Sansha Sanyou – 02

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Nicknames, olive branches, and sisters who are opposites – San-San’s second episode covers a lot, but at a gentle yet lively pace. We meet Serina, Hayama’s self-appointed rival, whom Hayama always makes a fool of with the sweetest demeanor possible.

Their verbal sparring is quite good, but so is the truce they reach when Hayama, who beneath the blackness within has a kind heart, offers a kitten to replace Serina’s last cat who died.

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After Yamagi insists Hayama and Futaba refer to his master as “Yoko-sama”, the nickname sticks, and it’s time for Hayama. When Futaba and Yoko learn her first name is Teru, I like how Futaba has a little fun with it before agreeing with Yoko it’s actually a nice name (and it is!).

The one who yells “Teru” in the hall is Teru’s own big sister Kou, who is part-angel, part-airhead, who likes putting strange combinations of health food ingredients into candy.

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The girls end up running into each other in the shopping district, where Yoko shows how serious she is about squeezing every penny (to their embarrassment) and Teru figures out that her (healthy, lucky) sister got on the health food kick in order to ensure her little sister—always sickly and unlucky as a small child—gets proper nourishment.

That doesn’t make her strange onigiri any easier to choke down, but Teru and Yoko choke it down nonetheless. For Yoko, wasting food is an insult and a sin; for Teru, she wants her sister to know she appreciates her care. San-San, like Shounen Maid, is pleasant low-stakes slice-of-life, but edges it out in cast chemistry and comedic pacing.

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Sansha Sanyou – 01 (First Impressions)

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Sometimes it’s nice to just sit back, relax, and watch a show about three colorful characters, voiced by three young, hungry seiyuu, coming together and shooting the breeze about nothing in particular…but mostly food!

That’s what we have in Sansha Sanyou, a minimal-stakes slice-of-life comedy with cute design and crisp, clean visuals that I’m seriously considering as my feel-good pick of the Spring

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As I said, Hayama (blonde class prez with a well-concealed mean streak), Futaba (energetic girl who loves to eat) and Yoko (purple-haired former rich girl struggling with making friends) are all voiced by relatively new, inexperienced actresses (Futaba’s seiyu is a pure rookie).

You can hear their infectiously fresh exuberance in their line delivery, much like Sore ga Seiyu. They also happen to have decent chemistry, comic timing, and range. They’re young, but they’re talented. Their efforts are backed up by appealingly above-average, colorful character design and naturally-flowing dialog that takes some interesting and unexpected turns.

I like how Hayama and Futaba, already good friends, decided to become friends with Yoko just because various random circumstances brought them together, and…well, why not? At the same time, Yoko is working hard to fit into “commoner society” now that she’s no longer super-rich.

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Yoko’s doting worry-wort semi-stalker of a former servant is a nice touch, as is her legitimate elation over receiving freebies, her worries over the cost of everything (hence her bread crusts being her main repast) and her earnest attempts at cooking for her friends, who enjoy the variable results without complaint, as good friends do.

Hayama also shows she’s got a hard edge behind her adorable demeanor, making a challenging classmate cry off-camera then shrugging it off. And while Futaba is the simplest of the three characters, she knows Hayama well and they bounce off each other’s eccentricities nicely.

There’s nothing overly complicated here, and that’s the point. The only question is whether I’ll have enough time to watch it, because it’s definitely good enough to keep.

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Black Bullet – 05

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We were expecting a bit of a slowdown after the big climax last week in which Satomi and Enju took out the biggest Gastrea with the biggest gun. But like the episodes that preceded it, this one built slowly and steadily, growing more interesting as the pair starts a very special job that makes them responsible for the most important person in Tokyo, Seitenshi.

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She’s just one of the many cute young ladies Satomi crosses paths with this week. His classmate Miori and Kisara duel in his apartment, after all, while he and Enju calmly get the dinner table out of the way. Both are beautiful rich girls, and much of their animosity towards one another is their mutual affection for our half-metal protagonist.

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But Miori and Kisara were mainly around for comedy and to show that Satomi is a sought-after fella. More important to this next arc is Tina Sprout, a tiny “nocturnal” girl in dirty PJ’s he happens to run into. He gives her his number, but having his own tiny ward, leaves her to her own devices, not seeming to be in any particular distress. And he’s right: Tina can take care of herself. She’s a cursed child, and her master would have her take care of Seitenshi.

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Apparently Seitenshi’s existing personal guard was insufficient for her pending meeting with a very dangerous rival area president, Saitake, who wants to unite Japan by force. He’s confident the war with the Gastrea is already won, is already planning the next one; a war between humans. Seitenshi also wants to unite Japan, but peacefully, which means she’s in Saitake’s way. She means to stay there, which means she needs all her organs intact.

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I’m thinking Seitenshi could have been a little more tactful in essentially demoting her previous number one bodyguard, but then again the guy didn’t seem like reliable material, as he’s easily overpowered by Satomi when he ambushes him, leading to him vowing to kill Satomi…someday. It’s a bit of a clunky conflict.

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But that guy’s not Satomi’s problem; keeping Seitenshi alive is. Enju not only wakes up in the limo just in time to tell Seitenshi how Satomi only likes big-boobed women; she also senses danger. There’s a tiny flash from the background, then all hell breaks loose, but Seitenshi gets away. Little does the sniper (Tina) and Satomi know, they already met and are on different sides. I wonder if that will always be the case?

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