Servant x Service – 08

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Hasebe takes Yamagami out to dinner, where she details her goal to complain to the civil servant who allowed her name. The next day, Tanaka, waiting outside the office, also invites her out to eat at the same restaurant. There, he complains about Hasebe and never being able to beat him, but thinks he can beat him by going out with her, the girl he’s hitting on. Hasebe rescues Yamagami. The next day his behavior has changed slightly. When asked by Yamagami what she can do to repay him for all his help, he asks that she go on a date, neutralizing Chihaya by assigning her to put Yamagami’s outfit together.

More and more, Hasebe and Yamagami are starting to remind me of a slightly older Takanashi and Inami from Working!!. Yamagami isn’t afraid of men, but she is afraid of going out on a date or wearing a skirt, and has never even given either much thought. While we’re not sure about the latter fear, the former is due to her long name, which she feels would make dating someone impossible. But she’s gradually warming up to Hasebe, and Hasebe, who initially hit on her as a joke, is really starting to like her the more time he spends on her, which is affecting his work.

While Yamagami’s name haunts her (and she’s too deferential to her nice parents to have it changed), Hasebe’s past and potential haunts him. Tanaka is a remnant from that past, who saw the greatness and laments that it was never harnessed. But like Yamagami is content to buy and read books (only leaving enough money to buy the most utilitarian of food), Hasebe is content to sail through life on a breeze of ease…at least up to this point. Now he has a goal, and a laudable one: to date Yamagami. That’s not something that can be achieved easily, but he’s still pursuing it.

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Rating:7 (Very Good)

Stray Observations:

  • Yamagami is able to enjoy a beer (or at least part of one) without passing out  and waking up next to a female version of Hasebe. Progress!
  • Tanaka knocks back like six bottles of red wine, and is still able to hobble home. Though he’s kind of a mean drunk.
  • Chihaya was ready to shut Hasebe down, but he was saved by his quick thinking: making his date an opportunity for her to dress Yamagami up.

Ginga Kikoutai Majestic Prince – 20

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Everyone is shaken and numb from the death of Randy and Patrick. Rakesh gives Tamaki the gift Patrick meant to give her when he returned: premium pickled fish guts. Kei shares her bed with Tamaki but they can’t sleep, so they join the other Rabbits in Asagi’s room. Izuru passes out and turns out to be suffering from accelerated aging. When Asagi activates Red 5 during tests, Suzukane reveals to him that he and Izuru share paternal DNA, sourced from Cmdr. Simon. With help from Theoria, Amane is able to convince the world powers to join forces to destroy the Wulgaru base.

Last week while drinking with Suzukane, Captain Amane lambasted world leaders as impotent morons. This week, as GDF Chief of Staff for Operations, it falls to her to convince those assembled morons that they must combine their forces at one big offensive aimed at the Wulgaru gate if humanity is to have a chance. Not surprisingly to her or us, she isn’t able to do so, at least not without a badass entrance from Princess Theoria, who pledges to fight by their side. So the course to mankind’s salvation set. The question is, will they actually be able to ice that gate?

Team Rabbits doesn’t see any action this week, but had to deal with a lot: Izuru’s health is rapidly deteriorating, which worries Ke. Tamaki is distraught upon realizing Patrick liked her. Asagi suddenly learns he and Izuru are technically brothers, with Simon as their likely father. Needless to say, no one is in a particularly optimum psychological state at a pivotal time. In the final four episodes (or three, if four is a prologue) the Rabbits will have to put aside all their ills and rise to the occasion. That gate’s gotta go.

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Rating:7 (Very Good)

Free! – 07

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With five days until the prefectural tournament, the Iwatobi Swim Club continues to train. They visit a shrine for good luck, and Gou scouts the other teams. Meanwhile Rin has a dream about being unable to catch Haruka. His teammate Nitori notices something’s up with him, and wonders aloud why Rin is only entering the 100m. Rin tells him the story of how his dad was the best swimmer in Iwatobi until her got married, had him, got a job as a fisherman, and died in a typhoon. The tournament arrives, and in their first heat Rin beats Haruka, who doesn’t even advance. Afterwards, he tells him he’ll never swim with him again, ever.

Haruka never asked for this. In the immortal words of Dave Ryder, he didn’t “need this.” “This” being being lured back into competitive swimming, only to lose and be discarded like a torn speedo. By the end of his 100m race, it’s clear Rin didn’t enter it seeing Haruka as a friend, or a muse, or even a rival or nemesis. He saw him as a hindrance; a hurdle to clear on his way to achieving what his dad never did: Olympic glory. Rin convinced himself that beating Haruka was the key to moving forward.

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It’s not a role Haruka actively sought, it was one assigned to him, just as his friends assigned him to be their ace, even though all he ever says is “I only swim free.” He may not have just been talking about freestyle, but about simply swimming just for the joy of it, not as a means but as an end unto itself. So Rin had a lot more emotional investment in the race than Haruka, and we can imagine the devastation he would have felt had he lost. What we didn’t expect is how quickly and how deeply Haruka is wounded by his sudden and unexpected defeat. How could he lose at the one thing he loves most?

It’s as if all of the weight that was on Rin’s back was transferred to Haruka’s. It broke his armor of aloof perfection and brought him low, which makes him more interesting (let’s face it, without adversity there’s not much to the guy). Rin did more than just beat Haruka; he snatched away the joy he wants and needs to feel from swimming. He poisoned his water. And if Rin’s to be believed, there will never be a rematch. Rin got what he wanted and is currently drunk on victory and confidence…but his trials are hardly over.

9_superiorRating: 9 (Superior)

Stray Observations:

  • Finally, a real honest-to-goodness race, and it only took till halfway into the season! We liked the camerawork during the swim, though the streaking backgrounds behind the closeups of Haru and Rin kinda reminded us of Speed Racer.
  • Rin’s win puts Gou in an awkward position. Officially she was cheering for both, but she is the manager of Iwatobi, so Haru’s loss is her loss.
  • More importantly, she was hoping if Rin swam with Haru and the others it would help bring them together…but it seems to have had the opposite effect.
  • Hurt feelings aside, if no one in the club wins anything, the club won’t get any extra funds, meaning no indoor pool in the off-season, meaning to training during the offseason. So winning about more than just glory. We’ll see how the other three guys do.