Hyakka Ryouran 11

Hyakka Ryouran’s penultimate episode should have been exciting, but there were some issues that held it back. First of all, am I really supposed to forgive a guy for kidnapping his French sweetheart, stripping her down and genetically altering her because it’s “tough at the top?” Nia’s affection for him is admirable, but considering the amount of physical and mental trauma she’s endured by Yoshihiko’s hands, it’s also baffling. Battered Samurai Syndrome, as it were. A brief detour into his past couldn’t make up for the fact that Yoshihiko is just a dull villain.

As for the events of the episode itself; Gisen is wreaking havoc, starting the Amakusa resurrection ritual. Rather than do anything to stop her, everyone at Yoshihiko’s lab just talks for a long time, then fight each other instead of the threat to the country. We’ll have to keep an eye on Jubei too, as the next time Muneakira kisses her, her innocent non-master-samural mode self will vanish and the pact will be complete. The art is still pretty, but this series’s weaknesses are starting to overshadow its strengths at a crucial time. Rating: 2.5

Bakuman 11

Victory at last! Moritaka and Akito will finally be published in NEXT! Magazine. The moment the news hits, I couldn’t help but swell up with excitement right along with them. After all, it’s been eleven weeks of ups and downs; it was time for a breakthrough. The high school hurdle is cleared too, as both of them pass their exams. There’s a catch of course; Nizuma will dominate the issue they’re published in. This will surely test their mettle as manga artists.

This episode also explored the very different approaches to romance Moritaka and Akito are taking. Though it’s through fault of his own, Akito has a flirty steady in Kaya, and if he’s not careful, her charms will steal away more and more name-making time. This is why Moritaka and Miho are holding off on dating, or indeed any excessive contact: if they did date, they’d have absolutely no time.

Akito tells Kaya, M&M’s love is deeper than they can imagine. Perhaps, but M&M’s interactions remain excruciatingly timid affairs. But for the purposes of this series, one must suspend belief in such a idealistic romance, because Bakuman may just successfully deliver one. Things are certainly on the right track for that outcome. Rating: 3.5

Oreimo 11

After eleven weeks of Kirino berating and abusing Kyousuke, I was starting to question their value as human beings: her for doing it; him for letting her. The apparent last straw is when Manami comes over out of the kindness of her heart to cook lunch. There’s no excuse for “Mother-in-law” Kirino treating Manami like she does, and no excuse for Kyousuke to let her do so. Sabotaging his room with glasses-girl porn may have been a bad move though; if anything it may have made Manami even more interested in him. Still…why didn’t he just, you know, close the laptop???

Just when I fear Kirino is turning into a jealous Sora (from Yosuga no), Kyousuke arrives at a party Saori has been organizing where she, Kirino and Kuroneko dress as maids. Turns out it’s to thank him for helping Kirino out and introducing her to friends she can talk to about anime. It’s also the venue for Kirino to finally, properly, earnestly apologize for the way she’s treated Kyousuke, and relay her appreciation for his admittedly extensive efforts on her behalf. That’s better! I’ll also mention that Kuroneko’s whole manga presentation was hilarious, as were the siblings’ reaction to it. The series looks like it’s headed to a solid, if quiet, finish. Rating: 4