Nothing much to report with Isekai Maou to Shoukan Shoujo no Dorei Majutsu 5, just a story arc beginning with the information given us first by Sylvie and then by the town’s protector, Galford, the latter allowing Diablo to try and balance his sternness and his people skills, and it works out as he manages to put out the right lines at the right time. Mainly, however, it’s a chance to meet the overly-diligent new character Alicia, who balances her people skills with an annoying tendency to apologize for not being perfect. For action, Shera is briefly abducted, Alicia blames herself, and Emile shows up to introduce himself again. It’s good to see Diablo, behind his bravado and social anxieties, have the presence of mind to conjure up a plan to defeat those elves in the woods, without hurting them, though we won’t actually see the plan until next week. I’m glad his social balancing act is only part of his character.
Episode 6 is nothing much either. The three go to a slave market where the owner, Medios, teaches Diablo a way to remove Shera’s collar. Naturally it’s extremely sexy, though it doesn’t work and it exhausts Diablo. I’ll let you play around with the metaphors. Then Keera visits, nicely, and tries to talk Shera into returning to Elfland, which makes her a little nostalgic, but still unwilling. Keera’s evil plan will be hatched next week. Oh, and then Shera repeats the collar-removal sexy bit with Rem, so we get to see both girls aroused this week, if you’re into that.
Having more or less taken care of Sara and Karen for the time being, Island 6 gets back to Rinne and the main mystery. This episode follows the usual pattern–the first half is lighthearted and fun, and the second gets serious with new revelations. So to begin with we watch as Rinne and Setsuna get closer, still not romantically, go on a cute date, sleep together chastely (at Rinne’s request, Setsuna going with the flow, which is what he always does), while Sara invents theories about future-man and present-woman destroying the time-space continuum, as she does. There’s also a cute scene between the cop and Karen, the former claiming he’s going to marry her, the latter playfully deflecting his statements. But here Setsuna shows up and more legends about the first Rinne’s fate comes up. Apparently she throws herself off a cliff when she discovers she married the wrong man, but that contradicts the memory-return she experiences when she and Setsuna finally open that shack, where she and the real Setsuna spend the night, whereupon her angry father throws Setsuna into the ocean, and she jumps after him … Fanciful legends, fairy tales versus an uglier reality. None of this, however, helps us with Setsuna’s own memory loss and whether he’s the real Setsuna or just a surrogate.
And in episode 7, more stuff is explained, or theorized, though can’t believe that Setsuna has spent all that time on the island without anyone telling her that Rinne had vanished five years ago and reappeared only a month ago, looking the exact same age and wearing the same clothes. Or about the mysterious island Boryujima which only appears during storms. But now that we all know this the story doesn’t get any less complicated. Sara speculates that Setsuna came to the past, while Rinne, now slightly crazy with returning memories, is trying to get to her own past to find HER Setsuna (whom we see, more or less, and it’s not our Setsuna. He’s got weird marks on his skin for one thing), who gave up the one spot on the boat for her. Whatever’s going on, her current motivations are clear–riddled with guilt, she tries to get back to that island, glowing with menace, in a storm, which is where, naturally, the episode ends …
Shoujo Kakeki Revue Starlight has no battle in episode 4, mainly it’s just Karen running around to various Tokyo locales to find Hikari, who seems to be leaving the school. Meanwhile I’m trying to work the jellyfish imagery into all the other stuff this show has, and failing. Anyway, they make up whatever conflict they were having by having Karen say that the two girls will reach the center position together. But is that even possible? Before that they both seemed confused as to what to do next. Karen is perhaps afraid to go it alone, and she can’t win that way, either. Hikari says very little about her own dreams but seems happy to be a part of Karen’s. Elsewhere we get Maya and Claudine dancing but not saying anything we didn’t know already, and comical bits by the girls to cover for Karen and Hikari’s absence, including a nice acting out by Mahiru, who didn’t seem the type to twirl a baton and declare herself the guardian of the hallway.
Then, episode 5 has the battle that I figured was coming, though I wasn’t aware that Mahiru was actually a part of the Giraffe Auditions. They’ve been teasing this angle forever; Karen is drawn to Hikari and no longer hangs out with Mahiru, and the latter’s self-confidence wasn’t all that great to begin with, a simple rural girl who worked hard and got to a prestigious academy where she was placed among people who outshine her. Finally she snaps, and we get the weirdest battle yet, Mahiru on the attack with baseball metaphors, Karen falling through trap doors and barging into the other girls’ duels (to various expressions of WTF from them). It only takes a few lines from Karen between feints to convince Mahiru that she’s better than she thinks she is, and the battle swiftly finishes. Though I kind of liked the “crazy-Mahiru” from the duel. The conclusion is a broad show of support from all the girls for Mahiru, or at least the delicious potatoes that her family sent her. Not sure if they love her for her enthusiasm and kindness or for the spuds.
I’m relieved that Harukana Receive lightened up on the flashbacks and other delays and gave us about nine minutes of straight-up volleyball, with a funky drum track, to start episode 6. I guess there wasn’t anything more to say. Kanata kept doing those pokeys and the strategy became clear. She was running poor Mai all over the court until fatigue set in and she began to make mistakes. Also, it gave Haruka more time to figure out her timing on the blocks, so, apart from some silliness at the end, the show got through to the victory more quickly than I imagined. I’m just glad it didn’t go to a third set. After that we naturally go to Ai and Mai, apologizing and cheering each other up, and then it’s the usual post-match silliness all around. Eclair won the tourney and Harukana didn’t get past round two, but everyone’s satisfied. Time to introduce some new characters, which happens right at the end. Good. The show could use some fresh bodies.
Two stories in Hataraku Saibou 6, and the way they present them brings up a possible weakness in the series. More or less, what we’re getting every week are traditional exciting stories, mostly for children. The first one gives us Red Cell on a nostalgia trip as she sees her old bone marrow, er, school, and where, as a little Erythroblast youngster, she has a scary experience with some sort of invader, but is defended by a young White cell in training, a story of possibly romantic rescue and a moment of courage for the white blood cell, like he was fending off a bully, all scenes you need for that kind of story, but it takes so long with the pauses for evil speeches and reaction shots that the whole thing gets too long, so that the second story, for me the more interesting one, is cut off before it’s finished. Here it’s White Cell, a Killer-T, and a new one, an NK-cell, done as a rogue fighter who can’t get along with anyone, try to track down a virus that’s invading the T-shirt guys. Here they have to dally too so that Killer and NK can be seen not getting along, for too long. I didn’t mind as much because it tickles me to see good cells not getting along. Besides, the NK is kind of hot.