Finales: Rokka, Gate, Shimoneta, Teekyuu5

Rokka no Yuusha ends, for now, but not without a big belly laugh at our expense.

Ha.
Ha.

As for who the fake brave was:  I KNEW IT!  I KNEW IT ALL ALONG!  I KNEW IT EVEN BEFORE THE SHOW HAD STARTED!  I KNEW IT BEFORE THE BOOKS WERE EVEN WRITTEN!  I AM A GENIUS! …  Okay okay … It will be a little hard to write this since I don’t want to give it away, but I will mention that the culprit was revealed through more facts we didn’t know anything about, making this a lousy excuse for a locked room mystery.  I also want to add that I didn’t come into this series expecting to spend … how many episodes was it? … with all the characters sitting around trying to solve a mystery, with a handful of decent but brief fights thrown in.  If I had known, I might have spent more time paying obsessive attention to every single tiny event, not that it mattered anyway, since the show was deliberately not telling us enough to solve the mystery.

Oh god ...
Oh god …

And after they do get it sorted out, the show throws us a curveball by giving us another brave with the crest, meaning they’re back where they started.  A lot of people at that studio are snickering right ow … At least the barrier is down now and they can say “Fuck it!  Let’s get on with fighting fiends!” which is what most of us signed on for.  So stay tuned for next season, whenever it is, when the team will spend five episodes arguing over what to have for dinner.

Rokka might not get a second season, and I couldn’t care less.  Gate IS getting another one, and I’m happy about that.
gate12-1
The season one finale is more of a setup for season two.  It’s mainly the dark elf Yao going around trying to find a green person to help her clan rid their home of that fire dragon.  She finally meets Lelei after getting taken in on a false charge and Lelei takes her to the head green people, who say “Sorry, no.”  A question of borders.  They don’t want to have to explain themselves to the Diet again.  The only help might be Youji, if she can find him.  The story goes no farther than that, we’ll just have to wait for January.
gate12-2
I’m looking forward to it.  The show has already introduced some new side characters, more green people whose names I didn’t catch, who are sympathetic to Yao and admire Youji.  In fact, the show takes maybe too much time setting Youji as some sort of great hero.  Pina seems infatuated with him, the soldiers respect him …  Maybe the show is enjoying the contrast between his reputation and the well-meaning doofus that we know.  Well, he’s a good character, full of good qualities but seemingly unaware of them.  Really the best thing in the series.  The fetish girls weren’t bad, they have all staked out roles in the show, though I wish the world they come from was a little more fleshed out.  For instance, I kept wondering why Tuka didn’t have more of a reaction to Yao, who’s a fellow elf?  They could have done something there.  What’s the deal with Elbe’s border?  It seems like they just threw in fantasy things when the show requires them, and not because they wanted to create a believable world.  Well, maybe next season …
shimoneta12-1
As I expected, last week’s Shimoneta was the true finale.  Episode 12 was just a filler episode where the gang are invited to a health resort and confronted by a villain named Black Peak, who, actually, wasn’t all that bad and lousy at Rock-Scissors-Paper to boot.  All he really did was steal their clothes and make them wear black underwear, no biggie in this show.  The episode felt introspective at the end when they discover an old, hidden monument to lewdness, and we are reminded that our heroes have a long way to make Japan free for dirty jokes again.

Our filthy heroes.
Our filthy heroes.

Even with the struggle only partly over, do we NEED a second season?  Probably not, but I’d like one.  In terms of storytelling and comic timing this was the best show this season that I watched, and the only one that made me laugh out loud at least once every episode.  I loved how most of the girls had a slightly crazy look about them, even at calm moments, Kajou’s sort of a wink-wink, Otome’s flat out crazy.  Otome became my favorite partly for this and partly for Satomi Arai’s trademark perverted voice work.  Okuma was a typical harem lead in a lewder-than-average harem, but managed to get his straight-man asides in without interrupting the flow of the story.  So if they want to make a second season and continue their struggle against morality, I’m up for it!  No jokes, please.

One more of Otome,
One more of Otome.

And, last but never least, Teekyuu!!

NOOOOOOO!!!!!
NOOOOOOO!!!!!

But there’s season six right around the corner!  Tears of joy!  THE GREATEST ANIME SERIES EVER is not leaving!  And they finish up season 5 with an excellent SPG of 2.73.  The story this week involves Kanae’s grandma who’s going to undergo Tommy John surgery.  She’s a rapper too!  Good finish all around.  I can rest easy now.

Shimoneta and Jitsu wa 11

Kajou answers her phone and looks shocked at the end of Shimoneta 11, but there’s no doubt that the main story ended here.

Two of the desperate hostages.
Two of the desperate hostages.

It’s a typical action-packed anime finale episode. Okuma and Kajou barely manage to escape, and Gathered Fabric and Kosuri take the buses and hostages to the high school and announce their terms, which is more panties. It looks bad for the heroes, but the moment Otome sees the acrylic paint and gets a gleam in her eye I knew there would be a counterattack. She uses a splendid method to escape (had me fooled), Fuwa gives an inspiring speech, Okuma plans a strategy that only he can carry out, (don’t ask, but it does get Anna into the action), and meanwhile, Kosuri becomes disillusioned with GF’s motives.

The middle of the counterattack, the triumphant arrival of the, er, heroes.
The middle of the counterattack, the triumphant arrival of the, er, heroes.

It turns into one of those scenes where the bad guys threaten, only to be defeated by one good guy after another, rushing to the rescue and spouting an inspiring line as they do. Soon only GF remains, but a new strategy (zone two!) and the combined attack of the main characters ends the hostage situation. Meanwhile I double-checked to see if there was indeed an episode after this one, as Kajou, in a spotlight, natch, gives a speech to the cameras about dirty jokes and then rises above the school with Okuma in a balloon and declares her love. It’s all very inspiring and, believe it or not, sweet. And great fun to watch. Whatever you might think of the subject matter, this has always been a well-done, smartly directed show. I’m afraid that next week’s true finale will be an anticlimax after this one.

jitsuwa11-1

I’m pretty sure Jitsu wa Watashi wa is ending soon, too, because they’re setting up the big climax for romcoms: getting the pair together. The complication in this show is Aizawa’s “confession” last week, leading Youko to try and get her and Asahi together at the festival, while Shiho and later Mikan look on knowingly. Really, Youko’s plan is an excellent form of self-torture but she’s too dense to know this until things happen just as they should, with Aizawa on top of Asahi after another fall and making her own realizations. In the rest of the episode, for this all thankfully only goes for half, Akane does her best to knock some sense into Youko and be annoying about it at the same time. Maybe the festival scene should have gone longer, after all.

Tens and one nine: Rokka, Charlotte, Shimoneta

Well, I won't be unless you guys sort this out soon.
Well, I won’t be unless you guys sort this out soon.

I forgot all about Rokka no Yuusha last week, showing how much the show has captivated me.  So I waited for episode 10 to arrive and now I’ll do a two parter, with very little time spent on the first one because it’s more of the same.  Okay, the battle and defeat of Chamot wasn’t bad.  I guess Adlet figured to do something unexpected and quick so that Chamot wouldn’t be able to react in time.  But after that it was more of the locked room mystery.  I can’t figure out the twists of logic that Adlet is working on Flamie and Hans is trying on Maura anymore; besides every time they they make a point the other person says, “Yes, but …” and introduces a bit of factual information that we at home knew nothing about.  At least Nachetanya is working with accidental slips of the tongue in her latest theory (that it’s Hans).  There was one nice moment near the end where Flamie asks Adlet to stay with her, because she wants to try and believe him, basically a person who trusts no one and is living in darkness reaching out to someone.  Otherwise, I think Mutta spent more time in that pod in Space Brothers than these guys have at that temple.

Yay, just what the show needs, Nachetanya going insane.
Yay, just what the show needs, Nachetanya going insane.

Episode 10 isn’t much better.  First, in spite of her softening last week, Flamie decides she’s going to kill him unless he tells her the truth, so he tells her he loves her.  This has the desired effect for maybe five seconds and then she tries to kill him again.  And so we spend a lot of time with Adlet on the run and others deciding how to handle whatever they’re handling.  Maura sends out a call using her super-voice (which she didn’t bother to use in any situation before) to announce that Adlet tried to kill Hans, making Hans go “Huh?” and so now EVERYONE’S out to get him.  Meanwhile Nachetanya decides all of a sudden that the others are right and goes a little murderously insane.  When Maura and Flamie catch Adlet he does another clever show using a drug, to prove that Flamie didn’t activate the barrier, though again, why not use that before?  Anyway, now it’s Flamie and Adlet on the run and homicidal Nachetanya confronting them.  Just flip a coin, guys.  I don’t care anymore.

I’m pleased that Charlotte didn’t use time-travel the way Madoka or Steins;Gate did, that is, go back in time only to make the situation worse than it was before.
charlotte10-1
We start with a flashback to jump-backs, as Shun explains what exactly happened.  He jumped back to prevent ability users from getting caught by the still-unexplained evil forces, first befriending Kumagami, then others.  Over and over again he tries only to figure out that what they need first is a few friendly adults and a lot of cash.  And we learn that Shun overused his abilities and that’s why he’s blind.  Sala, her own blindness, and her music are not mentioned, alas.  And we learn, well, Yuu does, that he has that looting ability.  Now let’s go back and rescue Ayumi!
charlotte10-2
I kept expecting something bad to happen.  But nothing really does.  When Yuu “loots” Ayumi’s nascent ability I was surprised that it was done so matter-of-factly, also relieved.  Then it’s time for box-cutter girl.  A couple of questions: why didn’t Kumagami and Medoki participate more actively?  They seem to come and go depending on whether the plot needs them or not.  Also, how did they know about box-cutter girl?  They never saw the actual confrontation.  How did Yuu know to hide in that locker at that time?  And did anyone think to get the girl needed some therapy afterwards?  Well, it doesn’t matter much; I was too relieved that they didn’t try to pull a Homura on us I guess.  Also, they added some silly comedy when Nao and the others try to infiltrate.  I enjoyed it, again because it hinted that maybe things would go well this time. Even when Yuu and Ayumi were walking home together I thought something bad might happen.  Happily, nothing did.   But in terms of the show: now what?

With Shimoneta 10, it looked like a satisfying end to the Gathered Fabric arc until Kosuri pulls a surprise.

Anna is about to take out a hijacker in her own way.
Anna is about to take out a hijacker in her own way.

First, Gathered Fabric do their big move and hijack a lot of city buses to get the passengers’ underwear.  This is made more interesting by how our characters, stuck on different buses, manage to subdue three hijackers without even trying or thinking about it.  Each one whips out their eccentric character traits (Fuwa–scientific curiosity, Anna–lust for Okuma, and Gouriki, well let’s not talk about that).  Then it’s time to lure White Peak’s bus to a certain area.  There’s a lot of talk about the finer points of underwear fetishism, done with dramatic spy music and a big confrontation with WP until Kosuri screws it all up.  The fanatical terrorists always ruin it for the rational terrorists, I guess.  As usual, a lot of fun if you don’t mind all the dirty jokes, or that they’re mostly bleeped out.

Nines: Charlotte, Shimoneta, Jitsu wa

Charlotte 9 tells us a hell of a lot, and they’re just getting started.

This song's lyrics were practically begging Yuu to get mental.
This song’s lyrics were practically begging Yuu to get mental.

We start with the Zhiend concert, Nao fangirling and Yuu amused, and then the actual concert.  The last song was pretty good and I was getting into it when Yuu suddenly screams and we’re in a flashback, though that’s probably not the right word.  Here, Yuu and Ayumi are in an institution with lots of armed guards, the very situation that Nao and everybody else feared might happen.  The show starts feeding us tidbits, like Yuu’s big brother who can do time jumps and is thus stuck in a special cell.  Also, Yuu has a power no one knows about.  Also, there’s a plot to do something afoot, but we don’t know what.

Not actually his secret super power.
Not actually his secret super power.

And then it gets worse.  Ayumi is forced to awaken and in doing so nearly takes down the entire cell block.  But at least she’s alive–for now, since she’s going to be dissected soon, so the plot is put into action.  Because we still don’t really know what’s going on, or what the consequences are, apart from death, it’s an exciting sequence.  And it raises other questions, such as what happened to Yuu’s other special ability, who those other people are and how much they know about this past existence in the regular one.  But apparently, back in our world, a lot of people were waiting for Yuu to get this part of his memory back, because he’s led to a secret base, meets his brother, and learns he can rescue Ayumi, which might be where the show is heading now.  Good of the show to play so many cards at once for us, but this episode left me a little overwhelmed.
shimoneta9-1
Shimoneta 9 sets out to exhibit Kosuri’s growing dissatisfaction with SOX’s unaggressive (to her) actions, and SOX’s dissatisfaction with Korsuri’s more harmful approach to things.  This wouldn’t take too long, so they invent some failed attempts to catch Gathered Fabric’s minions and throw in the usual perverted behavior in order to fill out the 25 minutes.  For a while I didn’t know which side was working for who.  Okuma catches lewd boys, and Oboro–wait, turns out she’s a boy too–and Anna, while in his SOX lack of uniform, and no one bats an eyelash.  Odd to see SOX working on the moral side for once.  But the episode seemed to go nowhere.  Just the usual jokes, most of them bleeped out.  Though, as Okuma points out, Oboro’s lack of identity except how it revolves around Anna is a pathetic life to lead.
jitsuwa8-1
Jitsu wa Watashi wa 9 takes just about everyone out to the pool.  It was supposed to be a date, but you know how that goes.  There’s a little of the usual comedy, but mainly it’s Asahi teaching Youko how to swim.  And after the gang leaves the pool, the two sneak off to the school pool and practice some more.  … and that’s it, just a brief pause between story arcs to let them enjoy themselves.  It teeters on the edge of romance, but it seems that the two may not ready for that.  The only revelation is Kouko saying how much she enjoys school life now.  I think that was the point of the episode, and the creators didn’t want to inject any drama where it doesn’t belong, so we get a sweet, happy scene witn no bad consequences.  Though I wonder if we’re being set up …

Eights: Charlotte, Rokka, Shimoneta, Jitsu wa

Sala doesn't seem like a bad sort.
In spite of her mysterious background, Sala doesn’t seem like a bad sort.

After an episode where they kill off Yuu’s cute kid sister and one of Yuu descending into the depths of despair, remorse, rage, etc, Charlotte 8 tries to make it up to us by giving us a bit of a healing episode.  Yuu happens to meet Sala, the lead singer of ZHIEND.  Stupid coinkidinks aside, it’s rather a nice episode, though there’s almost nothing plotworthy until near the end (they have enough time spend a couple of minutes on Misa’s new music video.  I actually like the song a little).  They walk, Sala sensing Yuu’s tragedy and insisting that she get to light some incense, Nao surprisingly not caring to meet her, though I understand her feelings about it, and they talk some more.
charlotte8-2
It feels good for Yuu, showing off his good side (and happy to be back in school with his friends), and it feels even better for Nao’s brother Kazuki, who’s busy ripping up the bedlinens as usual when Yuu brings Sala to visit.  I had expected something bad to happen in this scene, but instead we get a good end–Kazuki calms down, and later recognizes Nao.  So Yuu’s helped his own recovery by successfully doing something good for someone, or two people.  As for the plot, there’s Sala’s claim that she lost her eyesight in exchange for rock and roll success, or something, and that reinforces the weird connection Yuu and perhaps Nao have with this band.  So a good, relatively peaceful episode that also tantalized us with foreshadowing.  Wonder how that concert’s going to go next week?  They better show it.

Meanwhile, in Rokka no Yuusha, they’re STILL stuck at the temple.

rokka8-1
Well, at least there’s some action.  Adlet manages to let loose another bomb, but it blinds both him and Hans, so they run about stumbling over things for a while.  But then Adlet is cornered again, and it’s talk time.  I don’t think Hans should have lowered his guard so easily, not that it did him any harm.  Adlet might have had good reason not to kill Flamie or any other brave and still be evil, or, as I suspect, the seventh brave doesn’t know he/she’s the seventh and we won’t find out until much later, maybe, at the rate this is going, episode 257.  Well, it’s moot after that “dying man can’t lie” business, which is good enough logic for this show.

I'm all for this plan!
I’m all for this plan!

While Adlet and Hans were fighting and talking it out, the other pairs were just talking.  Goldof is accused of jealousy when he asks why Nashetania defends Adlet, when he could merely be wondering at Nash’s strange behavior and whether it’s good for the team.  And Maura and Flamie get some bonding time in.  It looks like Flamie’s totally in with the group now.  But they’re still stuck there and suspecting each other until Chamot gets bored and has a nifty idea about killing everybody, more or less.  All I can think is … if it pushes the story out of its funk, let’s try her plan out.
shimoneta8-1
And Shimoneta remains funny even if the story is getting a trifle confusing.  This week we not only have Kosuri show some of her nastier side, but we get a new, er, villain, named Oboro, who was sent as a prefect on lewd matters.  Right now Oboro and the prefects Anna enlists are the more immediate threat, as they’re getting trained on what is lewd and what is not, meaning the students will soon be able to enforce the rules themselves.  Crazy logic since SOX’s goal was to educate the kids on all this stuff already.  It won’t matter much.  Oboro can be instructed to find anything lewd, or NOT lewd, depending on how clever the argument, so she won’t be an enemy for along.  Besides, she dances with the others in the ED.
shimoneta8-2
As for Kosuro, they set up Kosuri’s bad tendencies last week, let it simmer, and bring it out in a rather confusing fashion.  She infiltrates another school and messes with the love lives of their student council as she infiltrates.  While this is not very nice behavior, it’s so shoujo that I can’t really feel appalled by it.  The business at the end, where she tries to make Okuma her slave or she’ll … what?  I don’t understand what hold, what advantage she has over Okuma that he would give in to her.  I’m not sure HE understands, either.  Well, she dances in the ED too, so she’ll get straightened around soon enough.

Home EC
Home EC

Jitsu wa Watashi wa 8 is two parts with a single, tired theme.  In the first one there’s a make-up home EC class where Asahi and the girls have to make curry.  Everyone does their own character-styled take on the klutz cooking theme and there’s not much to it.  The best part came early, when Aizawa confidently leaped into the battle and made perfect curry, except it was chocolate cake, and that leads us to part two, where Akane threatens the world with destruction by asteroid if she doesn’t get another taste of Aizawa’s curry, er, cake.  A shame that what could have been a splendid series of accidents and coincidences wound up being yet another klutz cooking scene, because Akari wanted to punish Akane for reasons the show didn’t bother to tell us.

CC, Rokka and Shimoneta 7, Teekyuu 55

classcrisis7-1
I’m starting to get things mixed up in Classroom Crisis.  Or I’m not paying enough attention.  First, A-TEC feeds Angelina and Iris the information they need to sneak into the hijacked spacecraft’s cockpit and gives them a flight plan.  The stupid pilot interferes, Iris has a traumatic flashback and faints, no one is operating the ship and it’s about to crash into the Death Star when they’re guided away by a rescue ship sent by … who?  It looks at first like Yuji’s doing, but it’s not.  And while I’m thinking it might be the hijackers again, the next thing we see is Dr. Li, former hostage, being welcomed by Yuji and Nagisa’s brother–the big boss, much to Yuki’s displeasure.
classcrisis7-2
And what was the deal with Yuji wanting to leave Li for dead?  Well, a lot of questions, but it was nice to see Yuji squirm for once, thanks to an older sibling.  As for the battle on the plane, it was ridiculous, Angelina flipping around and flipping thugs as well.  But we did get more background on Iris’s mysterious past, though no real answers.  But it makes me worry about Iris.  If she’s going to go into immobilizing flashbacks when the ship is in a crisis, it makes you wonder just how good a test pilot she can be.

Well, what would YOU say if Flamie told you her story?
Well, what would YOU say if Flamie told you her story?

Rokka no Yuusha is spending so much time with trying to figure out who the fake brave is that they’ll never get around to fighting the fiends at this rate.  Well, I suppose it was necessary to continue the Flamie/Adlet discussion and learn more about why they’re both in this.  Adlet suggests that they have pretty much the same story, though I’ll add that Flamie’s is a much more twisted version.  They both were betrayed by people they love and trusted and lost their home.  What makes them different is that Adlet says he became strong not to lose anyone again, while Flamie is acting out of revenge, which Adlet says never makes anyone strong.  So that’s settled, then.

I think she's the one.  Unless it's one of the others.
I think she’s the one. Unless it’s one of the others.

Meanwhile, it’s hard now to watch any of the characters and not analyze their smallest comments and reactions.  Through the subsequent scenes I suspected about every one of them, apart from maybe Maura and Chamot.  Nachetanya seems to be trying to con Goldov, and I’m not sure what he thinks.  Hans is easy to suspect, but I don’t think it’s him (I’m also curious about what he’ll do now that he’s in a position to kill Adlet), but if it is him maybe we’ll stop hearing that annoying laugh.  Meanwhile, I wonder why they haven’t thought that the fake brave might still be on their side …  Anyway, another episode of mostly talk apart from a nice one-on-one between Adlet and Hans.
shimoneta7-1
After last week’s satisfying and instructive filler episode, Shimoneta 7 brings us a new story arc, maybe two.  The first is another ero-terrorist group, named Gathered Fabric, who claims to have joined SOX but are doing things on their own, and they’re more extreme.  I don’t know if SOX would ever stoop to stealing underwear, especially when the people are wearing them.  Anyway, Kajou is not pleased.  Then there’s Kosuri, a the daughter of a that compromising terrorist who has the same mindset as Gathered Fabric and manages to worm her way into SOX, though Kajou isn’t pleased with that, either.  When not working on plot there’s an amusing side story of a Okura/Gouiki BL comic, now at volume ten.  This is the only show I can think of besides Genshiken where the characters ship each other.
teekyuu55-1
Teekyuu! 55 has the girls gaining revenge on a telephone pole, until even Kanae agrees that it’s stupid.  SPG 3.00, excellent work again.

Rokka, CC, and Shimoneta 6

I'm in favor!
Chamot is so adorable.

Rokka no Yuusha 6 doesn’t really go anywhere.  Adlet and the others are still trapped there, and they’ve all pretty much decided that he’s the fake brave, and so must be evil.  Only the princess disagrees but no one much listens to her anyway.  We spend a few minutes watching Adlet invent possible scenarios that will get him off the hook (“They tunneled in, and then they tunneled out again right when I got there, sealing the stones and filling in the tunnel underneath!  Yeah, that’s the ticket!”).  Then he escapes with Flamie as a hostage, which isn’t going to improve his status. But after that we get hints of a backstory, but not enough.  At least we discover WHY Adlet calls himself the strongest in the world, and it’s a good enough reason.  Also, it’s clear that Flamie is warming up to him, in spite of his drugging her and using her as a hostage and all that.

Nyah nyah!
Nyah nyah!

Classroom Crisis 6 feels like more filler apart from the sleazy backstory we get from Nagisa.  But it has an entertaining start.  Nagisa tells Kaito that the only way to get out of their financial crisis is to innovate–which might be true, but it’s also what rich people say when they don’t want poor people to have extra money.  But Kaito turns the tables by forcing Nagisa to pass exams that advanced college students might have trouble with, so he’s reminded that these worthless kids are just as smart or smarter than he is.  Apart from the last bit we’ve seen all this before.  As for the backstory, well, it explains why one of the company’s founding families hates the other one, or certain family members do, anyway.  Not sure I like this.  I was quite enjoying the more universal battle between greedy corporations and their employees.  To put a scandal into it wasn’t really necessary.
shimoneta6-1
While the preview suggested darker times in Shimoneta, what we got instead is a filler episode where Kajou decides to make, er, stimulating toys, sort of the next step for the horny students.  As you can imagine, a lot is bleeped out this week.  The main story shifts to Anna, as she takes one of the little vibrators Fuwa made and makes a pendant out of it.  You can imagine the rest, or maybe you can’t.  Through it all I feel a little bad for Okuma for wanting to preserve his chastity when not only Anna but Fuwa come on to him.  And it was fun to see Kajo a little prudish for once.  Another fun episode, and as for the toys, the show helpfully provides recipes and directions!  Good to see that the staff of this show is dedicated to our happiness and well-being.