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「迷い猫、泣いた」 (Mayoi Neko, Naita)
“Stray Cat, Cried”

One of the things that have impressed me with AIC‘s work in comedies as of late is their tendency to try and tie in every episode with those before it, which isn’t something that one would normally expect from this genre. Most recently, they did this in Sora no Otoshimono and Nyan Koi, where there was an abundant amount of manga material to work with for both series and they managed to piece together one cour adaptations that came off like single cohesive units. What’s particularly unique in Mayoi Neko’s case though is that the studio has opted to switch in a different director and key animator every episode, yet the continuity still feels like we have one well-planned series. Had someone not been told this was the case or bothered to check themselves, they probably wouldn’t have known any better (myself included).

The previous hot spring episode was unquestionably the most distinguished showing thus far and may have raised some suspicion, but even it didn’t fall too far from the tree as this week builds on the Chise character foundation set then. Because of that, I suspect that the directors have gotten together during pre-production to outline what part of the overall story each person will be in charge of. Though given the relatively short production deadlines of anime, I still can’t help but wonder how much discussion actually took place, if any. This is why I have to give credit to AIC, since they really seem to have their act together as of late. This is also the reason I’m always on the lookout for their shows nowadays, as I mentioned back in the Spring 2010 Preview.

Building on the desire Chise expressed last time in establishing her club and getting everyone involved, things went way south when she took Kaho’s advice and opened a competing pâtisserie with award-winning pastry chefs and rock bottom prices across the street to drive Stray Cats out of business. Naturally, that comes off to everyone as a spoiled rich girl throwing her money around to show off, but it’s not something I could hold against Chise since she clearly had her reasons for acting as such. For the most part, it was to offer them much higher paying jobs at her store so that they’d have more free time to hang out with her. With a quick flashback revealing the loneliness she felt when no one dared approach her at school due to her wealthy status, we learn just why that is as Takumi et al were the first people to reach out to her. In addition to showing how Chise’s current actions are simply misguided, it was at that moment that I realized why she asks for Takumi’s hand when she’s upset about something. So with that, it was two birds with one stone in improving the image of her character.

The rest of the episode drove home the point of how Chise is simply misunderstood, using a shopping district swimsuit contest to spice things up a bit. On paper, it was Takumi and the others’ attempt to get Stray Cats some publicitiy, but in my eyes it was more so that we could get some of Fumino’s lovely tsundere side coming through. I for one loved how she reluctantly offered to participate after Takumi decided to ask Nozomi to help, figuring Fumino would decline outright. The bonus of course is that we have both of them participating while things got back on track with Chise. After everyone learned of her reasons for trying to drive them out of business, the blame all seemed to be pinned on Kaho. Oddly enough, I didn’t really see her as one with any real malicious intent, even though they sort of played her up that way. I did find it somewhat sudden for Takumi to start kicking himself for not realizing Chise’s feelings earlier and pleading to Kaho to stop misguiding her any further, but at least it made for a pretty touching scene when Chise overheard it all.

So with that, we have Chise in a completely new light at the end of things this week and the establishment of the “Stray Cats Association”, whose second club room is conveniently located at Stray Cats itself. Overall, I have to say this was a really good character development episode for Chise and it was actually so jam-packed that it ran straight through the credits to fit everything in.

 

Preview

Mayoi Neko Overrun!   05   Preview 01 Mayoi Neko Overrun!   05   Preview 02 Mayoi Neko Overrun!   05   Preview 03

May 5, 2010 at 12:21 am
27 comments »
  • May 5, 2010 at 12:31 amVegetarian4Life

    Looks very cute as usual!!

  • May 5, 2010 at 1:13 amAznCoffee

    Inconsistent director is inconsistent amirite?

    • May 5, 2010 at 2:11 amSilver

      Well, there are 12 directors so… At least I think it’s still enjoyable so it’s alright.

      • May 6, 2010 at 4:22 pmamado

        12 directors…..so you mean one each ep?

  • May 5, 2010 at 8:25 amjoshua

    This episode was pretty good, I loved the bikini’s!

  • May 5, 2010 at 8:39 pmClick

    Wow, Kaho’s pretty evil =P

  • May 5, 2010 at 9:41 pmSilver

    Yeah, I really wonder whether Kaho is evil or not. There’s probably two intents. The first is she probably felt the same way as Chise and thought that by doing so, Takumi and the others would end up working at the new shop which means they will be closer together. However, I felt more that she did it more as a way to create a conflict so that through the conflict, Chise and Takumi et al to understand one another which is exactly what happens. However, let see later as to what type of person Kaho really is. We barely know anything about her as this point. But yeah, this episode is great in the development of Chise. However, it seems the previous episode had done some damage for quite a few people as it was just…. out there.

  • May 6, 2010 at 12:33 amK.K.

    Chise isn’t “misunderstood” – she’s bossy and annoying. When you start forcing people into your club against their will, no matter how nice they are about it, you’re still a brat.

    Which makes me wonder why none of the other characters even bother to point out that they are in the club against their will and she can’t keep forcing them to be her friends. Seems like a convenient plot hole.

    • May 6, 2010 at 2:24 amdivine

      I’d agree had they not shown why Chise was forcing everyone to join her club. She’s simply not expressing her desire to hang out with them in the right manner and ends up bossy everyone around as a result.

      Quite frankly, I see it as something similar to how people tend to tease the person who they like. By the end of this episode when both sides learn of the others’ situation, there’s a noticeable change in Chise’s attitude for the better.

      As for why Takumi and the others didn’t complain, it’s probably just because they’re nice to Chise and spoil her in that sense. Fumino on the other hand will give her a piece of her mind, as shown here and last time.

  • May 6, 2010 at 3:15 amstupid

    The way they twisted it to make Takumi look bad is just retarded. Chise was selfish beyond belief and Takumi did nothing wrong, he shouldnt of had appologized or anything. It should have been up to chise to learn what she was doing wrong, but no she learns nothing and is stll a bad selfish character in the end

    • May 6, 2010 at 8:27 amSilver

      You haven’t personally watched the episode right? You can see that at the end she has changed and learned from it. The problem with Chise is that she really wants to hang out with them but she just does not know how to express it and thus, she does it by being bossy or being an idiot. That does happen to some as not everyone can express them self correctly so sometimes they do it in a different way and that could be positive or negative. Besides, I never felt that Takumi looked bad in here so that I don’t agree with you. The whole time, I find that both side are not understanding each other correctly and by the end, due to Kaho’s intervention, they finally understand each other which leads to that happy scene in the end which is great since Chise is actually smiling now instead of the usual “Ho ho ho” she does all the time.

  • May 6, 2010 at 9:01 amAuroraFlame

    This series is really on track to being the surprise show of the season. It’s taken me five episodes to realize that, but I’m going to start following AIC’s harems as Nyan Koi was good (at least for a while) and Sora no Otoshimono ended up being excellent and beyond what I thought anybody would do with this genre.

    It’s kind of sad, but I think the big flaw of this series is, in fact, the changing director and animator. The first three episodes are fairly consistent in terms of art, but the fourth episode goes all over the place (might be justified as it’s a one-off gag/service episode). Similarly, the fifth episode’s art had more exaggerated facial expressions, more angular mouth movements, and a lot more malevolent shadows cast over the characters.

    It’s interesting because the screenplay is keeping the characters and their development consistent, but the directing and animation is forcing the actors to go somewhat out of character. Take Nozomi in episode 5: she was unusually talkative at the beginning, and smiled a lot more (when Fumino asks for more spirit) so the seiyu seemed to make her strangely more cheerful than her usual emotionless self.

    Still, while the first two episodes were mediocre, the third episode was excellent, the fourth was funny (mileage may vary) and this one is continuing the character development for everyone. The use of stray cats and repeating the piano theme from the very first scene of episode 1 as motifs for the loneliness all the characters experience is something that doesn’t come up often in harems, much less one couers. So, if the series keeps building on this foundation, we could end up with some very successful character arcs even if they leave it open ended on the relationship side. So, I look forward to it.

    Divine or anyone else, I’m a bit confused about Kaho’s motivation — I doubt it was as simple as her thinking it was a good idea to run Stray Cats out of business. Giving her the benefit of the doubt, I interpreted it as her knowing that Takumi and Chise were misunderstanding each other, so she created a situation of conflict to get them to (kind of) make up. It seemed that way, as when she asked him how he could possibly understand an ojou-sama, she looked like she was trying to get Takumi to stand up for his and Chise’s bond (she knew Chise was listening). On the other hand, a more cynical person might have taken it as Kaho trying to sabotage Chise so that she can go after Takumi herself. What are your thoughts?

    • May 6, 2010 at 10:14 amSilver

      I totally agree with you about Kaho (which is what I wrote in my previous comment too) because she does seem to really care about Chise and by making that conflict, she can make Takumi and the others understand Chise as well. However, she seems to understand Takumi too because doing what she did was a risk if Takumi himself is not an observant and understanding person. Makes me wonder now whether she has some kind of history with Takumi me or she is someone who is extremely perspective of others. The other reason it seems that way is when Takumi realize what Chise was thinking and feeling, it shows Kaho smiling as if she had reached her objective.

  • May 6, 2010 at 4:28 pmamado

    yeah, both didn’t understand each other because they DIDNT TALK IT THROUGH, thats the problem.
    and the fault wasnt all on chise, its also the because of the men who wanted to see otome in a swimsuit, good thing they got what they deserved.

  • May 6, 2010 at 7:03 pmKraven

    You know, it’s hard to sympathize with Chise sometimes, but Kaho certainly doesn’t help the situation – I thought for sure that she would suggest that Chise help FUND Stray Cats so they could hire some extra workers and give themselves some free time. Am I wrong for thinking this? Is this an unreasonable assumption to make? Certainly less unreasonable than, I don’t know, TRYING TO PUT THEM OUT OF BUSINESS and obliterate their SOLE SOURCE OF INCOME!?! I mean seriously, how skewed does Kajo’s thinking have to be to think this is a good idea if she wants to get them to want to spend more time with Chise!?

    Also, the whole deal with Takumi taking responsibility to making Chise do this in the first place – one thing I’ll also never get about Japanese culture (at least how it’s presented in anime) is how the victims of any given misunderstanding (usually the male party) are the ones who are expected to take responsibility when the female(s) are clearly the one’s at fault, whether it be a situation like this, or in any other anime where the misunderstandings can be more sexually explicit (granted, some of these are the fault of the male party, but in arguably most situations, it’s neither’s fault, or even the woman’s fault that the situation occurred). It sounds kinda like the girl saying “You made me do this, so you’re the one at fault!” which has been the (equally unjust) mantra of any given domestically abusive male.

    I mean, I understand that Japan is still in an era where women and men aren’t equal (not that American can boast too much better) but why aren’t women held accountable for the mistakes they make? Don’t get me wrong, it’s unfair to expect women to pull the weight of the men in their lives, as we see in many anime where women in domestic situations perform an enormous percentage of the household burdens, as well as pull the slack for their men’s shortcomings, but just because this imbalance still exists doesn’t mean the opposite somehow balances it out. The solution is for everyone to be accountable for themselves, and to only have one pulling another’s slack when it is either mutual and/or consensual. I’ll admit it can be funny in the context of the slapstick humor of an anime, but for it to be the resolution to a conflict with absolutely no satire involved tells me that Japan is still very much locked into this mindset where men have to bow their heads and bear with the emotional instabilities of women, and always take the blame when the woman feels like issuing it. Again, not that we don’t see the same thing in western shows, but I think it’s clearly more tempered and a bit more balanced than this by comparison.

    Not being chauvinist or bigoted, just saying two wrongs don’t make a right.

    Ok, rant over.

    • May 6, 2010 at 7:26 pmamado

      actually, chise wanted to put them out of business THEN HIRE THEM so she can have time with them and they wouldnt be so busy in the shop.

    • May 6, 2010 at 8:02 pmSilver

      Actually, I think Kaho really did help the situation. She literally invoked a problem so that they two can come to an understanding. Got to say but Kaho is a dangerous one if you’re on her wrong side.

      Well, I don’t feel that what they saying is Takumi is all at fault. He is agreeing that he’s at fault for not realizing Chise’s feelings. Chise is also at fault for the whole thing but he’s at fault for that particular problem. I don’t see any issue. Chise changed at the end, Takumi changed at the end. Voila, everyone is now happy. Maybe it’s different of how I raised (I’m an American too) but as long as the problem is solved with both side satisfied with no side feeling any imbalance, I would say that it is all okay.

      • May 6, 2010 at 9:02 pmamado

        hmmm, sounds a lot familiar in a lot of animes that forgive each other too easily and quickly for my liking.
        not that im against making up with each other but I prefer if one of them is being stubborn to the truth even if they’re already told of the truth rather than them quickly understanding why the other is behaving that way.

        in short
        they should have dragged it out a bit for more drama and stuff. it also makes it more suspense on when theyll give in to the truth.

    • May 6, 2010 at 11:11 pmdivine

      Hmm, this is some pretty in-depth discussion for Mayoi Neko. Where are these kind of comments for GIANT KILLING, Senkou no Night Raid, and RAINBOW? -_-;

      AuroraFlame, Silver, amado, Kraven, and any else who comments regularly: I’m going to have to ask you guys to bring this type of discussion to the other shows. :P

  • May 7, 2010 at 1:00 amSilver

    Haha, I actually watched much more “lighter” series on a daily basis compared to the more serious series so that’s why I really don’t have anything to comment on them. Furthermore, I tend to only comments on shows I watch that does not have many comments. So sorry if I cannot bring such in depth comments to the others because I prefer not to comment on a series with only reading posts of it. I have to watch it for myself before making comments and for me, Giant Killing and Rainbow is not my type of shows. However, I’m thinking of watching Senkou no Night Raid so I might start making comments on it soon. Do you perhaps dislike these types of comments in series such as Mayoi Neko?

    • May 7, 2010 at 1:12 amdivine

      I don’t dislike comments in general. I just find it weird that Mayoi Neko gets such treatment when it’s a lot more run-of-the-mill than the other shows I mentioned. :\

      • May 7, 2010 at 1:54 amSilver

        Ah! Haha, you can blame that one me. I normally don’t post comments here much unless there’s something that stands out. In this case, I watched this episode and there seems to be some “misunderstanding” of certain characters in my opinion so I just wanted to say what I had on my mind for it. So, that’s why there’s so many comments here for this post (a lot of them are mine! heh). Also, for some reason when I see posts of shows that I watched that does not have a lot of comments, it makes me want to comment more such as Tegami Bachi. Anyway, thanks! I should probably stop comment here now since it does not seem that many people read this post (if you compare the amount of comments here with the last episode, it’s significnat. Perhaps that last episode killed this series in a way or something).

      • May 7, 2010 at 9:53 amAuroraFlame

        I’m with Silver on this somewhat. I’m following Saraiya, Yojouhan, Giant Killing, and Rainbow, all of which are better than Mayoi Neko. I just find more to talk about when a series like this, which I considered average or below average at first, manages to subvert a few expectations. All of the above mentioned series are delivering what we were hoping for, so when I talk about them, I feel like I’m repeating the same opinion everyone else has.

    • May 7, 2010 at 6:29 amamado

      just like Silver except:
      I sometimes comment a bit even if I havent seen the anime/ep yet
      and im already following Senkou no Night Raid but still catching up in the ep(I usually dont have the ‘energy’ to watch it though)

      so yeah, I watch the lighter animes than the serous(most of the time)
      cant really pick up the others due to school coming next month.

  • May 7, 2010 at 3:31 amimerik

    Yea these are some really long comments for this series… I haven’t caught up to you yet with Rainbow, Senkou & Giant Killing :/

    Actually a lot of fansubs seem to be lagging behind RC in general (Divine can you be less punctual and on top of it please?). I feel very desynchronized this season.

    And I still can’t get the railgun girls’ voices out of my head every time the maids speak.

  • May 7, 2010 at 5:29 amAndyKaze

    Really good anime :) , have some feeling that this anime’s types is simple but deep in stories. my friends left it at episode 2 they said just like usual harem comedy anime, but i know this anime and ichiban daimao is one of my fave slice of life romance comedy anime (sorry to much my bluf about this anime :p)

    i think if women is more “selfish” and man have responsibility to them is fair, since in our world, man is a leader in a home, man is have responsibility in his mother, wife(s), daughter and his sister. so when takumi is taking the responsibility, i think that is one good personality thats always make many people like him, and about the selfish of women, on case in usual family (if the woman is usual house wife) the woman must follow the husband lead in family, thats the trade of responsibility :)
    (like the manager in office, he/she can order his staff like he/she want, but he/she must take the responsibility of fault of his/her staff also)

  • May 7, 2010 at 11:39 amRockmanshii

    Finally watched this yesterday and finaly posting my comments.
    Man I love this show first about the episode it was a really good mix of drama fanservice and omg those tears Umenomori shed out,it almost looked like One Piece lol.
    About your post you said AIC keeps some consistency over the episodes in their comedies they did it some years ago already in another one that I love a lot: Seto no Hanayome.I’m starting to like Mayoi Neko a lot more than I thought first.I hope it’s gonna become great like SnH.