Note: we’re labelling the recap of the first season episode 12.5, making this episode 13. Click here for season one reviews.
Nearly a year after the events of the first season, Kyono Madoka is still in the Jersey Club, still waiting tables at her uncle’s restaurant and seasid cafe, and is weary of making plans for the future. Lan is undergoing Vox trials at a La Garite starbase that is ambushed by De Metrio, led by Villagiulio and Muginami. Lan returns to Kamogawa and begs Madoka to fight beside her in Vox Aura. Aura has remained dormant the whole time, but when Muginami arrives and fights Lan, it wakes up and Madoka races after her dueling friends.
This is the seventh Summer anime we’ll be watching. It puts us right back into the thick of things, with a Sweats Club that is back down to only one member, with the other two at each others’ throats, paralleling their civilizations’ animosity. Nearly everyone Madoka talks to in Kamogawa is worried about her being frozen in time; that she needs to move on and think of college and a career. But she can’t stop thinking about Lan and Muginami. She wants everyone back together; one happy family keeping the town safe.
When Lan returns, it’s not a social visit. She’s spent the better part of her time away being poked and prodded by scientists under the command of her cold brother, King Dizelmine. Lan wants Madoka to pilot Vox again. Muginami seems devoted to ensuring that doesn’t happen. We were surprised Vox Aura was back up and running by episode’s end; we thought the series would continue to handicap its heroine with relative powerlessness. But Midori wakes up and she’s back in the game. We’ll see if she can calm her two fiery friends.
Rating: 7 (Very Good)
The 54th Kanya Festival has arrived, and all the members of the Classics Club are looking forward to it in their own way save Oreki, for whom it’s just another day. They over-ordered the 46th Hyouka anthology, so they have to sell 200 instead of 30, and their club’s low profile and isolated location will make that difficult. The club devises a strategy in which Chitanda negotiates for a better booth and Satoshi will advertise. Both get easily sidetracked by the many booths and events. Oreki, meanwhile, mans the booth, making his first sale to a punked-out member of the fashion club.
With all the guff and drama in the past relating to the Kanya Festival, it was only a matter of time before we witnessed the most recent iteration in episode or arc form, and here we are. And as is typical of Japanese cultural festivals in animes (and perhaps in reality as well; we wouldn’t know), the school goes all out. Every student is involved in something, and the school is alive with activity. The episode’s prologue shows Chitanda, Mayaka and Satoshi awake in the wee hours of the morning, filled with anticipation. Oreki gets his dream job: sitting at a booth in a quiet clubroom all day. We also briefly meet his sister, who is home, though we don’t see her face. She gives him a pen that comes in handy later. Will she play a role next week?
Rather than have a fresh festival-related mystery pop up, the Classics Club is instead faced with a commercial dilemma: they ordered far too many anthologies, and must create extra demand for them where none existed – more than six times the demand, to be exact. They approach this problem the same way they’ve approached any problem: determine what needs to happen to sell those books, and make it happen. Easier said than done, as Mayaka is stuck in Manga Club the whole first day, Satoshi has his own festival checklist, and Chitanda quickly becomes overwhelemed by the variety of activities distracting her from the task at hand.
Rating: 7 (Very Good)