Hyakka Ryouran 7

This week focused more or less on Sen’s bodyguard Hanzo. With Sen now able to transform into a master samurai, Hanzo questions her usefulness. When an invisible, Cerberus-like beast terrorizes the dojo, her super-trick glasses are the only thing that can detect it. (This being the present day, heat-sensing goggles for everyone are just a couple eBay clicks away…but then again, the beast’s arrival was unexpected).

Once out in the courtyard where the beast can be seen due to the falling rain, the time comes for Hanzo to kiss Muneakira and become a master samurai herself – but she just can’t do it. The rain stops, and she decides to try to sacrifice herself by holding down the beast so Sen can kill them both. Naoe summons water with her mallet and Sen dispatches the beast without harming Hanzo, and she reiterates that their relationship isn’t just servant and master, but best friends as well (who, you know, occasionally licks her leg). They’ve known each other for ten years, and Hanzo was her only real friend at school.

Hyakka Ryouran hasn’t exactly distinguished itself in the character development department, but this was a nice episode for both Hanzo and Sen, as well as Naoe, who seems to have smoothly integrated into the gang as Sen’s new foil…or Jubei’s pet dog, depending on who you ask. The icing on the cake was an excellent battle against a quick and intelligent enemy. We’re left to assume it was sent by Sen’s brother, but we don’t actually know. That’s okay, there’s 5-6 more episodes to sort that out. Rating: 3

Psychic Detective Yakumo 7

Yakumo isn’t the flashiest series around this season, but damn it all if it doesn’t have one of the best soundtracks. The incidental music is just about continuous, and it’s continually kick-ass. In this episode they even threw some new tracks in, which makes sense, as the series is finally on its feet and ready to run in terms of moving the story forward.

It was about time they started bringing the glasses chick into the picture. She’s Miyuki Nanase, the sole survivor of her family who were victims in a quadruple homicide fifteen years ago. The long and short of the episode is that a ghost video was made as as trap in order to isolate Yakumo and bring him into her stun gun-equipped clutches. I think Miyuki wants him to start using his gift to serve the powers of evil, rather than to help people. In any case, she’s one tough gal.

There are some great interactions between Gotou and his section chief, Miyagawa (another strong, no-nonsense female character in true Beetrain fashion), as well as between Miyagawa and Ishii when he comes back to the station with his tail between his legs (Miyuki also got Gotou with the stun gun in the haunted mansion where the video was taken. She’s a busy bee…) Ishii in particular was hardly inspiring in this episode, and fully deserved the cross to the face from Miyagawa. Let’s hope he redeems himself in future episodes.

Haruka wasn’t really around in this episode, except to invite Yakumo to her concert. However, rather than blow her off, Yakumo actually calls her up to politely tell her he can’t make it (he has to go walk into a trap). The old Yakumo surely wouldn’t have done something so kind-hearted. We’ll see if Ms. Frizzle, Assassin changes all that.  Rating: 3.5