「クッキングババ」 (Kukkingu Baba)
Nourin continues to be just as random as ever, but I’d say this episode was an improvement. For all the struggles that Nourin is going through with its character stability and transitions, the show reveals its strong points best when it cuts restrictions on comedy. Unmarried women are painted unlikable. The flat chested and the enormously endowed are ridiculed and objectified. Everyone shows their fetish and is mocked. But hey, it’s all quite funny, at least worth a few chuckles if not some outright laughs! Those laughs are not necessarily directed at witty dialogue or well written scenes, but the sheer limits of making all the characters suffer is just a waft of fresh air that happens to elicit a smile.
For example, it’s been quite awhile since we’ve seen a teacher so…deprived of her happiness and sex. In our world she’d be swept up in a heartbeat (some people do stick their thing in crazy), but in Nourin, everyone be sick of her terrible advances. She can’t teach, nor cook, nor stay normal for at least five minutes. She’s been overwhelmed by the powers of loneliness and as a result she takes it out on every single youthful and happy individual in this world. The last occurrences I could ever remember this happening was in Azumanga Daioh or Lucky Star (yes I’m aware there may be more recent examples), yet even those were not to the scale of crazy that this teacher achieves. Naked sushi anyone?
This…I like. Oftentimes the teacher role gets largely ignored in a school-set anime, where sensei takes a backseat to her energetic gakusei. Here we get an episode specifically aimed at the teacher herself, where all of her nastiness and fanservice takes center stage, mocking AKB48, middle age, and the sexually desperate all at once. Hers is a humorous caricature that Nourin has worked on well, and it’s quite a shame that we don’t get to see her more often, nor will we ever get a moment to develop her character–although brief, her moments in the past leave a lot of questions to be raised, such as, “why in the world would such a cute girl get shunned by her classmates?”
Overall, the addition of Natsumi-sensei has brought up Nourin another notch in its comedy, just as the last episode had done with pushing the boundaries of yuri and mocking the stereotypical protagonist-protagonist hookup. The boke-tsukkomi was strong this week, the parodies were off the charts, and the random just keeps getting randomer. Sure, it’s all a bit hastily put together and could use some polishing, but Nourin is definitely shaping itself better with each passing episode. Now does anyone still want that sushi? Any takers? I swear it’s hygienic.
ED3: 「ポニーテールの四十」 (Forty Ponytails) by Bekki (Saito Chiwa)