Tamayura ~hitotose~ – 06

The first half goes back to 1999 when Maon crosses paths with Fu, Norie and Kaoru for the first time. Maon is inspired by hearing someone whistle at the top of a hill overlooking the sea, and figures out how to do it herself. Ten years later, Maon’s company cheers up a recently-rejected Norie, and when Maon whistles at the sea, Norie can understand her, as if she could read her mind.

We were surprised to be treated to a character-centric episode where the character was someone other than Fu, namely, Maon. We learn that whistling isn’t just something she does to distinguish herself from the others; she’s so bad with words, that she seems to express her feelings best by whistling. Which is, of course, nice and whimsical!

There’s a great little moment when she first encounters a sober-for-once Norie (always good to see other sides of her) and while she’s thinking, she almost involuntarily starts rhythmically whistling. At this point she’s been whistling for a decade, ever since she first met Fu, who was visiting the town with her father, as well as Norie and Kaoru. Small world!

Rating: 3

Phi Brain: Kami no Puzzle – 06

When Kaito can no longer solve puzzles, Cubic examines him and finds that the inability is a defense mechanism set up by his brain to avoid a “reverse berzerk”, in which 100% of his brain power goes over to emotion. Despite the risk, Kaito tackles another Sage Puzzle, involving both the structure and meaning of various kanji.

You know it’s time to drop a series when you’re totally apathetic about watching it, and that it feels more like a chore than entertainment. We think we’ve arrived at that point with Phi Brain. Don’t get us wrong: there are things to like about it: the oft-clever puzzles, the soundtrack, Nonoha; but there’s plenty we don’t like, too.

This episode didn’t help matters, as the loss of Kaito’s puzzle-solving powers is basically overcome simply by…yelling a lot, something we have a short fuse for since Blue Exorcist wrapped up. The screaming is meant to imply he’s intensely concentrating on fighting his own brain’s desire to protect itself. It doesn’t really work. The villain-of-the-week was unfortunately another bland psychopath. And all th while Crossfield keeps smirking in the shadows, but we simply don’t care anymore. Puzzle Time is ovah.

Rating: 2.5 (dropped)

Bakuman 2 – 06

Mashiro is rushed to hospital, where it’s determined he requires liver surgery, which will require two weeks of prep and three months of recovery. It seems inevitable that TRAP will be put on hiatus, which may be a death sentence so early in circulation. Mashiro is determined to continue drawing from his hospital bed. Takagi tries to get Miho to convince him to rest, but instead Mashiro convinces her that he can keep drawing, and she backs him up.

We’ll be honest: we were a bit surprised this turned out to be a health problem requiring surgery, rather than a simple matter of exhaustion and malnutrition. But those two things can cause the other if one is careless. It seems awfully sudden, especially at such a damned inopportune time (Renly can relate), but…shit happens; usually suddenly. We’re just a little disappointed, because there was already enough drama without one of the guys getting sick and unable to draw in a show…about drawing. At any rate, if you can tell how popular you are by the number of people who visit you in the hospital, Mashiro is a popular guy indeed.

While we admire Mashiro’s moxie, pushing his body (and his well-placed trust and love of Miho) right to the edge, we don’t see how this can end well, judging from the final moments, in which Miho throws common sense and logic out the window and Stands By Her Man. This scene escapes farce due entirely to Miho’s totally earnest and powerful performance, which totally sells it for us. We saw an entirely new side of her, a new level of Mashiro Determination (which borders on dickishness), and the start of a new, more chapter in their relationship.

Rating: 3.5

Working’!! – 06

Satou and Popura catch colds when Yamada trips and drenches them with water, so Kyoko enlists the aid of her gang underlings, Yohei and his twin sister Mitsuki. They constantly bicker at each other but obey her every order to the letter. In order to show her gratitude for his hard work, Kyoko relieves Takanashi of his Inami-training duties. Inami’s wishy-washy response leads to a row between the two, which is eventually cleared up when she admits she was just looking out for him.

You know what’s really annoying? That the show decides that one…just one worker at the restaurant gets absolutely zero lines or characterization whatsoever. She’s just there in transitional scenes or in the background, like Ann Veal. Who the heck is she? Why doesn’t she get a name or anything to say? We keep thinking she’ll be introduced, but six episodes in; nothing. If they’re not going to do anything with her, why is she there at all?

That’s the end of the mystery girl rant. Our next beef: we’ve already tread upon the Takenashi/Inami relationship over and over again. The closest thing to progress we see this week is Inami being forward with her displeasure at Takanashi no longer taking care of her. But then all that sentiment and progress is thrown out the window for a cheap gag: giving Takenashi a long-built-up punch in the face. We know, we know: their dynamic will never change; this show isn’t about people changing. But c’maaahn, throw us a bone.

Rating: 2.5