Sket Dance – 68

Remi has been going on a lot of dates with Chuu-san and his daughter, Suzu, and Remi thinks she’s fallen in love with him. She and Suzu got to the Sket-dan seeking advice on how to bring Chuu-san around. Suzu suggests they use her dad’s love potion, but it comes in three parts: a solid, powder, and liquid, that must be ingested in order in a certain way within a specific time.

Bossun devises a ridiculously pie-in-the-sky plan, but Remi and Suzu manage to pull it off, except when it comes time for Remi to finish the procedure. Both she and Suzu agree that it wasn’t the right way to go about it. But later, when he overhears her feelings on the balcony, Chuu proposes. Remi says no, but only not yet; she wants to date first.

The idea of Chuu+Remi has been teased since the two first met, and now something concrete has finally happened: a proposal has been wrested from Chuu, and while it is respectfully declined by Remi, her’s is more of a postponement than outright rejection, since she’s said on numerous occasions she wants to be Chuu’s wife and Suzu’s new mom.

The episode is spiced up by a very entertaining, convoluted plan for drugging Chuu, which relies on many factors – including the existence of a restaurant that serves everything (which is somewhere we’d like to go sometime). And in fitting Sket-dan fashion, things don’t go as planned, but it’s okay…everything will eventually work out. And no, Sket Dance, we don’t believe for a second you’ll ever have Bossun fall in love with someone. 

Rating: 5 (Average)

Sword Art Online – 04

Kirito saves the life of a middle school-aged player named Silica who had reently left her party. Before he arrived her familiar, Pina, takes a blow for her and dies, but he mentions a flower on Floor 47 that can revive a pet within three days, and agrees to accompany her. With his help she’s able to make it to the Hill of Memories and retrieve the flower, but they’re ambushed by thugs led by Rosalia, one of Silica’s former teammates. Kirito easily thwarts them and sends them all to jail. Silica revives Pina, and the two go their separate ways, hoping to meet in the real world one day.

Sachi’s death and final message to Kirito really changed him for the better. He now knows firsthand that SAO is not just a game, and that there are more important things than levels, rare items, and power. Blessed with a natural knack for the game and a high level, Kirito is now doing his part for everyone below him, soloing on the front lines. But he also wants to give back by helping in more direct ways. In the case of this episode, that’s helping a young player get her familiar (and confidence) back, while simultaneously using her as bait to capture a “bad guy.” We believed his protcetive big-brother attitude toward her, and Silica does a good job not punching or yelling at Kirito for catching a glimpse of her upskirt. In fact, her spasticness is kept to a pleasant minimum.

That’s right, conflicts in SAO go beyond mere bickering over items: there are now genuine murderers preying on their fellow players, either deluding themselves that no one’s really dying (like Rosalia does), or simply not caring either way. But even small-time baddies who toil on the lower levels aren’t safe from Kirito’s judgment. It’s pretty satisfying to see him get jumped by seven guys and not even flinch as they hack away at him – as well as his demoralizing, by-the-numbers explanation of why they can’t beat him and never will, and should just go quietly to jail. This isn’t just about winning and ending the game for “The Black Swordsman”, but making sure the SAO world is a civil one where the strong protect the weak.

Rating: 7 (Very Good)

Kokoro Connect – 04

Inaba turns out to have only suffered a dizzy spell, as she’s been under the weather. When they escort her home, she tells Taichi to help Iori with her trauma, like he did with Yui, even though she promised Iori not to talk about it. Iori tells Taichi that even before the swapping, she didn’t have a good grip on who she was, and had no idea how to live her own life. Taichi promises no matter who she becomes down the road, he’ll still recognize her.

After Taichi and Inaba swap, then swap back, he presses her on what’s bothering her. She tells him she has no trauma; only that she doesn’t feel she can trust anyone – especially him and the others with her body. He tells her it’s okay, that she’s fine the way she is, and she should accept it and make it known to the others. They both exchange intimate secrets to help get the weight off her shoulders. When she confesses to the others, they’re fine with it too.

We were trying not to like this show (as one among many club-based school dramas), but if it’s going to pump out episodes like this, we’re not going to bother. Taichi, the “selfless freak”, builds upon his success with Yui last week and gets to know the other two ladies this week, offering them advice so they can move forward without fear or doubt. Iori had been acting a little odd since the swapping started, and now we know why: she is and always has been a chameleon, and now she’s deathly afraid of “fading away” altogether. Taichi assures her that won’t happen, but doesn’t tell her the real reason; he loves her. The question is, was that something he was just thinking of saying in that situation, or is he truly in love with her?

Before we can contemplate the answer, he’s moved on to Inaba, who is exhibiting worrying physical ailments. It turns out she’s just a worrywart, and her girlfriends can relate. But Taichi’s perseverance in getting to her deep-seated troubles was a very well-done scene, full of complex emotions. Their brave exchange of ‘lethal’ secrets (that they’ve both masturbated to one another) definitely deepens their relationship. This isn’t an ecchi series, but these are high schoolers, and they’re horny. With all the intimate exchanges and shared experiences that come with body-swapping, it’s inevitable that they’e going to start falling for each other…and perhaps not for who they thought.

Rating: 8 (Great)