Kuragehime 7

Kuronosuke is gone for five minutes and the sisterhood lets the Buyout Vixen – their most lethal enemy – waltz right into their castle. After he arrives, she retreats in a cloud of Hakana salt, but not before Tsukini notices she has Shuu’s glasses and fears the worst. She wants a shoulder to cry on, and it’s Kuronosuke’s. Meanwhile, the fact remains, she’s mistaken about Shuu and the vixen.

We continue to see Kuronosuke’s inexplicable and ridiculous (from his perspective) attraction to Tsukini. Case in point: the moment he sets foot on campus (not cross-dressing), he’s surrounded by a quartet of swooning models. But he doesn’t even notice them. He even tries to kiss Tsukini in her room, an impulse that only fails because Mayaya opens the door at the wrong time, sending the two flying.

Meanwhile, Kuronosuke also wants to get rid of Tsukini’s future habitation problems by buying the whole apartment building so it won’t be razed. Blackmailing his dad backfires (Shuu only saw him get to second base with Kuro’s mom) but he discovers that the otakus’ hoarding impulses could net them millions of yen in flea market bounty. He definitely seems to have made this group, and especially Tsukini, his own personal project. Rating: 3.5

The World God Only Knows 9

Flag 9 is a return to top form for God Only Knows. It introduces a very intriguing final conquest for Keima in the person of Shiori Shiomiya, the quietest, most socially awkward, and by most well-read student in his class. Even her name sounds shy. Shiori’s velvety-smooth, gentle voice is provided by Kana Hanazawa, who seems to pop up in everything these days, but you  know, I really don’t mind that at all.

The vast majority of Shiori’s words are inside her head, including an extended, operatic inner monologue that serves a as a stirring and convincing manifesto for why she is content to live out her life within the walls of the library, which she sees as her castle. Books are worlds, and shelves are universes. (Books are even rabu and joi!) Why ever interact with humans? When dealing with Elcee and Keima, she simply sits/stands in total silence while a rousing conversation with herself rages in circles within her cranium.

However, Keima is highly experienced with (virtual) librarian girls, and knows that “If you listen closely“, you can hear a bookish girl’s inner voice.” Shiori will be much tougher, as her thoughts don’t appear on-screen for him to read like dating sims. The previous conquests were comfortable talking and being among other human beings, and so their interactions with Keima were fairly straightforward. I’m definitely going to enjoy this different social dynamic, even if it proves torturous to Keima (though he admits, he prefers shy and quiet to airheaded and loud). Rating: 3.5


Shinryaku! Ika Musume 9

A failed doorbell ditch leads Ika to making her first friend her age. They get along famously, but when Ika thoughtlessly invites her to Chizuru and Eiko’s house without asking them permission, a cloud of dread floats over her the whole time. This wide gap between how Chizuru and Eiko actually act and what sinister things Ika imagines they’re thinking makes for good comedy, and the new friend is another step towards assimilation into humanity.

Ika also discovers makeup, predictably covering half her face in lipstick. But this segment then becomes a commentary on the superficiality of various style factions – Genguro girls, Napoleonic Cross-Dressers, Visual Kei-ers, Maikos, Stylish – no one can make Ika understand why these people dress the way they do. She’s only interested in makeup she was told would make men fall to her feet, which she naturally believes means conqueror-conqueree-style subjugation.

This episode wraps with a debate about who truly possesses Ika’s heart and/or body. Sanae, ever hopelessly simtten with Ika, aims to put a stop to the machinations of CIA lady and her three MIT stooges who are back, but are a bit more tolerable. This time, their tomfoolery (accidentally vaporizing the entire cafe) draws the ire of Chizuru, who beats a promise of reimbursement out of them. This series has been good with continuity, but next time the cafe will probably be back the way it was. Rating: 3

Yosuga no Sora 9

This expression pretty much sums it up: Sora is not warming up to Nao at all (btw, lots of nice close-ups of Sora in this episode). It’s gotten so bad, she fakes illness to get Haru to come to her side. Every minute he’s with Nao is a minute too many, for Sora. It’s become an obsession. One wonders if she can help it: her brother is the only family she has left and she doesn’t really have anyone else.

Or does she? When she makes an ultimatum and tells Haru to choose, he goes off with Nao. When Haru returns, Sora has run away. Everyone goes to look for her in the rain, including Nao. She finds her in the same place where Haru found her years ago; in a bus shelter. An…ahem…aluminum bus shelter.

After a whole arc of Sora showing nothing but resentment and contempt towards Nao, Nao runs into that shelter after it’s set ablaze by lightning to save not Sora, but Sora’s stuffed animal. It’s an incredibly stupid thing that could have gotten Nao killed (Nao also happened to save Haru from drowning earlier in the ep), but it seemed to do the trick: Sora seemingly snaps out of it. Talk about risky diplomacy!

She comes around by episode’s end, perhaps realizing that even with Nao in the picture, Haru isn’t going to abandon her. This arc contained the most tension between Sora and Haru’s lover; probably to set up the next arc, which resets the clock again, and centers more on Sora herself. It’ll probably get weirder from here. Rating: 3.5

%d bloggers like this: