Asobi ni Ikuyo! – 9

You know, we’re nine episodes into this series and I’m really nowhere close to figuring it out.

Already, we’ve been switching pretty liberally between action, extreme ecchi, harem romance and clever parody. Now this week brings us easily the deepest and most somber episode of the series, complete with an homage to a largely forgotten American pulp sci-fi of a bygone era, Captain Future, later adapted into a 70’s vintage anime. While Muttley (clearly, the creators here know American pop culture) and his doggy master watch the anime, a real-life version of it plays out in the form of the first assistaroid, Rauri, and her remembrances of her long-dead master. As if that weren’t enough, the episode culminates with a version of a song from that anime, “Lonely Spaceman”, a somber ballad performed by the entire cast.

Also interesting is the context in which all this plays out, a pretty heavy political tale that reveals a dark period in the Catians history. Apparently in the distant past, assistaroids looked like people – and that created a set of problems familiar to anyone who knows sci-fi. A war was fought, with the treatment of the assitaroids the root cause – and the long reach of that societal guilt reaches all the way to the present day. Eris can’t even face Rauri, leaving the job of showing her the planet to Kio. It was rather poignant to see Rauri with her “grandchildren”, who from the beginning have been the most interesting element of this anime. Her reasons for coming to Earth were rather poignant, too. All in all this was an extraordinarily surprising and very thoughtful effort.

One discordant note – the blatant product placement with “A & W” at the beginning of the ep was over the top and distasteful. I hope they paid dearly for that excessive and grotesque plug.

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