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Finales: Ping Pong, Wixoss, Nanana

June 21, 2014 Leave a comment

It’s an insult to other sports shows when I say Ping Pong is more than a sports show.

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But look at the final match. Sure we get some great action. We see Peco scoring a couple points and then Smile scoring one, but there are gaps in between these points while we watch the people watching or get an extended flashback at how the two boys become friends. Reflecting on their lives so far and then seeing them tear it up at the ping pong table, both at full power and loving the moment, like what Peco showed Kazama to do last week, makes the actual outcome an afterthought. Even Koizumi and Obaba leave the match early, to sit on a bench and reflect on their own pasts and get interrupted by that Kaio guy, another old friend. We only learn about it in the flashforward at the end, in an already-fading photo at Obaba’s dojo.

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That was a little surprising, but not much. The show had things to tell us about ping pong that a single match couldn’t tell us. We see it best in a segment midway through, where we watch each each of major characters as toddlers or children, at the table, hitting the ball back to an unseen person, while the music sings about being alive. There is a joy to playing such a simple game, the simple repetition of it, swinging an object to hit another object, maybe instinctual, almost therapeutic. And the fact that someone is hitting the ball to them in the first place means it’s a shared activity, whether between friends, strangers, or parents.

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And then everyone moves on. Peco reaches a standard, not sure who he’s playing for, but he’s playing. Kazama is at a slight low-ebb, but the fact that he can talk to Smile while skipping stones on the beach says something about his characters. Glad to see Kong decided to stay and is being rewarded, though I worry about his mom. As for Smile, you might wonder why he’s settling for the life he’s in now–a middle school teacher? Really, Smile? But look! He smiled! He laughed! He jokes with kids! Something he had kept locked away for years is free now. It might be that he’s the happiest character in the show now.

One more of Koizume and Obaba.

One more of Koizume and Obaba.

Yeah, it’s an insult to other sports shows, because they all have something to say about life when they have their characters improve their game and climb the ladder, or face setbacks. And even a lesser show like Free! did something similar with its finale when it showed the four boys not terribly concerned with winning, but simply swimming together. But Ping Pong is a grittier, messier show, closer to how ordinary people live than any other sports show I’ve seen. It wasn’t about the game, but how the game can make or define or teach you as you grow up. It depicted these rough, grotesque-looking lives so well that I was drawn into it more than any other show this season. Also, the story seems perfect for an 11-episode season, nothing was rushed or dragged. I know it’s been a manga and a movie before, so I found this impressive. Well done.

Selector Infected WIXOSS doesn’t really end. They’re coming back in the fall, but before they leave us they decided to confuse us even further.

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Let’s see, Hitoe, Ruuko and Yuzuki exchange speeches and ideas and it boils down to Ruuko’s original plan, to wish that all the Lrigs were free. She wins, and suddenly Hitoe can be with her without pain, which wasn’t part of the overall plan but nice nonetheless. Still, how come that wish got granted? Now it’s off to battle Iona, during which, Tama-chan is whisked away so that the oversaturated Mayu can plant seeds of doubt into Tama’s feeble mind about Ruuko’s ultimate desire. So that, while the battle is still going on (?), Tama begins to make the contract with Ruuko but doesn’t say all the words. So instead, Iona’s wish gets granted, Ulith takes Iona’s body and Iona becomes RUUKO’s Lrig. Just what she wanted. Tama is left to drift.

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That last part actually makes sense. Iona gets to team up with someone who loves battling as much as she does. I suppose if you’re going to be an Lrig anyway, that’s the best situation for you. Smart wish, Iona! But where is Tama? Why did Hitoe’s wish get granted? Was the battle over? Who won? Who lost? It’s a shame that we got a season finale where the cliffhangers are outdone by the confusion, but the show had been heading in this direction for a while. The early episodes were nicely plotted, letting peer into the mystery little by little while developing the characters and needs, but then it fumbled the ball, and while it still had some compelling moments, it was harder to see them past the weirdness. Well, I’ll probably pick it up again in the fall. I liked the characters enough that I want to see what happened to them, and that carried me past the show’s flaws, like the battles, which the lightshows couldn’t salvage (overall, the show looked great), and, er, all the confusing things I’ve already mentioned. Let’s see if they can right the ship in the fall.

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I think Nanana’s Buried Treasure ended too, but they were tossing in so many little hints at the end that I wasn’t sure. But noitaminA shows traditionally run 11 episodes and there was no real preview. At the end, we’re no closer to finding Nanana’s killer than we were before. All they did this episode is drive Hiyooi away, maybe catch him in the closing credits. After that we get a rather nice scene between Juugo and Tensai over the artifact they found and Juugo’s promise. Tensai’s grown on me a lot this series, but Juugo still holds maintains his front of uncaring cynicism that no one really believes. To prove my point, he and Nanana have a fight to decide what she really wants and it’s revealed that they both have hearts, which we already knew. Really, not much of anything in this episode, making it feel like they’re expecting a second season. I wonder if they’ll get it. The first season had its moments but it failed in its attempts at telling mystery stories. But I liked some of the characters. Like WIXOSS, I’ll probably watch one just out of momentum.

Ping Pong 10, Wixoss 11, Nanana 10

June 13, 2014 Leave a comment

I can’t remember when I looked forward to an episode as much as Ping Pong 10. Happily, the episode did not disappoint. But it surprised me a little.

The hero arrives!

The hero arrives!

The Peco/Kazama match could have wound up the other way and it would have made sense, maybe more sense than a guy with a bum let taking out the champ. But that wasn’t a big surprise. Instead, we get something different altogether. Yurie hinted at it before she flew away: Kazama’s looking for a hero. I thought him finding it in the form of Peco to be a tad perverse, but it makes sense. Kazama doesn’t believe in heroes–he never had one. Everyone’s always let him down. For Peco to announce before the match that he is the hero only incenses Kazama into bludgeoning him out of the first two games. Meanwhile, Tsukimoto, for whom Peco is indeed a hero, quietly sits in a stairwell and tells Koizumi that the hero is returning (while we get views of a giant, ruined robot in, possibly waiting). Though at the time, we can’t see it.

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If there’s a flaw in the episode it might be that the switch that is flipped inside Peco seems to come out of nowhere. He hears Smile’s voice and responds to it: have fun. Whatever the reason, he starts to play with the joy he used to have, wins the next two games, and we get the second big image of the episode–flying. They point out the contrast (sometimes overdone) between Kazama’s slow, agonizing climb up mountains and Peco, the bird, flying above him with little effort. It connects with that memory of Kazama’s dad talking about birds. Meanwhile, Yurie is flying away in a jet, happily off to find her future. This joy of playing rubs off on Kazama to the point where he actually smiles. Though he loses the match, he finally discovers that the game isn’t necessarily pain. He’s finally found a hero.

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The match takes up the entire episode, as it should, with little breathers where we check up on Tsukimoto in his stairwell, or Baba and Kong, watching with great interest and providing commentary. The show uses every visual trick it has to show the match’s progress. Sometimes it’s a flow of static images scrolling by, sometimes it gets metaphorical and shows the opponents sprouting wings, sometimes they simply play, with no embellishment. They use so many tricks that it comes close to overwhelming the viewer, but to the show’s credit, it doesn’t. They’re the best action sequences of the series yet; the show rose to the occasion. I am, however, worried about next week. Are we going to see a flashback to Koizumi’s loss, what with Peco’s bum knee? I know they’ll play with that angle, but I think the show and the characters are too smart to settle for history repeating.

One more thing. Though they use the bird image for Peco, to me, when he plays, he looks more like a monkey.

If Hitoe wins?  What happens.  If she doesn't?  Well?  Huh?

If Hitoe wins? What happens. If she doesn’t? Well? Huh?

On to Selector Infected WIXOSS and its own game, which no one (among the selectors) is playing for fun anymore. That’s maybe the point of this episode and what appears to be Ruuko’s true wish–that everyone can play together for fun. Well, maybe that’s her wish. She has one other one that is very similar to that wish in that other show I’m trying hard not to compare this show to, but no one thinks it can work. Yuzuki goes into some observations gained while being an lrig to that effect, but she doesn’t really know for sure. Maybe that’s the problem with this show: no one knows what’s going on anymore. Iona’s having a big selector tournament, but why? She’s not saying. Tama thinks there might be a solution, but what? She doesn’t know. Poor Hitoe is so obsesses with her wish that she again doesn’t see that it’s come true for her, though at great and ongoing pain. And we at home hardly know what’s going on anymore. Meanwhile, after we get the Hitoe business taken care of, we’re waiting for the inevitable Ruuko/Iona battle which will do … what? Sad to say, this series has fumbled the ball of plot.

Yuu finally does something constructive.

Yuu finally does something constructive.

The competition in Nanana’s Buried Treasure 10 is who can get to the latest treasure first, the club or Hiiyo. And it works out just as expected. The club does the dirty work and Hiiyo tries to take it away at the end. Well, it was more fun than some other episodes. The whole business of deciding which girder to walk on using the Fibonacci Sequence and a 13-character zodiac didn’t make much sense to me, but the puzzles here rarely do. It was fun to watch because Juugo decides, as usual, to leap right in and nearly get himself killed, and then Tensai gets clumsy and nearly does the same. And it was fun to see Hiiyo get knocked around a little, or a lot. too bad he’s still got that ring, so we have a cliffhanger for next week’s assumed final episode.

Nanana 9, Mahouka and Captain Earth 10

June 10, 2014 Leave a comment

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Very little happened on the surface of Nanana’s Buried Treasure 9, at least not until the end, and Nanana’s sudden disappearance from the room doesn’t feel like a departure, but a red herring. The rest of it was basically Hiiyo being nasty to everyone he meets, and the rest of the group banding together to deal with him. We also have the mystery of what Saki was doing with Hiiyo, why she vanished, and why she doesn’t remember him now. Even Hiiyo, who seems to have the power to make her forget, is taken aback by that last question. It’s complicated by the fact that Hiiyo’s good at being sneaky and they don’t want him finding out her whereabouts. As for me, I think Hiiyo is an unpleasant character who should be gotten rid of, and that will take the final episodes, so we’ll won’t have time to get to the other mysteries.

It's not as much fun when they're wearing clothes.

It’s not as much fun when they’re wearing clothes.

I had predicted last week that in Mahouka 10, Tatsuya would stop the burning car and everyone would sing his praises. Instead, he cancels out his fellow students’ panicked defense spells so that the smart people like his sister, and Leo, could take care of the problem, and no one knows he did it (I’ll say in Tatsuya’s defense that he doesn’t go seeking all the praise he gets), except his gifted sister, of course. And of course the car accident was intentional, a suicide attack from some unnamed terrorist, probably after magic secrets that the top-tier magicians are more entitled to. After the class prez scolds the students who were only trying to help, we get Hattori and his crisis in confidence because a girl younger than him is better at magic, and Miyuki scolding her teacher for her attire. Then there’s a pre-festival banquet where we discover people not on the team acting as servants to those who are, where all the schools are invited but no one mingles, though the next bad guy develops an interest in Miyuki. One of those students, Mikihiko, lost his powers, and later, when he spots intruders, has Tatsuya (who else?) rescue him. And, besides an onsen scene where the woman wear clothes, an old guy gives an odd speech.

Teppei goes psychedelic.

Teppei goes psychedelic.

It’s not that Captain Earth is going nowhere. Every week the villains get one more member, and along with defeating the latest threat we get a little story about our heroes. Last week it was Akari, in episode 10 it’s Teppei. He’s been going on about not being useful to the team for a couple of episodes now, completely ignoring the early episodes where he was extremely useful, fundamental, I’d say. To hear him moan about it has gotten tedious. Sadly, the episode where he finally gets to do something is so unimaginative that I don’t see why they bothered. Daichi fails to catch the latest bad girl in the allotted time, so Teppei, in a ridiculously long sequence, begs to be sent out, and when he finally gets permission, we get the ridiculously long mecha-arming sequence. The fight is predictable and hardly worth mentioning. There’s an interesting point about Daichi failing to do his job (he did his best) and the merits of teamwork, but that’s about it.

M3 6, Wixoss 9, Ping Pong and Nanana 8

May 30, 2014 Leave a comment
This part was kind of fun.  Jilted from beyond the grave!

This part was kind of fun. Jilted from beyond the grave!

Let’s see … in M3: Sono Kuroki Hagane 6, Emiru gets turned into that dark crystal stuff, and that night a corpse, not an admonition, comes out to do the week’s mayhem. Emiru isn’t all dead because Minashi and Heito can hear her voice, well, when the corpse shows up, they all can, but then she IS dead right about the time that Akashi, in the Reaper, gets pissed off because Sasame is in danger. So did the corpse fly off because Emiru was dead, or because Akashi went into some higher state of angst and confusion? And do I really care, either way? Sorry, I don’t have any special feelings for any of the characters in this show, and it’s six episodes in. Not even Emiru, who might actually be dead now. Each one of them has a character trait or another that annoys me, except maybe for the experienced pilot girl who never gets to do anything, and you’ll notice that I’m not using her name, because I’ve forgotten it. Same with that guy she’s teamed up with.

In Selector Infected WIXOSS 9, we have Ruuko feeling sad because both her friends Yuzuki and Hitoe have deserted her. Suddenly, they’re both back! She ought to be happy, right?

Not necessarily.

Not necessarily.

The situation is entirely messed up, and not in a good way. Selectors who succeed become Lrigs, and if they succeed again, they get the wish–the other selector’s wish, not hers. So, Hanayo was once a girl who had a wish of her own. I wonder what it was. I will bet you that it had nothing to do with banging her brother. On the other hand, Kazuki isn’t Hanayo’s brother, so maybe the setup is doing her a favor. She get to get a cute boy as her wish. She just has to put up with the fact that she’s in Yuzuki’s body and everyone in the world, including Yuzuki and Kazuki, calls this incest, and she will be ostracized for it. So, really, the setup isn’t doing either of the girls any favors.

I thinking it's sinking in that it's HER wish, now.

I thinking it’s sinking in that it’s HER wish, now.

The episode is called “The Cruel Truth,” but it feels more inane than cruel. Why on earth is Hitoe getting a second chance at this? And is it beyond the games’ ability to match lrigs and selectors? At least that would make the Yuzuki/Hanayo situation more understandable. But Hitoe doesn’t recognize Ruuko anymore, not even getting jolts of pain when she’s around. What changed about her when she got the new lrig, which she shouldn’t be getting in the first place? Also, what does this all this mean concerning Tama? Was she a special-needs child who found she was good at the game? Did she have a wish? Was she capable of making one? And if not, was that the reason why she got paired with the wish-less Ruuko? That would mean that the pairings are indeed made by some kind of design, so maybe the game creators decided to have a good laugh at Yuzuki’s expense.

Ping Pong 8 begins the championship qualifiers, and looks into how everyone who has a shot, but devotes most of its time to Kong and Peco, who play in round 2.

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That might not be the best picture to use there, because we’re not really sure what Peco’s upset about. When the match with Kong comes he’s full of energy and confidence. He won’t play Tsukimoto until the finals, and he must know he’ll get to him eventually. Maybe he’s worried about that Kaio guy who’s after Kazama’s girl (and may well get him, since she pretty much walked out on him to start the episode off). Well, whatever. There’s still Kazama that someone’s got to beat, and a Peco/Kazama match actually interests me more than Tsukimoto/Kazama, and that one interests me plenty.

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I don’t know if you can all Tsukimoto the main character; maybe the show’s going to pull away from him for a while. All he does this time is win his first couple matches and hover around, bored, as the episode’s real drama plays out. Even Peco’s beating Kong doesn’t really seem to interest him on the surface, though we get a “The Hero Returns” sequence when he sees Peco play. Whatever Tsukimoto thinks of Peco’s resurrection, he isn’t going to show it on his face. The real story is Kong’s defeat, and, if the visuals mean anything, his ultimate return to China. I hope not. I like the character a lot and would like to see him work more with his Japanese team. But in the meantime, we have more games to pay attention to next week! And only three episodes to do it in!

This guy shows up and the episode goes to hell.

This guy shows up and the episode goes to hell.

As for Ryuugajou Nanana no Maizoukin 8, whatever things anyone had going come to a complete stop when they introduce Hiiyo, one of the founding members of the Adventure Club and its acknowledged biggest asshole. Everyone he meets grits their teeth, hides behind other people, or takes a swing at him. It’s not surprising, since the first thing he does when he meets someone is insult them or something they love. It’s rather surprising he’s there to begin with. The episode began with two other characters being introduced, or reintroduced: Yun, or Saki, the cute little thing from Juugo’s delivery mission, and some guy, and I figured we’d spend our time with them. Instead, Hiiyo shows up and pisses everyone off for no apparent reason, including me.

Nanana, Sidonia, and Mekaku 7

May 25, 2014 Leave a comment

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Nanana’s Buried Treasure 7 is really one scene with domestic bliss filler as the bread to the sandwich. It’s also pretty good. Juugo is wallowing in self-pity because things with Yukihime have gotten so lousy that they’re betraying each other, though they are supposedly on separate sides. So he calls her out for a confrontation. Basically we get a lot of Yukihime beating the snot out of Juugo, Juugo using a treasure to chain up Yukihime, then some talk, and a truce, and then Juugo gets beaten up some more. And we basically learn that Juugo’s looked up to Yukihime all his life, while Yukihime thought they’d run Matsuri together, then one let the other down, and vice versa, down a stairway of betrayal and further disappointment. It was a good scene, but long, and I was thinking throughout that there ought to be more scenes between possible future lovers where they beat each other up. Also, Juugo’s turning into quite a decent character. You can never quite figure out what he’s up to. But that’s true for just about everyone in the cast. … One other thing: if the show’s going to have characters watching other shows, they shouldn’t choose one like Star Driver that is animated far better.

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Knights of Sidonia 7 went pretty much as expected. Kunato deliberately screwed up the mission and made Nagate take the blame, well, partly. Nagate was too busy trying to figure out what went wrong when he got hit by that gauna tail, and this time it was Shizuka breaking rank and doing the suicidal rescue. That’s three of those now … I’m counting Nagate’s rescue of Shizuka as one of them; even though it didn’t end up suicidal, the act was to begin with. But once again you have to question the resolve of the pilots if they’re going to go apeshit in battle so easily. I could also question why Sidonia would put lovers in the same squad; even though Nagate and Shizuka weren’t (yet), those two kids in that squad that got wiped out were.

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While Nagate isn’t trying to figure out what happened, getting hit by civilian rocks, and generally being miserable, Sidonia does a few other things, like promoting Yuhata to the guy who issues the orders that the boss mutters, and blowing up a planet. And we close with images of gauna that look like frames and have Shizuka’s number on them. They look like Evas to me, but I’m not a mecha guy. Now the question becomes, why didn’t other feeding gauna wind up like that? Does each gauna meal add just a bit of information to their organic mass mind (I mean, they have to communicate, right?), so it takes time to get the whole picture, or are they mutating? Who knows. But it looks like some frame-on-frame battling next week.

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Mekaku City Actors 7 does me no favors by revealing that every member of that weird group knew each other in some way before they met up again. At Ayano’s gravesite, Ene is shocked to learn that Ayano was the girl Shintarou liked, Kibo is shocked to learn that she visited Takane’s game exhibit, Momo is shocked learn that Shintarou has a friend, such as he is. And there was that brothers and sisters business which really isn’t. Now I have to keep track of everyone’s relationship, and the fact that Ene doesn’t want Shintarou to know who she was. Maybe I’ll ask that teacher to write out a diagram. Weirdest of all is Haruka, who is Konoha, wait, he rejected that form, so he’s apparently Kano, or maybe he was just donning that guise to get a rise out of Ene. Rather a nasty trick. Meanwhile, Ayano is about the only one who hasn’t reappeared in some other form, and I’d be grateful for that except she means so much to everyone.

Ping Pong and Nanana 6, Mahouka 7

May 18, 2014 Leave a comment

Ping Pong 6 has all the characters who were in freefall landing, somewhat hard, and dusting themselve off. Oh, and it’s a Christmas episode, too.

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I absolutely loved the Christmas scene. It’s not the first one I can think of where you get shots of characters doing their thing while a pop song plays, but it’s still an excellent way of showing how each character is doing. And I think the happiest one must be Kong, who’s mother visits and, together with a bunch of friends, prepare a feast. In the meantime, he seems to have accepted what happened and is taking his role of team ringer seriously. Other characters work on down from there. Kazama and the girl’s relationship … well, they act happy, but I’m wondering how they really feel. At the low end we have Smile, in a dark house with no one else to celebrate the day with, blowing out the candles.

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As for Peco, he hits his own low at about that point. The scene with Sakuma, who’s predictable speech is mocked by passers-by (the show is good at poking holes at whatever sports cliche it decides to use) gets genuinely frightening when he jumps into the river, and I actually thought he was going to die and began to wonder what direction the show would take after that, but this scene too is deflated and mocked. But I was surprised that Peco even jumped off the bridge in the first place. He might have been reacting to Sakuma’s declarations that he had been a hero. “Hero” was the key word this week, and we see both honest and cynical takes on the subject from various characters. Anyway, now that he’s hit bottom, how far will he come back up.

It's fun watching Tensai play detective, not because she's good at it but because she has fun while doing it.

It’s fun watching Tensai play detective, not because she’s good at it but because she has fun while doing it.

Nanana’s Buried Treasure, the other noitaminA show, flounders around trying to get a grip on something. They actually get to that hot spring this episode, and Juugo has managed to scrounge up the money somehow. We learn how at the end of the episode, and by that time I was past caring why. By the onsen there’s an abandoned house, but they only need to look in one room, and some people go on ahead, so that the big challenge is the puzzle of stone pillars, and like last time they don’t do a very good job of involving us in the puzzle such as it is. Juugo and that other guy just leap and leap. Then the treasure is stolen, recovered, and the culprit exposed, and it’s the same old people. And then the real anticlimax. I figure this is a standalone filler episode, or at least I hope it is. Because most of the treasure hunting so far has been a bore.

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Mahouka 7 gets off to a promising start when Tatsuya and his band of avengers crash through a gate to get at the bad guys who are hanging out in an abandoned big building, then fizzles as they easily defeat them. There are some light shows to enjoy, but it’s mainly Hayama, the leader of Blanche, giggling evilly and trying to do a Geass on Tatsuya, who, as usual, sees right through it. Even Erika and the rest of them, told to hang back, get bored by all this. Afterwards there are a few scenes where everyone talks about how great Tatsuya is. When Mibu falls in love with Kirihara and not Tatsuya it’s because she knows he is too great for her. And so the first story arc of the series FINALLY comes to an end. It was a distasteful bore. The two villains we meet at the very end don’t appear to be much better, but it’s a change.

Ping Pong and Nanana 5, Nisekoi 18, Mahouka 6

May 13, 2014 Leave a comment

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Ping Pong 5 lowers the intensity a little, except for the dispatching of Sakuma, the guy who dispatched Peco in the tournament. The show seems to enjoy presenting players who are really good only to show how frail they are against people who are better than they are. Except for Kazama, who goes on to win the nationals. It may have been this event that prompted Kong to decide against returning home right away. A single or tournament can have a big effect on everyone involved. After his humiliation, Peco goes to the beach and then drops the game altogether–at least for now. For his teammate Sakuma, it’s a bit more complicated.

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I don’t know how Kaio HS doesn’t penalize Kazama for his remarks after the nationals, where he wins singles but the rest of the team is eliminated. Pro athletes in America might get away with it if it sounds like they’re calling out his teammates for not working hard enough. I think their coach is right: Kazama is undermining team morale. Or maybe their coach is just soft, letting Sakuma play on their team because of his work ethic. You need players like that to set an example. Not that Sakuma is setting any by sneaking off to play Tsukimoto, a breach of rules even if he didn’t get his butt kicked and then kicking the butt of a stranger on the street for good measure.

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Meanwhile, Smile has gone back to machine mode. I don’t understand why he’s become so cold-blooded. Though, thanks to flashbacks, I can see why he might have some animosity toward Sakuma, and it’s good to have no mercy in any competitive sport. But what’s motivating him to train hard beyond that? His forgotten teammates watch him train and sigh at their lower status. Peco watches sadly–we don’t know what’s on his mind, either. In the meantime, Smile gives Sakuma that final push over the edge, Kong trains, and Kazama waits for Smile to switch schools. And once again I have no idea what will happen next episode, and even less idea of what’s going on in Tsukimoto’s head.

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Something I’m trying to figure out about Nanana’s Buried Treasure: is the misdirection deliberate or they can’t be bothered? We start with the group (Isshin has already been forgiven for conning Juugo, it seems) planning a expedition to find some treasure at a beach resort or hot spring or something, I can’t remember now, so I figure this is the excuse to show the characters in various states of undress. Having that to look forward to, we suddenly shift to Juugo’s getting his allowance cut off and being short of money to pay utilities, thus getting a secret part time job, and suddenly we’re in the island’s lawless zone where we meet a whole new pack of weirdos. The boss is some generic tough-talking broad but Yun-chan is a cute little thing. Anyway, stuff happens and Juugo still doesn’t have his money, just his sense of pride of looking out for himself only. Maybe the beach episode or whatever it is is next week, on the other hand, maybe they’ll spend it on Juugo getting up the cash, or maybe they’ll fling something else new and weird at us. Your guess is as good as mine.

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I don’t know if I have or need to say anything besides Nisekoi 18 is a beach episode. It had everything you would expect. The story inches forward or backwards this week with Chitoge wondering if she was falling in love with Raku and asks him what would happen if they WERE a couple, only to get a too-negative reply by Raku that has her not speaking to him. Elsewhere, Onodera bravely blurts out a thing you wouldn’t expect (good for her!), only to have the comedy gods intervene again. She also makes Attack on Titan sandcastles, something else you wouldn’t expect from her … well, Chitoge was helping. Meanwhile, Ruri, Tsugumi, and Marika are introduced at the beginning, so we can see them in swimsuits, and then do next to nothing for the rest of the episode. Next: the cultural festival!

I was afraid of what would happen in Mahouka 6, and I was right to be. First, there’s the terrorist attack on the school assembly (where all the unimportant characters have vanished), which is wrapped up by the good guys in seconds, but it was only a feint, and we discover the terrorists, including Mibu, trying to get access to top secret magical files the school had stored in the library. From what I understand about what they might contain, I might be on the terrorists’ side, but they, too, are quickly dispatched, thanks to Tatsuya. Then it gets worse.

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I figured Tatsuya would lay a lot of pompous speeches on poor Mibu, but with Miyuki’s help it’s worse than I expected. “See how awful the people against us magical people are?” or somesuch. There’s also the condescending “you’re naive, the world is not a perfect place full of happy unicorns,” and adds a line about how if everyone was treated equally, then everyone would be treated equally badly. Correct me if I’m wrong about that line, because I can hardly believe it myself. When Mibu rightfully replies that there IS discrimination there, and that Tatsuya has felt it himself, Miyuki butts in saying that she loves him anyway, and some others like him, and how she pities her, because she’s so unhappy while being so cute and good at kendo. Naturally, this isn’t enough for Mibu, or any rational person, and she flees, only to have to fight Erika, who uses magic, and sophists Mibu into abandoning her magic ring. Mibu is beaten, while Erika says there-there, I actually had to work harder than usual to defeat you, and I’m really a super-elite swordswoman who has magic, and you don’t, so cheer up!

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It gets worse in the next scene, where we learn that Mibu had been discriminated against once at that school, and only once, apparently, and that was actually her mishearing something that Mari said. In other words, she’s never felt discrimination at all! She was such a fool, sob-sob (in Tatsuya’s arms of course)! All the other moments of weeds vs sprouts or whatever must never have happened. Sorry, I’m too pissed off about this group of elite, highly-trained students telling other students bullshit to keep the status quo for me to write anything more. Next week there might be some magic battling. Maybe things will improve. Maybe Tatsuya will be too busy battling to talk.