Ichiko stops Teddy and Momou from soiling Momiji and she escapes out the window with her. Ranmaru catches them in midair, and they hitch a ride with Bobby to get away. Teddy and Momou are in hot pursuit, but Ranmaru takes on Momou. Using Bobby’s “Jazz Hyper” charm, Ichiko takes on Teddy, but gets knocked out. Keita looms over her when she awakes, and she asks him a “hypothetical” question about Momoji that she already knows the answer to, she races back to Momiji, catching her as she’s falling from the bridge, then dropping her in a passing garbage barge. She returns to her normal, abrasive self.
Well now, that was a pleasant surprise: a finale that tied everything up neatly and entertainingly, completed Sakura Ichiko’s arc, and providing plenty of high-stakes action and more kinetic comedy. The episode juxtaposes scenes of motion and stillness (with appropriate changes in tone) and gives the whole cast something to do – even Nadeshiko has a (real) cameo. Ranmaru and Momou’s duel is particularly badass, with all the requisite pre-battle banter one would expect of a shounen anime. But one reason this episode worked is that its resolution wasn’t as simple as Ichiko’s original goal of saving Momiji.
At the episode’s beginning, Ichiko didn’t want Momiji to change back because “things were easier this way”, by the end, and with prodding by both Teddy and Keita, she decides to not allow Momiji sacrifice her godhood. But she claims, as always, to be doing it for herself – as friendly and lovable as Momiji-chan was, Ichiko knew deep down it wasn’t right, sparring with the insulting foul-mouthed Binbougami-ga was simply more entertaining. We’d also say that Momiji’s mission was successful: Ichiko’s gone from a lonely, bitchy luck-vacuum to someone with friends she cares about and shares her fortune.
Rating: 7 (Very Good)
Thanks to a bear, Michiko escapes and makes it to the bus stop where Keita’s siblings are fretting. After a crying session, she goes out to look for him, enlisting the help of Momou, and finds him passed out and bleeding. Momiji extracts fortune from her – enough to heal Keita, who wakes up in the morning with Michiko sleeping on him. The family goes home, and the next night, Michiko escapes. Momou and Bobby fetch the Aging Box for her, and she changes back to Ichiko. She’s then down in the dumps for several days, confounding Momiji & Co., until she finally gathers the courage to return Keita’s hanky, and returns to normal.
Safely behind her shield of little-kidhood, Ichiko enjoys being a part of the family she derided and insulted as a high schooler as a result of her inexperience dealing with anyone less fortunate than her (which is pretty much everyone). When Keita’s accident separates him from them, she shares in that drama and is compelled to act to preserve their family. She may outwardly say she’s doing it so she isn’t saddled with that bunch of troublesome kids, but she’s really doing it out of momentary, genuine compassion. Her body may have shrunk, but her heart grew. Then she’s back to normal, and suffers ‘family withdrawal’, of a kind.
After all that time surrounded by love and noise, she looks lonely and lost – nothing the celestial squatters do will faze her. It’s a load that’s lifted off her mind once she returns the hanky Keita gave her as Michiko. She not only feared that he’d realize the little kid was her (he didn’t, he’s not the sharpest tack), but was probably also worried about getting drawn back into that house – even though in her regular form, they’re not really big fans of her. So, lesson learned for Ichiko: some people have nothing she has, but everything she doesn’t – but it shouldn’t be – and isn’t – a simple case of ‘n’er the twain shall meet’.
Rating: 6 (Good)
Momiji enrolls in Sakura’s school and harasses her all day. On the way home, Sakura is grabbed by a starving travelling monk, but ignores his pleas. Back at her home, Momiji is squatting in her closet, and the monk followed her home; her positive energy and Momiji’s negative energy drew him there. He equips her with “robes” and a weapon called the Souin Shourai, and she picks a fight with Momiji, who is surprised to learn Sakura can manifest her fortune into summoned animal allies. Sakura wins the fight and kicks Momiji out, but is left with the priest, her animals, and Momiji’s lazy samurai allies occupying her place.
We’re still impressed with the sheer volume of comedic material this series has dished out in its first two weeks, and were even able to discern some of the anime it spoofs in mere blinks of the eye. This week lost none of the manic energy and verve of the first episode, and it’s a pleasure to listen to Hanazawa Kawa firing with both barrels. Momiji’s Uchiyam Yumi is no slouch; with not one but dozens of different voices. The new kid on the block, Bobby the priest, is a welcome and hilarious addition to the cast, coming on too strong for Sakura’s taste, but actually aiding her in her battle against misfortune incarnate, Momiji. We especially like how he kind of fades into the background during the climactic battle…as if the series sensed that he’s better in moderation.
This episode eschews drama with more action and parody, and it isn’t boring even for a moment. The series points out in the omake that they’re only arround for one cour, so they’re clearly making the most of what they’ve got. Sakura and Momiji truly are two sides of the same coin. You’d think the god has an advantage here, but Sakura proves she won’t let her take her misfortune without a fight. Momiji’s direct approach has only made Sakura bolder and more cognizant of her powers. Momiji faces an uphill battle.
Rating: 6 (Good)