Medaka Box – 09

The DisCom Chairman Unzen Myouri ccompletes his introduction by destroying the music room and severely injuring the orchestra members as punishment for making too much noise. Medaka confronts him, flanked by Onigase and Shiranui, whom she is considering for Vice President. After Medaka survives his initial attacks, Unzen notifies her he’s sent DisCom assassins to take out her council, leaving her with only minutes to save them; first Kikaijima, then Akune, and finally Zenkichi, fully utilizing her seemingly superhuman strength, speed, and agility.

This episode really ratchets up the action and Gainax lunacy, as if the series had suddenly been infused with some kind of stimulant. We were dreading a week dedicated to Unzen – who is pretty irritating and one-dimensional – but fortunately he’s just the means to an end, and that end is showing Medaka in top action hero form. There are moments when it seems like she’d be right at home in Diebuster. None of this makes any sense in the context of a normal high school, but it’s clear this is no normal high school (the multimillion-dollar aquatic center was proof enough of that.)

And it does entertain. As Medaka is on her desperate quest to save her friends, she steals one assassin’s wolverine claws, borrows a pair of track spikes from Isehaya (they always manage to fit her in somehow), and what she does with a pink bike (the second defeated assassin’s weapon of choice, because why not?) when faced with a fortified DisCom barricade has to be seen to be believed. Just when we start to lose interest in this series, it bounces back with a energizing jaunt like this. Medaka Box knows how to go overboard the right way.


Rating: 8 (Great)

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Sakamichi no Apollon – 08

Kaoru and Sentaro deal uncomfortably with their newfound fame around school, while Ritsuko gets the idea to make a scarf for Kaoru. Jun is no longer in the Mukae shop basement, and has a small apartment where Yurika happens to spot him up and about. She insists on talking with him, and he tries to scare her off by making moves. She knows he’s in pain and wants to support him, even if doing so will be with disapproval from her father. Sentaro stops by Jun’s to talk, but flees when he sees Yurika is there. After a brief, tense session, Kaoru sees Ritsuko knitting the scarf and assumes it’s for Sentaro. While on a walk after church, Sentaro first starts to realize Kaoru is in love with him.

So far we’ve learned that Kaoru’s in love with Ritsuko, who’s in love with Sentaro, who’s in love with Yurika, who’s in love with Brother Jun. All face their own set of obstacles to being with those they love, particularly those the one they love loves (we haven’t lost you, have we?). Things aren’t as simple as that anymore. Ritsuko may be starting to develop feelings for Kaoru after all; Sentaro is finally noticing Ritsuko’s affections; and Yurika may have made progress making her intentions clear to Jun: he isn’t scared of him; not physically, not mentally. Whatever he’s done or been through, she wants to be there for him. And he’s not in any position to turn her down: he’s been disowned by his father and dropped out of school. He’s aimless, and if someone doesn’t take him by the scruff of the neck, he may destroy himself.

Jun has always been a mystery, aside from the fact we kinda gathered he wasn’t the perfet saint Sentaro (and by extension Kaoru) made him out to be. Jun studied (in Tokyo, gaining his dad’s ire) and played music, and thought that was enough; until he met an upperclassman named Arita and joined his movement protesting teachers’ pay, and probably other elements of society they believe to be unjust. Arita also happened to be a sax player, and when his hands were broken in a protest, Jun blamed himself, lost hope, started drinking, and didn’t stop. This fantastic episode was a bit of a splash of cold water, washing away the high of the festival jam session. After all, all that solved was Kaoru and Sentaro’s row. All the other problems they’ve been struggling with remain. We finally learned about Jun’s story, who’d come off as such a jerk of late, and the depth of Yurika’s devotion to him, which will be a rough path beset on all sides by hardship and potential for ruin.


Rating: 8 (Great)