Momiji acquires an “aging box” from the turtle god Urashima Taro, but when she tricks Ichiko into opening it, it has the reverse effect and turns her into a small child. Young Ichiko manages to escape and finds refuge with the Tsuwabaki family, who she had not-to-friendly dealings with before. Not knowing who she is, they treat her like a proper guest and even invite her to a picnic. But Momiji grabs her when she strays away from the family. Keita goes looking for her, finds her shoe, and falls into a deep pit.
In the middle of watching this episode we forgot it was merely part one of two, so we were a bit surprised when the episode simply ended with Keita falling down a well. Even if we had remembered this was a two-parter, we aren’t quite sure if it needed to be. Once Ichiko escapes from Momiji’s clutches, the episode slows to a grinding halt. Granted this is so she can spend more quality time with the Tsuwabakis, but we still feel like this story could have been wrapped up a bit quicker. Not to mention, a character turning into a kid has been done, and done better.
Another possible reason two stretch this story out across two parts is to underline that this is the closest Momiji the Binbougami has come to actually defeating Ichiko. With a tiny, relatively weak body (but apparently the same size bust), Ichiko is simply no match for Momiji. Also, Momiji isn’t the most efficient when it comes to carrying out her mission, bitching so much she lets Ichiko get away. But here is a case of Ichiko crossing paths with an impoverished family unit and the only emotion she can report is…irritation. Could she actually just be longing for a family she never had?
Rating: 5 (Average)
Car Cameos: There’s a black sedan and a bus, but they’re unfortunately of unknown make and model.
When she returns to what was her “naptime room”, ten-year-old nun Maria is manipulated by Yozora into signing off as the official moderator of the Neighbor Club. Kodaka is weary of a potential stalker, who turns out to be first-year named Yukimura, who looks like a girl from any angle, but is actually a guy. With Yozora’s approval, he joins the club and serves as Kodaka’s underling, and Kodaka is charged with making him more manly. When Kodaka hears an explosion in the “science room”, he runs in and carries an unconscious girl to the infirmary. When she recovers, this girl, Rika, thanks him profusely and joins the club as well, revealing her extremely dirty mind as she “seeks his DNA”
Had this episode been all about Maria’s introduction, or Yukimura’s, or Rika’s, it might have worn a little thin by the end. But by introducing all three in one episode in a steady progression, the comedy stays fresh and interesting. Now the whole cast from the sneak peek in episode 00 has been unveiled. Back then we unavoidably formed opinions on these three characters. Assuming Kobato was a classmate, when she’s actually Kadoka’s sister. Assuming Yukimura’s a girl, when he’s actually a very girly man in drag. This episode rewrote those characters in our heads, and they’re better for it. Having met and gotten to know the three mains of Kodaka, Yozora and Sena,, these three are the side dishes to the ‘Neighbor Club bento’, adding spice and variety.
While Maria’s youth and naivete and Yukimura’s submissiveness make for somewhat passive characters occupying the background, I like Rika the most so far. Yes, her filty mind and lewd commentary is a little overdone, but one has to admire her stubborn honesty and forwardness in contrast to the pussy-footing of Yozora and Sena vis-a-vis Kodaka. She’s on screen for only a few minutes and is already able to do what they never could – outwardly express their feelings. Her ‘mecha-as-ecchi’ bit was also pretty spot-on. Meanwhile, as most of the school still fears him and takes every word he says out of context, Kodaka may be correct that the club is actually making his reputation even more infamous. But he cannot deny that the club has netted him new friends he lacked previously, which is the point of the club. Sure, they’re all weird, but a club full of ordinary kids would be painfully boring.
The preview episode begins with a hallucination, as Kadoka dreams of an ideal world with ideal versions of his friends having fun together, with a recurring image of a hot pot always simmering nearby said fun activities. He wakes up in the midst of a dark hot pot, in which two of the girls he’d been dreaming about – Yozura and Sena – are trying to see who can outlast t’other in an eating duel. They both end up vomiting and passing out with the others. It’s established that Kodaka, Yozura, Sena, and four others are members of a school “Neighbor Club” dedicated to building relationships.
This is another case of a lull in the output of fall 2011 series we’ll be reviewing (Last Exile won’t air till Friday), so in the meantime we take a look at this 11-minute preview of a series we
won’t will be reviewing, the title of wihch translates to “I don’t have many friends”. If “I” is Kodaka, it would seem he has many friends, and they’re all have distinguishing marks making them easy to distinguish: Rika has the glasses; Yozura, Black hair; Sena, the busty blonde; Maria, the nun; Yukimura, the redhead; and Kodaka, who is odd-eyed. It would appear on the surface to be a harem of Index rejects.
We’ll admit, we actually started the first episode of Kimi to Boku, but scrubbing through it we realized there were five main characters, and not one of them was a girl. On the other side of the spectrum we have this series, with six girls, but at least one member of the opposite sex, and it doesn’t seem like everyone’s in love with the one guy. And while that was a rather slow-paced school slice-of-life, this was far quicker-paced, and threw a lot of curveballs vis-a-vis reality vs. fiction; showing us an idealized version of Kadoka’s friends before the real thing.