Oreimo 2 – 11

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Kyousuke and Kirino’s mom is suspicious of their sudden closeness. Their father isn’t worried, but he does want Kyousuke to ace his mock exam, and so arranges him to move into his own place to study in peace. The first night, Kanako stops by with food she made, as she wants to set things right with her parents. Early the next morning Ayase stops by with a housewarming gift, a kitchen knife. Kuroneko also pays him a visit, and she and Ayase immediately clash. Kuroneko assures Ayase that whatever her relationship to Kyousuke, his soul is hers and hers alone, and would love him even if he slept with Kirino. After Ayase leaves, Kyousuke tells Kuroneko he needs time to settle things with Kirino before dating anyone; Kuroneko concurs.

It’s perfectly reasonable to see Kyousuke putting his happiness on hold for his little sister’s sake, because that’s what he’s always done, but that oversimplifies matters. The truth is, he himself would never be happy if his happiness comes at the cost of Kirino’s. So he figures he has to find some way of “settling things” with her before deciding to date Kuroneko again. Kuroneko is also very reasonable and patient in this instance, partly because she’s in this for the long haul (her feelings for Kyousuke haven’t changed), and partially because she considers herself Kirino’s very best friend.

Preceding this week’s very welcome appearance by Kuroneko (in her new uniform, bearing an impeccable lunch) is a somewhat awkward family meeting in which Kyousuke and Kirino’s mom comes right out and voices her…concern over her kids’ behavior towards one another (Maybe she’s seen Yosuga no Sora?). Kanako’s drop-in was kinda random; fleshing out her story is all well and good, but we’re hardly invested in her this late in the series. As for Ayase, it was good to see her mendacity and facades butt up against Kuroneko’s brutal, divine honesty (the two even come to arms in an excellent fantasy battle scene). She even calls Kuroneko a pervert, but Kuroneko doesn’t care. “What of it, bitch? I’m in love!

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Rating:7 (Very Good)

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Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun – 09

A month after the cultural festival, Haru and Shizuku still aren’t getting anywhere, frustrating Asako. Shizuku’s dad’s store goes under, reinforcing her drive to become a successful businesswoman like her mom. When she tells Haru about the goldfish, he promises to catch her a crayfish. She bumps into Yamaken at the library and asks him to help her analyze her state of mind and options; meanwhile Yamaken has fallen for her, which he tells Haru when asked.

Shizuku’s mom is the breadwinner and obviously a strong-willed, domineering woman (or her dad’s just a weeny), but she’s kind of a bitch, too. Some people just aren’t cut out for business. It doesn’t make them failures, and it’s hardly fair to abuse one’s spouse when he’s virtually raising their kids single-handedly. On one hand, she’s made sacrifices – giving up romance and family in order to provide for said family (conceivably bourne out of romance), and that’s a noble thing to do. On the other hand, she’s spent so many years berating the father of her children, Shizuku has essentially been warped into the emotionless, clueless yuki-onna currently struggling with the same dilemma her mother faced, only by choice, not necessity. The cycle continues.

The thing is, in life, one can truly have it all. In a way, it’s easy to dedicate oneself to study while in the Springtime of life, rather than face uncertainty by trying to balance Haru with her bright future. Shizuku’s mom has always been a beacon of certainty, and we wouldn’t be surprised if she’s projecting her loving but insolvent father onto Haru. But she’s not alone in the stalling of their relationship; Haru is being too hands-off and oblivious. Meanwhile, in the midst of offering free advice to her, Yamaken now has the hots for Shizuku (she is cute), forming the second love triangle of the series. This is the last thing Yamaken wants right now, but if Haru remains dilatory, will he make a move?


Rating: 7 (Very Good)

Eureka Seven AO – 24 (Fin)

Renton tells Ao and Pied Piper about how the Scub Coral used quartz to travel across parallel universes, but when they approached Earth, were attacked by the Secrets. The Scub Coral traveled to Earth’s past to escape, but to no avail, and Scub Bursts were born. Renton believes it’s his duty to restore the natural timeline by destroying the first coral, even if it means sacrificing himself and Eureka. Ao disagrees, flies into the pole light, and goes back ten years to when Eureka became quartz to protect him. Renton follows, and the two are reunited. Ao tells them to flee, and stays behind to fire the quartz gun once more. Having saved his parents and secured their happiness, he wanders time and space for a time, returning to Iwato Island in 2027.

This final episode had a lot to say do and no extended amount of time to do it (save abstaining from an OP), and while at times it struggled under the weight of its own convoluted explanations and convictions, it handled the task quite well. The series amounts to a jigsaw, the peripheral pieces of which had been set into place in a scatter-shot manner, always holding back till the end, which was this. The final pieces, the ones that bring the whole picture together, were set down. Now that we can see the picture clearly, the series could just as well have been titled Eureka Seven AI. “Ai” as in Love. Love brought Ao into the world and his parents’ love protected him.

Ultimately his love for them drove his decision to repay them for giving him life and preserving it by saving his mom and making sure she reunited with his dad. Despite growing up without either of them in his life until then, he turned out to be a pretty grateful kid. And we really can’t criticize his sentiment; he quite literally wouldn’t exist without them. The love they had for each other, then, was the real truth of this whole series. As for Truth, the guy? Yeah, he was an evil villain in one universe, but a Nirvash archetype in another. Go figure! Fleur, Elena, and Naru? They kinda get hosed in this episode. When an older, longer-haired Ao arrives at the post-quartz world of 2027, we unfortunately don’t get to see them, or how they might have changed. A wrap-up montage would have been nice.


Rating: 9 (Superior)

Sket Dance – 46

Bossun has started watching old video tapes he found in his mother Akane’s closet of her life when she was a young woman, along with her friend Haru and a guy named Ryousuke who looks just like him. His mother takes the tapes away, but the day before his birthday, he finds albums with pictures of the same trio, except none of Akane alone with Ryousuke. Confronting his mother, she tells him Haru was his biological mother, and both she and Kyousuke were killed in separate accidents, Haru when Akane was driving her to the hospital while she was in labor with Bossun.

Let’s get a couple things out of the way. First of all, in this Sket Dance world, there are way too many people doing 50 mph in narrow alleys with no regard for life. Secondly, if Bossun’s mother really wanted to keep the secret of Bossun’s parentage secret, she would have at least kept the videos and albums under lock and key, if not destroyed them. She certainly wouldn’t have left them sitting around waiting to be found. Kids go through their parents things, that’s a fact of life. Finally, the emotional power of the last moments of the episode were somewhat diminished by the same ol’ horrible ending sequence. This episode did away with a cold open; it could have had a unique, more appropriate ending too All that aside, this was more Serious Sket Dance, and the above hiccups couldn’t derail and otherwise excellent dramatic episode.

It was Bossun’s turn to have his past filled out, and we have to wonder if he wasn’t better not knowing the truth. Obviously the truth must always out, but what a frikkin’ truth – his mother isn’t his mother, and his real parents were both killed?! That’s just ridiculously depressing. Still, there’s one thing Bossun’s mother didn’t lie about – she did end up raising him and later Rumi as a single mother. He can be mad at her for keeping thetruth from him so long, but he shouldn’t be anything but greatful for her raising him as if he were her own, which he now is anyway. He’s not suddenly ‘alone’ just because he now has this information.


Rating: 3.5

Car Cameos: Lots of Toyotas: a Vista/Camry Prominent almost brazenly murders Kyousuke and a little kid, and a Land Cruiser, Crown, Starlet, and Celsior are at the scene of the accident. There’s also a Nissan Cube and Fuga in an establishing shot. All the cars save the Windom and Starlet are later generations that didn’t exist in 1994, when the flashback takes place.

Mawaru Penguindrum – 13

“Dr.” Sanetoshi makes a deal with Kanba (somehow involving his heart) In order to administer a serum that restores her back to life. The episode deals with a host of flashbacks that document that fateful last day the Takakura children ever saw their parents. The police placed them in a hotel room as they searched their home for further evidence of their parents’ crimes, which resulted in deaths, including Momoka’s. Sanetoshi muses about fate, and whether it truly exists.The Tokyo Sky Metro celebrates its tenth annieversary. Ringo sends an email to her father stating she knows of his second family; she believes it was fate to encounter them.

Nothing in this world is pointless. Apparently, nothing in this series is pointless, either. The series continues to squeeze as much as it can out of every scene, every setting, every word…and every sign. Hints trickle down here and there, but like any good mystery, only enough to hold our interest; no more. This much is clear (which wasn’t earlier); the siblings’ parents did awful things. After all, they were “senior members” of something, for chrissake…that can’t be good. Also, the Metropolitan Police doesn’t send a battalion of detectives to your house on a whim.

While we’re piecing together more about the past, we’re wondering more and more how much longer Kanba can keep up whatever he’s doing to pay Sanetoshi to keep Himari alive, possibly tempting fate. Since the day their parents disappeared, the three “haven’t amounted to anything” by society’s standards, but they’ve stayed together as a family. The pain their parents caused to both Ringo, her family, and Tabuki through Momoka’s death is something Ringo always thought could be healed by becoming Momoka. I like how Tabuki seems to set her straight.


Rating: 4

Tiger & Bunny 19

Kotetsu should really retire. His daughter Kaede needs him in this crucial time when her power(s) are coalescing, and his own powers dwindling. It just makes sense. Unfortunately, not only did he make zero progress last week communicating his wishes to Barnaby and the others, but thanks to Kriem, Barnaby has totally gone bye-bye. I’ll give Tiger this: he sure knows how to get himself into some friggin’ spots (or stripes. He’s a Tiger.)

This week’s title is, fittingly, “There’s no way out,” as Kotetsu has to try to help Bunny out of his funk. After retracing Bunny’s steps of the day his parents were murdered, Bunny passes out. When he comes to he finds Tiger on the phone with Kaede, hears everything, and, of course, gets the wrong idea. They fall out, and Bunny hangs with Mr. Maverick, who has all the answers for him.

The big secret Mav reveals is that he murdered Bunny’s folks. He’s a bad, bad man. They provided hero suits for his show, but when he started selling them to the criminals of Ouroboros to make the crimes more exciting – and hence the ratings higher – they objected. He killed them to keep the secret, and used his NEXT ability – memory implantation – to cover his tracks. Only Jake’s lack of a tattoo on his hand broke the illusion.

Needless to say, this is a lot to take in. Parts of me suspected Maverick may have been up to something, but not to this extent. It’s a little goofily diabolical, this plan of his, but it fits within this silly futuristic world of brash personalities.The things you do for love…in his case, the love of money.


Rating: 3

Tiger & Bunny 18

Yeah, I knew Tiger wasn’t going to quit being a hero this week and return home to take care of Kaede. But part of me still wished he did. But then it wouldn’t be Tiger & Bunny, now would it? What I didn’t expect was the tragic life story of Kriem, and how Jake Martinez saved her, as told on her deathbed.

Kaede’s powers are starting to run amok back home. It turns out she doesn’t just have Tiger’s Hundred Power. She can copy powers. Yegods, that’s an awesome power! If she can master it, what’s stopping her from moving to Sternbild to help fight crime, or at the very least, be closer to her father. I mean hell, Karina is still in high school, and she’s a hero. Dragon Kid’s just…a kid, amarite? I’m just looking for the most mutually beneficial solution here.

To be fair to Kotetsu, he never really has a good time to announce his retirement: the rest of the gang is so happy to see him back (especially the previously mentioned Karina). And before she dies, Kriem drops a bomb on Barnaby: Jake didn’t murder his parents. It’s proven when the hand tattoo in Bunny’s memory is missing from Jake’s hand in footage. This causes Barnaby to question his fitness to be a hero, at exactly the wrong time for Kotetsu. Nothing comes easy for ‘ol Tiger.


Rating: 3.5

Tiger & Bunny 15

The main arc (Lunatic) is on the back burner for another week as Tiger & Bunny focuses on its characters. last week saw a lot of Kotetsu and Karina; this week’s all about Sky High (interestingly, I don’t believe we know his real name). Since the first half a lot has changed: the Tiger & Barnaby duo are killing it both in points and popularity, while the perennial “King of Heroes” seems to have lost his mojo. Not surprising, considering how swiftly he was dispatched by Jake Martinez.

As if losing his edge on the Hero side wasn’t enough, he also seems to have terrible luck with women. He meets a wooden, monosyballic yet gorgeous woman on a bench beside a fountain in a park (which is gorgeously presented at all times of day throughout the episode). He mistakes her measured responses as human demureness. It’s pretty funny to see him take advice from Fire Emblem, Dragon Kid and Karina, who believe heartsickness is responsible for his decline.

At first I was taken off-guard by Sky’s naivete, but it turns out he has little or no time to be a playboy; as he spends his nights patrolling the skies over Sternbild. But the woman turns out not to be wooden, but metal, and not a woman at all, but an android named Cis, who escaped from her master and is malfuncitoning (read: goes berserk). She has an excellent, frenetic battle with Tiger & Bunny, during which she sheds her human skin. By the time Sky High finishes her off (ironically, with thoughts of Cis fueling his confidence), he doesn’t recognize her, so for all he knows she’s still out there somewhere. Sky High’s mojo is back.

The episode still managed to shoehorn Barnaby’s connection to Cis’s creator (who worked with his parents; Cis is the apparent culmination of their research), which calls into question what he really knows about his deceased folks. Tiger too, has a bombshell dropped in his lap: a friend warns him the erratic behavior of his powers of late may spell a decline in them; rare but not unheard of amongst the NEXT. Well, he is old. Stay tuned! Rating: 3.5

AnoHana 8

Everyone feels their share of guilt over Menma’s death, from the surviving Peace Busters to her mother. It seemed, in the beginning, that all her friends had gotten over her and moved on except Jinta. But one by one, we learn that everyone has unresolved guilt and pain within them; Jinta, being haunted by Menma, brought them back together and brought those emotions back to the surface. So the question now is, what to do with them?

Anjou is distressed by how hard Jinta is working, or punishing himself, for Menma’s sake. She also confesses to him that she was glad and relieved when he said he didn’t like Menma way back then at the secret base, and never got over her guilt for feeling that. She lays it all out for Jinta, but all he can do is walk away; no matter what anyone says, he can’t forget about someone who he can still see, hear, and touch. You can’t help but feel bad for Anjou either, though.

When everyone visits Menma’s mother, she accuses them of only wanting to have fun, and curses them for being allowed to grow up and live out their lives while Menma can’t. She’s haunted by her daughter’s memory, but not her person, so she has even fewer answers – and hence more despair – than anyone else. It outlines the “competition” (for lack of a better word) between Menma’s friends’ pain and that of the woman who gave birth to her. She may see exuberance and life in Menma’s grown friends, but she doesn’t know what we know about what they feel beneath their exteriors.

When Jinta goes to apologize to Anjou, everyone else is there, and a sort of invervention occurs, with only Poppo on his side. Just as Yukiatsu is about to slug him, Menma makes her presence known to everyone for the first time by writing in her diary and dropping it. This is a huge development, though it may not assuage the skeptics among Jinta’s friends. But it’s clear one thing Menma wishes above all is for everyone to be friends and not fight.

One other character I’ve neglected until now is the force of Jinta’s dad: this guy lost his beautiful wife, but he carries on, in a way Jinta hasn’t figured out how to do. He’s also the best kind of dad; one who isn’t as concerned with his son following the rules as much as following his heart and his own path in life. Rating: 4

Tiger & Bunny 9

Finally, Dragon Kid has some lines! Or, I should say, Pao-Lin. She gets a decent introduction, as this episode is centered heavily on the idea of family, with a particular emphasis on symbols or mementos that express love in absentia. The Kill Bill-style tracksuited Dragon Kid is a hardcore tomboy, who doesn’t want to be cute, even if she actually is. She’s young, she’s gifted, she’s Chinese…and apparently, she’s great with babies.

A babysitting episode could have been dreadful, but this series made it work, by having the baby be a telekinetic NEXT, and putting Tiger in charge. He’s a father and a widower (something that bemuses and confounds Blue Rose), with a loved but rarely-seen 9-year-old daugher, after all, while the other heroes at Apollon are all seemingly single and childless. Alas, Tiger & Bunny drink all night, and when Kid and the baby kidnapped. The mayor’s baby.

As for the kidnappers: a crack team of flamboyant, cool-looking NEXT sisters with an Elgrand Motorhome and senses of smell that can detect money, lies, and danger. Those are useful skills if you’re serial kidnappers, but as villans they were underused. Unfortunately those senses can’t do much against three full-fledged heroes, and the baby is recovered. Meanwhile, Bunny continues to remember his dark past and even hallucinates about it, keeping the pressure on him even in this otherwise non-ouroboros episode. Heck, that’s probably why he was up all night drinking!. Rating: 3.5

Tiger & Bunny 6

The three men who were Barnaby’s first arrests end up murdered in prison by some kind of flame, and Fire Emblem is suspected. He isn’t the deepest character in the world, nor the least stereotypical gay, but Fire Emblem is a good guy with a good heart, who we the audience know would never take a life unless absolutely necessary. It’s very odd how he and Kotetsu just happen to be at the prison in question, testing his powers, when the true culprit strikes again. What was the point of implicating Emblem if he didn’t do it? Superpower profiling?

Anywho, this who mystery runs deep within Barnaby’s memory, as there was a man with an Ouroboros tattoo who killed his parents in a fire. The big bag black guy from the bomb scare also makes a fresh appearence, this time in a Porsche-tossin’ battle mecha. How he got this mecha, who he is, and what he’s up to are all things we don’t learn here. Barnaby suspects he’s somehow in league with his parents’ killer, and lays into him a bit before he takes their producer as a hostage. Then the baddie gets toasted with the same flame that claimed the inmates – coming from a next perched atop the Empire State Building a ways away. Perhaps the first supervillain has arrived at the scene – as his fire is more powerful than Emblems, he’ll be a force to be recokned with. Rating: 3