as she broke orders during to raid to rescue Shu). And he has that little pen which could bring the regime down on him. Meanwhile he is training with the Funeral Parlor, so we get all the “newbie in over his head scenes.” Shu is a wuss and maybe a turncoat (he hasn’t decided), but I share most of his suspicions. I don’t like either side. At least the show makes it clear that we’re not supposed to. And now that they’ve apparently blown Gai up, who knows what will happen next. It’s done in a ham-fisted way, but once again, the action scenes are great.

Now THAT'S how you introduce your corpses.

With UN-GO 5 the pattern is pretty much set. Shinjurou will try to find a murderer, while the crime’s circumstances lead to the exploration of more philosophical issues. With this one it’s the concept of sacrificing your life for others. Cynical Shinjurou doesn’t believe it’s possible; people are too cowardly and venal to do it of their own free will. He’s wrong, and meets his first humiliation of the series because of it. However, it only leads himm to refine his view. People can die for others, and it’s beautiful, and it makes the people who survive because of it even scummier. Or something like that. To prove it, we get the gold bricks denouement, which really doesn’t prove anything except that Shimada was a scummy guy. On the other hand, that was a terrific way to introduce the murder: have the corpses roll out of a sculpture during a public unveiling. Excellent bit. Oh, and I’m glad that Kazamori is going to be a regular in the series from now on.

I’m thinking of dropping Kimi to Boku, and I’m rather sad about it. I liked the first episode very much, the deadpan delivery, the slow, lazy nature of the whole thing, but after episode 2 it became clear that that was all it had. Yuta and Yuuki will continue to antagonize Kaname no matter what, the blond kid will remain forever clueless … It’s a wonder they’ve remained friends all this time. If they don’t throw in a new wrinkle soon I’m going to lose my patience completely. As for episode 6, it’s mostly flashback about when Kaname started to wear glasses, with the usual cat metaphors.

It's hard for me to drop a series that looks like this.

C3‘s latest story arc has left such an impression on me that I thought I had skipped an episode, because I couldn’t for the life of me figure out what was going on. Konoha was injured or something? All I remember was Sovereignity and dolls. Not that it really matters. With Horizon I watch because it’s more fun not to know what’s going on. With C3 I watch because of the endless visual treats it gives me. Who cares about Fear’s curses, or the curse of Savernity, or whatever. Give us more moments like the above.

Tamayura – Hitotose has found its groove. Episode 5 is cute and sweet and gentle without being dull or cloying or annoying. The fact that it begins with Fuu meeting a biker gang certainly helped. That was the last thing I expected to see in this series. Even after it had settled down and reintroduced the teary Chihiro, it floated along smoothly in that way these type of shows are supposed to do. At one point the girls are admiring the view, the music is fading out, and I expected a new scene to start. Instead, the scene continued, the silence now making its own statement. The episode’s main point, that shy Chihiro was glad that Fuu had new friends but was lonely herself, was understood throughout but so understated that no one bothered to bring it up untl the very end, when the girls all pronounced themselves new friends of hers. I hope this show can keep it up.

Working’!! has been in a groove for a while; episode 6 just keeps it going. Having the manager’s minions come in to botch things up work, was a good enough story. “I fell in love with the way she beat up my brother,” is one of the show’s better lines. The second half was more affecting. Part of it was some satisfaction I felt when Takanashi finally snapped. I can’t say his answer to Kyoko’s question was any better than hers, but he’s put up with way more shit than anyone else in that restaurant. It’s about time he let some frustration loose. The resolution was sweet, and the inevitable gag was perfectly timed.

Hey, I’m sorta kinda getting caught up! Only 12 more episodes in my queue!

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.