Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! Ren – 02

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First of all, we wanted to acknowledge how nicely Shinka’s development has come along. Once a love interest ot Yuuta and rival to Rikka, now she’s just their friend, and is fully on board with the love pact they enacted. But she’s concerned, as are we, with the happy couple’s progress thus far. By spying on them she learned that they don’t act all that different when they’re alone together, and Yuuta treats Rikka more like a sister or granddaughter than his lover…and he admits to Shinka that in six months, he and Rikka haven’t even held hands. He fails to mention he has bent her over his knee and spanked her, which…dunno what that was all about!

Because she’s concerned, Shinka does what anyone would do for a concerned friend: provide guidance—or at least point him in its direction, which is the direction of Kannagi Kazari, a girl’s girl. Kazari advises Yuuta to take the initiative, and makes sure he does by texting Rikka a date request on his phone. The immediacy of Rikka’s reply in the affirmative shows Yuuta that Kazari knows what she’s on about. The date that follows is an important milestone in Yuuta and Rikka’s relationship, but not because it meant they’d be increasing their level of physical contact.

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Yes, they do end up holding hands for the first time, in an exceedingly tender, adorable little scene with the aquarium tank as a backdrop. The camera really had a way with hands this week. Also, we like how once they finally do it, their hands stay clinched for much of the date. But the true value of Shinka’s referral and Kannagi’s advice and gambit were that they allowed Yuuta and Rikka to get on the same page with what exactly this love pact thing really is. When Rikka is out of her shell, she speaks with fierce honesty about her confusion about what to do and when.

That being said, she also speaks about how the fact that she has Yuuta, and gets to go home and keep living with him, makes her so happy that it’s hard to fathom it getting happier. Yuuta has been pretty happy too, which is why it took a third party to even get a discussion started about the pace of their romance.

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But he’s now realizing he had nothing to fear in doing so. Long story short: Yuuta and Rikka love each other deeply, and they’re going to take things nice and slow and not worry about what other people think. It’s the logical choice, considering their mutual inexperience. It’s also similar to the strategy Mei and Yamato in the excellent Sukitte Ii na yo.

Even so, there’s a new girl living above Yuuta’s apartment. This girl is also a Chuuni and meets Rikka same magical, somewhat dangerous way Rikka and Yuuta met. Will she fill Shinka’s old space in the love triangle? Which one is she after? Rough seas ahead for our lovebirds.

9_superiorRating: 9 (Superior)

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RDG: Red Data Girl – 11

Sagara Miyukia, Souda Mayura

As the Sengoku battles begin, Izumiko and Miyuki stay on the periphery; Miyuki gives her her cell phone, warns her to stay out of the fighting between Souda and Takayanagi, and to call him if she needs anything. Takayanagi bumps into her and strikes up a conversation; she gradually lets her guard down and goes with Takayanagi and Angelica, forgetting about Sagara. When she hears his name, she remembers again. Her braids come undone and she scolds Takayanagi, destroying his homonculi, but then wavers when she realizes they’re about to find out what she is…

No matter how hard they try, Izumiko and Miyuki can’t stay out of the fued between Mayura and Takayanagi. This week they’re both “spirited away” (after a fashion). Takayanagi targets Izumiko and tries to win her over, while Mayura, having spotted a suitor, asks Miyuki to pretend to be her fiancee. She proposes this under the assumption that, like her and Manatsu, Miyuki and Izumiko can never be a couple, even though both of them care for the other more than anything else. Her proposal is meant as an act of pragmatism, to buy her time. Every day she’s not engaged to be married is a day she can celebrate.

Through their actions, both Mayura and Takayanagi also accomplish something interesting with Miyuki and Izumiko, respectively: they bring something out into the open that both of them had always believed to be just between them. Miyuki seems surprised Mayura knows of the feelings he has for her (even if he shouldn’t be, losing his poker face so often these days!), while Takayanagi puts Izumiko in a position to summon the formidable spiritual power within her in order to right supposed wrongs. He makes her do a lot of things she wasn’t aware she was doing, and she ends up making a big scene when Miyuki pleaded with her to remain invisible. She’s not that anymore.

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Rating: 8 
(Great)

Stray Observations:

  • The “war games” turn out to be Capture the Flag, Backgammon, and Balloon Popping. We were hoping for swords, spears, and homonculi but what’re you gonna do?
  • Izumiko really doesn’t like it when Miyuki talks about Himegami.
  • Wamiya was of no help to Miyuki this week, but Masumi won a game of backgammon for Mayura.
  • Mayura gets so close to Miyuki under that platform thing, it looks for a moment like she’s leaning in to kiss him. We like Mayura, but Miyuki isn’t hers, and he needs to be on his guard!
  • Takayanagi seems to like hanging with foreigners – which matches his global ambition – and they with him, as they’re all captivated by his Japanese-ness. Angelica in particular seems like a true believer. 
  • Izumiko is pretty badass there at the end, until she starts to lose her composure, and then…something happens; we’re not sure what, but it probably isn’t good.

Persona 4: The Animation – 05

With Yukiko safe and sound, Chie notices Yu isn’t worn out from all the exertion, and so shanghais him into the basketball club, led by a guy called Ichijo and managed by Ebihara Ai, who falls in love with Ichijo. However, Ichijo loves Chie, so Yu is shanghai’d into service as Ai’s backup boyfriend, which angers Chie. The team loses what’s to be Ichijo’s last game, but he decides not to quit after all. Inspired by his performance and drive, Ai dumps/releases Yu and decides to try harder at being manager.

And so here’s our first Persona episode with no Midnight Channel, no walking through the TV, no battles, no summoning, and (thankfully) no Teddy with his awful not-puns. And while Yu can control more than one Persona, more than one lady is another story, amarite? Haha, but seriously, even though we’ve dived deep into the subconscious of the core quartet and seen their dark sides, here we have a character who has the good person hidden inside, at first. She’s bratty, selfish, vain, and impulsive (we like her!), and leads Yu around by the nose. Yu, for his part, really was the ultimate pushover this week. Why don’t the personas control him?

But Yu’s a Nice Guy, so he goes along with it, and his kindness and that of Ichijo’s eventually brings out her better side: the same one that has previously worked so hard to transform herself from a taunted fat kid to an undeniable beauty. (A somewhat cathartic cat fight with Chie probably doesn’t hurt, either ;). It’s no big deal for Yu the Yenta twhen she cuts him loose, having gotten over her stuff; after all, he and the rest of the PerScooby gang still have that mystery to solve. Romance can wait, right?


Rating: 3.5