Chihayafuru 2 – 02

Sumire follows Taichi to the karuta society, watches him play, and laments that someone like him is so into it. The first-years are greatly reduced to four in the next lesson, then only two, including and Tsukuba, who played second-verse karuta in Hokkaido with different cards and rules. Sumire isn’t willing to sacrifice her nails for karuta, and runs off when she accidentally blurts out she’s only there to be close to Mashima. Ooe runs after her and gets her to come back, where she starts studying the poems and clipping her nails.

Like last week, this episode deals with the competition of multiple agendas in the karuta club. Nishida is focused on the upcoming prelims. Chihaya is focused on the first-years, to Nishida’s chagrin. Sumire is focused on her looks and on Mashima, to Ooe’s chagrin. Tsukuba wants to expand his karuta repertoire  If the club is going to succeed at anything at all, some parties are going to have to convince others to adopt their priorities, or at least compromise on their own. And that’s what happens this week.

“Is this all there is”, Sumire asks herself, already bored with her new “friends”. But karuta intrigues her, so she decides to clip her nails and try – not just for Mashima, but for herself. Ooe tells Sumire that the love poetry has only endured so long because it followed certain structural rules, and so must she. It turns out Chihaya blames herself for her team losing the championship, even though no one else does, but now they understand why she cares so much about the team growing, so Nishima decides to train the first years.


Rating: 8 (Great)

 

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Vividred Operation – 02

Aoi transforms like Akane, only red, and they use their boomerang and hammer to attack the Alone and deflect its weapon blasts. The Navy assists them in taking out the Alone’s core, but Akane and Aoi can’t “dock” for somereason. A mysterious girl fires an arrow at the Alone, reviving and strengthening it. Aoi confesses what she was hiding – she’s always hated tomatoes – and she and Akane “dock” successfully, joining bodies and minds into one form – Vivid Blue – and destroy the Alone. The next morning they learn their school has also been destroyed, so they’ll have to transfer.

Vividred is keeping things nice and simple so far. There’s a monster; only the girls can prevent forest fires defeat it (by yelling a lot); so they’re given hip sci-fi outfits and told to go have at it. And they do! We’re clearly in maho shojo territory, with only a thin film of sci-fi trappings. (Neat-looking) systems, hardware and abilities are explained, but not in any kind of detail, and that’s a good decision in our opinion. Less technobabble dumps, more action,and Stuff Getting Blowed Up. And a lot of the action is pretty frikkin’ sweet. Lots of flying around in a perfect blue sky, and much firing and dodging of weapons.

Memorable images that flash past the screen include the sight of tiny, sickly Aoi in her cybersailor costume holding up an F-35 with her bare hands and gently setting it down on the flight deck of an aircraft carrier, or the two girls flying in formation with said joint strike fighters. There’s probably double the crotchshots from last week, but that’s okay, they’re quick and not that distracting. Also, Aoi’s Big Dark Secret holding back their docking was…teehee, she doesn’t like tomatoes! We kinda doubt the families of the dozens if not hundreds of people killed in the delay she caused could laugh about it like Aoi and Akane did…not a great moment, there.


Rating: 7 (Very Good)

Sasami-san@Ganbaranai – 02

Tsurugi notes that an unusual number of students are skipping school, including her colleague Kamiomi’s sister Sasami. Kagami believes they have become addicted to an MMORPG, so the Yagami sisters travel to Kamiomi’s home to investigate, using Sasami’s many computers. Worried they’ll shut the game down and erase all her progress, she attempts to sabotage their efforts, but fails. Eventually, everyone is sucked into the game, where a divine monster is keeping the game alive. Kagami deduces that the monster is the produce of Sasami’s wish for the game to never be shut down, as it was when the company was in financial trouble three years ago. She bids the monster rest in peace and the MMO is shut down.

After primarily showing last week, the beginning of this episode is all about telling. Specifically, that Sasami is most likely “unmotivated” beause she once possessed the powers of Amaterasu, the most powerful of the myriad gods that inhabit the world (In the Shinto religion, sheis the goddess of the sun and universe, from whom the Emperor of Japan is directly descended.) Emphasis on once. Now, apparently, her faceless brother Kamiomi has that power, and he accidentally used it to turn the world into chocolate last week. This week Sasami must deal with something accidentally done in service of her wish for an MMO game to never be shut down.The game was her escape three years ago, and all the other lesser gods heard that wish and made it come true.

It resulted in an unpopular game suddenly becoming all the rage, and that game’s central monster trapping the 10,000 players inside, thus the game will never end as she wished. From what little we see of it, it’s not the best game, and Sasami seems to realize that when the time comes to free all those people. Keeping the game alive was nice and all, but she didn’t need it anymore. And so we have another instance of the entire world being altered because of a misinterpreted whim made by those who just happen to have the powers of Amaterasu. or was this just the three Yagami sisters inviting themselves into Sasami’s house, messing up all her shit, and playing video games in the dark? It was both, and more.


Rating: 8 (Great)