「ミルク＆ビター＆シュガー＆スパイス」 (Miruku & Bitaa & Shugaa & Supaisu)
“Milk & Bitter & Sugar & Spice”
AIC doesn’t cease to amaze me with their work here. Their animation is so detailed, clean, and crisp that it makes you think you’re watching some high budget BONES production. It takes a while to notice that you’re actually not, and seeing this level of quality in a comedy series of all things. Now if only all studios could produce work at these standards.
They don’t even skimp on their transition scenes nor distant shots, making them look just as good as (if not better than) some other series’ best shots. The colours, backdrops, faces, and clean cut lines. You could probably take a still frame at any point during this episode and not be disappointed. The end result? An awesome series with the visuals to support it, making it just that much better. Seeing as the manga artwork is really nice to begin with, it’s nice to see that the anime adaptation does it justice. This week we see the proper introduction of the Kirishima twins, Kotone and Akari, who are fantastic Tomatsu Haruka additions to the series. I’ve been waiting for them to show up every since I saw them in the opening sequence and rightfully so, with how adorably quirky they are. To make things better, one is an all out tsundere who hates Junpei and is hostile towards him, whereas the other is stalker-level, “I write delusional diary entries about you”, in love with him. I don’t know how you spell “WIN” anymore than that.
The comedy was pretty hilarious this time around, starting off with Junpei simply running away from Akari without asking any questions, the confession-dump knockout combination, the use of Tama as a weapon, Junpei’s refusal to catch him, Kotone’s stalkerish behaviour and love for misfortuned guys, all the way to Tama’s cat quarrels with Noir (Fukui Yukari), his preferential treatment by the twin’s father Keizou, his attempt to protect Noir from Kaede’s pack of dogs, and being scared shitless doing so. The highlight for me had to have been Tama’s outcry while being thrown, in conjunction with his disheartened response when he found out Junpei wouldn’t catch him. That’s a serious laugh until you cry moment with how hilarious Fukuyama Jun is as Tama. As I suspected a couple episodes back, Keizou is the Kirishima twins’ father, but it turns out he’s divorced from their mother. I guess that shouldn’t be surprising given his cabaret club loving nature, though it does explain why we haven’t seen Kotone and Akari around the temple.
Story-wise, the twins can protect themselves from the effects of knowing about Junpei’s curse using a Taima Jutsu 「退魔術」 (repel/anti magic technique). Explanation aside, what this translates into is some human involvement in Junpei’s quest towards 100 cat wishes, of which he’s only completed 20 or so thus far. Hearing this, Akari’s not impressed by his half-assed efforts and thinks he should just turn into a cat and die already, but Kotone’s more supportive and enlists his help in resolving the quarreling between their pet cat Noir and their father’s Tama. Things got ugly between them when Keizou took Tama in and started giving him preferential treatment for simply being a male calico cat, turning Noir’s happy life completely upside down. However, the two of them have been living apart for some time now, so the grudge doesn’t seem nearly that deep anymore. Junpei notices this and how Noir actually likes Tama (and is jealous of Nyamsus), so he tells Tama to take her on a walk and find an opportunity to apologize. They run into Kaede in the process, but Junpei’s unable to have a conversation with her because of all the cat chattering. One misdirected “shut up” outburst later and Kaede’s running off in tears like the first episode, but Junpei’s able to clear things up later on. However, that’s not before he gets a jealous thrashing from Kanako and Nagi for being with yet another girl(s).
After skimming the manga afterwards, I found that this episode covered chapters 12 and 13 pretty faithfully. It even used the chapter titles as the episode title. All of the scenes were here, but so much better with the animation and voices. In any case, the Kirishima twins have finally arrived! Lots of black shadowy panty shots though, which actually make it look like they’re wearing nothing at all. Nopan again?