I guess the message of this episode is that the secret to magic power is in the shirt. Or something. Anyway…
We’re still in full-on plot mode with Witch Craft Works, which clearly has a lot on its agenda for the final couple of episodes. It’s pretty entertaining on the whole but I do miss the comedy which was always the best part of this series for me. There were bits of it here – like the stacking of fish on Honoka’s forehead for fever (I must have never got the memo on that one) and the bit with the leek. But mostly, it was wall-to-wall action.
There’s a definite sense of widespread chaos to all this that does suit the show’s overall zeitgeist, at least. To be honest I’m having a hard time keeping all the characters straight at this point (I don’t even remember meeting the witch with the puppet before), much less which side everyone is fighting for. There’s also been a lot of timeline skipping lately, and this time it was Honoka being privy to Kazane’s memories after tapping into the city’s power. That those memories happened to involve him is no coincidence I’m sure, and after Mikage-sensei pulls Honoka out of that dream he reveals that he was the one who wiped both Honoka and Kagari’s memories (his specialty, though on the whole, he says, men are powerless in witchy families).
Things are certainly all akimbo at the moment. All of the people rescued from the city have apparently been stored in an extra-dimensional “shelter”, but Weekend has also planted bombs there. Just why is she doing all this? I really have no idea. But after leeching some of Honoka’s power (via switching shirts) to take Weekend on while he sleeps it off, Kagari is apparently able to call on Evermillion to assist. How does all that work? I really have no idea – I’m sure there’s a basis for it in this rather complicated mythology but honestly, trying to keep it all straight is more work than I feel like putting in to WCW. I’m just here for the ride.
Tonari no Seki-kun – 11
Tonari no Seki-kun isn’t the longest – or best – show of the season, but if you factor in its running time it’s leading in two categories for me – screencaps per minute and laughs per minute. This really is the little series that could.
So what do we see here? Yokoi is beyond all saving now – both in terms of her addiction to thrill-seeking vicariously (and sometimes not) through Seki’s antics, and in terms of just plain falling for him. Her smile was never more beatific than when she was able to justify to herself that she could watch him overtly in good conscience because she’d already covered the class material in cram school – unless perhaps it was when she saw the teddy bear appear on his desk. Being in love is one thing, but a teddy bear – for a middle-school girl, that’s on another level altogether.
As for Seki-kun’s play of the week, this was one of his cleverest stunts – and one of the most overtly risky, proving he’s no slouch in the thrill-seeker department himself. We have a white teddy bear (let’s call it Yokoi) watching a brown teddy bear (let’s call it Seki) climbing up the back of Maeda-kun. I love this bit because it incorporates the mountain-like stature of Maeda – the reason why Seki can engage in his antics unseen – into the antics themselves. Seki has rigged an ingenious pulley system using a string and a binder clip on Maeda-kun’s shirt collar, and Seki-kuma slowly ascends the sheer rock face while Yokoi-kuma watches. Who knows, perhaps Seki chose those colors on purpose as a nod to his audience.
The whole routine was hilariously clever, with the rockslides and earthquakes and both Yokoi hanging on every move, but my favorite was seeing Maeda’s shirt collar stand in for an overhang (“past vertical”) at the top of the cliff. As usual Yokoi gets caught up in the backwash – Maeda-kun isn’t too happy when he’s figured out something weird is happening back there, even if he doesn’t know what – but even in the face of that, Seki-kun can’t resist reaching for the cheese in the trap one more time. These two are perfect for each other, really – both of them are hooked on the buzz.