Hunter X Hunter is back!
I officially like this show. Yeah, it’s pretty lowbrow in most respects, but it ain’t brainless, believe me. This is a very clever show in the way it presents itself, and I like the cut of its jib.
This episode just keeps piling on the crazy, and I keep liking almost all of it. The manic energy here is really contagious and the gags are mostly quite funny. The cast is also excellent (I swear Ohsaka-san is doing a Miyu Irino impression here) including the two new additions. The first is Suwa Ayaka as Ninjabayashi Ruri, a robot sent by Akane’s family because she’s living in a dorm with
a boy two boys. As if dropping from a helicopter isn’t enough, she makes an even grander impression when her head falls off as she’s introducing herself. She also asks for input commands by asking “Yes/No?” in English as the Y and N appear on her breasts. Robot girls we’ve seen a-plenty in anime, but this one is pretty entertaining so far.
The second newcomer is possibly even weirder, and she’s introduced after the insanely genki student council president announces that there’s going to be a week-long sports festival, and if Quest Dormitory doesn’t win it she’s promised the board not only that the dorm will be torn down, but that Souta will be expelled (it should be noted here that the board members never asked her to, and that they were only jealous of Souta living
alone with Megu-chan in a dorm full of girls). She assigns a trainer to help them win – Eiyuuzaki Rin (Hikasa Yoko) who shows up in archery gear with a “man hater” flag waving proudly and starts drilling the crew mercilessly as she waxes poetic about why she hates all guys.
This is another character we’ve seen countless times, and could easily be tiresome – but again, somewhat miraculously Rin winds up being quite entertaining. In a matter of moments her flag goes from man-hater to “Yandere” to “Captured” as she has one of the wackiest osananajimi reunions you’ll see. Turns out the only boy she ever liked was her childhood playmate “Souda”, the only guy she couldn’t dominate and who moved away when they were small, though they maintained email contact. Naturally this turns out to be Souta, and it turns out that back then and for all these years he thought she was a guy.
I think the main thing that’s making this all work is that the material has a pretty good sense for the inherent silliness in all these tropes, and isn’t bashful about mercilessly lampooning them. This kind of satire only works if you don’t lose your nerve, and so far Gawoware’s is holding strong. If Watanabe-sensei manages to successfully incorporate the recurring plot without dampening the mood too much, I think this show has a chance to be quite good.
Tonari no Seki-kun – 16
Shogi makes yet another appearance on Tonari no Seki-kun, but the twist this time is an interesting one – Shogi vs. Chess. A commentary on tensions in relations between East and West? Nah – just a clever way to kill some time.
There’s not much to add to the moment, which is pretty self-explanatory. I wish we’d gotten to see some of that video on the dangers of smoking and drinking to underage bodies, but what we got was pretty good. I especially loved it when Yokoi immediately started handicapping the matchup as soon as she saw was Seki was up to.
For a while it looked as if Yokoi was actually going to “win” this time. She certainly spooked Seki-kun pretty good when she crawled over to his desk and started “resurrecting” the Shogi pieces the ninja Chess pieces (dressed in black, acting under cover of darkness) were assassinating, but as usual her fascination with Seki’s antics brought her to ruin, as her skirt got caught under his chair leg (how the heck does that happen?). It’ll be quite the interesting moment when the lights come on.