Binbougami ga! – 12

After being bathed by Ichiko and Ranmaru, Momiji has lost her powers and become a regular human, who begins to be noticed by everyone around her. This irks Ichiko, who still suspects treachery. Her suspicions go too far when she makes Momiji cry and run away. Ichiko catches her and apologizes. Life continues on with normal Momiji, until Teddy gets thrown into a garbage truck and returns to his normal twisted self. Teddy and Moumou then plot to make Momiji dirty so her God powers return.

After eleven episodes of being annoyed, pestered, poked and prodded by the God of Misfortune, this week Ichiko comes to grips with a prospect heretofore unthinkable: a kind, pleasant Binboda Momiji who has no desire to bother her at all; on the contrary, only wants to be her friend and to be happy. We don’t blame Ichiko for being skeptical…initially. Callously throwing dinner Momiji lovingly made back in her face was a bit too mean, but we did like how the art style turned to Death Note mode, with Ichiko as the ever-skeptical L and Momiji as the outwardly affable Yagami Light.

Of course, that’s a great anime being parodied by a just-okay anime for not much reason. But for what it’s worth, we enjoyed the nice Momiji, while she lasted, and to its credit, the episode didn’t end with “everything back to the way it was”; a revitalized Momiji in trickster mode getting right back to making Ichiko’s life a living hell. Instead, it cuts to the credits with Momiji willingly facing her fate, which is kind of sad. Ichiko was so busy suspecting a scheme, she didn’t stop to appreciate what a nice person and potential friend the powerless Binboda Momiji was.


Rating: 6 (Good)

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Shiki – 16 (Retro Review)

Originally posted 26 Nov 2010 – One of the really neat aspects of any vampire-themed narratives is the ridiculously long lives vampires live. When Toru can’t seem to get over killing Natsuno, he’s summoned to the mansion to meet with Sunako. Who had been just your typical creepy little ghoul girl became orders of magnitude more interesting when she shared her rich and harrowing life experience with Toru. Killed, buried, then risen; she embarked on a quest to find her parents that spanned human lifetimes, all the while killing kind and weak humans for food. Compared to her, Toru has absolutely no reason to kvetch.

The Kirishikis would prefer all of their vampire servants to have an attitude more like Megumi. Parts of her human personality remain – her cheerfulness, fashion sense, and love for Natsuno, for instance – but she’s also become totally desensitized to the actions she now takes nightly as a risen. She’s not going to let anyone rain on her human-draining parade. But she’s still just a baby vampire;  perhaps decades or even centuries from fully understanding what she is.

This week Toshio meets covertly with Natsuno, who is a daywalker…and seems to now get fashion tips from Megumi (we’re not knocking it; after all some people have to look correct in this backwater village). However he’s dressed, he’s not interested in falling into line like Megumi; he wants to help Toshio get rid of the Shiki, including himself. But they must bide their time. We’re curious to learn how they’ll do it, and why they have to wait until the moment the vamps think they’ve achieved irreversible victory.

Not a party to these plans, Akira takes it upon himself to start the war early, but fails pretty quickly when the blue-haired daywalker appears. It would seem Akira is a goner, which will leave poor timid Kaori as the only living Tanaka – a family that’s gotten the short end of the stick in this series. One thing’s clear: if the living are to take back the village, an uncoordinated direct attack isn’t gonna cut it.

Rating: 8 (Great)

AnoHana – 03 (Retro Review)

Originally posted 29 Apr 2011 – A step backwards and a few forward for Jinta week, as he can’t quite make it to school, but is at least out in the world, talking to people besides Menma. Most importantly, the entire crew is reunited thanks to a proactive Poppo, who organizes a barbeque with the theme of searching for Menma, the ghost of whom he saw while taking a piss. It’s inevitable that among these six friends, people will start picking favorites. But we’re having a hard time, as they’re all really complex and full of subtle emotions and mannerisms.

We will say we’re leaning towards Anaru as our early favorite. Her tiny smile when she spots Jinta in his school uniform is great, but she can’t quite fight off her “friends” whose taunting scares Jinta off. This frustrated us to no end, as did Jinta’s turning tail when he saw Anaru on the way to the barbeque. While that latter attempt fails, it exhibited that he’s still a little uncomfortable interacting with other people. His walk to school muttering to himself is another example.

But baudy Poppo, who won’t take no for an answer and has a nice backpacker zen vibe going on, isn’t the only architect of the reunion. It’s Menma. Either spotting her ghost or having her occupy their thoughts, she’s the key. We’re glad the group is (tentatively) back together again and can talk to each other casually, especially with so few episodes to work with. The series is still moving at a good pace, and yet isn’t feeling rushed.


Rating: 8
 (Great)