Star Driver 22

Ah, so Takuto and Wako finally kiss, but alas, it’s in the context of a play. A surprisingly decent and interesting play, by the way. It had to be: if something frivilous and silly had taken up more than 3/4ths of the third-to-last episode, it would have been an unfortunate waste. But armed with the same ebullient orchestration as the series proper; excellent pacing and progression, an a simple but moving story, the play was less of a detour and more of what Star Driver does best: enrich its cast with every episode.

This was another rare episode with no Zero Time and no cybodys. An I daresay it was also the first in which nobody is in Glittering Crux mode (everyone in costumes this week are normally just wearing their school uniform); no one flashes the sign; there isn’t one word uttered about the cult. I appreciate the confidence of this anime to leave that stuff out for once.

This week wasn’t without its revelations (well, for chracters, not necessarily us): Sugata learns that Keito is the Eastern maiden, and has been helping him come out of his deep slumber (maidens just have to be nakked to do their stuff, I guess…) and Takuto’s first crush (a girl with a very cute and unique voice) shows up to sign off on Wako, whom Takuto apparently talks about a lot. Still, Wako’s in a love triangle with Sugata and Takuto; breaking free of it, if that’s what she wants – will be quite tricky. Rating: 3.5

Bakuman 22

In hindsight, I didn’t really expect anything to come out of “Team Fukuda” protesting the fact they’ll have to compete against a celebrity, namely Koogy. Remembering what the chief editor told him that all manga need to be is “interesting”, Mashiro decides he’ll face Koogy anyway. If Koogy wins, so be it; it will be a hollow victory forged from his previous success as a rock star; not necessarily because he has the superior manga.

As to that: when everyone’s plans to make the contest fairer are deflated, they all decide instead to have a collective name-reading and critique. They choose Niizuma’s place as the venue, and he joins in as a neutral voice. Naturally, everyone thinks their own manga is the best, but when Aoki first blurts this out, she kinda sounds like a bitch. This shouldn’t be a meeting to determine whose is the “best” (that’s for the readers/editors to decide anyway), its about sharing suggestions, like Fukuda, Nakai, and Mashiro did with Niizuma’s “Crow”.

That can’t really happen here: everyone’s poured so much of their souls into their own works, it’s impossible to contribute to mangas they’re competing against, however much constructive criticism they may harbor within. To offer too much assistance would be to risk torpedoing one’s own chances.

Meanwhile, Miho is progressing along her rather odd lfiepath of becoming a seiyu. I like how Miyoshi is more honest than kind when it comes to critiquing Miho’s singing ability; I myself find it a bit lacking compared to say, Maaya Sakamoto’s. Still, however silly it seems for her to cosplay and perform in Akiba, it’s all for the dream. Rating: 3.5