Medaka Box – 11

As his showdown with Medaka continues, Unzen lures her back indoors and unleashes a volley of balls containing strings that create a net that stops her in her tracks. She counters by moving the school the strings are attached to, bringing down the entire building to wrest herself free. With no more offense or defense, Unzen admits she’s stronger, but she hasn’t won, because he won’t be reformed, and derides her trying to coexist with humans. Her final blow is stopped by Kikaijima, Akune and Zenkichi, who hold her back. She reverts to normal Medaka and apologizes to Unzen, then heads to the hospital.

Unzen wasn’t the most interesting adversary in this series, despite his strength and staying power. He tends to introspect and over-analyze during battles too much, shonen-style, which kind of slows said battle to a crawl. But he does make some good points this week as he increasingly realizes if he can’t beat Medaka, he’ll at least question her very humanity and existence with his dying breath. After all, what is Medaka? As this episode demonstrated, clearly neither a saint nor a pacifist. But he does see a weakness in her, and it’s the need to not only love other humans, but to be loved by them too.

Unzen dismisses her as an inhuman monster; a lonely soul who represses her true, godlike self so humans won’t fear and shun her. Unzen, meanwhile, is just another human; if Medaka kills him, she’ll be killing the very thing she loves. So it’s very fitting that Medaka’s friends refuse to abandon her and prove Unzen wrong; she isn’t alone. She has friends who love her as much as she loves them, and there’s no human alive she won’t try to befriend. Unzen can scorn her all he likes, but he can’t touch her spirit. And clearly, judging from how he treats his underlings in the aftermath, he doesn’t hate all humans.


Rating: 7 (Very Good)

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Sakamichi no Apollon – 10

When Kaoru learns the gloves are indeed for him, he’s unsure about what it means. He asks Ritsuko why she made them for him and not Sentaro, frustrating him. When he takes ill, Ritsuko visits him, and finally snaps him out of it; as she’s leaving he races out to meet her and confess, but passes out before he can kiss her. Kaoru and Sentaro plan to perform at the school festival again, but when news comes that Sentaro’s father is returning, he takes off, sending Kaoru a note by pigeon.

And then there were two. With Yurika eloping with Jun and now Sentaro taking off for parts unknown, it’s just Kaoru and Ritsuko, which, at one point in the series, was all he ever wanted. And to his credit, he stands up (not an easy feat when you’re riddled with fever) and makes his feelings clear, after much hand-wringing and looking of gift horses in the mouth. It was thanks to him Ritsuko built up the confidence to knit him gloves as a symbol of her love; she makes it clear she may lose that confidence if he doesn’t cut the crap and exhibit some of his own, which he thankfully does in a very romantic scene that even impresses his aloof cousin. There’s no kiss, but he already stole one a while back, so we don’t feel cheated.

On to Sentaro: throughout the episode, he hides the pain of losing Yurika well, even letting two students take down Yurika’s painting he modeled for. But the moment we see the look on his face when he hears his father’s returning, we knew something would come up. The question is, will Kaoru blame himself for Sentaro leaving – for coming between him and Ritsuko, or will both he and Ritsuko be overcome by sadness and possibly even anger towards Sentaro for checking out so suddenly. If his dad is a problem, he should face it, not run away…but he runs away anyway.


Rating: 9 (Superior)