Sakurako-san no Ashimoto – 02

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This was a tough one to watch, but it still felt good to watch it. Though I don’t have any kids, I could feel my latent parental instincts kick in on multiple occasions. What I do have is a little niece going on three, the same age as the girl who serves as a conduit for this week’s murder mystery, which turns out to be a lot more involved than last week’s century-old skeleton or the suicide-not-suicide.

The little girl, who only has the most basic grasp of communication, and will default to “no” when confronted with strong direct demands, is like a lock that Sakurako and Shou must pick in order to figure out who she is and where she came from. I like how such a lockpicking must be undertaken by a lad too young for kids and an older but still young woman too involved in her work to bother with things like husbands or children of her own.

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In spite of this, Sakurako and Shou become the kid’s surrogate parents for the duration of their investigation. Shou is the one who brings her to Sakurako, who quickly notices the child is suffering from a poorly-healed bone injury; the likely result of abuse. As luck would have it, a classmate of Shou’s knows the kid and her real name, leading them to her house: a pigsty strewn with bags of garbage and a likely den of neglect and abuse. Then they find the corpse of the mother, and a new story emerges.

The mother is dead of an apparent stab wound, with only one defensive wound, and died in a very strange position that turns out to be one best-suited for covering a trap door in the kitchen where she hid her other child, an infant boy. When Sakurako moves the mother’s body and finds the babe, she wastes no time attempting to revive it, pumping his tiny heart to provide his brain with enough oxygen to stay alive.

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Before help can come, the father does: a knife-wielding drug addict looking for “butterflies.” Saku is unable to move to protect herself, lest she risk losing the baby, and the cop who accompanied her and Shou is the first one stabbed. That means Shoutarou has to step up and save everyone, which he does thanks to some karate he learned from his gramps.

Far from impressed, Saku is angry at Shou for acting so recklessly. As he acted, she remembered a young boy running from her in a similar fashion, and being unable to stop him. A younger brother she lost, perhaps? In any case, all’s well that ends well. The baby wakes up (thank GOD) and the police and ambulance arrive. And throughout all of this, the three-year-old has been kept safe by Shou’s classmate in the other room, shielding her from further trauma.

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The house may be the dump of a destitute couple unable to properly care for their two young children, but in Sakurako’s reconstruction of what happened (which happens with all of the pieces having been previously, carefully laid out), the mother is redeemed as a Mother, one who did not hesitate to sacrifice her own life to save both of her kids from her insane, homicidal partner. She may not have been the best mother in life, but she did the one fundamental thing required of her, and all mothers, when it mattered: she protected her children.

This was more than just a rich spoiled genius girl solving a another mystery for her own satisfaction. The show successfully drew me even further in by upping the stakes considerably. This was about continuing the work the murdered mother started: making sure those innocent kids survive. And Saku couldn’t do it alone; she needed the help of her “Watson” and the plucky cop, and they delivered.

With this latest case closed, a deeper mystery remains: the truth of Saku’s memory.  Shoutarou is surprised when she calls him by his first name in the aftermath of their ordeal, but also remembers her shouting “Soutarou” during it. Calling him Shoutarou is a sign of intimacy, yet when he asks her to confirm calling him that, she backs away, careful to maintain the same distance between them. Something haunts her; something Shou wants to uncover; and I want to see him uncover it!

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Binbougami ga! – 07

Ichiko crosses paths with the tomboyish karate expert Rindou Ranmaru, framing her for shoplifting after being framed herself. The next day, Ranmaru transfers to her class and challenges her to a duel, which Ichiko wins thanks to her luck. After the duel Keita praises Ranmaru, and she gets a crush on him. Ichiko gives her a makeover to make her more girlish, but when she goes home in that state, she’s hit by her father. Ichiko starts a fight with her father, but Ranmaru stops it, not wanting her dad hurt. Her dad lightens up, but Ranmaru is more comfortable dressing as she normally does anyway.

The magenta-haired Rindou Ranmaru recieves a fitting introduction this week, and she’s not what we expected. Well, not completely. First of all, we assumed she was a supernatural being like Momiji or Momou, but she’s just a human (albeit one who can somehow survive a 13-story fall onto a car). Her outfit is…there’s no other word for it…well, actually, there are a lot of words, but we’ll go with straight-up ridiculous. And a little distracting. Isn’t there a dress code? Also, the fourth wall-breaking about the main character’s class getting so many transfers is a bit weak. Everyone changing character design at will was pretty funny though.

What we liked was how this “hot-blooded dumbass born in the wrong era” (to paraphrase Ichiko) provides a fresh foil and rival for Ichiko, as well as a mortal person who could actually become one of her friends, even if that friendship is tense and unspoken. Ichiko plans to get back at Ranmaru by exploiting her infatuation with Keita, but she forgets about it once she sees how happy and excited Ranmaru is to have a new look (which is adorable). Ichiko also stands up for Ranmaru against her strict, rigid ass of a father, and even if her defense proves unnecessary, it’s appreciated by both Ranmaru and her dad. But geez…that friggin’ outfit of hers…what a hot mess.


Rating: 6 (Good)

Working’!! – 07

Mahiru is warned by classmates of a molester on her route to work, but they insist she’ll be fine. It turns out to be Kirio Yamada, who resembles Aoi and is looking for his little sister. He can also block her punches. When Takanashi sees her talking comfortably with another guy, he becomes extremely emotionally distraught. After talking with his little sister, he confronts Mahiru, insisting he’s not a masochist and only likes little things.

We liked this episode. Thar be developments here! As in actual things happening to people that aren’t just limited to this one episode! For one thing, somebody we’re pretty sure is Aoi’s brother is looking for Aoi (Why else would he look exactly like her?). While his hesitating when saying his name is a little suspicious, I can’t buy Takanashi’s belief that Aoi made up the name Yamada. But that will be delved into further next week. The most important development this week was Inami finding the perfect guy.

He’s well-dressed, her age, worried about her missing sister (sorta), and most importantly, he can totally neutralize her punches, forcing her to, well, deal with him, and tolerate his closeness. But even that’s just because he knows karate. Otherwise, he’s just a normal guy…not the freaks at Wagnaria. As for Takanashi’s reaction: we don’t care what excuses he tells himself or everyone else: when he saw HIS girl with another guy, he got jealous – plain and simple.


Rating: 3.5