Just some quick thoughts on two shows before we hit the big day of the week.
Hamatora Ep. 5
Episode summary: Everyone — including the girls — ends up at an onsen for various reasons. Out of nowhere, a homosexual gang raids the place, but they’re only interested in men so the girls are free to go. But the real reason they’re here is because their leader wishes to mind control the prince of some made-up nation (yeah, he just happens to be at the onsen). Why? He wants to use the prince’s political clout to pressure Japan into reinstating a disgraced male idol… yeah. For some reason, the girls feel insulted by the fact that they’re not desired by gay men, so they stick around. Meanwhile, the guys confront this week’s villain, but are foiled because he has the Minimum of seduction! How it works is that our villain’ll do situps until the sweat off of his abs combines with the steam of the onsen, creating an intoxicating mixture that can seduce any man. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work on women. So with our heroes rendered impotent, it falls upon the heroines’ shoulders to finish the job. At the end of the episode, Gasquet stabs a researcher for some reason or other.
Thoughts: All in all, a stupid episode. When the girls finally stumble upon the culprit, one of them goes, “So this is your keikaku~…” And she keeps talking, and talking, and talking, and talking… such masterful storytelling leaves me in awe. The thing is that I’m never going to find Hamatora funny; its humor just falls flat each and every single time. But still, this could’ve been a useful episode. Initially, I was like, “Oh good, the girls get to have the spotlight for once.” Hell, Hajime actually gets to be useful in this week’s episode. Granted, it’s only because food is on the line, but hey, she’s doing something besides constantly stuffing her face on someone else’s dime. Unfortunately, the girls get to be the stars of a joke episode and not even the ha-ha kind. And ultimately, our heroines are only able to solve the case in the first place because they refused to be chased out by the gang: “Well, if we’d let ourselves get chased out, wouldn’t you feel like a loser?” Then another girl chimes in, “…I feel like we’ve been treated unfairly as women.” Yes, what an insult that you’re not universally desired by all men. Haha, so funny. Top drawer, Hamatora.
Inari, Konkon, Koi Iroha Ep. 4
Episode summary: It’s the day of some festival so Inari gets all dressed up in a yukata along with Akemi. Our heroine eventually ends up spending quality one-on-one time with Koji. As for Akemi, she develops a crush for Keiko, but she doesn’t quite have Inari’s luck. Meanwhile, Touka continues to be suspicious of Uka’s relationship with his sister, but Uka lies to him to avoid creating trouble. Toshi then warns her about the dangers of becoming friends with humans.
Thoughts: Going to depart a bit from how I usually convey my thoughts on this anime.
• It’s funny to me that Touka is this tall and handsome bishie but his dad looks like an otaku. Obviously, this is nothing more than wish fulfillment for the anime’s target audience. Still, I sure hope they realize that Touka will likely end up looking like his father one day or they’ll be in for a terrible surprise.
• It turns out Akemi has a thing for Keiko. I’ll just repeat what I said earlier on Twitter: I’d be more down with same sex couples in anime if they weren’t often treated in such a fetishistic way for the sake of straight viewers.
• I still find myself chuckling from time to time when I watch this show. It isn’t gut-bustingly funny, sure, but it’s good enough without having all of the other… sordid trappings one comes to expect from anime. In any case, it seems like everyone and their mothers — and I mean literally their mothers as well — has caught on to the fact that our heroine has a crush on Koji except, well, Koji.
• I find the shoujo practice of wrist-grabbing somewhat bothersome. It doesn’t help either when it’s accompanied by a loud, clapping sound. Nothing spells romance like being led around like a child, huh? Why not just cut out the middleman and have the guy grab her hand in the first place? Inari, Konkon, Koi Iroha can’t even hide behind embarrassment as an excuse because this is what our main couple literally does in the very next scene.
• Touka’s voice acting is still as terrible as ever.
• Despite the semi-rapist undertones inherent in his character, Toshi’s making some sense here: an immortal being like Uka is just setting herself up for heartbreak if she gets too attached to humans. But then again, there’s something very poetic about the short-lived realities of mortal love. Because time is so fleeting for humans, it’s beautiful that we can nevertheless forge powerful, touching relationships. The fire may not burn for very long, but for the brief moment that it dances in your vision, it’ll be one of the most captivating spectacle that you’ll ever see. Cheesy, I know, but still… my point is that for Uka — and this is someone whose idea of romance has been limited to self-serving courters, a perverted brother, and the static, on-rails nature of dating simulations — developing a genuine connection with Inari may very well be worth the future heartbreak that will inevitably come when her human friend passes away.