Hyouka – 18

A passing helicopter reminds Oreki of Ogi-sensei, a middle school English teacher he had with Satoshi and Ibara. Oreki remembers he liked helicopters, but Satoshi doesn’t agree. Unsure of his own memory, Oreki’s curiousity is piqued – shocking everyone and greatly exciting Chitanda, who meets him at the public library to investigate. By sifting through newspapers around that date, they determine Ogi-sensei was also a mountaineer, and was looking out the window for a helicopter to rescue climbers who were stranded in the nearby Kamikakiuchi range.

After that huge, sprawling, epic school festival arc, this one-shot episode almost came as a shock. Even more shocking, Oreki becomes curious enough about something to get off his ass and check it out – without any prodding from outside parties. It’s definitely an unprecedented occurance, though Satoshi and Ibara’s reactions are a little overdone. It also occurs around a totally random helicopter flyby that sparks a random memory about a teacher. It also speaks to how easily our memories can be corrupted by plausible embellishment. In this case, Oreki made a statement about something – that Ogi-sensei liked helicopters so much he’d pause the class to look out the window at one flying by.

But when Satoshi recalls other cases of helicopters that Ogi didn’t react to – followed by him remembering Ogi was struck by lightning three times – leads Oreki to want to find out the truth. That truth – about the helicopter rescuing mountain climbers – was something we figured out pretty early in the investigation, making this one of the few episodes where we knew exactly where the case was leading long before the episode got there. In the process, Oreki and Chitanda have a kind of quasi-date at the library, though any romantic aspirations for these two remain irritatingly shelved for now, despite their chemistry. Even Kyon eventually kissed Haruhi.

Rating: 7
(Very Good)

Car Cameos: Background cars include a Honda Life/Zest, Suzuki Alto Lapin, Toyota Vitz, and Mitsubishi i.

Rinne no Lagrange – 19

In the aftermath of the Yurikano incident, Madoka convinces Dizelmine and Villagiulio to cease their warring. At the Kamogawa conference, Dizelmine apologizes, and he and Villagiulio shake hands and announce they’re joining forces to come up with a peaceful solution to the Polyhedron crisis, and welcome the other worlds to join them. Lan and Muginami re-enroll at school with Madoka. They return to the Hill of Vows to make a new vow: never to use the Voxes for war, only for peace. When looking at the ancient stone tablets, Chairman Asteria gets a blast from the past…

This week is a quiet cooling-down point for the Jersey Club and kings alike, though by no means does nothing significant happen. After years of aggression and distrust, Dizelmine and Villagiulio, spurred on by Madoka’s “Kamogawa Dynamite Bombers”, decide to put aside their conflict for the good of the system. After all, not only did Dizelmine’s dastardly plan fail, it’s been exposed to all. He’s certainly lost face, but he can get it back with a fresh shared mandate for a peaceful resolution to a catastrophe still a millenium away. The other worlds, and particularly Villagiulio let Dizelmine off awfully easy considering what he attempted to do.

The Jersey Club’s reunion and settling back to a kind of status quo ante fulfills a promise and overrides the need for Madoka to get over the loss of her friends, since they’re back. Rather than move forward alone, she’ll move forward together with them – only this time, their brothers’ conflict no longer casting a pall. What threatens all of this newfound peace, however, lurks in the bowels of Nuvomundus: that stone tablet Youko’s researching. One glance at its inscriptions from Asteria, and memories of her life as Queen Maycun – who caused the first Rin-ne tragedy 20,000 years ago – flash before her eyes. The series has been pretty stingy with details regarding the pint-sized Chairman. Here’s hoping this heralds a change in that policy.

Rating: 7 (Very Good)

Car Cameo: One of the news trucks is a Nissan NV200 Vanette.

Muv-Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse – 08

Argos Flight is sent to Kamchatka, Russia for TSF testing in a real battle environment. Yui and Yuuya’s truce continues, as Yui shows him the new experimental weapon he’ll be using. While looking for barracks, Yuuya comes across Cryska and Inia being ganged up on by young Far East eishis. Before they have to fight, their commanding officer shows up. In a later briefing, a massive coastal landing of Beta is announced, and Argos Flight will be paired with the elite Zhar Battalion, led by Cmdr. Fikatsia Latrova.

Finally the series stops messing around with beaches and swimsuits and puts everyone on the front line. Predictably, both Argos Flight and the Scarlet twins get no love from the locals, who resent their elite status, fancy toys, and how they’ve been back in safe Alaska while they’ve watched friends die. In this hostile, tense environment, Yui and Yuuya are civil, cordial, and even a little chummy in their interactions. Yuuya concedes that he’s still green when it comes to real anti-Beta combat, defers to Yui’s council, and promises not to underestimate the Beta, while coming back with his TSF – and body – in one piece.

There’s a new element of inter-ethnic tensions this week, as the cosmopolitan, entitled Russians Cryska and Inia are derided by soldiers at the base who are Kazakh or Georgian. They laugh at Cryska’s insistance they’re all “comrades”. Whether they were actually going to go through with stripping and gang-raping the twins(!), these grunts don’t give two shits about the “Motherland”, and answer to one person only: the mysterious “Thunder God” Commander Latrova, who is revered like a god, with special lighting for her arrival and everything. With Yui’s hard exterior softened considerably in recent episodes, Latrova looks to give her a run for her money in the badass department.

Rating: 6 (Good)