Ryuugajou Nanana no Maizoukin – 07

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Like NGNL’s last outing, this episode of Nanana benefited from a changing of gears; a brief pause, if you will, to take stock of where we’ve come. There’s no new treasure hunt this week. Instead, it’s an episode about amends; namely, amends Juugo makes towards two of the three most important women in his life (Things are perfectly chipper between him and Tensai).

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First on his list is Nanana. Last week her fury was awesome to behold, but also largely unexplained. Turns out Juugo sold most of her video games, presumably in order to afford the trip to the hot spring. The premium regional pudding he acquires proves sufficient in quelling her rage and gaining her forgiveness, along with the promise to buy her new games.

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The other woman won’t be so easily appeased by confections and toys. When Fugi Yukihime, his beloved martial arts instructor and big-sister figure, tried to steal the treasure he’d already acquired, she broke an unspoken rule of the underground. Juugo saw that as a sign she truly had turned her back on him, which depressed him to no end. I’ll admit, how they left things left a sour taste in my mouth too.

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Cheered on by Nanana (who agrees to let him cry into her chest if he fails, which he assures her he won’t), Juugo meets with Yukihime in the night and promptly challenges her to a duel; one he probably knows he can’t possibly win, and doesn’t. But then he activates Nanana’s treasure, surrounding Yukihime in golden chains, and he suddenly has the power to to anything he wants to her.

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If he follows through on his threats, Yukihime will gain license to truly hate him…but she doesn’t want to—as evidenced by her sudden tears—nor does Juugo want her to. He releases her and tells her he wants them to be on the same side, even if he’s no longer with Matsuri. They both apologize to one another, and Yukihime agrees to keep liking him as much as she had (which is likely more than she lets on).

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It was great to see another episode that fills in the blanks of the last, as well as to see so many more sides of Fugi Yukihime, who is as cute as she is deadly. It was always clear the two had a past, but I didn’t realize the true depth of it until now, and both characters benefited greatly from the elaboration. And yes, that was Star Driver the gals were watching. They have excellent taste!

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Ryuugajou Nanana no Maizoukin – 06

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I’m definitely liking the way Nanana is layering its narratives. The adventure club hits up the next set of ruins, the treasure is recovered and then promptly stolen, Tensai discovers the culprit with some sleuthing, then later divines the true extent of the mystery. The episode is speckled throughout with little clues that let you know Juugo’s already been to the ruins, as had Matsuri.

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Matsuri appeared to have been waiting to swoop in on the treasure one the club did the work for them. This isn’t a case of rival groups just happening to be staying at the same onsen; it’s a calculated plan. Tensai’s “Watson” (Daruku) recovers the cat plushie from the laundry, and Tensai exposes the new hire as Shuu in disguise.

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Again, Juugo keeps his cards close for the whole episode until Tensai studiously worries them loose, proving he’s worthy of her efforts. This week’s puzzle also had a satisfying 3D-platformer “lost ruins”feel to it, even though it wasn’t quite as clever as the foam labyrinth. Its simplicity is mitigated by the fact the stuffed cat isn’t even one of Nanana’s treasures. Maybe that real black-and-white cat was?

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Whatever the case, everyone in the adventure club has their own unique motivations and modes of operation. That ubiquitous, chaotic aspect of not knowing who’s getting one over on whom is part of what makes this show so fun to watch. Juugo having fancy pudding delivered to Nanana to apologize for leaving her alone was a nice way to end, especially as he gets home before the pudding, and has to behold her rage. He’s good, very good…but he’s still human.

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Ryuugajou Nanana no Maizoukin – 05

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Aside from having his space invaded by Tensai and Daruku, Juugo is also starting to feel the financial pain of living with Nanana: since she plays video games constantly, the monthly electric bill is a formidable ¥15,765, in addition to more than ¥6,000 in gas and water.

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That’s more than $217 in American, no small sum for a high schooler, even if his father hadn’t cut him off through Yukihime, who insists he return into the fold. When he refuses, she bounces, warning him his face will be an unwelcome sight in the future. With a sense of obligation to remain by Nanana’s side (and a landlady who will happily toss him out onto the street if he doesn’t pay up), Juugo must find a job.

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Whatever Matsuri was up to, he seems quite determined to make it on his own without involving himself with it, though he seems a bit sad to have to turn from Yukihime. While we don’t yet know the whole story, you have to respect his sticking to his guns, even if that’s the more treacherous path. I also liked how the episode managed to slip in a little scene of Juugo admiring Tensai’s fetching disguise, as well as having him reveal a little jealousy toward Daruku’s…proximity to her.

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Hardly a rolling boil of a romance, but there’s definitely something there. When he chooses a job that pays handsomely but is sketchy as shit, he ends up on the wrong side of the apparent utopia, delivering a suitcase of drugs fancy flour to the stylish don of a lawless district who also collects treasures. Juugo ultimately fails to collect his payment (he has to escape a sudden raid), but unless Shiki was just joking (I doubt it), he’d better find another job…or another treasure.

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Ryuugajou Nanana no Maizoukin – 04

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“You’re actually pretty evil, aren’t you?”

Rather than move on to the next treasure-of-the-week, Nanana sticks to the matter at hand—the fact that Juugo isn’t going to let Yuiga get away with his treachery. In the process, we get a lot more pieces to the puzzle that is Yama Juugo, beyond a blandish kid who decided to strike out on his own out of mere restlessness. Turns out he was exiled! We’re startin’ to like this kid.

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When Juugo meets with Tensai at the agreed-upon spot, she notices Juugo is slightly taller, and exposes an impostor belonging to the e-lite thievin’ group Matsuri who claims to have kidnapped her new pardner. But in reality, Juugo is the son of Matsuri’s leader, and it’s once-presumptive heir. The show kept its cards close to its chest last week, but those weird cops were an early hint at what was to come.

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I must say I was impressed with how elegantly the show managed to uncover all these new truths about Juugo, while keeping him true to the person we had known thus far. He’s still a tank of a feller, able to withstand all the Wizard Cane attacks Yuiga can throw at him until it runs out of juice. I was also surprised and delighted by Ibara and Yukihime’s mad fighting skills.

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I was impressed by the first puzzle dungeon the adventure club faced, but I’m even more impressed at the show’s ability to change gears to something more complex and nuanced. The fact that essentially everything that transpired this week was all part of Juugo’s plan, even counting on Tensai to bring in the cavalry, and used his stature within Matsuri, but only so far.

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But even better is the fact that Tensai figured it all out, which even impresses Juugo. Tensai and Yuiga’s crazy dreams irks him because he can’t feel the same way, nor does he have as defined a goal. He also seems to have trouble with people. His haughty dad who exiled him is quick to mock him on both counts. But with his growing respect for Tensai and the goal Nanana has assigned him, Juugo may be in the right place to find out what he’s meant to do.

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