MM! 12 and Wrap-up

If I was allowed only one word to describe this final episode, I guess it would have to be “cute”. It showed the generous and kind side of Mio, who wanted to help people on Christmas day even while trying to keep it secret that it’s her birthday. She and Tarou bond more, stalling Tarou and Arashiko and making me rethink exactly who was the main love interest.

At the end of the day, Mio’s bond with him came out stronger, as Arashiko was kind of a Taiga to Taro’s Ryuji (to use Toradora as a basic example; that series was on a whole different level than this one). It was also nice to see the series close relatively simply, without any ridiculous shounen parodies or fantasies; just a nice honest Christmas/birthday episode. It really is funny how Japanese seem to go to school even on Christmas day, and the speed with which they organize parties is nothing short of superhuman.

MM! shares the ratings basement with Hyaka Ryouran, and wasn’t anything exceptional, but it did have a relatively novel idea – throwing S&M into a high school romantic comedy – and usually managed to stay funny and interesting. Looking back, I’m kind of relieved one more series is over and done with, but I’m not sorry I stuck with it. Rating: 3

Series Mean Ranking: 2.875 (Ranked 14th out of 15 Fall 2010 Series)

Bakuman 12

This week, Moritaka, Takashi, Kaya and Miho all graduate, but the ceremony is of minimal importance. Moritaka and Takashi’s name is approved and its finally time to write the manuscript for the piece to be published in Shounen Jack NEXT. They have every intention of beating Niizuma in the popularity questionnaires, but there’s no guarantee of that. While he’s glad the boys are happy, Hattori is a little concerned that they’re rushing things so far.

The reason for that is Miho. It’s clear as day now that they’re not interested in dating, not even once before graduating. They both made a promise and they’re going to stick to it. Kaya, in a much more conventional relationship with Takashi, simply can’t understand, and tries to play the yenta and meddle to get them together. This doesn’t go over well with Moritaka, who claims to understand Miho better than Kaya (and he very well might, at least in some areas). Their shouting match and subsequent make-up was really well done.

Moritaka and Miho’s love and trust in one another has this mysterious power to it; they hardly have any contact, but that’s because such contact causes such profound reactions in them. Even when Moritaka chases her down on the way to work, neither of them can say much – save exactly what they need to hear: they’ll wait. I’m not sure such a romance is for me – Kaya and Takashi’s seems a lot easier – but ultimately, with greater hardship comes greater reward. The series definitely has me believing in and pulling for them.

Rating: 4

Star Driver 12

I was pleasantly surprised to learn that Star Driver will be a twenty-fiver, and not merely end at thirteen. I definitely prefer that to a rushed ending, something they have not attempted in the last two episodes. Instead, it focused on Adult Bank, starting with Simone and ending with her mistress, Kanako, who intensifies her flirtation with Takuto – one of the only boys not to kiss her through the glass – in preparation to face him in Zero Time.

Before mounting up her cybody, she asks Takuto why he’s fighting Crux. Takuto doesn’t bother answering; it should be obvious. He’s fighting to stop them. For her part, Kanako seems to mean business – she’s an Olympic-level boxer, and those skills give her an early upper hand in her battle against Tauburn. (A nice little detail: Sugata and Wako are in their jammies, and Wako is in the middle of brushing her teeth!)

It’s another quick but superbly choreographed battle, one of desperation, really, as Kanako has no other option but to go all out and attempt to take him down. But Tauburn uses his “pile” as a spinning fist to destroy her cybody and knock her out of contention for the leadership of Crux. I’m not quite certain how many members are left in the running, but their numbers seem to be dwindling. That cybody restoration program can’t come soon enough…Rating: 4