Nisemonogatari – 03

Araragi leaves Kanbaru’s house after helping her clean her room, and meets an “ill-omened” man in a funeral suit named Kaiki who somewhat reminds him of Oshino. He then bumps into Senjougahara on the street, who is angry to see him slacking off, and also warns him she’ll kill him if his playing around with the other girls goes a step too far. When he mentions Kaiki to her, he kidnaps him and chains and cuffs him to a chair in the cram school. When Tsukihi texts him needing help, he breaks his chains, and redies to leave. Then Senjougahara recieves a strange call from Hanekawa.

This week a new character comes into play, and we return to the scene in the cram school with Araragi tied up “for his own protection.” It’s very interesting and telling that she does this when she hears about Kaiki, who just happens to be the first of five con men Senjougahara herself went to see about her weight crab oddity before meeting Araragi and Oshino. Kaiki certainly sounds like Oshino, so we’re not taking it as a mere coincidence. We’re also not familiar with any of the light novel source material, nor the upcoming prequel called Kizumonogatari which features this “Guillotine Cutter” guy Araragi mentions in his thoughts. We do find it entertaining that this series can leap from various girls flirting with Araragi to his girlfriend unleashing wave after wave of crushing verbal abuse to Serious Plot Shit.

Senjougahara clearly has some kind of problem she’s hiding from Araragi (again, for his protection) and it involves Hanekawa, Kaiki, and/or both. As for what Tsukihi’s problem could be, there are two possibilities: either the younger Fire Sister sent out a false alarm and is merely toying with him, or she is in legitimate danger. Araragi’s vampire status makes him a potential force to be reckoned with, particularly if you threaten those he holds most dear. We haven’t the foggiest idea what’s going to happen next, but striking close-ups of the beautiful Senjougahara continue to impress as always.

Rating: 3.5

Moretsu Pirates – 03

The electronic attack is resolved when the Odette II’s auto-defense system kicks in, redistributes power, and trips the ship’s breakers. The Yacht Club returns to the planet surface to take their final exams, then return to the Odette II for their practice cruise. The ship is successfully launched out of spacedock, but when they try to deploy the masts, a yard gets caught, requiring an EVA and some elbow grease to fix. Marika, Kane, and Chiaki, and four others suit up and leave the ship, successfully untangle the masts and unfurl the sails.

When Marika ultimately makes the decision to become a real pirate, it will set a lot of things into motion, and she (and by extension those around her) will no longer be protected by the non-aggression pact on the Sea of Morningstar. It’s not even clear if that pact extends into space, but the fact remains, it’s a big choice and she’ll have to be ready when she makes it. This episode really drove home the point that even if she doesn’t claim her birthright, she still leads a pretty awesome life…but is it enough? The episode also did a really good job laying out all the procedures required to launch a starship. The students comport themselves well, while also showing their age and relative inmaturity while changing into their spacesuits for instance, much to Kane’s chagrin.

While we’re at it, the Odette II is a really cool-looking ship, and  a more realistic, novel design than the sillier “galleons in space” of Treasure Planet or Rogue Galaxy. It’s cool that it’s a ship that sails the stars using solar wind and thermal radiation.We’re no scientist, so we’re not looking for ironcclad physics, but there’s nothing offensively far-fetched to pick at. The spacewalk scene ably captures the sheer awe and majesty of the inky black vastness, while cheerfully twinkling stars lessen the foreboding. Marika is a little scared (we’d be worried if she wasn’t), but she’s pumped-up and excited too.

Rating: 4

Sket Dance – 41

In the first part, Enigman and Quettion inflict a “Battle Q” upon the Student Council sans President Agata, in which they answer every question incorrectly and are corrected by “Bosshuton”, or Bossun in masquerade. Agata arrives at the end to answer everything correctly and bail his council out. In the second part, Enigman, out of character as Daimon, begs the sket-dan’s council for advice about an impending date with the real Quettion, who shot him down initially but whom he wore down to get said date. A firm believer in Murphy’s law, Daimon obsessively overthinks every detail, but everything he feared turned out to actually come to pass.

Just five episodes separate the first Enigman episode from this, but we didn’t mind the rather recent revisiting of the dichotomous couple (also, Quettion’s”Thinking Time” song is quite catchy). It was also nice to see the council in action, once again out of their element, being faced with questions whose answers elude them. This was a scenario in which Tsubaki’s honor, Shinba’s looks, Daisey’s violence and Unyuu’s cash were all non-factors. One nice detail was the fact they never showed us the incriminating photo being used for leverage – some things are better left unknown to keep the tension high.

The second part followed the second part of episode 35, in which Daimon exhibits all the qualities of a typical heartsick high schooler, only amplified. Any possible thing you could worry about before going on a first date? He’s worrying about all of that and more. The sket-dan listens intently but quickly run out of patience with him, insisting he should just go with the flow and he’ll be fine; Quettion won’t hate him for one or two slip-ups. Of course, quite hilariously, everything he predicts could go wrong does go wrong, and Quettion does end up hating him even more (despite loving and admiring Enigman). Daimon can’t catch a break, but that’s what he gets for falling for someone who finds the real him so dull and repellent.

Rating: 3

Winter Cleaning – A Couple of SS’s Go Kaput

Since our total watchlist has ballooned to fifteen series (sixteen once Black★Rock Shooter comes around) we’ve felt it necessary to trim some fat. First on the chopping block: Inu x Boku SS. We were not impressed with this. We likened it somewhat to Otome Youkai Zakuro, in which both Zakuro and Agemaki were immediately more interesting than the girl and slave-like servant in this. The former couple had decent chemistry that lifted an otherwise average series, this latter one doesn’t.

As for Amagami SS+, the fact the glutton girl’s arc is up next is the perfect opportunity for us to quit cold turkey. We were always more irritate then charmed by both the one-note Rihoko (I eat a lot! Teehee!) and Sae (I’m shy! Teehee!) We may have stuck with such shows in the past a little longer, but with not one or two but three quality sci-fi shows to keep track of, we couldn’t justify keeping these two around.