Amnesia – 04

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As Shin walks the heroine home, he tells her he doesn’t want to go back to being just childhood friends. When she and her coworkers have a fireworks party, she invites him. He declines at first, then comes, and proceeds to tell her about the accident. He was too forceful, which led to her running off and falling off a cliff. In the past, she didn’t give up on him, so he vows not to give up on her. After almost getting hit by a car, she wakes up. It’s August 1st again, and Ikki is back, and calling her out for a date. When she heads outside, she sees him with the girls who confronted her in the future.

This week some of the pieces finally started to fall into place for the heroine. She now knows about the bond between her and Shin that led to his confessing to her, as well as what transpired before she fell off the cliff. Shin is a forceful, aggressive guy who doesn’t usually mince words, and at first glance he seems a curious choice for the heroine to date, but after this episode we could definitely see her saying yes to him. She never gave up on Shin after the unpleasantness that followed his dad being branded a murderer, and never let him give up on himself. He wants to return the favor by not giving up on her.

For a long stretch of the episode, even though Shin is giving her a lot of backstory, there’s the sense that the heroine is no longer just trying to regain lost memories, but being content for the time being to form happy new ones, like the little fireworks soirée. These are people she got along with and even loved; in time, memory loss or not, she’ll reform the bonds she lost. But only if she can stay in the same place! Her shift back to August 1st, and the reappearance of Ikki the also-super-aggressive ladies’ man (dick didn’t even give her the chance to say ‘No’), threatens all the progress made with Shin. Her trials continue.


Rating: 7 (Very Good)

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Amnesia – 02

Eureka the heroine wakes up after her encounter with the girls, wondering if she broke a promise and caused someone harm as a result of her amnesia. She decides to join her co-workers on a 2-night orientation trip to an island where they’ll be able to see a meteor shower. She gets flashbacks of Kent at a festival and of Shin confessing to killing someone, and when she ends up alone with Shin, she panics, and ends up falling off a cliff. She comes to in a hospital. It’s August 1 again, Shin comes in to kiss her, and Orion is gone.

The mysteries continue unabated this week, with the poor unnamed heroine’s plight becoming more and more complicated and confusing. It’s bittersweet feeling, as we’re enjoying all the intrigue, but at the same time frustrated that we just don’t know anything concrete yet. On more than one occasion Orion apologizes for being useless, but really, where would the heroine be without her guidance? Well, we may find out next week, as it would seem she’s gone back in time, her neck is bandaged, and Orion is nowhere to be found.

Is Orion being trapped inside her soul the main cause of this, or are matters more complex than that? How much time traveling has she done? Are there paradoxes to resolve? (sorry, we’re deep into FFXIII-2). It seem’s she’s had/has/will have some kind of romantic connection with all the guys (explored in both OP and ED) at some point. Who knows? She doesn’t even know who she is, only that she’s apparently quite popular, despite spacing out all the time. We haven’t even mentioned that weird photographer guy. Curiouser and curiouser…


Rating: 7 (Very Good)

Tari Tari – 01

This episode introduces five high school students with disperate talents all working hard at something: Wakana is still getting acclimated to the school, while Wien has just returned after twleve years in Austria. Taichi is the sole member of the badminton club, Sawa rides horses and practices archery, and Konatsu, who is passionate about singing, quits the choir when she’s not allowed to sing and starts her own choir club, hoping to recruit Sawa, Wakana, and others. The quintet all meet by chance in a park where Konatsu is singing.

There’s something familiar about the look and setting of Tari Tari, and we don’t mean that in a negative way. Namely, they remind us of Hanasaku Iroha; unsurprising, as both are from P.A. Works and are high schooler slice-of-life-centered. Indeed, this could very well be the nearest town, or even the same school Ohana & Co. attend, only focusing on a fresh batch of characters. We liked the way we were gradually eased into this world, with everyone in the middle of something, and we also liked the wide variety of activities they’re involved in.

Like Hanasaku Iroha, there’s definitely nothing to complain about, production values-wise; the town is gorgeous and the character designs are smooth and inoffensive without being too generic (though we had a little trouble sorting out Wakana and Sawa, as they look very similar at first glance). We definitely connected with Konatsu’s frustration with being unable to sing in the choir (her instructor has a major stick up her ass), and were amused by newcomer Wien’s culture shock and over-formal behavior. It looks like a good group so far, and this series definitely has potential.


Rating: 7 (Very Good)

Car Cameos: A BMW 1-Series coupe and Volvo 240 wagon are visible on the road beside the train tracks. Wien arrives at school in a very unusual way (for Japanese, anyway) – by car; a Honda Euro Accord/Acura TSX, to be precise. Wakana’s pregnant teacher drives a first-gen Daihatsu Move.

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Switch’s flashback continues. Having recieved a death threat, Sawa enlists the aid of the Usui brothers. But when he’s shot down by Switch for the umpteenth time, Kazuyoshi tells them to go off without him, believing Sawa’s best off with Switch. They head out, and a girl named Yukino arrives at Sawa’s door. She describes a creepy stalker who pulled a knife on someone in middle school, who Kazuyoshi spots behind a pole and pursues. When he catches him, he learns that Yukino is the knife-wielding stalker. She finds Switch and Sawa and pulls a knife on them. Switch protects Sawa, takes the blade in the chest, and dies. Kazuyoshi is devastated, and blames himself for his brother’s death. Sawa moves away, and the three are down to one. To honor his brother’s memory, Kazuyoshi takes on the title and appearance of “Switch”, and studies hard to amass the great amount of information he possesses. Bossun reaches out to him and he joins a new trio in the Sket-dan.

I’m not sure why what was a consistently zany, over-the-top comedy would want to try straight-up serious drama, but Sket Dance really hit it out of the park with this Switch arc, totally changing gears from its usual fare. We’re thrown into a very tragic story, where a brother has a bad day and says some stupid things he shouldn’t, and it gets his little brother killed. When you add it all up: Kazuyoshi not accompaning Switch and Sawa; his curt last words to Switch; and finally egging on the psychopathic Yukino then letting her loose, it’s hard to argue with him. Gone half-mad with guilt and grief, Kazuyoshi makes an incredible decision: to stop being Kazuyoshi.

He hasn’t spoken since the day of that decision, except with the software than combines his voice with Masafumi’s. And the young Switch we saw this week and last was actually someone we never knew; it was the big bro who turned out to be our Switch. Very strange, but it definitely works. This wasn’t a perfect episode – Sawa was kind of a bland airhead most of the time, and the story relies a little too often on convenient coincidence, but as this was one of the best episodes of a series that has been anything but serious to this point, I’m giving it top marks.


Rating: 4

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In the first half, the Sket-dan get involved in a dispute between Shinzou and his delinquent little brother, Shinpei. They help Shinpei fight off thugs who stole his brother’s sword, then meet the conditions for him to make up with Shinzou. The second half is a flashback from when Switch was still an eighth-grader. The segment is narrated by his year-older brother Masofumi, who taught him how to program computers. Switch has surpassed him in everything, including that, but he’s proud of him. His friend and neighbor Sawa is being pursued by a stalker, who goes so far as to leave a death threat in her mail slot.

These two halves were both about brothers, but that’s where the similarities end. While I’m always up for a Shinzou episode just to hear his archaic way of speaking, if I had to choose a half, I’d pick the latter. Bossun and Himeko have both been shrunken down into kids, but Switch is the guy we know next to nothing about. And he finally talks here! Though it’s when he’s 14. At this point he hasn’t met Bossun or Himeko, but he knows of the latter.

I also like it when normally silly shows like Sket Dance get serious from time to time, and that certainly happens here, albeit with a fairly cliche’d stalker premise. This looks to be a parody, but rather than use slapstick, it’s played pretty straight. Most interesting is that Masofumi’s is the voice Switch uses when he types-to-speech in the present. I’m not sure this story will get that dark, but it’s possible Switch speaks with his brother’s voice is that perhaps it’s in honor of his memory. Interestingly, this half-segment won’t be resoleved until next week.


Rating: 3.5