I’m not going to go so far as to call this show “deep”, but I’ve probably been a little too guilty of labeling it as another Haiyore! Nyaruko-san. While it has slipped into the same niche the two shows are quite different, and that’s really been brought home in the last couple of weeks. In the first place it proved it could do a “serious” episode without losing its footing, but even there, this isn’t a screwball comedy that’s occasionally going to throw a character episode at you – both sides are clearly an integral part of its makeup, and I expect to see a lot of both of them for the rest of the season.
An interesting element of Binbougami for me is that it never really takes sides and makes it clear who, exactly, we’re supposed to root for. In effect, both main characters are pretty unlikeable – as people, more so than characters (they work quite well in the latter regard). Momiji seems to have a very valid reason for trying to do what she’s trying to do to Tittyko – stealing other people’s fortune is a terrible thing, even if it isn’t intentional – but she’s also a hothead who clearly takes things way too personally and really isn’t very good at her job. Ichiko’s faults are well-chronicled, and much of the show is about her head-on collision with the reality of the world she looks down on – but she never loses her arrogance and selfishness and becomes an angel with a few rough edges. She’s still a stuck-up princess, frankly, who really deserves what she gets – but she is learning. So I guess the fun, then is that both of them are deserving enough that we can enjoy watching them beat the crap out of each other.
As for the fifth episode itself, it had a nice mix of the madcap side of the series and the character-development side (plus the seemingly requisite weekly DBZ parody). Our new character this week was a thousand year-old turtle from the Tarou Urashima legend (the dropping of Otohime’s name was the clue) who gives Momiji an “aging box”, designed to turn Ichiko into an old hag with sagging boobs. Well, this being Binbougami craziness ensues – naturally it’s a screw-up, and Tittyko reverts to her ten year-old self (who has the same breast size as Momiji, much to the latter’s irritation). Still – a chibi Ichiko is still a much easier opponent and things are looking up for Momiji until Mini-ko escapes and goes on the lam, with the Goddess in hot pursuit.
Mostly, this is an excuse to bring the Tsuwabuki clan back into the story (which is OK by me) and to give Mini-ko some additional lessons in humility. And really, humility is the key theme in Tittyko’s story – it’s the one quality above all others that would change her for the positive, and nothing shakes her world-view like her exposure to Keita’s family and how they live. And when things like wetting the bed are added to the mix – hardly a more humiliating (it’s no coincidence that the same Latin root applies to that word and “humility”) thing could happen to a 16 year-old – it adds up to a crash course at the school of karmic hard knocks for our little Tittyko. With Keita seemingly put in danger by her involvement, I expect an even larger dose of humility and perspective next week.