Otome Youkai Zakuro 7

Another episode without a distinct conflict, when Kei convinces Zakuro to come with him to visit his family…who live in an enormous palace and have an army of servants, one of whom obviously has a thing for Kei. Zakuro’s reaction to this is a combinaiton of jealousy and pity for the girl, since she knows what a wuss he can be.

About that…Kei got his fear of spirits from a couple things in this house. His father, who is extremely prejudiced against spirits (Zakuro covers her ears to appear human in his presence), and a spirit who started to haunt his room after his beloved pet cat disappeared. It turns out, the cat just turned into a youkai that normally can’t be seen by humans.

Though he has to bribe her to come along, and he refers to her as his assistant in front of his family, this was obviously an opportunity for Zakuro to meet Kei’s parents, which is a time-honored step in courtship, whether between humans or between a human and a half-spirit. This episode doesn’t really go into how furious Kei’s dad would be if he learned Zakuro’s identity, but he could definitely make things very unpleasant for him. Now I wonder if Kei will ever meet Zakuro’s mother… Rating: 3

Star Driver 7

For an episode, the trio is down to two, as Sugata is still unconscious. Wako prays at the cove while Takuto’s mind wanders, unsure of what to do. Then a member of his drama club encourages him, certain that his coming to the island was not an accident. Takuto meets up with Wako just in time; Crux them all to Zero Time, where the fishing girl has another go at Tauburn (to no avail), and, surprisingly Sugata wakes up.

Back on the island, Takuto and Wako race to intercept Sugata, who wandered away from home and activated the King’s Pillar. With this show of force, all three Crux members can do is take a knee and invite Sugata to join. The pink-haired one even lays one hell of a kiss on him. It takes a slap from Takuto to bring him back (from wherever he was), but it’s immediately clear that while he’s awake, Sugata is not the same.

This week provided the usual excellent balance of real life drama and frenetic Zero Time action, and both settings are gorgeous and intricate in detail, and the sweeping, cinematic score adds appropriate grandeur to the proceedings. I wish I lived on an island like this…even if there’s a secret cult plotting lord-knows-what, there’s never a dull moment. Rating: 4

Oreimo 7

Kyousuke arrives home to find a dark, empty house…but when he switches on the lights, Kuroneko of all people is in the living room. Kirino is upstairs playing eroge. He apparently arrived right after an argument between them. He then proceeds to have all but identical, consecutive conversations with Kuroneko and Kirino. These exchanges further reinforce the fact that these two are more alike than they’d be willing to admit, and that although on the surface they despise each other, there’s a real friendship brewing, if only they’d let it.

The balance of the episode consists of Kyousuke entertaining Kirino’s ambitions to become a writer of novels, her having already submitted one online and gotten a publishing offer. She drags Kyousuke to Shibuya for “research”, which is really nothing more than a Christmas Eve date. The awkwardness of this situation isn’t lost on either when, after Kirino dumps a bucket of water on herself (where’d she get that, anyway?), they have to retreat to a hotel room so she can shower and change.

Kirino is as oblivious and surprised as ever (at least on the surface) whenever Kyousuke points out little details like her obsession with little-sister themed media. I’m trying to figure out whose mind is more warped: Kirino for being so into this stuff in the first place, or Kyousuke for always connecting the dots so callously. After all, there is a wide wide divide between fiction and real life. Rating: 3.5

Shiki 15

Seishin walks in on Toshio just having staked his dead wife through the heart. But however Toshio justifies it, Seishin is against all killing, be it human or risen. Considering he hasn’t been targeted yet, its as pragmatic a position as it is moral. Toshio then stops by the health office, only to find no one there during the day.

Everyone works at night, now that they’re risen. Chizuru Kirishiki happens to be lounging around in that very office when he visits. While that particular fact doesn’t make much sense, it is made quite clear to Toshio that he’s on their list. It’s only a matter of time before they come knockin’ on his door.

No one else who’s still alive is interested in what Toshio has to say. They either don’t or won’t believe him (or in Seishin’s case, cannot help him). Things look pretty bleak, until BAM, Yuuki’s back! Despite being risen, he still has his regular purple eyes, but his get-up is much more Vampire Chic (I’m going to assume he’s risen unless they say otherwise). He isn’t there to kill Toshio. He’s there to tell him he’s not the only one who believes Megumi is still walking around. Tasty…now what’s gonna happen next? Rating: 3