As much as it pains me when it’s a show I really like, I’m going to be just a bit of a dissenting voice in the flood of praise this series is getting at the moment.
Mostly, for me, that dissatisfaction comes down to this – it seems like Okarin is getting stupider every episode. I’m ready to suspend disbelief in a time travel series in the first place, especially one where the dialogue creates such a flip tone much of the time. That’s why I can forgive something such as the fact that it makes absolutely no sense for Feyris to have been able to completely cleanse Akihabara of otaku culture. She’s too young, first of all – Akiba was already an otaku haven before he supposed D-mail arrived. Akiba is also much more than moe – it was otaku central before most otaku even knew what moe was. That and the inconsistency about how long it should take the phone microwave (name subject to change) to send an email years into the past are vexing but tolerable.
Where I run into bigger credibility issues is the fact that Okarin – who, for all his lunatic act, actually seemed like a pretty smart guy – is missing more and more. Really, it never occurred to him that Ruka’s gender change (really, you grab the crotch, Okarin??) could have been the cause of the major changes he saw after than email was sent? How could he have let Feyris send a D-mail without even knowing what was in the contents? And how could he – just like that – encourage Suzuha to send a D-mail with such a potentially significant change as a possibility? He’s either getting stupider or just drunk with power, but he isn’t acting as if it’s the latter.
Aside from that, I’m still enjoying the heck out of the show. I love the chemistry between Okarin and Christina, and their fumbling courtship in the dark was charming and hilarious. I’m not crazy about Ruka being a girl now (that’s like preferring Yuko over Hideyoshi in Baka Test) but she’s still a fine addition to the regular cast. Indeed, the plot is interesting but it’s the characters and dialogue that make this series special.
We do seem to have taken several steps forward in the plot this week. Strong implications that Daru is Suzuha’s father, and that she’s John Titor. Why? Well, she was going to attend a time travel meeting her father was supposed to attend – a father calling himself “Barrell Titor”. If she was from the future the timing could make sense – although the Daru thing could be a feint and the father could be the “famous writer” he said was planning to attend. We also got several lingering shots of “Venus”, which might actually be the crashing satellite and clearly has some significance. And Okarin got a very scary email – “I’m watching” – with a photo of a red jelly. Ominous, indeed. And the interesting tidbit that Okarin got his “Steiner” ability during an illness with high fever while in elementary school.
With the last shot of the episode being a butterfly in flight, it seems obvious that major (and possibly catastrophic) events are on tap, and soon too. Honestly, Okarin has been handling this whole time travel thing so badly that he deserves it – I just hope the collateral damage to the world isn’t too severe for him to try and fix it. It just seems to me that with every change he allows, he makes the prospect of fixing the damage that much more difficult.