At least we’re starting to get some excuses for why Zaeheart continues to be owned by the generally incompetent Federation – some sort of mysterious plan whereby Ezelcant deliberately gives the Earthers a chance to get out of jail free. Is he testing them? Is he simply lacking the backbone to exterminate his cousins? Whatever the reason, he could certainly have succeeded this time if the Vagan merely set off the plasma bombs they’d successfully snuck into the base, rather than putting them on a timer and giving Flit a chance to lamp out their intentions. Zaeheart intentionally kneecapping his own troops and the Earth Federation so incompetent they need pensioners to do their thinking for them – this war is in a sorry state, indeed.
You certainly can’t blame the Vagan for suspecting Zaeheart’s fitness to command, which is apparently why pink-haired cutie Fram Nara (what would anime be like if all characters were named after auto-parts stores and former Japanese capitals?) has been sent to keep tabs. Fram (Kotobuki Minako) seems destined to play a prominent role in the story. Meanwhile, as the ghoulish Flit continues to dream of using Kio’s “unlimited potential” to genocide the Vagan, the boy is coming to realize that war really does suck. And with the Vagan actually having succeeded in taking control of 40% of Earth’s surface, it sucks pretty badly for the Earthers at the moment.
All in all that was an improvement over the last couple of eps, with a brisker pace and a somewhat more compelling narrative. Better still, the pirates from the OP are finally going to enter the picture next week – which likely means Asemu isn’t far behind. And once all three generations of Asuno are together, the meat of the story – settling this pointless conflict with the Vagan once and for all and confronting the morality of child soldiers – can begin.
Kimi to Boku 2 – 09
It was another thoroughly enjoyable week on KtB, certainly one of the sillier episodes of the season. The subject this week is yet another teen anxiety, the first job – and it’s Yuki of all people who’s goaded into getting one in order to be able to buy the next big game, “First Fantasy”. I kind of think Shun’s notion of a bookstore was rather a better fit, even if there was the danger of Yuki reading “Oldtype” all day. A family restaurant just doesn’t suit him, especially one with a terrifying manager played by the great Shinichiro Miki.
Not a whole lot happened here (no surprise there) but it was certainly fun to watch the boys blunder their way incompetently through Yuki’s first day at work, compounding every mistake for a bigger one. Identity switching, drinking the customer’s juice – it’s a mess. I know I can’t have been the only one thinking “Put the lid on the blender!”. On the plus side, the Asaba brothers prove themselves appealing to an astonishingly wide age range of females, and Yuki manages to lose his “kiss virginity” to the one on the younger end of the scale. Ono Yuuki delivers one of the funniest line readings of his career to close out the episode.
Interestingly enough next week episode looks to be another Chizuru-Mary ep, interestingly titled “Cherry”. My curiosity is certainly raised.
Haiyore! Nyaruko-san – 08
Full-on genre parody is always a risky proposition with anime – a lot harder to pull of than it first appears. Even shows that made it their stock and trade such as Abenobashi were pretty hit and miss. Fortunately, Haiyore! definitely has the chops for this – this kind of winking at the audience is what the show does best, and this full-bore dating sim sendup was the funniest episode since the premiere.
It’s a mistake to worry about plot with this show, so the convenient hook that sends Mahiro and his harem (apparently his mother and Yoichi have to be included in that number) to “Dokidoki Private Academy” is really beside the point. What is the point is a pretty on-target lampooning of the genre, and a few others besides. Kukko’s dream of having her “very own Endless Eight” with Nyaruko was rather cutting, and casting Hastur as Bridget for the final battle was a hilarious dig at this show’s audience. Hastur giving Mahiro a cast-off figure of himself was pretty cheeky too. We also got what must surely be the first “Working!”-Cthulhu tie-in, with the gang working at “Derleth” (August Derleth was Lovecraft’s publisher) and Nyaruko warning Mahiro that a beautiful waitress with a Japanese sword would cut him in half if he didn’t behave.
It’s certainly interesting to see the Yin and Yang of anime comedy, KtB and Haiyore!, both tackle working in a family restaurant and first kisses in the same week – and even more to see how both mined the topics for solid laughs in totally different ways. In the end, of course, it’s obvious whose flags are going to win out – just as it’s obvious that Nyaruko remembers everything that happened in the sim, including stealing Mahiro’s kiss virginity under “the tree with some sort of history”. I’m tempted to believe she somehow set the whole thing up – it certainly couldn’t have been more convenient for her.