Sousei no Onmyouji – 11

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I’m enjoying the bold, colorful aethetic of this show. I’m enjoying the galaxy of crazy expressions being doled out by both Rokruo and Benio on a regular basis. And I’m definitely enjoying ridiculously scenarios in which Benio causes a self-upskirt by sucking at embroidery as much as Rokuro and sewing her hoop into her dress. That’s some creative flashing right there!

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Sure, this wasn’t the most serious episode, but it still had serious undertones, and the notion that Subaru isn’t going to train them the way they expected, and that inability to expect what she’ll say or do next is actually part of their training.

Most of the episode is a game of hide-and-seek, with Subaru using magic, but it isn’t an unwinnable challenge: Roku and Beni simply need to hunker down, focus, and discover the clues that will lead them to Subaru.

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Granted, Benio isn’t very practical about looking for Subaru at first, and ends up looking everywhere, including the fridge and Rokuro’s porn stash, but what’s so great about these two is that there’s a good give-and-take; push-and-pull dynamic. Benio isn’t always on Rokuro’s case or vice versa; that would be boring. Instead, both are sometimes on each others’ cases.

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The rest of the time, they’re downright normal and decent with each other, which is typically when they’re not overthinking their interactions. Rokuro praises Benio’s good guess about Subaru’s dieting, and Benio likes it. But When Rokuro goes further in trying to read her mind by guessing she wants to eat ohagi (which is probably correct, by the way), she gets cross and tries to step on his foot.

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They’re right back on the same side when they end up in Magano, and in a boss fight with a giant octopus Kegare that’s obviously been set up by Subaru. Their initial separate attacks have no effect, and when it’s Octy’s turn he unleashes a giant cloud of miasma that amounts to a “darkness” spell.

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No matter; Rokuro and Benio realize the only way they’re getting out of this is by intuiting what each other will do and when. Benio guesses that Roku will move first (not a stretch there), while Roku knows Benio will back him up.

They lay some serious slashes on the octopus, and to their and MY surprise, its dispersal isn’t prefaced by a giant pentagram. Instead, it explodes in a cloud of tiny fans, indicating it was not a Kegare at all, but a familiar cooked up by Subaru. That was a neat little “switching-up” moment that capitalized on the patterns we’d come to expect from Magano battles.

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Subaru congratulates the couple for thinking outside the box and trusting in one another. Even though her training was unorthodox to say the least, when she departs, neither Rokuro nor Benio can deny that they learned a lot. Unfortunately for Rokuro, one of the things Benio learns is the location of the rest of his girly mags!

The episode ends with a reveal of anothe rpotential antagonist, but I was far more bowled over by Tatara’s navigation face, making up for the fact that Subaru’s Talbot-Lago has no SatNav. That’s just a really neat little detail in a brisk, boisterous, cheeky, and very entertaining episode.

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Orenchi no Furo Jijou – 05

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Orenchi no Furo Jijou episode 5 goes trick or treating for Halloween. Strangely, for a holiday I would imagine Anime could have a ton of fun with (especially by not understanding the cultural details) Halloween is one of those rarely-given-an-episode events.

So seeing it here was nice, if not absurdly short like everything Orenchi does.

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Takasu is dressed as a Witch, because he’s a blonde and that’s his curse! Wakasa is dressed as a vampire and Mikuni goes as a mummy!

Since they can’t go anywhere else, they just keep saying Trick or Treak to Tatsumi who dutifully keeps giving them candy. Soon they realize he’s the youngest and should be treated more specially than they. Then its over.

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Reviewing Orenchi is a bit of an exercise in finding something to say. Honestly, there weren’t any jokes this week, unless you count Wakasa wanting to hide his head inside the jack-o-lantern because it’s a small dark space.

Uhm…

So this is a thing you could watch while brushing your teeth because you too ate too much candy a few days ago. Or you could skip it. Up to you really…

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Orenchi no Furo Jijou – 04

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Orenchi seems to get shorter and shorter with each passing episode. This week, we meet Mikuni, a jellyfish boy who Tatsumi worried was a ghost.

Takasu and Wakasa appear to to know Mikuni, though they too were worried at first. Weird…

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Anyway. Mikuni is a very nice fellow/BL character and he is want for nothing more than some water. In fact, he’s so ecological, all he can think of as a special treat from Tatsumi is fresh bottled water.

Tatsumi is very taken with him and very very happy to get him that bottled water and… this is getting pretty BL at this point isn’t it?

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Thankfully, Orenchi no Furo Jijou doesn’t seem interested in making its BL aspect especially physical, which is probably for the best. It’s goofy enough — awkward enough — as it is.

I’m not sure there were any jokes this week, which… uh… uh… I don’t know what to make of, really? There isn’t much to this show and calling it harmless over and over is an awful strange thing to say as a critical response.

Why am I still watching this? Somebody? Anybody??

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Orenchi no Furo Jijou – 03

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Takasu, a country Octopus…Man joins the crew. Where he came from or how he found out Wakasa was living in Tatsumi’s bathtub is not explained and I’m not even going to try. I mean, it doesn’t seem like Tatsumi lives too close to the river and, aside from a portable TV, Wakasa has no connection with the outside world!

But don’t over think it! This is a 3:30 long show when you deduct the opening theme. We only have time for the jokes!

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Takasu is a bit clumsy and, like Wakasa, he’s definitely taking advantage of Tatsumi’s easily exploited kindness and inability to kick people out. However, unlike Wakasa, he fixes what he breaks. (at least he fixed a flat-panel TV this week)

I get the feeling though that he’s more clever than Wakasa too. Not just in technical things, but in planning. He knows there’s an order to things — an order to the events leading up to asking someone to stay in their bathtub.

And hey, he even mooches Wakasa’s pizza! He definitely knows what he’s doing!

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Over all, the episode was was adorable…and kinda creepy. Concluding on an octopus massage, which was definitely arousing Tatsumi went a long way in that regards. It was very ‘happy ending.’ But with sucker popping noises. Ick?

However, during the credits we learn that Octopi love small, dark spaces and Takasu climbs into Tatsumi’s washing machine. Uh, I guess each creature will have his or her own place?

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Orenchi no Furo Jijou is a weird show and it’s getting weirder. It’s also getting decidedly more BL too! I’m not sure how I feel about that yet…but for now, it’s harmless short fun and worth at least 2 laughs, which is way above the average laughs per minute!

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Nagi no Asukara – 04

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Hikari refuses Miuna’s request to help break up his sister and her dad; prejudiced surface dwellers refuse the sea dwellers’ food; Hikari gets in a fight when he suspects they vandalized the Ojoshi-sama. He’s sent home, and Manaka follows; they rescue Miuna’s dad Itaru from drowning and take him home, where Hikari learns he’s a widower; Miuna confesses to ruining Ojoshi-sama. While visitng Uroko, Akari goes over how she met Itaru’s family and wanted to fill the void his late wife Miori left behind. Manaka tells Hikari she wants to start protecting him, and convinces him to apologize to the kids he wrongly accused; the next day he and Manaka get on their knees, and are both forgiven. Kaname catches Miuna’s friend Sayu – the real Ojoshi vandal – and makes her apologize to Hikari.

The focus returns to Hikari this week, as he’s called an octopus on not one but two occasions. The landlubber Sayu means it as a derogatory term, but Manaka uses it more thoughtfully: like Octopi, Hikari tends to “spit out ink” at “unfamiliar fish”. Rather than try to settle problems with the landies, he lashes out at them and jumps to conclusions. It’s a pattern of behavior that was likely to further isolate him at school had someone not stepped in to steer him right, and to his surprise, it’s Manaka. She used to hide behind everyone else, but she’s becoming stronger and more assertive week by week, even if she still cries a lot. Hikari can’t help but attribute at least part of that growth to Tsumugu’s influence, as he certainly didn’t do anything to incite it. Hikari is understandably conflicted about this.

Still, hotheaded chural that he can be, he does ultimately arrive at a detente with the surface-dwellers, and even if they’re not BFFs, they at least understand each other a little more. The balance of this episode filled in the blanks of the Itaru/Miuna/Akari picture. Miuna’s bluish eyes were an early sign that her late mother was indeed a sea-dweller, meaning Miuna faced the same kind of bullying as Hikari and the others, only at a younger age. But Sayu, a surface-dweller, eventually befriended her, admiring her ability – no doubt developed by necessity in a harsh social environment – to not let the abuse of her peers get to her. Miuna only cares about the opinions of people who care about her. At the same time, Akari cares about Miuna and loves her father, but can’t so easily fill the void left by her mother.

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Rating:7 (Very Good)

Stray Observations:

  • We thought Sayu and Miuna sounded familiar, because they are: we know Sayu’s seiyu as Madoka from Lagrange, and Miuna’s as Captain Marilka from Mouretsu Pirates.
  • Sayu really did a number on that Ojoshi-sama. Ya went too far, kid.
  • Had Itaru succeeded in using his borrowed diving equipment properly, would it have been fair to call his actions “SCUBA-stalking?”
  • What was that about Chisaki saying she’s “big?” ‘Cause she really isn’t. Either a case of skewed body image on her part, or a disconnect between writers and character designers who can only draw ridiculously pretty characters.

Suisei no Gargantia – 06

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Ledo ponders the value of the money he was given in exchange for his services, and Amy promises to show him how to spend it on things other than food at the upcoming festival. He volunteers to pilot a Yunboro in order to catch fish, but he cannot swim, and fails. Amy, Melty, and Saya perform a belly dance while Pinion and Bellows try to recruit Ledo. When an octopus is brought out as a main course, he thinks it’s a Hideauze. Amy later performs her dance just for him during Veils of Light. He goes with Bellows to the sea floor, where they encounter a giant iridescent squid that he and Chamber are convinced is another Hideauze.

Between the calm day and the festival day, Ledo is steadily learning that Gargantia is a far more easygoing society than the one he came from, if you can even call what he came from a society at all. On two occasions this week, he reacts reflexively in the presence of creatures he believes to be Hideauze. Such is his conditioning, the annihilation of that enemy overrides all other considerations: even a steamy belly dance by his three female admirers. He’s also learned that the money he receives for his work isn’t just a means to an end or a means for buying food. That’s only part of it; it’s also a symbol of the support he contributed to others.

The girls belly dance may have been a  bit fanservicey, but it was also another symbol of the difference in priorities between Gargantia’s culture and Ledo’s. Eliminating the enemy doesn’t come first, because there’s rarely an enemy to eliminate. Survival isn’t a constant struggle, because there’s plentiful manpower, fresh water, fish, energy and oxygen. Therefore Amy and her friends aren’t just surviving. They’re enjoying life, something Ledo was never taught to do. He may not even be aware of the concept of sex either, but he’s at least open to experiences that would have been irrelevant or wasteful in his universe…like watching a cute girl dance for you with a gorgeous natural phenomenon as the backdrop.

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Rating:7 (Very Good)

Stray Observations:

  • Chamber and Ledo don’t do to well on their own this week, but once they’re working together as pilot and robot, they do just fine.
  • Chamber fails by whipping up a huge batch of ‘Lil Lisa’s Patented Animal Slurry. We should just be thankful he didn’t accidentally hurt any humans…
  • The men seemed to like the girls’ dance very much, but we’d feel a lot better if there were a couple bouncers to keep some of the drunker and therefore friskier gents away from the talent…
  • We like tako sashimi, but that enormous octopus didn’t look very appetizing. Maybe it’s because we prefer small portions
  • Gargantia now shares its Spring lead with the surging Aku no Hana, and interesting (though not intentional), Gargantia’s ratings are now the exact mirror image of Aku no Hana’s.