Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! Ren – 06

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The world of Chu2Koi is so rich and lovely and full of compelling personalities that episodes that center on the secondary characters are a pleasure rather than a drag. But when Yuuta and Rikka are the focus, the show really comes into its own, and reaches a higher level. This week they are the focus, both of the episode and of all of their classmates, with whom they’re on what looks like a fantastic school trip. It’s a trip during which—preferably on the third day—Yuuta hopes something will happen; we know not what, specifically.

But while it’s not his intention to put Rikka on the spot, the other students do just that, remarking on their status every chance they get and offering to snap photos of the happy couple’s time together. It puts both of them off, but Rikka in particular, who eventually snaps under the pressure, delivering an awesome slide-kick to Shinka before running off, trying to escape all the prying eyes. It should be stated that Shinka herself is also questioned by her peers about whether she has a boyfriend, and if not, why not; a subject she too prefers not to discuss.

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All the proximity to people with their own sense of what’s normal in a relationship based on their own upbringing and experiences (or lack of same). In fact, while no one comes out and says it, it’s not apparent any of the kids on the trip are dating anyone, except Yuuta and Rikka. If they are indeed the exception, it only heightens the pressure to perform as a shining example of what romance can be. Again, neither of them are interested in being an example, or in being observed at all.

No, that “something” Yuuta had hoped would happen happened not because of anything he planned, but because Rikka took the initiative, though she was possibly prodded on by Shinka. We were struck by how fast it happened: the girls are sleeping in their room; the guys are telling ghost stories in theirs, but before you know it, BAM, Rikka is under Yuuta’s covers (to prevent being caught by a teacher). The romantic tension really radiates through the screen as they realize they’re finally alone; they’re closer than they’ve ever been, but not at all uncomfortable.

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The kiss they attempt there is maddeningly (and expectedly) interrupted (at which point we were ready to throw something solid at the TV), but in the end, when it mattered, Chu2Koi didn’t let us down. As Yuuta guides Rikka back to her room, they end up discussing the mutual embarrassment they’ve been feeling, which had nothing to do with there being something wrong with the other person. They start to return to bed, but Rikka rushes up from behind and plants a passionate kiss right on his cheek before meekly shuffling off.

Yuuta was worried (and confided in Shinka as much) that Rikka’s Chuunibyou and romance were simply incomparable, but he was mistaken. Rikka wants what he wants, but it’s just a matter of defeating the “magic barriers” that keep them apart; making the Chuunibyou work for her. With their first kiss trepidation overcome, they both start to feel their love blooming. We felt it too.

9_superiorRating: 9 (Superior)

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Samurai Flamenco – 17

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Since bottoming out with the From Beyond battle, Samurai Flamenco has been clawing its way back to respectability at a pretty good clip. Last week the crucial bonds between friends were reaffirmed, and much like the Railgun, Masayoshi only becomes more powerful and capable when she’s surrounded by friends supporting her. After what happened to Flamen Blue last week, going up against Prime Minister Okuzaki wasn’t going to be a cakewalk.

But first, he had to get to the Diet, where the PM was putting the finishing touches on his campaign for 100% Approval. Goto was never in doubt as to whether Masayoshi was really a terrorist mastermind (he knows Masayoshi is too stupid to trick anyone), while Jun is happy for another chance to see his special stationary in action. His getaway car is a first-gen Toyota Harrier, AKA Lexus RX300. So he went for reliability and comfort, not speed.

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Konno’s also on Masayoshi’s side, and even Mister Justice shows up to clear their path to the Diet, while the reborn Flamenco Girls and Goto make sure no one disturbs Masayoshi’s chat with Okuzaki. Of course, Okuzaki has no intention of chatting, cutting the audio feed but keeping the cameras rolling as he dons his battle armor, which is fittingly powered by his constantly refreshing public approval ratings.

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His heart’s in the right place—he wants only to protect Japan—but he doesn’t respect the people and is willing to lie to them to increase his power.This is where Konno takes up the mantle of unlikely hero. Okuzaki may be invulnerable to physical attacks, but he’s extremely susceptible to the effects of the truth, which is shown to the world when Konno live-streams his megalomaniacal ranting to the nation (having probably snuck in when the Girls arrived). Okuzaki’s ratings plummet, and with them his strength, and it’s Bye-bye, Mr. Prime Minister. All thanks to Konno—and smartphones.

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It’s a satisfying, creative victory that gave everyone something to do, and it was Samurai Flamenco ridiculousness at its best. But it wouldn’t be Flamenco if the victory celebration lasted more than a few moments. Turns out Okuzaki was the country’s last best hope against the REAL foe: Mister Justice! Well, not really Mister Justice (no American bad guys here!) it was just a disguise for…Alien Flamenco! And just like that, the show expands its conflict all the way out into space. Never a dull moment for our hero and his integral support circle.

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Rating: 8 
(Great)