This one is really growing on me. Sometimes oddball shows – especially comedies – kind of chip at your resistance until you let yourself enter their universe completely. The somewhat demented sense of humor here is working better for me every week. It’s SHAFT – and Shinbo – so you know it’s going to look interesting, but this is one of those SHAFT series like Natsu no Arashi that keeps the visual gimmicks to a minimum. The result is a show that’s always fun to look at, with jarring imagery and detailed backgrounds that you don’t always notice until they factor into the plot.
|The Eyes Have it|
This week’s theme was “Eyes” – starting with a shot of Van Gogh’s self-portrait. Arashiyama’s math teacher Moriaka – upon whom she’s seriously crushing, of course – has become a regular at Seaside, and this time he brings a pair of paintings left by his grandfather. Despite his confirmed belief that she’s a baka, he knows Arashiyama loves mystery novels – and tasks her with determining the story behind the art. She does, much to her maid colleagues surprise. Then, another hilarious shopping trip for carrots and onions – complete with fruitless visual aids to jog her memory – gets sidetracked by a “boy” trying to lure a cat out of a narrow alley. Turns out the boy is a girl, the fourth maid from the ED – Kon Futaba is her name, and she’s Arashiyama’s senpai. That’s a problem as Arashiyama thought she was a 12 year-old bishounen and said a bunch of things you don’t say to your senpai in Japan. The most memorable thing she said during their encounter, though, was one of the worst puns of modern history – “Squid pro quo”. Ugh – it hurts so good. Things wrap up at school when Arashiyama realized the truth about Futaba, who promises to be a major character in weeks to come.
Though the last ep didn’t necessarily make the deepest impression on me as I was watching it, I confess I found myself looking forward to the next episode of this series as much as almost any this season. Arashiyama is one of my favorite characters for a while, a tour de force comedic performance by Omigawa-chan. She’s surrounded by a winning cast of oddballs – Moriaka, the cop, her fellow maids, Futaba, Sanada, her siblings – all of them have made an impression with limited screen-time. That’s reminiscent of Shinbo’s Natasu no Arashi too – and though the source material is totally unrelated I can’t help but think of this as lighter, more cynical cousin of that hugely underrated series.