Saekano 2 – 03

Tomoya and Eriri find themselves suddenly confronted by the Hashima siblings, whose Rouge en Rouge game company put out a demo of a game very similar to their own.

While Megumi does her best to keep things diplomatic, it isn’t long until Eriri and Izumi are coming to blows.

Sure, they’re low-impact blows, and each seems to want to empower the other to do their utmost to beat each other (at art, not physically), but then there’s the fact that, at the moment, I don’t much care particularly how well Blessing’s game does relative to Rouge’s.

Isn’t it enough that the team works hard and puts out a game they can be proud of, into which they put their blood, sweat, tears, and passion?

In between acting like she and Tomoya have been married for years, irking certain male classmates, Megumi is preoccupied and fired up by Utaha’s surprise story revision.

But the only way they’ll know whether it works or not, and which script to choose for the game, is by implementing it. That means a lot of work just to catch up to the Rouge demo, with no guarantee their output will surpass their rival’s.

When one all-nighter involving Tomoya and Megumi only nets 20% of the work, other measures need to be taken. When Michiru suddenly arrives, appalled that Megumi spent the night, Tomoya sees an opening, and asks his cousin to recruit her Icy Tail bandmates into doing the gruntwork necessary to plug Utaha’s new story into the game.

They pull a second all-nighter, and considering how late I’m writing this on a Thursday night, I can’t say I don’t relate to their exhausted state when they’ve completed their task.

All that work makes it that much more harsh a slap in the face when Tomoya meets with Utaha and utters the line above. Apparently, after story, art, music, and programming have been combined, neither of Utaha’s stories cut the mustard; at least not now that Tomoya is convinced Iori has a better story up his sleeve.

He requests a complete rewrite—certainly his prerogative as game director—but I assume Utaha is dismayed by his blunt assessment, as I was. In an attempt to outdo Rouge, could Tomoya be overplaying his hand? By demanding perfection when perfection may be unattainable, will he only end up driving his partners away one by one?

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Majimoji Rurumo – 11

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This was a lovely, upbeat little episode, and a nice way to close out the “ordinary time” of the show before things are sure to go down in the last episode. The events of this week reinforce everything we know: that Rurumo has brought out the best of Rurumo, that Rurumo is fare more than her skill shortcomings, and they’ll always have each others’ backs.

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Those truths are reinforced through an unexpected vehicle: the occult club, seeking recruits and notoriety, enters a band competition, of all things. Not being musically gifted, the lads lean on Tanako, who recruits a crack musical group consisting of Sawashita (guitar/boobs), Inoue Sumiko (bass), Izumi Kyouko (drums), and herself (keyboard). Rounding out the all-girls band “FHK” is Rurumo.

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That’s another surprise: Rurumo has the voice of an angel. She even throws some work and goodwill Masako’s way by telling everyone she’s good at making clothes; she designs witch outfits to go with Rurumo’s get-up, and senpai writes more lyrics to Rurumo’s haunting tune. It’s a classic case of a plan coming together, and it was very enjoyable to watch.

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As it does come together, Ruru-chan notices Kouta is happy, and wonders why. He answers as you’d expect: he’s happy because she’s happy, and having fun doing something she’s never done. FHK is a little too good right off the bat but as soon as they have to perform on a stage Rurumo can’t do it, and Kouta, knowing it’s because she’s so naturally bashful takes her place, covering for her as best he can.

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Of course, Kouta can’t sing worth a damn and FHK washes out of the competition, but getting to the finals was a pretty big achievement, and in any case mission accomplished: the club got a lot more noteriety. Most of all, Rurumo and Kouta exhibit their great regard for one another. And no magic tickets are used! We’ll see how the last episode treats them.

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Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Come wa Machigatteiru – 12

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The festival is a huge success, but when the closing ceremony draws near, Sagami is nowhere to be found. Yukino, Yui, and Haruno perform an impromptu rock concert while Hikigaya searches for her, finding her on the roof sulking. Determined to “do things his way” like Yukino, he tells Sagami exactly what he thinks of her, and that they’re more alike than she’d care to admit. The vicious dressing down happens in front of others, and so after Sagami goes back down and gives the closing speech, rumors spread fast of how mean Hikigaya is. Hikigaya goes to the club room to work and finds Yukino there doing the same. Yui comes in and waits up for them to finish before going to the after-party.

Hikigaya can’t help but stand back and admire just how much Yukino did things her way as the shadow festival director. It was her duty to make sure a successful festival took place under the ceremonial leadership of Sagami, and she did it. Hikigaya wasn’t about to allow Sagami to jeopardize Yukino’s mission at the last second, so he had to find her and bring her back. Inspired by Yukino, he too does so “his way”, making life for Sagami so uncomfortable up on that roof that anywhere would be preferable to her, even on stage in front of the whole school, which is where she needed to be to officially validate the mission. He also succeeds.

So during this festival, both Yukino (at the beginning) and Hikigaya (at the end) help others by hurting themselves; Yukino because she won’t get the credit and esteem of having run the festival, and Hikigaya for making his already-tenuous reputation even worse by verbally unloading on Sagami with both barrels, despite, or perhaps because much of it was absolutely true, and Sagami knew it. In any case, after hurting themselves Yukino and Hikigaya return to the club room to be alone, but end up comforting one another with their refreshing banter, followed by Yui, who knows both of them are better people than they’d ever believe.

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Rating: 8 
(Great)

Stray Observations:

  • Hey, Yui and Yukino both took a dose of IMT (Instant Musical Talent) potion before taking the stage.
  • Hikigaya asks the most depressing kid he can think of where he’d go to cry, and finds Drama Queen Sagami right there.
  • Last week Hikigaya and Yui were very chummy, but this week it was him and Yukino. 
  • He goes about being chummy with them in totally different ways. For one, Yui would never be able to keep up with the haughty banter he and Yukino spew…and that’s not necessarily a mark against her!
  • Two possibilities next week: Hikigaya comes closer to choosing one of the two girls, or the status quo is maintained with some explanation about how that’s best. Frankly, we hope it’s the former, because, in honor of the series’ title, that wouldn’t be what we expected!

Kami-sama no Memo-cho 8

With Sou in the hospital, Narumi inherits the captain’s chair of the Hirasaka group. With this new power, he does what he’s done all along: con others for a good cause. Narumi has no business running a gang, but he does so anyway, by the seat of his pants. He even tells them that the fact they got Renji’s location right after Sou was injured spelled a trap. This wasn’t any proven theory; it was a hunch, plain and simple. But is was true; there would have been a nasty battle had he let them go. As Alice notes, this Narumi is truly a mysterious cat.

He has the Feketerigo concert proceed as scheduled, keeping in contact with both the NEET crew and his minions. Renji’s crew blends in with the crowd. Meanwhile, Narumi has set a trap of his own for Renji, who takes the bait as expected. This sets up a confrontation between Renji and Alice/Narumi, wherein Alice drops a bomb on him: Hison is still alive. His treasured shirt that Hison made was embroidered in the same way as Narumi’s Feketerigo shirt – and by the same person: Hison, or as she’s now known, Yoshiki. As a condition of being allowed to live (and being paid off), she had to give up her womanhood. Harsh.

Sou shows up to exchange a few punches with Renji, but ultimately Renji’s rage and thirst for revenge dissolves once he learns the truth. The concert is a success, Renji ships off for Osaka, and with the Fourth still alive and kicking, Narumi returns to Alice’s side. Alice, for her part, is overplaying her hand vis-a-vis not liking having him around. For somebody as logical and empirical as she is, it’s a bit silly for her to constantly deny what’s plain to a dimwit. Good tea. Nice arc.


Rating: 3.5

Kami-sama no Memo-cho 5

There are two pairs of series this season we could classify as “Cutesy” or “Heartwarmy”: those are Ikoku Meiro no Croisée and Usagi Drop. There are also a pair of series we could classify as “Lolitective”: Dantalian no Shoka, and this. Despite these similarities, the two pairs are very different, and each have their own appeal. While GAINAX’s lolitective keeps its cast and world quite small and simple, Memo-cho is pretty much the opposite: huge cast with a solid core; huge city full of even more people, organizations, and goings-on.

We’ve touched on the similarities between Dalian and Alice. Both look down on their “squires” (Huey and Narumi, respectively), both speak and think above their weight level, both have their “cutesy” childish sides (both love sugar, Alice loves teddies), and both harbor an admiration and affection for their squires, despite their outward attitudes. This week, Narumi is away from her on business for Soiuchiro, Alice grows wary, and she betrays a little more of that affection, as well as her practical dependence on Narumi. Early in the episode she insists he isn’t her assistant; but she later contradicts that when her armor is down.

But Alice doesn’t just need her stuffed animals laundered and Dr. Peppers opened. Narumi’s presence, and the chores he does for her, help to keep Alice focused, and at the top of her game. Narumi’s duties to the fourth interrupt that somewhat, and she must adapt to his extendend absences. Regarding Narumi, he and Ayaka dive head-first into the world of girl J-rock band PR, darting around the city setting things up. Narumi is a hardworking, friendly and personable dude, so I can see why Soichirou recruited him to do it.

Naturally, there’s a seedy underbelly to this venture, as the band was once promoted by a rival gang, who may make things difficult for Narumi and Soichirou. We’ll find out if and how next week. Narumi also meets a new friend, a crazy-haired chap named Renji, whom he saves from beating up some thugs in a bar, then buys him some clothes. He’s back in Tokyo after three years, and apparently has ties to Hirasaka group. He’s also so good at fighting he’s sworn off using his fists. I’m sure he’ll be put to good use soon.


Rating: 3.5

Sket Dance 17

I’m not sure what the prevailing cliche is vis-à-vis high school rock concerts/competitions: the protagonists winning in a stunning upset, or not winning but never shied away from the challenge. The latter ocurred here, as all three Sket-dan members’ bands had to back out of the concert. The natural solution was for the three to form their own band, and they did: “The Sketch Book.”

Cliches aside, this was a nice little episode. It didn’t try to do to much. Too often one cannot take Sket Dance episodes too seriously because the guest characters are so over-the-top or ludicrous that it’s hard to emotionally invest yourself. These past two weeks, not only was Bossun emotionally invested in the “mission”, but we were too becase Sugisaki was such a likable, sympathetic character.

She was kind enough to help coach Bossun to play bass even while struggling with her courage and confidence as the date to travel to Germany to study drew near. We learned a lot from her, how the promise of her early breakout seemed to be fizzling out. Little did she know that her support and encouragement of Bossun would lead him to turn in a performance that moved her to pull up her sleves and go to Germany after all.


Rating: 3.5

Sket Dance 16

What a weird episode…for Sket Dance, anyway. What starts out as just another slapstick fest where the hilarious voice-acting really carries the day, turns into a more conventional school romance drama by the end. Bossun feels left out when Himeko and Switch join bands for the upcoming school rock fesitval (the origins of which are steeped in rich historical bunk).

However, once he picks up a guitar (later a bass), he turns out to have a knack for it, even though something as basic as tuning initially escapes him. Frustrated with the conditions in the club room, he “escapes” to the school’s music room, where Sugisaki Ayano bumps into him. She’s a very cute, earnest, friendly violin prodigy who helps him practice. The two establish an immediate rapport, and find it very easy to open up and discuss things with one other.

When their session wraps up with the promise of another one tomorrow, Bossun returns to the club room to find a very uncharacteristically serious Himeko on the phone with Yabasawa (we don’t quite learn what she’s on about). So what’s going on here? What’s with the sudden shift to playing the show straight? I don’t know, but it was deftly handled. Bossun is funny when he’s trying to be, but showed good range this week.


Rating: 3.5