Ao no Exorcist 19

*Clicks tongue*…surprise birthday party episode. But hey, I didn’t mind it nearly as much as the previous filler ep, the one with the kitchen demon. Perhaps because, like the best episodes of any series with a vibrant ensemble cast, it gives everyone something to do and allows for some very nice character interactions. Considering how much everyone’s been through the last three weeks, a break was inevitable, but also far better than expected. Also, by this point, we know everyone a lot better, making them more fun to watch even during filler.

When else would we learn that Bon is good at papercraft? Or that Konekomaru could work out his awkwardness with Rin by helping him bake? Or that Renzou and Paku have such great chemistry? The party is being planned for Izumo, who then keeps bumping into her friends as they plan. Most distressing is when she keeps seeing her best friend on an apparent date with Renzou, and her ill-fated undercover spy mission is cute, if misguided. I enjoyed the increased role of Paku; she may not exactly stand out, but she was fun to watch this week.

There are a whole lot of nice character moments in here, and I’m not going to pretend the episode was much more than that…but it did have at least a minor twist: the surprise was ruined (thanks to Izumo’s spying), so the party becomes one for everyone, not just her, by her request. Meanwhile, Yukio observes the festivities from a far, still having told no one about his ominous, worsening malady. Just to segue back to business, the episode ends with a report Rin and Yukio’s monastery is under attack. Wash down that X-mas cake and get movin!


Rating: 3

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Sket Dance 19

This week Sket Dance presented two instances of mucking up, then digging the hole ever deeper. First, Bossun needs a haircut for a photo in the school paper. Rather than go to a professional barber, he avails himself of the dubious tonsorial services of Himeko and Switch.

The results are predictable: they take turns ruining his hair, only to grow it back with a potion devised by their advisor. It works too well, growing hair “like a locomotive”, and after replenishing Bossun’s hair too many times, it fuses into a massive afro. While the premise is somewhat tired, the execution makes this sequence, with lots of good sight gags.

The second part featured the antics of the student council as they attempt to remove marker from a bronze bust of the principal and end up trashing it. It reminded me of a scene in the film “Bean” in which Mr. Bean meticulously and systematically ruins the painting Whistler’s Mother trying to clean his sneeze off. Like the magic hair tonic though, the ultimate fix is Minorin’s vast monetary resources. Two in-too-deep storylets, two unconventional resolutions.


Rating: 3

Tiger & Bunny 19

Kotetsu should really retire. His daughter Kaede needs him in this crucial time when her power(s) are coalescing, and his own powers dwindling. It just makes sense. Unfortunately, not only did he make zero progress last week communicating his wishes to Barnaby and the others, but thanks to Kriem, Barnaby has totally gone bye-bye. I’ll give Tiger this: he sure knows how to get himself into some friggin’ spots (or stripes. He’s a Tiger.)

This week’s title is, fittingly, “There’s no way out,” as Kotetsu has to try to help Bunny out of his funk. After retracing Bunny’s steps of the day his parents were murdered, Bunny passes out. When he comes to he finds Tiger on the phone with Kaede, hears everything, and, of course, gets the wrong idea. They fall out, and Bunny hangs with Mr. Maverick, who has all the answers for him.

The big secret Mav reveals is that he murdered Bunny’s folks. He’s a bad, bad man. They provided hero suits for his show, but when he started selling them to the criminals of Ouroboros to make the crimes more exciting – and hence the ratings higher – they objected. He killed them to keep the secret, and used his NEXT ability – memory implantation – to cover his tracks. Only Jake’s lack of a tattoo on his hand broke the illusion.

Needless to say, this is a lot to take in. Parts of me suspected Maverick may have been up to something, but not to this extent. It’s a little goofily diabolical, this plan of his, but it fits within this silly futuristic world of brash personalities.The things you do for love…in his case, the love of money.


Rating: 3

Hanasaku Iroha 19

Whenever this series has gone off on a high school drama tangent, it can sometimes feel like a distraction from the primary inn setting. I mean, there are a lot of stories left to tell there, why deviate by doing a school festival two-parter? Alas, this is what we got, and to be fair, it isn’t bad. It just isn’t quite up to par. I found myself uninterested in chunks of this episode, which is never good.

Ohana, Minko and Yuina’s class decide to run a “princess cafe.” The class chooses Minko to be in charge of the food and Ohana in charge of the waitressing. This enables both of them to ply their craft in a new and less serious setting. Minko gets quite into it, but quickly runs into logistical issues – personnel – issues. If this is a dry run for running her own restaurant – something that’s no doubt one of her dreams – it’s not off to a good start. But it’s sure to build character.

Ohana and Yuina have fewer issues coordinating the waitresses, but Ohana manages to have a very bizarre dream featuring Kou in drag. The episode ends with a lot of uncertainty about how everything will turn out – particularly for Minko. Nako, meanwhile, is the only one helping a girl set up an art gallery. Probably not the best time to turn off her politeness filter…


Rating: 3