HenSuki – 03 – The Third Way

With Sayuki and Yuika declaring themselves masochist and sadist and their intent to make Keiki their master/slave respectively, one thing becomes clear: Keiki isn’t that into this. He avoided dating girls because he felt himself to normal and boring, but now he’s having nightmares as a result of Yuika’s “punishment” last week. He doesn’t even want to go to school, but Mizuha makes him, since he’s not really ill.

Things don’t get any easier for Keiki, as he’s greeted by Yuika’s bra in his shoe locker, followed by a photo of him with his shirt open lying with Sayuki, with the implication it will be distributed if he doesn’t meet with her. When he gets there, Sayuki is dressed as a maid and handcuffed; he must fish the key out of her cleavage.

All the while, the third girl in his life (not counting his sister), Nanjou Mao, keeps watching silently from afar, her gentle blushing going completely unnoticed by Keiki. But when he tells his best mate he doesn’t believe Sayuki or Keiki are the Cinderella, that friend points out Mao’s staring, who it’s directed at, and what that entails.

Mao’s passive role thus far becomes more active by necessity when Keiki is once again summoned to the clubroom by Sayuki, but is intercepted by Yuika, who ties him up and orders him to kiss her foot or she’ll steal his first kiss on the lips. Sayuki barges in to put a stop to it, and the girls, who have known about each other’s proclivities since they met, start to bicker, with Keiki in the middle.

Enter Mao, who drags Keiki, chair, rope and all, into the hall, away from the two warring girls. He blames him for being so nice to both of them and indulging them too much, and in the process betrays that she’s been observing his interactions with them very closely (we dohear a camera click when he’s fishing out the handcuff keys…was that Mao?).

When Keiki asks why this concerns her at all, Mao has no choice but to be more direct: she just plain doesn’t like it when he’s with other girls. That could well be because she’s developed feelings for her childhood friend, but it also means a third girl has decided to try and assert control over him. Perhaps not as a formal master or slave, but it’s definitely possessive and unbidden by Keiki.

Considering how uncomfortable the other two girls’ antics have made Keiki, perhaps Mao is the “Goldilocks” answer, but first he has to determine whether her particular kink (stalking?) is more or less manageable.

HenSuki – 02 – Kohai Master

Keiki flatly turns down Sayuki’s request that he make her his pet—he’s just not sure if he’s into S&M, and probably never thought about it. But that doesn’t stop her from hanging around him, even in the library, where she gets too close and draws the ire of their mutual kohai, Koga Yuika. When Keiki admits he took Sayuki out for a parfait and performed a romantic wall slam, she’s angry, but he can cure that anger by taking her on a date.

Keiki does everything right thanks to some pointers from his little sister Mizuha: Arrive early, compliment often, go to a movie she likes, have a relaxed lunch, match her pace, let her shop till she drops. He even has the opportunity to rescue her from some leering mall trolls. Yuika gives Keiki a pat and kiss on the head as thanks and then falls asleep on his shoulder on the train home. All in all, it’s a wonderful first date for the both of them.

Yuika always kept to herself in the library and was hard to approach (which he chalks up to her mixed heritage, which…okaaay), but he was persistent in his friendliness and kindness, and her suspicion and “ice in her eyes” gradually melted away to the point they’re now much closer. But is she “Cinderella” who included a pair of underwear with her love letter? The jury’s still out.

What becomes painfully clear, however, is that Yuika is not like Sayuki, and she does not want to be his pet. In fact, when she asks him to meet her in the library storage room, she reveals that she wants to be his master, and wants him to be her slave. As an incentive, she removes her underwear and offers them to him. When he doesn’t immediately take them, she punishes him by stuffing them into his mouth. Yikes!

Suffice it to say, this development comes as something of a shock to Keiki. He was so enchanted by their conventional date, he would have been content if he died the next day. Instead, he finds himself passed out in a closet with Yuika’s underwear in his mouth, and a commando Yuika sitting astride him. They’re tricky, those tides of fortune!

Sabagebu! – 12 (Fin!)

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The girls of the survival game club throw one final, perfect outing in episode 12. As always, It’s charming, delightfully absurd and honestly funny but above all else, Sabagebu 12 delivers surprising character development and even bigger over the top antics without losing it’s characters and focus in the process.

Truly, Sabagebu 12 is the best finale I’ve seen since Teggen Toppa Gurran Laggan… Time for some synopsis!

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A mysterious and untreatable disease is sweeping Japan and the government has unleashed the National Survival Game Club, an elite but rarely active survival club style imaginary military force to round up the infected post haste!

Unfortunately Momoka has all the illness’ symptoms: Fever, skin that is turning green and her voice sounds auto-tuned. Even more unfortunately, Sakura-sensei has already reported Momoka’s condition and the authorities are on their way.

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Intermittent skirmishes and cameos lead the girls to an abandoned church, which is quickly surrounded by government troops. However, news of Momoka’s escape is broadcast all across the land and soon allies arrive to make a final stand.

Fried Chicken Lemon, Momoka’s Mom, The forgetful old woman and the old man with the cowboy hat, the Hentai Photographer trio, the Yammy fat idol and even the middle school girl are all there, quick roping from Platy and Crabbie’s chopper.

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“Why protect me? I dont deserve it!” cries a voice modulated Momoka

“Youre right. Your vengeance is extreme. You are cruel to the weak and suck up to the strong. You casually crush others underfoot for your own desires. However, I’ve never been bored with you by my side,” replies a stead fast Miou. “That’s more than enough for me.”

Touched and finally coming to feel their friendship Momoka and rises and epic battle ensues.

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What elevates episode 12 to genius is how in character it stays, despite upping the ante in every way: Momoka is as devious as ever, but unable to act due to being sick; Miou is there to lead and to tackle the thrilling challenge at hand; Maya is there because she’s overly nice… and needs to get shot first… in the boobs; Kaya is there because it’s an Otaku’s dream for such a battle, but she’s also pragmatic and the only club member to wear a gas mask to avoid Momoka’s infection and Urara is there because she truly loves Momoka with all her warped heart.

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As each friend goes down, the newly caring — newly having fun for fun’s sake — Momoka actually feels loss for the first time. Platy’s chopper is even shot down with a SAM. Finally, Urara shields Momoka one last time, this time without being purposefully used as a human shield and the emotional damage is done. 

The Virgin Mary statue cries, a dove flies over head and in a swell of classical music, Momoka surrenders, tears in her eyes, at last in love with her friends.

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Then the civil servants receive word that a cure has been found and that it’s simple, over the counter stuff and that they can all go home.

Everyone dusts off, a bit embarrassed about how emotional it all got and the episode ends.

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Except the episode isn’t over! It’s Christmas now, inexplicably, and the club is trying to put together a surprise birthday party for Urara, who never gets to experience a special time of her own due to the date of her birth.

Preparations fail spectacularly: Sakura-sensei bleeds all over the birthday card, Miou decorates the cake before cooking it, Kaya makese paper cranes instead of streamers and the ‘bear’ they purchased for Urara turns out to be a real bear and goes off to terrorize the locals. 

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So the club ties up Momoka and gives her as a present and we end with Urarara sharing a bath with Momoka, happy as a clam, and the narrator saying ‘see you in hell, baby!”

See you in hell, baby!

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As a finale, this was picture perfect. Cheesy, packed and exploding with insanity, but charming and off all the shows this season, it even gave the protagonist some growth!

Who knew a show that’s already featured road-warrior style battles with the elderly and an homage to the alien/predator franchises had bigger sharks left to jump?

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Inu to Hasami wa Tsukaiyou – 01

Harumi Kazuhito, Natsuno Kirihime

Harumi Kazuhito is a student and compulsive reader who lives alone in Tokyo, and whose favorite author is the prolific, diverse Akiyama Shinobu. While in a restaurant, he is shot by an armed robber and killed. He is reincarnated as a Dachshund, waking up in a pet store, and quickly purchased by the same red-eyed woman named Natsuno Kirihime, whose life he saved from the robber. She can read his thoughts, and is initially very abusive, but turns out to be Akiyama, and gives him access to her massive library and human food. One day she announces they’re going out to “settle a score”, and arrive at his former apartment.

Welcome to the Summer 2013 season! We begin with GONZO’s “Dog & Scissors”, a series that’s patently absurd on its surface, and infused with some very hit-and-miss interpersonal comedy and simply average animation. However, it sets things up very assuredly and the situation that results: that of an obsessive reader (in dog form) moving in with an obsessive writer, is one that carries potential for a lot of fun. Basically, Kazuhito has a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day, and he is a dog now, but he’s going to try to make the best of things.

Kirihime, for her part, seems willing to help him out in that regard, bringing him into her home. Part of that is because she could read his thoughts when no one else could; part of it could be an obligation to his well-being after he saved her life at the cost of his own. We love her sumptuous bachelorette pad and lifestyle as active and diverse as her writing: learning and experiencing as much as she can in service of her writing. The random cuts to J-idols on TV and the undertones of BDSM involving a dog are the least interesting elements of this story, but not enough for us to pull the cord; we’ll be staying on this gravy train for now.

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Rating:7 (Very Good)

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