Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Come wa Machigatteiru – 08

Yukinoshita Haruno, Hikigaya Hachiman, Hiratsuka Shizuka, Yuigahama Yui, Yukinoshita Yukino

Hikigaya and his classmates plan to use the nighttime test of courage to help Rumi. Hikigaya’s strategy is to sic the popular kids on them, who act threatening and demand the group of friends choose three of their own to stay behind, essentially betraying them. They choose Ruri first, but have to choose two others, and they start to turn on each other. Before they choose the third girl, Ruri hits the older kids with her camera flash and saves all of her peers. At the end of the trip, Yukino’s sister Haruno picks her up, and Yui and Hikigaya both suspect her car is the one that almost killed Yui’s dog.

The saga of helping Tsurumi Rumi with her social problems wasn’t quite enough to occupy two episodes, so Oregairu pads part two with fanservice, first with all the girls (plus Totsuka) frolicking in the river in swimsuits, then with random cosplaying, Yui’s little Dominatrix get-up being the most egregious. In both cases Hikigaya has no choice but to commend Yui on her sexiness. But by the episode’s end he seems no closer to forming deeper bonds with either Yui or Yukino, aside from a few moments of interaction.

But while the mission to help Rumi was the primary focus of these episodes, it also offered an opportunity for Hikigaya, Yukino, and Yui to bond more with the “it” kids: Hayama, Yumiko, and Kakeru. They even join forces to teach Rumi’s friends a lesson, though they don’t have to complete the lesson, as Rumi seems to sorta fix things by saving her peers. Still, nothing’s wrapped up with a neat little bow, and in the end, it still seems like Haruno has a strange hold on Yukino – much like Masuzu and her sister/rich family. But it’s still too nebulous to make any judgments about it. That’s a bit disappointing, considering we’re more than halfway through the season.


Rating: 6 (Good)

Ginga Kikotai Majestic Prince – 08

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The battle to destroy the Wulgaru base Ragazza commences earlier than planned, and the GDF first line of defense crumbles. Team Rabbits mobilizes, but once Izuru is locked in single combat with Pleguzes Jiart, the team starts act independently and erratically. Izuru gives Asagi command of the rest of the team, and they start coordinating their efforts to great effect. The GDF’s heavy laser is able to get a second shot off, but is destroyed out by another Wulgaru force from above. Jiart cracks the housing to Izuru’s cockpit, and the two adversaries see who they’re fighting. Jiart withdraws, vowing they’ll duel again.

The key to a good space battle is keeping things interesting and tension levels high, and this episode excelled at both, putting the battle in the last episode of Valvrave to shame. Despite taking up the entire episode, we weren’t bored with the action for one minute. It also flowed very fluidly, as opposed to the choppy, somewhat jarring, and inelegant Valvrave battle. Hell, this battle lasted so long, people had to return to base to resupply on weapons and ammo. And for the second straight mission, Team Rabbits distinguished themselves. The battle started out rocky, with everyone holding their own against the Wulgaru but no one working together, since the leader Izuru was off fighting Jiart.

His duel was vital in distracting and stalling Jiart, who was so excited to be fighting someone near his own level, he didn’t bother participating in the attack on the vulnerable GDF fleet. Once Izuru gives Asagi command of the Rabbits, shit starts getting organized, and before long the team is a well-oiled ass-kicking machine. It’s a superb transition that even they notice and revel in. As for Jiart, once he sees the dude inside Red 5, and Izuru sees him, it’s for the first time, and rather than finish him, he flies off, hopeful for a future encounter. Izuru can’t help but notice the resemblance between his Wulgaru opponent and Theoria, the white-haired girl that interests him. So we’ll see where that goes.

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Rating: 8 
(Great)

Stray Observations:

  • Asagi really does a bang-up job as the leader, not complaining about his stomach once and making snap decisions to best utilize his teammates.
  • Everyone is useful in this battle, from Suruga, using his weapons knowledge to make sure he’s fully equipped; Tamaki launching herself at the Wulgaru and laying waste; and Kei coordinating units even faster than her Doberman counterpart can manage.
  • Komine very nearly loses the battle with his absolutely dreadful command decisions. The guy is a liability, and we sorely hope Lt. Amane takes action to rectify this soon.

Valvrave the Liberator – 07

Inuzuka Kyuuma, Sakurai Aina, Tokishima Haruto

President Satomi tries to take control of the newly-discovered Valvraves, but Haruto won’t let him, and the other students support Haruto. While Saki is helping Shouko cook, L-elf appears and stages a coup d’etat of New JIOR, seeking to militarize the country and ordering Haruto to man Valvrave. A-drei makes his move, but L-elf is ready for him. Q-vier bails A-drei out, and L-elf ejects them into space, where the rest of the Dorssian squadron is waiting. Saki sorties in Camilia, but is neutralized by the Dorssians. Haruto bites L-elf and uses his body to pilot Valvrave and force the Dorssians to retreat. When they return to New JIOR, Haruto finds that Sakurai Aina was killed in the chaos.

When you’re a newly independent nation besieged on all sides by warlike superpowers, do you spend your time learning to cook? NO. Thankfully, L-elf is there to teach the New JIORians a lesson in staying on your toes. The students can simply rest on their laurels now that they’ve declared their independence just because Haruto is around to help them. As we see, Haruto can get trapped under a metal beam, and if L-elf wasn’t there to offer his body, it would have been game over for New JIOR, pure and simple.That said, it’s nice to see just how useful the ability to possess others can be, especially when the only other active Valvrave, Saki, is still very green (literally and figuratively) and is caught off guard by the Dorssians.

Speaking of Valvraves, we have a feeling there’s going to be a third pilot very soon, and we’re not talking about L-elf. Unless the show simply decided to randomly kill off one of its characters, We feel like it’s within Haruto and Valvrave’s powers to bring Sakurai Aina back to life. They are essentially gods, after all. If she does end up being dead for good, R.I.P. Aina-chan, we hardly knew ye. Seriously. Additionally, L-elf has essentially sealed his fate as a Dorssian traitor, but that doesn’t mean he’s on Haruto’s side. As for Saki, well, in the cold open we see her two hundred years in the future, still piloting Camillia, which is apparently a relic but still capable of kicking ass.

This was an interesting way to start the episode, showing that at some point Saki will get better at piloting her Valvrave, and will also live far longer than she would have had she remained human.

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Rating:7 (Very Good)