Aquarion Evol – 08

While trying to dig his way to the girls’ locker room, Andy happens upon what he believes is the Book of Twin Stars, the key to Aquarion. Mix, an expert in linguistics, determines it to be an ancient student handbook. She wants to start implementing its strict dress code, starting with Zessica covering up more. Jin returns to Vega in search of the “perfect reaigler” who could be “True Eve” to Altair, which no longer has any women.

Amata, Mikono, and Zessica are sent out, but Jin proves a tough customer, using infiltration ammo to bypass Aquarion’s armor and deliver shockwaves straight to the pilots. This has a side effect of tearing their uniforms, and Zessica realizes the more skin she’s showing, the better she can dodge the weapons. Amata and Mikono follow (de)suit, stripping off most of their clothes, giving them the best offense – a total lack of defense, or modesty. They dodge all of Jin’s attacks and defeat him with a decisive blow.

The moral of this episode was “Naked Is Good.” Tyler Durden said “It’s only when we lose everything that we’re free to do anything,” which we’re gonna go ahead and apply here. After so many episodes of Zessica strutting around in Sexy Espada cosplay, the series – through the ultra-prude Mix – finally calls her out on it. But this week her near-nakedness was her secret weapon. She had to show more skin than ever. And Amata and Mikono also had to tear away their inhibitions – and clothes – in order to prevail.

Is this really ridiculous? Sure, but the show at least knows that; Jin couldn’t believe he was beaten by something so stupid. That awareness, and the nice tie-in with Zessica’s exhibitionism vs. Mikono’s bashfulness outside the cockpits, helped us let our own guard down and just enjoy the silliness. But against even her own judgement, Zessica continues falling for Amata. But they’ve seen each other mostly naked, so they’ve cleared that hurdle…


Rating: 3.5

Rinne no Lagrange – 07

While Todoroko and Moid determine what to do with her, Muginami thinks back to her childhood on the harsh penal colony on planet U-Go, where she was alone and suffering until she found a young Villagiulio washed up on the shore. They had been together ever since – until she came to Earth. Lan tells Madoka that Villagiulio was the crown prince of Demetrio, and everyone thought he would be an agent of peace, but it wasn’t to be. Now understanding Muginami’s position, she seeks her out to apologize. Muginami apologizes too, but sneaks out in the night. Lan, then Madoka stop her, and tell her she shouldn’t go, because they’re all family now.

We may not have learned anything new about last week’s blooming of Rin-ne, but we did learn a lot more about Muginami, whose character got a boost of sympathy. Her Dark Past involves living on a hopeless, horrible-looking planet where it’s always dark and cold and grey – the last place you’d expect her to come from. Of the three girls, she’s had the roughest life – which both belies and explains why she’s so fashion-conscious and perfect at everything now: she had to work that much harder to scrape together a life.

Her life started with nothing, and it would have ended with nothing long ago if it weren’t for Villagiulio. Of course, now he’s a changed man, and it would seem he’s no longer interested in being Muginami’s family, but now she has a new one in the Sweats Club, made official by skinny-dipping at sea. Which brings us to the fanservice this week – there was a lot of it. Fortunately, it was mostly incidental never that overt…aside from the pan of a wet Lan covered in eels, of course. And we’re hoping Madoka eventually learns to pronounce Villagiulio’s name right. It’s not that hard!


Rating: 3.5

Nisemonogatari – 07

Taking half of Karen’s illness made her strong enough to run off to deal with Kaiki alone. Araragi confronts her beneath a freeway interchange, and a brutal battle ensues. Araragi is suprised by her sister’s ability, but she’s just as surprised he won’t go down. He eventually convinces her to stand down, and he and Senjougahara confront Kaiki in front of a hero show pavilion. He verbally spars with both of them, but tells Araragi Karen will make a full recovery in less than three days, and voluntarily leaves town. Karen is better the next morning, and she and Tsukihi continue their Fire Sister duty.

Nisemonogatari and its prequel could sometimes be accused of being overly leisurely with their pace and light on the action. If there’s any action in an episode at all, it’s almost teasingly brief, if highly caffeinated. Well, this week bucked both those trends, and served up a highly-charged and quick resoution to the Araragi/Karen standoff. She’s an awesome fighter, using Mugen-like breakdancing moves against her brother, who is handicapped by his desire not to kill his precious big little sister, which would happen if he went all out. It then ends with her relenting and a big hug.

With the conventional fight out of the way, the real battle begins: a battle of words and wits against Kaiki, and it’s a good one; one of the best of either -monogari. While he begins with a speech of concession, he’s most liberal with the barbs against Senjougahara, calling her ordinary, boring, even fat. He’s essentially telling them he never cared about winning or losing money, that the supernatural doesn’t exist (calling the bee oddity hypnosis), history is a bunch of lies (Edo, not Muromachi!) the past is irrelevant, and oft repeating that life isn’t theatre. That last bit is ironic, considering how theatrical the scene is (there are even spotlights!). Sifting out the truth from his blizzard of lies is easy: IT’S ALL LIES. A nice touch: when he finally stops talking and says farewell, the huge murder of crows that had assembled flies off with him, as if Kaiki were just their human instrument.

We even imagined that the whole confrontation was taking place in an alternate plane – on the other side of which a rapt audience was watching the Power Rangers on the projection screen, with a bright blue sky above them rather than a forboding sunset. Interestingly, that video still plays in the alternate plane, at times even mirroring or complementing the words being said. Senjougahara shows superoir restraint in taking all the abuse and telling him basically “Well, Araragi loves me, so screw off.” After that, Araragi get’s his second tender hug of the day – only this hug has no creepy incestuous overtones – something the series continues to unapologetically overplay. But that didn’t ruin a sensational end to the Karen Bee arc, that had it all: thick-as-soup atmosphere, uncharacteristic combat, and phenomenal dialogue.


Rating: 4