Fearless is a pretty good quality for a comedy to have, generally speaking. Not enough on its own to guarantee success, but a good start – and Binbougami Ga! is pretty fearless.
With one exception, this series has proved itself quite adept at striking the balance between nasty and sincere that’s so vital for comedies of its type to strike. A lot of this comes from Momiji, who remains my favorite character in the cast despite the fact that she’s relatively underused in my view. What we formally learned this week isn’t really a surprise: Momiji is actually trying to help Sakura improve as a person and see the inherent flaws in her selfish lifestyle. But Momiji never oversells that side of the story – even when she’s helping Sakura she’s acid-tongued and snarky about it. In a sense this series has to be tsundere, and for the most part it’s kept the tsun side front and center so the dere side never becomes tedious – as has Momiji herself.
What happens at the end of this episode casts Momiji’s role in an interesting light, but I’ll get to that in a minute. Despite dealing with fairly serious content this episode was actually about as irreverent as any thus far, full of fourth-wall breaking and several “bonus tracks” of increasing tastelessness. The heart of the story is a lost cat that Tittyko finds abandoned in the rain, and takes in (setting Momou into a fit if jealousy over the loss of his “mascot” role). The cat (Tama-chan – not very original, that) is real, but a plant – Momiji has set her in Sakura’s path to try and teach her a valuable lesson about the selfishness of her fortune.
Adding spice to the mix is the appearance of Inukami, a Toilet God whose head is shaped like a giant serpentine turd (no wonder he has a self-esteem problem). You’d think our Tittyko would have figured out by now that pretty much everything that happens in her life – especially anything supernatural – is a setup by Momiji, but she takes the shit God’s word that he doesn’t know the Goddess of misfortune. Effectively all this is a setup for Inukami to give Sakura (at Momiji’s instruction, of course) a “keystone” – a charm that will prevent Sakura from stealing the fortune of others. Obviously this is going to be a major thread over the last few eps, but on the face of it, it’s a bit puzzling. Why not just give that to Sakura in the first place, if it were that easy? The solution seems too neat to be taken at face value, and we wouldn’t really have a series for the final episodes if it were as simple as that.
Lots of very funny stuff surrounded that story, with my favorite moment being when Inukami came to rescue not Sakura but Tama from the burning gym (Shinto Toilet Gods actually are in charge of fertility and protecting infants, as he says, although turning Tama into a Maneki-neko is a nice twist) and caught on fire, allowing him to utter the immortal “The shit’s really hit the fan” (my second favorite pun of the season – I’m sure you can guess the first). I also loved the bonus track where Momiji complained about her period, Momiji buying off Yamabuki with glam rock swag, Nadeshiko’s face appearing in Inukami’s poop head, and the body-switching sequence at the end where Momiji learned the burdens of living with a huge rack the hard way.