Inu to Hasami wa Tsukaiyou – 05

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Madoka blames Akiyama for driving her brother crazy, leading to his death. She snatches the dog and jumps out the window. Natsuno meets her in a park, and they have a duel, which Natsuno wins. After the battle they become cordial. Kazuhito then figures out that Hiiragi was responsible for perpetuating the slasher rumors, in order to break Akiyama’s slump. Natsuno hears all of this and chastises Hiiragi, warning her to stay out of affairs. Hiiragi later admits she dealt with the real slasher before Natsuno’s investigation began.

Even had this been an exceptional episode, we still wouldn’t have kept watching InuHasa. Any way you slice it, fifteen shows is too many, and we’re much more interested in the other Gonzo series (Kimi no Iru Machi), so this will be the last InuHasa episode we review. It goes out on a decidedly low note, filled with awful dialogue, random twists, and its centerpiece is an escalating battle full of cheesy cliches that even the characters admit is completely pointless. It also featured way too much of the loathsome, one-note masochist Hiiragi Suzuna, who frankly gives masochists a bad name.

There remain elements of a potentially interesting story: how Kazuhito ended up in a dog’s body; if and how he’ll be able to escape it, for instance. But at this juncture we just don’t see the profit in continuing to wait for the series to get around to telling that story to our satisfaction. Akiyama Shinobu says she believes in her readers and would do anything for them, but there’s nothing she can do for us. If the writers of this series gave a crap about their audience or their product, they would have put more care into these last few episodes. So we’ll put just as little care in our final assessment of InuHasa:

It’s a dog.


Rating: 3 (Bad) (Dropped)

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Oreimo 2 – 07

Kousaka Kyousuke, Gokou Ruri

Ruri doubles down on her confession to Kyousuke, telling him she’s sure she loves him more than anyone else. He begs her to let him think about it, and she gives him until tomorrow, after the re-party. Back at home he and Kirino finish making up, and Kirino make shim promise to give serious thought if the “other girl” confesses to him. Manami also tells him to “face Kuroneko sincerely.” After the party, Kyousuke agrees to go out with Ruri. They later plan to meet up in the video game club, where everyone already assumed they’d been going out a long time. After expressing ignorance about what a boyfriend should do, Kyousuke suggests they do what she’s written (and illustrated) in her “Destiny Record”, starting with a first date.

This time, I need to do things right…

Damn straight! What do you know, Oreimo actually surprised us this week! We were fully resigned to Kyousuke further stalling or at worst, outright rejecting Ruri so that he can continue his dead-end quasi-romance with his little sister. Instead, after receiving (sorta)best wishes from both Kirino and his long-suffering betrothed Manami, Kyousuke finally makes the right choice: he chooses Kuroneko. And we couldn’t be happier! Interestingly, this doesn’t mean he’s betraying or abandoning Kirino, just that he’s finally realized they’re two different kinds of love. What’s also great is that while there is some building up, his deliberation doesn’t take up the whole episode. She has his answer by the commercial break. And thus, a huge weight is lifted.

What follows is a second-half that just about makes up for all of the will-they-wont-they torture the last one-and-a-half seasons of the series. Both Kyousuke’s sudden excitement and Ruri’s dilating joy is contagious to behold. She looked as surprised as we were when Kyousuke actually said yes, and the scene when her little sisters see her “break” with giddiness is a lovely, adorable moment. We’re as glad as she is that after creating such a compelling love interest and steadily yet naturally building up her attraction to Kyousuke, the series finally pulled the trigger on a Kyou+Ruri path, and as far as we’re concerned, now that it’s a reality, every minute the happy new couple isn’t on the screen together being awesome is a minute wasted. Sorry Kirino.

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Rating: 9 (Superior)

Stray Observations:

  • Kirino’s fake boyfriend shows up. He’s useless with advice on boob-touching.
  • Kyousuke, Kirino, and Ruri apologize to Saori for ruining the previous party. As well they should!
  • It sounded an awful lot like Kirino gave Kyousuke her blessing, so we don’t want to hear her complaining next week!
  • Here’s hoping Kyousuke and Ruri start calling each other by name. We know, we’re pushing our luck.
  • This week’s Aku no Hana was so powerful and Ise Mariya’s performance as Nakamura Sawa was so compelling, that we had a visceral reaction when Akagi Sena (also Ise) started talking.

Oreimo 2 – 03

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Kyousuke, Kiriko and Ruri visit Saori’s house for a surprise birthday party, and she arrives home from school out of her otaku disguise. We flash back to when her sister Kaori first introduces her to her otaku friend circle, “Pretty Garden.” The desperately shy Saori makes friends there and has fun, but when Kaori suddenly ups and leaves, the other circle members drift apart until Saori is alone. She promises she’ll show her sister up, doing so by starting a new circle. Back in the present Kaori and her friends have reunited, and give the older, taller, more sociable Saori their regards.

Ayase was the focus last week, but this week she’s absent as the focus is entirely on Saori Bajeena, AKA Mikishima Saori, a very rich, high-class, beautiful young lady who presents herself to her otaku friends as a lurchy otaku dork with oversized novely glasses. They don’t even recognize Saori when they see her. Now that we can see her eyes, face, and hair properly, it’s like we’re meeting the character all over again, only now she’s on more of an equal footing with Kirino and Kuroneko. And hey, it turns out she’s an imouto too!

Her backstory is one of her older sister practicing tough love: introducing her into a sink-or-swim situation where she must show her face to people and talk to them, and once she’s comfortable there, indirectly breaking up the circle, removing the proverbial training wheels from Saori’s social development. It’s sad, but people grow up and move on; it doesn’t mean they’re not still friends. And Saori’s experiences gave her the strength and wherewithal to find her own circle of friends, and the cycle continues. We liked learning more about this non-bespectacled Saori, and hope to see more of her.


Rating: 8 (Great)

 

Tamako Market – 04

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The Usagiyama summer festival approaches, which means the mochi shop is at its busiest. Tamako’s little sister Anko wants to go on a Sunday trip to a museum with her fiends, among them a boy she likes. Her father forbids it, but eventually allows it after her grandpa negotiates a compromise. When the day arrives, she’s so caught up in the festivities that she isn’t able to make it anyway. Instead, her friends come to visit her. She runs and hides in her wardrobe, embarrased, but the very boy she likes comes in and coaxes her out, offering her a gift.

As far as we know so far, there isn’t a boy Tamako currently “likes”, nor is there any indication she’s remotely interested in boys. In that regard, her little sister Anko (sorry, “An“; it’s apparently cooler) has already surpassed her, on top of being better at making mochi than Tamako was at her age. The blissfully dense Tamako doesn’t even realize her sister likes a boy, because she’s too busy being content with her life in the shopping district as a mochi maker’s daughter. Anko, though admittedly still young and phase-prone, is far more restless. For one, nobody is calling her by the name she prefers.

She’s also annoyed that she’s being forced to work on the date she wants to hang out with friends. But after grand-dad steps up to the plate for her and she wins her freedom, she bumps into the florist with the manly voice on her way to her museum date and helps with the elegantly-dressed girls in the parade. They remind her of herself, and that priceless moment when she first looked in the mirror and saw a princess. Once it was clear Anko wouldn’t make it, she realized it wasn’t the end of the world. As Dera (who was painted gold this week) says in the end:

…even if things don’t go as you planned, on another road grows another flower.


Rating: 7 (Very Good)

Sword Art Online – 17

Kirito saves Lyfa from the Salamanders, and she thanks him by teaching him how to fly and buying him a drink. He tells her it’s imperative he get to the World Tree as soon as possible. She grudgingly agrees to accompany him before she logs out and is revealed to be Sugu. Kirito promises Yui he’ll get Asuna back, then falls asleep and logs out as well. Up in the World Tree, Asuna is being held captive by Sugou, AKA the Fairy King Oberon, who calls her Queen Titania. He insists she fall in love with him soon. He also tells her about using 300 SAO players including her and the 10,000 AFO users for secret research into implanting artificial thoughts, emotions and memories.

We can say with confidence if we met someone speaking in the same voice as our little sister, even if she looked totally different, we’d ask if she was our little sister in real life…but that’s just us. As for Sugu, we were expecting her to run over to her brother in the next room, but while Kirito seemed to give her a similar vibe, it seems she hasn’t made the connection yet. So we have a brother and a sister (really cousin!) who likes him, oblivious to who the other one really is, headed to the World Tree to try to climb it – something that hasn’t been done before. There’s a good reason for that: the conditions for clearing the game may not be possible. Only one race can win, but the final quest may require cooperation between races, which will probably never happen considering one would be sacrificial.

Also, no one knows the nature of the quest itself, and there’s a good reason for that too: Sugou Nobuyuki, AKA “Fairy King Oberon”, is using the players of ALfeim Online for clandestine human experimentation, and it behooves him to delay the clearing of the game. Sugou cements his place as the slimiest, Evilest Evil-With-A-Capital-E Bad Guy of the series, who wants Asuna whether she wants him or not. Asuna puts up a brave front, but her horror is palpable as he paws her and explains exactly how he could wipe her memories (including those of Kirito, no doubt), her free will, her personality – everything that makes her Yuuki Asuna, if he displeases him. So she has to sit tight, and hope that zany brother-sister duo finds a way to get to her. Judging by how quickly Kirito learned high-speed flying (an awesome scene, BTW), it may not take long.


Rating: 8 (Great)