The theme of this week’s episode is the humble Yanbaru Kuina – small, almost flightless and extremely endangered. It’s apparently the most famous bird in Okimanwa, and continues this series’ progression as something of an Okinawan travelogue in addition to a very bizarre comedy.
While episode 8 of Asobi no Ikuyo! had a cameo from The Underside of the Kitten’s Paw and another rather lame plot by the dog aliens, the focus – when not on the Yanbaru – remained squarely on the romance side of the story. Manami is starting to remind me of Aoba (gee, I wonder why?) in the way she’s pushing Aoi on Kio the way Aoba pushed Akane on Kou. At least this week Manami officially confessed her love – to herself, in a clever scene that left me unsure whether or not she was crying. Unfortunately she’s no closer to openly declaring in the war for Kio, and he remains too dense to get the fact that either Manami or Aoi are warm for his form. While Kio did express a desire to learn to fight, his character hasn’t evolved much on the relationship front – all of the movement has come from his harem. I’d like to see him clue in a little (maybe some fatherly advice from Uncle Magnum?) romance-wise, as I think it would make both his character and the overall plot more interesting.
This was definitely a focus on those two, with Kio and especially Eris reduced to minor background. The Doggies have not proven to be any real threat so there’s not much suspense in the larger plot at the moment, so most of my interest remains focused on the harem side of things. I continue to like Manami’s chances, though I’m rooting for Eris and Aoi can’t totally be ruled out. Otherwise, I’m afraid this ep was a little boring as it came up short in the humor department, and humor is the fuel that powers this vehicle. At it’s best it’s a series that has lobbed clever parodies and inside meta-humor – and fan-service – like hand grenades, and the plot is a bit thin to carry things for 23 minutes when those elements aren’t heavily used. Hopefully next week we’ll get back to the more frenetic, insane style of those middle episodes.