“Ah well, you know – there’s only two controllers for the console.”
If there was any remaining doubt in my mind that Maekawa was all-in at the high-stokes Makoto poker game, episode 11 certainly put them to bed once and for all. “I won’t give up.” “Will you come over again?” Not the mention her little performance with the donut. Too bad Makoto went into harem-lead mode there and missed all the signals.
Mawkawa is so many wonderful things. She’s ridiculously hot, she’s smart, she’s snarky, she’s sultry. But when she pretends badly not to be interested in Makoto she’s also incredibly adorable. I don’t think for a second she has a chance to win but she’s been the best thing about the show since the moment she appeared on-screen.
Don’t get me wrong, I like many other things about this show as well. But unfortunately 11 was a pretty stark demonstration of just how much Maekawa’s complexity and depth adds to Denpa Onna, and how much it misses her when she’s not around. As wonderful, funny and charming as the courtship between she and Makoto in the first part was – the ride in the basket, the donut, the cooking, the 8-bit gaming – the second half felt entirely overproduced, SHAFT-y and at times downright annoying.
Yashiro doesn’t help. Things might have been different if she’d been introduced early on, but as things stand she feels tacked-on. She’s a discordant note with the rest of the series and worse, she’s not an especially interesting character in her own right. And petty as it sounds, she’s the one character on the show I don’t find physically appealing. The rest of them are all ridiculously cute (even Makoto and Auntie Meme) and Maekawa is also beautiful, but Yashiro isn’t any of those things, at least to me.
But it would be unfair to blame the failings of the second half of the episode entirely on her. The whole premise felt flat to me, as much buildup as there’d been to the basketball game. I enjoyed the phone call between Makkie and Ryuushi (this show does phone calls exceptionally well) but the entire scene at the gym just didn’t work for me. It was interesting hearing KanaHana is a supporting role (basically doing her Kuroneko voice) but I really couldn’t muster it up to care one way or the other. The whole plucky genki girl thing with Ryuushi feels overplayed and forced. Yashiro’s speech about ESP was ridiculous. And worst of all was Makoto’s outburst when Ryuushi was about to take the free throw – that was silly and frankly bordering on just plain stupid.
Oh, well. Onward – with upraised hopes – to the finale…
That was pretty much your classic “non-ending ending” right there. Maybe this mystical 13th episode that’s going to be on the DVD for delays being blamed on the earthquake but really due to classic SHAFT time mismanagement will answer some of the countless questions this episode left hanging.
For the all the various other threads build up over the course of the series, for the entire focus of the last episode to be on the City vs. Shopping District baseball match was a bit anti-climactic to begin with. And for the drama within a drama to involve a character we barely know – Maekawa’s Dad – running away is an odd choice indeed. As a pretext it does end up giving us Erio as the pitcher, since Auntie Meme has appointed herself coach – and that’s certainly every bit as random as you’d expect.
Indeed, Meme spends much of the episode cutting up pretty hard, so if that floats your boat you’ll probably like it just fine. Me, MILF or no I can only take Meme in small doses and for much of the episode I found her antics more than a little irritating. And spilling the secret that Makkie smelled his mattress after she laid on it was downright cruel.
|My bat will pierce the heavens!|
I also felt it was a bit odd that so much of the final arc centered around Makoto’s supposed wallflower tendencies. If this was a major theme for his character fr the first 10 episodes I mostly missed it. OK, so he quit soccer in 5th grade because he sucked and never got to play – got it. Baseball is his chance to make up for it, got it. But was he really such a timid kid as all that? He managed to integrate himself fairly well into a new school, found himself a harem, and confronted Erio’s lunacy head-on when her mother just ran away from it. Hell, it took some serious sack to fly his bike into the sea in order the knock some sense into her, even if it wasn’t the brightest idea. So why was his supposed cowardice such a big character deal in the end?
I guess it might be better not to judge this ep with finality until we see what SHAFT has in store for us in the DVD bonus episode. I hope it’s something with a little more weight than what we got here, because this one felt very inconclusive to say the least.