Things are definitely getting interesting on AGE, as the pieces for what look like the last extended arc are falling into place. I’m once again struck by how emotionally tone-deaf Flit is. telling Kio that his father is alive – and then telling him never to mention his name again? Seriously, Gramps? I certainly don’t blame the old man for feeling betrayed, but that’s just not something you say to a child. Fortunately, it looks as if Kio is beginning to feel the stirrings of rebellion against his Grandfather – it even looked as if he was going to tell his mother Asemu was alive, before his Aunt intervened.
With Asemu’s message revealing the existence of the “Cursed Treasure” EXA-DB (really – you’re going to play that in front of the entire crew?) the McGuffin we’ve been chasing for 35 eps has finally appeared. It explains a lot – where the Vagan got their tech, (probably) how the AGE system works, and why the Asuno family is so vital to all sides. And all sides are now on the hunt for it, and with its trove of weapons data sure victory in their conflict. Especially interesting is the fact that the Vagan have changed their strategy to capturing the Gundam (now new and improved with VIPER mode) – and it looks as if they may succeed, judging by the preview. That would certainly be a fascinating plot twist, and a great chance to see how Kio reacts when exposed to viewpoints that aren’t Flit’s.
Kimi to Boku 2 – 11
Kimi to Boku has a funny habit of developing the side characters more than most of the main cast. It sometimes works pretty well, and this was one of this episodes where it did – with the focus being on Mary-saki and Matsushita, Yuuki’s shota kouhai from the manga club. I was about to write something about how funny it was that a girl whose charms are so…elusive, like Mary, draws so many suitors, because it seemed like Matsushita was developing a crush on her. But then events reminded me of just how much Matsushita crushes on Yuuki. If there was any doubt after last season’s episode, it’s pretty clear now – imagining Yuuki on the volleyball court and blushing is about as big a tell as you could want.
I’m fine that Matsushita likes Yuuki romantically, because the way it’s portrayed here isn’t mocking or mean-spirited. I confess I’m a little irritated though that Masaki continues to pursue her pointless crush on Shun, whose disinterest is matched only by his cluelessness. Still, the main point of the episode isn’t the romantic subplot but the issue of her having no friends, which her participation in the sports festival committee seems to be helping with. She did seem less socially inept then usual, gushing over Shun as Matushita swooned over Yuuki, and she seemed to actually draw the respect of her sempai on the committee.
The festival itself was fun too, my favorite part being Yuuki’s usual slacker disinterest suddenly flowering into frenzied competitiveness when Yuta spikes and gives his brother a cocky smile. Of course, as usual, it seems as if Yuta knew exactly what he was doing, and motivating his brother was the plan all along. He also didn’t seem to mind Kaname slapping him on the ass afterwards. Speaking of Kaname, looks as if his fans will finally get to see him get some development next week, as the ep apparently focuses on his infatuation with the neighbor girl.
Haiyore! Nyaruko-san – 10
Wow – they did it, they really went there.
I admit I’d be strongly biased in favor of Haiyore! this week for going after Ishihara and Bill 156 head-on (something I’m surprised more anime haven’t done) even if it hadn’t been funny. Fortunately I didn’t need to worry about it, because this was the most fully recognized parody of the series, and the episode that came closest to achieving the potential in the premise. It was frequently hilarious even when it wasn’t political.
In the first place, this is the first time I can remember that a body switching episode is explained perfectly by a premise – with the Yith involved, this is all canon stuff. Beyond that, it was ingeniously woven into the comedy, with the Yith “extremist” Isurugi – in Yoichi’s body – planning to do a mass mind-switch so the Yith will have access to “creators who excite video sharing sites and popular artists within illustration communities”. Once I was off the floor I was hit with the great “Space CQC Jammer-Canceler-Breaker-Eraser-Confiner-Obstructer-Buster-Closer” exchange, which fell comfortably within the “so stupid it’s funny” umbrella.
All that was the miso soup though, because the full bento box was when the “Space Child Guardian” arrived on the scene. I’m sure I don’t have to recap the whole Bill 156 debacle – there’s plenty of Google fodder if you don’t know the details – but I don’t think it’s been directly mocked in a mainstream anime like this. We have the extremist wanting access to Youtubers and hentai fanart, used as a tool by the aforementioned Guardian, who wants to destroy Earth as punishment for corrupting the youth of the galaxy with anime and manga. Totemo oishii desu! This is parody that cuts the target to ribbons and actually makes sense with the plot of the series – all I can do is offer my heartfelt congratulations. That’s how anime comedy should be done.
For dessert, we get plenty of character-driven comedy too, like Nyaruko’s troll job to steal Mahiro’s (still in her body, of course) French-kiss virginity – which turns poor Hastur and Kuuko to stone. And Mahiro’s “The punchline was terrible again”, leading into the preview voice-over talking about “three little sisters moving in” as Yoichi (voiced by Papa Kiki’s Hatano Wataru) telling Kurei “I wish you’d listen to me!”. The line between stupid and smart is sometimes very thin, and Haiyore! hasn’t always quite found that sweet spot , but the last couple of episodes have been right there – and for me, this one was the best so far.