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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fortunately, the scene stops here.

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

THAT series would’ve been a lot more fun.

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

Your typical harem series ending.

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

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

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

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

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

One more of Ranmaru.

SAO 12, Chocolate 11, Joshiraku 8

Sword Art Online 12 … I figured it would end up like this.

There she goes …

Since it was clear from the start that Yui wasn’t from the real world it meant that the game could do all sort of things to her. And since she was, if not an anomaly, but a bit of code gone rogue, you’d expect Cardinal to stamp her out. And there are the implications of that line of code gaining sentience and going against its programmed orders, I’m thinking that’s one thing the makers do NOT want to happen. Imagine if the whole game started acting like that. Imagine if they went against Cardinal itself. The game would either toss itself into dev/null or get shut down altogether. The sentience thing gives us another issue as well. How do the players behave if the things they’re used to killing turn out to have something resembling a soul? Actually, that might be fun. Some of the monsters might team up with the players and we’d have another mess and it’d be dev/null time anyway.

This is draped around a small story about rescuing a guy from a dungeon, and I assume will eventually lead to a battle with Kibaou, the guy who put him there, but not this episode. Too much other stuff to do, like show cute little Yui show off her true powers and wipe out a 90th Level boss, one that almost killed our happy couple, without breaking a sweat. Then there’s an infodump followed by a tearful goodbye scene. The infodump was tolerable because everything she was saying was important to the immediate situation–Yui’s future. Also, it gave us a better idea of how stuff here works. The goodbye scene didn’t have the effect it should, at least on me because, as I said, I expected it, though it would have been cool if Kirito had managed to do a more successful hack and bring her back whole. But then, what would happen if they do clear the thing out and leave the world? Would they still have managed to get a piece of her heart to “resurrect her in real life?” Even so, I’m sure we haven’t seen the last of Yui. I expect her to turn up again, probably her heart-pendant will start glowing or something, right when Kirito and Asuna need her the most.

Koi to Senkyo to Chocolate 11 tries to squeeze out as much melodrama as it possibly can before the election. We start with two Very Important conversations, one of which made sense to me.

Is that at the school? Is that one of the classrooms?

That one was the president’s interrogation/confession to Yuuki, basically telling Yuuki (and more importantly, us) everything we didn’t know already, well, apart from why Kana was run down in the first place. It only gets nonsensical when he starts to tell Yuuki things he shouldn’t know about Yuuki and Chisato’s relationship. I’m guessing the only reason he brought it up at all was to mirror the other, less intelligible scene where Mifuyu tries to cheer up a despondent Chisato. Basically Chisato rebuffs her friend over and over, so Mifuyu changes into a halter top so her scar will show, and tries to leave, which changes everything. I’m often a lazy viewer so I’m assuming it makes sense to the girls.

Guess what happens.

Back to the intelligible part. Kana’s being kept alive at a hospital run by the Katahira faction, who are rivals, and they’ll cut off the plasma supply if the president doesn’t drop his support for Yuuki. I can understand his dilemma. Yuuki springs into action and manages to get the word to Michiru, who plays that harmonica and guess what happens? I told you this episode was melodramatic. So my question is why does the president (who at least is no longer such an asshole) still not support Yuuki, after what he’s done? Oh, well, the melodrama doesn’t stop, as Oosawa (of the Oosawa incident) decides to get really nasty at the end. Another question. What percentage of the school population is a goon for one faction or another? They’re always doing nefarious things or standing at attention behind their boss, in their school uniforms. Are they enrolled and attend classes? Do they feel any guilt for the crap they do? And what does the rest of the school think? Well, I’ve said it before, this is a messy show.

I understood this bit, too.

Joshiraku 8 was so slow in coming I decided to test my very limited knowledge and watch a raw. I am pleased to report that I got the repetition of “new” in the first bit, and April wasn’t hard. Other than that I had to follow the visual action. So I didn’t know what the envelopes were all about, but I could tell the girls were keen on the money inside. The visit to wherever it is went right past me, apart from spilling water on Gankyou. As for the April part, all I knew was that it was April 40 and everyone was trying to cheer up Kukuru for some reason. Weird to say that the raw was not as dull as I thought it would be. In fact, knowing what they were talking about almost ruined it.

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.

Natsuyuki 10, Imouto ga Iru 9, Chocolate 9

The big line in Natsuyuki Rendezvous 10 comes at the end, where Rokka asks Shimao (still in Ryuusuke’s body) where the Ryuusuke she fell in love with went. It’s a nonsensical question because while Shimao told her that it had been him and not Ryuusuke for some of the events, he hasn’t told her exactly when they switched. I’m not surprised he wouldn’t. This episode removes all of the remaining sympathy I had for him. We see him now as he’s always been–egotistical and selfish. Anyway, for all she knows he’s been Ryuusuke for months, even as far back as the time she said she loved him (Ryuusuke). But in terms of the story, unless Shimao is hinting at something when he talks a “last meal,” it’s an important one.

She loves Ryuusuke, and WE know she fell for him before Shimao’s devious body switching. Just like Ryuusuke can never erase the love she had for Shimao, or would want to (The show makes a point of having him say that he’s fine with that), Shimao can’t erase Ryuusuke. Nor can erase the fact that while she hasn’t been able to let him go, Rokka is doing just fine in running the shop on her own, doing things without him. It will be interesting to see how this pans out in the last episode or two. Meanwhile, this episode gets even more bizarre and chilling than before as Ryuusuke realizes he can’t return to his body now, and Shimao symbolically kills him. Then he has to watch the odd physical couple, one using his body, be all lovey-dovey while he floats about hopelessly. It looks bleak indeed for Syuusuke – until Rokka asks that question.

You see, this is how a REAL little sister behaves.

Kono Naka ni Hitori, Imouto ga Iru! 9 throws out one good thing and one bad thing. The good thing is the new girl Yuzurina, who, right after moving next door to Shougo, tells him that she’s his sister. Nothing new there, but there’s a twist: she has no interest in marrying him. She’s actually a little sister, the type that worries about oniisan with no strings attached. Well, she listens in through the wall, but that’s acceptable in this sort of show, and might actually add to the show’s abysmally low comedy level. What’s more, they do a blood test and it’s positive, all in one episode! We’ll ignore that fact that she’s illegitimate and so it must be kept secret when the next thing you know she’s blabbing about it to all the other girls; an actual little sister overly worried about who he’s bringing home, complicating Shougo’s life won’t hurt the show at all. The bad thing is the formal party coming up, and he must choose one girl. And Miyabi later spots him getting ready to kiss Konoe. Who cares? Shougo, you got a sister now. Choose one girl and let’s end this thing.

Oosawa, of the infamous Oosawa incident.

Koi to Senkyo to Chocolate 9 has a fascinating bit at the end. They end with Shougo possibly being run over by a truck. This is after a few painful flashbacks where Chisato tries to wake up a dead boy named Daiki by offering him chocolate (thus revealing the origin of her choco-phobia). Yes, it’s incredibly trite, but it was how they went about it. One of those scene or episode-ending comical moments where the girls turn accusingly on a boy and he runs away. The camera is far away, as they often are when you’re ending a scene like this, and it looks for all the world like the episode is going to end right there … Yuuki yells “Run!” and runs … then the truck shows up. In other words they stuck a cliffhanger over a silly moment. The rest of the episode wasn’t bad either. We get the return of Yuina Oosawa, planning on making an elected Yuuki her puppet, and who got suspended for harassing a financial aid student, Yuuki wanting to add a platform plank abolishing just such a thing, leading Chisato to shout at him because it will cost him votes, but really because she’s afraid he’s leaving her behind like Daiki did. Election politics and romance, just like the title says.

Natsuyuki and Binbougami 9, Chocolate 8

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

Flashback.

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

Present day.

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

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

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

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

Five episodes that more or less annoyed me

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

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

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

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

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

You should talk.

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

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

Natsuyuki 7 and two olympic refugees

Do I have to talk about Natsuyuki Rendezvous 7? Well, I’ll say this. Shimao has completely screwed up the situation, but not in the way I expected. At the end he’s given Rokka every indication that he’s still around somehow, what with that ghostly appearance and the flower arrangements he left at the shop. Then he leaves for god knows where in Ryuusuke’s body. Ryuusuke, by the way, is still having odd conversations with the idealized little mermaid Rokka, where perhaps a hint as to the future is given, but otherwise he’s simply trying to push giant flowerpots around. Where is Shimao going? Mermaid Rokka did say that the longer this lasts the sadder it gets, after all. Meanwhile, Rokka, after her declaration of love to whomever she’s in love with, possibly the combination of both, can only react to things and wait for phone calls. And I’m finding my self caring less and less about the whole thing.

The time off hasn’t changed this show.

Due to the Olympics, Kono Naka ni Hitori, Imouto ga Iru! missed two weeks. Now we get episode 5, and I think I would like to thank the Olympics. Last time Konoe confessed to impersonating Shougo’s sister. But he’s still getting phone calls, so it looks like the real sister is on the loose, which I could have told Shougo when Konoe said she wasn’t near that wedding. Besides, we have to keep this story going somehow. You can’t just have a series where a bunch of girls throw themselves at a guy, well you can, and it would probably sell … so they throw Sagara the witch girl at him next. Lots of scenes with her. Well, lots of scenes with every girl, including a new one. We’ll eventually learn that it’s not Sagara (and deal with this moving away plot bit they threw in just to give us something for a cliffhanger) and move on to… possibly the weird school newspaper club girl.

A candidate must make sacrifices for his campaign.

Another Olympic victim was Koi to Senkyo to Chocolate, and to make up for it they tossed episodes 5 and 6 at us on the same day. During the hiatus I was thinking about dropping the show, and episode 5 didn’t do much to change my mind. The bulk of it was a scene where Yuuki had to make one roll-cake after another for bribing the voters on primary day, while Mifuyu sat around writing romantic fiction about them and one weirdo after another came in the door to do a comic schtick before exiting again. Actually, it was tolerable and passed the time so that the show didn’t have to get back to topics like that murder in the first episode (remember that?) or Isara getting bullied. The primary event scenes had some decent gags in it. Still, you saw the setup coming… instead of his campaign speech Mifuru gives her fiction to Yuuki, too late to get it back …

Happily, episode 6 was better. Rather than do the expected thing and embarrass himself with that speech, Yuuki is forced by different circumstances to improvise–and rescues the story arc. Nothing much could top that so they switch to election result-watching and tossing the odd gag in. Oh, there’s still that stuff that Mifuyu wrote and he read that has to be dealt with, and we got the guy in the mask, a mystery candidate that split the vote, and the bullying and the murder and god knows what else in this messy show, but this epidode ended on a high enough note that I’ll keep watching.