Oregairu – 04

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As group field trips loom, hurtful chain texts begin to propagate, leading Hayama Hayato to seek the help of the Volunteers Club. Yui tries to investigate by asking girls, but gets severely sidetracked. Hikigaya is distracted by Totsuka, but realizes that Hayama’s three friends aren’t as close when he’s not there to anchor them. As such, he recommends Hayama decline to group with them, so the three of them will grow closer. Instead, Hayama groups with Hikigaya and Totsuka.

There are episodes that are “bad tidy”, resolving everything a bit to neatly and perfectly, and “good tidy”, in which multiple problems are solved in an elegant and satisfactory fashion. The club’s mission is to find out who’s sending mean texts around as a result of the tense situation in which groups of more than three friends will have an “odd man out” for the field trips. But Hikigaya forgoes that investigation altogether to resolve the underlying problem: Hayama’s friends are only friends with him, not each other.

Simultaneously, he solves the problem of who to group with. He has to group with someone, after all. Yui and Yukino seem like an obvious choice, but apparently the groups must be three people of the same gender, so Hikigaya does the next best thing and selects Totsuka (on whom he still has a serious man-crush) and, in the more inspired choice, Hayama, taking him out of the equation with his three friends and leaving them to their own devices. With this course, the texts should stop, eliminating the need to drag the original culprit into the light.


Rating: 7 (Very Good)

Stray Observations:

  • Naturally there has to be a fujoshi in the class, and Yui just happens to set one off: Ebina Hina.
  • Yukino and Yui are pretty cute, but the only person Hikigaya has crushed on so far in this series is Totsuka, whose cuteness is enhanced by his kind personality and apparent vulnerability.
  • We’re wondering if hitching his wagon to Hayama, who is far higher up the high school ladder, will result in social boons to Hikki, or if it will just be a hassle to him.
  • We meet Hikgaya’s sister Komachi, voiced by Yuuki Aoi. Pretty standard fanged imouto.

Car Cameos:

Aku no Hana – 04

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Saeki praises Kasuga for sticking up for Nakamura, lifting his spirits. Nakamura seems to know he’s hiding something from her. He writes a poem and seals it in a box with her uniform, never to be opened again. The next day the class is all atwitter about him and Nakamura, but the ice is broken when Saeki says good morning to him. Before meeting with Nakamura after school, Kasuga bumps into Saeki, helps her with boxes, and asks her out on a date. She accepts, but Nakamura appears and knows everything. She meets him before his date and makes him wear Saeki’s gym uniform under his clothes for the duration of that date, while she stalks them and watches.

We won’t mince words: this show is good, and it’s only gotten better with each passing week, to the point where it’s the show we look forward to watching most. In a season full of vague and sprawling conflicts, Aku no Hana is incredibly intimate, introspective, and claustrophobic. The art style definitely took some getting used to, but now that we have it is perfectly suited to the tense, unnerving story. There are movements, gestures, and expressions that simply can’t be drawn by hand. Whatever detail is lost in wide shots is gained in extreme close-ups, in which both Saeki and Nakamura’s faces appear more real (and more beautiful).

Kasuga’s torture is alleviated when Saeki “absolves” him with her kind words, and she does seem to exhibit attraction to him now that she’s aware of his existence. But not surprisingly, Kasuga’s relief is short-lived, as Nakamura is determined to mold him into a deviant with whom she can “burn down the town,” both figuratively and possibly literally. Kasuga lets pride go to his head when he accuses her of jealousy – as if she would admit to that even if it was what she felt. No, until we’re proven otherwise, we’re considering Nakamura as a sufferer of psychopathy, as thus defined:

a personality disorder identified by characteristics such as a lack of empathy and remorse, criminality, antisocial behavior, egocentricity, superficial charm, manipulativeness, irresponsibility, impulsivity, and a parasitic lifestyle

Yup, sounds like her.


Rating: 9 (Superior)

Stray Observations:

  • On the Sunday of his date, Nakamura is dressed in black from head to toe, setting off her fiery hair. On the other side of the spectrum, Saeki opts for an angelic heavenly white one-piece.
  • This is the most interesting love triangle (if you can even call it that) we’ve seen from an anime in a long time.
  • Kasuga’s mom continues to be a bit of a scold, but his father seems to understand his recent behavior perfectly.
  • “How do you know where I live?” Really, Kasuga? Don’t you know who you’re dealing with?

Car Cameo: Honda Stream

Kakumeiki Valvrave – 03

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ARUS forces led by Senator Figaro prepare to evacuate Module 77 and take L-elf into custody. Haruto learns he has hundreds of millions of friends, but nearly attacks one of them when his powers briefly awaken. L-elf escapes easily and begins wreaking havoc, foiling ARUS’ plans to evacuate the module. While searching the school Haruto runs into Yamada, who wants his robot. Shouko goes back into the school to find Haruto, but finds Akira hacking away. L-elf kills Yamada and confronts Haruto, proposing they form a contract to “bring revolution to Dorssia.”

The loudspeaker. Earthquake. Panic. 3:14. The answer is behind you.

This seemingly random jumble of words turn out to be a very accurate foreshadowing of the sequence of events Haruto will experience in the episode that follows. Either L-elf is some kind of prognosticator or he is very good at planning out his actions to the minute. We wouldn’t put either past him, as he proves just how dangerous he can be. Tied up in a chair surrounded by armed guards, he takes advantage of small details (his hands are free enough to unscrew a screw; the light above him is made of glass he can shatter) and makes the ARUS forces look silly.

So L-elf is strong and smart, which means he’s not going to try to kill Haruto, whom he already tried and failed to kill once before. He considers Haruto an anomaly – one that caused a significant change in the course of his already distinguished existence. He is now technically a Dorssian defector, and so rather than fight Haruto, it looks like he means to request his aid. Aside from L-elf’s escape and eventual meetup with Haruto, the episode does lag a bit, showing way to many helpless people milling around, taking time away from people with the power to move things along.


Rating: 6 (Good)

Stray Observations:

  • This series is going to have its work cut out for it juggling the enormous cast it has amassed.
  • Unfortunately ARUS probably won’t lean any lessons about properly handling L-elf, as he killed any ARUS personnel who got near him.
  • We’re wondering how a slap to the fact snaps Haruto out of his vampiric rage, but if it works it works!
  • We’re also wondering if L-elf will continue the practice of presaging what’s going to happen in future episodes. They could have him do the previews!