Love Lab – 06

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While at the mall with Maki and Sayo, a boy who knew Riko approaches her. When Sayo wonders if Riko broke his heart, he blushes and runs off. She goes nuts trying to remember who he is. When a classmate tells her someone asked about her at cram school, Riko goes there and not only meets a second childhood friend, Jan, but the first guy as well, who doesn’t react well when she tells him she doesn’t remember him.

Back home she remembers him as Satoshi, whom she rejected in the third grade. The next day she goes back with Maki, who fails at trying to converse with Jan while Riko tries to smooth things over with Satoshi. Back at school, the council receives more requests for love advice, suggesting rumors they’re involved are spreading. When Riko and Maki’s guard is down, they let slip their involvement to Momo, a reporter for the school paper.

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This is an episode about complication. First, Riko, desperate to earn the lofty title of love master bestowed upon her by Maki and Suzu, is haunted by a guy whose heart she actually broke in the past, but can’t for the life of her remember. It isn’t until she’s up close and reads the same reaction she saw once years before that she starts to recall. And as it turns out, she couldn’t remember him for the same reason her mom gave, which pissed Riko off at the time: he’d gotten much manlier…as in he doesn’t look like a girl anymore (until he smiles, that is.)

It’s not just Riko’s love life getting more complicated. In the process of confronting Satoshi, Riko had to cut Maki loose with a guy, and while Maki has no earthly idea how to talk to a guy, Jan doesn’t make it easy with his aloof defensiveness (he thought Maki was making fun of him). But while she fails, she gained firsthand knowledge that some guys can be jerks. Romance aside, the complication that threatens Riko and Maki the most is the possibility their secret love advice ring will be brought out of the shadows, potentially ruining their reputations and the trust of the faculty, and thus ending their high school lives. Or…they could use the newspaper to anonymously publish their love advice…

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Rating:7 (Very Good)

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Love Lab – 04

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With the ranks of the Love Lab increased, Maki suggests they re-commence love research. Sayo immediately tries to call into question Maki’s ability to serve as an expert on matters of love, but despite constantly prodding her, Maki only digs her hole deeper, keeping up the lie she’s a “love sniper.” Eno, meanwhile, lets slip that Maki’s dad runs a lingerie company. When a suggestion box request asks what the best gift for a boy is, the members distribute surveys to guys they know. Because the client was anonymous, they plan to hijack the PA system to announce the compiled results.

The addition of Eno and Sayo to the Love Lab gets off to a bumpy start, mostly because the “expert” on all matters romantic is in reality no expert at all, but is simply perpetuating Maki and Suzune’s assumptions about her. Riko’s the “Wild One”, so of course she’s had loads of suitors, right? Wrong. In fact, the only one with a boyfriend turns out to be Sayo, though she hasn’t seen him since they started dating six months ago, so that’s not much to work on. We derive a lot of pleasure from Sayo making Riko squirm.

Sayo makes it clear to Riko that she’s highly skepical of Riko’s romantic prowess. The thing is, she isn’t just being sadistic. Riko knows that it’s not right to keep perpetuating a lie to her friends, who eventually pick up on Sayo’s behavior and scold her for doubting Riko. This is a perfect opportunity to fess up, but Riko just can’t do it. You have to think if she doesn’t do so soon, at some point it’ll end up hurting her friends. In any case, it’s an unenviable position, perhaps best resolved by…dating a guy!


Rating: 6 (Good)

Medaka Box – 02

In the first half, a second-year track team member comes to them seeking solace from a threat she recieved warning her to quit said club, along with a pair of vandalized shoes. Medaka narrows down the possible suspects from observing the note and shoe damage and sends Zenkichi and Shiranui out to find suspects. When they spot the likely culprit, Medaka asks her upfront, and she attempts to flee. However, Medaka catches up to her and decides to believe her false denials. Shamed, the girl buys her victim a new pair of shoes. In the second half, there’s a request to find a lost dog, but when Zenkichi and Shiranui find it, it’s a dangerous, bad-tempered Borzoi that resists all attempts to be caught. Medaka, who loves animals but is feared by them for some reason, dresses like a sexy dog and startles the stray dog into submission, allowing them to return him to his owner.

Sket Dance-style, Medaka and Zenkichi carried out two separate missions this week, as befits the nature of the suggestion box…there are many suggestions, and not all of them will fill a whole episode, whereas some may take up more than one; we’ll see. What we like about both this week’s missions is that they both reveal something about Medaka’s personality; things her good friend (essentially brother) Zenkichi already knows. That he can flash back to moments when he and Medaka were wee ones adds richness both to their characters and to their friendship. Zenkichi isn’t your typical led-by-the-nose president’s bitch. He’s here by choice, because he cares about Medaka, and wants to support her in any way he can and make up for her weaknesses.

Speaking of weaknesses, Shiranui did not ingratiate herself with us this week; she comes off as an overly surly little smartass most of the time, and that’s kind of her only note. We were kinda hoping the dog would eat her :). Meanwhile, the guests this week – the the despairing Ariake and even the petty Isahaya, were more likeable. Other things we liked: the badass-looking Borzoi that radiated evil vibes (a most drastic disconnect from the childishly-drawn ‘lost dog’ poster); Medaka’s stray hair swaying whenever she’s in thought; everyone asking about Zenkichi’s sweater; and Zenkichi’s line about usually being the one to deal with those Medaka gives a pass for their transgressions, but deciding to go along with her vis-a-vis Isahaya.


Rating: 6 (Good)