Oreimo 2 – 02

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Kirino gets hooked on an innovative new dating sim called “Love Touch,” in which you can interact and text your lover in realtime. Worried she’s losing her friend to a video game, a desperate Ayase approaches Kyousuke for help. After a talk with Kirino, she gives the game to him, and he plays it thoroughly. Kyousuke reports that the character his sister likes looks and sounds very similar to Ayase, so she should try talking and acting like the character to win Kirino back.

Kyousuke can’t win for losing. Ayase tolerates and trusts him enough to come to him when she needs advice, and even affectionately calls him “Onii-san”, but when he offers the very advice she ultimately uses, she slugs him and runs off yelling “pervert”. Kirino is short and hostile with him until he mentions the new game she’s playing, and it’s like a personality switch is flipped in her head. When he obeys his sister and plays the game, Manami bursts into his room and then she’s on his case. Okay, he’s an ass to Manami. We guess he should count himself lucky he doesn’t have to deal with Kuroneko this week; his plate is full enough.

We know Kyousuke is a selfless kinda guy, so it’s not surprising how he takes all of this abuse in stride. Kirino and Ayase tell him they hate him and want him to die, but then always come back to him for help, advice, or support, and he always gives it. At this point he should know better than to push Ayase’s buttons; she packs a wallop. Or perhaps he likes her angry violent side. As for Love Touch, well, it looks pretty lame but it’s not our cuppa tea; we can still see people like Kirino getting addicted. But we liked how Manami and Ayase demonstrated how creepy it is when real people start acting like virtual characters.


Rating: 7 (Very Good)

Stray Observations:

  • The episode’s opening shot looks a lot like a confession. Too bad for Kyousuke he doesn’t know any normal girls who’d do that.
  • Ayase may have romantic feelings for Kirino.
  • Manami actually stands her ground against Kyousuke this week. She and Ayase apparently have an alliance to keep him in check.

 

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Chihayafuru 2 – 14

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Mizusawa’s semifinal match against First Akashi Girls School continues. Nishida is again the first to lose, but Kana wins shortly thereafter, releasing the tension somewhat. After Chihaya takes two of Megumu’s treasured “name” card, Megumu counters by taking Chihaya’s “Impasionate gods” card. Taichi wins, but Chihaya loses, leaving Desktomu as the deciding game. He gambles and takes the winning card, and Mizusawa moves on to the final against Fujisaki.

Before we return to the hot Mizusawa/Akashi action, the episode checks in with Arata, who is finishing up his novelistic apology, and Shinobu, still in his clothes and bored. The Fujioka West team finally arrives, and the queen takes the opportunity to voice her disdain for group matches. She wants to “kill time” with an individual match with Arata, who refuses because it’s a day for teams. Teams like Mizusawa, which thanks to the Fujioka coach, tells him is still alive and fighting.

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It’s kind of sad that Shinobu doesn’t give a shadow of a shit about the outcome of the group tournament. All queens, even Karuta queens, carry the responsibility to ensure their kingdoms thrive. But all she’s interested in is playing and winning alone. As long as she reigns, the karuta kingdom will languish. Ayase Chihaya and Ousaka Megumu aim to usurp her, and from the look of their epic game this week, they’ll put up a fight.

The team won, but Chihaya lost, and she doesn’t know why she lost, to the point her obsessing causes her to dig her nails into her hand, something Taichi stops with a tender gesture. It’s great to see Oe win, even though it leaves her too exhausted for the final. And Komano not only contributes to the actual match, his is the decisive match, and he even has the guts to gamble to win. Hokuo gets its clock cleaned, so Mizusawa will not be able to hold back in the final against scary Fujisaki.


Rating: 9 (Superior)

Stray Observations:

  • Another twist: Megumu not only doesn’t delete the photos her fan club snaps, she asks if she can have them, to remember her last team match. From here on out, it’s Queensville or Bust.
  • We were a little disappointed that there was no Komano/Sumire scene after his big win. She did blush in awe when he won.
  • We like how Hokuo is eliminated off-camera. We don’t really like Retro-kun.
  • Shinobu’s spidey-sense picks up a card reading in the group match, and she employs circular breathing to study cards. We love her, but maintain her reign is poison for the game.

Toaru Kagaku no Railgun S – 01

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Misaka, Saten, Shirai and Uihari visit the hospital with Haruue Erii to visit a recovering Banri. At the same hospital, Antiskill is holding a “radical wannabe” leader. His friends break him out and they get to the roof with Erii as their hostage, but Misaka rescues her and then deals with them with assists from Saten and Shirai.

So here we are, back in Academy City with the whole gang. Unlike Index, Misaka is the lead character, but there’s so many other characters from the other three series plus specials that the episode couldn’t possibly get to them all (much like Game of Thrones). And Misaka is still her ordinary self, using her awesome electrical powers and pluck to protect those weaker than her from baddies, despite not having any law-enforcing authority and much to Shirai’s chagrin. In any case, we’re nicely eased back into the world; it’s like reconnecting with an old friend.

One newbie is Tokiwadai’s “Queen”, Shoukuhou, who has a rather nasty ability to create an army of followers with a remote control and apparent powers of telepathy and hypnosis. But the balance of the show is the girls ending up in the same place as another baddie, one of the girls getting held hostage, and having to deal with it with lots of over-the-top action. Nothing too deep. This series is probably a guilty pleasure, but like Haruhi, if they keep making series, and keep making them well, we’ll keep coming back to watch them.


Rating: 7 (Very Good)

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