Ao-chan Can’t Study! – 07 – Beach Study

Ao truly cannot study now that she’s thinking about Takumi more, which means her grades drop precipitously, necessitating a trip to a studying retreat. Naturally, that retreat is at a beach so Ao will end up in a swimsuit—a very revealing, cherry-print swimsuit selected by Miyabi to accentuate Ao’s bust.

Takumi and his friend (who is interested in Miyabi) are also there, thanks to Ao’s dad blabbing about her whereabouts. Since Ao is three whole hours early for her study session, she decides a little time on the beach couldn’t hurt.

Ao looks so good in the bikini, Takumi has trouble summoning words. When they’re out on the water together, Ao assumes sex to be imminent, when in reality Takumi isn’t coming close to doing anything of the sort. Ao is almost disappointed when he doesn’t make any move at all, and in her anger, her top pops off, its strap sabotaged by Miyabi’s scissors.

The intent is clear: create a moment so embarrassing Ao retreats from her slow-burn courtship experiment, paving the way for Miyabi to swoop in and deflower Takumi. Only problem is, yup, Takumi still has no romantic feelings for Miyabi. So it’s a battle of attrition.

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Majimoji Rurumo – 09

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As little side stories in the main narrative between Rurumo and Kouta, the show delved into the worlds of side characters: namely, Sumiko, Harulily, and this week, Shimomura Masako of the Disciplinary Committee. A less precise comedy would have mocked Masako’s secret passion for otaku, but MMR treats it earnestly, as Masako is not only passionate, but hardworking and driven. When she speaks loftily of the joy of completing a costume and striking a pose, its a sense of accomplishment any creative person can relate to.

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When her otakuness is first revealed in an earlier episode, it seems mostly there for gags, as cosplay is a part of Japanese culture in which real witches would be mistaken for fellow members. And indeed, Masako has no idea Rurumo’s an real witch. But it isn’t because she doesn’t believe her, it’s that she assumes anything Rurumo says on such topics is merely roleplay. And because she admires Rurumo’s “devotion” to “full-time cosplay”, it’s not something she’d ever question.

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In that same vein, Rurumo simply isn’t the person who’d think there’d be anything wrong about telling her peers about Masako’s passion, even though Masako treats it as yet another betrayal by a friend who was too good to be true. Rurumo sets her straight, but not consciously, simply by continuing to be a decent person who likes Masako and admires the work she does and the infectious enthusiasm she radiates. Thus a new friendship is borne. I’ll also note, the Sone Miku OP leading into a montage that ends with the song on the radio…that was a really slick sequence.

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The first half of the episode built up a lot of goodwill, so the second half, devoted to boobs and bras, went down a little easier. But full of boobs and bras it may be, the segment still stays true to its characters. When the strap of Ruru’s 170 year old “chestpiece” snaps, she has to go braless, and her well-documented bashfulness kicks in when she’s near Kouta. But because we know Kouta’s a stand-up guy when the chips are down, he reads her strange behavior as a sign something’s wrong, and only wants to help.

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Rurumo may be slow to learn things, but she’s no slouch when it comes to utilizing available resources—or at least crashing into them. Rurumo asks Masako to make her a bra, and Masako admits it’s not really her specialty, but she talks to a few people on the subject and they talk to other people and all of a sudden seemingly every girl in school is on the case, which of course makes her even more self-conscious. When Rurumo shows everyone what she’s looking for, they show her theirs, indicating there’s another, better, more personal way to keep the twins at bay, big or small.

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MMR lays the oppai on thick, but the discussion is all very practical and realistic, and even leads to a rift between the amply bestowed and the…ahem…less amply bestowed. They all go shopping with Rurumo, escorted by the buxom Officer Ruri, and Kouta tags along, but not because he’s being a perv, but because he’s still worried Rurumo isn’t well (Considering she recently marathoned three days’ worth of anime sans sleep, it isn’t a ridiculous notion!). So even when she dons her frilly new pink bra under her clothes, Kouta reacts not with arousal, but relief she “recovered” from her unspecified malady.

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Kamisama no Inai Nichiyoubi – 13

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If one were to name a blemish of Sunday Without God, it’s that the show ended before Ai’s original mission to Save The World That God Abandoned could truly get goingin earnest. Granted, it was a naive, audacious mission devised by a tween, and it is true in this world that the best laid plans of graveskeepers and their retinue often go awry. This special (which came with the final disc volumes of the series) does not aim to mend that blemish, nor should it be expected to. It’s just an extra episode, split into three vignettes showing scenes of the series we weren’t privy to the last time round.

The first is the…least good; it’s just an onsen scene packed with fanservice. If one had to analyze it, you could call it something of an incomplete fable centered around boobs and the women who own them. Scar has the biggest boobs, but has never noticed (and hence enjoyed) them. Dee also has good size boobs, but being a ghost, she’s the only one who can touch them. Ai, who is alive and has physical form, is able to enjoy boobs, but at her age has none to speak of. There’s similar situation with the guys: Yuri is old yet ripped; Alice is young yet…not ripped.

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The second vignette is Alice-centric, as he wanders through a ruined Ostia going over his actions in the looping dreamworld in which he’d been trapped. Dee is notably absent from this, but he eventually runs into Hampnie, and they have a little duel in which shots are fired but we don’t see the outcome. Alice is roused from his reminiscing by Dee, and he continues to contemplate how “foolishness can’t be cured, even by death.”

The third and final vignette shows a wounded Hampnie wandering into some very beautiful church ruins. There he finds his future lover Hana bathing, looking every bit like her daughter Ai as a full-grown woman; somewhat interesting symmetry from the hot spring segment. She asks him to join her, and he accepts. Then he’s woken up by the product of that meeting: Ai herself. While none of the three vignettes are particularly momentous (and the first one is just silly); the special does what a special should do: provide a brief return to a world we fell in love with, adding a smidgen of depth and color to it in the process.


Rating: 6 (Good)