Finales: Hyouka, Mankind has Declined … also Chocolate 10

Rather a fitting ending to Hyouka. A little mystery surrounded by bigger events and drop-dead beautiful animation.

Chitanda enlists Houtarou to help out in her villages annual doll festival. There is considerable time taken in him waiting at the place while the festival guys try to work out a crisis involving a bridge the procession was to cross, and there’s are mystery for the week. Who phoned the construction company and told them it was all right to start work that very morning? But it’s hardly the issue at the time, and it’s forgotten because the crisis has become where will they cross now. Typical of this show that there’s no real mystery until someone decides there is one.

If there is a theme to this episode it would be the descent of Chitanda from the heavens. The first time she appears she’s hidden behind a sheet and we only hear her words–orders for Houtarou to deliver a message, as if a mortal isn’t fit to see her form. Later we see her as the Empress of the procession, well, sort of. Much of it is from Houtarou’s view and he doesn’t get a lot of good looks. But the images we get, the side of a painted face, an eye, our view shifting in and out of focus (you can understand that this is all too much for Houtarou. Not only is he dazzled by her appearance, but he’s expending way too much energy doing the procession), is that of a divine being come to earth. It’s only after the procession that we see her as we usually do, her cute, earnest self, curious about who could have told the construction company to start work on that bridge.

She’s curious!

So we get our mystery. Again, things we didn’t think of, like that cherry tree blossoming out of season, come into play, though we couldn’t have known about Konari’s son being into photography. But it’s a small, harmless mystery, put there maybe because we had to have one. This episode is really about Chintanda, well, and Houtarou, too. No longer a goddess or an empress, but a girl who likes a boy and who wants to show him part of her life. And KyoAni couldn’t let this last scene pass without showing off a little. We get a false confession from Houtarou where the wind blows, and then in real life it blows for real. The scene is vibrant, colorful, Chintanda’s hair and cherry blossoms flying everywhere. But no confession, except in Houtarou’s head. Maybe an understanding.

A lovely way to end the series, but I have to ask, what was it all about, anyway? Every genre or style I try to pin on it won’t stay on. Mystery series? Hah! High school romance? Where was the romance? Slice of life? Maybe, but the mysteries work against it. I think many people (sometimes including me) grew frustrated over its refusal to BE anything we could pigeonhole. That’s not Hyouka’s fault. What might be Hyouka’s fault is it’s tendency to lean toward one thing we could recognize or another, only to pull away, like Houtarou and Chitanda pulling away every time they got too close. There was a lot of those unfulfilled desires floating around the show, whether it be for romance (both couples in different ways), or frustrated, inadequate talent, or to shout out when you can’t. This was a melancholy show, almost sad, all in little ways. But KyoAni did such an extraordinary job with it that the sadness was always beautiful to see. And if they want to do another season, I’ll happily watch it, and remind myself that nothing much will really happen. Probably. And isn’t that sad?

Speaking of shows that didn’t do what you expected them to, Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita bids us farewell this week, too.

That’s what I said last week!

We wrap up Watashi’s school days, and the time she spends with the Wild Rose Society, her reconciliation with Y (or Silver), and the fairies. It didn’t strike me until later that she had completely forgotten about her meeting with one. As usual, none of it works quite the way you’d think. Y shows her the secret lives of the other Society members, and they’re pretty ugly, but nothing more is made of it, not even Curly’s homicidal tendencies. Instead, Watashi gets Y to rejoin the group and search for a fairies tea party together, and everyone actually has a good time doing it. While Y and Watashi are rightfully wary of the other girls, no one tries to blackmail, rob, bully or kill anyone.

Complete with roses. At least they’re not lilies.

And then it’s the present day again, and Y has shown up with one of those robots. I thought that would be fodder for next week, but there is no next week for this show. It just ends after a dream of the original fairy (who’d been around all the time). Where did it go? Why did it return now, when there are plenty of other fairies around? Can the robot be restored even if it doesn’t have a soul? All we know is that in the timeline Y is about to embark in her Yaoi adventure. What happens next or before? Why has mankind declined? Okay, I don’t really don’t expect an answer for any of these questions, and I suspect I wouldn’t understand the answers they gave me anyway.

So what do we make of THIS show? It knocked me off balance from episode one (bleeding bread will do that), but when it settled down I thought we were going to get a weekly dose of commentary on modern consumerist society, but the show kept taking left turns. There were those living spacecraft and the whole Assistant business. Apparently the show was using its setup to explore any topic the creators saw fit. Some of it made little sense (the Assistant), some of the topics seemed beneath the show’s potential (Yaoi). From time to time I got a little tired of the overly-bright colors. But every time I sat down to watch it I didn’t know what it would give me. You don’t get a lot of shows like that.

There’s no way Koi to Senkyo to Chocolate can top these two shows, but episode 10 comes loaded with big scenes. The first half is the all Chisato and her insecurities. She spends most of it gripping Yuuki’s arm after he’s released from the hospital. You can’t blame her, really. She lost the Daiki kid (who wouldn’t eat her chocolate) and latched onto Yuuki as a surrogate boy. Now she nearly lost him, too. But after he’s gone all the way home and she still won’t let go of his arm something needs to be said, so Yuuki says it, rather bluntly, I thought. And the chocolate he suggests she eat herself for once makes her sick.

Remember her?

If that wasn’t enough drama for you we also, finally, get a return to the incident that happened ten episodes ago and has been completely ignored since. Thanks to Michiru the cat girl’s harmonica, we learn about someone named Kana, whom we see in the hospital and who must have been the one shot back in episode one, though that was so long ago I forget what she looks like. One thing leads to another and suddenly Yuuki’s in an interrogation room of sorts with the President and two goons looking at him. We all remember what that was like in high school. And it turns out Michiru is an agent for the Public Safety Department’s secret police. I THOUGHT she was sneaking around too much … and the President is trying to cut deals for Kana’s getting out of her zombie state. And there is the President’s ultimatum to drop the bullying of financial students platform because it would alienate voters. Plus, Michiru can read auras! A LOT of stuff going on this week. There’s hope for this show yet.

Hyouka 21, School had declined 11

All of the mysteries of Hyouka, save one or two, are trivial matters. More often than not they are merely frameworks on which to hang what the episodes or arcs are really about. Such is the case with episode 21, possibly the least cheerful Valentine’s day episode I’ve ever seen.

Many anime Valentine episodes are downers. The girl enters with high expectations and things go wrong. They can also, like in Kimi ni Todoke, be annoying as hell (or they can be happy, like Cross Game). Hyouka’s starts with Satoshi acting like a cad in middle school and ends with him acting like a cad now, or maybe not, depending on that phone call we don’t get to hear. And, as in many such episodes, the poor girl’s heart is dashed. How it gets dashed is the mystery with a solution deeper and more hurtful than I expected. Not only that, it’s sleeting outside. The whole thing, down to the bitter chocolate Houtarou’s sister gives her as a joke, is just depressing, and rather mean.

Eru is not having a happy Valentine’s day.

What cad would steal a girl’s gift chocolate to a boy, anyway? I could take this as a metaphor and stumble with it, stuff about Satoshi stealing Ibara’s heart and crushing it so he could hide it in his bag … never mind. That’s the biggest question facing Houtarou. As usual, we are given a challenge with certain rules (only one stairway), a couple of people to question, etc.. Still this one looks impossible until you get back to that first question. Then it becomes obvious (well, to Houtarou) and we just wait for the can of worms to open. When it does, Houtarou is appalled, and Eru gives a dark look I thought her incapable of making, and she didn’t even know everything yet.

A couple thing about the Houtarou/Satoshi scene at the end. First, Houtarou comes close to actual violence. It’s reassuring to see he can get so angry when he sees friends hurt. Second, Satoshi is a coward. He’s afraid of his own feelings, of being obsessed. I can sympathize a little. But these are dear friends of his he hurt, one of them is in love with him! Compare him to Ibara, who put her love on display yet again only to be cruelly shot down. Ibara is no coward to be able to do that. In fact, I admire her toughness, and I was happy to see her bounce back in her conversation with Eru. Stuffing yourselves with cake sounds like the perfect cure. And so ends a Valentine’s day I hope all of the characters will be able to forget soon.

Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita 11 takes us to Watashi’s unpleasant school days. I have mixed emotions about this. First, I don’t like school hazing stories, it hits too close to home. On the other hand, she partly brings it upon herself by openly rejecting offers of friendship when they come up. On the other other hand, the little blond thing, whom Watashi nicknames “Curly,” who later desperately tries to make friends, was probably the instigator of much of the hazing early on. Or not. Watashi knows that children are devious, so who can she trust? Not to mention her classmate Y’s own hazing attempt, really an attempt of her own to find a friend. Watashi sidesteps it and Y gets mad. But why trust anyone when she doesn’t want any friends anyway?

Another problem Watashi has is at that tender age she already had the sarcastic and world-weary attitude she has as an adult. It’s as if emotionally she doesn’t mature at all. While this makes her dialogue funny (as usual) it doesn’t always sit well with her classmates. It also makes you wonder if there’s more that meets the eye with Watashi. While she often plays the straight-woman while weirdness plays around her, maybe her existance is just as strange, which might actually explain the loneliness she finally admits to. Speaking of strange, she meets her first fairy (the first human who’s ever been nice to it) and after a tearful admission that she IS lonely … er, Curly has moved in with her and invited her to a tea party. Now Watashi is thinking how to get out of it, and we start to wonder about Curly, too. Did the fairies get to her? It’s an excellent episode that mixes genuine child problems with the show’s own brand of weird.

Religion had Declined 10, Hyouka 20, Lagrange 21

My take on Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita 10 written here is a rambling mess, because sometimes it’s good for the mind to ramble about a show, especially one as odd as this one.

We go back to Watashi’s first days as a mediator, er, researcher, whatever it is; just so she can avoid working in the fields. Her first contact with fairies. This time they build a bustling, colorful city overnight and declare her a god after she gives them a naming dictionary. She doesn’t want to be god and so passes the honor to one of the fairies, and the entire city collapses in ten minutes, except her statue. What are we to make of all of this? I have no idea. I want to know why humanity has declined and where the fairies come from. If humanity had declined it’s to an agrarian society where there are shortages but basically enough to go around, enough water so that they can run fountains, and plenty of places for shelter. It actually seems like a nice place to live if you like that sort of life. Maybe humanity has declined only to the point where they can inhabit a stable and not intrusive environmental niche.

Of course the fairies’ presence should remind me that I shouldn’t look for too much realism in this anime. They’re around, apparently, to present metaphors for human society, and to act cute. This week it’s all about religion. Watashi abducts and befriends three, make that four fairies, showing herself as immensely big and powerful but kind at the same time. She makes the mistake of trying to give them names, a concept that had not occurred to the fairies and so, even though they possess abilities far beyond human comprehension, she becomes like a god. Watashi doesn’t want the title. She had explained to them that old humanity had stepped down. But the fairies, the “current humanity,” don’t seem to be capable of anything without something from old humanity to spark their interest. So I’m not sure the concept of us humans as gods is so far-fetched. But again, this is a fairy story loaded with metaphors. The Whys and Hows aren’t important as the themes themselves. Now I’m repeating myself. Time to move on.

This did not happen.

Hyouka 20 is just another passing fancy, another way to get Houtarou and Eru together, this time locked in a freezing shed, a variant of the locked room mystery, I suppose. I simply marvel at the over-formality, or maybe the timidity of those two that they can’t even get close to each other for warmth. It’s the perfect opportunity! You have the perfect excuse: cuddle or freeze to death! Maybe Eru’s social status puts an extra barrier on it. And the other thing is that they can’t shout out to anyone, because of that same social status. I admire Houtarou’s foolish respect for Eru’s reputation, but damn it it’s freezing in there! So instead he has to come up with a cryptic message that only Satoshi (if he’s even at the shrine) will understand (and he may not), if the item is picked up at all. It adds up to one of the more frustrating episodes we’ve had. At least Houtarou probably managed to score more points for imaginative thinking and gentlemanly behavior, if not for common sense.

Okay girls, this is all very sweet, but let’s get back to some action!

So Hyouka pretty much wastes an episode. Rinne No Lagrange 21 does pretty much the same thing. It seems we’ve been getting a lot of these goodbye episodes recently, and they’re getting stale. I know we have to see Kirius and Array off, but how long do you think they’re going to be gone, anyway? A little more interesting is that Lan and Muginami are thinking of moving on, too. Of course they are. The only one not concerned with moving on with their life is Madoka, exemplified by her not filling out her future plans questionnaire for school. In a way I feel a little sorry for her. She’s quite happy in Kamogawa, doing all those little things, not realizing it can’t last forever. And there’s a whole galaxy out there to explore. On the other hand, would she be happy anywhere else? Or can she be happy at home without Lan and Muginami?

That’s more like it! Too bad the episode ends right there …

This all slows down developing story arc, and it’s a good one. Moid has gone missing with that big rock and is wanted all across the Polyhedon. He’s with Dizel, who is undergoing the kind of torture-thing he was putting Lan through at the beginning of the new series. This basically goes against everything he agreed upon with Villaguilio. And Villaguilio is covering for him! But Dizel is muttering things like how Villa betrayed him! Is he channeling something or remembering that past kerfluffle? It’s great for us because we have no idea what to expect now. Who’s on whose side? Our only clue for what’s going on might come from Asteria, sorry, Maycun, who reveals her past to the Pharos team to some incredulity and shrugging. But apart from the “Memoria” she uncovers, she’s pretty much in the dark, too, well until that fleet shows up at the end. Okay, enough goodbyes and introspection about goals in life. Let’s have some action!

Nines: Tari Tari, Islands have Declined

In Tari Tari 9 it’s time for Wein to have a crisis of sorts.

Wearing a silly mask and raising one arm is not the crisis.

Seems he befriended a sickly boy back in Germany and watched that Gamba hero show with him a lot. Now the kid’s moved and Wein doesn’t know what happened to him. He demonstrates his concern by not paying attention to the others, not taking notes, and going “huh?” a lot. Just so we know he’s bothered. This is all right as far as crises go. It’s frustrating to have no idea how a person you care about is doing. Unfortunately the show doesn’t handle it too well. In fact, it comes out of left field. The gang are going to be Gamba fighters for the local festival (long story, there’s plenty of other plot going on, too), and Wein takes it on himself to become their rather overbearing leader. One good bit, where he explains to Sawa that she can’t wear red unless she feels she can assume the role as leader, and it looked like we were going to get a status-within-the-group argument via suit color, but they miss the opportunity to play with the metaphor because Sawa isn’t stupid and backs down right away. Not often am I disappointed by a character being intelligent … Anyway, Taichi finally asks Wein what’s wrong with him; he could have said “So what’s YOUR crisis in this show, Wein?” Same thing. I swear, this show can be so smart and witty and at the same time so clumsy.

Raising two arms isn’t a crisis, either.

Meanwhile Wakana is trying to compose the song “with” her mother and is stuck. (a nice bit where the cat walks across the keyboard and doesn’t hit a dissonant note). I’m glad to see that they’re treating this personal crisis decently, i.e., to truly get over something takes time and effort. And that will probably include the softening of Takakura, who has some issues of her own involving the school (the show is being coy with this plot part) and with her own memories of Wakana’s mother, since Wakana is going to ask questions about her. This future plot stuff has the potential to be really good; I hope they handle it better than some of the others.

Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita 9 is the show’s most direct attempt yet at commenting on, er, human society. There’s been a spike in the fairy population and that has led to fairy bullying, the closest thing to dissent we’ve seen among them yet. Up to now they’ve been pretty much interchangeable. So Watashi is sent off with some of the refugees, or whatever they are, to form a new colony, or whatever they do. Stranded on an island, they decide to form a country with Watashi as the queen.

Watashi isn’t sure this is a good idea but she doesn’t mind seeing the fairies, with a new purpose in their lives, energetically build things for her. Civilization becomes more advanced by the day; meanwhile, we’re waiting for the other shoe to drop. It’s clear that they’re overextending the island’s limited resources, but that isn’t what makes the ecology topple in the end. It’s when they start building monuments, rather too many. I’ve trotted out that “A society that builds monuments to itself …” line here before, but I’ll also not the connection between the monuments they build (direct imitations of those we humans made) and the humanity monument that the show’s used as a plot device before. It’s all a crude allegory on the rise and fall of civilizations due to available resources, but what do you want? This is a fairy story.

Jinrui 8, Hyouka 18, Lagrange 19

Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita 8 explains everything! Even the dog!

Now I understand EVERYTHING!

Okay, it doesn’t explain the underlying question how? We get a nice stab at Why, though. Assistant, never given an opportunity to develop a personality because he grew up in isolation, decided to look for one, and used the suggestions by Watashi and all those other Watashis in the forest for ideas. Okay, great, thanks for the explanation, Watashi. But I’ll probably never figure out how the fairies got involved, why they got involved, and all that other weird stuff, such as the hearth, had to do with it. Apart from them wanting sweets.

Fortunately this version of Assistant goes away.

At least they did the recap cleverly, cutting just enough that I for one didn’t start muttering “endless eight, endless eight” under my breath. And Watashi’s dry delivery and responses always lighten slow moments. And so we get Assistant, a nice boy in a Hawaiian shirt with many attributes that a young woman might find desirable in a boy, which is maybe not the best way to put it, but there’s that moment when they all giggle … So what was the deal with that other Assistant, the one with the hat who kept pawing Watashi and making suggestive comments and running around the place? A trial run, an experiment that was rejected? Whatever, I was just glad to see him go. Well, whatever the hell happened, I think we can label this an origin story and move on to whatever weirdness the show has in store for us next.

Hyouka 18’s mystery isn’t really one until one of the gang decides it is and decides to investigate. You’ll never guess who.

And so the episode’s biggest mystery may not have been “Why did Ogi-san like helicopters so much?” but “Why on earth is Houtarou so interested in that helicopter that one day in middle school?” The former is hardly a mystery. If they had gone to ask Ogi why he had reacted like that I’m sure he would have happily told them, if he could remember. And the investigation isn’t really much of one. A couple of deductions plucked out of thin air and a quick leaf through old newspapers (a half an hour to find an enormous bound volume? That library’s closed stacks must be a mess) and we have a satisfactory answer, though it’s a let down from the epic school festival arc we just had.

So instead we spend a lot of time wondering what goes on in Houtarou and Eru’s heads and watching the latter react cutely to books about vegetables and dung beetles. That Houtarou is interested at all shocks everyone (a great little scene, especially when Eru announces that she’s curious about why Houtarou is curious). He tries and fails to explain himself adequately at the end. Eru’s coming along could be explained away by her, er, curiosity, not to mention the unacknowledged attraction to Houtarou. Yeah, thinking about it, her motivations this time are pretty clear–to everyone but Houtarou, a brilliant mind but clueless when it comes to Eru.

Let’s see, at the end of last episode of Rinne no Lagrange, Madoka was cracking her knuckles in anticipation of smacking around two intergalactic kings far bigger than she is. No way, I thought. Then I began to watch episode 19:

Well, this IS Madoka we’re talking about.

That was about the only interesting thing in this half-hour denouement episode. Suddenly Dizel and Villa decide to work together, never mind their war, and so the Polyhedron Intergalactic Conference got a lot duller but happier. The rest of the episode was all about everything returning to normal. Seeing off the kings, doing homework, etc. Like the conference: happy and dull. In fact it felt like a series finale except that the girls this time get to stick together and ever swear never to use their voxes for violence again, thus guaranteeing that they’ll have to.

And so the new story arc begins.

But in the middle of Jersey Club activities and talking about love, we get the finale (I assume) arc going. It only makes sense that it’s going to involve Asteria and either that huge fragment they found or some bit of history repeating, or something, and it looks like it will lead to her death or utter destruction, but, let me guess, Madoka et al will find away to prevent annihilation and save her, or Madoka will do what her namesake did last year and sacrifice herself, only her friends interfere … Well, lots of possibilities, but possibly not a human enemy unless it’s Asteria herself.

Kokoro 6, Tari Tari 7, Bananas have increased 7

In Kokoro Connect 6, Dung Beetle, er, Balloon Vine has apparently gotten bored with the body switching and has something even nastier set up for our poor victims. With the body switching, at least the kids were aware of what was going on and deal with the problem rationally, but now that their bodies “act on impulse,” they’ve lost that. They can try to adapt but when they’re in unfettered mode they have absolutely no control. This must be terrifying. And it’s not just when the blood boils over something that happens, like Yui beating the shit out of some jerk boys. Everyone has a bad memory that can trigger irrational thoughts at any time, usually laughed away or pushed aside with irritation. And, as Inaba quickly discovers, you run the risk of revealing too much of yourself (in her case, almost literally). The episode tries to make this scene comic, which I think is a mistake, considering the humiliation she undergoes. And so much for Balloon Vine’s promise that he would not actually harm the kids. He’s put them in a situation where they could harm anyone, including themselves, at any time, and they have no way to stop it. I’m still waiting for Inaba to think of a way to kill him.

On the other hand, Lori has decided to turn this into an opportunity to find out who she really is. I think she’s barking up the wrong tree. I still believe this multiple personality issue she feels she has is more common than she thinks. Besides, apart from some charming mood swings she really hasn’t exhibited much of that on the show. Her own moment of released impulses was pretty harmless: she called up Taichi to talk about their relationship. I actually think she might be the most normal character in the show. … I’m not looking forward to seeing what damage the kids will do to themselves and each other next week.

Guess which character is the most worried.

Now that Wakana has worked things out and she’s an eager participant of the choir/badminton club, Tari Tari 7 dithers around, planting little plot seeds for later, before deciding that Sawa is going to be our next crisis-girl. It’s not the most exciting crisis: she wants keep doing things with horses rather than focus on a safer and duller career, so we get lots of tense dinners with her father, not to mention appetite loss, the telltale sign for the others that something’s up with her, well, that and the fainting spell. But as usual the show is so clever with the direction and dialogue that these moments are bearable. Her scenes are mixed in with those of the upcoming cultural festival and whatever the apparently evil chairman is planning to do with the school next. A typical episode that bounces along happily until from the shock cliffhanger (which I’m actually a little relieved by, since it means Sawa’s decision might have been made for her and we can avoid more grumbling meal scenes) though Wein’s sheer idiocy in believing that there’s a rhino under the school struck a false note.

Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita 7 … I don’t what the hell happened here. It starts with Watashi being ordered to bring back Assistant. I’m already confused; Watashi doesn’t seem like she’s met him, she’s dismayed at the thought of another person around the place, while we know that she’s fond of him. So is this a flashback? Then there was the little talk about clones to the fairies, to which I went “AHA!” especially when Watashi meets her lookalike (though she doesn’t get the resemblance, odd in itself). And that dog, a shapeshifter clone thing, maybe. After that it slips (heh) into Endless Eight territory, and I was filled with fear. Happily, there were enough new clues added each time that it kept me going, though it was clear early on that Watashi shouldn’t eat that banana. The clone theory had by now vanished as a red herring, btw. Then at one moment she seemed to merge with one of herselves, and we hear a dog bark. More flashbacks, multiple Watashis and watches, and my brain began to close down. And what do we get in the end? Assistant and a village full of dogs, a return of the clone theory, and … I guess they’ll explain it next week. I’m kind of afraid to hear the explanation.

Four very silly shows

Let’s start with perhaps the silliest.

A lot of fighting in Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon 17. Five of our numerous heroes wind up in a spell that pits them against some of England’s finest, and if any one of them loses the winner gets to challenge Toori, who’s still on that date of his. Let’s see (checks notes) … Futaya fights Sir Walter Raleigh, while Masazumi meets some death-thing … I think those battle are still ongoing as the episode ends. Ulquiaga meets Nicholas Bacon, Naito the sleepy witch meets Hawkins and Cavendish in an underwater battle (where she can’t speak her spells. Oh, No!), while Malga meets Drake, a werewolf, though they have tea first and discuss the fact that Joan of Arc might have been saved from burning by a unit of werewolves, which passes for a conspiracy theory in this show. We also learn that his wife is a serial killer. Oh, and that other girl faces F. Walshingham. And one other, on the soccer pitch. Well, whatever.

Malga attacks England’s justice.

They’re the usual type of battles. The Brits have the advantage at first but the Musashis or Japanese or whatever later pull out some stunts of their own. A couple even win, or at least draw. Ulquiaga, though temporarily stymied by the fact that Bacon is actually a fairy, has the battle spell canceled out, when a spectator “snaps out of it.” Naito defeats Hawkins by using his jets and the air trapped in her cleavage to breath out some spells. Drake has England’s justice on his side, but Malga gets bailed out by Tachibana, who claims that only Spain can beat Musashi up. The other battles are ongoing. This is better than the Olympics! No, it isn’t … Oh, former Cloak Girl is going to show Tenzo something amazing next episode.

Just a giant cat fighting a giant … whateveritis.

Underneath, Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita might be just a critique of modern technological and consumerist culture using a fanciful setting, but episode 6 buries us under so much weirdness that you can’t see the allegory, just slime that turned into a giant cat fighting a shelled creature composed of fairies, whichis fine with me. It’s also clear that the creators never saw the original Star Trek movie, not that it matters. And beneath it all, what was the point of this story? The possibility that mankind has declined because we lost our ability to explore, to leave our warm homes, like P-Girl and O-Boy did? Have mankind become soft and complacent? And is that supposed to reflect on our own situation now? Even after we just launched a rocket that launched a hovering thing that dropped a dune buggy on another planet? Well, I don’t think we’ve declined yet. And as I said, the episode had too much fun in it for me to pick it apart looking for clues. I wonder if the creators would want me to, anyway ..

Yuru Yuri II 6 goes to Comiket for the usual scenes of Chinatsu freaking out small children with her inappropriate Mirakurun battle cries, and on the whole everyone manages to have a good time, even Yui. The mock mirakurun show that starts the episode off looked exactly like, er, that other anime series a few seasons ago. I can’t remember the name now. It had that one girl and that other one, and … forget it. Anyway, the YuruYuri thing was funnier. The last bit with the conversation box might as well not have been there.

Speaking of giant cats …

Joshiraku 4 … Not really notable for anything much except Marii takes more abuse than usual. First Genkyou keeps slugging her in order to prove a point about wearing glasses. They discuss the balance of glasses-wearers to non, a cheap shot is fired at the artist, hot pots, and nipple-touching also enter into it. Done with glasses for awhile, they board a train (we are never told where they are going) and there’s a lively talk about how to cure nausea. Some fun is had when they get off outside Comiket and we can play “spot the character” with the cosplayers, who are all walking out of the building as if in a trance. Come to think of it, Marii suffered no abuse in this section. It’s Kukuru who gets sick. In the last section, about what the moon looks like, she is abducted by a rabbit who then apparently smells her ass. We also learn the diameter of both the moon and the Tokyo Dome, but I’ve forgotten it now.