Arakawa Under the Bridge x 2 10

Everyone going to Venus has to go in order to meet the rocket’s weight limit. But the group splits in three and do it in that many different ways: Ric and the Mayor get a relaxing spa and shiatsu from Jacqueline; P-Ko, Stella and Nino go on a strawberry-only diet, and Sister puts the brothers, Last Samurai, and Hoshi through hellish boot camp that awakens their muscles.

The muscles theme takes over the weight-loss theme (which is fitting, as muscles weigh more than fat), as everyone but Tetsuro loses all their bulk quickly after not working out. He continues, however, leading to hubris and arrogance that gets him into a battle with Stella, who is no slouch even before she transforms into Mega-Stella. Everything about this absurd battle and its faux-drama was hilarious, and the fight animation wasn’t bad, either.

Rating: 3.5

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Otome Youkai Zakuro 11

The stage is set for the final battle between Omodaka and Spirit Affairs, led by Agemaki, who wants to sake Zakuro for a change. Flashbacks and backstory are the order of the day, provided from two sources: Zakuro touching the hand of her dead(?) mother Tsukuhane, and Kushimatsu talking with Spirit Affairs.

It seems a little silly to be standing around listening to a long tale (even if it’s a good one) when every second matters…they wouldn’t have had to run if she’d simply told them how to get to the Village of Oracles. Similarly, Zakuro is in la-la flashback land and a sitting duck when Omodaka finds and re-captures her.

Her half-brother is keen to marry and produce a powerful heir, repeating the cruel cycle that led to his conception. Apparently his thirst for Zakuro’s power overrides whatever worries he may have about, ahem…inbreeding. I’m unsure  what three half-spirits and three humans will be able to accomplish against a village full of people with godlike powers, but I’ll certainly stick around to find out. Rating: 3

Soredemo Machi wa Mawatteiru 10

Soredemo gets all extraterrestrial and supernatural in this week’s outing. When suspiciously perfect holes end up in the wall, ground, and on a sign in an empty lot, Kon thinks it’s the end of her normal boring life and the start of something amazing. It turns out Hotori made the holes with an alien ray gun she found on the ground. Kon happens to have found the device that repairs what the gun destroys. Hotori’s guilt totally overshadowed any interest in investigating the phenomenon. While a little random, this story wasn’t at all unwelcome.

Part two is even stranger: it follows around an old man we’ve never seen before, who died but never got an escort to heaven (at least, that’s how he thinks the system is supposed to work). So for ten years, he’s roamed the town, attracting only the attention of certain animals…though his remarks oddly sync up with Hotori’s when she’s present. It’s revealed that this old man is the maid cafe owner’s dearly departed husband, who still prays to him daily. Both this and the alien parts were bookended by Sanada praying at a shrine to grow closer to Hotori. In all, this episode was a nice, lighthearted exploration of faith: belief in things regardless of proof. Rating: 3.5

Yosuga no Sora 11

Yosuga no Sora dives right into the deep end with aplomb as Haru and Sora give in to the miniature devils on their respective shoulders. Yes, no more imagining; this series has the audacity and cajones to actually go there. We shouldn’t be surprised, as that’s what this was building up to, yet here I sit, surprised nonetheless.

Once the deed is done, there’s no turning back. Haru completely forgets about Nao and his other friends and wants to do nothing but spend time with Sora. Sora, meanwhile, is a new person: far happier and energetic than we’ve ever seen her. Even her voice seems more alive. This suggests all of her lethargy thus far was actually love-sickness, and this is exactly what she wanted all along…which it is. But both siblings will pay a steep social cost for “going beyond ‘getting along'”. Sora doesn’t care, and Haru kinda still does.

It doesn’t take long for his classmates, including Nao to find out something is very amiss. Their suspicions are aided by Haru looking at books about the history of incest in the library (subtle!), the suddenly very frequent public displays of affection between him and Sora…and an unlocked front door inviting anyone to simply barge in and catch them in the act. And catch them they do! So where does this go from here? I don’t see them simply stopping after going so far, but will they be forced to descend into isolation? One more week to sort out the madness. Rating: 3.5