Sankarea – 00

Seven months prior to the events of Episode 01, Furuya travels to Tohoku with his father, Mero, and Ranko to help an uncle donate his large book collection. Dan’ichiro just happens to choose the same village as the setting for his latest photo shoot with Rea. A drunken Aria takes her frustrations out on Rea, leading Rea to consider “disappearing.” While sifting through books, Furuya finds an old photo of his deceased mother, and the wind blows it to a hole in the floor where he finds the occult recipe book. When he gets separated from Mero and Ranko, he happens upon the very hot spring where Rea is bathing, leading to their meeting for the first time.

Yes, Rea and Furuya met before he saw her yelling into a well at an abandoned hotel – though it was so brief (and stressful to both), perhaps it was struck from their memories. It matters not; from that point onward they were fated to meet again. After all, this is where Furuya found a book containing just the thing that would help Rea escape her life and become reborn as someone else. It is a book we know his gramps knows about (or knew about before he got senile), and for all we know, whatever happened to his and Mero’s mom may have involved the same dark powers he employed to bring Babu and Rea back.

As extra episodes go, this is a good meaty one, painting a picture of the horrible life Rea lived that led her to start screaming into wells in the first place. Her dad is a freak and she knows what he’s doing isn’t right, but is too frightened and cowed to fight him. She’s respectful to her “mother” Aria, but gets only contempt and disgust from her. Divorcing Dan’ichiro, while a good and sensible idea in theory, would mean giving up on all the wealth and power she worked so hard for, so she sticks around, drowning her sorrows. More than anything, this episode perfectly illustrates how much better off Rea is with Furuya and his family than she was with her fucked up parents…even if she had to die to be free.


Rating: 7 (Very Good)


Car Cameos:
Furuya’s family piles into an original Mini Cooper. A flash BMW 6-Series follows them through the tollbooth.

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Hyouka – 10

Oreki details his dismissal of the amateur detectives’ theories with Irisu over tea, and she tells him she knew they’d fail, which is why she sought him – not the classics club – out. She coaxes him to stay on the case, and he comes in to school to do just that, shocking Fukube and Mayaka. Re-watching the video with Mayaka’s suggestions and Fukube’s notes at hand, he figures it out: the culprit is none of the six actors, but a seventh actor – the one behind the camera. With this in mind, the film is completed and shown to a satisfied audience at the festival. But there is one thing Oreki forgot about: the rope Hongou requested.

A student who is always ignored by his/her classmates follows them to a seedy theatre. They know he’s there, but aside from a momentary glance they pretend he isn’t. Suddenly, the kid pops, and when everyone else is out of sight, he kills one of them and makes it look like a locked room mystery. It’s a home run of conclusion that seems to fit all the facts, and even more impressive is how quickly Oreki comes up with it, drawing from everything he’s seen and everything he’s heard. The rope question is a hole, but as the original intent was to make a successful film, it didn’t matter. Or does it?

This episode was a turning point for Oreki. Chitanda wasn’t here this week to flash those majo shojo doe eyes at him (she was hungover). It’s Irisu who exhibits confidence in him he never had himself; who tells him to take pride in his talent; who calls him extraordinary numerous times for dramatic effect. Oreki’s never done anything he didn’t have to, but now he finds that solving mysteries is not only something he has to do, but something he wants to. He may have given the film a culprit, an ending, and even a title (Out of Sight, Out of Mind; heh heh), but the thing he wants and needs most of all is to find out the truth.


Rating: 9 (Superior)

Aquarion Evol – 26 (Fin)

Amata, Cayenne and Yunoha try to attack Mikage’s machine angel directly, but he’s too powerful. Meanwhile, Kagura, deep in Mikage’s mind, finds Zessica, who asks him to kill her. Instead he frees her. Mikage creates a second sun that dries up the oceans on the planet. Andy and Mix relieve Yunoha and Cayenne, who transfer to Gephard along with Chairman Crea; the spirit of Shrade returns to fight with them.

Mikono seeks to reconnect the damaged souls of Toma and Mikage, but Amata won’t let her die alone and races to her rescue. Zessica and Kagura help him blast through Mikage’s armor and snatch Mikono away, whereupon they declare their true love for one another and kiss. Aquarion Evol becomes Aquarion Love, and its tears of joy refill the oceans. Bodyless, Mikage is absorbed by Fudo Zen, reuniting Apollonius and Toma. Life on earth returns to normal, and Mikono and Amata return victorious.

Just like the finale of Kawamora’s epic Macross Frontier, Aquarion Evol’s end spares no expense of the big, the bright, the loud, and…the little bit cheesy. But we can forgive a little cheese in a series that has been all about love and destiny. So lots of big bombastic music, tons of yelling at the top of various lungs, etc. Even the bad guy ends up esentially where he always wanted to be; in Apollonius’ heart. And unlike Macross, the guy chooses a girl: Amata chooses Zessica. Whoopsie, haha, we meant Mikono. He chooses Mikono! Frankly, it’s about freaking time.

But he and Kagura remain two seperate people. And while it was very satisfying to see Amata and Mikono finally embrace, we don’t discount Kagura and Zessica’s role in the finale. Free from Mikage’s hold thanks to Kagura, Zessica – having learned a lesson – moves on. Perhaps those two crazy kids can find solace in one another; Kagura did save her life, after all (albeit after choking her). We would have liked a little more epilogue, though perhaps there’s a movie or something in the works that will address that…


Rating: 4