Medaka Box – 06

The Swim team continues to dominate the aquatic events, due to their extreme and risky methods that show no regard for their well-being. It comes down to the surprise final event, a cavalry battle that pits them against the student council. Medaka makes a ‘pretentious appeal to innate goodness’ by deducing their insatiable greed is fueled by past trauma, which turns out to be correct. Even so, while beating them in the final challenge, Medaka lectures them on treasuring their own lives and each other before money, as she does. The Judo club wins the overall meet, and the Swim club president Kikaijima Mogana agrees to join the student council as treasurer.

We here at RABUJOI are unabashed capitalists; it’s just how we were brought up. We too sometimes dream of owning an olympic pool full of money…or water. Scrooge McDuck always looked so happy diving into his money bin. Though when you really think about it, bills would cause nasty papercuts and coins would cause bruising. Not to mention the nightmare of keeping that much cash clean…and above all, secure. It’s more trouble than it’s worth. But it’s a nice dream. Medaka thinks so too, which is why she doesn’t urge them to rethink their lives – only to reevaluate their priorities. Money is worthless if you’re dead.

This episode still had a couple problems: Nabeshima and Azo are right up there in the running for most irritating characters (you could almost make a drinking game with all of Nabeshima’s ku-ku-kus) and Shiranui continues to piss us with her non-stop eating. But at least the Big Bad swim team was cut down to size and got some (brief) backstory:  brought up stinking poor, and like one of our cats, they think every meal could be their last, so acquisition is their lives. We also thought the totally ridiculous swimming pool with its NERV-like mechanical doors and seals was a pretty strange and funny little detail…here we are talking about how there isn’t enough money to go around, and yet this pool complex must have cost at least five billion yen!

Rating: 5 (Average)

Sakamichi no Apollon – 05

When Ritsuko turns Kaoru down (because there’s someone else she’s in love with), not even the arrival of his dad can cheer him up. Vowing never to return to the music store, Sentaro sneaks in his room to snap him out of it. Kaoru’s father gives him the address of his mother in Tokyo, and Kaoru decides to take a trip to get over his heartache; Sentaro tags along. After getting drunk with some of Jun’s neighbors, he finally reunites with his mother, who isn’t what he expected, but is kind and helps him get over his lovelornness. Back in Kyushu, Kaoru returns to the music store to practice, and is friendly to Ritsuko, to her relief.

If you’ve never been rejected, the events of this episode may not move you all that much, but with both rejectors and rejectees among us, we can attest that it’s not usually fun for either party. When dealing with a friendship you may have damaged with one-sided romantic feelings, it can feel worse, because it means you’re out a good friend, which Ritsuko most certainly is (she even makes him lunch for his train ride!). What Kaoru needs is to take a brief break from his bleak world. What better way to escape than to visit one of the biggest cities in the world?

We can also attest that Tokyo is a place that can make you feel like a million bucks, and, depending on your feelings about big cities, will either make you feel like you’re merely a hopeless ant in a maze, or a part of something great and amazing. It’s important to have a place to go and a reason to be there, even if that reason is just wandering around, but Kaoru found what he needed: A.), shochu, and B.) the comfort of an estranged but still loving mother, who reminds him he’s in his heydey of youth, far too young to give up on happines. So he doesn’t. He moves forward.

Rating: 8 (Great)