Aquarion Evol – 19

Zessica skulks in her dorm when Mikage apparates from the shards of a broken mirror. He plants a kiss on her forehead that leaves a glowing sigil. When a dimension gate opens above the academy, Crea heeds a cryptic message from Fudo and orders the Aquarions to go through and rescue Mix. Amata, Andy, Zessica, Yunoha and Shrade arrive in Altair, and find it a depressing, run-down place devoid of women. Using schematics from Jin’s imager, they locate the central command, and are met by resistance. Andy takes a young pilot hostage, but when he realizes Andy can’t kill him, he trips an alarm and he’s arrested. Amata escapes and finds his mother in stasis. The pilot removes a helmet, revealing Mix’s braid.

We knew it wouldn’t be long before some kind of rescue mission for Mix was mounted, and so here we are. We have an interesting and diverse group, since Mikono is off to go find Fudo. Shrade knocks out Cayene and takes his place on the team, so that he can experience the melodies of Altair for himself. Yunoha goes to see Jin’s home. Amata goes because he can fly. Andy goes because no one’s going to stop him, plus his hole-making abilities prove quite useful. Zessica comes too (more on her in a bit). We like how all of their element powers are put to good use, and not merely supplementing Aquarion, but in personal combat. They do this so rarely, sometimes we forget just how powerful these kids are, especially after their training sessions.

We also get to see Altair from the eyes of our heroes for the first time, and well, the place is a depressing dump, with the melody of “a wailing old woman”, according to Shrade. More telling, both Yunoha and Zessica immediately start not feeling so good, which is probably why there are no women on Altair. Even stranger is when the young, androgynous pilot Andy takes hostage shows her braid, revealing she’s Mix…but we saw her chest and her boobs are gone. What the hell happened to her? And let’s not forget the reason they were able to reach Altair at all – Mikage. He’s taken an interest in Zessica, which ironically bodes well for her stalled character. The prospect of her becoming another oneof his puppets is more interesting than if she had been taken by Izumo in the first place. Throw in Amata finding his mom, and this Altair rescue mission has opened up a whole new can of worms…or rather, donut ants.

Rating: 4

Hyouka – 03

Chitanda begs Oreki to help her remember a buried mystery regarding her uncle, who was in the Classics Club 45 years ago. He went to India and has been missing for nearly seven years, and she wants to solve the mystery before he’s declared legally dead. Oreki also gets a letter from his sister telling him where the anthologies are, but the clubroom has changed since she went to school there. The old clubroom is being guarded by Tougaito, who initially doesn’t let them in, but careful prodding and a mutually-beneficial proposition from Oreki gets them what they wanted: the anthologies…only the first and most important issue remains missing.

Last week’s cliffhanger would have had us believe Chitanda was preparing to confess her love to Oreki, but we knew that wasn’t how things were going to go down. Still, the fact that she’d open up to Oreki about her past is proof that she deeply admires, respects, and trusts in his deductive abilities. Essentially, he’s her only hope. So now the first major mystery arrives, wrapped in another little mystery that no one but Oreki figures out: the mystery of why Tougaito acts so strange and standoffish. We remember high school well, and the moment “air freshener” was mentioned, we too knew: he was smokin’ in there.

Oreki’s calm, cool, yet unyielding manner towards the upperclassman, and his pointed questions and veiled threat of faculty involvement was all that was necessary to get what he wanted from the stoner. “No skin off his back,” as he put it. This episode also continues the practice of going with wildly different animation styles when presenting Chitanda’s reminiscence (whimsical pop-up-book style) and when Oreki explains to Ibara how he got the anthologies delivered (colorful, stylized stills of the scenario, with the two of them inserted into it). This is really an impeccably-made series, with almost obessive attention to details, so it’s fitting that such a subtle, observant, and sharp character as Oreki populates it. We look forward to how the next mystery is solved – the missing first issue.

Rating: 9 (Superior)

Car Cameo:
  In the establishing shot of the cafe, a Mitsubishi eK buzzes past. Nice low beltline!