Love Lab – 09

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When they learn that Nana inadvertently got Sayori in trouble and that she’ll be forced to leave the student council, Maki, Riko, Suzu, Eno, Nana and Momo formulate a “rescue operation.” They collaborate to clear Sayo of wrongdoing by telling the teachers it wasn’t a boy she was meeting with, but Maki, dressed as “Makio Evolved”. By having the trustworthy Maki at point and peppering their lies with kernels of truth, they’re able to pull it off. Maki’s stock falls, but Sayori’s rises and she’s able to stay on the council.

Riko may not care for Sayori’s tendency to go after peoples’ weak spots (in Riko’s case, the lie about her being a love expert), but she, Maki and Suzu had grown accustomed to her in the student council, and obviously she and Eno are attached at the hip as they’ve always been. So when she gets into a spot of trouble and says she won’t bother fighting it, they do what any real friends would do and step up and fight for her. Even if their efforts cost them their own reputations, losing Sayori would be a bigger blow to them.

Similarly, we’re so used to Maki acting nutty – and she’s so used to acting nutty in the council office – we initially forget that the newspaper association is sitting right there, and they’re seeing her like that for the first time (Momo’s impressed, but Nana’s a little scared). Their plan is far-fetched, but they make sure to get all the details right – like the fake mole on Maki’s face; mix the truth in with the lies, and rely on Maki’s substantial political capital with the teachers to rescue Sayori from exile, and they succeed! It was nice to see everyone putting the past behind them and getting along in order to save her.

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Rating:7 (Very Good)

Love Lab – 08

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When Riko hears that everyone calls her “Wild One” she starts emulating Maki, acting as cute and girly as possible. A member of the broadcasting club delivers two new questions to the council, asking if guys like “darker” or “chubbier” girls. The council suspects the questions were created by the newspaper association. They investigate and learn that a newspaper contest that only clubs can enter is coming up, so they want to be upgraded back to a full club.

When Riko and Maki confront Minami, planning to stall, she tells them she could publish love research in an underground newspaper, not asking for anything in return, confusing them. Sayori meets with her boyfriend after school, and Nana snaps a picture with which to blackmail her. A teacher catches them struggling in the hall and brings them to her office, where Sayo admits to having a boyfriend but denies the other council members know anything.

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First of all, we were disappointed by the use of blackface in a (strangely isolated) 45-second sequence of an anime produced and taking place in the present day. Call it Japanese cultural differences if you must (though this definitely wasn’t ganguro – reference was made to a “soul sister”); if that crap ever appears again, we’ll be dropping the series on the spot; no third chances. For fuck’s sake, when we first heard “darker” girls; we thought they meant ganguro or even EMO girls; why didn’t they just riff on them, or another group not defined by race?

Those 45 seconds marred an otherwise good episode, in which the newspaper association (née club)’s apparent vendetta turns out to be more complicated than originally thought, and in which Mana threatens to expose Sayo’s illicit relationship and ends up actually exposing it, getting her into real trouble. Riko’s temporary turn as the comic (rather than the straght man as usual) was a hilarious change of pace, as was the increasing complex newspaper situation. Sayo also shows depth by not only accepting her estranged BF’s invitation, but by covering for her friends when she’s caught.


Rating: 6 (Good)

Stray Observations:

  • Riko finally finds a way of getting to Sayori: by acting sickeningly cute around her.
  • One subtle trick Riko uses in her efforts to look cuter: a longer skirt.
  • “Underarm ravines? That’s a new one…
  • We got a kick out of Maki trying to throw off Riko’s mimicry by striking one ridiculous pose after another; Riko keeps up well.
  • Eno is actually useful this week, finding out the newspaper’s motives from a particularly apathetic teacher.