I’m getting tired of writing farewells to series. Today I must write a couple more. Starting with Last Exile – Fam, the Silver Wing.
Let’s start with the big crisis. Luscinia has Sara in the center of the big white exile, everyone else is either trying to get to them, trying to destroy the exile before it blasts another hole in a country, or fighting to stop them. We jump from moments of wild action as vanships and vespas elude starfish, for want of a better name, and warships blasting away on the outside, to calm speeches by both Luscinia and Fam, more worldview declarations than actual fighting. Except Luscinia seems off. He’s not as smug. Either he sees that it’s too late for his side or their side, or he’s just tired of the whole thing. So Fam gets the edge.
As for the action, it’s again fun to watch, but I’m wondering what all those vanships are going to do when they get to where Fam already is. Meanwhile, those on the outside are trying to blow up the exile while their allies are all inside of it. Again, fun to see the guns go off and commanders shouting orders (especially Millia, whose battle command experience points must be about nil up to now), but apart from destroying the exile’s cannons, you wonder if the allies are working at cross purposes.
It’s disappointing that Luscinia doesn’t put up more of a fight. He listens to Fam, he hands over Sara, and that’s it. We’ve learned that the exile was meant to take everyone into space; maybe he’s figured out that most people don’t want to go. Or he’s just given up. Whatever, it’s no fun if the man doesn’t have something evil up his sleeve (evil, but for the greater good, he would argue). The best moment is when the exile is disintegrating around them, Luscinia calm and ready to die, and Fam telling him to take responsibility for his actions. Fam’s last words to Luscinia are good ones. Then all that’s left is flight from the collapsing exile, Sadri’s sad and noble death, momentary fear for the heroes until they show up, some tears from Fam. But mostly: Yay! Time for a grand race! And the appearance of two characters we’ve been waiting for! Claus and Lavie. There they are! Yay! Er, Claus …
I briefly googled and found that most everyone else is wondering the same thing: why is Claus in a wheelchair? I think the creators want another season. I guess I’m okay with that. I think the first series was better overall. LE-F told a grand story, but LE’s was even grander. And it did a better job of using its pair of plucky heroes than the successor. LE-F had better battles, but improved animation techniques can explain that. If they do try another series, maybe they should try a different format. Don’t get me wrong, I love the air battles, but it’s getting stale. Maybe some ground-based forces, with infantry and foxholes … Nah. Well, it was fun to watch. One more question: what did Dio get carded for at the race? Because his navigator was imaginary?
I was worried the the Inu x Boku SS finale would be one long love-fest, but I was only half right. In fact, I was surprised at the opening tone. It’s as if the events last week were resolved without showing us. Instead everyone is writing letters to future incarnations of themselves for a time capsule, and it’s all lightness and jokes. And since I like the oddball supporting characters in this show I didn’t mind a bit.
And when they do get to the lovey stuff the road there brings together two of Ririchiyo’s issues nicely. Her remark to her future self was in fact a list of goals, one of which was staying with Soushi, but she got it mixed up with another letter. Now, it would be easy to explain that she meant to stay with him in a professional way, no harm done, but she bravely decides to confront her other issue at the same time. She won’t hide or put on an act to avoid contact, she tells him that she loves him. A golf clap for that, please. A simple confession is dull, fighting against your fears to confess is far more interesting. That made the final lovey scenes (where a man and a girl in high school seven years his junior consider children–in the future) more palatable.
I don’t have much to say about the end of Daily Lives of High School Boys except it was funny much of the time, and through the narrow lens of television entertainment it tried to be honest with the concept. The boys were young enough that stupid things became important to them, yet just old enough to know that the whole thing was really a big joke so you might as well enjoy it while you could. Or something like that. I don’t know. It’s been a long time since I was in high school. Maybe they WILL come up with another season, and, please, not a live-action one with handsome actors playing the leads …
Last Exile 20 (or 22) overcomes the problems the show has developed by giving us terrific action. We’ve pretty much had our moral issues discussed. It’s time for the fighting!
Okay, though this show has been something of a letdown with its clumsy storytelling (and that happens in this episode as well), it’s handled the issues fairly well. We’re not talking about simply good vs. bad here. Sadri, the one general still actively supporting Luscinia, knows something about Fam, and even if he didn’t you can tell the man is simply doing his duty. Meanwhile we have turncoat generals reuniting (Sorush’s return was one of the bits of clumsy storytelling I was talking about, as is the Anatory guy), and most of all Dian, who murdered Millia’s sister, and is now asked by Millia to lead the vanships against the Grand Exile. This is not a question of forgiveness, but of necessity, yet it’s the kind of reaching out to enemies that defines Sara’s view of peace as opposed to Luscinia’s concept of peace through conquest. Millia puts it into practice, though the reality is that it must be killing her.
But enough about moral complexity and peace. Time for the fighting. We start with everyone who can still fly going to what’s left of Glacies, where Luscinia has taken Sara, to revive the Exile there. Millia changes into commander duds and leads the assault as if she had been doing this all her life. A little ridiculous; maybe it’s part of that power she inherited from Lilliana. Lots of shots of her and other commanders giving sweeping instructions mixed in with the actual combat, most of it hard to discern through the blizzard. Pretty lousy conditions to place a final battle, surely Gonzo could have worked it so it happened in a place with more visibility. You never see this problem in Rinne no Lagrange. Never mind. The battle is big and grand, and we can see enough to know when one of the Exiles snake things takes out a warship. Luscinia prepares an Exile attack on distant Turan, just to shit on them, I guess, in case you didn’t already think he was a total bastard, but Millia, with Dio’s help, starts to glow and soon its Exile vs. Exile. Stalemate. There’s a chess term they haven’t used!
Visibility gets better when the vanships get through a hole in the Exile (which seems pretty fragile when attacked, really. Maybe that’s Sara’s doing) and we get some of the show’s best visual effects yet, as Fam and Dian pilot their vanships through huge open spaces and tiny conduits, encountering star-shaped enemy ships we saw in the previous series, the first time I remember seeing them this series. Maybe not, but anyway, they brought to me a rush of recognition and dread. It’s one good moment after another until they reach Luscinia and Sara … and of course the episode ends. But it was a good one. Fam, our hero, is brought back into the action, and the action is good throughout. I hope the series can conclude with such a positive effort.
Black Rock Shooter ends with the feeling I’ve had for awhile that there was less here than meets the eye. In the conclusion we catch up with Strength beating the crap out of BRS, until Yuu (okay, actually strength) decides enough is enough and decides to off herself by jumping into a big hole, meaning Yuu (the real Yuu, posing as Strength) would return to the real world, which she doesn’t want to do, because it’s scary up there. Much better to be a nearly invincible weapon of death down here. I can’t blame her for that. And, in some fashion I can’t now remember, Mato finds herself in BRS form facing BRS, who proceeds to beat the crap out of HER, because Mato won’t fight back, because she doesn’t want to inflict pain and doesn’t want anyone to take her pain for her. Well and good, but then the show veers into overly simple homilies about how you can’t feel pain without hurting others. And here’s where the show has never worked. You could argue that these are young girls and so the words are on their level, but that makes them imprecise and often wrong. In the end they salvage it with the thought that you can’t truly live without experiencing the bad as well as the good–something Strength apparently picked up in the Real World, but it’s hardly a profound statement. Well, no one watched this show for the philosophy. You might have watched it to see how the girls all ended up, and that ending is satisfactory. Or more likely you watched it because you wanted to watch cool figures fighting epic duels, and there the show succeeds. Too bad they couldn’t find a story worthy of the fighting.
Thinking about Amagami SS Plus 12, I wonder if all the Morishima girls used the same cheap trick to get their guys to propose to them, letting on that they’re going away after graduation in order to hasten the boy’s marriage proposal. Be fair, this was Jessica Sexy Morishima’s sneaky trick, not Haruka’s, though I wonder if Haruka wouldn’t actually approve. No matter. It spiced up the episode nicely. Up to about halfway it was simple domestic games and Junichi’s little fantasies … and annoying “She’s in the bath, what should I do?” moments that went on too long. Junichi learning about Haruka’s leaving would have been just as bad, but they gave us little comic bits to help out. But I knew things would liven up at the graduation scene. I knew Junichi would do something completely foolish and probably triumph with it. I didn’t expect Haruka’s amazing leap to the podium, but who did? And with that leap, the Haruka arc reclaimed its position at the top of the Amagami sequel. Next week’s girls-only onsen episode will appeal to some fans, I’m sure, but I wonder how much I’ll like it without Junichi anchoring the show. On the other hand, we’ll get a lot of Miya.
As for Inu x Boku SS 11, I can’t say I was surprised by the supposed secret Soushi’s been keeping from Ririchiyo all these years, especially since it was there on Wikipedia when I’d go to get a character name right. In fact all through episode 11, the long story of Soushi’s emotional rescue at her hands, I kept wondering why Ririchihiyo could ever think Kagerou could write such letters anyway. On the other hand that doesn’t mean she knew Soushi wrote them. The long flashback, NOT a confession as I first thought, went on and on, but the more I watched the more I decided it was the proper length to show Ririchiyo’s constricted upbringing, the scheming, soulless young man he became because of it, and his gradual transformation while impersonating Kagerou in his letters. I’m hoping the actual fallout from the confession next episode will be as elegant. And I rather like Kagerou this episode (for once). You get the idea that he forced the truth out both because it would be fun, and because he wants Soushi to succeed, a bit of decency amidst the narcissism.
The seams are beginning to show in Black Rock Shooter. I was afraid this would happen. What started as a bizarre and entertaining metaphor where young girls’ pain is shouldered by fighters in another dimension is beginning to lose its power because they feel an obligation to explain everything. I shouldn’t have expected anything else, especially when the franchise began with the fighting world, hell, one image of that world, with the “real” events tacked on later to make a story out of static battle. This week we learn that Yuu, unable to face the pain in her world, switched places with her alter-ego strength. It does provide one point of interest. Yuu seems quite content to battle in that world, and freaks BRS/Mato out when she starts to talk to her. Nobody talks in that world. You could also call it a nice commentary on how Yuu really is, so messed up that she actually considers beating BRS to a pulp as a revenge on Mato. But in the end it feels like a gimmick. Desperate for an idea at a late-night story meeting, someone said “Hey! Let’s have someone switch roles!” and they thought up stuff from there. Now they have one more episode to clean this mess up. What’s more, they’re bringing Yomi back into the fight. It’s going to be messy.
Papa no Iu Koto o Kikinasai! 10 seems to have done all the things it can do with the basic story. The family is set, poor but surviving, and now all that can really happen is everyone will grow older. Though there’s still room for problems near-poverty can bring. This time the show concentrates on Sora, the eldest, and the one who thinks she has to be the most responsible. She’s working far too hard, just like everyone else, and is a little frustrated because she can’t do everything as well as she can. There’s a touching bit where she quits the choir even though she loves it because she considers it something she “likes,” therefore, I guess, it’s a frill that can be cut out so she can improve on things which really matter. It’s a sad thing to watch but completely realistic. Everyone has had to sacrifice something they love in order to survive. Alas, the show tries to make a happy ending out of it. After some pep talks by Raika (full of entertaining non-sequiturs) and Yuuta (dull, just like him) she rejoins the choir, at least on paper, and her cooking skills magically improve. Also, the Seiiyu next door, also about to give up, comes back. Well, I expected no better from this show.
Daily Lives of High School Boys 10, er, let’s see. The ice bit demonstrates that timing is as important as unpredictability in comedy. I also like Literature Girl chasing down Hidenori (or was that Matsuo? I can’t tell them apart). But I think the best bit was the very end of Mitsuo’s bad luck section. Or was that Hidenori?
Maybe I’m tired, but I couldn’t get any enthusiasm up for the great secrets revealed stuff in Inu x Boku SS 10. We’ve known for a while that Soushi has a secret he’s hiding from Ririchiyo. It was only a matter of time before it came out, and since the show won’t run much longer (I believe), the sooner the better. Naturally, we have to wait next week, just like the coffee date that waited for this week, and still didn’t happen. It partly bugs me because Kagerou is involved. He’s a one-joke character who wore out his welcome five minutes into his appearance this episode, but since he’s the other one with the secret they’ve got to keep him around. All the other characters who are adept at livening up a scene are given one or two lines and pushed out of the way, and so the show tilts toward annoying static self-doubt scenes from Ririchiyo or that secret they’re keeping, scenes stretched to breaking point, like my patience.
Nisemonogatari 10 … Well, Araragi-kun did keep saying that his sisters were fake …
We don’t know if they both are. In fact, I don’t see any evidence that Karen might also be a supernatural being. First, all her actions, her leaps and handstands and balancing, suggest someone attuned to the physical. Spirits may invade her, but she is a fully human being. As for Tsuhiki, we just haven’t seen very much of her, though, typically for this show, Araragi sees rather too much. She finally participates in a patented ____monogatari conversation three episodes into a story arc named after her. I thought this was just another quirk of the show, but maybe they wanted to keep her under wraps until it became necessary to reveal what she truly is. We get a hint early on when Araragi can’t find any scars on her (which begs a few more questions the show doesn’t seem interested in answering). But the show is full of moments like these, and I almost forgot about it.
Her conversation with Araragi makes more sense in hindsight. She talks about drifting apart from her sister Karen, how she doesn’t have the same sense of justice Karen has. Indeed, “justice” for her is nothing more than an abstract thought. But since we’ve seen very little of her, we don’t take this as something wrong, just the thoughts of an adolescent girl. Indeed, it’s all forgotten until the end. We move on to the Mr. Donut scene, where Shinobu soliloquizes gluttenously and Araragi presses her on the girls we met last episode. Oh, yeah, I’d forgotten about them. Sigh, Kaiki is there, too, and for a large fee he fills in the gaps. Yodzuru is a “specialist” like Oshino, and the posed Yotsugi is her familiar.
The scene at the back of the house is shocking, not so much for the revelation, but for the violence done to poor Tsuhiki, who might be a immortal creature who has infiltrated their household but seems perfectly nice otherwise, at least for a ____monogatori character. Also for the danger they pose to the Araragi household. Tsuhiki’s upper half grows back, but our new enemies threaten to come back tomorrow and finish the job. After ten episodes this is the biggest crisis the show has given us. I’m concerned, but not very. For one thing, how do you kill a phoenix? Second, I can’t believe that Araragi and Shinobu are going to let the girls do what they want without a counterstrategy. It’s the first time all season where the compelling thing isn’t the conversations or the visuals, but the story.
Senki Zesshou Symphogear 10 has a few moments which ought to be compelling, but aren’t. In the first, Kazanari gives another “You aren’t alone” speech to Chris, but it’s overshadowed by the fact that he’s done it before, and because he’s doing it in the ruins of Fine’s headquarters, where Ryoko had recently been ambushed by some gunmen. In other words, Ryoko’s the long-hinted-at spy. It’s no surprise, but for the revelation to come so quickly that it made me gasp. Anyway, Chris winds up sobbing in Kazanari’s arms–but doesn’t join them. That comes later, after we learn about the concept of kan … kannid … hell, I didn’t write it down. Anyway, it’s an ancient word for big, powerful tower. “Aha!” I said “I bet the next scene will be at Tokyo Tower!” And so I won a prize. The next supposedly compelling moment is when Chris joins Hibiki and Tsubasa in order to defeat some airbourne noise. There’s a let’s-all-be-friends scene, initiated by Hibiki of course, in the middle of the battle for fuck’s sake. But since Chris has come through for them before it’s again not so compelling. The only reasonably compelling scene comes at the very end when Miku calls to say the school, Hibiki’s “Home,” is under attack. Even that one isn’t so compelling; earlier in the episode they had a scene talking about the school being home, so naturally it would become a target. Too obvious, and not enough emotional build to succeed.
Inu x Boku SS 9 starts with Ririchihiyo’s nervous planning for her eight o’clock coffee date with Soushi. This filled me with dismay. Scene after scene of Ririchihiyo worrying isn’t the way I want to spend a half hour. And there are indeed scenes like this, livened up a little by Karuta’s tendency to stick tasty food in her mouth, her way of saying, “Don’t worry, life is good.” But the best part of the episode is they never get to the coffee at all. Ririchihiyo get’s dragged into studying, then playing a silly partner game with the other weirdos, allowing each of them to shine for a few moments. Then there are the odd notes on the doors throughout the episode having the characters speak in a confrontation manner or not speak at all. Then after THAT, Kagerou shows up, and the episode is over. It’s as if the show suddenly realized what its true strength is. The trouble is, we’ll have to get to the coffee sometime.
Black Rock Shooter 5 almost makes sense.
The fighting world is more of the same. This time it’s Yomi and Mato’s girls squaring off. The former now has all those skulls working for her while the latter, as usual, doesn’t rely on anything else besides her blade(s) and that big gun of hers. Not that she’s seriously outmatched. This must have been triggered by Yomi’s descent into outright madness, which we first get from her frantic mother but makes itself manifest when she tries to cut off her hair to use in an art class collage. And there’s that painting she’s been working on. That’s enough for Mato to be freaked out about right there.
To add to Mato’s fun, Saya has pretty much stopped going through the motions of being a responsible counselor and is telling the girls all sorts of interesting things, like how wounds heal quickest when you’re young (which is, I suppose, her justification for opening them in the first place), that said to Yuu, and when Mato pays a visit Saya tries to strangle her. I’m not even going to guess why she’s gone from coffee to tea … So there’s more for Mato to fume about. Oh, don’t forget the bird book, which now has a depressing ending about taking all the colors and then dying from it.
And let’s not forget Yuu. She basically ceases to exist. So in other words, Mato’s little world has begun to completely unravel, and you have to wonder if she is actually the crazy one, or the craziest one, or one of the crazies. But Mato does manage to see Yuu again and what follows is the closest thing to a clear explanation we’re likely to get. Why Yuu’s figured it out and no one else I don’t know. Maybe because she doesn’t exist anymore. Apparently to be rid of the pain you’re shouldering on this world your alter-ego has to die. Then you’re happily cured. I’m not liking this cure much. The basketball girl is given as an example and she’s apparently happy now, but Kagura is another one to “die” and she’s become a twisted person I’d frankly avoid if I was going to that school. Yuu, unconcerned that no one knows her and her damn HOUSE doesn’t exist any more, sends Mato to the other world, where she’s just killed Yomi’s other self, apparently what you’re supposed to do, except Yuu doesn’t believe it. I’m with Yuu. Having your social and psychological issues resolved by other-dimensional combat doesn’t sound right.
On the other hand, the battles this week were entertaining. It seems like a waste if they were to just talk things out.
Nisemonogatari 9 has more odd conversations and abuse at Araragi-kun’s expense. And something suggesting the next story arc finally shows up. But first, more intelligent and heartfelt talk between Araragi and Karen.
As I expected, nothing whatsoever is made of the events that closed last episode, and we’re left to speculate or imagine, if that’s what interests you. Instead, we get a brief phone conversation (#1) setting up Araragi’s introduction of his sister to Kanbaru, then it’s on to conversation #2 as Araragi and Karen (I know, Araragi is his last name, Karen’s also an Araragi, but I’m so used to calling him that that I’m not changing. Besides, Senjougahara’s constant referral to him as “Araragi-kun” marks that permanently as his name) head over to Kanbaru’s house. Rock/Paper/Scissors, riding on shoulders, and one shocking event–Karen cuts off her ponytail … just like that. In a show so full of weirdness as this one why does that one seem especially shocking? Maybe it shows a self-destructive trait in her? Because she’s cutting off her old life and beliefs before she visits Kanbaru? Because she looked good in it? We’ll have to check up on her after her visit.
And then we get first hint at the new story arc. This woman named Yodzuru appears and calls Araragi “devil boy” and Karen “hornet girl.” Araragi doesn’t think enough on why she knows these secrets, or why she used “hornet” and not “bee.” It suggests that she is very powerful in whatever she does (Karen also thinks this) but may not be as expert as she thinks. Maybe. Or the translators screwed up. Anyway, she exhibits both confidence and menace, though not maliciousness. Oh, and skill for effortlessly leaping on things and away. She looks like fun. When she showed up I felt a bit of relief; we were getting a new character! Maybe the old ones were getting stale for me while I wasn’t looking. BTW that was #3 and #4, if you count a brief call to Hanekawa, which was more of the same.
Before she bounded off, Yodzuru warned Araragi that there might be another girl asking the same question she did (and WHY the interest in a cram school which is no longer there which was also the place that Oshino used to hang out, to “set up a home base?”), and we meet her soon enough. Goofy rather than elegant, Yodsugi asks the same question and makes the same too-knowing comments that Yodzuru did, though this time she’s talking to Araragi and Hachikoji (conversation #5), who had been indulging in their usual perverted topics. Hachikoji is “snail girl” to Yodsugi, especially interesting because almost no one can see Hachikoji except Araragi. And after Yodsugi walks (not bounds) off, Hachikoji, like Karen before her, is the one to size this new girl’s abilities up. So we get parallel actions concerning two new girls who seem completely unlike each other. What does it all mean? It’s too soon to tell. It’s ALWAYS too soon to tell in this series. All I know is that this story arc is supposed to be about Tsuhiki, and she doesn’t appear at all, unless there was a split-second flash to her somewhere.
In Inu x Boku SS 8 it’s Ririchihaya who wants to do the talking out. Once again she wants to reciprocate Souchi’s kindness, for reasons she’s probably not even sure about beyond common courtesy. And when she manages to say a few of the right things, about how it’s unfair that he knows everything about her but not the other way around, she’s quite eloquent. Unfortunately it takes her the whole damn episode to get to that point. Apart from scenes of the other master/servant relationships, showing how easily they get along, and some cute but inconsequential school bits, everything leading up to it are scenes of her trying to ask him to have coffee with her, or trying to actually say the words and get interrupted or just fail. Well, the ending was almost good enough to make up for it, but not quite enough.
Daily Lives of High School Boys 8 didn’t do much for me. I wonder if the show’s style is wearing thin. The balcony bit was okay. The centipede stuff just made me freak about what critters might be in my house, and it isn’t even summer yet. The bag stuck in the tree was funny only when I try to imagine why the bag was up there in the first place. The convenience store scene was excruciating. I can’t even pick a best scene this time. The show’s in a slump. Maybe that’s why the girls’ segment at the end is getting longer. The boys are running down.
So much seems to happen in Chihayafuru 20, but we’ll only see the consequences later. First up we get Chihaya and her nearly failing grades, so she can’t to go the next tournament, but study under the tutelage of that sadistic taskmaster Desktomu. But Chihaya really isn’t the focal point here. Taichi goes to the same tournament and runs into Arata, who is starting his comeback run. It’s a friendly, nervous moment. Of course, Taichi is, “deep down,” happy to see him, but think of what Arata’s presence means! One more impossible obstacle in his karuta career AND rival for Chihaya’s affections. He’s so rattled that he doesn’t win, meaning no class A this year. But there’s an interesting moment afterward, talking with Arata (who didn’t win either), who assumes that Chihaya and Taichi are a couple, or that they might be. Maybe that’s what puts the fire in Taichi’s eyes later when he refuses an offer to join class A the easy way, saying he’s no longer running away from his challenges. Meanwhile, Chihaya, this object of desire (who otherwise is shown in this episode as a total slack-off goofball) ditches studying to cheer on Taichi, thus meeting Arata. Lots of underwater imagery ensues, from both her and Taichi. Not sure what that’s about. And later a specific poem is brought up, one that reads like the meeting of long-lost lovers but actually refers to old friends who are gone in an instant, heightening the already ambiguous relationship here. At any rate, everyone now has a goal or two. Arata: Chihaya, Taichi: class A and Chihaya, Chihaya: exams. None of it, save maybe that last bit, will be resolved easily.
Ano Natsu de Matteru 7 clears up all the little spats and misunderstandings in one episode and leaves little to do from here. It’s mainly a series of explanations and revelations. The childhood friend’s explanation was pretty dull, and the only reason we would care is to see how would affect Ichika, but it doesn’t, really. She talks to herself about not being sure or denying her feelings, yet she’s all ready to accept Taichi’s kiss. As for Mio’s little revelation (so to speak), it was absolutely ludricrous and I still don’t know what to make of it, unless she has a more cunning mind, or a bigger sense of humor than she let on. Oh, well, it got a confession out of her. That leaves poor Kanna by herself if you don’t count Remon, who again exists only to screw up other peoples’ lives because she hasn’t got one of her own, and to give off that annoying laugh of hers. Now I don’t know how they’re going to fill the time until the the series ends.
It looks like there’s only one story that Inu x Boku SS is going to tell, and that’s the Ririchiyo/Soushi relationship, both forward and backward. All the supernatural stuff is simply there for window dressing. Once again a threat is presented which proves to be not much of a threat at all. However, this one allows Ririchiyo time alone with Soushi so she can yet again try to tell him how she feels. Just how she feels is an interesting question and possibly not clear to her, with her desire to reciprocate his kindnesses toward her while at the same time having her adolescent heart go thumpity-thump-thump when he’s around. However, she again fails to say much of anything, apart from a thank-you, only to get his “I’m a dog” response yet again, and so the episode really goes nowhere. The other tenants, there to add comic relief and so much needed this episode, aren’t that entertaining. There’s really no more to them than we’ve already seen. The exception is Karuta, with her blank looks and sudden action when something REALLY important happens. But it’s not enough to rescue this episode.
Nisemonogatari 7 finally ends the Karen Bee arc with what feels like little more than sophistry.
We get three conversations, the first, Araragi/Karen being the shortest and most violent. The upshot again is that the being right doesn’t mean much if you’re not strong, that being strong isn’t meant in a physical way, but in your will, and that sacrificing yourself for others puts you at the mercy at the will of others (mostly conversed about while Karen is beating the crap out of Araragi, perhaps symbolically, since the highway cloverleaf couldn’t have sustained all that damage without anyone noticing, and Araragi’s wounds healed instantly … well, he IS part vampire …). I’m not sure I agree with the third part. Self-sacrifice is an act of will, anyway, and there’s nothing to say such an act is actually the will of others, but rather, because of what is right. It’s also ironic that Araragi trumps most of these arguments because he’s acting out of concern for his sisters, not because of self-sacrifice, but because he loves them. Anyway, he gets her home safely and we move on to the biggest and most confounding conversation:
Senjougahara/Kaiki, with asides to and from Araragi. Part of the problem here is that Kaiki is a con man and, as Senjougahara says, you can’t take anything he says seriously. But she says that early on. We get several minutes of maybe lies and half-truths from the man. Some of it is con-man talk, how he doesn’t believe in the supernatural but knows the people who do, thus making it easy to con them. Yet without being told he is aware of Araragi’s taking half of Karen’s poison within him, so this is a lie. Whatever he says, he isn’t able to make much of an impression on Senjougahara, who knows all too well what he’s capable of. And when it’s over I was disappointed. Kaiki might have been right about being a fake, undramatic man leading an undramatic life, like the others in this story, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t want to see him getting his ass kicked like Karen did to Araragi in conversation 1. The third conversation, Araragi/Senjougahara, simply ties up the loose ends. Kaiki had said that Senjougahara had been in love with him before, while Senjougahaha dismisses it as infatuation with someone who might help her. Who’s right? Kaiki’s line that there is no truth might be right, after all. Well, it’s over. I guess next week it’ll be Tsuhiki’s turn to get into trouble.
Kaoru was my favorite girl of the original Amagami SS series. She was so lively and since she and Junichi already knew each other well the story didn’t have to spend time getting the two familiar with each other. In Plus, nothing has changed. The two together always seem to be having an adventure. Now they get a real one when they budget bus tour they take strands them at a rest stop. I guess it’s better than the Ai conclusion; it has scenes of them being silly together and shocking the passers-by. I could watch that for 25 minutes and not have a crisis, but oh well. I liked the comment that all they do now that they’re lovebirds are the same things they did before that. How they’re going to get past that while alone at a rest stop, I don’t know.
Inu x Boku SS 6 is supposedly about Karuta (Not the game, that’s another show) and how she’s actually just as perceptive about people as anyone else, if not more, but I think it’s really about Ririchiyo and her ongoing struggle to interact normally about people, which isn’t to say that the Karuta stuff isn’t fun. Spacy girls who do weird things are usually fun in anime, not only for themselves but for what the people nearby make of them, and here it’s more fun than watching Ririchiyo trying yet again to figure out her own behavior, where the problem is more execution than intent. She goes into snark mode out of habit, but sharing her lunch with Karuta was a natural act of kindness. That Karuta later returns the favor isn’t unexpected; she’s not as hard to figure out as the creators are making her out to be, probably because the show is predictable. Fun to watch, but predictable.