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「文明の道程」 (Bunmei no Doutei)
“BUNMEI’s distance”

Last episode felt a bit lacking with Kozue’s occult fanaticism, so it was nice to learn that something came from her interest in Antoine de Saint-Exupéry‘s famous short novel, The Little Prince (a.k.a. “Hoshi no Ouji-sama”). I was still expecting her change in personality to be attributed to something other than losing a part of herself in the supposed afterlife, so it felt like a bit of a letdown when that’s what it turned out to be. While I did appreciate how this explanation ties in her interest in The Little Prince and how it adheres to the reported effects of near-death experiences, I was hoping for something a lot eerier since it’s the afterlife we’re dealing with. Probably not quite like how she got possessed back in episode one, but something along the lines of a more innocent spirit taking over her body when she got swept away. However, where the creepiness didn’t reach the levels I was hoping for, the comedy sure picked up a lot of the slack.

Maya’s facial expressions are always a lot of fun, so it was nice to see some good ones when she was helping Ami try to bring the old Kozue back by fabricating some paranormal activity. Of the ones in this episode, I still get a good laugh out of her sadistic side showing up for a brief second when they were testing Kozue’s improved eyesight without her glasses. If you ever wanted photographic evidence that Maya enjoys hitting people, you just need to see her serious expression prior to laying a hand on Ami and the one in the middle of doing so. Naturally, she goes back to being all serious again right after like nothing happened. In comparison, Fumiaki’s idiocy of throwing his cellphone away out of frustration, faking the bending of a spoon at Maya’s “request”, and stripping down in front of everyone without thinking provided his share of laughs this week. They were of the slapstick variety, but I never get sick of those when they entail self-ownage.

In contrast, the semi-serious turn of events wasn’t one I was expecting. Starting with Kozue’s uncontrollable tears over what appeared to be the realization that she was missing a part of herself, and continuing on to Fumiaki’s childhood where his mother was obsessed with milking his spoon-bending ability, the visions of the future and the dropping of an atomic bomb against the aliens cemented the notion that this series isn’t all fun and games. What’s more, Maya’s reaction to learning that Fumiaki went through an experience very similar to her own spoke volumes about how she sympathized with him, whereas proof that the whole alien story wasn’t just made up brought about a very different side of her on top of that. The inclusion of some character development in both her and Fumiaki was a nice touch, since we haven’t seen much of anything in that regard thus far. In light of Fumiaki’s visions of his past, I can’t help but wonder if there’s more to Maya’s one. We already got a glimpse of how she loved her father before he was consumed by the occult world, so I’m curious as to whether there’s some follow-up history we could have learned about if she had gone in like originally planned.

For now, I’m pretty content with the added depth in Fumiaki’s character, which makes him deserving of some sympathy for a change — something that his exaggerated stories about being a time agent and leaving behind girls to save his own hide never did. He also deserves some credit for volunteering to go in to retrieve Kozue’s other half instead of letting Maya do it, so he’s slowly digging himself out of the huge hole he got himself into. To help balance out the serious change of pace, it felt rather befitting that they slipped in some comedic moments at the very end. Namely, Kozue’s glasses being over her head, and Maya flipping out at Fumiaki for helping Mikaze sell bread out of her Porsche. The latter didn’t take too much away from Maya’s improved opinion of Fumiaki in the scene before, so hopefully their relationship will be a little less sadomasochistic from now on. I highly doubt it, but if they can start working together to save the world, it’d be a nice step in the right direction. :P

 

Preview

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August 10, 2010 at 8:35 pm
41 comments »
  • August 10, 2010 at 8:40 pmbakabakashiEROGE

    NEXT EPISODE WUTTT AN UFO ??? PERTAMAAAAXXXX GAN By Pertamax Hunter…

  • August 10, 2010 at 9:03 pmAvalanche

    How much do you want to bet Fumiaki got his abilities back after the near-death experience?

    • August 10, 2010 at 10:19 pmJaden

      Sounds like something from a shonen manga but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t like the idea.

      But for now, I still want Fumiaki to continue doing what he does best, run and entertain. It’s still too early for him to be kicking occult butts with awesome esper abilities. That’s just my 2 cents though.

    • August 11, 2010 at 9:10 amZaku Fan

      I would say, not yet. He hasn’t resolved his relationship with his mother to release his abilities.

  • August 10, 2010 at 9:04 pmCyuu

    MOST EPIC FACE EVER :9

  • August 10, 2010 at 9:08 pmSuzuku

    Well this episode allowed me to like Fumiaki a bit more. I can understand why his life turned out so crappy and he ended up the way he did after having such a crappy mom who only cared for the money he brought in and not him as a child. He was never shown love and only used, never had a chance to make friends and do things a child should do, and as a result he ended up as a completely unreliable person after losing the reason he became so popular yet tormented as well. I still don’t like how he’s a corward, but his past at least makes his attitude understandable and he actually grew a little pair in the latter half of this episode, so I hope it continues.

    As for Nostradamus’ Key, is it me or have we not been given any notable clues yet? All we have is the Tengu’s hive, that tree which is supposedly destroyed in 2012, and that afterlife machine which seems like it was only used as a plot device to get Maya to see Fumiaki as a more trustworthy person. If someone can manage to tie all that together, I’ll give them the world’s biggest cookie lol. My theory is that the key probably is not one specific thing but a series of objects/scenarios that lead to a different outcome, in which case that cell phone is more or less useless.

    Actually, now that I think about it, the line “What’s important can’t be seen with your eyes. You have to see it with your heart.” has been repeated quite a bit in the past two episodes. If you were to consider this as a hint, it probably means that Nostradamus’ Key is something that you can’t simply find but have to open your heart to. IMO it has something to do with Fumiaki’s lost powers or the love he couldn’t find as a child, possibly his feelings for Mikaze.

    Oh, and MAYA X FUMIAKI FTW. My new OTP. I might write a fanfic. :p

  • August 10, 2010 at 9:19 pmPhocus

    The animation quality in this episode was SUPERB.

  • August 10, 2010 at 9:40 pmIsland Esper

    Maya Don’t fall for the idiot ! Nooooooo please don’t ! :(

    So what if the idiot got slapped around. That’s why people have kids retribution for what your parents did to you. Slap some sense into the little kid, that’s not enough pain even for a smile. As a matter of fact she got slapped too and turned out good. If the kid deserves it let him have it. Can I get inline to slap him too :)

    • August 11, 2010 at 1:18 pmdiet otaku

      hidoi! little!fumiaki didn’t do anything to deserve getting smacked like that. all he wanted was for his mom to take him to the planetarium like she had promised. :(

    • August 12, 2010 at 12:13 amGP

      It seems someone has some pentup rage of his own to deal with. Smacking kids around doesn’t make you a man.

    • August 14, 2010 at 12:17 amBROOKLYN otaku

      ……uh….officer I’d like to report an abusive parent…yes I’ll hold. AHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! WOW!

  • August 10, 2010 at 9:48 pmhoas

    The fumiaki’s childhood and the alien attack scenes were really something. I ended up watching those 2 a couple of times

  • August 10, 2010 at 10:18 pmBluance

    The car Smile was working on reminded me of the Delorean

    • August 10, 2010 at 10:45 pmDivine

      With a flux capacitor!?

      • August 11, 2010 at 3:42 amTehJawknee

        And Mr. Fusion to help clean up the environment, of course.

      • August 11, 2010 at 4:43 amfragb85

        But he needs 1.21 GIGAWATTS!!!

      • August 11, 2010 at 5:06 ammegalith

        Oh wow.. Who’s gonna be Biff?

  • August 10, 2010 at 10:51 pmKai

  • August 10, 2010 at 11:25 pmZnail

    Maya’s jealousy is getting even more obvious. Anyone thinking that she was angry for some other reason?

    I wonder if Bunmei got his telekinesis back now? It would make sense as they even mentioned regaining lost abilities after NDE and he did get to watch the likely reason he lost it in the first place.

    • August 12, 2010 at 12:15 amGP

      It sure seems to be the case with Maya, these tsunderes, always have to get some mad.

  • August 10, 2010 at 11:46 pmWill

    Anyone else think this episode belonged somewhere in the 3-4 region? I mean by episode 6 we are finally just considering the validity of Fumiaki’s story?

  • August 10, 2010 at 11:47 pmboo

    Wow, Maya’s been wearing that same white one piece since she was a kid. I think the most occult bit about this show is how it grew with her!

    • August 11, 2010 at 2:41 amdbm

      It’s an homage to the Jeff Goldblum/Geena Davis version of “The Fly”, where the only clothes that Goldblum’s character Seth Brundle initially owned were several copies of the same suit, in order to save time getting dressed.

      (Remember, the Telepod from “The Fly” has already made an appearance.)

  • August 11, 2010 at 12:01 amZaku Fan

    Looks like the aliens are martians. Wonder if the nuke worked

    • August 11, 2010 at 12:10 amZnail

      So true that War of the Worlds is an obvious inspiration for the aliens!

    • August 11, 2010 at 5:57 amGrant

      Considering that according to Abe his world is being ruled by said aliens I think it’s a safe assumption that it didn’t.

      On another note, a mushroom cloud alone doesn’t necessarily make something nuclear. In fact a lot of explosions (or even some volcanic eruptions) can make the mushroom cloud. Of course, given Japan’s obsession with nuclear weapons it’s probably safe to say it was one.

      • August 11, 2010 at 9:07 amZaku Fan

        Thing is, no aliens or their influence (raids, patrols, etc) were seen during the flashbacks as narrated by Fumiaki. So his town or village might be free though given its desert nature, probably devastated

        I think its safe to assume the bomb is nuclear given the implied size of explosion. Nothing non-nuclear i can think of can hit that big an effect

  • August 11, 2010 at 12:37 ammegalith

    Wow… Budget was quite high for this episode. I kinda was surprised by the increase of quality.

  • August 11, 2010 at 12:42 amEliteF22

    There’s gotta be more to Fumiaki still to be revealed. Why would you send some random dude back unless you had some faith that he could succeed. Maybe unlocking his full esper powers somehow allows him to warp time and space and defeat the aliens!!! Hopefully not, cause that would just be cheesy.

  • August 11, 2010 at 1:17 amretake09

    The part where Fumaki’s mother slapped gave me chills. He must have a rough past, maybe cursing his powers and that is why his powers are not active. Due to missing out key moments of his life due to his mother. Thats what I just thought.

    • August 11, 2010 at 1:27 amZnail

      Yupp, he most likely blamed his power instead of his mom and thus lost the unwanted power. It’s possible that he will gets it back now that he got to see that with an adults view and thus wont blame the power anymore.

  • August 11, 2010 at 1:43 amShirt

    Is this show creepy like Ghost Hound?

    • August 11, 2010 at 5:58 amGrant

      Occasionally but not really.

  • August 11, 2010 at 2:21 amewok40k

    Fumiaki starts acting somewhat responsible, which is good for him. Lots of laughing moments too, usualy self-inflicted by Fumiaki. Geez, throwing away his precious cell after losing one already?
    Maya seems to get a little tiny bit closer to him (but still tsundere).

  • August 11, 2010 at 5:35 amfragb85

    I love how anti-climatic the whole “find Kozue’s self” event was. It certainly gave it some good laughs. The character development of Fumiaki was long overdue, he desperately needed that after the crap he pulled in episode 4. At least he’s starting to grow a pair now.

    Also, I found the whole aliens thing gave of a very creepy War of the Worlds vibe. Especially the part where the tripod was sucking people into itself.

  • August 11, 2010 at 5:58 amAlvord12

    Just as I had thought after seeing the previous episode, except for the ‘possessed Kozue’, the whole ‘After life’ thing was just so that Fumiaki could regain his respect.

  • August 11, 2010 at 1:49 pmcz

    falcon slap lol. Maya has some nice legs mmmmmm.

  • August 13, 2010 at 1:04 amThe17thNoah

    anyone else loled at the snake? I just love all the expressions in that scene including the snake’s XD I wonder if Kozue got that pot in the same way too:P

  • August 13, 2010 at 1:15 amAvenger

    I’m totally not just watching this show because of Maya’s legs o.o

    • August 13, 2010 at 8:32 pmShinjiro

      No, we’re not….The quality of the animation, the story, the occult side of things, the drama…Who am I kidding…

  • August 14, 2010 at 6:19 pmlol

    This ep was really good, now I like bunm- sorry fumiaki :3 more than before ^^
    and i loved how Maya said “Amigo” xD haha and UFO!