In the first part, Kikaijima finds it difficult to strike up a conversation with her new colleague Zenkichi. After Shiranui drops off photos of Medaka kissing her, Kikaijima and Zenkichi break the ice by talking about Medaka…then she tries to take a page out of Medaka’s book by telling him he loves him and trying to kiss him. In the second part, the artist Yubaru comes to the council wanting Medaka to model for him, but she doesn’t work out, nor does Ishaya, Nekomi, Kikaijima, Zenkichi, or Akune. Shiranui answers the call, and manages to inspire him to ‘distort reality’.
With Shining Hearts and Dusk Maiden official off our watchlist, Medaka Box has the unenviable honor of being the lowest-ranked show we’re still watching. And while it’s not a very good Gainax series, and it has way too many boob, swimsuit, and lolisnack gags, but it does possess one quality those two departed series lack: it’s not a pain in the ass to sit through. The addition of Kikaijima to the gang (voiced by the omnipresent Ai Koyano) freshens things up, and we enjoyed watching her and Zenkichi squirm in their awkwardness, trying to come up with something to say. The episode is also replete with hilarious one-liners.
The second half introduces a new client; perhaps the most demanding yet. The picky painter rejects girl after attractive girl, bruising their egos in the process. And while we’re not the biggest fans of Shiranui Hansode, her clever role in solving both problems this week earned her some brownie points. Also, she didn’t stuff her face with brownies (or anything else) this week, she only talked about it.) Yubaru wasn’t interested in simply translating beauty to canvas; he wanted to capture the likeness of a goddess of potential from a less obviously hot model.
Rating: 5 (Average)
First half: Kanoya, a Medaka dissenter and former candidate for class president, tries to recruit Zenkichi to his side as he plans a coup d’etat. However Kanoya underestimates the depth of his recruitee’s devotion to Medaka, and Zenkichi personally quells the rebellion. Second Half: Judo team captain Nabeshima Nekomi requests the council help her choose a successor, but it’s really a gambit to get Zenkichi on the team. Zenkichi, who was avoiding the club altogether because of rival Akune Kouki, must now fight him, and if he loses, Akune will replace him at Medaka’s side.
I’m loath to bring up Game of Thrones in an anime review, but the relationship between Medaka and Zenkichi reminds me of that between Stannis and Davos. Davos needs no god or gods but his king, while Zenkichi needs only his princess. In both cases their loyalty is absolute; beyond question. So we didn’t have any doubt that when that loyalty is tested by the downright putrid Kanoya, Zenkichi would not only decline his offer, but put the two-percenter in his place. He’s simply not capable of turning on Medaka. As for a school allowing 30-year-old students to hoard pipes and maces in a classroom, well…that’s just a really progressive school. Like Waldorf!
The Kanoya incident was very similar to the Kendo club – a bunch of punks who needed to be quashed. The Judo club is another story, with two new motivations working in tandem. Crafty, cat-faced captain Nabeshima wants Zenkichi on the team; he’s good, and like Kanoya, she believes his talents are better used elsewhere. Her underling Akune, who’s known Zenkichi and Medaka since middle school, wants Zenkichi’s job. So Akune and Zenkichi will fight for the right to Medaka’s curvaceous side. We’re kinda doubtful Zenkichi will lose, and the pseudo-love triangle this episode wrought isn’t encouraging, but we’ll stay cautiously optimistic.
Rating: 5 (Average)
P.S. There was a nice brief scene between Isahaya and Ariake that showed the staying power of Medaka’s inspiration, and her hope that those she reforms “pay it forward.”