Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai – 06

Yozora arranges for the club to go to a karaoke box, however she and Sena purchase separate booths to “game the system”, while Kadoka gets one for Kobato, Rika, Yukimura and himself. When everyone has sung themselves hoarse they leave, but Yozora promises there’ll be more club activities throughout summer vacation, like any other club. She bristles when she learns Kadoka is going to visit Sena’s house to meet her father.

Yozora may have founded this “Neighbor Club”, but let’s call it what it is, shall we?…a harem. He’s now got four girls (not counting his sister or the nun) following him around. Not that extra guys would be better – they’d probably just put him in a choke hold and muss his hair. But while Rika is all about…progressing their relationship and Yukimura wants nothing else but to be his slave, Sena and Yozora are the ones constantly twirling their hair (a lot) in hesitation. We have to admit, their childish bickering may have reached a new low (‘You’re stupid!’ ‘No, you’re stupid!’)

Naturally Kodaka is trying to keep this all nice and professional, so as not to choose favorites, but not telling Yozora that his dad simply knows Sena’s dad is a pretty dense move. Of course, we don’t see why Yozora doesn’t just come out and tell him she was his childhood friend whom he moved away from without saying goodbye. Of course, she’s the one who never showed…perhaps reuniting herself with Kodaka but not revealing who she is is…penance, of some kind? We wouldn’t put it past her; she’s quite odd.

Rating: 2.5

Mawaru Penguindrum – 18

Tabuki kidnaps Himari, puts her in a bucket suspended by cables, and blows the cables up one by one as Kanba tries to reason with him. Tabuki wants to punish their father for killing Momoka, who was his savior, that of all mankind, and his only reason for living. When the last cable breaks, Kanba provides a lifeline for Himari, at the cost of his hand, but she is saved, and Tabuki slinks off, warning Ringo, imprisoned in the elevator the whole time, not to turn out like him. She swears she won’t.

It was pretty inevitable we’d get a Tabuki episode this week, and it was suitably dark, befitting someone now so lost, he’s prepared to kill poor innocent Himari as payback for losing Momoka. Like Yuri, Tabuki was abused as a child, first emotionally, as her mother demanded prodigal talent in exchange for love, and then physically, when his hand was slammed in a piano, ruining his future as a pianist. Things get a little symbolic with the “Child Broiler”, but suffice it to say, he’s about to be crushed into oblivion when Momoka saves him, begging him to live for her, who loves him.

Up until the last couple episodes, Tabuki has done a bang-up job concealing both his hatred of the Takakuras and the fact that the one person he chose to live for is gone. For years it stewed in him, culminating in the desperate ultimatum he issues Kanba. For a minute, we really though Himari was history, and the show played it that way, but seeing Kanba’s selfless love for Himari must have reminded him of Momoka, and so he spared her. We’ll tell ya what, now we’d like to meet their father and give him a good punch in the face for what he’s put his poor kids through…only it’s all fate, the good and the bad. Will what the parents do ever be revealed? It would be nice, but at this point unnecessary. This is some sublime drama.

Rating: 4

Persona 4: The Animation – 06

Yu, Yosuke, Chie and Yukiko spend Golden Week and after hanging out, investigating the murders. They learn that the next next victim is a n’er-do-well classmate of theirs named Tatsumi Kanji, whom they tail. However, they prove most un-stealthy, and are forced to run from the furious delinquent on more than one occasion.

Ah Persona 4…the show that takes its time and hangs out at outdoor food courts. For the second straight week, we don’t see a lick of underworld or supernatural goings-on, save the brief Midnight Channel sequences. But rather than focusing on a new character (who doesn’t reappear here), this episode is mostly just about the gang bonding and having adventures with one another in the real world. This episode reminds us that these four are still getting to know one another for the most part. Yu and Yosuke don’t even have Yukiko’s number until now.

Their attempts to tail Kanji make for a good deal of slapstick comedy, including a Chie and Yosuke blowing their own cover by having such a loud conversation, to Chie having beef bowls delivered to her in the middle of being chased by Kanji, which was quite amusing. It was nice to see the show let its hair down a little before diving right back into the underworld and personas, though Yu remains a ridiculously wooden character whose performance is laid back almost to a fault. Also, what’s with the school’s lax dress code?

Rating: 3