Stella Women’s Academy, High School Division Class C3 – 07

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While walking home from the airsoft supply store, Sonora and Yura are shot at by an unknown sniper using a rifle illegally modded to fire high-pressure shots. Yura runs towards the source of the shots, and Sono has to rescue her from being hit by a car. Sono ends up with a concussion and sprained ankle, and will miss the 24-hour tournament. The rest of the club wants to quit, but Yura compiles comprehensive tactical research and assumes the role of acting leader, whipping the club in shape so they can win the tournament for Sono.

While neither Sono nor the C3 clubmates blame her for Sono’s injury, Yura is still of the age where she shouldn’t be running headlong into traffic, and she should thank her personal god she and Sono weren’t more seriously hurt or killed. This is an episode full of Yura making forceful decisions on behalf of the club, taking it by the scruff of its neck and whipping it into shape for the tournament, Sonora or no. But while she exhibits plenty of charisma and dedication, her head might not be in the right place.

She still kicks herself for surrendering to Haruna Rin in her first skirm, and once her suspicions grow that Haruna was the sniper, her desire to fight her grows even stronger. There’s a fire in her belly, and so driven to victory is she that she can’t even enjoy the festival that accompanies the tournament. She can’t have fun, and Sonora isn’t there to keep her grounded. The rest of the group accepts her as their leader, but by the time they realized the monster they were making by acquiescing to her extreme training, it may be too late. She’s so wound up, even a win over Meisei may not exercise her demons as she hopes.

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Rating:7 (Very Good)

Stray Observations:

  • We’re really curious what unforgivable thing Sonora did to Haruna that drove her to try to shoot her with a high-powered BB gun (if she in fact is the culprit).
  • The diverse airsoft teams include Team Meisei Team Seto, Team Karila’s Brother, Team Cop, and Team Active Marines…tough competition, all.
  • It was a nice touch portraying the training montage as a series of (very good!) drawings in a sketchbook that is handed to Sonora in the hospital when it’s done.
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Monogatari Series: Second Season – 06

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Unfortunately, this episode is naught but a recap of the 4-part OVA Nekomonogatari (Black), our reviews for which can be found here.

Potentially even more unfortunately, this episode referred to itself as “Summary 1”, saying “Summary 2” was to follow. Another recap? Ugh…

(No Rating)

Gatchaman Crowds – 06

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Hajime reveals her face to Rui in the tunnel, and she’s caught on camera, outing her as a Gatchaman. Paiman is furious, but JJ has no response, so Paiman orders all Gatchaman to cease operations until further notice. When Hajime goes out in public she is hounded by the press. Monitoring Hajime, Rui sends GALAXters to serve as her bodyguards as General X guides her and Utsutsu safely to a restaurant where he’s waiting to meet with her. Sugane also shows up, and Rui asks them if they’d be willing to give up being Gatchamen; they decline.

Hajime didn’t take off her mask to get attention (she thought it important to talk to Rui face-to-face), but that’s what she gets, and handles it precisely as we expected: with no drama whatsoever. She just goes with it, and were it not for Sugane and later Rui and GALAX intervening, she’d have probably earnestly answered every question the press asked her without batting an eye, regardless of how many of Paiman’s rules she was breaking. This isn’t how an ordinary girl acts, but we all know that Hajime is special.

Sugane, Rui, and GALAX do intervene in her day, and when Rui sends out an APB for “knights” to protect the “princess”, a lovely cat-and-mouse ballet ensues, which not only gets Hajime and Utsutsu to Rui without any further trouble, but simultaneously acts as a little preview or taste of the updated world Rui is building towards. It’s some nifty double duty, and when the un-ordinary Hajime and un-ordinary Rui meet and talk once more, they both come away impressed. Sugane and Hajime like the idea of everyone in the world being heroes, but they’re not quite ready to stop being Gatchamen.

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Rating: 8 
(Great)

Stray Observations:

  • Meanwhile, Hibiki Jou is off to find Katze, the one entity that could undermine all of Rui’s plans.
  • Utsutsu is able to heal many injured people under the tunnel, but at the cost of her own life force. 
  • Jou, being awesome, offers her some of his own, and she splits herself into clones.
  • Hajime really loves a new pair of scissors, and her hobbies tie her to the paper-folding JJ.
  • Hajime cuts fabric off her blue skirt to make a bow for Utsutsu, but she clearly gets carried away, because in the next scene Utsutsu has many bows and Hajime has a different skirt.

Tamayura: More Aggressive – 07

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Sayomi, Kaoru, Norie, Maon and Potte take a road trip to Shioiri in Yokozuka, where Potte grew up. They meet up with her childhood friend Miyoshi Chihiro, who introduces them to her friend Tomo. They tour the city along the way to a festival to watch fireworks. Potte enters a sparkler contest, and remembers doing the same thing when she was younger as her dad watched. Just like then, she reaches the quarterfinals. When the fireworks start, she snaps a picture of her friends admiring them, starting a new page in her book of Shioiri memories.

An overarching theme of Tamayura’s OVAs and two TV series has been Potte’s healing process after the loss of someone irreplaceable in her life, both through photography and through making and having fun with her friends. This week, that process finally takes her back to the place where everything began; Shioiri. Getting there is no mean feat: roughly 500 miles and over nine hours of driving with Sayomi at the wheel of her recently-repaired Mazda Premacy (Kanae can’t come because let’s face it, that would be way too many characters in one place). Such a trek would’ve been an adventure in and of itself, but in a bold but ultimately logical move, Potte and the others sleep through most of it. For once, this was about the destination, not the journey.

Once they reach Yokozuka and Shioiri (and Sayomi nearly runs poor Chihiro over and drives into a wall), there’s this nice sense, that Potte has come home, and that it is indeed quite possible to have more than one home (she’s young, so she’s just realizing this). Then there’s Chihiro’s friend Tomo who everyone’s been waiting to meet. She’s terribly shy and quiet at first, but it doesn’t take long for Potte to trigger her obsessive “interrogation mode” (Touyama Nao is up to the task of expressing Tomo’s bubbly exuberance). Tomo and Chihiro owe their friendship to Potte & Co, who encouraged Chihiro last season, so this episode was a nice follow-up to that, as well as another link in Potte’s chain of healing.

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Rating:7 (Very Good)