Shinryaku! Ika Musume 10

A stormy day keeps everyone off the beach, and Ika discovers Teru Teru Bouzus and art. She can’t draw worth crap with her hands, but with her tentacles she renders gorgeous interpretive portraits of her friends. In an effort to preserve Takeru’s childhood, she crafts a Teru Teru Bouzu so terrifying, he wets the bed. Misson Accomplished!

Part two was my favorite; it involved Sanae, who had always been a somewhat one-dimensional character, but managed to exert her Ika-philia so creatively, she never really got on my nerves. In this episode, she attempts to cease swooning and groping Ika so she’ll be able to be proper friends with her. It succeeds, but at a cost: Sanae descends into a torturous withdrawal in the vein of Requiem for a Squid or Squidspotting that leads to insomnia and hallucinations. She needs to get back on the Ika immediately, which she does. It was a great little self-encapsulated character portrait.

The last third was all baseball. I like baseball. Kiyomi’s team needs a player, and she’s it. Once she learns the basics, she’s a bit shaky at first, but her tentacles take care of the rest, turning a triple play from the outfield and hitting an out-of-the-prefecture grand salami to win the game over the pretentious, black-uniformed opposing team, who immediately try to recruit her. I betcha they lose out to the Yankees…Nick Swisher can warm the bench.
Rating: 3.5

Soredemo Machi wa Mawatteiru 9

This week’s was a crunchy-on-the-outside, soft-and-chewy-on-the-inside kind of episode, full of diverse flavors and textures. The prologue aptly illustrates how successful a pawn shop can be when in proximity to a warring married couple. Shizuka makes hundreds of thousands of yen continually buying and selling a vase.

The middle portion of the show explored talents, like Toshiko and Harue’s ping pong skills, and the lack of talent, like Hotori at gymnastics and ping pong. Toshiko laments being good at everything but never working to become great at something. Hotori is great at whining, and so cannot relate.

The masterpiece of the half-hour is the third segment: Shizuka embarks on an epic quest to find out the origins of a very odd-looking but delicious candy. Her stirring journey takes her to the sureal, the fantastical, and the metaphysical, and even dabbles in science fiction. Shizuka had shown up only sparingly up until now, so it was nice to see more of her in action. This series has proven it can weave a funny, absorbing story with anyone from its rich cast. Rating: 3.5

Yosuga no Sora 10

Rather than reset, the timeline seems to have only rewound a wee bit, to a point where Sora still won’t recognize Haru’s relationship with Nao. Her contempt for Nao is clear as day, leaving Haru in a difficult position. Meanwhile, Haru’s classmate jokes about him being lucky he knows what Sora wears to bed and the like. “No weird fantasies!” his other classmate scolds. Yet Haru is having strange dreams…involving Sora. Bad! He realizes this is bad, and fights it.

But the kicker is when Sora’s issues come right to the fore: Haru catches her…doing that, while saying Haru’s name. Why Japanese people don’t notice when their doors are open a crack, I don’t know, but wow…this closing scene is disturbing to say the least. It would seem Sora is not going to be fine without him. So the remainder of the series will likely be devoted to the, ahem, complex relationship between Sora and Haru. Not for the faint-hearted!  Rating: 3