Michiko to Hatchin – 02

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In a flashback 12 years ago, Michiko is transferred to Diamandra prison, where she’s visited and taunted by police sergeant Atsuko, who she grew up with. Atsuko also shows her a photo of the infant Hana. In the present, Atsuko is in charge of the police task force pursuing Michiko, who makes no effort to lay low. Despite Hana’s dubiousness, Michiko promises to protect her no matter what, and starts calling her “Ha-chin”. Atsuko and a police motorcade block the exit of the town where they refueled, and a wild chase ensues. Father Pedro, convinced if he kills Hana ke can collect the insurance money, chases and shoots at Hana, but Michiko rescues her, and they return to the road.

She and Michiko are being pursued for very different reasons, but after gaining her freedom from her horrible adoptive family, Hana – or “Hatchin” learns quickly that freedom is very difficult to hold on to once you have it, and requires constant vigilance; especially if your travelling partner-slash-mom happens to have the GTA equivalent of Seven Stars. Hana’s first impression of her mom is that she’s not really her mom, but is bad at math and is an immoral member of the criminal classes she wants nothing to do with. But she knows they’re connected, because they share the same tattoo (though Hana won’t let her see it.)

Michiko may not be perfect, but she does know how to survive, and she’s all Hana’s got. She’s too small and vulnerable to survive on her own, Pedro is convinced he’d make more money if she was dead, and if the police get her, she’ll be given back to them, or worse, sent to an even worse foster family or group home. As Hatchin comes to terms with the nature of her savior, we learn that knowing Hatchin was out there somewhere was what kept Michiko going in Diamandra. But if she wants to stay out, she might want to think about being more careful and less reckless now that Hana’s in her care. Not that that police chase wasn’t awesome; it was.

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Rating: 8 
(Great)

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The World God Only Knows II 11

This week’s cold open is a stark contrast to last week’s. Both are of Nagase in her apartment; last week’s was full of confidence and energy, while this week’s was full of doubt and lethargy, feeling that she can’t do anything right, that she’s a bad teacher; that she can’t fix Keima. But she doesn’t head to school, she heads to a wrestling match to clear her head. Of course, Keima is waiting there for her with a ticket for the exact same seat, courtesy of Elsie. This was a deliciously devious way to get Jun on the same level as Keima, by basically giving her no choice but to share the narrow seat with him.

During this intimate match, Keima starts to get why she likes it so much; it’s a total effort. Not just the wrestlers, but the officials, staff, and spectators all contribute to create a passion you don’t often see elsewhere. Having been to numerous sporting events, I can vouch for the excitement of being among as many as 70 thousand fellow fans. Ideals do exist in the real world – and these events are one of them. Things are black-and-white; one side is good, the other evil; and if you don’t win, you lose.

For most of the episode, Keima is just upsetting Jun, but there’s most definitely a method to his madness. Jun puts her class out by entering them all into a marathon, and when they balk and deride her excessive care for them to bond, she accuses them of being selfish. This reinforce’s Keima’s theory that like the basketball team in the past, Jun is always “crushing” people with her ideals, and they’re always balking at the pressure she puts on them. But Keima doesn’t think she should change – he thinks she should keep doing it. Why worry what others think? He doesn’t.

No one can tell you how to live your life, and if you want to live it by trying to push and fire up and motivate others to follow your ideals, so be it. There are costs, of course; not everyone will respect or even like you, but life is full of challenges, and like Jumbo Tsuruma, one cannot back down from them, but must push forward. By comforting her when she needed it most and restoring her faith in herself and her ideals, Keima helps Jun Nagase end her student teaching stint on a high note. He also nicely sets up a scenario in which she could see him as something other than a student (literally when she’s done the stint), thus making it okay for her to kiss him, something she couldn’t do while at school. This releases the loose soul, and ends a final conquest arc that was as unique as it was enjoyable. Rating: 4