A passing glance at shows I watched but didn’t write much about, if anything

Now that many of the season’s shows are wrapping up, I thought I’d give thoughts about the ones that I actually wound up finishing but haven’t written about much, or at all. I polished off RDG last week, so I’ll ignore it here.

Yeah, that bugs me too.
Yeah, that bugs me too.

For me, Hataraku Maou-Sama! never got past the question of how such a wicked demon lord could be so decent here? If he behaved like an overlord on Earth with no powers, he’d wind up in the pokey pretty quick, I know. But in times when he got his powers back he was still a decent fellow. Even Emi doesn’t believe it. The show gave no reasons for it. It makes me wonder what his upbringing on Entre Elba or whatever the place is called was like. Well, when I do ignore this I found the series hit or miss. Scenes when they were setting up stories seemed to take forever. I don’t know why, but Emi’s hesitation over what to do with Maou got on my nerves after a while, but I liked her cynical side. The big scenes were usually fun. The show was good at tossing in a quick line or sight gag when things got too serious. Chiho, a young girl in love but not a blithering idiot about it, was almost always fun to watch. I almost wish she had some powers of her own so she wouldn’t have to get rescued all the time. The whole Entre Elba world was a bunch of ridiculous cliches, but that was the point. Umm, I’ll give it a B-.

Sports festival spirit.
Sports festival spirit.

I think I would have enjoyed My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU more if I had paid more attention. There were some good things in it. Hachiman is an interesting character, a high-schooler whose default mode is bitter, but much of that is a pose and he knows it, perhaps causing his guilty, shifty appearance, like he can’t look anyone in the eye because he’s afraid they’re on to him. Yukino never panned out for me apart from being a good foil for Hachiman. Yui was an ideal counterbalance to the other two, perhaps the only one around who sees how cruel and manipulative others can be, but aware that people don’t have to behave like that, or succumb to bitterness when people do. The show was often painful to watch because of Hachiman’s worldview, especially in the cultural festival arc when he deliberately becomes the most hated man in school to prompt another student to do something she doesn’t want to do. As more that one character tells him after that, his ploy worked, but he hurt himself doing it; please stop doing that. The trouble is, Hachiman doesn’t have any alternatives in his arsenal. Not bad. I’d watch a sequel.

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I paid even less attention to Oreimo season 2. The only affecting part for me was the Kyousuke/Kuroneko romance, where for the first time I wanted to strangle Kuroneko. In fact, the entire season seemed to be Kyousuke shedding girl after girl and winding up with Kirino as … whatever the hell she is to him, but even as I say that I remember episode 12, where they all show up to the housewarming party and it occurred to me that Kyousuke actually has a harem, or could have. And maybe later he’ll get some of them back. The finale is all flashback through Kirino’s eyes, and we get a better idea of this complex thwarted big-brother worship that has messed with her mind since nearly infancy. It’s a not-bad, kinda-sweet way to wrap it up, and reminds us that this whole incest thing was just teaser, and when you look beyond that, there were some interesting characters on display here.

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Hentai Ouji to Warawanai Neko started as a mess and just got messier as it went on. By the end we had Tsukiko not losing her stone face and Youto incapable of remembering anything, I think. Through it all other people showed up and made things even messier, especially since near the end just about anyone could wish on that cat and it would come true. I’m not sure why I watched it all the way through. On the other hand, I did. So there must have been something in it that appealed to me.

Final scene tableau.
Final scene tableau.

Namiuchigiwa no Muromi-san came and went. Most of the humor, especially the tit-ripping scenes, didn’t do much for me, but I liked how they didn’t try and make Takurou a romantic partner (except in Muromi’s eyes, of course). A lot of nice visual moments. The final episode was more introspective, first with Takurou agonizing over his life-goals questionnaire and Muromi getting him to literally chill out, followed by a “bring all the cast together one last time for a celebration” scene, a nice way to end things. Don’t think we need another season of this, though.

Yukari and Yuzuko mess with Yui's head again.
Yukari and Yuzuko mess with Yui’s head again.

As I wrote before, Yuyushiki went from a series that did nothing to me to one I enjoyed watching every week. It was also, believe it or not, one of the most difficult. Yukari would pluck something out of the ether in her brain and present it, then Yuzuko would grab it and run in random directions, playing word association with herself or Yukari, all to get a rise out of Yui. I had to listen (actually read) closely or I’d completely lose track of how one line related to another. Sometimes one of the other three girls would stop by and give us their own, weird, contributions, which required more concentration. Slice-of-life shows about high school girls doing nothing aren’t supposed to be a challenge to watch, but I enjoyed it. In the rankings of such series, I put Yuyushiki above average, that is, closer to Azumanga (the pinnacle) then to A-Channel (the depths).

Another final scene tableau.
Another season finale tableau.

Finally, another slice-of-life show, Aiura, that did itself no favors by being so short. Some characters, like the teachers, are introduced but hardly seen after that. We’re left with little scraps of scenes that suffered from the lack of context but were still strong enough that you paid attention until the episode was over a minute later. My favorite bit was Saki talking to Yukon’s little brother. It had some “I’m older and bigger than you” bullying in it, but you also got the impression that the two genuinely like each other, or maybe they share a bond of frustration over Yukon. I’d like to see more of this, but how about actual half-hour episodes? One more thing, watching it on Niconico gave you an additional 1.5 minutes of animated weirdness that had nothing to do with anything, then a slide for the series with the OP chorus in a loop: “Kanikanikanikani-KaniKanikanikani-Kanikanikanikani …” The only way to watch it, apart from the lack of subtitles.

(Shit. Forgot one)

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Haiyore! Nyarlko-san W wound up pretty much the same as the first season. The finale, a hastily-constructed crisis about a hastily-constructed robot that will replace the goddess girls on Earth, so they’ll move on to other assignments on other worlds, went fairly light on the bathos and worked up the silliness, which is the way this show should alway go. There’s no reason for another season of this, but there was no reason for the season we just got, either, so I’ll probably watch it. Besides, I like the voice talent a lot on this show, especially Kana Asumi and Miyu Matsuki.

There, I think I’m finally done. I almost forgot about Narlko.

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New: Gargantia, also Nyaruko-san W

The first half of the show.
The first half of the show.

Suisei no Gargantia may or may not fall into some routine space robot category, but the first episode is very promising. Ledo is a a pilot helping to defend the galaxy-wide human race against some nasty aliens who have a penchant for undersea motifs (starfish, snails) in their craft. We see him wake up just in time for another battle (it’s all the same to him), and it’s a great light show with lots of action, fighting in beautifully choreographed formation, that takes up half the episode before his side has to retreat and he doesn’t get back to the wormhole in time, or something, and the series actually starts.

The second half.
The second half.

After what we’ve already seen it’s a bit jarring to see normal, average non-soldier types goofing around and failing to open up the robot suit Ledo’s in. It’s jarring to Ledo, too, being inside the suit and having little experience with anyone who’s not a fellow soldier, or an enemy. That must be why his first act upon leaving the suit is to abduct a girl, Amy, as a hostage, and run away, rather than just maybe talk to them, maybe moving the suit a little. I mean, it’s clear the primitive humans around him now don’t have the weaponry his suit has. He should have just stayed in it. Never mind, it’s an amusing sequence and now we know the basic setup. It’s a promising episode. It looks great and it’s well-written (apart from Ledo’s lapse in common sense) and directed.

BL Doujinshi starring Mahiro, that is.
BL Doujinshi starring Mahiro, that is.

Haiyore! Nyaruko-san returns with a W attached to it. This episode is a typical season 2 episode opener; not much happens except the characters are re-established and the basic premise is reintroduced, and as usual it’s done with a batch of innuendos, rapid-fire gags, and references to both Lovecraft and to other shows (AKB0048 gets extra love this episode). It’s enough to keep you watching even when things on the screen are getting pointless, i.e., most of the time. The little story this week involves an alien invader, I think. No one in the episode seemed to notice what with all all the shopping for eroge and the other things already mentioned. Kana Asumi sounds more over the top than first season, if that’s possible, and Miyu Matsuki’s work with her can still provoke hopeless giggling from me. Happy it’s back.

Finales: Fujiko, Nyaruko … also more bread.

Lupin III – Mine Fujiko to lu Onna has an effective but underwhelming finale. (some spoilers here …)

All right, who the hell’s this?

Two reasons for this. The first was the big mystery itself. Instead of getting what we expected, we get additional characters and a story even more convoluted. It was great to look at; I loved the elaborate typewriter thing that Aisha used, and there’s something to be said that Fujiko’s past isn’t what Almeida made it out to be, that she was already an adult and a thief when she was abducted. To know Fujiko’s past is to lessen it. Let it be a mystery. On the other hand it was too many revelations, too many new characters, in too short a time, and once we learn the truth I’m not sure it added up to much. While I’m sort of glad we don’t really get Fujiko’s backstory, the answers we get diminish the story given us. It’s just one more adventure in Fujiko’s life.

Fujiko looks determined here, but she really didn’t do much in the finale.

The second lies in the characters and what we expected from them. This is the finale; you’re supposed to unleash the big action scenes, the twists and doublecrosses. We want to see our four (or five) heroes doing what they do best. But the only one who lives up to their legend is Lupin. He gets through to Fujiko when she’s about to lose it in front of Almeida. He unmasks not only Almeida, but the other owl, and practically leads Fujiko up to the tower for the final confrontation. Jigen and Goemon inhale the drug and thus think the other enemies. We only get bits of their gun vs sword battle, not enough, and all they do is cancel each other out for the episode. Zenigata is stuck with mad Oscar the entire time, and I’m not sure what Oscar was going on about the whole time, and who cares, really? As for Fujiko, the main character, she is saved by Lupin, led upstairs by Lupin, and gets the whole story, such as it is, because of Lupin. It’s only at the end, as they make their escape with Aisha, that she’s allowed to be herself, and while it’s fun to watch, it’s nowhere near as fun as it would have been had she become more assertive earlier.

As it should be.

Oh, well, it’s too bad the show ended as it did, but it doesn’t distract much from the series as a whole. It was fun, witty, exciting, and stylish almost the entire way through. This incarnation of Lupin, Fujiko, Jigen, Goemon and Zenigata were the same ones that made this franchise so entertaining for so long. And now that they’ve shown that you can have an R-rated Lupin series and carry it off with style, I hope we’ll see more of them.

Yep, one of THOSE episodes.

Haiyore! Nyaruko-San‘s finale had a first half that was about as bad as I had expected. Mahiro, after telling the others to get lost, wakes up to find himself completely alone. We get the wandering around scenes where he shouts out one name or another, the visiting the scenes of old escapades bits, complete with flashbacks. What he doesn’t seem to notice is that NO ONE’S around. No humans at all. Yet, for some reason, there are shows on TV. Mahiro is too busy being depressed about his friends that he doesn’t seem to care. Happily, when the storyline finally appears it’s all good. Heroic rescues, silly lines, an evil alien with a stupid motive (adult video games) that makes no sense, before a happy finish. I know shows have to switch the mood now and then, but like here, these attempts at sentimentality rarely work. We’re here for the inanity, not the bathos. And this show excelled at it. Overall the show was uneven, but when it got its combo of weird characters, dumb conflicts, fast dialogue, puns, Lovecraft riffs, and crazy action together, Nyaruko-san was a hell of a lot of fun to watch. I’d watch another season.

That’s more like it.
About time …

They promised us a big battle in Shining Hearts – Shiawase no Pan 11, but it can’t be so easy for this show. Things have to be done first, namely getting Rick to be the island’s warrior, thus endangering his present, preferred status as a baker. Apparently he can’t be a baker who battles, or vice versa. What finally seems to turn him is not the threat to the island, but the fact that he’s forgotten how to bake (or rather, bake well), so, he figures, it’s time to be a warrior instead. Meanwhile everyone, meaning me, the other characters, even his harem, waited for him to make the right decision so that he can engage the enemy fleet, which, we are told, is always coming closer but never actually does. Meanwhile, aboard the enemy fleet, they’ve taken Kaguya prisoner in spite of saying she’s useless without the stone. That’s okay, Rick is bringing it. It turns him into an angel-like being, and now we got a battle, i.e., Rick swings his sword and ships blow up. Not much of a battle, really. Next week, the hopefully battle and bread-filled conclusion, and we can finally say goodbye to this thing.

Amnesia and Kimi to Boku 12, Bread 10, Nyaruko 11

Finally, Tasogare Otome x Amunesia gets around to doing something they should have done episodes ago.

I’ve been complaining about how Yuuko won’t be whole and healthy again (if you can call a ghost healthy) until she accepts Shadow Yuuko, with all the painful memories and ugly thoughts that come with her, so why don’t they just do it already? Well, I have no idea if Teiichi knew this was the solution at the beginning of the episode, but at least now he was aware of just how much Yuuko had been enduring all that time. But now his touch is painful to her, and she can’t see or hear him. As Kirie says, he’s become a shadow Yuuko of his own; he knows too much. He’s got to solve that before anything can happen.

So he mopes, and fortunately for us there’s Kirie, doing her best “sacrifice my feelings for my beloved’s sake” rant (one of two roles she’s taken lately, the other being a combination foil and infodump girl) to shake him up a little. Now Teiichi takes action and the show finally begins to move. He and Yuuko communicate by writing in a notebook for a while, until given another clue by terribly-unused Momoe and Kirie, he meets the elderly Yukariko. Was Kirie keeping this a secret this entire time? If she really wanted to help Teiichi you’d think she would have let him know sooner than this. But at the time the scene feels unnecessary, well, apart from some news we don’t have any problems figuring out.

After all this waiting the reconciliation scene feels brief, but it’s well done. The problem seemed to be that Yuuko really had no reason to accept her shadow self, and the latter was so full of anger at her treatment (in life and after death) that she’s in no mood to compromise. Teiichi was the key. I said last week that Yuuko had finally gained a witness to her death. Now Teiichi takes advantage of this. Shadow Yuuko is right: he can’t share her pain, but she learns that he can at least empathize with her. Shadow Yuuko has no defenses for this. And when he says that he loves them both, they have every reason to come together again. I had never thought that Teiichi’s love would be the key. After that it feels like a final episode, but we get a bit of weirdness with the bell bracelet, so they’ve got something planned for next week.

Kimi to Boku 12 has Kaname in a funk because his pretty neighbor Shizuna, whom he’s had a crush on since he was a tot (Kaname seems to have a thing for older women), tells him she is getting married. So we get to see him work it out with both Shizuna and her little sister Hisaka’s help (Hisaka seems to have a crush on him, but they don’t force a love triangle on us), but none from his friends. Well, they don’t know, and are thankfully kept out of the loop so they only manage to do damage for one scene. It leads to a lovely scene at the end where Kaname and Shizuna go shopping, and dally on their walk home. Hisaka had insisted that Kaname at least confess to her, but Kaname and Shizuna both know that isn’t necessary. In moments where no words are spoken or at least nothing pertinent is brought up, she makes clear that she knows exactly how he feels and how it makes her happy. It’s a goodbye scene where no one says goodbye. The show excels at moments like this.

The doll character turns out to be pretty cool. They should have woken her up a long time ago.

Shining Hearts – Shiawase no Pan 10 sets up the forces for a big battle (next week), and it’s going to be a big mess. Xiao-Mei and Hank are in the palace jail when Hank’s doll, having recovered that bit of circuitry, blasts its way down, not to see them, apparently, but because it’s the safest place for Kaguya when the big armored fleet arrives to blast the hell out of the island. They’re after kaguya, and the doll (named Queen!) is her robot servant, in spite of her name. But Kaguya says that will put the island, and all their delicious bread, at risk, so off they fly to the enemy fleet, which starts to shoot at them. Everyone else on the island spends their time running around being useless and staring at the sea a lot. Prince Ragnus learns about the fleet and springs to action–he plays the harp and sings about worlds colliding. The enemy fleet, you see, is full of lizard aliens! We learn this from Dylan the pirate after his damaged ship makes it ashore. Xiao-Mei and Hank make it out of the palace, only to be recaptured. As I said, everyone is useless. And because Rick is troubled, even the bread tastes funny.

Meet Ghutatan, a red herring.

Haiyore! Nyaruko-san 11 is pretty messy too. We get introduced to a new character, named Ghutatan, an adorable little girl who, according to Wikipedia, should turn anyone who gazes upon her into a living mummy. So we have an episode mostly about keeping the tot occupied until they figure out what to do with her. But it’s rather a waste because the real story is how Mahiro wants a quiet life but how he’ll actually miss his malign deity pals when they’re gone. He wakes up, and poof, they’re not there, not even Ghutatan (whom he actually got along with). And I’m guessing next week is the final episode. So why introduce Ghutatan in the first place? Why have that stupid chase? Why are their Shoggoth on the roof and why do they start moving down the roof twice?

Amnesia 10, Kimi to Boku 11, Nyaruko 10

Tasogare Otome x Amunesia 10 promised to be depressing, and it was exactly that, nothing more. Nothing really got to me. We learned some things we didn’t know about the story, is all.

Asa, another victim.

It’s probably because we were expecting it. When we see the living Yuuko wake up and put on her clothes (and get Teiichi’s commentary about watching this embarrassing scene) we know things would get slowly worse. They quickly do. We watch as she argues with her sister about visiting her friend Asa, who everyone thinks has the deadly plague but really has a cold. It’s a complete version of Yuuko Teiichi sees. She gets upset sometimes, but she is still essentially kind. The show makes an odd decision here by showing Teiichi the observer as a young boy. I’m not sure why, but a good reason might come later, when the shit hits the fan a young boy is easier to drag away than a teenage boy. In that form he’s as helpless as a young Yuuko against a mob of ignorant men.

Yuuko and her sister Yukariko sneak in and hear some adults discussing what to do about the plague. They decide to draw lots to choose the red woman, who will decide upon the sacrificial victim. Since we know who the victim is I started to dread the next moments not only for the inevitable death scene, but because it’s obvious by now that Asa will become the Red Woman and pick her. The show makes another interesting choice here. We see (or rather Teiichi sees, or chooses to see) some of the events as a grainy movie shown in a theatre, maybe a way to distance himself. Meanwhile, Yuuko has taken in the now recovering Asa, who then vanishes, and then the tragedy occurs.

It’s painful to watch, Yuuko tossed into the cellar with the shrine, sealed away with a badly broken leg, slowly dying, trying to tell herself that it’s for the best, that now Yukariko and Asa will be safe, but you can’t blame her for letting the rage well up inside, especially when she sees her dessicated reflection in that mirror. But oddly, it’s a small relief that Teiichi (now in his regular form) is there with her, sharing everything she feels. If nothing else, she now has a witness. But we still don’t get a resolution. Now Teiichi knows what Yuuko has separated from herself, but we have known for ages now that the only way out of this is for her to accept the painful parts as well as the good parts. Also, it’s clear that Shadow Yuuko’s anger is misguided. Asa didn’t name her on purpose. If she has any rage, and she damn well should, it should be for those ignorant superstitious men who carried out the cruel ceremony. They were so cowardly that they couldn’t even choose a victim themselves–they had to get an innocent girl to carry the burden. Just thinking about it nearly puts ME in a rage. Well, as I said, the episode was as expected, but the solution’s been obvious for a long time and it’s time they got to it.

On to a much happier episode.

Kimi to Boku 2 11 is one of the happier ones. You’d think that the Sports Festival would be another opportunity for the gang to make Kaname’s life miserable, well, more miserable than they usually do, but he’s not part of the festival committee. Instead, Mary is. What little theme they had is that Mary doesn’t seem to have any friends. Since she tries so hard to be self-sufficient it’s no wonder, but here she hangs out a lot with Matsushita and makes herself useful in a number of ways to the extent that the taller classmates are happy to help her out when she DOES need help. A lovely bit where Matsushita sees her in the tennis referee’s chair and marvels at how tall and mature she looks. The other drama involves Yuuta and Yuuki on opposite sides of a volleyball match … and they both get serious. Kaname and Yuuta actually demonstrate some splendid teamwork! Also, come cute bits concerning a girl and one of the show’s trademark cats. Good episode. Nice to see everyone not trying to screw things up for a change.

Haiyore! Nyaruko-san 10 tries a bit of social commentary with the boss foe, a Space Child Guardian, who wants to destroy all earthlings because of their immoral entertainment. Well, we’ve seen Earth celebrated throughout the universe for their entertainment, so there are bound to be some prudes around. Otherwise it’s the usual nonsense, including a Space CQC Jammer Canceler Breaker Eraser Confiner Obstructor Buster Closer, probably the show’s best bit. A tragic looking scene involving the fallen Nyaruko/Mahiro (remember, they’ve switched bodies) is inevitably ruined. And an unexpected but cute but mostly dull bit at the end between Tamao and the Yith who inhabited her body during all this.

Amnesia 9, Naruko 9, Shining Bread 8

We know! We knew two episodes ago! Get on with it!

It was clear two episodes ago in Tasogore Otome no Amunesia that the Shadow Yuuko was not going to go away. Unfortunately, Teiichi and Kirie haven’t figured it out yet and Yuuko’s in denial. So when Shadow Yuuko returns we get a lot of running away and trying to escape, first Yuuko alone, then with both her and Teiichi. These scenes are eerie (the running away/towards the school was a good effect) but by then I wanted them to get caught. What Shadow Yuuko wants from Yuuko is what I want, no separate bodies for good and bad feelings, but the whole package. And we’d finally dispense with the “Who am I? I am YOU!” exchanges we’ve heard for three episodes now. Get on with it! And why the hell didn’t Teiichi and Kirie sit Yuuko down and tell her what was going on with herself? They act like it’s a secret. On the other hand, next week we might get a hell of an episode, as Teiici gets to experience exactly what Yuuko went through. The glimpses we saw this week looked terrifying.

Haiyore! Nyaruko-san deserves some credit for at least trying to keep the backstory in place. It seems the now-empty Dreamlands are a perfect way for malign races to invade Earth to steal its anime and games, I mean, its culture, and rogue Yith are planning to do just that. They send one of their kind to warn Nyaruko and the others. Of course, this being the show it is, it’s only an excuse for that Yith to botch the mind-switching so Mahiro and Nyaruko can spend time in each other’s bodies. I hate this concept because it usually leads to endless scenes with the people trying to figure out the opposite sex’s bodies work, but thankfully this show is more interested in cheap laughs. So intent are they to get all the jokes in that whatever attack is coming is delayed until next week. Indeed, any idea of an attack would be forgotten after Nyaruko takes advantage of the situation to declare to the class (as Mahiro) that he loves Nyaruko. It’s a shame the production didn’t switch voices, too, so that the actors could have some fun playing the other’s role.

Shining Hearts 8 is basically an episode where Rick sits around thinking, or thinks while other people tell him things. He makes a delivery to Flora’s Bar and later visits it (asking for milk and not getting guffaws or even a raised eyebrow), since he has learned that Flora, too, washed ashore on this island with no memories of her past. Let’s see, that makes six now, oh, I forgot Dylan the pirate, so it’s seven, over half the cast, hell, everyone in the cast except Medara and the folks up the palace. Rick broods on it. His girls seem happy for the change. Kaguya, now recovered thanks in part to bread, is still getting her bearings, by it seems looking for the moon. Flora has found something new but can’t let go of parts of her past–whatever they are, and Dylan spouts fatalistic philosophical stuff. He saw that huge battleship last week, so no wonder. Meanwhile Medara and the royalty and possibly Hank know more than they are saying, and I think since the castaways outnumber the other regular characters like 2-1, the natives ought to assume some responsibility and fill them in, or at least Rick, since he’s the most curious.

Amnesia, Nyaruko-san 8

Tasogare Otome no Amunesia got very interesting last episode. This week, episode 8 deals with the fallout and stumbles, but it’s early yet.

Kirie’s brand of therapy.

Last week, a dark side of Yuuko, her unpleasant memories personified, confronted her. Afterwards Yuuko forgot her happy memories with Teiichi and became dull and grumpy, i.e., the sort of ghost you’d actually expect to see in these sort of series. This is bad for the obvious reason that something’s wrong with her, also because it’s devastating for poor Teiichi, and because the series isn’t nearly as much fun when Yuuko isn’t being playful. Perhaps because of the latter two reasons we spend much of our time with Teiichi, and the girls trying to help him, since Teiichi is in a funk most of the episode. Kirie has a couple of scenes where she states the obvious, this isn’t the same Yuuko, etc, but also reveals her frustration that Teiichi isn’t doing anything to fix this. what are her motives? She has a thing for Teiichi, this should be her opportunity. Maybe she’s doing the “as long as he’s happy” thing, maybe she’s curious about Yuuko herself, or maybe this more compliant, nearly cowardly Teiichi isn’t the boy she fell for and she’s trying to shake him out of it.

Momoe’s brand of therapy.

Momoe has even more scenes. She takes Teiichi’s busted leg as her chance to shower him with aid, feeding him (though his mouth is just fine) and continuously asking him when he’ll be fit enough to return to the old clubroom. She couldn’t be more different than Kirie. She has no clue what happened with Yuuko. She’s all cheer and support. Yet it’s clear that she also wants him to return to his old, stronger self. And it’s she who brings Teiichi to a revelation, when she’s more or less forced to admit her feelings for him. Meanwhile, Yuuko, unseen, is beginning to play her little games again, knocking away Teiichi’s long range shot, knocking Momoe’s omelet away, for the second episode in a row. It seems grumpy Yuuko has some doubts, too.

But so far all we’ve got are scenes where girls try talk to Teiichi while he goes through the emotions of responding. I suppose that’s to be expected, but frankly it’s not terribly interesting. I wanted to get back to Yuuko and solve her current problem. Finally the show does, but it’s both an anticlimax and a clever twist on that old anime standard, boy falling on top of girl (Teiichi’s still using a crutch, after all) and not removing his hand even after he realizes it’s on her boob. Okay, his declaration of love to her just before had softened her up, but that wasn’t an effective moment because we already knew he loved her and thought he did too. But this accidental grope is the thing that brings Yuuko’s memories flooding back, and in a moment we have a double-confession. We got the fun-loving Yuuko back. We’re back to square one with the “shadow-Yuuko” still maliciously hovering around, but maybe now Yuuko is prepared to further heal herself. It’s good they didn’t do it all in one episode. I only wish they hadn’t spent so much time with Teiichi doing so little.

Not bad. The light’s about right. The music’s good. But the knife is a trifle large.

Haiyore! Nyaruko-san 8 continues the vacation arc with an episode where all the characters are sucked into a dating sim and forced to play roles there. Guess who the protagonist is. And he can’t get out until he gets a good end with a girl, or Hastur. I guess since Nyaruko confessed last episode they figured it was Mahiro’s turn, whether he wants to or not. It’s amusing enough. It would have worked better for me if I recognized all of the game and anime references. As it was I only spotted those applying to Haruhi and Working!, and a locked storeroom scene which could have been from Clannad or any number of shows. And those weren’t bad. I kind of wished Mahiro hadn’t taken Nyaruko’s guitar away before she got to sing “Malign Deity Knows.” Or gone farther into Cthugha’s Maria watches Over Us riff. The Asakura bit was pretty good.