So far, the the scales are still balanced in favor of good SHAFT with this show. In fact, I’ve enjoyed the last two episodes tremendously, though there was a troubling upswell of SHAFTisms this week that has me a bit on edge.
As hinted at, Makoto broke his arm when he hit the water on the bicycle (though Erio, mysteriously, was perfectly fine. Luck? Or…) So he has to spend two weeks in the hospital – wait now, two weeks for a broken arm? In any case, he has visits from Meme (hiding in his bed), Maekawa (dressed as an eggplant. Nasu – Nurse – get it?) and Ryuushi (just her generally ditzy self except with a hat). The only one who doesn’t stop by is Erio, which leads to some worry for Makoto that she’s regressed, or blames him for breaking the illusion that kept her from despair.
On arriving home, however, Makoto finds (in addition to Aunt Meme in the refrigerator) that he needn’t have felt so guilty. Erio is still more or less sane – she’s wrapped herself in the futon again and still has no memories, but she knows she’s not an alien and she’s not angry at “The Cousin”. Then, the three of them go off together on Meme’s bicycle with her hugging Makoto improperly and Erio riding in the basket as the one-armed Makoto tries to pedal them to a family restaurant for lunch. Meanwhile, a hilariously cosplaying Maekawa-san spots a rocket screaming through the sky.
That, believe it or not, is pretty much the whole episode. Not much happened at all, but it was still enjoyable. The core cast is really strong with this show. Makoto is a fantastic lead – way more entertaining than 98% of his cohorts out there with his wry cynicism and unapologetic desire for a little action. He almost as adorable as the girls, thanks to the character designs – they’re some of the best I’ve seen in many a season. Every character has a distinctive and appealing look, cute without being sugary-sweet. My favorite is Maekawa-san. With her zany cosplay and flat speech patterns, she owns every scene she appears in. Ryuushi is a pretty tired cliche of a character, the one person is this cast who should be really tiresome – but she manages to be moe in a good way. Frankly, I like Makoto’s two friends better than the two members of his family.
|Sparkles. How – alien.|
Erio, however, has gotten much more tolerable as she’s toned down. Undeniably, her character design is absolutely stunning – even without the sparkles the animators literally give her. To what end they do that I’m not sure yet, but she does have an unearthly look to her. Now that she’s mostly outside the futon and back on the ground, her situation is a lot more relateable. As for Meme, well – I’m thinking Makoto should just give himself to her and get that whole thing out of the way. Sure, she’s his Aunt – but that would have to worth +5 points anyway, and after that all the pressure would be off. I still think she’s a terrible mother and probably the most ludicrous character on the show, but she certainly makes an impact every time she’s on screen.