Finales: Fujiko, Nyaruko … also more bread.

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

All right, who the hell’s this?

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

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

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

As it should be.

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

Yep, one of THOSE episodes.

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

That’s more like it.
About time …

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

Fujiko 12, Apollon 11, Tsuritama 11

Lupin III – Mine Fujiko to lu Onna 12 is a hell of an episode, and I finally kinda sorta know what the hell’s going on.

The fun begins in Almeida-land.

Frankly, I had found the events leading up to now confusing. I had figured out that Fujiko had been taken at a young age and “raised” by Count Almeida, but everything else was a blur of images. It didn’t help that Lupin had received the most accurate account but was so addled with drugs at the time that we couldn’t tell what was truth and what was illusion. This episode looked to be more of the same, as Fujiko and Zenigata team up to visit Almeida’s theme park. This pairing might be odd, but the circumstances (Zenigata just walks up to Fujiko at a face and slaps handcuffs on her. She offers information on kidnappings similar, we assume, to her own) make sense. Less clear is why Lupin and Jigen also happen to show up at the same park, practically invited to, judging from the tickets they find on themselves (Love how Lupin knows to look under Jigen’s hat).

Renegade Owl?

On the other hand, it also means that Almeida is assembling them there on purpose, and he’s successfully pulled the strings every episode. No one has come close to thwarting him or even worrying him so far. But I’m proven wrong. The owl that confronts Lupin and Jigen on the roller-coaster has a different outcome in mind for Fujiko. Almeida (I assume) just wants her back. His motivations are that of a sick old man who wants to fondle the beauty he once had total control over. It’s a sad, pathetic, desire, also rather boring for a show as quick-witted as this. The other owl (I’m guessing it’s her father) is much more interesting. Maybe he thinks it’s the only way to free her from all this.

In one way this episode is hard to watch. We get to see Lupin, Jigen and later Goemon do their things, leap, dive, shoot, flash swords, defy death, but Fujiko doesn’t get to share any of this. She and Zenigata enter “The House of Fujiko,” a twisted “It’s a small world” type ride where her past is shown to her and she begins to remember the past she had sealed away. She slowly breaks down while Zenigata watches, unable to help. And even he, her last source of support, is distracted when a brainwashed or equally-broken Oscar reappears. It’s a terrible thing to watch for any fan of this series. But we still have the others, “supporting characters in Mine Fujiko’s story,” as Lupin puts it, out there, doing their things. I hope the conclusion is as wild as this episode was.

Look closely.

Sakamichi no Apollon 11 brings us what looks to be the cheapest plot twist imaginable, one that made me throw up my hands in disgust, and this right after one of the loveliest sequences of the series, and a terrific opening scene to boot. I had thought that Sentarou had too much character to simply run away like that, and he did; he just needed Kaoru to remind him by throwing himself on Sentarou and nearly getting killed in the process. Still, Sentarou should have known better than to even try. The “cheap” plot twist is actually misdirection. I’m not sure why they did it that way other than to give us a cheap thrill, or to make me throw up my hands, as I said.

But because of this Sentarou now actually does leave, and like the last attempted exit it doesn’t feel right. I don’t recall anyone being hurt by Sentarou’s actions, in spite of what he said. More interesting is his rejecting the people and things that used to give him comfort. Not just the rosary (hung on the hospital door as if he was passing the comfort to sa-chan), but Kaoru, emerging from the white sheets and being pronounced an angel in that nice rooftop scene.

Her favorite things.

These two bits of plot sandwich a terrific sequence where Ritsuko is coerced into singing “My Favorite Things” for the festival. She’s reluctant, but while she sings the words in an adorable engrish soprano voice we get still shots of them rehearsing. It’s clear that at that time she was surrounded by her favorite things. It’s a shame the show has to thrown in random accidents to generate plot. It can do so well without it.

Our other noitaminA show, Tsuritama, looked for all the world like it might end this week, but the stakes apparently were too high. I mean, what could be higher than our heroes fishing the alien out of the water as foretold by the scolls, before Duck fires its missiles or everyone in the world does the Enoshima dance?

The episode plays out in predictable fashion. The cliffhanger is dealt with (Ayumu survived and rescued the rod), important things are said, a complication when Duck shows up (fought off by Akira, heroic for the second episode in a row, with help from Paprika. Quack!), growing problems with trying the catch the alien (overcome by Yukim though he seemed to pluck the solution of painting the lure red out of nowhere) while the typhoon gets worse, and another crisis at the end which has as much to do with friendship as it has to do with aliens. It’s thrilling to watch. The art style gives us enormous waves everywhere while the soundtrack plays its best exciting themes and Yuuki casts again and again. Eno-shima-bowl!

It’s also silly. Well, it can’t help being silly when the Duck forces, ready to fire missiles, are dressed in those squeaky suits and people are wandering around doing that dance, which is supposed to be a bad thing. Paprika the duck starts the boat. But these things have been so effectively worked into the story that they don’t distract from what’s at stake. The saddest moment of the episode of the show is when the silly alien with a triangle floating over his head decides he has to sacrifice himself, something they had set up before which I hadn’t thought of until it happened. A lot of things developed in early episodes, such as Yuki’s growing as a person (not to mention his fishing skills) and Natsuki’s acceptance of his father, came into play, and it all worked. Well, as I said, there was too much going on for the show to end here, but I’m looking forward to the big finish next week.

Four more before two days off: Apollon 10, Tsuritama 10, Fujiko 11, Kanojo X 10

Sakamichi no Apollon 10 gets down to business now that the bad romance has left town and sets up some major plot kernels, but mainly it’s about Kaoru screwing up.

A bath scene? In THIS show?

Kaoru has some wrong assumptions about what’s going on. Now that Yurika’s gone it’s logical to assume Sentarou will fall back on Ritsuko, such is the type of guy Kaoru thinks Sentarou is. Especially after Sentarou seems so over it when the school removes that painting of him she made. Because of this he doesn’t know what to make of the mittens Ritsuko knitted for him–and not Sentarou. So he tries to remain distant and thus puts himself in danger of rejection. And he nearly ruins it entirely in the bath scene (Did anyone imagine there would be a “innocently open the door and find a member of the opposite sex bathing” scene in this show? Especially when the families share a bath and ought to know better? Sorry, not buying it). It takes a cute-sick scene, where Ritsuko tells him almost exactly what needs to be done (and could he have forced himself down the steps and out the door in his state if he hadn’t met Sentarou?) before he gets his head straight. And then, we skip a few months and nothing’s happened there. Which is probably fine with Ritsuko. Seeing her two boys together seems to make her happiest of all. I think she’s become a teacher already–to two adolescent boys.

Sentarou studies.

When we aren’t watching and wanting to smack Kaoru around a bit, we get mini-adventures. Sentarou’s in danger of flunking but Kaoru forces him to study. The pop music kid announces that he’s going to win the festival this year, which gets our heroes fired up. But the big event is the impending arrival of Sentarou’s father, and this part doesn’t work too well. The scenes with little Sa-chan were nice, but then Sentarou does something I didn’t expect him to do–run from the problem. He wouldn’t do that. If his father has stopped the boozing, then that’s great. If he hasn’t then the children need Sentarou around more than ever. We understand that Sentarou was never a welcome member of his father’s household, and how deep that wound goes, but he’s welcome now, and he’s not a child anymore. He can defend himself, and he has his family and friends. He’s never run from a fight. Sigh. This is a very good show, but every now and then it slips from smart to silly.

Akira has several heroic moments this episode.

A show like Tsuritama can get as silly with its plot as it wants and no one will care. What it’s not immune to is stock anime penultimate episode things like rallying the forces, reconciling foes and giving the despondent character a pep-talk. You can tick each of those off your list while watching. They’re not bad by default, but here in episode 10 they don’t work that well. The good guys, when you get down to it, have no problem evading or bamboozling the Duck forces, who, on their side seem to have given up finding Haru at all. The pep-talk, all about friendship vs going off half-cocked reminded me of a few from Railgun. Besides, at this point we know what needs to be done, and watching everyone scurrying around preparing for it isn’t all that exciting. But they give us a whammy at the end to make everything a little more hopeless, just the thing to set up the (I assume) final episode next week.

This week’s Lupin III – Mine fujiko to lu Onna isn’t as confusing as last week’s but yet again Mine really doesn’t appear. She’s out of the picture and in no condition to steal anything at the moment. Instead the focuses on the life and quite possible death of Oscar, who we learn was rescued and adopted as a boy by Zenigata. Zenigata was moved by the boy’s pride at not losing his last coin, but Oscar along the way has lost all trace of it in his desire to make Zenigata pursue him the way he pursued, caught–and subsequently bedded Fujiko. It’s a bit ridiculous the lengths he goes to achieve this, even pretending to be her and actually stealing stuff. I had to actually watch it twice to figure out what he thought he was up to. What’s more interesting is that Lupin and Goemon work to undo the big caper at the end, as if they were defending Fujiko’s pride. I suppose Oscar needed some attention, but I rather wished they hadn’t devoted an entire episode. I believe there’s only two left and a lot to clear up.

Finally I watched Nazo no Kanojo X 10, that is to say, I saw Tsubaki acting like a complete idiot for 25 minutes, starting with his denial to former crush Hayakawa that he has a girlfriend (though he finally admits it), then not telling Urabe about the school festival situation. I mean, I really think you should tell your current girlfriend that you’re going to pretend to have another for an innocent purpose. But another moment of great idiocy is the fact that he doesn’t even realize Hayakawa is setting a trap. You could write it off as the hormones working, but Hayakawa practically threw himself on him when they accidentally(?) met. Or maybe this is an act of internal rebellion for him. After all, Urabe gets upset when he looks at a girl that reminds him of her. I might feel a little constricted, too.

Apollon 8, Fujiko 9, Tsuritama 8

After last weeks emotional high on Sakamichi no Apollon, we get an episode where many people are looking for their bad end.

No, Yurika, he doesn’t want you in his apartment. Um … Yurika?

You knew they would pay attention go Jun this week; there wasn’t anyone else left. Kaoru and Sentarou are reconciled, it’s too soon for Ritsuko, and Yurika’s been in a holding pattern ever since she saw Jun that one time. She sees him this episode and forces her way, more or less, into his rented flat, where Jun shows off his self-disgust but can’t make her leave. We get flashbacks showing Jun making an improvising a speech at a student rally and inspiring a buddy to the point where the buddy gets his digits busted up so he can’t play the saxophone again. Now Yurika gets to nurse Jun back to emotional health. This is a very good show, but sometimes the story is on the “television drama” level. Well, it IS a television drama.

So while Yurika hangs out with Jun, cuts her hair (abruptly), and starts getting in trouble at school and at home, we also follow our dynamic duo, and our other possibly doomed character, Sentarou. Now that Kaoru has loosened up and continues to be popular with the girls, his unrequited love Ritsuko is starting to get pitty-pats about him, not her long-time crush Sentarou. Yurika invites herself into men’s apartments. Ritsuko knits sweaters for hers. This is going to blast the current dynamic to pieces, especially with Sentarou finally waking up to a situation that may have passed him by. I’m interested in how Sentarou will handle it. There’s no way he will interfere if things go the way they are now, but what will he actually do? And will Kaoru feel like he’s betraying a friend? Tune in next week for another Days of our … I mean, Kids on the Slope.

A striking episode of Lupin III – Mine Fujiko this week. Also an odd one.

The object to steal this week is a high-class painted lady. A young woman who has spent her entire life being tattooed and displayed as a piece of living art. Lupin and Jigen have teamed up to “steal” her during an exhibition. So has Fujiko, and so we get trademark wild chases and gunfire and it lives up to the best such sequences of this series, but something’s off. Lupin and Jigen are behaving more or less as usual, but there’s something off with Fujiko. We notice it before Lupin does. She’s as formidable an opponent as ever, but she’s … serious. We see it in a flashback where she sees the PW on TV for the first time, where she nearly breaks down. There’s no guile in her this time, no subtlety. Just relentlessness.

We pretty much learn why as the chasing continues, Fujiko close but never quite able to outdo Lupin/Jigen’s combined skills. And since last week we pretty much know the answer. There’s a connection between this PW (who is basically a small illiterate child in a woman’s body–we spend much the episode hoping she doesn’t get hurt) and Fujiko, both powerless, abused, and in someone else’s control their entire lives (another flashback, more damn owls). The next step in the logic, suggested by Lupin, is more problematic. I see no reason why Fujiko would want to kill the PW, even if she did have her own death-wish, but perhaps that’s a reflection of the violent life she has lived. Even Lupin and Jigen, once they have her secured, feel sorry enough for her that they more or less release her. Even so, this rather straightforward episode is the strongest yet, mostly because we are learning what the series is all about, and what Fujiko has to go through to get there.

Well, that’s good and I’m happy about it, but it’s a bit of an anticlimax.

Tsuritama 8 feels odd because it is so straightforward. We start with Sakura’s disappearance. Hints are made that the dragon is about to take his first victim, or sacrifice. Meanwhile, past fights are forgiven; there’s something bigger to worry about. Interestingly it’s Akira who gives Natsuki the tip, and there she is, moping at a table where her mom used to take her. No danger to her, just relief. The episode had barely begun. After that deflation we get a scene where Akira up and asks Haru and Coco what they’re up to–and they up and tell him everything. Just like that. So there’s the immediate crisis resolved and a huge bit of backstory.

Despite my choice of screenshots not everyone spends this episode with their back to the camera.

It goes on like this for too long. A scene with Natsuki and his dad. One with his sister. Yuki talks with his grandmother. Haru does, too. The only portentious thing is Haru; he’s happy again, but he’s getting ready to say goodbye. Other than that, everybody is happy–and fishing. We’re waiting for the big whammy but really don’t get one. Yuki tells us it’s coming, along with a typhoon, by the way (and Haru’s explanation told us why this will be a bad thing), but we’ll have to wait until next week for it to happen. Along with what Duck is going to do … Well, it’s nice to see everyone happy for a change.

Sevens and one Eight: Apollon, Fujiko, Tsuritama, Nyaruko

Sakamichi no Apollon 7 begins by giving us a twist.

Kaoru, chick magnet.

After Kaoru’s temper tantrum last week I expected a lot of episodes of regret from all parties, and I got that. I also expected Kaoru to regress and go back into his shell, to be alone again. But that didn’t happen. Well, it looks that way to start with, but Ritsuko continues to be nice to him, and he’s grown enough to be aware that she is blameless, so he’s nice back to her. Not only that, he’s learned to relax a little. Quickly, the class in general decides he’s not so bad after all. Suddenly, he’s, if not popular, at least likable. The twist is that the one who winds up alone is Sentarou.

… And not just because of that.

We don’t really know what happened to Jun. Ritsuko’s dad says he had a breakdown and that tells us nothing. Yurika sees Jun in that state and freaks, after Sentarou had tried to put the moves on her. I’m not sure what went through Sentarou’s head when he punched Jun, but his walking away alone sums it up. He feels like he’s lost one person close to him after another. Well, he’s got his family (though they don’t appear) and his pop music gig.

It ends with the school festival and a few scenes that are contrived but often effective. The Jazz vs. Pop dynamic felt silly, and I can’t see the entire student body rushing to the auditorium because Kaoru and Sentarou are playing, unless the attraction is that of the biggest brain improvising with the biggest thug. On the other hand, playing a late, great Coltrane standard was a nice touch. Kaoru overhearing Sentarou talking behind the curtain … well, the show’s pulled that sort of trick before. But the important things stand out. Sentarou proves that he will defend the people he likes, and is too big to hold a grudge. While Kaoru discovers that he has a friend who won’t desert him when things get a little sour. Good episode.

Lupin III – Mine Fujiko to lu Onna 8 is a messy one. Nice concept, though. A fortune teller who can tell you the day of your death. Of course, he’s a fraud (or IS he??) who’s been using Lupin as a cover for their deaths, or something. I wasn’t able to figure much of this out. Goemon’s here, too, out to destroy a lithograph that’s already been destroyed, which Shitoto, the fortune teller, was using for his predictions. I have no clue what Fujiko’s doing around, but we get some fascinating information, a man named count Luis Yew Armeid, perhaps an abuser in her past. And now the owl image, used in the past when she’s been in a bind, makes more sense. Otherwise it feels like the pieces of a story that no one thought to tie together. But again, beautiful to look at.

It’s sort of a relief that Yuki isn’t the only source of drama in Tsuritama anymore. Now I wish they’d get to the SF part, but instead episode 7 has features Natsuki’s problems. Well, they’ve been building the problem for ages, it’s about time. It’s also a tad predictable. The father wants to celebrate the boy’s birthday by going fishing. Natsuki, naturally, doesn’t want to go, so he gets Yuki and the rest to join them. There’s the inevitable blow-up on the boat, and the fallout. The fallout was the only real variation, and it’s worrisome because Natsuki’s so devoted to Sakura. Well, it’s his own fault. And his father’s. The rest of the cast spend most of the episode watching or doing damage control. The episode’s slogan seems to be “Just try,” but I’m not sure why. No one tries, really, and those who do either end up in a rage or get hurt. I figure the SF (which appears late and is odd indeed) and the personal stuff will get tossed together in the next episode or two.

Haiyore! Nyaruko-san 7 starts out with Nyaruko at her crazy best and unravels into a simple romance after Mahiro tells her flat out that he doesn’t like her. Actually, it’s sort of pathetic. You feel a little sorry for her when you see how hard she’s taking Mahiro’s statement, but after he realizes he went to far and apologizes she becomes an emotional invalid, ready to turn all-white the moment he says something remotely mean (until he tells her to cut it out), and then blithely treating their time together as completely romantic, utterly blind to how he really feels. It’s sad to see her delude herself, and you have to feel bad for Mahiro, too. He’s utterly trapped. And for Cthugha and Hastur as well, as they can only watch. Too down for a stupid show like this. Bring on some aliens or something!

Five episodes of little consequence: Fujiko, Ao, AKB0048, Zombie, Polar Bear

But I love this screenshot. It perfectly sums up the moment.

The latest Lupin/Fujiko is a near-miss. There’s something about the franchise that this episode lacked–a sense of fun, maybe. You might argue that the show was concerned with weightier issues than crime capers, that the show was trying to do something different, but in that case I’ll argue that their way of approaching the time period, reinventing the Cuban missile crisis with fictitious names (Friadel Kestro, the Roniania Union, etc) worked against it, in spite of the whimsy of the names (I was disappointed that they didn’t name the Kennedy character). I started to make comparisons to what little I remember about that incident. The crisis was in 1962, when no one was called a “rock star.” The Beatles didn’t make it big until 1963-4. Never mind things I could forgive, like Goemon atop a biplane keeping pace with much more powerful aircraft, you see, that’s part of the fun. I was also distracted by the show’s decision to have the Soviets, er, Ronianians, shoot first. So I really couldn’t care less about the confusing showdown in the air when Kestro’s plane is seized, you know, the actual story.

Can’t be beaten, smug, evil, and has a stupid name.

Eureka Seven Ao begins a new story arc and finishes one that we didn’t even know about. The personal one involves the death of Bruno, the father-figure for team Goldilocks and the man who told Ao to not hurt the people who love him. It’s a mystery why the man crashed into the Secret and I suspect that will come up later on, the important thing is that he’s dead. Little pilot Chloe, who was especially devoted to Bruno, and Ao exchange pep talks, which leads to what I think is actually a third story arc, Ao’s purpose and importance with GenBleu. He dispatches those doubts. The other main story arc makes a sandwich as we meet a shape-shifter who calls himself “Truth” (sigh) as he effortlessly kills drug dealers and whoever that rich guy was. Now he’s gunning for GenBleu in an unsubtle way considering he can take on many forms. His true form (I guess) is that of a smirking white-haired bishie. This worries me no end. The show was going perfectly well without tossing in a character like this.

The episode wasn’t much but Sonata had her moments.

Finally, AKB0048 comes back to earth. After three episodes of uninspired drama about girls wanting to be idols, surrounded by a premise of brazen, jaw-dropping weirdness, they lose the weirdness and we get only the uninspired drama. The girls meet two understudies who may always be understudies, and one of them, Kanata, is Sonata’s sister, and dead set against Sonata following her path, and so acts like a big meanie. It plays out like you’d expect. Chieri, being, thank heavens, the coldhearted pragmatist, says Kanata doesn’t have the right aura, or something. I argue that the deck is stacked against her and her partner Mimori, having to sing a bland ballad as a warmup to AKB0048’s big loud song and dance and lightshow number. Kanata’s stated reason for singing is ridiculous; didn’t it ever occur to her that her father was fighting because he loved the cause? And the reconciliation scene was predictable and maudlin that I nearly fast-forwarded it. I hope the creators realize that the thing that has set this show apart has been the crazy universe they’ve invented. Lose that and we get second-rate iDOLM@STER, unless they start working with the characters better.

Haruna explains the story for us.

Kore wa Zombie desu ka – of the Dead 7 finds some plot. Naturally it makes no sense. Something to do with the mana that Haruna stored up in that thing she made last week, which gave her her powers. Oh, she can’t speak now, but Eu can. The big bad guy makes his appearance this week, a middle-aged school teacher who also happens to be the drunken fairy. A shame. I was very fond of the drunken fairy. She’s going to, apparently do something bad, but after a lot of threats and shooting people off into space (they come back) she vanishes. Then again, if this show’s story did make sense I would be disappointed.

Polar Bear’s Cafe gives us a surprise: Penguin actually gets his drivers license. But Polar Bear steals the episode by managing to be an effective straight man and voice of reason, but still being able to act silly when the situation calls for it. And he gets a free sushi meal out of it.

Space Bros 7, Fujiko 6, Accel (dropped), Kore wa Zombie (not dropped, in spite of everything)

At last, Mutta gets involved in the plot again.

Space Brothers 7 seems to be puttering around, building up Mutta’s self-recriminations as he both watches his brother train and waits for an announcement he is certain he won’t like. Yeah, Hoshika (flowing-hair man) is still on his side, but making no headway in convincing the people who really matter. Meanwhile we get asides where we see him in “Rollin’ Mutta” mode, where he absorbs information from a number of different sources at the same time … And that blind operation test that Hibito fails … And finally, the news of a robber on the loose who uses a fire extinguisher to blind his victims. Can you see where this is going? For a good ten minutes I was muttering “It’s obvious what you’re doing here, so bring on the robbery!” And so it happens–too late for the episode to show it … Well, the storytelling might be a tad clumsy, but at least our man Mutta will finally get to do something but mope.

Just another schoolgirls with guns scene.

Watching episode 6 of Lupin III – Mine Fujiko, I wonder why I can’t enjoy this character Oscar. He’s proven himself to be a formidable opponent for Fujiko, to the point where he can cross dress as a schoolgirl for many days without Fujiko realizing it. In fact, the reason he did not apprehend her was simply hubris–in waiting to also catch Lupin (how did he get out of that greenhouse?) he allowed him time to free Fujiko. There’s his odd sexuality, in love with Zenigata but obsessed with Fujiko, calling her a spittoon but tying her up naked and pouring wine on her (standard police procedure, I’m sure. She could be hiding something). I think the answer lies there. It’s not so much the suppressed desire as much as the condescending morality he lays on top of it. As for the episode, it’s on par with the rest, qualms about Fujiko’s failure to recognize Oscar and Lupin’s escape notwithstanding. Oh, and how on earth did Oscar get the bully-girls to work for him? Though I liked the machine guns.

I’ve decided to drop Accel World. There’s nothing really wrong with it. It tells the story reasonably well and is good to look at, but now that the first story arc is over with I find more difficult to care what happens to Haru or Kuroyukihime. And the story will get bigger and more complicated from here on out. Or maybe I’m just growing tired of shows of this nature. I dropped Zetman after two episodes and there wasn’t anything terribly wrong with that show, either. Or maybe it’s Haru’s appearance. Well, I wish the show luck.

It’s never a good idea to explain the plot of this series.

Yes, I’m dropping Accel World but still watching Kore wa Zombie Desu Ka – of the Dead. It’s a show that requires no thought. It has a bunch of bizarre characters whose attributes seem random. It keeps threatening to have a bigger story arc but can’t seem to find its way there with everyone acting bizarre in their own way. This week Mylstletain comes back, Ayumu is happy for much of the episode, and the drunken fairy gives a worried look–our only clue to something bigger going on, well apart from Sera and Saras’ usual cryptic conversations.