Honestly, an episode like this week’s Hunter X Hunter pretty much ruins me for other anime for a while. It’s so completely on another level that it’s hard to take anything else that aspires to be intense or powerful seriously. So in that sense, these are good series to watch immediately after – especially Tonari no Seki-kun, which is so different and so refreshingly itself.
Seeing two episodes back to back this week only confirms my view that this would have been the ideal format for this show – it definitely doesn’t lose its appeal the second time around. I loved both these chapters, especially the second, but there were some fine moments in “The Robot Family” too. It’s another case of Yokoi getting caught up in Seki’s fantasy world just as much as he is – in this case actually more. It starts with her asking the perfect question – “You’re a boy – aren’t you supposed to put them in action poses? Is this even fun?”
Well, of course it is – for Seki-kun – but as usual, Yokoi appropriates Seki’s fantasy and makes it her own. She attaches a detailed fantasy life to the robot family – we even get a theme song – and during a disaster drill, she actually kidnaps Seki’s robots and puts them under her protection when he gets a little too rambunctious and sends them flying. Another interesting element here is seeing that Seki-kun seems to have a normal social life, with friends and all – which, given his peculiarities, wasn’t necessarily a given.
The second chapter is pure Seki-kun genius, as he sets up a post office to assist in the processing and delivery of notes passed in class. There’s not much to say about this because the humor is so simple and elegant – it’s just really clever and very, very funny. Among the highlights are Yokoi admitting “That really is a great service!” when she sees all the delivery options Seki offers, and Seki closing the window after rejecting Yokoi’s original note (scolding him for goofing off) because it didn’t meet size requirements.
The end of this episode sees a significant development in the story, as Yokoi – having missed the cutoff for same-day delivery by Seki Mail – decides on the old-school approach and sticks her note in his shoe locker. Of course we all know what that means in a Japanese middle school, and Yokoi’s act is witnessed by one of her female classmates. The rest is (though it hasn’t even happened yet) history. And the ironic thing is, I think Yokoi’s true feelings aren’t very different from those of most kids who do what she just did.
Witch Craft Works – 6
The equation for WCW is pretty simple with me – the crazier this show is, the better I like it. Thus last week’s ep, which tried to be coherent, kind of bored me and this week’s – which embraced the batshit with extreme prejudice, even if Team Rocket was barely involved – was a real winner.
Happily, the growing body of evidence is that everyone in this cast is off their nut (including Honoka, in his quiet way). That certainly includes chemistry teacher and student council adviser Mikage-sensei (Okitsu Kazuyuki), who kidnaps Honoka and takes him to some sort of surrealistic dreamworld that looks like a cross between Pink Floyd’s The Wall and “My Little Pony”. He lectures Honoka about the five seals inside his body (now four) and then seemingly proposes to him before Kagari intervenes and rescues her damsel-in-distress.
If I had to take a stab at who’s the nuttiest of the bunch so far it might just be Kasumi, though there’s stiff competition. She kidnaps Honoka too, intent on taking him out of town and far away from Kagari so she can elope with him (again, Kagari predictably intervenes, though not before more wanton destruction which will presumably cause no loss of life or injury). If there’s a good/evil component to the Workshop-Tower witch dichotomy – and I’m not convinced there is – Kasumi certainly puts it to the test, as she’s clearly concerned far more with her own twisted desires than any larger cause.
There’s just good random weirdness all over the place. Honoka and Kasumi’s mother is likewise very weird indeed, Kagari decides to try being an imouto herself before settling on being an onee-chan (which doesn’t really work either). Honoka becomes student council president. Medusa is hiding in plain sight. Funnily enough, the sense is that a good deal of all that’s seemingly pure chaos for its own effect will prove to be plot-relevant later, but that’s fine – it doesn’t stop it from being entertaining now.