Steins;Gate and Hisone 5, Comic Girls 6, FranXX 17

Not who you think, OR IS IT?!

I just finished Steins;Gate 0 5 and find I have little so say about it. Again, the plodding writing sometimes threatens to pull me out of things, but they threw in enough surprises, especially the doozy at the end, that it didn’t matter. And, to be fair, while I might gripe about the writing, this is one of those shows where time whizzes by; it’s over before I know it, or want it to be. Perhaps they’re doing a good job at dropping in surprises and ramping up the suspense to keep me interested. That last one boggled the mind: we have a Kurisu look-alike who has lost her memory who ALSO happens to be the missing Kagari, Now I have all sorts of questions, like what the hell was she doing as a guest at Ruka’s house? Who is the other guest? Add that to What prompted Maho’s panic attack? What is Moeka up to? Hell, just about everyone in the show, including that new professor character, is probably up to something, this show being what it is. Yeah, I might quibble, but I think I’m finally hooked again.

Some bonding.

I’m trying to figure out the SECRET MEANING in the Hisone to Masotan ED. I get that they added character voices when they were introduced, but in week 5 (and in week 3) they were singing in harmony. I guess it means the four girls have some found harmony with each other. And they have. At first, stuck in survival training on that island, they were dysfunctional, but then Hisone found water, Rinko made fire, and Mayumi found food, and they sat down and talked about how awful they are, while Liboshi, observing, talks about how connecting with the dragons brings something that is missing in the girls, or something like that. The only one left out of the bonding (and in the sweetest moment of the episode, we see the dragons playing together in the water–even they’re bonding, or remembering each other, as Liboshi says) is, of course, Eri, and I’m sure she’ll have her breakthrough and accept her dragon in a tearjerker scene next week. Another good episode, though the fanservice came as a surprise.

The show finds a new way to freak out Kaos.

Comic Girls 6 continues the trend of taking predictable story ideas and elevating them, slightly, by some clever lines and Kaos’s freakouts. She has plenty to freak about in the first half, when she meets a scary ghost-girl. We at home of course already knew that the mysterious thing was probably a schoolmate, or a former tenant, or a friend of somebody. Turns out to be a little of all three. Fuura, former tenant, second-year, etc. She has fun scaring poor Kaos through much of the story until the show gets soft and turns her into an awkward girl who isn’t used to social situations, just like Kaos. I liked her better when she was scary. But what was that bit with her hanging from a tree at the start? The second story, where the homeroom teacher turns out to be a major otaku and a huge fan of “Wing-V” Tsubasa doesn’t have the same sense of fun, apart from the girls pondering the penname “Wing-V.”

Making babies, she means.

Speaking of weird nicknames, Darling in the FranXX 17 has the kids in the Nines Squad pay our gang a little visit, and you know that won’t end well, especially with 9 Alpha, the smirking blonde brat going around saying suggestive things to anyone he knows will be bothered by it. What makes it interesting is that he probably doesn’t know everything himself, only what Papa told him, and we’ve see the parental figures in this show don’t want, or are afraid to tell the truth much of the time. I say “afraid to” because of Nana’s breakdown when Kokoro confronts her about making babies. Some adolescent emotions forcing their way through her unnaturally-erected defenses. All that training and therapy for naught.

Huh? Huh?

What it seems to boil down to is that humans don’t do it like they used to, and in fact they’re trained to not even think about it. The contrast between a seeming utopian world where emotions and love are cut out for the good of humanity isn’t exactly a new idea in science fiction, but how the creators work it out is what matters. They seem to be doing a good job; I wonder a little about the adults letting the kids hang out together like this and discovering the forbidden fruit by themselves. Being able to pilot a franxx is one thing, but making babies is a whole different matter. Maybe, as Dr. Franxx hints, it’s because the adults have lost this knowledge or ability, or some part of it. I am also intrigued by 9 Alpha’s claims that the old way of doing things limited people to two genders. I wonder what gender he considers himself. Well, lots to ponder, and I didn’t even touch on the Klaxosaur Princess, 02’s humanity or lack of it, and that whole part of the story, and how it will tie in with everything else, oh, and Hiro growing horns!


Catching up with Steins, Comic girls, and Hisone

It’s apparent without checking that Steins;Gate 0 is going to run through two cours, because they’re taking their time with everything.

Nah, that doesn’t feel like Kurisu.

This is not a complaint. I don’t think the show is stretching anything needlessly. It’s working in a patient, orderly fashion. Episode two was getting Rintarou to meet the AI Kurisu, and that pretty much takes the whole episode apart from the others doing Christmas planning. And here I get a bit confused about as well. I would have thought that this new Kurisu would remember Rintarou, but then I realized that her data was recorded before she got to Tokyo and met Rintarou … Anyway, for those who waited for the old Rintarou/Kurisu dynamic, well, we needed to be patient about that. They make the point early on, when this Kurisu doesn’t reject the idea of a time machine outright, that this is NOT the real thing, and apart from a moment where Rintarou loses himself and tells AI Kurisu to shut up (I wanted to cheer), It’s all “hajimashite” and the like at first.

That’s better.

And episode 3 continues the slow, steady pace of the first arc, seemingly “the rise and fall of Rintarou’s mental state.” It’s actually a cruel trick–the dynamic I mentioned before has begun to reappear, but at the same time we know Rintarou is using the AI Kirusu as a crutch to avoid the reality that the real Kurisu is dead, something Maho was afraid of. But it’s great fun. Kurisu infuriates and embarrasses Rintarou just like the old days, inquiring why he called her Christina, joking about his lame behavior at the mixer (turn off your apps, Rintarou) and the messy state of the lab. It’s almost like we’re watching Kurisu reinvent herself, which, of course, makes Maho’s necessary declaration at the end more cruel. Meanwhile, her story arc not ready yet, Suzu pops up every now and then, patiently waiting for her turn.

Kaos, terrified by a group of nice girls who are curious about her.

I’m still not sure whether Comic Girls will entertain or bore me in the end, and episode 2 was a little of both. One thing about this CGDCT show that’s a bit different (and the good ones are all a little different from the norm). Yeah, the girls go into the city to have crepes and go shopping, but they’re shopping for manga and art supplies. So no going kawaii! about a dress or a hat, though they say that a lot anyway, but they all have takes on the latest screen tones, pens, and masking tape. The second half, with Kaos’s first day as a transfer student, has more substance, seeing that strangers frighten her (well, lots of things frighten her, that’s part of her schtick) and now she’s surrounded by them. But of course her friends help her settle in, and sooner or later she’ll start to fit in.

Kaos’s anxieties lead her to a kind of nirvana.

Episode three is also filled with Kaos-chan’s anxieties. It also works very well because it switches from one story to the next so smoothly that you don’t even notice it. I guess the main theme is “make Kaos-chan more normal so she can do a normal manga,” whatever normal means. So they change her hair and outfits, the show each time finding something for Kaos to get embarrassed or intimidated by. The story changes from clothing to a sketching contest which provides our weekly fanservice, to Kaos deciding to work harder, to Kaos working TOO hard and making herself sick from not eating (which is also related to a new anxiety, this one about being a gourmet). Along the way the episode delivers a steady stream of good gags, and to my surprise, they have managed to keep Kaos’s constant insecurities fresh and funny, though I hope for her sake that she manages to gain a little confidence.

hisone2-1Episode two of Hisone to Masotan settles in to do the usual character development stuff. They bring in a suave but creepy flight suit designer named Ikushima for some cheap laughs, but it’s Nao who gets the most attention. She is again such a loose cannon that I figured the show needed to deal with her first before she got into real trouble, though she does anyway. Turns out she’s jealous because Hisone grabbed her #1 pilot job without trying or even caring too much. In fact, when Hisone asked Masotan to let Nao take her place because she didn’t really care, she not only pissed off Nao (conveniently overhearing from outside the hanger–a plot device the show has already overused) but hurt Masotan’s feelings. Overall it’s a pretty traditional story being told here, but again the touch is so light that it makes everything bearable.

hisone3-1As for episode three, I wish they would finally introduce all those other girls they show in the credits. I suspect they will next time. As for THIS time, more of a confused episode where Hisone, when not undergoing sexual harassment by her new fellow pilots (she got promoted), she wonders who her mysterious predecessor Moriyama was, what she is like, and fumes jealously because Masotan obviously adores her. A credit to this show that rather than create some big tragic story about “Forest,” has her appear with her young son, happy as a clam, though it’s no help to Hisone, who finally has to lecture Masotan on responsibility before he’ll take her up to show off at the big air show. Again, a fairly traditional story framework given a light touch, making it sweet and funny rather than heavy. So far, I think this is my favorite show of the season.

Plus, the ED with its retro song and the dancing, is fun as hell.

Catching up with Darling in the FranXX

franxx14-1Now that I finally finished those first episodes it’s time to get back in the saddle with Darling in the FranXX, which had stoked up some controversy since I last watched it. I frankly don’t know what the fuss is all about. Everyone in the show is acting on their own needs and instincts just like always. The big issue, I suppose, is Ichigo kissing Hiro moments after she had more or less kicked 02 off the team. Certainly that wasn’t the best timing for a declaration of love, but I felt some of it was motivated by her desire to make Hiro feel better, and then it all came spilling out. As for kicking 02 off the team, that was perfectly understandable. Hiro and 02 appeared dysfunctional and Hiro was in the hospital because of it. No one knew that the two had just had remembered (for Hiro) or realized (02) something about their past, that is, until she conveniently read his memories when they were in the mecha–not my favorite plot device, by the way–at which point, after smacking 02 around out of frustration for a bit, she conceded defeat, both with the romance and with 02 and Hiro as a team.

franxx13-1Good thing, too, because not only did it give us a triumphant battle scene but it saved their plantation, for now. But does it deserve to be saved? What tipped off 02’s weird behavior, after all, was her growing frustration that she can’t shed her klaxosaur side and become fully human, but the thing that made her so monstrous in her own eyes (I thought the little red monster she was as a child was cute) was their society. It’s not just the breeding, either. She’s constantly being tied down and shocked, beaten, and injected, and while she gets the worse treatment, she’s hardly alone. All the kids have been poked and prodded and pierced all their lives, while their freedom was severely limited to a few boring areas. 02 called Hiro “fodder” later regrets it, but the fact is, and the suicide mission that one pack of kids in the battle were sent off to exemplifies this, all the kids are fodder. It makes you wonder if the evil aliens might actually be the good guys, and that that giant hand-thing the slaps down the plantation at the end was being deliberately selective about what it flattened.

Evergarden 12, Hakumei/Mikochi and Dagashi Kashi finales

Nice man.

With hindsight it seems obvious that Violet Evergarden, both the show and the character, would return to fighting to round off the series. It also comes as no surprise that the story will involve Violet struggling to reject the war and the death it causes while at the same time trying to protect people from a threat. In episode 12, doing this causes her to be more or less spat upon by both sides of the war. First it’s Diethard Bougainvillea, Gilbert’s brother and all-around petulant asshole, who accuses her of being nothing but a killing machine that can do nothing without orders, mocks her desire for peace, and most of all, hates her because she could not protect his brother. That last bit, blurted out near the end, almost made him tolerable. On the other hand it’s an enemy general and one soldier from last week, who don’t like her because she’s the enemy and also because she wants peace–they’re the generic enemy soldier types, all for war and destruction and contemptuous of anyone who isn’t.

evergarden12-2Frankly, I would have made Violet use that knife she holds most of the time, but that’s the type of emotional manipulation the show wants to work on me. Good guys vs. bad guys, with Violet in the middle, claiming she doesn’t follow orders anymore, but saying that Gilbert’s last orders to her were “to live.” Interesting that she loses his pendant this episode … It leads to a striking moment at the end where she uses her abilities to not kill, warding off a bullet to save Diethard, who is gratifingly surprised. Where that event will lead to I don’t know, but the train’s still in the hands of the enemy, so there’s plenty of fighting to do.

hakumeimikochi11-1Hakumei to Mikochi 11 happens on a train, too, but there isn’t any fighting or dark pasts to consider, just deciding the best place to fish. The train ride, when you think about it, is mundane, like many now except for the dining car, and the warm look of all that wood … I love all the different colors in this show. But I couldn’t get past the train itself, which ought to be about a foot high. Not to mention that fish. I know that a tiny hedgehog character catching that big fish is a gag, but I can’t help but wonder how fried yam man managed it.

hakumeimikochi12-1Then in episode 12 we say goodbye, as the two ladies take a perilous trip to catch a glimpse of Hakumei’s old trade route gang and we get a flashback. While many of the episodes have made me wonder how things work in that world, my main question this time is more personal: how did Hakume and Mikochi first meet? How did they get so close? There is some unspoken worry from Mikochi that Hakumei might leave some day, but why she’s worried we’ll never know, unless the manga has that information. Or maybe we’ll get a season two.

hakumeimikochi12-2This is a series that could easily do another season if it wanted. It had no story arc that led to a conclusion that would make what happens later an anticlimax. It was purely slice of life, and a season two could pick up those lives anywhere they wanted. I’d happily watch it. It was fun watching these tiny, slightly odd creatures going through their days, partly because they make a nice team, but also because of the rich and detailed fantasy world they lived in. There were strange and wonderful things all around them, little things like those orb teapots, or bigger, like the steam train, that conjure up nostalgia for an innocent past none of us actually experienced, along with living things, talking insects, really big (for that world) rodents, and bones that could be controlled with tambourines. I don’t know if I’d like to visit such a world, they wouldn’t let me in the city because of my height, after all, but I like to imagine that that it really exists. After an episode of Yuru Camp, I would think it’s the most charming show of the season, and I’d do the same after an episode of Hakumei to Mikochi. Since I watched the finale of the latter last, I declare Hakumei to Mikochi the winner, Yuru Camp a close second. I don’t know if the new season will be able to top either one.

One more of Makinata, which we can’t visit because we’re way too big.


This season made too much sense in general.

Finally, Dagashi Kashi 2 wraps up, with a predictable and un-crazy episode 11 that has Kokonotsu finishing his manga, going to the review, getting skewered by the editor and about to return, depressed, with snow even delaying his train overnight. Fortunately the show chooses this moment to bring Hotaru back, but it’s too late to save this episode. But we get a good finale, Hotaru, after a bit of surprising sobriety while she listens to Kokonotsu’s despair, goes back to crazy mode and has one more candy to introduce (Mario Manga Gum actually looks pretty cool), and there’s a crazy final scene where we discover that Hotaru now wants Kokonotsu to join her company, not You, and that Beniyutaka from the konbini is Hotaru’s older brother, all leading to one of those running-away scenes while the credits roll.

Ready for the big finale!

Well, while this season had its moments, it suffered because of Hotaru’s absence, and so I can’t rate it as highly as the first one. Also, there were episodes where hardly any dagashi was featured. I guess if an aimless show (I don’t mean that as an insult) runs long enough the creators feel obliged to add plot and character background, and quite often it spoils the fun. Oh, well, it had Saya (though not enough), and they were able to briefly riff on convenience store work culture. And there’s still plenty they could do even if the series decides to return. But please, more Hotaru and Saya!

One more of Hotaru.
And one more of Saya, and her bitter coffee.

FranXX and Hakumei/Mikochi 10, Yuru Camp 11

franxx10-1Darling in the FranXX 10, as expected, turns from one couple to the next, Zorome and Miku, though it’s mainly Zorome’s episode with Miku just doing enough of the Miku things that it gets Zorome going. However, the examination of Zorome is handled only superficially–what the episode’s really about is a closer look at civilian society, how it lives, and what it thinks of the kids defending it. The higher-ups consider them to be simply living weapons who can be kept in line with a medal and a brief tour of the city, though they’re worried about the squad’s lack of uniformity. Though some of them, like the lady that Zorome meets when he gets lost in there, and one of his escorts returning him, suggest a level of pity. The lady seems so foreign, though kind, that Zorome can’t figure her or her lifestyle out–not his fault, neither can I, but she seemed decayed to me, unable to really function without the machinery, apart from her kindness, nearly not human. The city is, as 02 repeats, “lifeless.” Bright new lights notwithstanding, who would want to live there? When they switch back to the kids’ place, that cozy living room, where everyone is gathered and not in pleasure boxes, it’s a relief. The show will continue to explore this inhuman angle, I’m sure. In the meantime, 02 is worried about something …

hakumeimikochi10-1Hakumei to Mikochi 10 didn’t do very much except charm the hell out of me again. The first half has the girls pining for an onsen, only to find the local one is clogged with cat hair–I’d like to get the story behind that; cats of course tend not to like water and besides, the show hasn’t had a cat in it yet. Anyway, Hakumei makes a bathtub on her own. With all the other things going on it’s easy to over the DIY attitude Hakumei has. So now they have a tub. The second half introduces us to Ayune, Mikochi’s unwelcome sister, unwelcome only in that she drives Mikochi crazy. So we get a sense of what shaped Mikochi’s childhood, the best line perhaps being from Ayune, that Hakumei reminds her of their father.

Red Fuji

Speaking of shows where nothing much happens but I don’t care, Yuru Camp 11 brings us the drama-filled Christmas camp trip! All of the girls together, for the first and last time, since the show probably finishes next week. We have moments of intense action as Nadeshiko is chased around by a little dog, and soon some kids join in, the rest of the girls, and a frisbee. We have psychological character study as the teen girls learn their sensei is a stinking drunk–actually, that IS kind of disturbing, but the others are perfectly capable of managing by themselves, until the final great crisis arrives: they run out of fuel for the gas stove! Well, Rin is off to get more. What else? Oh, Nadeshiko discovers s’mores, and a lot of good beef is devoured as well. … After an annoying day at work it’s great to come to a show like this, even if it all seems so damn cold.

Hakumei/Mikochi 7-8, FranXX 8, Yuru Camp 9, Dagashi2 8

hakumeimikochi7-1I suppose it’s time to catch up with Hakumei to Mikochi, though I hardly suspect there will be any great story arc unfolding. We almost have a death in episode 7, however, when Koharu the beetle nearly starved. I keep wondering how I’ll react if someone indeed dies in this show. Also, the girls spend a lot of time in tree branches this week, and it gets windy, and they’re only three inches tall or so … But this time it’s all about all the suspicious neighbors who have moved into the girls’ tree and perhaps ruining the quiet neighborhood. But of course it makes perfect sense. Why can’t other creatures live in that tree? It doesn’t belong to anybody. The girls, meanwhile, act like old residents, scratching their heads over all these strange newcomers. And who cut the ladder? The second story, with the rabbit and the pictures, well, I almost forgot to mention it here.

The bad guys.

Episode 8 has a story to it, but I couldn’t figure it out. In a lawless section of the city a gang of sorts trashes someone else’s belongings, and Mikochi has to recreate a mint julip recipe in order to calm everyone down. Oh, and Konju is kidnapped but overall seems to enjoy the experience. The fighting is mostly throwing mushrooms at each other, and in the end the gang leader Tsumujimaru seems to have known the recipe all along, I think. We also have Hakumei doing stealth missions on a paper airplane, and the guy whose house got trashed doesn’t get any revenge, though it’s an “anything goes” building. I don’t really get it. I think the show is so used to being leisurely that it didn’t exactly know how to tell an exciting story.

franxx8-1Darling in the FranXX has a ridiculous setup, but episode 8 is even sillier than most of them. A klaxosaur fires goo at them, and suddenly all the girls’ clothing begins to dissolve, putting the boys in various stages of embarrassment and/or lust. The girls are offended, and we have a tape-in-middle-of-the-house situation, which plays out in various, mostly uninteresting ways. Meanwhile the higher-ups comment that puberty has struck all the team at once, and I scratch my head. Until the reality of their mortality (from a visit to a former member’s room before she got killed) forces them to band together, there is only one scene worth watching, where 02 gets in on the fun and has Hiro, in nothing but a towel, chasing her around, and realizing he’s enjoying it. As for the final, more sober scenes, it seems fear of death will strike the libido right out of you (even though the guys all agree that they should apologize and support the girls at the end), but this strikes me as being an unhealthy attitude. Didn’t Hiro get all cured by realizing all he wanted out of life was to be with 02?

yurucamp9-1Yuru Camp is at a place where everything the show attempts to do works. Apart from Rin’s dog souvenir battle of temptation (because we knew she would buy the damn thing) episode 9 is a delight from beginning to end, as Rin more or less “wings it” on her latest solo adventure while Nadeshiko in her sickbed and Chiaki text her inane travel advice, though gathering mushrooms seems like a fun thing to do on a camping trip. Rin does visit a dog shrine (wan), meets a couple mountain climbers and gets tea from them, finds her route is closed and has to double back, finds an onsen that’s actually open, waves at some kids, does not meet any bears, and has a dilemma as she oversleeps after lunch. Will she make it to the park in time?!? Oh, and Chiaki makes Houtou. And it’s almost all pleasurable. In fact, I’m rather glad the girls aren’t all camping together yet because it gives us more locals for the girls to have fun in.

dagashi28-1Finally, Dagashi Kashi continues its work on getting Hajime fitted into the routine. In the first half it’s Saya, who finds about a dozen ways to seethe about this new hot girl living with her would-be boyfriend, but it never occurs to her to ask him. Which is fine, because Saya doing a slow burn, or a quick one for that matter, or frankly, just showing up makes the episode worthwhile for me. Tou’s scene with Hajime, based on misunderstanding and getting a little lewd, was less successful. Alas, the show still misses Hotaru. None of the other characters has the in-depth knowledge of sweets that she has, apart from Kokonotsu, and he doesn’t do much this episode. Hajime and Saya don’t even know how to eat the roll-candy.

2-3’s: Sora Yori, Yuru Camp, Slow Start

Somebody suggested that Sora yori mo Tooi Basho was going to be a K-ON for Antarctica, and there were times during episodes 3 and 4 where I began to see their point. Focused, disciplined Shirase turns out to be possibly the biggest idiot of the group with her plan to seduce a male explorer and get him to stow them away, and it led to a scene in Shinjuku where the viewer had no idea what the girls were trying to do. They were trying to act sexy, then two women showed up and everyone starts running around, while we scratch our heads. It’s good that the show grounded itself after that, however, with some reality: yes, there’s a civilian expedition going, but it’s in financial trouble and our girls couldn’t get in anyway.

This didn’t really happen.

The other thing both 2 and 3 do is, of course, gather more characters. Episode 2 brought us Hinata, who quit school for reasons and, like Shirase, feels like she has to prove something to the doubters. She’s also the most practical of the three and thanks to her the show has someone to rein Shirase in when she gets too obsessed (honestly, the whole “My mother is waiting for me” business, is her name Riko?). The second episode presents us with Yuzuki, the girls’ reluctant golden ticket, an idol who’s going on the expedition but doesn’t want to go, so could Shirase take her place? No, says the manager/mother, but there is room for negotiation, since Yuzuki is friendless and lonely. The show does a smart thing by stressing that the girls are not best friends, they’re friendly acquaintances with a shared goal, and since they welcome Yuzuki, it’s more than good enough.

Yuru Camp is shaping up to be a nice slice-of-life, even if Nadeshiko also reminds me of someone from K-ON. The thing is, right now it feels like two different shows. We have Aoi and Chiaki’s club and narrow clubroom, with their little adventures, witn some interaction with Rin, who does not want to join. And then we have the other half, which is Rin camping and reading, and lots of scenery. True, we have Yui, I mean Nadeshiko crashing her private party, but at least she seems to be respecting Rin’s desire for peace. In terms of episode 2’s story, it seems like halfway through the writers said, “the hell with it, let’s go camping,” so we did, and anything resembling plot just stopped. We even get the full text of a nonsense chatmail that has nothing to do with anything.

I guess the show does have a plot: getting all the girls together to camp together. The show is going to take their time about it, too. Three episodes in and we Rin and Nadeshiko have teamed up. I wonder how much longer it will take for Chiaki and Aoi to join them? Not that it matters. Sooner or later they’ll be looking at Fuji-san together, and in the meantime … well, who cares? In episode 4 the most interesting thing that happened is that Rin explained why she likes Winter camping, and they’re good reasons. I also wonder that she doesn’t mind so much about Nadeshiko hanging around. I guess her transition from private camper to social one is going to be as nonchalant and low-key as the rest of the series so far.

I didn’t get this part either, but that’s all right.

Slow Start doesn’t have much a plot, either, and again, it’s all right. Episode 2 is all about the sports testing, and Hana, who hasn’t exercised since middle school, doesn’t do terribly well. In episode 3 all the girls to Hana’s place for some golden week studying, cute things happen, and Hana gets the warm fuzzies from everyone being there. In the meantime, we get a little more of each girls’ personality. I still can’t get over Tama’s constant talking, but it’s nice to know she has some skills. Kamuri is still simply small, cute, shy, and devoted to Eiko. It’s Eiko who’s turning out to be the most interesting. She would say otherwise, and constantly wonders at the harem game references Tama-chan makes, but we see EIko flirting with other girls, and it’s hard to tell if she’s serious about it or unaware of the effect she has on the other girls, and she DOES have an effect.

There IS some plot of course, but it’s kind of ridiculous. Hana still hasn’t let on that she had to miss a year because she was down with the mumps the day of the entrance exam. It’s a credit to the show that while it’s all rather cute, the negative effect this has on Hana’s life comes through enough for me to get angry that there was no other route for her but to miss a year. And in episode 4 she a reference to her birthday makes her suddenly shed tears in front of her worried new friends. A nice little moment that I thought would lead to her confession, but it didn’t. I don’t want to have to wonder, episode by episode, whether she’s going to spill the beans on this innocent issue when we all her friends will not care. Just tell them already.