Eureka Seven AO – 06

Pied Piper moves in to relieve Goldilocks, whose command ship Medon is destroyed when Chief Bruno collides with the Secret. The three pilots are recovered and sped to the nearest hospital. Ao stays beside Chloe McCafferty’s bed and falls asleep, having not slept for days, but when he wakes up and hears Chloe’s failed strategy, he goes back out in Nirvash. As Fleur and Elena cover him, he flies through the hole in the clouds created by the Triton’s main cannon, dodges the Secret’s attacks and and destroys its core. His victory is witnessed by a mysterious shapeshifter calling himself Truth.

This episode started rather randomly, with two drug-related events in Myanmar and Lima, where some strange dude who can change his appearance dishes out his/her own form of justice. This troublemaker remains nameless until the very end of the episode when she nonchalantly approaches the entrance to Generation Bleu, calling herself “Truth.” He seems like one of those kinds of characters who thrives on chaos, and that’s probably what’s coming next week. But first things first, Pied Piper had to go out and save Goldilocks, and it was up to a hospitalized kindergartner had to snap Ao out of a brief funk.

Again there are momentary shades of Renton: moping about not being needed, then saving the day in as badass a way as possible, then making a stupid face when he’s praised, like a dog. Thankfully they’re only shades, as Renton would’ve probably sat out the festivities this week. Not Ao: even though he’s tired as all hell, he knows he needs to make a statement to his snobbish colleagues, and make sure Bruno wasn’t killed in vain. With a little help from GEORG, the AI with the funny face, he makes that statement. Another very good episode, but Eureka Seven AO has yet to really WAO us.

Rating: 6 (Good)

Medaka Box – 07

In the first part, Kikaijima finds it difficult to strike up a conversation with her new colleague Zenkichi. After Shiranui drops off photos of Medaka kissing her, Kikaijima and Zenkichi break the ice by talking about Medaka…then she tries to take a page out of Medaka’s book by telling him he loves him and trying to kiss him. In the second part, the artist Yubaru comes to the council wanting Medaka to model for him, but she doesn’t work out, nor does Ishaya, Nekomi, Kikaijima, Zenkichi, or Akune. Shiranui answers the call, and manages to inspire him to ‘distort reality’.

With Shining Hearts and Dusk Maiden official off our watchlist, Medaka Box has the unenviable honor of being the lowest-ranked show we’re still watching. And while it’s not a very good Gainax series, and it has way too many boob, swimsuit, and lolisnack gags, but it does possess one quality those two departed series lack: it’s not a pain in the ass to sit through. The addition of Kikaijima to the gang (voiced by the omnipresent Ai Koyano) freshens things up, and we enjoyed watching her and Zenkichi squirm in their awkwardness, trying to come up with something to say. The episode is also replete with hilarious one-liners.

The second half introduces a new client; perhaps the most demanding yet. The picky painter rejects girl after attractive girl, bruising their egos in the process. And while we’re not the biggest fans of Shiranui Hansode, her clever role in solving both problems this week earned her some brownie points. Also, she didn’t stuff her face with brownies (or anything else) this week, she only talked about it.) Yubaru wasn’t interested in simply translating beauty to canvas; he wanted to capture the likeness of a goddess of potential from a less obviously hot model.

Rating: 5 (Average)

Sakamichi no Apollon – 06

A new school year begins, and Sentaro is in a different class than Ritsuko and Kaoru. Sentaro asks Ritsuko to look after him more. Kaoru tells Yurika about Jun being missing, and then she asks Sentaro on a date to get him a gift for modelling for her. Art Club member Matsuoka Seiji wants to recruit Sentaro for his rock band during the school festival, lending him a Beatles album. While on the beach clamming with Kaoru and Ritsuko, he finally asks, and Sentaro agrees. Feeling betrayed, Kaoru storms off. Ritsuko’s dad finds Jun drunk in a bar.

Kaoru tried reminding her estranged son not to fret over one rejection, and that he’s in the heydey of his youth, but enjoying said youth is easier said than done, especially with someone as cerebral and introspective as Kaoru. Sentaro and Ritsuko are his first real, good friends, and he fears losing them even as he pines for Ritsuko’s heart. A new character threatens the status quo, and he doesn’t like it. About this Seiji fellow: he’s very friendly and even a little effeminate, and rubs Kaoru the wrong way. But he’s not really a threat until he seduces Sentaro into drumming in his -gasp- rock band. ‘Who needs rock, especially early Beatles pop rock, when you have jazz?’, Kaoru must be wondering.

What Kaoru doesn’t understand is that Sentaro and Seiji have more in common than meets the eye: both are poor with big families, and hope to support those families in the future. But the way Sentaro tries to comfort him makes him remember when he was little, and was told the same stuff by other friends, only to be alone in the end. Kaoru lashes out like a little kid, and even better, knows he’s acting like a little kid, and almost instantly regrets it, but then thinks about how he’s never been a social creature, and continues on the bus route of isolation and lonliness, which he apparently believes to be his natural state. It will be interesting to see where he’ll go from here…not to mention what the heck is up with Jun.

Rating: 7 (Very Good)