Mirai Nikki – 05

Yuki waffles over whom to choose – the Sixth or Yuno, so when Yuno takes him by the arm to escape, he grab’s Sixth’s arm as well. But as her flashbacks show, the Sixth has been victim to some awful acts, which have made her bitter. After letting Yuno dispatch the Twelfth, she plans to kill her, Yuki, the Fourth, the Ninth – everyone with a diary – so she can become a god. Yuno sacrifices herself so Yuki can escape, but he returns to save her, throwing a dart into the Sixth’s diary and killing her. As Yuno’s phone reveals to him, she really does seem to love him, and has been protecting him all along.

He’re’s a Mirai Nikki Top Tip: if you’re half blind, try to do a better job of protecting your enormous roll of paper containing your life force. Also, if you’re a whimpering, waffling coward, better the crazy girl you know. And he knows Yuno much more than he knows the Sixth, who as it turns out is prepared to have Yuno gang-raped in order to bait Yuki to his death. Yuno, for her part, manages to hack a lot of people to bits, including slicing the Sixth’s arm off. The Twelfth, meanwhile was just kind of a bad joke; too stupid (or just too nuts) to live.

The Sixth’s sudden but inevitable betrayal makes the choice pretty easy for Yuki, as she really did stick her neck out for him this time. She’s quite the enigma. With three diary holders down, it will concievably come down to the two of them, and then what? We somehow doubt the DEM will allow the game to end without a victor. So after five episodes, it’s pretty clear that most everybody is whacked out of their gourd, with the exception of our Olympic bed-wetting protagonist.


Rating: 3

Ben-To – 05

The Monarch, and Eastern wolf backed up by a pack of dogs called Gabriel Ratchett set a plan into motion to take out You. He’s invited to participate in a Ralph Store battle. Shaga doesn’t warn him, and Sen is there to protect him, but he gets cornered by the Monarch, who mops the floor with him. He wakes up in the store lounge with the God of Discounts, a young woman named Matsuba who used to be a wolf herself and has a past with the Monarch, who wants to conquer the west and rule all stores.

So the dark organization we were fearing didn’t turn out to be all that bad, it’s really just the small, regimented army of a very powerful wolf who wants to start a war with Sen. What better way than taking out her beloved protege? And You does get the stuffing beaten out of him, but from the intensity of the Monarch’s blows, you’d think he was killing him. Instead, You pretty quickly recovers, albeit with a little short-term memory loss.

That first creates a misunderstanding in his mind when he finds himself lying on a couch in his underwear and a lady he doesn’t know, and then another when Hana enters the room to find him in a compromising position with Shaga and Sen. Everybody’s half-judging, half-encouraging conversation with You when he arrives at Ralph mart wearing Hana’s uniform (given to him by Shaga after another misunderstanding) is also pretty funny. Despite the fact that serious threats are mounting and Shaga proves unreliable, there was plenty of levity on tap.


Rating: 3.5

Persona 4: The Animation – 05

With Yukiko safe and sound, Chie notices Yu isn’t worn out from all the exertion, and so shanghais him into the basketball club, led by a guy called Ichijo and managed by Ebihara Ai, who falls in love with Ichijo. However, Ichijo loves Chie, so Yu is shanghai’d into service as Ai’s backup boyfriend, which angers Chie. The team loses what’s to be Ichijo’s last game, but he decides not to quit after all. Inspired by his performance and drive, Ai dumps/releases Yu and decides to try harder at being manager.

And so here’s our first Persona episode with no Midnight Channel, no walking through the TV, no battles, no summoning, and (thankfully) no Teddy with his awful not-puns. And while Yu can control more than one Persona, more than one lady is another story, amarite? Haha, but seriously, even though we’ve dived deep into the subconscious of the core quartet and seen their dark sides, here we have a character who has the good person hidden inside, at first. She’s bratty, selfish, vain, and impulsive (we like her!), and leads Yu around by the nose. Yu, for his part, really was the ultimate pushover this week. Why don’t the personas control him?

But Yu’s a Nice Guy, so he goes along with it, and his kindness and that of Ichijo’s eventually brings out her better side: the same one that has previously worked so hard to transform herself from a taunted fat kid to an undeniable beauty. (A somewhat cathartic cat fight with Chie probably doesn’t hurt, either ;). It’s no big deal for Yu the Yenta twhen she cuts him loose, having gotten over her stuff; after all, he and the rest of the PerScooby gang still have that mystery to solve. Romance can wait, right?


Rating: 3.5

Tamayura ~hitotose~ – 05

Fu’s old friend Chihiro comes to Takehara to visit her and meet her new circle of friends. She finds them all warm, friendly, and energetic as they tour the town and sample the food. She’s also glad that Fu is doing so well. Kaoru’s sister invites them to an hours-long hike all the way to and up Kurotaki Hill. Chihiro comes away with many new friends and happy memories.

Everyone has their little quirk: Potte is always snapping pics; Maon is always whistling; Norie is always yelling or jumping around; Kaoru is…actually pretty normal, but she has a weird older sister. Add Chihiro – the crybaby – to the mix, and you have a veritable motley crew of quirk. But damn it all if it isn’t a charming-as-all-hell crew. The whole episode was humming with positive vibes.

Chihiro has trouble making friends, and had every reason to worry that even Fu had possibly abandoned her for new, less skittish friends. But there was no such conflict or competition to be found here. Everybody’s happy! And honestly, with all that great food and stunning scenery, how could they not be? Other nice details: Chihiro making little stuffed guys for everyone, and Potte’s mother was once in a motorcycle club – rad.


Rating: 3.5

Chihayafuru – 05

Chihaya drags Taichi with her to Fukui to confront Arata. She’s carefully crafted what to say, but when they’re finally in his house, she pulls out karuta and suggests they play, infuriating him. They find out from his neighbor, Yuu, that his grandfather suffered a stroke, and relapsed while Arata was at a tournament to reach Class A. Blaming himself, he forswore Karuta forever. But Chihaya left her notes and letter to him behind, which make him see the error of his ways. As Chihaya and Taichi pull out of the station, Arata chases them in his bike. Taichi agrees to help her start the best Karuta club in the world.

We knew this was going to be a special episode, but it still managed to eclipse all expectations. It was quite simply some of the best 22 minutes of drama of the entire year, certainly of the Fall. Every moment was simply brimming with emotion and the characters were firing on all cylinders. The soundtrack was soaringly awesome as always. And all the little gorgeous details, like Chihaya’s chocolate wrapper notes. Everything was masterful. We can’t believe how much we now connect and sympathize with Taichi now, who has clearly fallen for Chihaya. Those moments when he was about to take her hand kicked so much ass. And hey, she is frikkin’ gorgeous.

Arata’s grandfather used to tell him about a “karuta god” who whispers the next syllable into those deemed worthy. But rather than the Gods forsaking Arata, perhaps he was meant to be playing Karuta when his grandfather died – the god challenging him to see to his own future and realize his limitless potential. He quit instead, but it would seem Chihaya’s words snapped him out of it. His grandfather certainly wouldn’t have wanted him to quit. Quite separately, Chihaya refers to Arata as a karuta god in her letter. Meaning she worships him, or at least her idea of him up to this point. It’ll be tough for Taichi to compete with that! Hard to believe this is just the fifth episode.


Rating: 4

Bakuman 2 – 05

After their seventh chapter drops to 13th in the rankings, Takagi plans on stepping up his game by adding some lightheartedness. Even before the revisions come into effect, TRAP begins a surge from ninth for chapter eight to sixth for chapter ten, then a tie for third with Crow, finally challenging Niizuma. Miho is getting more and more anime roles, and Miura gets TRAP the color cover for their 20th chapter, plus an edition of 100,000 for their first volume. But as they continue to succeed, Mashiro is getting thinner and not sleeping, which culminates in his collapse.

First of all, Miho got a voice role in SKET DANCE? Sweet! Time is moving faster now, and this series continues to pull no punches when it comes to setbacks potentially fatal to Mashiro and Miho’s dream, But with TRAP enjoying consistently high rankings, their first volume getting printed, a team that’s happy and in synch, and the fan mail pouring in, this newest setback is a much more basic one: Mashiro’s health. He knew going into this that balancing school with the manga was not going to be easy, but three hours of sleep most nights and none on others simply isn’t going to cut it, especially when he’s not eating.

Now that Takagi is in a writing groove (and Kaya is basically his personal assistant), he’s under a lot less stress. The amount of labor Mashiro puts out easily eclipses Takagi’s, as is exhibited by his always working while Takagi and Kaya are hanging around. But this industry won’t let Mashiro take a break, and if he does it will be seen as weakness and an inability to cut it. He’s not alone in this; Hiramaru is pissing blood, after all. But I’d hate to see The Dream be taken down by something as simple as eating and sleeping. So the question is, how is he going to get better without interrupting school or TRAP?


Rating: 4

Phi Brain: Kami no Puzzle – 05

The POG brings Kaito to their HQ in Japan, but before he can meet the head, he has to clear a gauntlet of puzzles. Nonoha and Gammon tag along, and they do al the solving while Kaito realizes all of the puzzles are a part of his past, including one that killed his parents. This realization causes him to collapse, and only the shock of Nonoha’s cookies can bring him back. Crossfield declines to meet with him after all, and later Kaito finds he can no longer solve puzzles.

Geez, talk about an efficient drinking game: every time someone says “puzzle”, take a drink. Anyway, where do we begin? That the POG has massive tiltrotor planes? That an extremely elaborate gauntlet of puzzles was set up just to toy with Kaito? That Crossfield may not quite grasp the rules of Chess? The silliness soars to greater highs this week, and Kaito’s breakdown is as random as it is goofy and cliche’d (Gammon even refers to him as going “all Ikari Shinji”, which was pretty funny.)

All of Crossfield’s monologues as he fiddles with a chessboard are all a bit murky: does he actually want Kaito to reach the Phi Brain (whatever it is) and solve the Divine Puzzle (whatever that is)? Is his goal to purge all “ethics, common sense, and emotion” from Kaito? Yeah, good luck with that. Finally, he’s being portrayed as a Bad Guy, but what has he really done – aside from preside over an organization that builds potentially murderous puzzles – and more importantly, what’s his beef, if any?


Rating: 2.5

Working’!! – 05

Takanashi and Satou are both sick of manager Kyoko never working and stuffing her face with the restaurant’s food. After they convene with Souma, he agrees to tell Kyoko she’s cut off by feigning an ordering flub. Kyoko is quickly struck by intense food withdrawal, which isn’t helped when Takanashi leaves a lost kid in her care. The girl, possibly sensing Kyoko’s despair, even offers her some of her dessert, but Kyoko declines, showing progress.

So Working’!! keeps chugging along with nice, pleasant, airy slice-of-life in the limited setting of a restaurant, as its predecessor did. Previous episodes of both have touched upon the question of whether Kyoko pulled her weight around Wagnaria, but things came to a head this week. If we were Takanashi, we certainly wouldn’t stand for our manager dropping potato chip crumbs over where we had just cleaned. It’s one thing to be lazy and not doing anything, it’s another to make other peoples’ jobs harder by making messes and eating food meant for customers and not paying for it. Yachiyo has been her chief enabler, but when all is said and done, nobody who works at the restaurant can consider themselves blameless for letting Kyoko continue as she has.

As Takanashi says, someone her age is set in her ways (he should know, having two grown sisters who act like children). But we like Kyoko’s simple philosophy: she likes anyone who gives her food. That’s a girl we can get behind right there. She even shows a little perceptiveness by telling Satou she doesn’t like him as much as Yachiyo does (though he continues to be lame about that) – and we really thought she’d take the kid’s pastry, but she didn’t! She may not do much and she may eat a lot, but her presence is still crucial to Wagnaria’s success. Why, we don’t know. But it just wouldn’t be the same without her.


Rating: 3