Tamayura ~hitotose~ – 04

Potte, Kaoru, Norie and Kou pay a visit to the island where Pottes grandfather lives, and stay at an in owned by Maon’s family. Watching her work hard at the inn and put her customers before herself, they all come to the conclusion her parents are grooming her for inhereting the inn. When they confront them about it, Maon assures them her work at the inn is just as important to her as her musical dreams. It’s also revealed that she has a tendency to change her dreams with great frequency.

This series is like a cool, breezy day by the seaside. It’s so happy and fluffy, and yet so sincere, we can’t help but be charmed. Norie can try our patience when it comes to her energy level and rivalry with Komachi, but this week she gets serious and speaks up when it looks like her friend’s parents are pushing a very timid and reserved Maon into a future of servitude. It turns out to not be that big of a deal; as Maon is wishy-washy. As for the parents, they’re just ecstatic she has actual friends.

Ever the photorecorder, no one is safe from the crosshairs of Potte’s Rollei. She has a wealth of material, as she’s surrounded herself with warm, loving people. The gorgeous quaint island village setting is like a tall glass of fuzzy sunshine. Also notable, Potte’s grief is all but gone from this episode. She sees her father in her grandfather’s face, but doesn’t fret. She watches Maon with her father and isn’t envious or wistful, but joyful.

Rating: 3.5

Chihayafuru – 04

Now in high school, Chihaya continues to play and improve at the Karuta club, and makes Taichi promise he’ll help her start one at school if she wins the upcoming tournament and becomes Class A. She makes the final, and has to go toe-to-toe with Yasuda, a very efficient and aggressive player. After exchanging her Chihaya card multiple times, she is ultimately victorious. Her performance may be enough to reignite Taichi’s passion for the game, but Chihaya is dejected when she calls Wataya to celebrate and he tells her he’s quit playing, and not to call again.

Now we’re back in the present, where nobody cares about the promise they made but Chihaya. She’s sacrificed a high school social life by playing Karuta whenever she can, and even running track to keep herself in shape. Her “play/eat chocolate/sleep” with eyes open is as eccentric as it is cute. We like how she screams when swiping away a card like a tennis player; it keeps her pumped-up while adding her own little flourish to the game. We were pumped up to for the entirety of the final match, this series does a very good job keeping the tension up.

Of course, not everything is puppies and rainbows. Wataya, it seems, would rather have nothing to do with her and Taichi. That leaves us with lots of questions about what happened in the time between now and the day he left for Fukui, sad to be torn from his new friends, but determined to become a master. Now he’s given up? Something tells us Chihaya isn’t going to leave it there…and his apparent hiatus from the game, perhaps she and Taichi have a better chance at beating him then they’d assumed.

Rating: 4

Phi Brain: Kami no Puzzle – 04

Kaito grudgingly agrees to check out another sage puzzle. He’s assigned a partner, Anna Gram AKA Da Vinci, an art and puzzle genius. They arrive at the mansion of a recently deceased famous landscape painter. The widow is cold and bitter, and wants to sell the place, but the puzzle must be solved first. The butler turns out to be a Giver from the POG who constructed it. Kaito and Anna are trapped and must solve the puzzle before they’re gassed to death. By rearranging the paintings on the wall according to how their frames match, then using Anna’s extensive knowledge of art history, they get a five-letter roman numeral, which is the code to the safe. The treasure inside is a gallery or portraits of the painter’s wife. The code was the number of the paris apartment where she fell for him.

We’re going to come right out and say we liked this episode. Da Vinci had a pretty good introduction and she and Kaito worked well together. This was also the first episode with an A and a B story: Kaito and Anna solving the puzzle in A, while Nonoha deals with her jealousy, then tries to infiltrate the mansion with the help of a very smitten and willing Gammon, who has an awesome purple bike. I like how her uneasiness about Kaito teaming up with Anna made her a better softball player, but also her realization that she’d rather be by Kaito’s side helping him solve puzzles than let some artsy strumpet take her place.

About Da Vinci…the show kinda pulled a fast one on us and revealed at the very end that she’s actually a he. Which is kinda random and silly and pointless, in our opinion Now there’s no female representation among the named puzzle masters (yet), though her being a guy at least eliminates a potentially annoying triangle involving her and Nonoha. Finally, we have the first POG giver who turns out not to be an evil asshole; as the butler was merely fulfilling the wishes of his dead charge. We’ll also admit we realized MDCLV was roman numerals long before Kaito did, though we’ll give him a pass since we’re unsure how commonly they’re used in Japan.

Rating: 3.5