Amagami SS 23

Holy crap, she snapped! Tsukasa and Junichi are seen flirting with each other one too many times, and it pisses off some girls who were conscripted into helping with the behind-schedule festival. When the two lovebirds show up late, one girl lets them hear it. No one in the classroom is prepared for Tsukasa’s reaction: laughter, followed by a deliciously thorough chewing-out of the petty ringleader. God this girl’s fun to watch.

Later that evening, this liberated Tsukasa burns her notebook and confesses to Junichi, who accepts. But when the pressure to finish the festival prep hits a breaking point, Junichi pleads for her to apologize to the girls and ask them to help. He get slapped for this, but the next morning, it’s done. Tsukasa and the girls have made up, and everyone is working again. And yet…there’s something definitely off about Tsukasa…

She’s returned to her previous state; the same state she was in the entire series until her arc; the Tsukasa who had emerged – and whom Junichi fell in love with – is gone as soon as she arrived! Worth such a price a successful festival is not. This is an intense roller coaster, but while Tsukasa is without question the toughest challenge for Junichi yet, that’s precisely why I consider it the best after a mere three episodes. I also enjoy how Tsukasa’s leitmotif changes to a kinkier minor key whenever her true self came out. I surely hope that side isn’t gone for good…Rating: 4

Panty & Stocking 11

Last week’s episode was so out there, I assumed this week would return to the normal ghost-hunting escapades. Never assume anything with this series: it brought us something completely different again. Different, but excellent.

In part one, Panty & Stocking tail Garterbelt to try to dig up blackmail material so he’ll get off their backs. They end up in his BDSM chamber where his diary is sitting, and the sisters are thrust into the life story of Garterbelt. We know next to nothing about him up until this point, but his history is quite colorful. Most intriguing is the fact that after a life Tony Montana-like misbehaving, heaven is still willing to recruit him. When he refuses to help them, he’s sent into a cycle of life and death that spans all of earth’s history. Most amusing is how much the sisters don’t give a crap about any of this.

Part two is another strange one, as we are voyeurs from a stationary position in Panty & Stockings’ living room for ten full minutes as they sit around, shooting the breeze, and waiting for Garter to make them lunch. It was great to see the sisters simply kicking back, not doing anything at all, acting like actual human beings rather than hollow caricatures.

Now that Chuck and Garter’s pasts have been thoroughly explored, I’m wondering if the angels get an origin story longer than the ending sequence (which was missing this week). Rating: 3.5

Psychic Detective Yakumo 10

Things pretty much return to normal this week, with Yakumo safe and sound and another ghost mystery surfacing. Yakumo has opened up a little more after his ordeal, and the barbs he directs at Haruka are a little less malicious. i wouldn’t exactly call him chipper, but the difference is noticeable after nine weeks of cold, detached Yakumos. When Haruka’s mom mails them an album full of Yakumo baby pictures, Haruka and Nao go nuts.

Yakumo happens to learn from the medical examiner that his father gave off an aura akin to a corpse, bringing up the possibility that his father, like Takeda, is actually a spirit that humans are able to see. In any case, he’s a supernatural being. Meanwhile, the cops are successful in capturing Miyuki, but Chief Miyagawa is worried that higher-ups may sandbag further investigation to save face…so she’s going to meet with Miyuki ASAP. Gotou tags along.

The only thing she says to them (that we hear) is that Isshin will be killed. This is after Isshin goes to the hospital with a headache and leaves learning he has a year to live. Is this coincidence, or did Yakumo’s father do something to him? I don’t have enough info yet; but I will say I really enjoyed the touching scenes in which Isshin comforts Yoshikio, a dying girl in despair. The fact that he shares her fate allows him to connect better than ever with someone’s pain. His reaction to his plight is suitibly enlightened: all things die; live seems short, but it’s long; scary and sad things are simply scary and sad. Rating: 3.5

Kuragehime 8

Kuronosuke excavates through the strata of storage, and finds potentially profitable junk to sell at a flea market, but  jellyfish dolls devised by Tsukini and whipped up by Chieko steal the show, and net them thousands of yen for the war chest. Shuu’s dad then has Hanamori hire a private investigator to tail Shuu, who’s neither subtle nor stealthy.

Back at Amamizu after that good haul, Kuronosuke barges in on Tsukini pretending she’s wearing the jellyfish-themed wedding dress her mom was going to make her if she ever found a man, and if her mom was alive. Kuronosuke remembers his mother wanting all the most beautiful dresses in the world.

For all of his stressing and fuming about falling for Tsukini, Kuronosuke is starting to realize the increasing likelihood that she’s his soul mate. Thus he promises they’ll secure the funds to buy Amamizu – and he proposes they do it by making not jellyfish dolls, but jellyfish dresses, like the ones in Tsukini’s dreams. But irrespective of his actions and intentions, it’s Tsukini who will have to gain some self-esteem and believe she’s worth more than nothing and not less. Rating: 3.5