Tamako Market – 05

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Summer arrives, and Mochizou grows so troubled by his lack of progress with Tamako, he enlists the aid of Dera, whom he takes along to a class trip to the beach. Midori finds out what he’s planning and tries to stop him, warning him she’ll protect her. The next day, while swimming, Midori learns from Tamako what she and Mochizou are to her, and she softens her stance on Mochizou.

Tamako’s utter cluelessness with regards to romance and Mochizou’s complete lack of guts and initiative conspire to form a perfect storm of uselessness. In fact, the futility he senses due to Tamako’s denseness fuels his inaction in a vicious cycle. Tamako boils their relationship down to a couple of labels: “childhood friend” and “mochi-making buddy”, which, while technically true, are not the whole story. The trouble is, she may never hear that story; she’s just not emotionally available enough.

Meanwhile, Midori gets super-defensive when she learns Mochizou is trying to court Tamako. They quarrel, leading the ever-perceptive Dera to conclude they both love “the Musume”. Tamako tells Midori “I love you”, but Midori knows Tamako’s feelings for her aren’t anything like the ones she’s feeling for Tamako. Though Midori sorta makes up with Mochizou, their rivalry for Tamako’s heart should continue – even if neither of them has a chance against her thick skull.


Rating: 7 (Very Good)

P.S. The comic relief was ably handled by Dera, who was chased by a cat, a gull, and a dog, all while looking out to (a very beautiful) sea and thinking of his prince.

Amnesia – 05

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The heroine finds herself in a new world where Ikku is her boyfriend. Rumors fly around that he treats dating like a game and has dumped all his previous conquests three months after meeting them. However, according to Kent, he has not yet done so with her. Orion reappears but promptly disappears, just before she is able to tell her what exactly is going on.

We’re starting to think Eureka the heroine’s encounter with Merry Nightmare Orion now has her bouncing between universes. Whenever some time passes and she is able to gather information about the universe she’s in, boom, she wakes up back on August 1, in a totally different universe. Well, a slightly different one, at least. It’s all about the details: most importantly, whom she’s dating.

While it’s eventually made clear Ikku and the heroine are a couple, because we know that she doesn’t remember (or is from a universe where they aren’t a couple) there’s a bit of a creeper factor to Ikku. It’s as if the series is relishing putting the poor unwitting heroine in the middle of these relationships with fairly aggressive men who wear the same weird clothes every day, have no notion of personal space, and play nerdy math games.

Of course, the heroine keeps going with the flow. Why bother learning more about where she is if you’re just going to end up somewhere else a couple days later?


Rating: 6 (Good)

Zettai Karen Children: The Unlimited – Hyoubu Kyousuke – 05

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PANDRA is in Tokyo, repairing the ship and stocking up on supplies. While keeping an eye on Yuugiri in Asakusa Andy discovers Minamoto and Tsubomi are watching him. They know he’s an American spy. They want to arrest PANDRA en masse, and want his help in exchange for keeping his secret. The meeting is interrupted when Yuugiri comes afoul of policemen after helping a lost boy with her ESP. Andy arrives before things get out of hand. Meanwhile, on his birthday, Hyoubu sneaks into BABEL to perform medical scans, and learns that he’s “running out of time.”

A mass murderer and an esper savior…which is the true Hyoubu?

Can’t he be both? Hyoubu is a legitimate savior of espers, and they love him for it. When Momiji tells Andy the harrowing tale of how Hyoubu saved her from a certain, cruel death, you can’t help but sympathize with him and PANDRA. But normals despise espers, he despises them right back in kind, and isn’t going to lose any sleep if some normals have to die to save espers, or in service of revenge for their mistreatment. A “No Espers” sign, an ESP detector at fun park, and the normals’ reaction to Yuugiri serves as a stark reminders that distrust and resultant oppression of espers is rampant.

If an esper cannot be used as a tool or weapon for their own purposes, they are simply hunted down. Hyoubu is doing his part to create a world where espers don’t have to fear anything, but it’s obvious that his time is limited. BABEL is breathing down PANDRA’s neck, Andy’s cover is in danger of being blown (even if Hyoubu knows, it’s possible the others don’t), and his medical scans aren’t encouraging. Before returning to the ship for a surprise party that further illustrates his “children’s” devotion and esteem for him, the Major checks in on Kaoru, whom we’re reasonably confident he wants to replace him one day. That day may have to come sooner than he’d like.


Rating: 7 (Very Good)

Chihayafuru 2 – 04

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Mizusawa’s next opponent in the semifinals is Homei, a dark horse school they know nothing about coached by Tsuboguchi, the ace of the society Chihaya and Taichi attend. Knowing Taichi’s weaknesses, he toldHomei how to take Taichi out of his game by making him question his talent. But after sweating a lot, asking for, and receiving many towels, Taichi focuses on the cards and makes a comeback. He defeats his spirited opponent Sasa, and Mizusawa advances to play Hokuo.

Society members have noted Taichi has absolutely horrid luck, manifested in many ways in this semifinal match: for one thing, having to wear a hakama means if the A/C goes out, he’s going to be far more uncomfortable than the other team, who are in t-shirts. So naturally, the A/C goes out. But as Harada and Tsuboguchi know – and Taichi himself is starting to learn – is that hard work and skill are worth nothing if one lacks the will and confidence to capitalize on them. Bad luck is still a part, but it’s the part that can be overcome by breaking out of his bad habits.

Those have nothing to do with preparation or memorization and everything to do with mental black holes he often finds himself diving into. Part of that is his unrequited love of Chihaya (even Sumire can see it), and part of it is seeing Chihaya, Wataya, Tsuboguchi, and others surpass him, and getting hung up on whether it’s because he may not have what it takes after all. As soon as he thinks that, he kills his chances of success, and as soon as he lets go of his insecurities, he has a far better chance to win, as he did this week. A nice touch was Homei’s gung-ho spirit echoing Mizusawa’s back when they were the new kids on the block.


Rating: 7 (Very Good)

OreShura – 05

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Eita receives a number of anonymous love letters. Masuzu is trying to wring info from him when her little sister Mana arrives with a warning of sorts that makes Masuzu shake in fear. Mana also kisses Eita. Masuzu won’t tell Eita anything, and the next day she’s out of sorts, tries to swim in the pool, and nearly drowns. Eita resuscitates her with mouth-to-mouth in front of the whole class, and later says Mana’s kiss didn’t mean anything, and has been “overwritten”. The next day he helps nurse Chiwa, who has a fever. He then confronts his seret admirer, Akishino Himeka, a chuunibyou who was enthralled by his performance at the station. Her embrace of him is interrupted by Masuzu and Chiwa.

Up till now, Masuzu has had leverage over Eita in the form of his incriminating ridiculous Chuunibyou ravings, but she ends up with a lot less power at the end of this episode. Just as she’s aware he’s the author of the note, Eita is now aware that she’s got secrets she doesn’t want anyone to know about, and unless she wants him to pry before she’s ready or willing to tell him, it’s in her best interest to lay off with the notebook. It’s a fair deal. But on top of that, they’ve clearly gone past fake dating – Masuzu isn’t upset about Eita paying attention to other girls because it goes against their “arrangement”, but because she’s legitimately jealous. Much to her dismay, Eita’s never had more girls hanging off him.

Enter the surprisingly aggressive Akishino Himeka. Such is the power of her imagination, she created entire past lives for her and Eita, believing the awakening of her love is only a case of her regaining her memories. Then there’s the whole can of worms with Masuzu’s family. Her sister Mana looks down on her despite being younger, and has no problem kissing Eita right in front of her just for kicks. Neither of these new additions is as compelling as either Chiwa or Mazusu, but it’s admirable that the two main girls didn’t get the short end of the stick this week, despite the new intros. They both had compelling little vignettes that served to reinforce the fact that they’re both in love with him.


Rating: 7 (Very Good)

Sasami-san@Ganbaranai – 04

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Sasami plays a DVD in Kamiomi’s room entitled “The Sasami Watch Project”, in which he and the Yagami sisters tail Sasami around town as she runs assigned errands meant to embarrass her. The Sasami watching doesn’t remember. When Sasami in the DVD ends up at a VA show, all the attendees reveal they’re of the Tsukuyomi clan, including Sasami’s father, who removes the sarcoma that gave her a third arm. Tsurugi and Kagami intervene, defeating him. The watcher of the DVD turns out to be the Sarcoma in Sasami’s form. Tsurugi made the DVD to appraise her of the situation. Tsurugi hides it sarcoma in the body of Kagami’s pet rabbit, Meat, for safekeeping.

We find ourselves becoming very engrossed with this freewheeling, eclectic, downright loopy carousel of happenings that is Sasami-san@Ganbaranai. It presents a dizzying array of information at a very brisk pace, but manages to bring it all together at the end. It also makes brief synapses tricky. But the whole idea of having Sasami snoop on her brothers stuff – learning he and the sisters documenting her just as she documented her – only for her not to be Sasami at all, is quite a twist, and one that makes perfect sense once you go over everything that had happened. The video is clever in that it’s a prank, a piece of voyeurism, and a record of past events all wrapped into one. It was fun watching “Sasami” (really the Sarcoma) watch and get more confused.

Also, despite more than half of this episode taking place within a previously-filmed video, we’re constantly diving into it, with the narrators Tsurugi and Kamiomi providing punchy commentary and criticism towards Kagami, who just barely manages to get the job done despite much dicking about and getting sleepy. If there’s a weak link to the episode, it’s Tama’s part of the story, in which she’s captured by aliens but eventually befriends them, helping them defeat government agents. It was fun and nutty and all, but pretty darned random and so irrelevant as to be a distraction to the A-story. Fortunately, the episode cut to Tama sparingly, while the much funnier Kagami had a wealth of lines steeped in dry, ascerbic wit.


Rating: 8 (Great)

From the New World (Shin Sekai yori) – 18

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Satoru reports to the joint committee heads that the Giant Hornets were completely annihilated by the Robber Flys. In light of very strange evidence, Shisei forms the theory that a human with a cantus destroyed the army. Tomiko refutes it’s either Akizuki Maria or Itou Mamoru, as she confirmed they were dead. At the summer festival, the Robber Flys, condemned to destruction, launch a surprise attack on the village, but Shisei eliminates them, removing his mask in the process. Tomiko vows to give Yakomaru a slow death.

The point when they queerats turn on their own gods came much more rapidly than we expected, and Yakomaru is almost certainly behind it all. There was always something about that rat’s eyes and in his weaselly words that we found unsettling. While he most certainly knows the surprise attack will fail, it is nevertheless a complex multi-layered assault full of feints and gambits designed to create maximum anxiety in the people, who had been previously enjoying their summer festival. Queerat infiltrators even disguised themselves as “monsters” (part of the festival) and handed out samples of poisoned sake.

Their assault may have been thwarted – and then some – by the awesome destructive power of the four-irised(!) Shisei, but the villagers are afraid, and that’s just what Yakomaru wants. Two committee heads are also dead: the most bombastic and overconfident head (who was playing a drum with his cantus when he was taken out by a queerat sniper) and the one head who called for the postponement of the festival until the Robber Flys were dealt with. Turns out that was a good call. Meanwhile, on this night when the dead return from the underworld, Saki has visions of her friends, whom Tomiko is positive they’re dead. But are they really?


Rating: 8 (Great)

Maoyuu Maou Yuusha – 05

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Yuusha has been away from Maou for a year, planning to take Gate City. The Holy Capital and church launch a massive fleet of ships to retake Bright Light Island from the demons, but are defeated at sea, causing the death of the Winter King. The Winter Prince takes the throne and chooses Onna-Kishi as his commander for another attempt at the island. Before she leaves, Maou confesses she’s the demon king, but Kishi already heard it from Yuusha, and is fine with it, and agrees to be friends. Yuusha visits Maou in the night and they dance to the music of the New Years festival.

This week, after a whole year, Maou and Yuusha finally meet and touch, at it was about time. Both were on the edge of doubting their own wills, and their courage was failing, but the power each exerts on the other, if only briefly, was enough to recharge their batteries, so to speak. Bottom line: the power couple can get more done if they’re apart than if they’re both chilling in the same village. So rather than constantly hang off each other, they’re more ships passing in the night. Their faith in one another sustains them, and when it doesn’t, well, they meet again, exchange a few barbs, and try to see who can blush the most.

Yuusha, bred from birth to be a hero to mankind, sees the suffering of the demons and doesn’t like it. It’s clear to him that Maou’s way is better: if there was a clear victor, that victor would believe they could treat their defeated foe however they like, and a vast number of living beings would suffer. Yuusha isn’t on board with that. At the same time, some battles apparently have to be fought even in the service of ending war, so it’s better for such battles to end quickly than get drawn out. Myriad game pieces are being moved about the world, while Yuusha and Maou continue to dance to their own beat, fueled by one another.


Rating: 7 (Very Good)

Vividred Operation – 04

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While playing softball, Akane’s home run that destroys the camera of the secluded hacker Shinomiya Himawari, whom Kenjirou just happened to ID as the the culprit in the theft of confidential Alone data. Akane, Aoi and Wakaba pay her a visit to apologize, and they end up visiting the site of the Streamer plant, which distributes energy to the world from the Manifester engine. When an Alone attacks the site, the three fly off to fight it, leaving Himawari to shut the plant down. Afterwards, Kuroki Rei powers up the Alone, and Himawari gains and quickly masters the Vivid System, docking with Akane to become Vividyellow and defeat the Alone.

And then there were four. We had a red, blue, and green techno shoujo (our own term for what they are, since it’s science and tech, not magic, that they use), so for completion’s sake, we needed a yellow. She turns out to be the egghead of the bunch, being a total Isshiki Kenjirou groupie and hardcore Manifester engine nerd. He brief backstory illustrates how a former friend she trusted betrayed her and turned her into a pariah, and so she’s been skittish about trusting or even interacting with people ever since. Himawari refutes Akane’s claim she loves the Manifester engine, not knowing Akane is its inventor’s granddaughter.

When Akane leaves her behind to shut down the plant while she fights the Alone, Himawari is convinced she won’t come back, even though she promised, because people have promised her things before and let her down. But Akane doesn’t let her down, and as a result of their newly-formed friendship, Himawari becomes the yellow one. Interestingly, the episode points out how quickly she learns the ropes of the Vivid system, though Saegusa learned it just as quickly last week. Her weapon, which reflects the Alone’s weapons back on itself, are suitably badass, and stuff get blow’d up good, as it should in such a series.


Rating: 7 (Very Good)