Kyoto Animation #2, the Key games

Through the years, KyoAni’s high productions have sometimes been bogged down by weak source material, but they can elevate it too. Look at their early days with gamemaker Visual Studio Key. KyoAni adapted three of them: Air, Kanon, and Clannad, with an Afterstory.

I’ve never played the Key games and I’d be bored if I did. Silly stuff about nice boys being kind to troubled girls who usually have some supernatural issues. The studio, I understand, worked with the same structure–humor, serious, heartbreak, in all these games, probably for all of your girl choices.

The first I watched was Kanon (after Haruhi I would watch whatever KyoAni did). Some people wondered why they bothered to do Kanon when another studio had recently done it (poorly, from what I hear), but they shut up when the episodes started coming out. KyoAni’s was far superior.

From Kanon I remember a couple of things, apart from how beautiful the romantic snowy scenes look. mostly the episode where Makoto the fox girl is slowly dying or rather fading in Yuichi’s arms. At one point the music fades with her, down to a repeating series of crystal notes, as if Makoto was dissolving to her essence. And at the end, they tie the end of the episode to the actual OP, one of the few times I’ve ever cried out an “OH!” watching a show. You see, the one complaint I had had up to then was that the ED sequence, especially the music, seemed tacked on, an abrupt jump, but here, after a heartbreak scene, music flowed into the ED.  “OH!” Possibly unintentional by the creators, but “OH!” anyway.

When I first moved to Japan in 2012, I was on a train to my new workplace, my new life, in Toyama, passing through snowy hills and towns where Kanon could have been set. I had Last Regrets playing on my MP3 player. I started to cry.

Once, watching the new episodes of whatever season it was (before this blog) I watched an ep1 of some show, something about idols, with terrible CGI. Disgusted, I then turned to my Netflix DVDs and watched the first episode of Air.  … A girl popped a soap bubble, and I gasped. “That’s right! This is real animation!” Now, it’s unfair to compare a forgotten idol series watched on my computer to Air on a bigger-screen TV, but I don’t care.

Air was beautiful to look at, summer in comparison to Kanon’s winter, but like Kanon, elegant. Sadly, I can’t remember any more of it apart from the moment when the young girl’s twintails ribbons unwound of their own accord. Because it was based on a multi-ending game, no anime could have nailed the landing perfectly.  For me I couldn’t figure out why the hero was suddenly a crow.

How DOES a linear TV story do justice to all the girls’ endings? Amagami SS had the best solution when it simply rebooted to another girl after four episodes, but that often entertaining high school romance series style doesn’t fit the atmosphere of KyoAni’s Key stories.

Which leads us to Clannad, and Clannad After Story, with an amazing finale that made no sense at all.  Plotwise Clannad was more of the same, except elevated by KyoAni, and Afterstory took us down darker paths than we expected. Two episodes before the finale it seems like Tomoya, who had already lost his wife Nagisa (I argue that for gods sakes he should have chosen Tomoya. Kyou or Ryou would be fine too, even Kotomi if you keep her away from a violin … but NAGISA?? The dullest girl of the lot? but I digress…), he loses her daughter too and collapses in grief.

It should have been the end of the story there, but the creators had earlier snuck in that rising lights image, and the girl and the robot. The ensuing messy thing that followed rose out of the grief, went back in time to Nagisa’s giving birth, but with a happy ending. It was absolutely ridiculous, but with the blobs and lights, and the girl and robots enveloped in the snowstorm (the girl says “Papa” to the robot, a moment that almost rescued the entire sequence). The scenes that followed managed to salvage the point. The people you live with and can help are your life. Plotwise the ending could not hope to succeed. Emotionally it overwhelmed me.

Kyoto Animation gave those three silly Key games an elegance and joy more than their worth, one that I believe no other studio could have given them.

By the way, I’m not dead

Things here are a little nutty, so I’m barely watching anything right now except One Punch Man,

No, nothing terrible in my life. Just … nutty.

Maybe in the fall I’ll start seriously posting again.

Enjoy the shows you love!

Yagate Kimi finale, Index goes ever on …

yagatekimi13-1I had some predictions for the Yagate Kimi ni Naru finale, all of them resulting in Touko’s breakdown as her determination to be the perfect person crumbles under reality. Either during the play’s performance, or when she is presented with the rewritten script. However, the finale sidesteps these possibilities by not even getting to the performance, the finished rewrites, or even summer vacation. What we get instead is couples hanging out together. First it’s Yuu and Koyomi at the cafe, working on the script, then Touko and Sayaka, the latter wanting to know how Touko’s sister appeared to Touko, then Miyako and Riko with a question about how the other feels, a shocking question, but they’re both adults. Really, all of these scenes are time-killers, with little scenes in between that suggest that Touko is closer to breaking than we expected, as it hits her that after the show, finishing her late sister’s work, she has no idea what to do next. All she can think of is Yuu.

yagatekimi13-2Yuu’s interest in Touko often seems indifferent. Indeed, it’s one of the things Touko needs, that Yuu doesn’t fall in love with a girl who doesn’t even know herself. But I think Yuu subliminally knows what Touko needs and reaches out when Touko needs her the most. Hence the invitation to hang out at the aquarium, where the episode dallies until the end. Apart from a quick rehearsal of their scene together, where Yuu casually mentions that there are rewrites going on, very little happens except that Touko has a wonderful time, and Yuu … is happy that Touko is having it. So they get splashed by dolphins, look at jellyfish and penguins, and say little meaningful things from time to time. Touko is still emotionally lost, but at this moment Yuu is guiding her along until the end, where Yuu says it’s time to switch trains, and so the episode ends with a metaphor.

yagatekimi13-3The manga, I’m told, is ongoing but there’s little left. Whether it actually gets to the school play I don’t know. Perhaps the whole story revolves around Touko’s crisis, which would be fine, but then I would wonder “What happens to them after that?” I had hoped that we would see other aspects of the two and watch their relationship develop further. No matter, it’s still a good story. It took its time and gently examined the characters’ minds from the perspective of their own heads and how others see them, which of course is the main point. I would have wanted more from Koyomi, stuck as she was in “smart, nerdy side character” mode, but I get the impression that if the show had wanted to, she would have been just as introspective as the others. Maki, on the other hand, could have become a meddling little jerk, but after the show established his character he was put on the sidelines and not allowed to interfere. All of the characters were capable of intelligent thoughts, except for the kid with the glasses, and it all was delicately and perfectly balanced. Very good work. I hope there’s more.

One more of Touko and Yuu, sharing a happy moment with no emotional overtones.
Carissa being evil.

As for To aru Majutsu no Index III, it’s a midseason development episode. We see that Touma and whoever that is are safe from their fall (we didn’t get to see the landing), and they’re miraculously met by Villian, still riding William Orwell’s mechanical horse. Then it’s back to William vs Blond guy (actually known as Knight Leader). KL has a cool spell based on Thororm’s ability to dull the opponent’s attack when recognized as one. But he’s freaked out by William’s sword, which can launch sneak attacks, so the battle turns out anticlimactic. Then it’s Touma vs Carissa and the Curtana Original, with Touma/Index rescued by William, who’s everywhere this week. And then a breather while plans are made and we see how Misaka is doing.

Index being evil.

Rather than continue a plot synopsis, which I often find myself doing in a post when I don’t really have anything to say, I’ll just say that everyone’s now headed to Buckingham Palace via its underground magical subway system–of course it has one. The heroes are planning to exploit Curtana Original’s instability somehow. The weirdest part for me, apart from a pre-battle feast where a lot of the girls, including nuns, consider changing into sexy clothes, for Touma’s benefit I suppose, was William and KL, after the battle, talking strategy on the phone like they were on the same side. Jeez, with this franchise you don’t know who to root for, except Touma maybe.

Yagate Kimi and IndexIII 11, Akanesasu finale

It’s summer camp time for Yagate Kimi ni Naru, and it’s partly a drag. Instead of some cool cabin in the mountains or something they have the camp at the school.

yagatekimi11-1As usual the episode has two parts. The first one involves Yuu, Touko, and Sayaka bathing together and sharing the same room. Since Sayaka is in love with Touko, and Touko’s in love with Yuu (who isn’t sure of anything), the bathing scene is full of heavily repressed sexual tensions, so nothing happens. The sleeping scene is the same–Each saying to themselves “I could reach over and touch so-and-so, but it would really screw things up, so I’ll just lie here and suffer on my own.” This being the slow-paced show that it is, it means no one gets to have what they want, but they’re not hurting anyone that way. This is one of the more bittersweet summer camp episodes I’ve seen.

Touko learns that her beloved sister was actually a bit of a flake.

Part 2 is more interesting in that their sensei brings in a guy named Tomoyuki to coach them. Turns out he was on the student council at the same time Touko’s sister was, and so Touko, curious to know more about the person she’s been trying to emulate for five years, asks what she was like … and doesn’t get the answer she expected. Not that there was anything really wrong with her, only that she wasn’t the perfect student council president she let on to be, but the rest of the SC liked her anyway, maybe because she wasn’t perfect. In other words, Touko has outstripped her idol. Interesting idea and you would think she might be happy about that, but instead it puts her in a blue funk that both Sayaka and Yuu pick up on. The episode doesn’t take it further, but it makes you wonder just what Touko’s been trying to emulate all this time, a model of perfection, or her late sister. Also an interesting comment by Koyomi about her script having the amnesiac heroine choose her lover’s version as her personality, as it comes from something she chose, not family obligations, but Koyomi isn’t really happy with that answer …

Her Royal Highness the Queen.

To Aru Majutsu no Index III, having destroyed enough of France, now turns to England. The inevitable infodump is lightened by the behavior of the Queen and the three princesses, all of whom are kind of weird. The queen is holding a sword Curtana the Second and we’re told the first one, which gives you, theoretically, the power of archangel Michael, is lost to history, so we basically know what’s going to happen in this story arc. But there’s also the Eurotunnel explosion and subsequent friction with France to investigate, AND there’s someone working from within, namely in Scotland. Oh, also some terrorists have finished excavating something, so they have to get to the bottom of that. Go to it, guys!

Touma meets another formidable enemy.

Typically, the evil terrorists, four cute girls, natch, are quite capable of screwing up their nefarious plots. It doesn’t help that the retrieved artifacts, er, skidbladnirs, look like any average suitcase with Art Deco stylings, and soon little Lessar is fleeing from Touma and Oriana (remember her? I didn’t. She works for the Crown now). Since it’s not a situation for a righteous punch, Touma is subject to the laws of comedy and they have a hard time getting her. Two of the others aren’t much trouble, thanks to Itsuwa and the Asukasa branch of Necessarium, even though one of them can conjure up the weapons Thor used. Oh, great, now we got Norse mythology mixed in! But the evil plan is still put in effect, and we discover who the traitor is. I really hope the queen is pissed off enough to enter the battle. I like that old broad.

akanesasu12-1One thing Akanesasu Shoujo was not good at was animation in the little scenes. Characters just stood there, not moving, mouths often open, staring off at something not in the scene. My guess is they were saving up their energy for episode 12, the finale.

akanesasu12-3We get one surreal visual after another as Asuka walks with Super-Asuka, having agreed to go with her. Backgrounds turned black and white, fractured into, well, fragments, reformed when a verbal note had been taken. It’s unlike anything else in the series, even the Twilight world. It also gave the long scene an emotional power that the other episodes could never match. Well, that’s partly because this was not a silly alternate world full of forced marriages or western gunfights. Asuka, showing more canniness than I thought her capable of, quietly(!) and slowly wears Super-Asuka down, and allows her to feel the pain of losing Kyo that she had refused up to now. Turns out they each had ways to avoid the pain.

akanesasu12-2It’s a lovely scene, even if what happens afterwards doesn’t make much sense. Asuka returns to her world, Super-Asuka to wherever, and the Twilight attack just isn’t there any more. But Super-Asuka hadn’t been responsible for it, she had joined the dark side, so what happened to it? Not only that, there’s a ridiculous episode-filler scene where they find a new recruit for their club, even though we didn’t really care.

akanesasu12-4Oh, well. The series wasn’t all that great overall, to be honest. It had great moments, like the sheer absurdity of the alternate worlds, and I remember discovering that this show was going to be somewhat weird and absurd with a smile. And it did have some striking visual moments. The battles were almost always good to look at, if a little bright at times. The first half of episode 12 looked superb. Some of the background art, and the visual direction, was good, though again the clumsy character animation was a distraction. Good and bad. Not the best show I’ve seen, the weakest of the four I watched. On the other hand, I watched it to the end, and I can’t say that for some others.

Yagate and IndexIII 10

yakatekimi10-1The preview for next week’s Yagate Kimi ni Naru has Touko, after a terse comment from her unsmiling father about forcing herself to do this student council play, followed by a memory dream, announce that she’s going to become her late sister. Of course, this is a core issue in Touko’s character, one that she would not really deny to Yuu before, but it was set up in this episode like it was a startling revelation. While I appreciate this character asset, I’m not sure we needed to be reminded of it at this moment, unless they’re setting up a breakdown during summer camp rehearsals. That could be the case, especially when Konomi’s script prods at Touko’s identity issues (Touko plays a woman witn amnesia who has to decide which version of herself the people around her have of her), and, delightfully, casts Sayaka as her lover! I guess we’ll find out soon enough. Elsewhere, we get a nice scene with Yuu and Natsuki, where the latter says she held off inviting Yuu to join the high school club, because she’d have wound up doing it. In other words, having no passion of her own, Yuu gets roped into the passions of others, which is still the case. And yet her indifference is a thing that makes her appealing not only to Touko, but to Natsuki. Not that Natsuki’s going to make a love triangle out of this, but I wonder at how Yuu’s indifference attracts people.

To hell with the terrorists. Index always focuses on the important things.

To Aru Majutsu no Index III, after some goofing around with Misaka, has Touma and Index flying to England aboard a passenger jet where, naturally, there are terrorists. Apparently England/France relations are strained because the “Eurotunnel” got blown up, and the terrorists are French and want some revenge. The terrorists and the crew are equally inept. Well, Touma accidentally damaging a circuit that might get the plane blown up (something that is forgotten moments later) caused the terrorists some trouble. As for how the terrorists were defeated, Touma punches one of them, but the one skulking in the cargo hold with a grenade is harder to explain. Something about hot tea in the duct, which caused a thermal something, distracted the bad guy, but as for Stiyl showing up in stealth jet with magical, fiery cards, I really don’t have a clue. Neither did I really get the point of casting an illusion on the plane’s gauges so it looks like they have a fuel leak … But that’s Index for you. This week was sort of a prelude, a little adventure while magical forces on the ground do little plot things. We don’t have a clear picture of the conflict yet, and with this show, we may never get one. But who cares?

Spyce 2 (and done), Conception 2, Akanesasu and Slime 3-6

How’s training going, Momo?

After two episodes I’m still not sold on Release the Spyce. The second has the inevitable training of Momo by Yuki, the taciturn one with the scar on her eye. It goes exactly as predicted. Momo can barely keep up with the regimen, the running and chatting up of people, but gets better and manages to pass the final test, a game of tag with Mei, where she suddenly demonstrates great leaping and acrobatic abilities that she couldn’t possibly have picked up in a couple months, and thanks to some prep work, manages to win by maneuvering Mei into a dead-end. Meanwhile, the bad guys drive around (all they do in this episode is drive around) and act evil, and apparently there’s a traitor among the Tsukikage. That’s intriguing I suppose, but I wonder if it’s not a double-agent kind of thing. Anyway, villains aside, I could sort of predict everything that’s going to happen this episode, and it dragged, too. Though the Tsukikage underground headquarters is kind of cool. Don’t feel like watching episode 3 at the moment …

So instead, for some reason, I watched Conception 2, where things did not quite go like I expected. First, it turns out that conceiving Star Children doesn’t involve actual sex …

conception2-1The main girl this week is Ruka (Aries), who isn’t very warlike at all; instead, she’s a stock tsundere. But she’s a tsundere who knows what’s going on, so when he comes on to her she’s fine with it, to save the world, you know. Meanwhile the show plays with the idea of teaching Itsuki techniques to woo women, and promptly forgets about it. So now we have two star children, neither of whom are really capable of fighting anything, as their visit to the labyrinth and Itsuki gets routed and the star children turned into pods … So maybe he’s going to get serious about this and really get the girls excited to produce really strong star children? I figure one girl per episode, so this puts them behind schedule. A more interesting plot point is Mahiru’s forgotten promise and her obvious, drunken jealousy. I wonder if the show will play that up too, or whether she’ll just get shoved aside when it’s convenient for Itsuki, like the show has already done to her.

akanesasu4-1So on to Akanesasu Shoujo, where the girls get a new frequency, not sure how, and find themselves in the wild west, er, with a few cars, cell phones, and broadcasts of gun-duels, which is the standard way of settling disputes here. And so we have our story. It’s an unjust system where the person who’s the better shot will win any legal dispute. Mia, the key tries to find justice in this world as a deputy sheriff, while Asuka is a bounty hunter and Chloe and Nana are the criminals. No subtlety this time–the girls repeatedly run into each other, and soon our Chloe and Mia are captured and the criminal ones are planning another robbery with our Asuka and Yuu, in order to make money for kids left bereft when their parents die from duels. And we have a good idea who the Clutter is, too, and by dealing with her, they can change this world for the better. So we’ll have Mio fight her, become stronger, and I’m sure the others will find themselves in the dueling arena before the end, for kicks.

akanesasu5-1Yep, a duel to conclude the arc, well the start of a duel, then a duel between clutters and two heroes of justice. It would have been quicker if Nana hadn’t had her walkman taken away when she, and everyone else except Mia got arrested. Since they laid out the moral dilemma last week there wasn’t much to do this time except let the plot work itself out. The only surprise was the sheriff being a second clutter. Well, there was also Sexy Yuu putting the moves on Asuka, and Asuka not minding too much. The only real character development came from Mia’s decision to be a hero rather than just stand back and be cute like everyone wants her to do, but that was the point of the arc and we saw that coming a mile away. So that’s Nana and Mia taken care of. Who’s next? They’re probably saving Akusa for last, since she’s the center of the currently-dormant big story arc. They might delay Yuu, too, because of that Sexy Yuu interfering with things. That leaves Chloe, so expect a Chloe arc starting next time.

akanenasu6-1Yep again, episode 6 is Chloe. It’s also a beach/swimsuit episode. Basically Sexy Yuu takes the girls to a fragment which is all little islands and beautiful beaches, with an AI service that delivers everything they want. The rest of the girls goof off a lot and play with cellphones while Chloe enjoys herself on a separate island. The key of the episode is that she likes to spend time alone, something the other girls reluctantly accept but worry about. So does Chloe, now that she’s living in a more communal place than Paris. Is it really okay to be alone much of the time? Meanwhile, there’s actual plot going on underneath. The girls are slowly being brainwashed by their phones, and maybe by the beautiful surroundings. Chloe, by herself, is the one to discover this. Meanwhile, I’m somewhat intrigued by Sexy Yuu. Earlier in the season she seemed like a threat, and she is of a sort, but she’s also driven by more childish impulses such as hedonism and lust, which makes her less dangerous but more fun. Whether she’s aware of the danger this fragment is threatening the girls with is anyone’s guess. She might have just wanted to ogle Asuka in a swimsuit.

It’s a good episode for Rimuru.

Tensei Shitara Slime Datta Ken 4 brings Rimuru and some other guys to Dwargon, where dwarves and other types hang out. Naturally there is a complication at first as some goons wrongly take Rimuru and Gobta to be weak enough to beat up. That lands them in jail, where it just so happens that there is a need for healing potion, which Rimuru happily supplies. Then a blacksmith desperately needs to make twenty longswords made of magic ore, which Rimuru happily supplies in exchange for help for the goblins. That leads him to a elf-hostess club, and it’s all happy. Nothing seriously bad happens in this show, and Rimuru has a knack of being in the right place at the right time, also those superhuman abilities. Even so, it’s fun to watch. Rimuru is a likable slime who isn’t above some elf-lust.

You can guess that he probably shouldn’t have done that.

Episode 5 brings the trouble that episode 4 warned about, but it pretty much turned out all right. Minister Vesta comes to the elf-club, pours a drink on Rimuru, and Kaijin the blacksmith punches him. So it’s a trial, where things get a little complicated. It’s a sham trial (the second once this post!), but Gazel Dwargo, the big boss, asks Kaijin to work for him again, but Kaijin is committed to Rimuru now, so it gets changed to exile, which is what they all wanted anyway. It’s obvious that Gazel has great fondness for Kaijin but can no longer help him, or vice versa–there’s a backstory here that the show will obviously return to it, if the anime is renewed, that is. And Vesta, in a strangely emotional scene, is dismissed from service, another plot point that will be of use … someday. What will happen sooner is Gazel’s mistrust of Rimuru, that “monster, like Veldora.” Probably a running, backstage story arc. Oh, I think they forgot Gobta again. No great loss.

slime6-1Well, in episode 6 Gobta is shown to have some summoning power, so he might be of some use after all. Otherwise, it’s primarily an episode to introduce Shizu, the masked fire-expert, and the one who Rimuru is destined to be with, though she doesn’t know that yet. Behind her scary mask she’s actually quite sweet, and we spend some time learning her backstory–she was summoned to this world when she was about to get killed during an air raid, though the don’t explain why she gets taken away as a child and appears as a young woman. Next week we’ll learn more, I’m sure. Oh, and the three hapless adventurers show up again, but I can’t figure out if they’re going to participate in the plot or just pop in now and then for an infodump. And slowly, perhaps too slowly, a long story arc is forming.

2-3s: Bunny Girl, Index, Yagate Kimi (yes, I’m way behind)

bunnygirl2-1Seishun Buta Yarou wa Bunny Girl Senpai no Yume no Minai 2 makes me wonder where the story is going to go. Obviously it’s about puberty syndrome and they could do a lot in that direction, with our not-so-happy couple, Kaede, or Shoko the vanished girl (I wonder if Shoko suffered the same fate that Mai is suffering now?). In other words, Sakuta could go around trying to help everyone who’s got the syndrome. That’s what I thought it would be about when Mai announced that she was returning to show business and people could see her again, so her story would be a mini-arc to begin the series, like Araragi helping out Hitagi in that other series. But now people are forgetting Mai as well. Will the entire series be about her issues? I wonder if that will be enough to sustain the entire show, asides from the lab girl talking about the cat and other side bits. Also, partly, and to the credit of the series, I seriously want Mai to escape from the syndrome (which I think has something to do with how people observe adolescents and how that makes them observe each other), in spite of her often unfriendly behavior. They’ve done a nice job of making us feel for her situation. But again, is it enough?

Guess we’ll find out in episode 3.

bunnygirl3-1So it looks like this show will indeed meander around looking at adolescence syndrome on others, though probably through the eyes of Sakuta. This episode is really in two parts–the first concerning Rio the Lab Girl’s hypothesis that people are forgetting about Mai partly through sleep–it helps to stabilize the mind or something, so it’s a long and impossible twelve minutes where Sakuta tries to keep awake AND take midterms. In a sweet and sad scene, Mai helps him study, slips a drug into his coffee, and says goodbye. But Sakuta and possibly Mai have left behind clues, one is Sakuta’s written account and the other, various kanji about responsibility and protecting, which Mai teaches him and indeed comes up in the exam. So we have a rush of memory, and Sakuta’s embarrassing attempt at “fighting the atmosphere” at school–embarrassing but it works. Too bad about his exam scores. So Mai is back. I’m glad about that. Now I wonder if Mai will actively help Sakuta as he helps to unravel the next adolescence syndrome difficulty, or if she will, to refer to Bakemonogatari, act like Hitagi, hanging around but staying on the sidelines saying snarky things as Sakuta does the work.

Index, Index, Index …

In Toaru Majutsu no Index 3 2 … er, right, so Stiyl is interrogating two people and learn that the Document of C can make Roman Catholics believe whatever the pope tells them, hence their anger at Academy City. Meanwhile, Touma falls to earth and meets Itsuwa, from the English Puritan Church, who tells him that the document is actually in Avignon, and the pope is using geoducts to communicate with it. So they go around avoiding mobs of Catholics and looking for the Geoducts. But also there’s the Right Seat of God, who have diluted original sin so much that they almost have the power of angels. Touma and Itsuwa run into one as the episode ends. I’m not sure how they’re connected with the Document of C … Did I leave anything out? Undoubtedly, even with all the notes I took. Oh, surely Itsuwa’s clothing must have dried out by now. She doesn’t have to keep wearing that revealing top. *Sigh* Index, Index, Index …

Any fan of the series can finish Touma’s sentence.

In episode 3 we get more infodumps, as convoluted as the last episode’s. Let’s see, the Right Hand of God people want to refine their abilities to become greater than God. HsPS-15s power suits can be disrupted somehow, not that that’s important. There’s something about “Light’s Execution,” which may or may not be put into use by the church now that they’ve killed Terra for victimizing innocent people while refining it. Nice to see some Church folk have a conscience, even if they’ve formed an alliance with the Russian church and are thinking of invading Japan. But the majority of the episode was spent with Touma squaring off against Terra and doing the things that make him fun to watch. He gets roughed up, spots Terra’s weakness, gives a righteous speech, and punches him in the Jaw. That’s Index’s standard arc-climax, and I haven’t gotten tired of it. One disappointment–Accelerator shows up but doesn’t do anything except interrupt Terra’s important speech about Imagine Breaker. Well, he does direct the Academy City bombers(!) to focus on the cathedral and not the entire town, to spare lives. Looks like both sides have humane people in them.

Moments after the kiss.

Yagate Kimi ni Naru 2, in slow and delicate Yuri fashion, sets up the girls in a basic relationship and works at least one side character, Saeki, in as well. She is hurt because Touko chose Yuu to be her campaign manager instead of her. Touko’s explanation, that Yuu, being a first year, will hopefully get more first years interested in the election, isn’t a great explanation, but it will have to do. Fortunately, because this is the kind of show this is, Saeki does not get irrationally jealous of Yuu, and instead lends her her full support–for now. As for our main couple, there’s one kiss out of the blue, with speeding trains and wind in the background. And, surprisingly, Yuu clasps Touko’s hand when they get jostled together posing for a photo, which surprised Touko. But despite that Yuu returns to her original line. She can’t fall in love, or doesn’t feel love. Touko says that’s fine–she’ll just love Yuu with no hope of return. You wonder if she means that, or she plans to win Yuu over. I think it’s the former. In spite of her appearance of having everything together, Yuu can be as awkward about things like this as any high school kid.

yagatekimi3-1More slow and delicate in episode 3, but it’s complicated slightly by the elections and the speeches. Funny that normally such scenes, with the potential of a character screwing up, makes me a little anxious, but I had no worries about Yuu. Sure, she was nervous, but she sucked it up and even appended the speech to affirm that she would join the student council, too, for Touko’s sake. Yuu is showing more strength that I had thought. The scene right before it, when Touko revealed her own, more vulnerable side, so that Yuu had to comfort her, is another example. So it looks like their roles might be switched. Elsewhere, Yuu hangs out with some pals and sees through Akari’s lie concerning her own romantic woes. And the show plays around with the word “special” for a while. Yuu has no one special for her, Touko says that she wasn’t special at all as a child, but Yuu finds Touko’s admission of weakness as special. More little lights for the home planetarium Touko bought her.