Aquarion Evol – 23

As Shrade, Amata and Zessica traverse dimensions, Fudo briefs the rest of Neo-Deava on the Book of Twin Stars, starting with Celiane and Apollonius, then Silvie and Apollo, Apollon’s winged dog reincarnated; and finally Mikono and Amata/Kagura. Like Vega and Altair, the two were once whole, but split apart by the latest incarnation of Toma, Apollonius’s betrothed, who is now Mikage. Shrade sacrifices himself to get Amata and Zessica into Altair, but they’re separated and Mikage takes possession of Zessica’s body. She meets up with Kagura and Mikono, and urges Kagura to summon Solar Aquarion to oppose Izumo.

Whoa, major exposition dump this week; and not quite done the way we would do it. See, we’ve never been fans of the abstract and somewhat silly ways past information is presented on this series, and unfortunately there’s a lot of that this week. The elements standing on a big book with trippy patterns in the background; images lifting off the pages like a pop-up book; and floating video screens helpfully illustrating Fudo and Crea’s tale (who, pray, was filming these events 12-24 millienia ago??). Like we said, it all looks a bit silly. Frankly, we would have preferred if the story were told as a flashback episode in and of itself. This felt like a recap, even though it revealed lots of information we either didn’t know or weren’t sure about. And recaps are boring. But at least it’s out of the way now.

All that exposition, while necessary, kind of ground proceedings to a halt. As Cayenne said, they didn’t have time to sit around listening to a story, but Fudo didn’t listen. We just wish there was a more serious, less goofy way of supplying this information. For that matter, Shrade’s death was kind of…meh. Between turning the blood stains on his shirt into musical scales and his overwrought “final melody”, it was all a little silly and hard to take seriously, unlike Jin’s death. Meanwhile, as expected, Mikage has made his move on Zessica, which means he now has physical form. From unrequited love victim to unrequited angel vessel…you can’t say she’s not moving up in the world(s)!

Rating: 3

Hyouka – 07

The Classics Club goes on a trip to a hot spring inn run by the young daughters of a family friend of Ibara’s. Oreki has an early night due to the strains of travelling and being in the spring too long, but in the morning, Mayaka reports she saw a hanging shadow in a room across from hers. Chitanda also saw it and want Oreki to investigate. After piecing together all of the events of the night before and observing the behavior of their hosts, he concludes it was only a yukata hanging out to dry.

The Classics Club has an away game, and like so many old inns, the one they stay at has a ghost story attached to it, regarding the hanging suicide of an embezzzler. When the girls insist they saw something unusual in the night, it’s up to Sherlock Oreki to solve the case. What amazed us, first of all, was that a fourth grader and sixth grader could run a frikkin’ inn all by themselves, even if only for four teenage guests. Not a whole lot of American inns like that. What also caught our eye was, well…everything; the calm, picturesque setting was particularly pretty.

As for the mystery; naturally there was a perfectly logical and un-supernatural explanation for what Mayaka and Chitanda saw, and when they beg him to find it, he considers it a hassle but does his duty, making full use of his detective skills. Once again, nifty details abound, from the older sister writing her name on everything that’s hers, to the ladybugs landing on people then taking off. Oreki also proves a most astute observer of behavior, which he uses to connect all the myriad dots rattling around in his head to form a picture of what happens that fits the facts. The kid’s on a roll.

Rating: 7 (Very Good)