Grand Blue – 04 – Trying Hard in a Bad Way

There’s no diving in the ocean this week, but Chisa, Iori and Kohei all “dive into” a new experience: being on stage, in front of hundreds if not thousands of spectators. But first, they help man the Okonomiyaki stall at the Izu Spring Festival.

While on a break, Iori fails to clear up Asuza’s misunderstanding about him being bi, but only when Asuza tells him how nice it is to have someone else to talk to about it. This is how you know beneath all the drunken boorishness Iori has a good heart: while the truth is always better, it also hurts, and he doesn’t want to hurt a friend if he doesn’t have to.

However, he does want to talk about it with Chisa, so on the next break the two are left alone, and I love how they work the griddle like a single highly-polished unit, dazzling the customers—but they don’t notice how skilled they’re being! Unfortunately, not much comes of the talk; Chisa assumes Iori is nervous because Asuza is so pretty, not because Asuza thinks he’s bi.

Asuza and her sister also insist she wear something more appropriate than her regular street clothes for the 4PM women’s pageant. Iori knows Chisa well, and so knows when Chisa is nervous. She stiffens up, and her aura and responses initially come off as cold and curt. They want to help her, but he and dating-sim expert Kohei only have bad ideas that make things worse.

When they try to make her smiling by smiling at her, but their grins come off as creepy and off-putting. Ditto posing shirtless as a club and raising a banner professing their love for her.

Finally they agree to throw a bunch of bouncy balls on the stage that will flip her skirt up and show her bashful side. They get it, but it’s bashfulness cut with seething rage. Iori knows he went too far, and only went as far as he did because he thought everyone would do it.

While Iori is hiding from Chisa’s wrath with Kohei, the latter is pounced upon by another woman who was part of the pageant; one with makeup so thick they use the nickname “cakey” on her. She asks Kohei out; Kohei hesitates and she storms off.

They go to the drinking party hosted by the rugby club. Chisa initially forgave Iori for the upskirt incident, but when he mentions how he’ll buy her sexier underwear, he’s back on her shitlist, and she intends to make him suffer with two liters of shochu.

While getting some air, Iori and Kohei again encounter Cakey, whose real name is Yoshiwara Aina. She’s deep into her own cups, and proves a very…emotive drunk. But she also provides the lads with a clearer picture of her deal; she was accepted into the tennis club of beautiful people, but basically only so they could laugh at her, and when they got bored, they told her she could leave.

Iori and Kohei decide to use the pageant as a means to not only raise Aina’s spirits, but to give the cocky blue-haired tennis captain a dose of his own medicine. And yet by getting swept up in this new mission, they forget about Chisa.

Kohei sets a trap by confessing to Asuza on stage; the captain does the same, only for the lads to reveal “Asuza” was really Iori in disguise. In other words, they balance the distribution of laughter, disproving her belief it was eternally directed at her.

All’s well that ends well, as Iori and Kohei may well have made a new friend who is grateful for what they did for her…but the partying that follows leaves the lads horrendous wrecks, unable to protect the winner of the women’s pageant—Chisa—from another round of advances from guys, which she hates more than anything.

Up to this point, I had felt like Chisa was too often being defined through Iori, as Iori’s love interest. But Asuza makes clear to the other guys why exactly Chisa is upset: Iori and Kohei worked hard, but for the other girl, not her. In a rare instance of seeking/expecting protection from them, they let her down.

And so just as the tennis captain got his comeuppance, so must Iori. Upon receiving her award for winning the pageant, Chisa delcares to all assembled that she’s off the market: Iori is her boyfriend. Iori can’t protest, because he’s passed out.

In effect, Chisa has made delicious lemonade with the lemons she was dealt: Iori will repel other guys for her. He’ll be her shield. Considering how popular the pageant made Chisa with the guys, it won’t be an easy job; Iori may well prefer the tranquility of the ocean floor!

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Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun – 12 (Fin)

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Chiyo discovers the Valentines’ day candy she wanted to give to Nozaki. Then we take a trip down Valentines day memory lane from Chiyo and Nozaki’s unique perspectives.

It’s charming and Nozaki be so crazy!

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Finally secure enough with herself, Chiyo decides to give Nozaki the candies anyway… Only to collide with Nozaki in the hall and drop them to the floor! However, because Nozaki thinks he’s enraged Chiyo, and because he can’t comprehend a single sentence she says to him, Nozaki decides to eat the candies anyway, straight off the floor.

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Then its festival time and everyone in draw-manga club is there for various draw manga reasons — and food reasons too. Very little productive happens but everyone seems fully set in their relationships, even if only due to mometum.

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Waka will continue to chase Seo and she will be unaware but enjoy his company; Kashima will continue to love Hori, who will continue to be annoyed because he thinks she doesn’t like him, and Chiyou will stay with Nozaki because he doesn’t not like her and honestly enjoys having her around.

… and Mikorin will continue to be a secret Otaku… because we didn’t have time for him to get a love interest in the first place.

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Chiyo and Nozaki end the festival high above on a quiet play ground and Chiyo reminisces about their first meeting. As now, Nozaki was awkward, hard to predict motives, but adorable. As now, it was his contrasting characteristics that drew Chiyo to him: thuggish but wanting dainty things, mean but helpful, and strong but prone to awkwardly falling asleep.

Then Chiyo confesses her love for Nozaki, who doesn’t understand her over the fireworks and confesses his love for fireworks too. Instead of breaking her heart, Chiyo laughs with this pure, consistent Nozakiness and comes to love the moment for what it is: fun, even if he doesn’t love her.

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GSN dash K strolls out the door with a graceful charm that almost hides how little it has evolved over these past 12 episodes. Sure! It’s a slice of life piece and those almost never go anywhere, but good grief! Not even Kashima’s singing side plot gets resolved!

Still, episode 12 was a solid piece of story telling. The use of flashbacks were especially effective at reminding us how much has happened, antics wise, if not emotionally for the characters. (I dont remember why Nozaki was always in bandages in the beginning!)

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Thanks to Zane for handing this one off to me. always charming, usually funny, only a few girl-hitting bumps along the way. GSN dash K deserves a place in the top pics of the summer season.

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Rokujouma no Shinryakusha!? – 07

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The Roommates practice their roles for the play, with Tulip training Satomi especially hard in Knightly duties — including fighting. Satomi takes his lumps but learns quickly.

Apparently the villainous villain is “Clan,” Tulip’s sister and second crown princess to the empire. Tulip says Clan has a stealth ship, which is why they cant find her. Why she is explaining this to Satomi (who doesn’t care) during there a tea break is rather questionable.

Her reasons for training him to be a Knight are pretty dubious for that matter. He’s only supposed to walk around on stage in costume for goodness sakes…

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“it would be pointless to go looking for her” – Tulip says while Clan is hiding in the closet behind to her. Smooth!

Clan makes several attempts on Tulip’s life but is regularly thwarted by Satomi. In fact, Satomi is first to notice Clan, who’s terrible at stealth because she’s clearly evil and conspicuous amongst the theatre club. (regardless of wearing their school uniform)

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Meanwhile, Ruth has discovered Hercules-chan but hasn’t figured out that ‘the cute bug’ is a ‘beetle.’ So she hasn’t gotten made yet. Because aliens know everything about everything except that we call certain types of insects beetles. Gotcha!

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“I have come from untold time and distance” – Blue Knight

The Blue Knight’s introductory lines to the Gray Princess sound and awful lot like the premise to El Hazard. That the princess doesn’t recognize his crests either — and remember Tulip just submitted her nation’s legend word for word — make it look more and more like we’re going to have a time travel other world moment somewhere in the future.

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Apparently Boob-chan is the only one to notice this. Though, for added mystery, she’s heard the same line from… some guy that gave her a trading card or something. It’s unclear, honestly.

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The conflict climaxes on the eve of the festival, with Satomi saving the day on several levels and Clan being completely defeated. Satomi even gets a dragon ball style charge up moment to break through Clan’s defense field.

Then Tulip knights Satomi while he’s sleeping through the credits. (episode end)

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Seven weeks in and RnS is has cornered the market on watchability the way Bud Light has cornered the market on drinkability. It’s absolute minimum effort and quality necessary to keep a viewer’s eyes on the screen and their brain function just above absent.

A mystery has been eluded to but who can care? This was a wacky antics comedy for 3 episodes, remember? It’s not like there’s anything at steak hear — for goodness sake! The worst that can happen is 4/5 of the characters lose their claims on a 10×10 apartment that has, thus far, shown no significance other than they all ended up there!

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Still, drinkability is drinkability! The character interactions are more fluid now. Their relationships a little more believable and nuanced. Amidst all the nonsense, Satomi even asks Tulip to teach him how to dance and it’s half way cute, in a Tsundere sort of way.

But my goodness! I’m not invested in this show and it’s clearly going to ramble on in a predictable-yet-random direction for at least 6 more episodes, I think I’m going to leave it where it is. Satomi is knighted. He’s going to travel time and space somehow and several of the girls will probably get happy endings, one way or another.

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Final Note: The best moment since the premiere was Ruth, having realized the Beetle is a Beetle, chasing Cosplay-chan and Hercules saying ‘Shoo! Shoo!’ with an angry Japanese accent. If there was every a sound byte worthy of a ring tone or an alarm clock in my life, this would be it!