Ryuugajou Nanana no Maizoukin – 10

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After scouting out the site of the last ruin this 11-episode show has time for, Juugo arrives home with the brown sugar pudding Nanana requested, and is relieved she hasn’t disappeared permanently, but she is clearly hurt by his refusal to tell her why he needs to clear the ruin in such a hurry. You can really feel the melancholy in this scene; Juugo is just as upset he can’t tell her as she is he’s keeping secrets.

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It’s not as if she considers this the Ultimate betrayal or anything, but her disappointment and weariness is apparent. As for the ruins themselves, at first I was on the fence about whether the set-up quite topped the “Rigid Foam Maze” six eps back, but I decided it did after considering its complexity. First of all, finding it involves careful study of the mall’s plan and observation of its inhabitants.

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When Juugo finally finds the entrance and goes in with Tensai, Isshin, and Yuu, things get even more interesting, but not until Tensai goes “Aha!” and explains it to less brilliant parties present. The Golden Ratio, Fibonacci Sequence, and 13-sign Zodiac all play a role in cluing in the adventurer on where and when to move. Ultimately it takes Juugo’s brawn supporting Tensai’s brains to reach the chest several stories underground, another sign these two make sense as a romantic pair, if they dared to go there.

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Once there, the chest itself has a puzzle lock that looked to me like some kind of terrestrial or celestial map. Tensai starts to solve it in her head, and a good thing she doesn’t open it too soon, because Ikusaba Hiiyo crashes the party (Kagetora and Daruku were watching the entrance, but there was only so much they could do) Hiiyo’s first weapons are insults, possibly meant to get everyone mad enough to make a mistake, but it’s he who ends up regretting not taking them all out quick and quiet.

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The insults motivate Juugo to want to kick Hiiyo’s ass purely because he pisses him off, not out of a sense of duty to anyone. This may be a little thing, but is consistent with his desire to walk his own path by his own code, not one laid out by his father. Yuu is pissed off too, but neither she nor Juugo can score a hit on him; not until Isshin of all people steps forward and actually does something to deserve Yuu’s worship.

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Armed with Nanana’s “mimic glasses”, he’s able to fight at Hiiyo’s level and know which shadows he’ll emerge from. He also uses Hiiyo’s poor opinion of him to his advantage, opening himself up just long enough to get him to throw a punch he can’t stop, then duck in time for Yuu to deliver a very satisfying knockout blow, which is repeated for emphasis.

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So…Good team effort! Hiiyo has been put in his place, so now all they need to do is grab the treasure and be on their OH RIGHT, he’s got other tricks up his sleeve. I expected Tensai and/or Isshin to check him for other treasures on his person, but Juugo approached the dangerous wounded animal first, with his guard down, and got a collapsed lung for his trouble.

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Stray Observations:

  • That last scene last week where Nanana suddenly disappeared turned out to be a total red herring.
  • Kagetora and Daruku’s general uselessness this week was a sign of mild character bloat. Still, the former’s full body bandage, with just eyes and a couple hairs showing, is a funny sight gag.
  • Yuu and Tensai seem awfully touchy about Juugo possibly looking up their skirts. Then don’t wear skirts to a treasure hunt! Rock slacks, like Yukihime!
  • The whole scene with Juugo carrying Tensai as she navigates was great stuff. He even got her detective hat back!
  • Again the episode cuts to Nanana playing a game that mimics the situation of the others; in this case, fighting an annoyingly tough boss. I know the feeling…
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Ryuugajou Nanana no Maizoukin – 09

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Juugo is eager to collect as much of Nanana’s Collection as possible in hopes it will help him find her killer; a mission that he left Matsuri to pursue. But when Yun is confronted by Hiiyo after a day of shopping, Tetsuno relays to Juugo his big sister Sansa’s request that he make sure Hiiyo doesn’t bother Yun ever again, and suddenly he has another mission.

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As more and more comes to light about Hiiyo and his role in all but destroying the Adventure Club after founder Konjou Kasumi graduated—long story short, the guy is a dick—the more Juugo’s two present missions would seem to align. Hiiyo, one for manipulating and then discarding people to further his goals, sent Yun into the ruins hidden on the site of a mall.

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He confronted her to debrief her (no, not like that), only to find she didn’t seem to know what he’s talking about. Tetsuno is in time to save her (and she then saves him with a lie about cops coming to spook Hiiyo, because though Tetsuno has a katana and Hiiyo is unarmed, he puts up more than a fight. Hiiyo’s skills were also on display when chased down Kagetora and gave him an ugly off-camera beating requiring body-wide bandages.

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So yeah, don’t want to go after the guy half-cocked. Thing is, Tetsuno, Juugo, and Isshin all know a certain amount about him, so it isn’t until they unite in the club room to pool their intelligence. This is when Tensai reappears, and we learn what she’s been up to: she was hired to find Yun, but failed when Yun reappeared on her own. (Tensai is one proud detective). As Tetsuno says, kicking Hiiyo’s ass would be nice, but protecting Yun has to take priority.

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Isshin opines that the best way to do that is to clear the mall ruins before Hiiyo can, so he’ll have no further business with her. But to do that, they need a hint about the ruins, which Juugo manages to get out of Nanana without telling her why (worried Hiiyo could show up again and find about about their plan through her). In exchange, Juugo promises her he’ll never use the treasure they find.

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As Juugo lies in bed, in the glow of Nanana’s video games, he ponders why Nanana made him promise that, surmising that perhaps she doesn’t want him to find her killer; doesn’t want to “pass on”. When he rises to speak to her, she and the glow are suddenly, jarringly…gone. Whether this is just her sensing his concern and activating her Ghost Cloak, or something more permanent, is just something I’ll have to ponder until next week…with a little trepidation.

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Stray Observations:

  • nana91Nanana’s dating game synching up to the reality of Juugo being caught between Yurika and Yukihime…I LOL’d.
  • I’ll admit I missed Tensai, even though she wasn’t gone that long, the fact that her absence wasn’t explained until she returned made it that much more conspicuous.
  • I assumed when Hiiyo “sacrificed” a fellow club member to clear a ruin, that member died, but turns out she was only seriously injured. I kinda wish the details of that sacrifice were a little less vague.
  • I also assumed he killed Kagetora, but he too survived. I guess Hiiyo isn’t quite as evil as I thought he was?
  • When Juugo assumes Nanana’s “one condition” is to get her that brown sugar pudding, and she pauses, and then says “two conditions”…I LOL’d again.

 

Ryuugajou Nanana no Maizoukin – 08

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Last week was all about Juugo making amends, but this week is all about expanding and elaborating upon his present milieu, and articulating the fact that many conflicts old and new stand between him and his personal mission to save Nanana-chan, including uncertainty over what saving her even entails. We also get more pieces of the histories of both the club and Room 202.

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There’s sundry doin’s a-transpirin’: Tensai receives ¥3000 from a freshman and storms right out of the damn episode in an uncharacteristic snit. Tetsu and the pint-sized Yoshino-Saki, AKA Yun-chan, AKA Kate Hoshimiya’s cousin, enroll at Juugo’s school. Isshin admits to Yuu and Kagetora that he’s threatened by the brilliance of the new members, which he feels far outstrips his own.

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Most importantly, there’s a stern new face in town to look down on him: Ikusaba Hiiyo, who looks to figure prominently in the three episodes to come (or more if this goes another cour, which I wouldn’t necessarily mind). He’s a tough-looking sonofabitch who professes to be allergic to compromise, an allergy he believes gives him the ultimate edge in getting what he wants in life, including Nanana’s collection.

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Hiiyo also happened to be the former tenant of Room 202 prior to Juugo, and I kinda doubt he ever bought her pudding or played video games with her. Their relationship is summed up pretty succinctly when he pops by to have her appraise one of her treasures he found, then cuts her off and calls it worthless. One kindly ghost’s treasure is a cold-hearted bastard’s trash.

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Shiki chases him off with her boss beer muscles, but I doubt he’s going away any time soon. He wears a big black duster and boots, talks with a gruff aloofness, has unkempt hair, and enjoys watching CGI horsie races. He’s got Archvillain written all over him, and I don’t think he’s interested in making Juugo’s—or anyone’s—job any easier.

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