Eureka Seven AO – 08

Ao is reprimanded for disobeying orders by being tailed very closely and obviously around Generation Bleu HQ. Fleur learns from Gazellle that Eureka hates his dad like she hates hers. When a scub coral and secret suddenly appear in the Republic of Faisal Arabia, Pied Piper is deployed to deal with it, but the US Government pressures President Fleur to recall the Triton while they’re still en route. Ao leaves the ship in disgust; Fleur follows him. After footage of the hardship in Arabia is shown globally, they are re-deployed to deal with the secret, which is protected by lightning. Elena’s IFO is disabled, leaving Fleur and Ao to work together to bring the secret down.

Finally, an episode that really went the extra mile. The strange confusing events of last week give way to some far more straightforward storytelling and action: Generation Bleu and Pied Piper avoid getting thwarted by bereaucrats and get the job done once again, with Ao and Fleur gaining trust in and respect for one another in the process, to the point where it looks like the begining of a friendship. Fleur is far less aloof in this episode (learning of the burden she lives with helps make her more sympathetic), as if she’s realized picking on Ao isn’t as fun now that she knows more about him. The two had always lacked something they could relate to (besides being teens who pilot mechas, but just watch Evangelion to see how well they got along), but now there’s an opening, and the two find that they not only work well together, but can socialize amicably too. Elena thinks it’s love. She may be premature, but perhaps not wrong. We’ll see.

As for the sci-fi action, there’s a lot of it, and it’s quite good. There’s a nice – if inexplicable – shoutout to Philadelphia as the place that last saw this particular secret-of-the-week, way back in 1752; and it somewhat resembles an eagle. The way it changes form and prepares a kamikaze run on the scub coral really ratchets up the tension. Ao is definitely finding his groove with Nirvash and Pied Piper; he may disobey orders, but his heart’s in the right place. He won’t stand by and let people get killed if he can do anything about it; and that includes stopping Fleur trying to beat the secret on her own, at the cost of her life. We also liked how her dad turned out to be not so bad after all, as he’d staged the footage that swayed the international community to authorize the resumption of the mission. Nice combination of character work and secret ass-kickin’.

Rating: 9 (Superior)

Sankarea – 09 (Furuyamero – 01)

In an episode centered on her, Mero swaps zombie-themed stories with her classmates Ichie and Miko. Ichie believed the art teacher was a zombie with some kind of undead pet, but it turned out to be a crocodile. Miko smelled cooking flesh, but it turned out to be smelly but delicious ramen. Neither of them believe Mero when she tells them of Rea. While visiting her mother’s grave, Rea shows up, and inadvertently reminds Mero of her mother, who also had fair skin and cold hands. Rea wants to help her with chores from now on, and Mero agrees to let her.

We were hoping for some kind of further development and possibly resolution to last week’s cliffhanger in which Furuya finally pays for his reckless attitude regarding the zombified daughter of a psychotic tycoon he’s been harboring. Instead, the series gives us a big ‘ol pause button. A tangent. Fluff. Padding. A diversion. A screeching halt. Color us disappointed. We’ve never much cared for the morose, monotone Mero. Let’s face it; she has the personality of a turnip. What’s next, an episode about Furuya’s dad? Shudder….all about Yasutaka and some perverted scheme involving Rea? A gramps episode? Actually, that could be pretty cool…especially if it took place in the past, when he was young and un-senile. It does seem like he dabbled in zombies.

Despite our disappointment with not getting an immediate follow-up on the central story, we considered not rating this episode as low as last week’s, for three reasons: First, nobody is acting idiotic in this episode. Second, there was no obvious pointless Ranko boobage; indeed, she wasn’t seen at all, only heard. Third and most importantly, there was no Yasutaka. Still, this was shameless filler, so it’s another 2.5 outing. We’re also considering making it RABUJOI policy to dock a half-point from future episodes in which Yasutaka or characters like him are excessively seen or heard. For now, we’d be happy if Rea, Furuya, and Dan’ichiro are in the next episode. That would be nice, wouldn’t it?

Rating: 4 (Fair)

Car Cameo:
Mrs. Yamanouchi, the art teacher who brings her pet croc to school and tried eating raw liver whole, drives a comparatively ordinary ’11 Toyota Passo, albeit a peppery red one.

Natsuiro Kiseki – 09

Now in Hachijo-jima, the girls head for the inn, which happens to be run by the family of the surfer, Koharu, who saved Yuka from the sea. The surfer has a twin sister, Chiharu. She knows about Dr. Mizukoshi’s impending move there, and alerts others that his daughter has arrived so they can meet her and show her around. A bit overwhelmed and still unsure of what to do, Saki becomes invisible and inaudible to all around her; she can only communicate by writing. That night Rin and Yuka convince Natsumi not to try to keep Saki from moving. The next day Chiharu takes them on a tour of the island, with Saki tagging along, after which Saki reappears, now more sure that moving won’t be so bad.

Natsumi is definitely a girl of absolutes. So when her best friend and neighbor relays to her she’s not quite sure she wants to move away, she takes it to mean Saki definitely doesn’t want to move, when the reality is murkier. So murky, in fact, a sudden wish on the big rock’s cousin at an outdoor bath essentially turns her into a ghost for most of the episode. By ghost, we mean the kind that are still connected to the living world in a way they don’t understand, and cannot move on until they figure out what that is and resolve it. Saki is similar: she hears one thing from Natsumi that seems to reinforce her desire to stay on the mainland…but she hears another thing from, well, everything around her.

The island is, as we said last week, a gorgeous paradise, a place where somebody could be quite happy; and a place where people are already lining up to be her friend. It’s also a place her father decided to move to not just to fulfill his dream, but to take over for his mentor, an old doctor who had to retire due to declining health and left the island. Koharu resents that Saki’s father is replacing the irreplaceable, but her twin Chiharu tells everything will be fine. And everything will be fine…even if Saki moves away from her closest friends, they won’t stop being friends.

Rating: 8 (Great)

Car Cameo:
The gals pile into a Nissan Cedric Y31 taxi that takes them from the shore to the clinic.

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