KonoSuba: An Explosion on This Wonderful World! – 03 – Signs Point to Maybe

For an academy formally known as the “Red Prison”, it sure is laid back! For the second episode in a row there are no real classes; the adults are all out hunting monsters, so it’s free study time at the library. Yunyun is super excited to make two new friends in Funifura and Dodonko, who even do her hair! But when a spider taunts Megumin, she leaps on Yunyun, steals a hair tie to sling at the haughty arachnid.

The vibes are ruined for good when village NEET Bukkorori teleports in—an impressive display of magic by a deeply unimpressive man. He notes how he used to check out the same books as Soketto back in the day, and one of the three locations he can teleport to is the front of her house. The students are so disgusted that they bury him with books, to which I say: What the heck did the books do to deserve such shabby treatment?!

Inexplicably, both Megumin and Yunyun allow themselves to be roped into Bukkorori’s pathetic attempt to court Soketto, first by watching her sweep her front yard from a tree, then becoming invisible and sneaking up on her while she’s training in the forest. For her part, Soketto regards Bukkorori’s behavior as a sign that he hates her. When a pack of “One-Punch Bears” arrives, he uses a flashy Inferno spell to dispatch them in one fell swoop. Unfortunately, Soketto ends up caught up in the flames, which is … suboptimal.

When Soketto hears that Bukkorori wanted a reading (she’s a fortune teller) she decides to give him a freebie, since she technically saved her life (she’s still alive; the bears are not). He asks about who his future romantic partner might be, and she fires up her crystal ball…only no one appears. She apologizes for the somber result and says her fortunes aren’t always accurate. Left unsaid is that there actually was someone in the ball … Soketto’s own reflection.

While he’s problematic on a number of levels, Soketto still considers him “interesting” to the point where she might not immediately turn him down were he to express the desire to grab a cup of chuunibyou coffee some time … but I seriously doubt he’ll ever do any such thing. For one thing, NEETs can’t afford fancy coffee!

During another free study period, Yunyun and Megumin chat about her own romantic futures. Yunyun wants a quiet boring guy who listens; Megumin expects she’ll be too busy exploding things but won’t rule out falling for a peerless hero in a future adventuring party. When the students are ordered to go home in pairs due to monster sightings, Yunyun starts to ask Megumin, but Dodonko and Funifura invite her instead.

Megumin starts walking home on her own, but Yunyun chases after her. She may be Megumin’s self-appointed rival, but she still wants to walk home with her and get something to eat on the way. For that reason, Yunyun will surely embrace the value of truces, during which she can set aside their “rivalry” and revel in their friendship.

The Dangers in My Heart – 03 – A New Feeling

Kyou ends up in the nurse’s office with a headache the same time Anna is there with a stomachache (likely due to too many sweets). When she notices he’s staring then realizes it’s Kyou, she doesn’t seem to mind, since she knows him. She also offers him a Tylenol, but the only cup by the sink was the same one she used, which means the risk of an indirect kiss.

As dark and brooding as some of Kyou’s thoughts are, he at least knows better than to blurt out his … less savory thoughts. His male classmates, not so much. They’re a bunch of creeps, and when one of them gives him a note to pass to Anna, he assumes it’s something dirty and swaps it out with a drawing of Anna he made. The drawing absolutely makes Anna’s day.

More of the boys’ talk about how girl takes your hand and what that says about their preferred sex position actually gets to Kyou, when Anna counts her candy, notices one is missing, and takes Kyou’s hand from the top, which according to the dumb article means they like to take control. Turns out the missing candy was in her pocket.

When Kyou is hit by a basketball in P.E., he’s ready to aggressively throw it back … until he sees it’s Anna’s ball. She tosses it back and she smiles and thanks him. But later, while she’s looking at him, she gets hit right in the nose with a pass, and her nose starts bleeding profusely.

Continuing a trend of his actions not matching his thoughts, Kyou’s body moves on its own to the nurse’s office. He wonders what he’s doing there, but after hearing Anna talk on the phone with her mom through stifling tears, saying tomorrow’s photoshoot will have to be postponed, it finally hits him: he doesn’t want to murder this girl … he likes her.

I’m glad after three episodes he’s finally both aware of and seemingly accepting of this fact. Hopefully he can make more progress getting closer to Anna, since the fact she framed his drawing and keeps it in her purse, among other gestures, indicates she likes him too.

But for now, Kyou keeps stealthily doing little things to support her, like when she runs out of tissues from crying so much and he leaves packets of tissues at her spot in the library (as well as at all the other seats, so as not to seem suspicious).

I imagine Anna knows who left the tissues, and since she’s done crying, she instead uses them to wipe potato chip grease from her fingers. This smiling, happily snacking Yamada Anna is what Kyou likes to see most, which is good because he’s proven quite capable of making her smile.

The Dangers in My Heart – 02 – Battle Formation

Despite his silent objections, Yamada Anna continues to intrude upon Kyoutarou’s “holy space”, i.e. the library of loneliness. But he can’t deny it’s never a dull moment with Anna in there stuffing her face. When she has a complicated color-changing marshmallow candy set that requires water, she ends up spilling a bunch on the floor. He gets a cup for her, but by then she’s already mixing the candy by the sink.

When it gets hot, Kyou (along with the other boys) observe the girls sweating in their whites shirts, which is mitigated by fanning. The next time she’s snacking in the library, she asks to borrow his fan, which she says smells nice, then invites him to come in close and smell it too. Basically any excuse to get the little guy closer to Anna will do.

When Anna gets a text saying her “boyfriend” Chihiro (who is actually her closest female friend) is en route, she hides under the table where Kyou is sitting. Chihiro realizes pretty quickly the statuesque lass is under there, and lures her out by complimenting her. The reason Anna snacks alone is that Chihiro is allergic. She may be a space cadet, but she tries to be considerate to those she cares about.

More and more, Anna is making it clear that Kyoutarou is one of those people. When he gets guff from the boy trying to date Anna (who was also the first to fish his bike out of the river) for writing “Yamada” on tombstones on the class’ haunted house mural, he owns up to it so the real culprit (Hana, a girl) doesn’t get guff from the girls. But then Hana says she was just using common names like Yamada and Kobayashi. Anna realizes that Kyou was covering for Hana, and apologize for putting him in a spot.

Speaking of spots, Anna will be the class ghost for the cultural festival. She sidles up to Kyou at the sinks, and wonders if she’d look creepier with blood on her face. As with the mural, Kyou can’t help but suggest the right way to make something look spookier, and Anna leans in so he can apply the blood-colored paint to her face. All he can manage is a single spot before bailing from embarrassment.

On the day of the festival, Anna and her friends get picked up by three lads, but as Kyou observes, the girls are in a tight “battle formation” to protect each other from handy dudes.

Kyou tries to swing around to keep tailing them, and ends up encountering Anna, who had strayed from her group. She and Kyou go in the classroom where there’s a map of the town from 80 years ago. Anna points out her house, asks Kyou where his is, then draws the distance with her fingers, touching his in the process.

When he asks if it’s ok to take a picture (of the map) she grabs his phone and takes a selfie of the two of them. Even if he maintains Anna will be his top “victim” in some rhetorical spree of violence he envisions committing, the bottom line is that Kyou is elated beyond measure to have such a photo, just as Anna is more than happy to provide it.

The Dangers in My Heart – 01 (First Impressions) – It Does Matter

Kyoutarou Ichikawa (I’ll be shortening to Kyou) is, by his own admission, “messed up in the head”, reading horror stories and dreaming of murdering his classmates, chief among them the statuesque class idol Yamada Anna. Which is to say, he’s a fairly typical teenage boy in middle school.

But despite his best efforts to be aloof and scornful, the more he learns about Anna by watching her, the more he learns she’s an endearing space cadet, and he finds himself wanting to help or support her in little ways, starting by lending her a box cutter.

Kyou also seems oddly attuned to Anna in ways others aren’t, like when Anna’s poster has been replaced by her friend’s and she seems upset and even breaks down into tears. Kyou tears his own group’s poster to get everyone’s attention.

But at least this time, Kyou’s actions aren’t necessary. Whatever Anna was upset about, she isn’t anymore once she correctly spots an Osprey helicopter in the sky. Kyou just comes off like a poster-slashing weirdo to everyone else.

When one of his male classmates (who prefers bigger girls) asks to meet the girl he likes to meet him in the library, Anna is a clear third wheel, while Kyou is invisible behind the bookshelves. When Kyou drops his book, Anna actually covers for him by saying there’s a cat in the room.

Kyou meows, Anna goes to investigate, and gets him to meow along with her like two cats fighting. The couple-to-be end up alone and hit it off, leaving the library side-by-side in spirited conversation about cats. This skit shows that Anna and Kyou can make a good team.

Kyou learns that his #1 Murder Victim modeled in the latest issue of Ciel, he heads to the bookstore, but not in his school uniform. There he finds Anna there, also in disguise, desperately trying to get random customers to notice her in the magazine. She even prepares for autographs!

Kyou does by the magazine, but when he sees the photos of Anna, she looks like a stranger, and thus the little bit of distance they had closed gets wider (though he does fish it out of the trash later). It’s understandable that an outcast teenager with few friends would feel like he and someone like Anna were completely different species.

That discouragement builds when he spots Anna with a similarly tall lad. He assumes it’s her boyfriend and declares that “that’s how it is”—those of the same species tend to pair up. But far from her BF, he’s actually a guy she’s not interested in, pretending not to know what LINE or social media are.

When the lad, who turns out to be a cad, grabs Anna’s damn arm when she tries to leave and freakin’ insists she give him her contact info (always great start to a relationship!) Kyou considers walking on by. It doesn’t matter, he doesn’t care, he thinks. But it does matter, and he does care…about Anna!

So once again Kyou does something dumb and impulsive and very much not in his best interest: tossing his bike into the river! It makes such a commotion, the exchange of information seems to have been interrupted. Anna didn’t see it, but one of her friends did and reports what Kyou did.

When he explains he “hit the gas when he should have hit the brake” Anna has the biggest laugh and smile of the whole episode, and tells Kyou he’s funny. It seemed to me in the moment that she knew why he did what he did, and is grateful for it.

But the fact that Kyou can tell that Anna had no interest in the cad hitting on her means he’s not the demented psychopath he builds himself up to be in his dark thoughts. His heart is a lot lighter and warmer he thought, and continuing to interact with the tall, adorable Anna will only reinforce that truth.

Rating: 4/5 Stars

My Stepmom’s Daughter Is My Ex – 09 – Bittersweet Symphony

This episode, which finally fully chronicles the height and eventual fall of Mizuto and Yume, begins simply, with the two sharing a tender kiss without fanfare during the golden hour on a quiet street. The look they share after said kiss may just be the only time in the entire episode that they are truly on the same wavelength with one another.

When Yume is invited to Mizuto’s house, room, and bed (to sit on) when his parents aren’t home, she gets understandably excited, only for the two to spend hours reading a book together. It’s pleasant, but it’s less than Mizuto hoped for; she was ready to take the next step. So was Mizuto. But it just…didn’t happen. And it never would.

The first sign of the couple drifting apart is when they find themselves in separate classes for the third year of middle school. They still meet in their treasured library after school, and make a pinky promise to make wonderful memories for Christmas and Valentine’s. But then Yume gradually opens up and makes friends in her class.

Mizuto is irked by her newfound popularity, and when they are together, all she talks about is her friends this or her friends that. Feeling like they’re drifting away from each other hurts, so he hurts her back by snapping at her. He fully prepares to apologize the next day, but when Yume first sees him in the library, he’s chatting with another girl…in her chair.

His apology goes right through her, as she feels he betrayed her in the special place where they met and shared so many memories. And that bitter memory of seeing him with that other girl haunts him. It’s just a fight couples always have, but they let it fester and see less and less of each other.

When they finally encounter one another, it’s by chance at a bookstore, and Mizuto suggests, and Yume agrees, that they should make up and put the rancor behind them. But it’s just words. Mizuto is still hung up on being accused of cheating, while Yume is vexed by how far ahead he’s walking.

Once inseparable, the two fall completely out of sync, and their relationship falls off the rails. Yume thinks of inviting Mizuto to the festival where he found her, but fails to send the invite text and goes alone, hoping things will just work out like they did a year ago, even though she knows they won’t. Then their one-year anniversary comes and goes with nary a text from him.

The Christmas and Valentine’s memories they promised to share become exercises in bitter solitude, as both Mizuto and Yume remain incommunicado for those holidays. Finally, when graduation comes along, Mizuto quietly suggests, and Yume agrees, that they should break up.

At that point it felt less like and end and more like a “liberation.” He couldn’t deny his affection for Yume, but couldn’t deny the building resentment either. Little things turned into big things and finally the only thing: pain and anguish. The rest, we know: their parents get married a few months later, and they are introduced to each other as stepsiblings.

Fast-forward back to the present, where Yume is helping herself to one of Mizuto’s many many books, and happens to land on the same one they read together the first time she entered that room. The two reveal to one another in reminiscing that they both had the same intentions that day: to take their relationship to the next step.

You could say that day was really the beginning of the end, since it led to “aged plagued with regret” for Mizuto and “wasted time feeling she was undesirable” for Yume. And yet, thanks to their parents, a new beginning was written; one that allows them to reflect on their past missteps while seeing each other in a new light.

It was powerful and affecting watching their bittersweet first relationship crash and burn so utterly. From the cozy warmth of their (presumably) first kiss to the stark chill of their breakup scene, it was a harrowing roller coaster of a tale that added fresh context, richness, and gravitas to their present-day dynamic.

Shikimori’s Not Just a Cutie – 08 – Stroke of Noon

Izumi learns a lot of new things about his library buddy Kamiya during their quiet library rest area shifts…except what she’s thinking the whole time. That she’s an idiot for “waiting around” and not taking the initiative when he was still single; that she’s a bad person for having such feelings for someone whose heart belongs to another.

When Nekozaki asks if they can trade numbers, Kamiya does so with her usual quiet smile, but holds on just a little bit before letting it go: a wonderfully animated moment. Shikimori notices that hesitation, and also a measure of the pain hiding behind Kaimya’s smile. Kamiya’s face does a lot of heavy lifting this week.

Kamiya puts her hair up returns to her fawning fans, but soon the din of praise and speculation about her grows deafening, and she just can’t be there anymore. The cool beauty is overheating in that gaggle, and especially doesn’t want to hear people praise her when she feels like the biggest, worst loser ever.

Kamiya is soon joined on the roof, under a cloudy sky that matches her mood, by Shikimori, who offers back the number along with an apology. Now that she knows how Kamiya feels, trading with her feels cruel, and she doesn’t want to be cruel to anyone who likes Izumi, because no one who likes who she likes could ever be bad.

We’ve seen jealous Shikimori before, but Empathetic Shikimori is a far superior mode. While admitting she might seem “high and mighty”, she owns that 100% and assures Kamiya that nothing of what she’s feeling is wrong, and she shouldn’t feel compelled to bottle it up or throw it away for her sake.

Suddenly faced with the second person not to put her on a pedestal but simply let her be her (after Izumi, a large part of his appeal for her), Kamiya is overcome and lets those feelings flow out, sobbing uncontrollably. Shikimori does what you’d expect her to: draw the taller Kamiya into a warm, supportive hug.

Kamiya walks away from the experience glad that Izumi is with someone like Shikimori, and ready to move forward not in denial but in full acknowledgement of her feelings for him. But later that night, after the after-party when Izumi gives Shikimori a birthday/anniversary present, Shikimori feels weary.

She’s not weary specifically of Kamiya, but she’s a symptom of a larger problem on the horizon that she fears: that so many people will see what she’s seen in him all along, he’ll drift further and further away from her. She doesn’t want him to change, but she’s worrying too much.

Izumi credits much of his change for the better to Shikimori, and he’s not done changing and getting stronger she she can smile and relax and not worry about a grand piano falling out of the sky and onto her boyfriend. Hearing that he wants the exact same she does makes her start bawling like a baby.

One might think this means Izumi is singularly capable of tearing down Shikimori’s badass poise, but they’d be wrong. Shikimori is cool precisely because she’s not afraid to cry big sloppy tears over her love of Izumi. It’s a new high point for this pair of splendidly sweet, honest lovebirds.

Shikimori’s Not Just a Cutie – 07 – Kamiya-san Is Curious

The studio had an Izumi-style run of luck, enduring a Covid outbreak that delayed the episode, but Shikimori picks up without missing a beat, as the school culture fest commences. Last year Izumi and Shikimori had the same duties, but this time they’re separated as their class runs an animal-themed café.

Still, it doesn’t take long for them to come together as Izumi inevitably slips on a napkin and the Shikimori the bunny has to save Izumi the lion. While walking home after a busy first day, the two commit to spending the afternoon of the second day together.

It has to be the afternoon because both of them are busy in the morning: Shikimori with the café, and Izumi on library duty. He’s relieved to learn that his partner isn’t a stranger, but Kamiya, who has always been friendly and kind to him in their past library duty interactions.

As we enter the cultural festival stage of many anime series this season, Kamiya seems aware of the “magic” that leads to a surge of new couples. She’s uncharacteristically restless, and even delivers a wall slam to Izumi as she brings up his girlfriend Shikimori and wants to know how they met.

Izumi, who quite incorrectly assumes Kamiya likes Shikimori, obliges, telling her they got together thanks to that same culture fest magic. Last year, the numbers they got at the entrance matched, which was a rare fortunate moment for Izumi, as he had planned to ask her out during the festival.

After walking around and enjoying the festival in the clouds, when the time comes to take their photo (which legend has it bonds the matched couples together forever) Izumi loses his number. But Shikimori won’t let him give up, so they look for it. They come up empty, but put up a passionate united front in insisting the president let them have their picture taken anyway. The Prez can tell these two are keepers, and gives an exception.

The rest is history: Izumi asks Shikimori out behind the gym, and Shikimori’s response is a gorgeous, passionate embrace. Back in the library, Izumi apologizes for rambling on, but Kamiya is well and truly moved, striking an elegant pose that conceals what must be pained eyes.

While we’ve seen very little Kamiya so far, it’s been clear through her subtle glances at Izumi that she likes the guy, always has, and rues the fact she missed her chance. As amazing as Kamiya acknowledges Shikimori to be, she’s clearly frustrated Shikimori beat her to the punch.

It helps that Kamiya is an instantly likeable character, statuesque and noble and popular with both guys and girls, but not afraid to show another side to Izumi. Fukuhara Ayaka also lends her a wonderfully husky voice that’s lower than Izumi’s. We’ll see where this triangle goes as the festival continues.

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Karakai Jouzu no Takagi-san 3 – 07 – Pumped Up for Peace and Quiet

Most anything short of officially dating could have topped last week’s on-stage confession, but if Takagi is anything, she’s patient, so this week is a return to slow, steady, and cozy. Soft and fluffy too, thanks to a dog Takagi is walking for someone. She knows Nishikata will come running when given the opportunity to walk a dog, while Takagi is fine simply walking beside Nishikata, dog or no dog!

After snapping a pic of Nishikata going all gooey over the fluffy good boy, the next segment involves him having to backtrack to school to get his homework. Naturally Takagi tags along, and Nishikata learns that the after-school scene is all about couples. He has absolutely no chance against the assumptions of other couple—like Nakai and Mano—that he and Takagi are one of them—another couple.

The brief but cute segment with Mina, Yukari, and Sanae underscores how the rest of the class views our two lovebirds, as we get a Yukari’s-eye-view of the two in their natural habitat. Sanae heard word they’re not actually dating—yet—but Yukari is 100% right in saying “they might as well be…just look at them!” Also, Mina still believes in Santa, bless her!

In the last segment, Takagi psyches herself up over library duty with Nishikata, and can you blame her? Hanging out with the boy she likes is hardly “duty”. Nishikata, who has already long since been duly impressed by Takagi’ repertoire, discovers she’s also a knitter. She says a slow one, but looks pretty fast to me! (Also, the knitting action and accompanying foley is wonderful low-key sakuga).

Nishikata accepts a brief knitting lesson—backing out when she guides his hands with her own—then feels pangs of jealousy when she hears she’s knitting something for “a 15-year-old boy”. Sensing he’s troubled, she offers him a release valve in the form of a photo of said boy—and he’s a good boy—an old, shivery Chihuahua!

Takagi and Nishikata don’t seem like the couple to attack mountain ranges or hit up raves or ragers once they start “officially dating” (whatever the heck that means). Netflix-and-chilling, or knitting-and-reading, is much more their speed. Fitting, considering no couple makes me more excited about peace and quiet!

Rating: 4/5 Stars

P.S. it has come to my attention that Takagi was crocheting, not knitting. Nevertheless!

Karakai Jouzu no Takagi-san 3 – 02 – He Can’t Win…He’s Won

The Blue Marble

For its opening salvo, Takagi-san goes part-Charlie Chaplin, part-Looney Tunes, ditching all dialogue for a full orchestra. Takagi’s instrumentation is predominantly flutes and strings, while Nishikata’s is very horn-forward. It’s PERFECT. But what warrants this sudden change in style? Nothing more than a different take on the pair’s routine walk to school, which is more than worthy!

Takagi is feeling playful and decides to tail Nishikata without being spotted. That said, his “Takagi-Meter” goes off multiple times, turning this into a kind of Sly Cooper sneaking game. The music and silent body language kept me utterly enthralled, while the silent version of Nishikata imagining Takagi losing his “guess what I found on the ground” game contrasts perfectly with the reality that she knows it’s a blue marble, leaving him to ponder whether Takagi has ESP.

“You Didn’t Scare Me, Ma’am”

After the three girls have a little silent segment of their own, we return to Takagi and Nishikata on classroom cleaning duty. Takagi mentions that a  desk check is coming up, and suggests they do a dry run together. This means the two playing the roles of teacher and student.

Naturally, Nishikata is nervous despite having no contraband, while Takagi is cool as a cucumber when they switch roles…only revealing after the check that she did have a manga hidden under her gym clothes…the one he lent her. There wasn’t even going to be a desk check; Takagi just wanted to roleplay and return his book in the most adorable way possible!


Fortune continues to smile on these two, giving them multiple chances to be alone together even during school hours. To whit: library duty. Takagi suggests they pass the time by reading books they choose for each other. She saw how excited Nishikata got about a dinosaur picture book, so picks that out for him. No doubt she genuinely likes that cute childish side of his.

Nishikata accepts it despite his embarrassment, because he really does love dinosaurs. He just picked a random novel for Takagi, but it’s precisely because of that she can blurt out “I love you” and immediately pass it off as a line from the book, when it’s actually another confession. It’s the latest in a series of tentative lines Takagi has cast. Fishing is all about patience, and Takagi seems to have plenty…for now.

Takagi Sweat

The concluding segment begins with Takagi and Nishikata again running into each other by chance; the former is on an afternoon jog, the latter running errands. They chat about his informal jogging regimen, and he can’t help but boast that he once made it all the way to the beach one time.

The problem is, he reads Takagi’s reactions as skeptical rather than impressed—precisely how she intends—and the two part. Nishikata was near the end of his jog, but he’s determined to “defeat” Takagi by impressing her for real. So he fights his fatigue and groaning muscles and jogs all the way to the beach, fueled by the future sight of Takagi in genuine awe of his accomplishment.

I fully expected him to make it to the beach only to realize he hadn’t taken his phone with him to snap the all-important evidence. But that would have been too obvious, and the show knew that. Instead, he takes a photo of the sunset on the water, sends it to Takagi, and gets a sweet response back: “The sunset looks so pretty. Thank you.”

Then, in a beautiful piece of both romantic timing and camera framing, Takagi appears behind Nishikata. She raced to the beach on her bike after finishing her errands, because she knew with certainty Nishikata would go there to prove it to her. She hands him a bottle of Pokari Sweat—a reward for his hard work for her sake—and sits beside him on the sand.

Takagi says it was “so worth it” chasing after him so the two of them could watch the sunset together. Hearing this, and seeing Takagi’s face in the dramatic light and her hair gently flowing in the wind, Nishikata’s face turns red as said sunset, unable to accept that Takagi is being dead serious about all of this.

Then they sit in silence, calling back to earlier silent sessions in the episode. It’s established that once Nishikata calms down and quiets his mind, he can relax and simply exist together with Takagi, without any talking or teasing. Nishikata keeps trying to win in stupid ways, but he’s already long since won what truly matters: Takagi’s heart.

I maintain hope that one day—maybe this season—he’ll accept that win for what it is, and dismiss his lingering doubts for what they are: weak and pathetic excuses.

Komi Can’t Communicate – 07 – Pool Girl

Most of this episode is made up of a pool episode, chronicling Komi’s very first trip day at the pool with friends. Unfortunately, it’s a bit crowded: Originally it was just going to be Komi, Tadano, Najimi, and Agari, but Ren invited herself and five of her friends, since she’d been stalking Ren and learned of the plan. Problematic! Still, it’s Ren who makes sure Komi buys a proper bikini rather than using her school swimsuit.

After the lads give scores for the girls (all the girls get 10s, except Komi who gets 100 million, school suit or no) it’s off to the water slide (which Komi wants to go on multiple times with Tadano), then a breath-holding contest that nets Komi nine cans of soda, since everyone else goes up for air after seeing her face underwater. Komi is so excited, she runs near the pool, slips, and scrapes her knee.

While I personally wouldn’t let a little scrape keep me out of the pool (the chlorine might sting but it’s disinfecting!) in this scenario, Komi becomes the equivalent of the pool leper. Najimi insists everyone else have fun without her, lest she feel bad for ruining the mood. But Tadano sits beside Komi and assures her she didn’t ruin anything for everyone, and she doesn’t have to worry about her friends “hating” her.

Najimi and the others end up bringing the fun to Komi in the form of a water gun battle royale. Komi gets to have a blast without worrying about getting her knee infected, and ends up nodding off on the evening train ride home, which is always a surefire sign you had a great time.

Following the pool antics, the remainder of the episode is a sequence of shorter skits, starting with Komi being escorted to the library by her similarly taciturn (and good-looking) dad. The two stop in for some shaved ice, but the dad just wants to know she’s doing well at school. Komi momentarily pretends it’s hell before softening her demeanor, and her relieved dad tousles her hair. Minimalist communication at its best!

At the library, Komi finds a book she likes but is unable to check it out since she feels the awestruck gazes of many fellow readers locked onto her inadvertent radiance. When a little baby nearby starts crying, she first silences it with what is meant to be a kind smile but looks like a murderous glare to the kid. Komi mixes it up by using her fingers to pull the ends of her mouth out, and the baby becomes transfixed. Tadano, returning books, just happens to watch the “precious event”, forgetting to return his books.

Finally, after the library Komi walks by a playground and decides to use it for what it’s for: playing. From the too-small swing and slide to the surprisingly high jungle gym and surprisingly tiring monkey bars, Komi has a great time all by her sweet, adorable self. When she works up a thirst, she makes use of the public fountain. Tadano witnesses this second “precious event”, forgetting to return his books again.

So while not without its cute and even moving moments, they don’t make up for the fact that the pool segment was too crowded with ill-defined tertiary characters and Ren is still a creep, which makes this the first sub-9 episode of Komi Can’t Communicate.

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Komi Can’t Communicate – 06 – First Strike

This week Komi’s Got Jokes! Unfortunately, they’re dad jokes, delivered by writing them down on paper. Scurrying away to call Tadano and sheepishly recite such jokes doesn’t improve matters. But what she lacks in comedic ability she makes up for in pure adorability. I’m surprised Tadano couldn’t at least…humor her!

The next segment is Komi’s very first shopping trip with friends, as well as the first time buying her own clothes (something usually left to her mom). Najimi makes it a competition—possibly just so they can see Komi in a cheongsam—but the one who wins with all “10” scores is Tadano, who chooses a simple light summer dress and cute sandals. Despite having never picked out clothes for a girl, he knows what suits Komi best.

Following her new threads, Komi works up the courage to go to the salon to get a haircut. The salon’s newest employee Arai almost  but is understandably in awe of both Komi and her boss Karisu’s beauty. It isn’t until Komi has Arai keep the change as a tip and points at the word “thank you” in a magazine that Arai understands Komi didn’t dislike her at all, but simply doesn’t like chatting at the salon.

Exams are almost here, which means it’s time to hit the library and study. Agari warns Tadano, Najimi, and Komi that if the burly quietude monitor Gorimi-senpai hits any of them with a paper fan three times, they’re ejected from the library. Najimi is obviously the first to be tossed; their third strike coming when the trio’s Jenga tower collapses. Even so, Komi is happy to have played another game and received her “first strike”—as is Tadano.

Finally, with exams out of the way it’s time for summer break. We see Komi bored and desperately wanting to call Tadano to hang out, but just can’t hit the “Call” button, and when she finally works up the courage to do so, quickly panics and hits “End Call” as soon as he answers.

Tadano, by the way, is equally hesitant to call Komi even though he perfectly diagnoses her situation. Fortunately Najimi cleans everything up by arranging for the three to hang out, and both Komi and Tadano are elated to be scoring some summer time together. Maybe she’ll don the outfit he chose for her!

Rating: 4/5 Stars

The Saint’s Magic Power is Omnipotent – 03 – The Ice Knight Melteth

It’s a hot one at the research institute, so Sei dips her feet in some cold water, only to be visited by her present semi-crush, Albert Hawke. Once she’s decent, he asks if she’d like to join him on a trip into town on her day off, and she accepts. Between helping her out of the carriage, buying her a snack, using his ice magic to chill her drink, and holding her hand virtually the whole time, Al is a perfect gentleman.

When Al asks Sei if she wants anything at a jewelry store, she declines. On the carriage ride home, she falls asleep on his shoulder. Then before they part he presents her with a gift from the store anyway: a lovely hair ornament with jewels the color of his eyes. Sei had a wonderful time and wouldn’t mind doing it again. But due to her lack of a love life in her previous life, she doesn’t realize she was on a date until Johan breaks it to her the next day.

Liz too is proud of Sei for successfully melting the heart of the infamously cold Ice Knight (whom we learned is also a rare ice mage). Sei then ends up doing some work with the Royal Magi Assembly enchanting “foci”—essentially small gems and baubles—with magical properties and affinities. Casting these enchantments comes as easily to her as walking or talking, which isn’t surprising…she is a Saint, after all.

Rumors leak of her adeptness with enchantments, and the First Order of Knights puts in an order with the Assembly for more enchanted foci. Its silver-haired director beseeches Sei to assist them with a bit of a rush order for which she’ll be compensated, and she completes the work so quickly and successfully, she manages to squeeze a rare smile out of the guy.

Sei is given one of the buffing foci she enchanted as payment, which she then has embedded in a charm necklace which she presents to Al in his office. He thanks her by kissing her hand, only adding more fuel to the fire of their budding romance. To which I say: Good for you, girl!

With Ishikawa Yui voicing Sei, I can’t help but want her to be happy…especially after Eren did Mikasa so dirty in Attack on Titan! Otherwise, this is a pleasant if somewhat inconsequential series I’ll probably be sticking with for Yui and the comfort food factor.

The Saint’s Magic Power is Omnipotent – 02 – Exhausted…In a Good Way

When the Research Institute is rewarded for their diligent work healing the knights’ wounds after the salamander incident, Johan asks Sei if there’s anything she wants, and the result is a brand new kitchen. While contractors in this new world are unreal, the cooking apparently sucks, at least when judged by Sei’s palate.

Johan informs her that chefs will be hired, but Sei actually enjoys cooking. When she presents him with a simple yet savory herb-crusted chicken, he’s bowled over. I find it beyond charming that in this series, the OPed MC makes the best-tasting food anyone’s ever eaten, not just because of her magical power, but because no one in this world has ever tasted food from hers.

Another day, Johan introduces Sei to Albert Hawke, the knight commander whose life she saved with her high-level potion. Sei is not only amazed how perfectly he healed after being on death’s door, but he just happens to be her type, standing out in a world full of handsome men.

It’s Sei’s lucky day, then, when Johan tells her Hawke is going to the southern forest with his knights for a hunt, and she’s welcome to join for a medicinal herb-gathering mission. She also prepares lunch for everyone, and Albert makes it a point to sit close to her as he praises her luxurious cuisine. Sei returns home to her room exhausted, but in a good way—not in the way that eventually did her in in her old world.

The next morning, Sei discovers that the lotion she crafted for her face and skin has also somehow corrected her eyesight, eliminating the need to wear glasses anymore. She also learns from Johan that the meals she’s been preparing have resulted in attribute boosts. If her ability got out it could cause chaos, so he gives her the day off.

Given a surprise vacation day for being too good at what she does, a bored Sei discovers the huge and inviting Beauty and the Beast-style library at the royal palace, and meets one Elizabeth Ashley, a noblewoman who looks like a porcelain doll. Before she sets off back to the institute, Albert offers her a ride on his horse. When she says she’s never ridden, he simply rides home with her in a princess lift.

Sei soon befriends “Liz” Ashley, who informs her of a beautifukl new girl at the academy who grew close with several already-betrothed male classmates, leading one of their fiancées to stop coming to class due to her acne. Liz believes this girl’s confidence would return if her skin condition were resolved, and is cetain Sei is the one to resolve it.

Liz introduces the girl, Nicole Adler, to Sei, who offers her a bottle of lotion she crafted. Nicole is dubious until Liz dabs a bit of it on her own skin, which instantly polishes it to a glorious shine. Nicole’s eyes emerge from her long bangs, and she gives a heartfelt thanks to Sei. Later, she writes her to say the lotion worked wonderfully, and invites her to dinner sometime.

So yeah, it’s all coming up Sei. After all of her hard work in her old world led to her demise, here her hard work has wonderous, even miraculous results that make her the toast of the research institute and royal palace alike. But she’s not totally bereft of problems, as Liz reports fresh rumors involving Sei and a certain “Ice Knight” whose heart she’s apparently thawed with her beauty…

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