Dantalian no Shoka 3

This episode was a double-feature, with two cases on either side of the halfway point. The first was a creepy and potentially very intriguing case of a teacher who gave their children access to the phantom Book of Wisdom to increase their intelligence. Problem is, it worked too well. Huey and Dalian are exposed to this case via Camillia, a blonde young aristocrat who’s always wearing the latest fashions from Paris or America.

Dalian takes an immediate dislike to the “spinster” and her “hysterical” get-up, to the point of rudeness. However, she’s somewhat appeased by Camillia’s offerings of tea, scones, chocolates, jam, and clotted cream. When it comes to sweets, Dalian is still a little kid. As for the case? The detective duo slinks into the school to find a bunch of very creepy kids who know everything about them. Rather than put up a fight, they promise not to start anything, as they’re “not dumb enough” to take over the world. Well, then. Slink away…

The second case, in which burglars storm Huey’s mansion, tie Huey and Dalian up, and scour the place for a book called “Queen of the Night.” Thing is, it isn’t a book at all, but an immense carnivorous plant in the conservatory that lures prey with book-like petals. It eats both of the half-witted interlopers, making this an episode where there’s lots of excellent Huey and Dalian banter, but they don’t actually do a whole lot. Rather, they kind of observe cases more or less solving themselves. Who says it always has to be hard every week?


Rating: 3.5

Kami-sama no Memo-cho 3

Narumi steps up to the plate, becomes all but initiated within the Shibuya underworld, and even spearheads the plan that will get Meo’s dad out in the open, a very clever gamble involving a huge amount of tiny deposits to his bank account.

A big assist gos to Souchiro the Hirasaka group: after Narumi shares sake with him, they provide a lot of needed muscle. Alice is almost an observer this week, as she gives the show to her new underling, confident that his heart will lead him to the proper solution.

Sure, he gets punched a couple times, but when the dust clears, Meo is safe, her father is safe, and the two are reunited. Narumi not only achieved what he set out to do, but proves his worth to Alice and the others in the process. He even remembers to grab a DoKuPe from the back of the fridge. On to the next case!


Rating: 3.5

Blood-C 3

Another easygoing first half, in which Saya sings to herself some more, is come on to by her teacher, eats lots of cake and guimauve, and bowls over her friends by confessing she doesn’t own a television! Everything is so peachy! Well, we knew that wouldn’t last in the second half; as a town baker goes missing for several days. The police warn everyone not to stay out at night. Can Saya and her dad keep this stuff secret?

I’m not sure how, as the baker meets an extremely gruesome death at the hands of a dastardly new elder bairn – taking the form of a train. I really love the duality of Saya’s character in scenes like this; not so much as flinching even in the face of absolutely horrid things, and even cracking a satisfied (sadistic?) smirk while dispatching this latest foe in a cloud of blood. I guess she should be happy she doesn’t wear a white school uniform, but still, she must be putting her dry cleaners’ kids through college!

The battles in Blood-C are the best of this season so far: quick, good old-fashioned one-on-one battles full of constant peril and lots of icky gore. No babbling at one another, no silly inner dialogue about tactics. Though before the bairn dies, it tells her to “Honor the Covenant.” Not sure what that means, but I’m sure it’ll come into play soon.


Rating: 3.5

Mawaru Penguindrum 3

Shoma and Kanba still don’t quite believe Himari when she bursts into Survival Strategy mode, but when the panguin hat returns her to her dead state, they start believing pretty darn fast. And like last week, they do things they normally wouldn’t do for her sake: namely breaking into Ringo’s house to snoop around and then tail her again.

Meanwhile Ringo exhibits more of her mad ravings as she prepares curry for her unwitting future husband, Tabuki, who it turns out is only seven years older than her, and a friend of the family. This girl takes curry very seriously (I even had to make some after watching this). But her carefully crafted plan to woo him with food backfires when she is met at his door by his gorgeous, age-appropriate girlfriend. I must say at this point I felt pretty bad for Ringo, despite how scary crazy she can be…although Tabuki knocks on the door to his own house…that’s pretty nutty too! ;)

But what with the apple (ringo) imagery in the OP and ED, and Ringo’s fascination with “executing fate as it was written”, it’s pretty likely either she or her diary are the Penguin Drum. Or is that too obvious? Either way, on her way home she bumps into a cat, whom she sees as Tabuki’s girlfriend and yells at, which then bumps into Himari’s penguin. The two animals fight for the fish as Himari chases them, and they barrel back into Ringo. The pot of curry she’s carrying is sent flying and lands all over her face. Thus she and Himari meet. Now that’s fate!

Now that the thre siblings are properly acquainted with Ringo, it may be easier to coax the drum out of her, whatever it is. One interesting dynamic would be if Ringo knew the bros were in her apartment and were tailing her, and isn’t letting on for whatever reason. Whatever the case, discovering the drum will wait for another week. Not that I’m complaining; this gorgeous and hilarious series is as addictive as curry.


Rating: 4

No. 6 3

Shion starts reacting unfavorably to his strange dark bruises, and Nezumi must operate to remove a pupa. In the process, Shion’s hair changes color and he gets strange pink strips all around his face and body. His friend aged rapidly before dying from the bee, but Shion survives, thanks to Nezumi, who saves his life for the second time.

Now Shion must come to grips with his new reality: he’s outside No.6, looking in. He can’t have the same mentality he had before. Nezumi doesn’t like the city one bit, and will gladly laugh heartily as it burns to the ground. Furthermore, he threatens Shion not to go crawling back there, or they’ll be enemies. While Nezumi has every right to be bitter considering how he was treated, Shion can’t quite be okay with him wishing for the city where his mom and friends live meeting a horrific fate.

In the meantime, we meet another resident of the real world, the “dogkeeper.” She politely stands by in amusement while Shion lays out his plan to warn the city about the killer parasitic bees. But his plan is full of holes. He won’t be warmly recieved if he goes back, especially looking the way he does. Heck, he may have blown it with Safu, too, what with his exile and new, punkish look.


Rating: 3.5

Usagi Drop 3

Daikichi’s name means “excellent luck”, but there are some in his life who’d consider him unlucky, suddenly having a six-year old aunt dumped in his lap to take care of. He simply can’t keep working overtime while sending Rin to the temporary nursery school; he’ll eventually burn out. So after consulting with another co-worker who is a parent, he decides to make a professional sacrifice for Rin’s sake.

This certainly means demotion, and the disappointment of his peers, but to my mind, there’s no question whether he made the right choice. By having a set time to go home, he can pick Rin up earlier and spend more time with her. She is a very good little kid, but she is having wetting problems stemming from grief over her father’s death, worry about Daikichi dying, and of course, fearing her own death. This fear trifecta is a lot for an adult, let alone a six-year-old.

I’m also glad Daikichi’s family more or less took the sticks out from up their asses and warmed up to Rin. The way they acted at her father’s funeral was inexcusable (when adults are in a bad mood, the kids feel they’re to blame), and after they spend more time with her they realize she’s not a bad kid after all. Of course, the fact remains, her mom (her father’s maid whom she hates and thus “forgot about”) is out there somewhere. But Daikichi’s actions suggest regardless of whether he finds her, he’s in for the long haul.


Rating: 3.5

Morita-san wa Mukuchi 3

Hana, who is shy, is initially weary of Morita, who is taciturn. But once Morita straightens Hana’s curly hair, Hana warms up to her more. And that’s pretty much it. Hopefully soon the series will expand beyond the content of the OVA, because I’m still getting Déjà vu from this.


Rating: 2

Ikoku Meiro no Croisée 3

And…the adorableness continues apace. No surprises here. This week we find out that Yune always wanted to travel to Europe, but now that she’s here she’s still not quite sure what she wants to do, or where else she may want to go next. I have to say, for a little girl to travel from Japan to France may not be all that big a deal these days, in the 19th century it must’ve been a momentous experience.

Claude learns from her and Oscar about Japanese houses and Sumo (leading to some hilariously inaccurate mental images) and how Japanese eat (with what appears to him to be dolls’ bowls and cups). We also learn Yune has an older sister, Shione (that’s funny, after the first episode I had complained that Yune was too young…and she had an older sister all along? Argh.) Yune’s name, it turns out, means “the sound of hot water,” something Claude learns while rather rudely interrupting her letter-writing (although to be fair to him the letter wouldn’t have made it to Japan on the flimsy paper she was using.)

Learning what her name means inspires Claude, who had been suffering from “smith’s block” to that point, uses the kanji “sound” in a sign, and makes a successful sale to a music store. He then buys Yune some high-quality stationary and the two meet after a brief rain to witness a typical but still achingly beautiful Paris sunset, that makes you feel like everything’s right in the world. Meanwhile, the entire Gallerie du Roy is the property of an unpleasant, bratty blonde girl who demands her footman locate the Japanese girl post-haste. Ruh-roh. Rating: 3.5

Kamisama Dolls 3

Both Kyohei and Aki have pretty similar pasts, but while Aki has chosen to stew in his anger and self-hate, Kyohei wants to move on, and wants a normal life. So did Kyohei kill too? If he did, why is only Aki in jail? In any case, that normal life grows more abnormal by the day. Not only is Aki pestering Kyohei at every turn, he even threatens to kill Hibino. This pisses off Kyohei.

But then another seki named Koushiro shows up with a teleporting kakashi, presumably to drag Aki back to the village. He manages to take him down, but Kuuko of all people is tangled up in the battle, and ends up dragging an unconscious Aki away; perhaps for information later. In any case, I like how Aki isn’t just a one-dimensionally evil guy; he’s clearly had a rough life. Even Kyohei pities him, and buys him some food.

As for lil’ Utao, there was a lot of unnecessary bumbling around at the cafe, but this was redeemed by the actions of yet another seki, who looks a lot like Utao – an older brother, perhaps? He does so by making a truck swerve off an overpass, and Utao deftly uses Kukuri to shield herself, Hibino, and bystanders from the falling truck. She may be a total klutz at waitressing, but when it counts, she’s turning out to be a decent seki. Rating: 3.5

Black Lagoon: Roberta’s Blood Trail 4

Roanapur has become a great big sopping sponge utterly saturated by blood, a lot of it Roberta’s. Since taking ALL THE DRUGS IN THE WORLD, she’s gone from redlining the crazy-o-meter to liquifying the needle. She probably spent her few off-camera moments licking windows. But the one wild (literally feral) card Rock can’t predict is unquestionably the crazy-ass core of this OVA series. Some want her. Others want to be her.

While I’m aware of the mission, Rock has a loftier scheme in play. He’s spewing virtually nothing but metaphors at this point, and he’s developed an evil smirk. Garcia and Fabiola want to get Roberta back, but at this point that seems pretty unlikely. Their Roberta was lost a long time ago; they’ve been chasing an ideal that doesn’t exist.

Interesting too how Fabiola seems to have Revy totally figured out. Revy is chasing an ideal too; her ideal of Rock. The raving Rock of this episode is a completely different person from the squirelly salaryman of yore. Yet Revy has to believe he’s still the same ol’ innocent Rock. If he isn’t, he’s no different from all the other maniacs in her life. Revy’s had too rough a life to know that much about love, but she seems to have been in love with Rock for some time. She just can’t or won’t acknowledge or act on it.

While he goes on about ridding Roanapur of “troublemakers”, I’m left wondering if Rock even cares about the conclusion. Right now the journey seems to be all he cares about; the process; not the result or destination. As Lagoon Company heads up into the Golden Triangle with a cargo of army dudes, Roberta is hot on the trail on a jetliner. The endgame draws near. Rating: 4

Hyouge Mono 3

The rich, buttery, epic tale of Hyouge Mono continues with all the battles taking place inside Sasuke’s head. When Senno Soueki served him with the araki bowl, he suspected the tea master knew he had spared Araki’s life. He chose to be upfront and honest with him, and he proved correct; but Senno had no intention of ratting him out to Master Oda. Say what you will about Sasuke’s priorities, the man has good instincts, and it’s why he’s survived many battles and now serves as a governor.

Another example of his instincts is when Oda welcomes him to his sublime, over-the-top Azuchi Castle and offers him a choice of rewards for his deed: cash money, or an exquisite “barbarian” (read: Chinese) green lacquer container. Sasuke choses the cash, but reaches out and touches the box. Oda accepts his verbal reply for the cash as the wise choice, as a leader of men such as he must have cash to spend. He gives him both the money and the container.

Then Oda goes all megalomaniacal, proclaiming to a somewhat worried Sasuke that he intends to besiege and conquer the mainland, currently run by the Ming and Joseon Dynasties. The island isn’t enough for him. Just when Sasuke thought Oda had acquired and achieved everything he possibly could, he raises the bar. Later, one of General Akechi’s men insults Oda as deluded by grandeur. Sasuke all but demands satisfaction, but Akechi extinguishes the brush fire.

The true message – which only Sasuke can discern amongst those gathered at the banquer – is sent when Akechi uses an ordinary teakettle and not the exquisite gift from Oda. This could mean displeasure with Oda, or a refusal to follow him to China and Korea, likely to die in a blaze of glory. Speaking of exquisite, this series continues to feature the very best facial expressions and sayings. Old-timey Japanese talk is some of the most fun stuff to listen to, especially with chill, modern beats in the background, lending a noirish atmosphere. Rating: 4

AnoHana 3

A step backwards and a few forward for Jinta week, as he can’t quite make it to school, but is at least out in the world, talking to people besides Menma. Most importantly, the entire crew is reunited thanks to a proactive Poppo, who organizes a barbeque with the theme of searching for Menma, the ghost of whom he saw while taking a piss. It’s inevitable that among these six friends, people will start picking favorites. But I’m having a hard time, as they’re all really complex and full of subtle emotions and mannerisms.

I will say I’m leaning towards Anaru as my early favorite. Her tiny smile when she spots Jinta in his school uniform is great, but she can’t quite fight off her “friends” whose taunting scares Jinta off. This frustrated me to no end, as did Jinta’s turning tail when he saw Anaru on the way to the barbeque. While that latter attempt fails, it exhibited that he’s still a little uncomfortable interacting with other people. His walk to school muttering to himself is another example.

But baudy Poppo, who won’t take no for an answer and has a nice backpacker zen vibe going on, isn’t the only architect of the reunion. It’s Menma. Either spotting her ghost or having her occupy their thoughts, she’s the key. I’m glad the group is back together again and can talk to each other casually, especially when there are only eight episodes left. The series is still moving at a good pace, and yet isn’t feeling rushed. Rating: 4

The World God Only Knows II 3

And so we finally meet another demon in Haqua. She seems more mature and accomplished than Elcee at first, but all it takes is for her to ask Elcee how many loose souls she’s captured to reveal that she’s all talk. Loud and annoying as Elcee is, she likes red fire trucks (so do I) and is honest, which is more than I can say for the so-called “section chief”.

This episode also laid out exactly why cute girls refer to themselves as demons from hell. See, there was a brutal, savage hell way back when, but the demons who lived there split in too, with Elcee and Haqua’s half starting up a new Hell based on order and logic, whatever that means. So the girls are new demons fighting old demons. And this is the first time we see a loose soul gaining enough power to become a true threat.

I like how Keima doesn’t flinch in the midst of Haqua’s self-importance or her threats and teasing. He sees right through her almost immediately, but because she possesses knowledge he hasn’t been able to pry from Elcee, her presence is fortuitous. Now she’ll surely have to work with Elcee in order to defeat the soul she let escape and become more powerful. Derp derp…Rating: 3