「あの子にご執心？」 (Ano Ko ni Goshuushin?)
“Infatuated With That Girl?”
After a showing that I can only classify as random last week, my curiosity was naturally piqued on where things would go from there (har har). While Hiroshi does return as Brave, the story for the most part has gone back to the usual ways that I’ve grown accustomed to. Eiko returns briefly as well, seen alongside one Yamato Bouichirou (Shingaki Tarusuke), who possesses a pendant that projects an image of what looks like a blond version of Keena with the same hairpin. Other than showing how he’s closely observing Akuto and disinterested in Eiko’s grudge with Junko’s family line, there wasn’t a whole lot else revealed about Bouichirou at this time, including his name that I only found out about from the credits. However, his appearance does raise more questions about the overarching story surrounding who Keena is in relation to Akuto outside their brief meeting ten years ago.
Based on how things have proceeded thus far, I gather the plot will continue to slowly build around that notion and come to some not overly profound conclusion at the end of this anime adaptation. I know that sounds like I’m writing off anything meaningful coming out of this series, but that is actually well within my expectations when I first got into it. As such, I’m not disappointed how things seem to be going somewhat predictably down that path, but instead relieved that there is some sort of story being strung together every episode. Given the nature of the series and its fairly harem-esque and fan-service-filled nature, it’s realistically all one can expect. If nothing else, it works well to balance scenes of Fujiko getting ravaged by some snail monster’s tentacles and hearing Itou Shizuka moaning as if she were sexually aroused. Interestingly enough, this is actually the first time I recall hearing Shizuka’s “skills” in this area, even though she’s apparently no stranger to adult-themed anime and games under a different stage name. Still, it’s the first time I’ve ever heard this side of her, so it was for a lack of a better phrase, quite the treat.
In any case, Fujiko herself is proving to have little more than a comic relief type of role ever since the backstory on her brother was more or less wrapped up in episode five. It’s a bit weird seeing her get along so well with Peterhausen and still attempt to be a demon king’s queen in light of how her brother gave up his life to try and seal the dragon away, but that still isn’t quite as jarring as seeing Akuto accidentally activate her monster egg on contact, throw it out the window in broad daylight, only for it to wind up completely pitch dark when they go outside and check on it. It’s one thing to cast off Fujiko’s current behavior to her messed up personality and lust for power, but the discontinuity in the passage of time is a little more difficult to explain. In the grand scheme of things, it’s not a big deal even if it happened two episodes in a row now, but does prompt questions on what Artland studios is doing when it’s glaringly more obviously than hands drawn with six fingers.
Anyway, with a mutated two-headed chicken causing havoc and Hiroshi dispatching it with relative ease, he also ended up scoring a kiss from idol Hoshino Yuri (Iguchi Yuka), befitting of his superhero status. Oddly enough, I didn’t mind Brave’s appearance so much this time around with the background track they play for all the action scenes, mainly because we didn’t have the over-the-top comic book style of animation to make it feel even more out of place than it already is. I still wonder how no one noticed the big honking blue bracelet Hiroshi has on his wrist now, though I admit that the transformation sequence activated by it did look pretty cool. A superhero was probably the last thing I was expecting to see in this series, but at least it’s been portrayed in a way that doesn’t make it come off completely cheesy.
As for our main characters of interest, I never thought much of Keena’s love of rice much before, but it’s really grown on me over the weeks and I find her absolutely adorable when she shovels bowl after bowl down. With that in mind, I got a good laugh at how Akuto used her rice cooker to threaten to distance himself from her because she wouldn’t attend her classes. Korone on the other hand was fairly unassuming in her housewife get-up, but her Matrix-like talk on the theory that God acknowledges those with powerful magical abilities and how it’s tied to an almost religious belief did put a more serious spin on things. Last but not least is Junko, who’s become so ridiculously love-struck with Akuto that I almost miss the brash side of her personality. I suspect her mood swings come in waves however, which the next episode involving a supposed marriage interview with Akuto and her parents set up by Korone should entail. Overall, this was a pretty decent showing in light of last week, simply because of its better balance of all story, character development, fan-service, and even superhero elements.