Birdie Wing: Golf Girls’ Story – 22 – Wounded Beast

Eve uses her Rainbow Bullet Burst to salvage her Europe Women’s Open by going 5-under on the third day to claim second place at 6-under, but pays the price. Burst causes considerable strain to her body, something Ichina didn’t notice because Eve didn’t let her or anyone else see her pain.

Alan Harvey, who is a butler and a certified acupuncturist (love that) manages to get her in a position to play on the fourth and final day, but warns Ichina in no uncertain terms not to allow Eve to use Burst again. To do so would jeopardize Eve’s future as a pro.

Aoi, who is already a pro, is busy doing promotional work she hates, but not too busy to keep abreast of Eve’s progress. She, like Vipere and everyone else is concerned when Eve walks out on the second day covered in bandages. Leo tells her there’s no shame in forfeiting.

But Eve prefers her “candles” short, fat, and fast-burning (holy-moley that’s a lot of double entendres!) and is committed to finishing the tournament. When Ichina withholds her driver and warns her not to use the burst, but instead adopt a defensive stance for the round, Eve decides to trust her caddy. These two have come such a long way.

Aisha continues her consistently wild shelling of the course, showing no signs of tiring. The pro leader runs out of gas and falls to fifth place, and Aisha ties Eve with one hole to play. But Aisha doesn’t consider Eve an easy opponent. In fact, she smells dangerous to her—like a wounded beast.

When Aisha sets up a birdie that will trigger a playoff if Eve matches it, both she and Ichina know what must be done. It’s time for the Rainbow Bullet Burst, but that doesn’t make it any easier for a tearful Ichina to hand Eve her driver.

Even so, she heard Eve talk about not caring about words like “limits” or “impossible”, which she believes to be the excuses of cowards. Eve trusted Ichina, so now Ichina will trust in Eve. So she pushes the driver into her chest and tells her to prove that she can go beyond her limits.

Eve uses Burst to launch her ball nearly 290 yards—further than Aisha—and her driver cracks and shatters, apparently sacrificing itself to prevent her arms from breaking. Yes folks, the clubs are sentient. Why wouldn’t they be?! But the Burst isn’t even Eve’s final salvo.

With a fresh club, Eve whips out an even newer, even less tested shot—Over the Rainbow. The ball is shot straight up into the air, then majestically arcs across the green and straight into the cup. With an eagle on 18th, Eve defeats Aisha, wins the Europe Open, and becomes a pro.

But again, everything has a cost. And even though she held back for most of the final round, the final Burst and OTR ended up doing yet another number on her teenaged body. After the award ceremony, Ichina and Alan are helping Eve back to her cabin when she straight-up loses consciousness.

Our golf girl Eve has made a living killing people…in golf, but now she’s as close as ever to killing herself with golf—along with any chance of facing off against her beloved Aoi. And this time Alan’s needles might not be enough to help her.

The Ancient Magus’ Bride – S2 09 – Cause for Worry

After the camping trip, Chise stops by home so Mini-Elias can be re-merged with Elias and Silky can even out her fly new short hair. But back at the College, Lucy remains in the infirmary, unconscious for ten days. Chise is worried about her, leading Elias to ask what “being worried” means.

When Chise explains it, Elias admits he was worried about her on the trip, but she did what a mage should have done, and nothing he wouldn’t have done. Chise too is worried about the power that awoke under the lake, and a visit to the always sleepy Cartiphilus, who confirms the voice came from inside her and kept her from getting killed.

What she doesn’t tell him is that it is the voice of a dragon gone mad after cursing her, and there’s now no going back. Not only that, when she uses her blackened hand to place a cloth on Lucy’s head as she starts twisting fretfully in her sleep, she has a vision of a young Lucy at the edge of a mass of corpses lying in a sea of blood. Then Lucy suddenly comes to.

When she does, it’s shortly after Seth Noel arrives. Chise knows Seth, but didn’t know he was Lucy’s brother. Lucy loses it upon seeing him, telling him she doesn’t need a “loser like him” to worry about her, and telling him to buzz of before passing out again.

Seth commits to staying by Lucy’s side so Chise can take a break. While on the stairs she can smell the potpourri she gave Philomena, and sure enough, Philomena lifts her cloak of invisibility to talk to her. She tells Chise that she’s not used to talking to other people, but it’s okay when it’s just the two of them. Like Lucy, Mena is gradually growing from an acquaintance to a friend.

As for how Lucy ended up the way she did, the College president convenes a faculty meeting to report that a forbidden tome called The Testament of Carnamagos was found crumbled into dust in it’s storage unit. The book, which Elias admits he’s read (an extreme risk for a normal human), can take the life force and magic power of others.

The latter happened to Lucy, so it tracks that the crumbled book was a fake, and the real one was stolen and is being used for nefarious purposes.

Tory introduces Elias to the other teachers, who are excited to meet a mage and impressed by his transformation abilities. Among them is Simeon Paladilhe, who tells Elias (and us) the story of the Webster family, who used to make a living making and copying books with the help of silk-producing spiders they kept.

Eight years ago, the entire Webster family was killed except for Lucy. As for Seth, since he lacked any magical power he was cast out of the family before its demise. Shortly after parting ways with Elias and Tory, Simeon is attacked with the missing book.

By the time Lucy wakes up again, Seth has fallen asleep while sitting on the stool beside her bed. She sees him and the gift he brought and cannot fathom why he’s there, as he must hate her (he probably doesn’t).

When a colleague who is waiting for Seth gets out of the limo, he’s quickly impaled through the chest by a mysterious masked creature with doglike legs and claws wearing human clothes. The creature tosses the slain colleague off a bridge, and is then joined by a second creature. With Seth’s protection eliminated, Seth is their next target.

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Golden Kamuy – 45 – Love and Pieces

Tanigaki is ready to walk away from the entire gold-hunting affair when Tsurumi informs him that Inkarmat has been moved to another location. Tanigaki takes this for the threat it is, but Tsurumi goes on: Inkarmat is currently pregnant with Tanigaki’s child.

Tsurumi will let her go if Tanigaki delivers Asirpa to him. Unaware that one of their most dangerous rivals now has one of their most reliable allies wrapped around his finger, Asirpa, Sugimoto, and Shiraishi inspect Heita’s tattooed skin and resolve to continue the search for the gold.

By studying the gold dust Heita collected on his travels, Shiraishi reveals another Abashiri prisoner: a skilled diver and murderer named Botaro the Pirate, whom Heita had dive to the bottom of Lake Shikotsu to recover a cargo of gold Nopperabo was transporting.

Meanwhile, we check in with Hijitaka’s crew as Ogata reunites with them and reports that a woman named Sofia Goldenhand will be coming for Asirpa, and that Asirpa knows how to decipher the code for the skins. There’s also a tattooed prisoner with a mustache going around murdering prostitutes in Sapporo.

Famous author Ishikawa Takuboku reports to Nagakura on the activities of this prisoner, whom Hijikata notes is being way to flamboyant in his crimes, and thus will attract the attention of the “ruffians” of the 7th Division. Tsurumi sends Kikuta and Usami to Sapporo to deal with the prisoner.

Kukuta and Usami don’t like each other, and that’s when the episode turns back the clock to when Tsurumi was a guest instructor at his master’s dojo and Usami was just an impressionable young lad. Like many young lads who’d go on to serve him, Usami fell for Tsurumi’s good looks and charms hard and early.

Tsurumi basically groomed Usami into a lethal weapon, while Usami’s friend Tomoharu failed to win a single sparring match against him. On the day they both graduate from the dojo, Tomoharu begs Usami to spar with him one more time. Since the master closed the dojo, Tsurumi has them spar outside.

Usami beats Tomoharu once more, then stomps on his throat, crushing his windpipe. Usami always hated Tomoharu for being the son of a well-to-do soldier who was always stealing away precious time with Tsurumi.

While Tsurumi never explicitly told Usami to kill Tomoharu, the end result is that his murder cherry was popped, and they became bound by their story that Tomoharu was killed when Tsurumi’s horse kicked him. Usami is deeply moved that Tsurumi covered for him even though it meant drawing the ire of his superiors.

The tale of how Usami became one of Tsurumi’s chosen ones is framed by a chat between Usami and his sensei about what he learned in the war in China: that it isn’t hatred of the enemy or fear of death or even differences in politics or ideology that draws out a soldier’s drive to kill. It’s love.

He has carefully nurtured and inspired “interesting” characters like Usami not just to follow his orders because he’s their superior officer, but because they love him. Usami’s jealousy drove him to kill and unlocked the killer Tsurumi would need for his plans. Now he’s poised to use Tanigaki’s love for Inkarmat and her unborn child to drive him to betray Asirpa and Sugimoto. He really is quite the sonofabitch!

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Kubo Won’t Let Me Be Invisible – 09 – The Flavor of Fulfillment

It may be a new year, but for Shiraishi, not much has changed. Most people still fail to notice his existence. But when he arrives at his new class, he finds that some things that haven’t changed are in his favor: Kubo is not only still in his class, but still sitting beside him, this time near the windows.

Kubo has celebratory soft drinks with her two besties, and with the next day comes the school committee assignments. Shiraishi notes that he usually just ends up with the leftovers since the teacher doesn’t notice him raising his hand, so Kubo gives him an assist by volunteering for the environmental committee and telling the teacher Shiraishi raised his hand too.

Kubo knows Shiraishi enjoyed the environmental committee because he was able to make the flowers bloom, even if everyone thought they were blooming without being tended to. The other member of the committee last year was Sudou, who happens to remember Shiraishi because of his green thumb.

When he and Kubo end up in the same lab group as Sudou and Sudou needs an eraser, Kubo mentions that Shiraishi has five, and Sudou strikes up a little convo with Shiraishi. Later, Shiraishi thanks Kubo, as it’s the first time he’s been able to enjoy talking with someone other than her. Kubo has to temporarily retreat to blush, as him saying he enjoys talking with her catches her off guard.

When Shiraishi is trying to buy a new “youthful lemon” flavored Fanta, Kubo surprises him and he accidentally buys water. She then wonders why youth tastes like lemon. Shiraishi thinks his youth would probably be more like water—often overlooked or ignored for its lack of flavor.

When Kubo talks about all the ways he could have a fulfilling youth—making friends, having his first kiss—Shiraishi is overwhelmed, as he claims not to even have any friends to begin with. This miffs Kubo, who asks what about her?

That’s when, now nine episodes in, Shiraishi finally realizes that he and Kubo are friends. I guess I can cut him a little slack as she’s his first friend, and realizing she is his friend greatly improves his mood. So he’s slow on the uptake as usual, but thankfully no longer totally clueless thanks to Kubo.

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Skip and Loafer – 09 – A Taste of Summer

Synching right up with the official start of Summer here in the States, Mitsumi’s summer break arrives, and she leaves Nao-chan’s place early to hop on a train to the airport, then a plane to Noto. The immersive, almost meditative sequence unfolds with minimal dialogue, ambient sounds, and familiar images, perfectly capturing the exciting yet slightly lonely feeling of being on a trip.

The summer details don’t stop there. Mitsumi’s lively family picks her up and takes her home, where grandma is out back making special red rice and warns Mitsumi to cover her legs lest the skeeters eat them up. Her fam prepared a sumptuous feast and they go to town, then nap it off on the cool tatami. I totally get why Mitsumi’s such a good person…look where she comes from!

Then there’s the impossibly sweet reunion of Mitsumi with her bestest friend Fumi-chan. She literally jumps onto her like a baby panda on its mama. Fumi reports that she’s officially seeing the guy she spoke of before; she wanted Mitsumi to know first. They get together with the rest of their middle school chums and launch some fireworks on the beach.

The next morning Mitsumi oversleeps due to a excess food hangover. Her mom, who took the day off work to have more time with her, gives her some soothing watermelon. Each time Mitsumi takes a bite, we get a new idyllic image of summertime in the countryside. Her reverie is interrupted by Fumi, who joins the Iwakura siblings on a trip to the beach.

Mitsumi would go on to visit the beach every day, such that by the time she’s back in Tokyo for the new semester, she’s got a serious tan. The first person she encounters is Sousuke, which she takes as a good sign. When Kanechika tries to give Sousuke a script “just to read”, he refuses.

Mika has brought cookies from Kyoto for everyone, including her newest friend Nao-chan, while Mitsumi has brought her hometown’s famous squid crackers. In monologue, Mitsumi notes how the summer break was a month of transformation. Some couples were made, some broke up. Some friends grew closer, while others drifted apart.

Mitsumi’s spirits are lifted after her student council session and a detailed presentation on the upcoming school festival, which the president correctly presumes is unlike anything Mitsumi has ever seen (at least outside of TV shows). She’s super excited about the festival, and when she spots Sousuke walking alone, she wants to share her excitement with him (as well as her squid crackers).

When she finally catches up, she hands him a cracker and talks at length and with great enthusiasm about all things festival. Sousuke politely listens and adds a monosyllabic comment here and there, and then Mitsumi takes her leave, saying she shouldn’t be acting like a giddy schoolgirl, but more like a “cool and composed adult” like Sousuke.

As she walks away, in Sousuke’s mind he says she’s wrong: he’s frozen in place because he “doesn’t deserve anything”. He recalls her running in her bare feet, and also a long-haired blonde woman I don’t believe we know. He calls Mitsumi “so dazzling…and so far away”, but just then she turns back around and returns to him, offering two more crackers as she sensed he seemed down.

Will Mitsumi be able to pull Sousuke out of his funk without knowing what’s really causing it? I hope so, but the fact their class is putting on a play—the last thing Sousuke wants to do—the odds are stacked against her. But I’m sure as hell pulling for her to succeed!

Insomniacs After School – 08 – Somebody Special

The next day at school, which is the last day of the semester, Isaki asks what Ganta thought of her radio show, and he admits he fell asleep in the middle of it. But wasn’t that kinda the point? Isaki is also nervous about her and Ganta’s viewing party getting approved, but when she and her friends arrive at the student council office, he and Ukegawa report that they are good to go.

I love the little slice-of-life scenes of Isaki and her friends just goofing off over weird-flavored drinks or comparing lunches or special talents. Anamizu is even approached by a strapping senpai she likes who wants to go to the viewing party.

I also liked how since this is the start of summer break, it’s hot out, and walking around out in the sun is as grueling as coming into a nicely air-conditioned building is refreshing. Kani continues to maintain a slightly antagonistic attitude towards Ganta, protesting when he shows up ninja-like.

When Ukegawa tells the girls that Ganta used to be quite the runner, but slowed down when he grew out of his shoes, he doesn’t shame Kani for laughing by saying, for instance, Ganta’s family couldn’t afford new shoes for him…or possibly didn’t care. We see Ganta’s family life is near non-existent. That said, my heart was lifted when Isaki placed the glowing star antennae on his head.

Even if his family situation isn’t the best, at least he has a solid group of people at school who care about him in their own ways. Which is why when the night of the viewing party arrives and a huge rainstorm blows in to ruin it, he’s so crestfallen. Not only that, Ganta blames himself for this literal act of God, and runs out into the rain to make sure no one shows up at the station.

Yui and Isaki run out into the rain to find him, and Isaki finds him first, yelling across the raging river, crossing the nearest bridge to approach him, and holding an umbrella over him. They may both already be soaked, but the gesture is symbolic: she wants him to come in from the rain, and to cease his self-hatred.

The two find shelter under the bus stop—the same bus stop where they hid from a cop on their first Nightly Fun session (I miss those!). When they can’t simply talk things out, Isaki starts recording another episode of her radio show.

She acknowledges that it sucks that their viewing party they worked so hard on got cancelled, but when she hid in this bus stop with Ganta, she heard his heart racing, and then her heart started to race, that’s when she realizes that he is someone special to her.

Ganta takes this for what it is, and wants desperately to say she’s special to him too, but they’re interrupted by a passing bus. They hide again, and end up very close together again. Isaki puts her hands on Ganta’s face and shapes his mouth into a smile. Then Yui shows up, and from her perspective, it looks like they’re kissing.

The three meet up with the others at the after-party, and Ganta bows and apologizes to everyone. But they tell him he has nothing to apologize for. This wasn’t his fault, and there will be other meteor showers they can organize viewing parties for.

All he needs to do is sit down and have a nice meal with everyone, if not in celebration of a successful event, to celebrate the hard work they all put into it, which brought them closer together. Yui then swipes a shrimp head from Ukegawa’s dish, and puts it together with one of hers, making both Isaki and Ganta blush and avert their eyes.

The question is, when will they summon the courage to express how special they are to each other will an actual kiss?

Vinland Saga S2 – 21 – Repaying the Kindness

As Canute inspects the dead “soldiers” who fought for Ketil, Floki asks if his men can use some of the houses on the farm. Canute forbids any soldiers from setting foot on the farm, as he knows they’ll want to pillage if they do.

Floki points out that pillaging is the right of a victorious warrior, but Canute holds firm; he’ll reward the Jomsvikings another way. His father’s head laughs at Canute for showing mercy, especially after all of the lives he’s taken. He urges his son to keep paving a road of corpses until he reaches “paradise.”

With Ketil unconscious, the choice of whether to surrender is not up to Thorgil, Sverkel, or Ketil’s wife. It is up to Olmar, whom Ketil named his rightful successor under the assumption Thorgil would remain a king’s guard. Olmar, who just got back from the medieval equivalent of a field hospital, is done pretending that courage means puffing out one’s chest and starting fights.

He decides that they’ll surrender. He doesn’t care what happens to him, as long as the killing stops. Snake has his back, but I wonder if Thorgil will really head his “coward” brother’s wishes. As for Sverkel, he’s proud that his grandson has become a man. The cost—Ketil’s farm—was steep to be sure, but he considers it a good deal.

Speaking of grown men, Thorfinn approaches Canute’s camp and is confronted and repeatedly mocked by one of the biggest of the warriors: Drott the Bear Killer. Thorfinn doesn’t rise to the provocations but keeps his cool, even apologizing for any offense after he’s punched.

The thing is, he’s not going anywhere until he gets to speak to the king. Drott takes several dozen more swings, but is only able to hit air, and the other soldiers start mocking Drott and praising Thorfinn’s moves. Wulf informs Canute that a young man named Thorfinn wishes to speak to him, but Canute says that won’t be necessary.

When Einar finally catches up to Thorfinn after hearing where he went from Leif, he urges Thorfinn to come with him. No one man can stop a war. But Thorfinn didn’t necessarily come to Canute’s camp expecting to succeed. Instead, he’s simply repaying the kindness Ketil, Sverkel, Pater, and all the other people on the farm showed to him.

Considering the past he’d lived, Thorfinn didn’t think he deserved that kindness or the redemption it wrought. But that kindness was shown to him all the same, so he’s going to do everything he can to stop the fighting, even if it gets him killed.

Einar respects his wishes, and when Thorfinn hears that the soldiers are placing bets on how many punches he can take, he decides to bet on himself. Specifically, if he takes one hundred blows and is still conscious and able to stand, he’ll get his audience with Canute.

f he can’t, the men will kill him. Drott is pissed off, but Thorfinn knows how to take a punch or two or twenty. But a hundred? From the “bear killer”? That’s a tall order for our diminutive protagonist.

Mobile Suit Gundam: The Witch from Mercury – 19 – Cleaning the Stables

Miorine and Guel are headed to earth, unaware of just how dangerous a scorpion they have as an escort in Prospera, piloting Aerial. Miorine may be planning to bolster her presidential bonafides through direct talks with Earth, but Prospera has entirely different and far more selfish motives.

In one of the surprises of the whole show, Secelia has Martin give her a pedicure to put him in his place, but also offers him the advice he needed to hear: if he believes he sold out Nina to save Earth House, he needs to come clean to his house and seek forgiveness there.

Piel’s newest Elan is now with Shaddiq, telling him more people might support Miorine in the election if the Gundam they brought crushes the Earthians, but Shaddiq knows Miorine will do everything in her power to prevent that. Miorine isn’t fazed by the unarmed protestors, and alights from her limo to meet with Earth’s leaders face to face.

As Norea finally fills her sketchbook and breaks down from the grief of losing her sister and best friend Sophie and admits she’s afraid to die, Miorine receives the Earthians’ list of very legitimate grievances, including the Benerit group’s use of extralegal detentions, torture, and murder in their search for the Plant Quetta terrorists.

That said, Miorine brings GUND-Arm medical tech to the talks, and this intrigues one of Earth’s representatives to the point he agrees to a 10-day ceasefire until the election is over. If Miorine wins, then the real talks can begin. Seeing them shake hands after her hand was previously ignored feels like a big win for Mio. Turns out it’s the only win she’ll get, and an all too brief one.

Suletta, having hit rock bottom last week, finally begins her slow ascent. Emerging from her bedroom to eat, ChuChu drags her out to be with the rest of Earth House, who have prepared a sumptuous breakfast. It’s here where Suletta realizes she still has a family that cares about her.

Martin then arrives and comes clean as Secelia advised, and receives the forgiveness he wanted but didn’t think he’d get. Suletta knows Nika wasn’t trying to cause any harm but only protect her own family. As Lilique puts it, even if it wasn’t the best way, it was all she could do. Suletta lingers on that.

While Mio handles the talks, Guel went with Kenanji to speak to Sedo, the Dawn of Fold-affiliated kid who he knew from when Guel was their captive. Sedo wants to join Grassley House’s academy for war orphans like the “Prince”. Kenanji gets angered by this, because “Prince” is the name of one of Grassley’s finest graduates: Shaddiq.

It doesn’t take much to put two and two together and realize that Shaddiq, in concert with Fold, organized both the Plant Quetta and Open Campus attacks. Guel informs Mio, who tells him to return to Space and try to find evidence. She imagines Shaddiq is keeping his adoptive father Sarius at Grassley house.

But even Shaddiq’s plans seem to be in peril due to the whims of one Prospera Mercury, who uses Aerial’s abilities to take control of a piece of Earth artillery and have it fire at her, giving her the justification to retreat. But instead she heads to a secret Space Assembly League facility—Ochs Earth—and lays waste to the Gundams stored there.

While fighting breaks out, it’s covered on the news waves. Feng and her companion, who pose as smugglers but are really Space Assembly League agents, secure Bel and even learn about Quiet Zero from her, but while trying to move her to a secure location Prospera’s aide kills Feng and Bel just narrowly manages to escape with Feng’s partner.

The end result of Prospera going her own way is that conflict between Earth and Space flares back up and escalates. Blood is spilled mere moments after Mio got her ceasefire, leaving her entire trip a failure and making her the face of the entire fiasco.

But when Suletta watches the newsfeed and sees Aerial among the burning rubble and crying children of Quinharbor, she finally understands why Eri pushed her away, and told her to stop clinging to her and their mother. Eri kept Suletta out of this mess so she could rise to fight another day. There’s even another Gundam looking for a pilot that I’d say has Suletta’s name on it.

If last week Suletta hit rock bottom, this week Mio-Mio seems to be in the same spot. Both her designs on forging a peace with Earth and her presidential prospects are in tatters. She, like Eri, was right to try keep Suletta out of this, even if her methods were extreme. But now that just means that Suletta has the freedom to choose what to do with herself. I imagine she’ll forgive Mio and try to save her. Suletta’s rise towards agency and selfhood begins now.

Loving Yamada at Lv999 – 09 – Self-Serving Dream

When Akane vociferously urges Yamada to go to the local konbini while they’re playing FOS, he finds that she’s the clerk at said konbini. When she asks him to wait for her shift to end so they can go home together, he does. She made another meal for him as thanks for his help with her laptop.

While she’s glad he’s opened up a little more and they’ve gotten a little closer, she’s wary of seeing him in a romantic light, considering his troubles in that arena. That said, in practice he is quite sweet and kind, both in waiting for her shift to end, protecting her from a bicyclist, and expressing his hope she doesn’t get too bad a cold.

While Momo is giving her a manicure, Akane calls Yamada’s kindness a “terrifying trap”, but while Momo has heard a lot about Yamada from Akane, she hasn’t heard Akane say what she wants to do. Runa interrupts by announcing a “crisis in the guild”, which is really just Yamada inviting a new member—a girl! Even though she became friends with Akane, Runa is scared of a new member, but Akane calms her down with cocoa.

As for that new girl member, it’s Tsubaki, who seems to be harboring some lingering feelings for Yamada, or is at least curious about the older woman who came to the cultural festival. Could that be the only reason she’s joining the guild? We’ll have to see, but one thing’s for certain: Akane will welcome Tsubaki to the guild with open arms, not as the romantic rival Tsubaki believes herself to be.

It’s almost as if Tsubaki has taken comfort in the fact Yamada is terrible with girls, but Akane is quickly changing that, becoming someone he cares about and wants to protect. Akane is back in full-on disaster mode as she catches the mother of all colds after having to pull a night shift.

She can’t drink water, and hasn’t eaten in a day, but has nothing for rice porridge. She tries to take her bike as she’s worried about infecting other riders on the bus, but she’s too feverish and weak to get on the bike, or even get back to her apartment.

Fortunately for her, Yamada is close by. He stops a bike from falling on her, then picks her up from the ground and carries her to safety. This whole time, Akane is so feverish she believes this is all a dream—a selfish dream. But there’s nothing selfish about it. Yamada is doing what he wants to do. Helping her isn’t a burden—it’s a comfort.

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Heavenly Delusion – 09 – All Hands Meeting

Asura taught Kona how to use his powers, and used their powers to heal other children when they were hurt. Kona loved Asura, even if he didn’t really know what love was, because the adults didn’t teach him. One day, Asura told Kona they “knew what they had to do”, and ended up taking their life, something Kona was helpless to prevent.

Asura was the last member of Kona’s group, leaving him alone with his drawings. That is, until a young Tokio takes it upon herself to reach out to Kona, not to say anything in particular (she doesn’t have any more experience with love and loss than he) but just to be there for him. That first little interaction became what Asura told Kona would be a special other kind of love. And it’s that special love that has the facility’s director on the move.

This is an episode that jumps between “Heaven” and the “Hell” of the present-day world where Kiruko and Maru are still looking for the doctor, Robin, and “Heaven”. Maru’s tooth has grown back, which isn’t surprising considering his other abilities. They’re both surprised by a sudden earthquake – the first in ages – and head to a collapsed building where they find a scavenger who might have information.

What is Mimihime always looking at? Looks like it’s something no one else can see: the “ghost” of Asura, still hanging up there. She and Shiro head to class, where they learn from the robo-teacher that Tokio won’t be around “for a while”; we see her being carted off in street clothes by Dr. Aoshima, who the director later names assistant director, angering a colleague.

While office politics unfold in a human experimentation facility in the past, Kiruko and Maru are told some very colorful stories by the scavenger, who calls himself Juuichi. One that stands out is about a school surrounded by a wall; a matriarchal society within abducts men and use them as breeding pigs and slaves.

While the school itself resembles “Heaven”, the fact is this guy is pumping Kiruko and Maru for cash, having covered up a sign with his van that they’d have recognized: the bird logo on the gun, and the box at the stoner colony. They’ve arrived at Takahara Academy.

Well, not exactly…it’s one of eighteen branches and two facilities on a Takahara flier. Kiruko learns that it’s kind of an orphanage where children go willingly to rest and relax, but also learn. They imagine such a place would be tough, but then remembers their sister and friends and figures they would have probably adapted if they had the same family-like structure, found or otherwise.

Kiruko and Maru are headed to one of the two facilities, hoping to learn more. Meanwhile, at the all-hands emergency meeting at one of those facilities, which I’m assuming is in the past, the Director announces to the shock off all that Tokio is pregnant. This despite them not teaching the children of the nursery about anything related to sex or even gender.

My theory that Tokio is Maru’s mother remains intact for another week, assuming that time difference is roughly equal to Maru’s current age. That said, Tokio being pregnant is regarded by the boss as a “crisis.” Are they caring for these kids, or keeping them isolated because they know they’re potentially dangerous? Curiouser and curiouser…

Rating: 4/5 Stars

TONIKAWA: Over the Moon For You – S2 08 – Spousal Quality Time

When Tsukasa asks if Nasa loves her, he says of course he does, but later wonders if he said the right thing. Kaname tells him his wife was likely looking for more than his verbal assent. If a cat jumps in your lap, you pet it. If a plant needs water, you water it.

Realizing he should be expressing his love to Tsukasa more, Nasa also concedes that there’s not a super-elegant way to just suddenly start doing it, such as when he calls her cute as always the moment she wakes up.

Nasa decides to read shojo manga to get into the proper state of mind to provide casual compliments to Tsukasa. However, he finds them so entertaining he can’t stop reading. Meanwhile, Tsukasa enjoys messing with Nasa when he gets so focused on something.

When she asks him what brought on all the manga reading, he eventually comes clean (after a kiss) that he’s trying to learn how to casually convey how much he loves her. He says he loves her most in the universe, which has her happily humming while at work cleaning the baths.

Speaking of baths, Nasa is taking one when Kaname helps herself into the men’s side. She’s not trying to sneak a peak; rather she’s there to inform him that Tsukasa is alone on the women’s side and he can join her if he wishes—the bath is closed and they’re married, after all.

Neither Nasa nor Tsukasa are opposed to this idea, even if they’re both very bashful about it. But once the lights are out, they’re back together in the bath for the first time since their honeymoon. Only this time the water is a lot clearer.

It’s all good in the hood for Nasa, who believes married couples getting along is good, and crucial, to world peace. They’re saving the world by being lovable dorks, all right?! Things literally get steamier when the two move to the sauna.

There, Nasa learns that Tsukasa is total sauna fanatic, taking the bodily challenge of enduring the heat as long as possible very seriously. Having been to Russian sauna several times, I can attest to the need to allow at least three minutes for one’s body to get used to the temperatures.

Nasa endures more than he thought possible for his wife’s sake, and when they start to fool around a little and agree that it wouldn’t be the worst thing if her towel were to fall off, a bloodcurdling scream comes from the men’s bath, where Aya encountered Ginga, who had fallen asleep.

Even so, thanks to Kaname’s assistance and their own determination and love for one anoher, Tsukasa and Nasa continue to take meaningful steps towards being more and more physically comfortable with each other.

Birdie Wing: Golf Girls’ Story – 21 – The Worst Course

Following Aoi’s stunning victory that unlocks her path to the pros, her biological father Reiya finally confirms her suspicions. Rather than mad or hurt, Aoi is filled with happiness, and remains committed to enjoying golf. She and Ichina take leaves of absence from school in preparation to focus on the tour.

Meanwhile, it’s now Eve’s turn to struggle, as the Women’s Europe Open is being held at the absolute worst course for someone with a game as aggressive as hers. She keeps shooting herself in the foot with her bullets, going from trap to trap and bogey to bogey, all while Leo’s new student Aisha Khambatta Vrooms and Booms her way to a comfortable lead.

In keeping with Birdie Wing being as dumb as possible while still being both endearing and amazing, Aisha runs up to the tee before smashing it like a cannon. And as Leo points out, a bullet can’t beat a cannon shell.

Aoi is excited to see Eve in an open, but disappointed she’s so far back in the rankings. She also leaves President Junguuji in her father’s care, and even gives her her blessing. Could the Prez end up being Aoi’s stepmom? Maybe! Meanwhile, after the first day Eve decides that her current Rainbow Bullet isn’t enough.

She has to further hone it into her own rainbow bullet. After the second day she’s made up a little of the gap between her and Aisha, and then that night she finally nails it: a Rainbow Bullet Burst so powerful that Ichina is thrown back by the sheer rainbow-smashing force.

On the third day, Eve wastes no time breaking out her new swing, which Leo initially thinks is just a rehash of her father’s, but is then actually encouraged to see that it’s an evolution of what both he and her father taught her. Her drive goes over 300 yards, and she uses the standard Rainbow Bullet in a bunker to score an eagle.

At that point, Vipere takes her leave, because she’s not only confident that Eve has this in the bag, but that no one can stop her. Not Aisha, at least, who seems thrown off her game by the force of Eve’s drive. And if she can win on this, the most anti-Eve of courses, she can really clean up on less difficult ones.

Of course, the main goal here is to go head-to-head with Aoi in a pro tournament, and now they’re both a lot closer than they were last week. Better still, they’re not related by blood, so the romance angle is still on the table!

Rating: 4/5 Stars

The Ancient Magus’ Bride – S2 08 – Mage-Snack Camp

Chise insisted that Elias not accompany her on her camping trip, because she wants to learn how to take care of herself. Elias proposes a compromise. He makes a smaller, dog-sized duplicate of himself that isn’t very strong. Chise shares her tent with Lucy, and while fetching water from the lake, meets an each-uisge, a white water horse that drowns anyone who tries to ride it. She makes sure to warn Lucy not to get on any horses she sees.

While Chise really wanted a more independent trip, she’s still comforted by the presence of both Ruth and Lil’ Elias, which quiets the voices she’s not sure are neighbors or those of her classmates. But there’s something out there lurking in the sea.

The next morning, Chise makes a Philomena sighting, but she scurries away after exchanging good mornings. Lucy doesn’t understand why Chise is bothering with Mena; Chise sees a bit of herself in her. Lucy, however, hates all sorcerers, which makes sense if they killed her family.

The last night of the trip comes before Chise knows it. Lucy says she has to study as soon as they’re back at the College. She says she has important things to do, “unlike” Chise, but Chise says there are things she needs to do too, only she’s not certain if she’ll ever be finished. Giving Lucy a taste of her own medicine, rather that say what those things are, Chise simply says goodnight.

Later that night after going to the bathroom, the pages of a magical book turn, and Lucy ends up passing out on her way back to the tent. Chise wakes up to a sudden magical disturbance and locates Lucy, who has been completely drained of magical power. Chise is a veritable font of magic, so simply holding Lucy helps her recharge, but she and Elias have bigger fish to fry: a nuckelavee, a giant centaur-like amphibious monster.

Ruth returns with the boys when Chise and Elias are running away from the nuckelavee, and while Zoe’s head snakes temporarily stop the monster, he soon passes out, and it’s on the move again. Lil’ Elias calmly reminds Chise that he’s in a form that can’t defeat something like this, so it’s up to Chise. That said, he can offer her advice and information on their opponent, who cannot touch fresh water.

Chise has Elias summon the each-uisge, and she and Rian hop on its back. This serves as an enticing lure for the nuckelavee, which gives chase all the way to the freshwater lake. The each-uisge dunks Chise and Rian, then kicks the nuckelavee in too.

It starts to disintegrate, as the fresh water is poisonous, but not before it’s able to grab Chise. It almost kills her, but in a gorgeous sequence, the dragon that dwells in her blackened arm awakens with one purpose: to destroy the “horror” before them.

The arm essentially has a mind of its own, and it confidently slashes the nuckelavee to bits. Chise swims to shore, where Rian is holding the each-uisge from attacking her with a magical axe. Chise isn’t about to let the water horse eat her, but she snips off her ponytail for it to each, and that appeases it enough for it to return to the depths of the lake.

On their way back, Chise isn’t just sporting a new-look with her hair, but her face. Only Rian recognizes the face, because he’s seen it many times before…in his mirror. It’s the face of someone who didn’t know what to do when things took a turn, and they certainly did take a turn suddenly here!

Chise was saved thanks to Elias’ knowledge of monsters, Rian’s brave stand, and most importantly that blackened dragon arm of hers, which certainly did know what to do. But this camping trip demonstrated that even when she’s not looking for trouble, trouble finds her, and she wasn’t in control when it mattered most.

The thing is, Chise shouldn’t be so hard on herself. That dragon arm isn’t going anywhere, for one. Even if Elias isn’t a a true groom, he’s still committed to being her lifelong companion. And she continues to bond with her new friends at College. The times when she’s ever going to be totally alone, able to rely only on herself, are vanishingly small.

Rating: 4/5 Stars

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