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Gina Szanboti



Joined: 03 Aug 2008
Posts: 6540
PostPosted: Fri Jun 30, 2017 6:27 pm Reply with quote
Akane the Catgirl wrote:
Um...is this a Japanese thing? Using elephants as a sexual metaphor for dong? Look, I've been studying Japanese language and culture, but I don't get this! Is there something I'm missing?

Just the obvious. Smile Same reason swans are used that way. Visual onomatopoeia, I guess you could call it. The elephant trumpeting sound effect goes well with the joke too, as it sounds both shocked and proud.
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Akane the Catgirl



Joined: 09 Oct 2013
Posts: 1043
Location: LA, Baby!
PostPosted: Fri Jul 07, 2017 7:41 pm Reply with quote
Akane Recaps Code Geass Episode Six: Campus Cat Possibly Connected to Caped Weirdo

Last Time on Code Madness:

Cornelia: Well, that was a long day of conquering Qurac. Now to go home to my little sister-
Some Guy: Bad news, Cornelia. Your half-brother just died at the hands of some caped weirdo.
Cornelia: Bring me the head of his killer. NOW.
Meanwhile in Japan…
Lelouch: Well, that was a long day of terrorism. Now to go home to my little sister-
C.C.: Hey.
Lelouch: ...what the f**k?
Nunnally: Welcome home, -nun! We’re making origami.
Lelouch: I see that, but I told you not to let strangers into our house!
Nunnally: But C.C.’s not a stranger, -nun. She’s your “friend with benefits”! What does that mean, -nun?
Lelouch: GOODNIGHT NUNNALLY.
Later…
C.C.: You know, your sister is excessively adorable.
Lelouch: Never mind that! What are you doing here? Why the hell are you alive?
C.C.: I have my reasons. Did you enjoy my “benefits”?
Lelouch: Aside from your terrible sense of humor, yes.
C.C.: Then my work here is done.
Lelouch: But you barely did anything.
C.C.: MY WORK HERE IS DONE.
The next day.
C.C.: So what’s with the “orange” thing from last night?
Lelouch: Huh? That? It doesn’t mean anything.
C.C.: Ah, the classic paranoia gambit. By the way, you’re quite the celebrity.
Lelouch: I know, right!?
Somewhere else…
Suzaku: Why am I not dead yet?
Euphemia: Look out! I’m falling!
Suzaku: Hey, watch we’re your- oh, a cute girl.
Euphemia: A cuter boy!
At the same time.
Jeremiah: I swear, I don’t know who that caped weirdo is!
Soldier Number One: Yeah, right. Then why’d you set Kururugi free?
Jeremiah: I did?
Viletta: Wait, that boy from Shinjuku...and I just thought Jeremiah was drunk!
Back in town…
Euphemia: I’m Euphie. You could say that I’m a warrior who believes in justice of a social kind.
Suzaku: Wait, didn’t I see you on Tumblr that one ti-
Euphemia; OHMYGOODNESS A CAT.
Suzaku: Why do I have the feeling I touched a nerve there?
Euphemia: Who’s a good kitty-bitty? Yes, you is! Suzaku, pet the kitty!
Suzaku: Sorry, cats are allergic to m- wait, you know my name?
Euphemia: Of course I do! I read the papers! Now let’s go on a date!
At School.
Lelouch: What the hell are you doing, C.C.!?
C.C.: Drifting. How's your powers?
Lelouch: They are awesome, thank you very much.
Somewhere in Shinjuku...
Some Idiot: Yo, let's take a selfie!
A Moron: Look, it's that Honorary Britannian!
Suzaku: Euphie, I think we sh-
Euphemia slaps Some Idiot.
Suzaku: ...You know, I'd hate to see the day you go psycho.
Euphemia: Wait, did you hear something explodey?
Elsewhere...
Jeremiah: FOR THE CROWN!
Suzaku: Guys, stop it! You're all violent sociopaths!
Jeremiah: You fool! Only a royal can make us cease our fighting!
Euphemia: *clears throat*
Jeremiah: Yes, your highness.
Suzaku: Oh my god.
Later...
Euphemia: Welcome home, Viceroy Cornelia!
Important-Looking Man: We're throwing a party for you, Cornelia.
Cornelia: Sir, are you aware of what time it is?
Important-Looking Man: ...not f**king around time?
Cornelia: BRING ME THE HEAD OF ZERO.
The next day...
Suzaku: My name is Suzaku Kururugi, and I hope we all get along at School.
Lelouch: Audible Gasp!



Well...we’ve hit the first official filler episode in “The Stolen Mask”. This series has kind of an infamous reputation for it’s filler, in spite of the fact that it has no source material to draw from in the first place. And believe me, this ain’t the last padding you’re going to see. Yes, it does have the ending that “justifies” sitting through twenty minutes of faff, but we all know that’s just cheating. Let’s go.

***

The episode starts in what seems to be some sort of ruins. An old man stands there, contemplating. When he is informed that some remains have arrived by a subordinate, he responds “I was just conversing with Clovis, actually. The project must proceed without a moment’s delay.” Who is he? We’ll find out at the very end of the episode, but to someone watching this for the very first time with no context, it’s easy to guess he’s important.

We then cut back to Ashford, where the students are gossiping about Suzaku. Some are nervous, while certain others wish to befriend him. All the while, Lelouch signals Suzaku to follow him up to the rooftop so they can chat. According to Lulu, it’s been seven years since they’ve used that signal.

Okay, I really need to stop here for a minute or two. As weak as the individual character writing may be, I do like how Code Geass does relationships. We the audience get a complete sense of how each member of the cast is connected with each other, whether it be Lelouch and C.C.’s snarking or Suzaku and Euphemia’s romance. With maybe one or two exceptions, I do appreciate how the relationships are written.

Anyway, Lelouch and Suzaku reminisce on their childhood, both glad to see the other alive. Suzaku then remembers C.C. and asks Lelouch if she’s alright, to which he lies and says he doesn’t know. Then he asks how he’s to refer to his old friend, who is now going under the family name of “Lamperouge” rather than “vi Britannia”. And as to why Suzaku’s at Ashford Academy?

Well, as we see, Euphemia is responsible for enrolling her love interest at the same school Lelouch is attending. As of now, she’s at an art gallery with paintings all done by Clovis, with one portrait being of Lelouch and Nunnally with their mother. She’s even a bit wistful over her brother’s sudden death.

Meanwhile, the Japanese underground rebels are having a very bad day. This is no thanks to Cornelia and pals raiding their hideout, and trust me, you don’t want to get on Cornelia’s bad side. She’s still on a vengeance quest for Zero, and if you think not finding him is going to get her to calm down? Nope! She just fires at the resistance anyway because f**k you she’s Cornelia.

That night at Ashford, Lelouch has a very special surprise for his baby sister. With an almost giddy smile, he beckons Suzaku over. Slowly, he takes Nunnally’s hand into his own, which she immediately recognizes. She starts to cry in relief, as all three childhood friends are finally reunited.

As Suzaku explains, while he’s still in the military (albeit the engineering core), he’s going to be spending some time getting an education. Lulu insists on taking care of everything, as he and Nunnally get to be Suzaku’s hosts now. “It’s funny,” Lelouch says. “You’re a lot more mellow than you used to be.”

“And you’re a bit more rough.”

Now, let’s talk about shipping.



[...I REGRET NOTHING.]

Okay, let me clarify that I do not align myself with shippers. I don’t particularly care which two or more fictional characters are kissing. In fact, there are some ships that I don’t get. (Seriously, Eren and Levi have zero chemistry with each other! Why is that a thing!?) Suzaku and Lelouch, however, I do understand a little. Both of them have a strong bond and do care about the other, in spite of the fact how they’re on both sides of a war. They have to because their tragic relationship from close friends to bitter enemies is arguably the most integral to the story.

Lelouch heads to the kitchen, where C.C. is waiting for him. From the look on her face, she thinks Suzaku’s bad news, but Lulu assures her that he’s a friend from the past. His words, not mine.

Anyhoo, let’s check in on Jeremiah, who looks like he’s about to lose his marbles. The good news is that the courts have decided that he’s innocent of letting Zero go. The bad news is he’s been demoted and everyone hates him. Oh, NOW I see why the fans love him! Seriously, he looks like a kicked puppy in this scene.

Back at Ashford, Suzaku is just about to leave when Lelouch asks him to drop by again and say hi. However, Suzaku tells his old friend they shouldn’t be seen together whilst someone realizes their connection. Tensions arise as Lelouch is about to tell him off for his self-sacrificing nature, only to stop himself before it can go anywhere. All while C.C. is watching them…

The next day, all goes quiet as Suzaku enters the classroom. The racism doesn’t stop there as bullies graffiti Suzaku’s gym clothes with bigoted messages (“go back to your ghetto” to be precise). With Lelouch receiving word on Cornelia’s raid, it looks like everyone’s having a miserable week.

Then we cut to her.



[Behold, the only picture I could find of her!]

This is Nina Einstein, played by Kim Mai Guest. She is arguably one of the most controversial members of the cast, and some would describe her as being one of the most hated. I don’t remember having much of an opinion on her, but the directions they take with Nina are...um...interesting, to say the least.

Where were we? Oh, yeah, Nunnally has found Nina on the computer by herself. As she explains, Nina feels a bit nervous around Suzaku. Because he’s an Eleven.

...Oh. Ohhhhh.



[Ooooooooohhhhhh….]

Anyway, it’s lunchtime! As C.C. walks in with the pizza she ordered, Lelouch is hiding his Zero mask. Unbeknowst to anyone until it’s too late, a certain feline (the very same one Euphie bandaged) has joined Lelouch and pals. Which is bad because the cat ends up with the Zero mask on his head. So it begins…

Back at the clubhouse, Nunnally is explaining Lelouch’s freakout, unintentionally making his situation worse by getting the student council involved. Sure enough, Madam President gets the entire damn school involved in hunting down the cat, much to our protagonist’s chagrin. The prize itself is a kiss from whichever student council member you desire. So everyone suffers! Even me.

Okay, I was a bit wrong. Only half the episode is mindless faff and filler. The first ten minutes of this are chock-full of character building and heartwarming moments. The rest? It’s just a waste of time that could have easily been relegated to an OVA.

Well, I might as well do something useful!



This is Shirley Fenette, voiced by Liam O’Brien’s wife Amy Kincaid. This is one of her few voice acting credits, and honestly, she ain’t half bad. I bring this up because Kallen unexpectedly runs into Shirley while the latter is still in her school swimsuit. Oh, and Lloyd and Cecile are here. Okay.

I’m skipping a lot here because there’s no point to much of this, so let’s cut to the chase. The groups compromise of Milly and Rivalz, Kallen and Shirley, and Lelouch and Suzaku hunting down the masked cat. It all culminates when the kitty ends up on the top of school tower. Lelouch almost falls off the roof, but before he can become a human pancake, Suzaku reaches out and grabs his hand. Fortunately, the mask is knocked off the cat’s head before anyone can find out anything awkward. So everyone is happy, even the cat.



[WHOSE A GOOD WIDDLE PUTTY TAT? YOU IS! YOU IS!]

*ahem* Sorry. Anyhoo, Suzaku is now a student council member, Nunnally gives him and Lelouch kisses on the cheek, blah blah blah. Can we move onto something plot relevant? Please?

What’s that? They’re going to introduce the villain of this series? Awesome!

We cut to the state-mandatory viewing of Prince Clovis’ funeral to the strains of “All Hail Britannia” (sidenote: this anime’s soundtrack is really good). We see a few members of the royal family before our primary antagonist takes the stage. His speech...well, it deserves it’s own paragraph for how iconic it is. Take it away, Chuck.

“All men are not created equal. Some are born swifter of foot, some with greater beauty. Some are born into poverty, and others born sick and feeble. Both in birth and in upbringing, in sheer scope of ability, every human is inherently different. Yes, that is why people discriminate against one another, which is why there is struggle, competition, and the unfaltering march of progress. Inequality is not wrong! Equality is! What of the EU, which made equality a right? Rabble politics by a popularity contest! The Chinese Federation with it’s equal distribution of wealth? A nation of lazy dullards! But not our beloved Britannia! We fight! We compete! Evolution is continuous! Britannia alone moves forward, advancing steadily into the future! Even the death of my son Clovis demonstrates Britannia’s unswerving commitment to progress! We will fight on! We shall struggle, compete, plunder and dominate! And in the end, the future shall be ours! ALL HAIL BRITANNIA!”



[The one in the bottom right corner.]

Ladies and gentleman, Charlies zi Britannia, voiced by Michael McConnohie. And that speech just gave Hellsing Ultimate’s “I Love War” speech a run for it’s money. Now all I have to do is keep resisting making politics jokes and I won’t be hunted down and killed.

***

I guess the best way to describe this episode is...uneven. I do like that first half of the episode, but the cat-chasing subplot was kind of stupid. And that villain speech! Anyhoo, I'm pretty sure the next episode is more even in terms of story and characters. See you then!

What's Nunnally Doing?

Being useless, among with the cat chase.

NEXT TIME:

More Ouran, coming your way!
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Akane the Catgirl



Joined: 09 Oct 2013
Posts: 1043
Location: LA, Baby!
PostPosted: Sat Jul 15, 2017 4:05 pm Reply with quote
Akane Recaps Ouran Episode Sixteen- In Which Hikaru Gets Jealous

Last time on The Young, the Rich, and the Air-headed:

Ah, summer break- a time where young students can relax and forget their worries over school. Haruhi, however, is not your average student. She's spending her summer working at a Karuizawa pension owned by a friend of her father's. And whether she wants to or not, the boys from Ouran Host Club are joining her. In fact, they're all determined to stay at Pension Misuzu, in spite of the fact that there's only one vacant room left. To make a long story short, the twins Hikaru and Kaoru won the room, but tension still rises. It doesn't help that one of Haruhi's friend from middle school -and a boy at that- is also in Karuizawa for the summer. Will romance bloom in the Japanese countryside?

We have officially reached "Operation Haruhi and Hikaru's First Date!". In spite of what the title may have you believe, Haruhi and Hikaru don't become a couple (unless you count their Japanese voice actors Maaya Sakamoto and Kenichi Suzumura being happily married). However, this episode does give us an insight into Hikaru as a character. In fact, a lot of what happens here sets up the events of Hikaru and Kaoru's flashback episode, which in my opinion, is one of the greatest of the series. Let's go.

***

The episode picks up from where the last left off, as Haruhi and her friend (named Arai, voiced by Jerry Jewell) have an awkward reunion. Our heroine is quick to introduce the Hitachiins and Tamaki, though she refers to him as an "associate" rather than her "sempai" based on instructions he gave her earlier. Based on his reaction, this piece of advice backfired heavily on the Host King. It doesn't help that Misuzu has banged on the piano in a fourth-wall breaking manner.

We cut to Haruhi and Arai catching up things, neither having seen each other since junior high graduation. The boys comment on this sight (with Hikaru acting uncharacteristically snide, even by his standards). Of course, Haruhi is annoyed with her fellow hosts embarrassing her in front of her old friend, especially a moping Tamaki.

Hikaru is quick to catch on that Arai has a bit of a crush on Haruhi. In a fit of catiness, the elder Hitachiin announces said crush to the entirety of Pension Misuzu. Even Kyoya is surprised by Hikaru's behavior. Aw, is a certain somebody green with envy?



[Ha ha. Very funny, guys.]

Haruhi chastises Hikaru for trying to publicly humiliate her old friend, only for Arai to confess he used to have a crush on her. The hosts are shocked at this, and even more shocked that apparently, Haruhi turned him down. Even Haruhi herself is surprised that she allegedly rejected Arai's crush. So what happened?

As seen in a flashback to the previous summer, Haruhi took Arai's request to go to the same high school with him a little too literally. Only now does Haruhi realize "let's go to high school together" mean "we should totally be a couple". Arai reassures her that it's okay now, no hard feelings, but he did always like that faraway look in her eyes. In the background, however, Hikaru grows ever more angry.

We cut to sometime later, as the hosts are entertained by stories of junior high Haruhi. All have taken a shine to Arai, with the glaring exception of Hikaru, who still insists on the new guy being a jerk. He continues to mouth off and act like a little a**hole, until Haruhi goes up and slaps him in the face. Look, I enjoy Hikaru as a character- he's arguably one of the most fascinating of the main cast- buuut....



Haruhi tells him off for his jerk*ss behavior when Hikaru explodes. "But why...why should anyone else even matter to you? I thought WE were your friends! Are we or aren't we!?" Okay so here's something that's refreshing to see in this particular story. In most shoujo manga that I'm aware of, a love interest being jealous is seen as a positive flaw. Yeah, he's controlling and manipulative, but that just means he loves you! Not here. Hikaru is portrayed as unambiguously wrong for acting this way, but at the same time, we're given a good reason why he's behaving this way. I'm not going to go into it yet, but let's just say that of course Hikaru was going to be envious when the defining relationship of his life is based on an unhealthy codependence.

Anyway, Hikaru runs off in a huff with Kaoru in tow, as Tamaki comments on how "their world is still so small". In the Hitachiin's room, Hikaru is sulking over what just happened. Kaoru tells him how immature he was being, although in a more gentle manner than Haruhi did. Hikaru himself says he couldn't help it, but doesn't understand why he's so upset, to which Kaoru suggests he should apologize to Arai. Based on his understanding smile, he knows exactly what's up with Hikaru.

We cut to downstairs, as Haruhi and pals say goodbye to Arai. Hikaru himself comes down to say sorry, to which Arai is like "no problem". Or rather, KAORU, dressed in Hikaru's clothes, came down to apologize, because Hikaru is still mopey and sulky. Kaoru then suggests Haruhi go on a date which he totally isn't going to have his older twin sub for him at the last minute, no sir.

We then cut to Haruhi and Hikaru in town. Haruhi is wearing this:



[That's...actually really cute.]

Kaoru himself is back at the pension with a "cold", his plan for getting Hikaru and Haruhi alone together going swimmingly. The hosts seem to be fine with this, minus Tamaki, who is raging at Haruhi's first date being with one of his main rivals. However, Kaoru believes this is a good thing for Hikaru, since this means he can expand his social circle and practice having social skills. As Kyoya puts it, this date is a test to see if Hikaru can have a life outside of his younger twin.

So Haruhi and Hikaru hang out together. Try as he might, the elder Hitachiin does a terrible job at not being rude and snarky. The two wander throughout Karuizawa, trying new foods and browsing through the various shops and stores. All the while, the rest of the host club members spy on their date.

Suddenly, a storm begins to brew! (Remember that Haruhi is terrified of thunder and lightning). Coincidentally, Haruhi and Hikaru bump into Arai at his uncle's grocer, reigniting Hikaru's jealous tendencies. When Arai offers to give the two a ride home, Hikaru angrily refuses and storms off. As Arai wonders what's up with him, he brings up that surely he has other friends, which causes Haruhi to realize something important.

It begins to rain, the hosts having taken shelter at Pension Misuzu. Misuzu himself receives a call from Arai explaining what happened to Hikaru and Haruhi. Speaking of, Hikaru has taken shelter under a tree (kids, avoid trees during lightning storms), listening to music and being sulky once more. He then gets a phone call from Tamaki, who angrily chews him out for abandoning an undoubtedly petrified Haruhi out in the rain.



Overcome with guilt, Hikaru rushes to find Haruhi's wherabouts. Fortunately, Haruhi has taken shelter in a nearby church before she could get struck by lightning. Hikaru reflects on how important it is to be receptive to other's feelings, just as Haruhi did for him. And there she is, cowering underneath an altar.

What happens next is...really sweet. Hikaru grabs the tablecloth, shrouds Haruhi in it, gives her his headphones, and stays close to her. He apologizes for running off and being a jerk towards Arai, and Haruhi forgives him. Whether or not it's raindrops or tears running down Hikaru's face is left up to viewer interpretation. But overall, this scene is pleasant after all the drama building up.

The next day, Arai stops by to drop off a watermelon at Pension Misuzu. This time, Hikaru is there to join everyone, his pettiness having dissipated completely. Upstairs, Kyoya asks Kaoru if he ever considered the date might go too well between his twin and Haruhi, to which he answers that it's too soon for a romance and that Hikaru's too dense to realize it. The episode ends with Kyoya remarking that the Hikaru is lucky, since the host club is full of dummies.

***

Okay, I admit it; I've found myself a bit biased towards Hikaru and Kaoru episodes. And why not? They're some of the best episodes of this entire anime! It's refreshing, it's hilarious, but it has a lot of heart to it. Stay tuned for the conclusion of the Karuizawa mini-arc, with some focus on Kyoya that's far better than the first beach episode!

COUNTS:

Funny Aneurysm Moment: 24 (unchanged)

NEXT TIME:

The Karuizawa arc's conclusion, then back to Code Geass!
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Akane the Catgirl



Joined: 09 Oct 2013
Posts: 1043
Location: LA, Baby!
PostPosted: Fri Jul 21, 2017 6:39 pm Reply with quote
Akane Recaps Ouran Episode Seventeen: In Which Kyoya is Secretly Nice

Last Time on The Young, the Rich, and the Air-Headed:

The boys of Ouran Host Club never expected that their female friend Haruhi had guy friends before they came along. But she did! The hosts were actually quite fond of Arai, with the exception of a certain Hikaru Hitachiin. In fact, he outright hated the new guy. Hikaru b*tched and moaned and humiliated Arai in front of the other hosts, and not even Haruhi telling him to stop was enough to consider changing his mind. In fact, Kaoru had to do a twin switch to apologize to Arai. The next day, Hikaru and Haruhi went on a date (set up by Kaoru), which seemed to go well until the two bumped into Arai again. Hikaru’s jealousy gets the better of him, as he abandons Haruhi just as a thunderstorm started to brew. Fortunately, this was when Hikaru realized how much of a jerk he was, and he was able to find and comfort a petrified Haruhi. Still, Hikaru has a long way to go if he wants to have a meaningful relationship with anyone.

“Kyoya’s Reluctant Day Out!” is the first good Kyoya focus episode. You may have noticed that Kyoya Ootori has not been getting as much attention as the other hosts. He’s only had one real focus episode so far, and that’s stretching it. Said episode featured the infamous “merit” scene. Well, there’s really only one direction to go from there, and that’s up. Let’s dig in.

***

The episode begins with...well, extremely spoilery content. I’m going to save this for when we get to Kyoya’s flashback episode, but the first scene foreshadows Kyoya’s conflict with his father and older brothers. Apparently, the Shadow King was having a dream, because we transition from that to him wondering how the hell he ended up at some department store. He quickly deducts that Tamaki must have dragged him there while he was asleep.

We flashback to an hour earlier, where Tamaki is gushing over an expo the department store is holding. At the time Kyoya was still in bed, as the captions explain he’s not a morning person. Also, he was up until five in the morning AND he has low blood sugar, so overall, waking him up was a terrible idea. Of course, that doesn’t stop the hosts from kidnapping him anyway.

We then get some establishing shots of the “commoner’s department store”. The boys of the host club gawk at stuff like mass production and consumerism. Speaking as someone who was born at the tail end of the millenial generation, I can’t sympathize. Seriously, f*ck capitalism and the one percent and f*ck rich people and F*CK F*CK F*CK F*-



Sorry, millenial panic attack. Anyhoo, the hosts accidentally leave Kyoya snoozing on a bench while they go to the pet shop. Now that everyone knows how we got here, Kyoya decides he’d better call for a ride home, but woops! He doesn’t have his cell phone or his wallet on him! Thankfully, we will all have IPhones and Uber in ten years, and thank God because I feel naked without my phone.

Suddenly, a little boy accidentally runs into Kyoya by accident! A glare resembling that of a namahage (which is kind of like the Krampus) is enough to send said kid running for his mommy. Kyoya swears revenge against Tamaki, when suddenly, Haruhi! Yep, she’s shopping at the expo because everyone in town is here so I’ll let this contrivance slide. And then Kyoya gets an idea…

Rather than going home, the two instead head to the local McDonalds to get some grub. After all, Haruhi doesn’t have much cash, but Kyoya scarily declares Tamaki will reimburse the money spent on lunch. Actually, he’s so terrifying that he manages to scare the lovestruck cashier. Now THAT takes talent.



[BUT...is he as scary as The Thing? More at Eleven.]

Haruhi and Kyoya sit down to lunch, the former chastising the latter over him being rude to the cashier. Kyoya is too grumpy to care, then goes on to dissect the fast food industry. Haruhi is quick to realize that since Kyoya is surrounded by strangers, he doesn’t have to keep up the pretense of being a functioning human being. If only I had that luxury.

Just as Haruhi wonders how Kyoya and Tamaki can complement each other so well, the Shadow King brings it up. He explains that there’s something to gain out of spending time with the Host King, though given what we’ve seen in previous episodes, this answer is demonstrably false. He exposits further that everyone in the Host Club is okay with this, though Kyoya does get wistful over Tamaki’s foolishness. We’ll get into it more in a future episode, so let’s move on.

The two head on over to some of the stalls. Kyoya stops by a display of black pearls, which he states is unusual because of how expensive they are. “I am the product of excellent breeding,” he explains to Haruhi when she asks how he could tell. That gets Haruhi wondering why she knows so little about the Ootoris beyond the basics. She even calls Kyoya out for butting into her personal life while refusing to let her know anything about his own.

So we get a flashback to Kyoya and his brothers being introduced to society by their father. The guests seem impressed, but everyone knows that only the oldest of the brothers can succeed, and Kyoya is the youngest out of three. Back in the present, the Shadow King says his brothers are “exceptional”, and based on another brief flashback, he needs to outshine both of them if he wants his dad to notice him. Still, he doesn’t feel the pressure, and even says it’s fun. But perhaps this is just a lie he tells himself…

All of a sudden, Kyoya notices a stand selling “antique” Komatsu bowls. Of course, Kyoya recognizes the quotations marks and points out that the merchant’s wares are a sham. It’s actually a good moment that reveals his hidden depths. Kyoya has no reason to interfere, but he does so out of the kindness of his own heart, though he’s not willing to show it. Sure, he explains that the woman who was about to be conned was married to the CEO of an electronics company, but surely he could have just taken her aside?

Anyhoo, Haruhi starts to wonder about the woman’s ring, Kyoya takes her aside to ask about the abundance of melon-flavored products. Haruhi can’t help but living, even comparing Kyoya’s naivety about the snacks to Tamaki’s general demeanor right in front of him. Speaking of, Tamaki and pals are up on the roof, where the Host King is being licked by the cutest golden puppy ever. I...I want a dog.



[But like hell I’ll give away my kitty!]

The hosts are goofing around and having fun, when suddenly, Renge! She’s even brought her powerful motor! To be more precise, she’s performing in a sentai show the hosts are watching. Only when the hero arrives on stage does Honey realize they left Kyoya behind.

Downstairs, Haruhi asks Kyoya why Tamaki is so altruistic and selfless. He says he doesn’t know, but as Haruhi elaborates, she realizes the two aren’t so different, as both seek something out of other’s happiness. Tamaki’s just isn’t material. This leads to Kyoya reflecting on all the times Tamaki has done gone deeds, and some are from episodes we the viewers haven’t seen.

Suddenly, an announcement blares out from all over the expo, claiming that Kyoya is a lost child, much to both his and Haruhi’s embarrassment. This leads him to go back into “scary vengeance mode”, though when he and Haruhi go to meet the hosts (and the dog), he seems to have calmed down. As the two watch Tamaki play with his new pet, Haruhi explains that she knew Kyoya wasn’t that selfish, as there was no idea he could have recognized the woman as the CEO’s wife from their angle.

“It just doesn’t make sense.” says Haruhi. “You go through all that trouble acting like you’re such a big jerk, when being a nice guy comes so naturally to you. It seems counterintuitive.”

And as she walks away, Kyoya ends the episode with this: “That’s a very intriguing notion, in it’s own way.”

***

This episode shines a light on Kyoya’s character, giving him some much-needed depth. I’m going to have to be honest, if I haven’t before. For the longest time, Kyoya was the least favorite of the hosts. But rewatching this, I have a new appreciation for him. Sure, he’s an a**hat, but dig deep down, and you find a heart of gold. However, I do think his flashback episode far outshines this one.

And now that we’re heading into the darker parts of Ouran, we must bid adieu to the Funny Aneurysm Count. My only regret was that I didn’t do this earlier.

FINAL COUNT:

Funny Aneurysm Moment: 24

NEXT TIME:

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Akane the Catgirl



Joined: 09 Oct 2013
Posts: 1043
Location: LA, Baby!
PostPosted: Sat Jul 29, 2017 7:27 pm Reply with quote
Akane Recaps Code Geass Episode Seven: Sibling Rivalry Turns Violent

Last Time on Code Madness:

Charles: So anyway, Clovis, how's death?
Some Guy: What are you doing, your majesty?
Charles: Something important, you wouldn't get it.
Meanwhile at School...
Lelouch: Psst...Suzaku...we need to go.
Suzaku: Um...okay.
On the School rooftop.
Lelouch: So, how've you been doing?
Suzaku: Fine, I guess. Do you know what happened to that green-haired gi-
Lelouch: NOPE. Nothing at all! *ahem* So how did enroll here?
Suzaku: A certain somebody arranged for it. I think we're dating now.
Meanwhile...
Cornelia: WHICH ONE OF YOU F**KERS IS ZERO!?
Japanese Resistance: Not me!
Cornelia: Too bad! BRING ME THE HEAD OF ZERO!
That night...
Lelouch: Nunnally, we're having a special guest over for dinner.
Nunnally: Oh boy, -nun! Who is it?
Suzaku: You're just as toothache-inducingly cute as ever, Nunners.
Nunnally: I'm glad you're alive, -nun!
Later in the kitchen...
Lelouch: So, anyway, let me know if you need anything, old pal.
C.C.: That boy is bad news.
Lelouch: No, it's cool! Suzaku would never do anything bad to me!
Elsewhere...
Jeremiah: I swear I didn't do anything!
Glasses Guy: Of course you didn't. But we still hate you.
Jeremiah: Rats!
Back at School.
Lelouch: You wanna hang out again sometime?
Suzaku: Look, I care for you a lot, but it's best we don't spend too much time together or everyone will get the wrong idea.
Lelouch: Suzaku...are you gay?
Suzaku: To be honest, I'm not entirely sure.
Lelouch: Believe me, that's not going to stop anyone from making fanfiction about us.
The next day...
Suzaku: "Go back to your ghetto"? I thought nothing bad was ever supposed to happen at school!
Elsewhere...
Nunnally: Nina, what are you doing here, -nun?
Nina: The new transfer student creeps me out.
Nunnally: But Suzaku's the nicest guy on the planet, -nun.
Nina: He's an Eleven.
Nunnally: ...I find that racist, -nun!
Nina: I STAND BY MY PRINCIPLES!
Lunchtime!
Cat: Meow!
Lelouch: Has anyone seen my very important mask?
Cat: Mrow.
Lelouch: Oh, thank you cat. Wait, no, GET BACK HERE!
One madcap chase later.
Lelouch: I've got you surrounded, Don Fluffles. You can't come back down from that tower.
Fluffles: Mew.
Lelouch: Clever cat. Now, hand it o- SUZAKU I'M SLIPPING!
Suzaku: I've got you!
Fluffles: Meow.
The Zero mask is knocked off.
Everyone: Hip hop hooray!
Later...
Charles: Make Britannia Gr-
Someone: Sir, this is your son's funeral.
Charles: Ah, yes, what's-his-face. ALL HAIL BRITTANIA!
Lelouch: NO!

If there's anything "Attack Cornelia" proves, it's that the title character is a complete bad*ss. No, seriously, Cornelia is pretty much on par with Lelouch from both a strategic standpoint and a meta standpoint. God I love her. Let's go!

***

The episode begins with a flashback to eight years prior. We see a younger and adorable Lelouch looking very p*ssed off as he enters the throne room. As he walks forward, the court gossips over the circumstances behind Marianne’s death and the fate of the children she left behind. At the very least, Nunnally is suffering from hysterical blindness and has been paralyzed in the legs, so she’s completely useless. Hey, the nobles and I agree on something, just for different reasons!

Lelouch (voiced by Michelle Ruff for the flashbacks) tells Charles about Marianne’s death, to which the emperor states: “Old news. What of it?” Lelouch is unsurprisingly shocked by this act of extreme apathy, and Charles asks if he came over just to tell him something he presumably already knew. Lelouch storms up and angrily asks why his father didn’t do anything to save Marianne and that he didn’t even bother to visit Nunners. Charles reminds Lelouch of traditional Britannian values by stating he “doesn’t have time for that weakling” (funny, neither do I), which leads to the young prince disavowing his claim to the throne. The feeling is mutual between the two, as Charles disowns Lelouch and Nunnally right then and there, telling him he’s sending them both to Japan as bargaining tools.

And then we cut to Lelouch in bed, having presumably woken up from a flashback nightmare.

So...wow, Charles is a complete and utter a**hole. If the episode prior didn’t make this clear, he doesn’t give a flying f*ck about anyone who he perceives as a load, not even his own children. And given that he would conquer Japan the following year, it’s not surprising to believe he hoped Lelouch and Nunnally would DIE during the invasion. All because the former had the gall to be traumatized by the loss of his mother.



Sometime later, Lloyd is giving Cornelia a tour of the facilities. As he explains the Lancelot’s exquisite capabilities, the viceroy decides to promote it’s pilot, in spite of the fact that Suzaku is Japanese. However, she doesn’t want to rely on non-Britannians too much in order to win. Elsewhere, Euphemia reflects on something Cornelia said. To be more precise, it’s how those who deserve to rule are the ones who risk their lives on the battlefield.

Back at the base, Suzaku is doing homework while chatting with Cecile. Noticably his textbook has accurate English text with little to no typos or errors, so I’ll give the production staff a few points. Anyhoo, he’s been homeschooled his entire life, and even with his new friends on the student council helping him, it’s still difficult. Also, Cecile has made rice balls as a goodwill gift, even though they have blueberry jam in them. Aw, bless her heart- she’s trying.

Then we get the immortal line. As Lloyd puts it: “All right, everyone! Pack it up, pack it up! We’re done today, don’t do anymore! Hip-hip-hooray! That’s all folks!”

As Cecile advises Suzaku to stay in school, we cut to Ashford, where Kallen and Shirley are setting up their new cat’s play area. As they do so, Shirley asks Kallen if she’s hiding any secrets, mentioning that she’s seen Kallen before. This causes her to GET OUT HER KNIFE (even the cat freaks out!), though thankfully for her, Shirley merely thinks that Kallen and Lulu are an item. The scene ends with Kallen fruitlessly trying to explain herself to an ever more aggravated Shirley.

At the same time, Milly is discussing an arranged marriage with her mother, and Nina has discovered an important math equation. And so we transition from the Ashford student council living their lives to a military raid of what used to be the Saitama ward.



[They must have wanted “oppai” sweaters.]

Nah, I’m just joking! Actually, the Britannians are searching for resistance members at the behest of Cornelia. The viceroy asks some of her men if the conditions were similar to that of Shinjuku (seeing as they participated in the massacre). Or rather if they were similar to those who were in Shinjuku. Based on that smile, she’s probably imagining Zero’s head on a pike.

As news of the impending Saitama standoff broadcasts throughout Japan, we see various characters reacting to it. Lelouch is angered, Dietard comments on the gambit Cornelia is pulling, and the princess herself analyzes Zero’s character. She knows he’ll come to Saitama, and doesn’t even mind putting herself in danger. Because f**k you, she’s Cornelia.

Back at Lelouch’s place, C.C. asks if he’s really going to just waltz on over to Saitama. Lelouch states he’s willing to entertain them, and besides, he needs to have a talk with his elder half-sister. She asks him if it’s more important to destroy Britannia or avenge his mother’s death, to which Lelouch answers to what amounts to this.



After all, it all stems back to his a**hole father pitting his children against each other. C.C. tells him that that very thing is what strengthens Britannia. Lelouch simply won’t stand for it, because that sort of mentality directly affects Nunnally. Just as he goes to confront Cornelia, C.C. PULLS A GUN on him. Wow, my favorite female characters in this show happen to be the most violent. Who knew?

Meanwhile, Suzaku is heading on over to the student council room with a toy for the cat. Unfortunately, he happened to walk in on Kallen and Shirley still fighting over whether the former and Lulu are lovebirds. He asks Shirley where Lelouch is, but him walking in on his childhood friend being held at gunpoint would be even more awkward.

Speaking of, C.C. doesn’t want Lelouch to go to Saitama, because that would be certain death, and him being dead is very inconvient for her. Of course, she’s not going to kill him, but she won’t hesistate to injure his leg to stop him. Lelouch figures out that C.C. can’t use Geass herself, then pulls his OWN GUN, threatening to shoot himself in the head. After all, he was dead inside before they met, so being dead on the outside wouldn’t make a difference, right? This is what leads to C.C. realizing she can’t stop him now.

Wait...how did Code Ment put this?



Meanwhile in Saitama, the military has taken several innocent civilians hostage in order to get answers to the resistance’s wherabouts. As soon as she receives word that the leaders have been wiped out, Cornelia decides to go over and raid the ghettoes. Noticably, Jeremiah and buddies haven’t been invited to the massacre, because nobody likes Jeremiah. As he protests on this not being his fault, Viletta wonders if the student from Shinjuku is connected to Zero.

Turns out Lelouch has snuck in wearing a military uniform. (I wouldn’t be surprised if he Geassed someone into handing their gear over). Being the clever young man he is, he tricks one of the soldiers into exiting his robot long enough to Geass him into handing said robot over. He’s able to contact his fellow resistance members, who are in a complete panic over the raid. Fortunately, with Zero’s guidance, the rebels are able to fight back, leaving Lulu to ponder his next move.

As Lelouch leads his men to battle, Cornelia receives word over the Britannian’s sudden a**kicking, which she responds by ordering a withdrawl. This makes Lelouch very happy. Meanwhile, back at Ashford, C.C. wonders to herself if Lelouch is really going to fight Cornelia. This leads her to realize her contractee will need some help…

Elsewhere, Suzaku and Shirley talk about Lelouch. To be precise, Shirley admits that she didn’t really like Lelouch at first, finding him to be flippant and lazy. One day, though, she saw him stand up for an elderly couple who were blamed for a car crash they were the victims of. This led to Shirley becoming curious, and on the way, she fell in love with him. Even an eavesdropping Milly finds it romantic.

Meanwhile, Lelouch is heading on over to confront Cornelia, both certain they’ll be the winner. Just as he’s about to head off, Lelouch gets an unwanted phonecall from the student council, though fortunately, he hangs up before he can get a love confession from Shirley. On the Britannia side, Cornelia figures out quickly that the resistance is setting up an ambush. For the first time since this series began, Lelouch has met his match. And...I find it satisfying. It means Lelouch isn’t perfect, and that he will have to work hard to get what he wants, unlike certain protagonists. *cough*Kirito*cough*

Cornelia is quite pleased to have cornered Zero. Lelouch himself is starting to have a complete mental breakdown as he realizes how epically screwed over he is. Just as he’s about to be caught, someone in a Zero costume appears in the ruins, giving Lelouch enough time to escape unnoticed. Cornelia herself realizes it’s pointless now to pursue Zero, whom Lelouch encounters in an underground tunnel. Or rather, it’s C.C. in a Zero costume, who teases Lelouch over his overwhelming loss. The episode ends as our protagonists realizes he needs an army in order to beat Cornelia.

***

Cornelia continues to be a great character, and this episode proves she’s a great rival as well. Sure, this episode is a bit uneven, but it's not as bad as the previous one. Overall, I enjoy Lelouch and Cornelia's newfound rivalry, and I'm looking forward to seeing their future battles. Next time...*sigh* the hotel hostage episode.

What's Nunnally Doing?

Being completely useless, and that's not a reference to her being blind and paralyzed. In fact, she doesn't appear AT ALL in this episode.

NEXT TIME:

Back to Ouran!
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Akane the Catgirl



Joined: 09 Oct 2013
Posts: 1043
Location: LA, Baby!
PostPosted: Sat Aug 05, 2017 1:30 pm Reply with quote
Important Announcement!

Hi-ho, this is Akane the Catgirl here! On Monday, I will be officially starting my new training program, where I will be earning minimum wage!







You're probably wondering "Akane, what does this mean for this thread?" Well, since I'm going to be working on Mondays and Wednesdays for the next year or so, I will be changing my posting schedule to every Sunday and Tuesday. Thank you all for reading these past few years, and I will see you tomorrow. Take care.
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Gina Szanboti



Joined: 03 Aug 2008
Posts: 6540
PostPosted: Sun Aug 06, 2017 4:47 am Reply with quote
Congratulations! What are you training in?
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Akane the Catgirl



Joined: 09 Oct 2013
Posts: 1043
Location: LA, Baby!
PostPosted: Sun Aug 06, 2017 2:00 pm Reply with quote
@ Gina Szanboti

To make a long story short, I'm not sure yet. The program I'm starting caters specifically to special needs adults (I have autism), and they have a variety of jobs to pick, most of them retail. So I do have a good idea of what I'll be doing with this program, but anything more specific is beyond me.

Expect the next recap of Ouran tonight!
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Akane the Catgirl



Joined: 09 Oct 2013
Posts: 1043
Location: LA, Baby!
PostPosted: Sun Aug 06, 2017 9:20 pm Reply with quote
Akane Recaps Ouran Episode Eighteen: In Which Honey’s Backstory Is Revealed

Last time on The Young, the Rich, and the Air-Headed:

On the last day of vacation, the hosts headed off to a department store exhibition. Or rather, most of them, as Kyoya was dragged there against his will. Unfortunately, he couldn’t go home so easily, as he had neither his phone or his wallet on hand. Kyoya and Haruhi bumped into each other and went to McDonald’s, with Kyoya being grumpy all the way. As they went exploring, it is revealed that Kyoya is the third son, which meant he always had to play keep-up. Still, he wasn’t an entirely bad person, as he went out of his way to reveal a scammer at the exhibition. Sure, he claimed he only did it because one of the shoppers being conned was a CEO’s wife, but he had no way of knowing that. As Haruhi realized, perhaps Kyoya and Tamaki had more in common than they thought.

And so we reach “Chika’s ‘Down With Honey’ Declaration!”, the first of the backstory episodes. These are arguably some of the greatest episodes throughout the entirety of the series, and the reason why I prefer the second half to the first. Let’s go.

***

The episode begins with Haruhi just about to enter the host club room when she’s approached by a certain middle school student.



[This is literally the only picture I could find of him.]

This is Yasuchika “Chika” Haninozuka, younger brother of Honey and voiced by Aaron Dismuke. I don’t know why, but at first, I didn’t like his performance. But rewatching this, I think I was a bit too hard on Dismuke. He’s fine here, but he’s done better.

Anyway, Chika wants to meet with his older brother for some unstated reason. Honey immediately appears, and while he’s excited to see “Chika-chan”, the feeling isn’t mutual. In fact, it turns out that Chika came to fight Honey, and while they duel, Renge provides a running commentary. Apparently, these battles are a regular occurence, if the other host’s reactions are anything to go by.

The fight ends with Honey winning as usual, much to Chika’s dismay, as he thought he actually won this time. After some confusion on Haruhi’s part, we get some exposition from Chika on the Haninozuka’s extensive background in martial arts. The point is, it’s family tradition for two members to fight whenever they meet. So...I imagine a Haninozuka get-together to be somewhat like this:



[I just gave you all some ideas, didn’t I?]

Tamaki, darling he is, offers Chika some cake, only for him to politely but coldly decline. Besides, he’s not supposed to have sweets, being an athlete and all that. (Truth in television, especially if you’re in a sport that requires muscle). Chika then says he refuses to recognize his sweets-loving brother as the true heir to the Haninozuka house. This is mainly because Honey abandoned the karate club for what Chika sees as a decadent lifestyle.

Let’s stop here, because I think there’s a certain brilliance to this episode if you know enough about Japanese culture. See, on the other side of the Pacific, liking candy and other sweet things is viewed as being exclusive to children and women. Considering that Japan tends to have old-fashioned views on gender roles, sugar is seen as something men are supposed to outgrow. So in Chika’s eyes, Honey’s eating habits mark him as someone too immature and feminine to inherit the Haninozuka name.

Some time later, Tamaki approaches a solitary Honey with cake, which he happily accepts. As he dances in joy, Haruhi decides to ask her sempai why he left the karate club for something like the host club. As the Hitachiins helpfully explain, Honey used to be the president of the karate club, and as a freshman to boot! Life, however, was not so peachy keen, as being both a boy lolita and the eldest son took a toll on him.

As he entered high school, Honey tried his best to abstain from such childish things as stuffies and sweets, with mixed results. Said abstaining gained him a fanbase, gaining attention from a certain charming prince-type. Tamaki used Honey’s forbidden love of all things pink and feminine to lure him into an invitation to the host club. Of course, just one offer isn’t enough to wash away years of toxic masculinity. Then Tamaki says this:

“I don’t know much about martial arts, so please forgive me. But I was wondering...do you think you can tell me what true strength is? I may be out of line, but hiding your true self and putting on airs doesn’t seem any different than running away to me. I would think that embracing the things you truly like and being able to enjoy them is worth more than anything. To just be yourself...I believe that’s what true strength really is.”



[Aw…]

Back at home, Honey asks his father was true strength is. Apparently the answer is violence, but that only resulted in the son giving his father a brutal smackdown. How brutal? WMD-brutal, that’s what it was. With the realization that true strength was inside him all along, Honey abandoned the karate club to join Tamaki and friends.

So, to loosely paraphrase and Onion headline “Dad, I’m Gay And Also Stronger Than You, So Don’t Try Any Sh*t.”

However, because of this, Chika was given an even stricter upbringing to avoid becoming like his older brother. Honey admits he thinks his little brother hates him because he doesn’t follow Haninozuka doctrine. That’s when Tamaki gets an idea! The host club is going to get the two Haninozuka brothers to reconcile no matter what!

We then cut to the karate club practicing. It seems that Chika is not very popular amongst the club, as he is far too strict when it comes to training. The president himself is not having good day, and he doesn’t like it when he hears that 1) Honey will always be better and 2) that he’s cute. As the hosts watch, Hikaru and Kaoru play armchair psychologist and diagnose Chika with an inferiority complex before deciding to opt out.

Suddenly, Honey arrives on the scene! He admits that he doesn’t mind that Chika hates him, just as long as his little brother grows up to be happy and healthy (well...he’s one of those things.) Speaking of, Chika shows up and tells Honey to p*ss off, calling him an “alien”. Why? Well, apparently Honey eats three cakes for dessert every night, and he never gains weight. Oh, and he has weekly midnight tea parties where he eats all the cake he wants.



[Come eat with us, Chika...forever and ever and ever…]

So not only is Chika jealous of Honey for being the better martial artist, he also finds his cake-eating habits creepy and unnatural. Still, he admits that he used to admire his elder brother, until the day he abandoned ship for the host club. With some encouragement from Mori, Honey apologizes to Chika for upsetting him, but he’s not going to hide his love for sweets any longer. So...duel!

The two brothers decide to have one last battle, with Honey’s midnight tea parties at stake. Mori analyzes the fight, explaining that due to Chika’s utilization of Honey’s moves from the last fight, he really does admire him at the end of the day. The only thing wrong with said analysis is the idea that Honey will throw the fight. Because nobody f*cking gets in the way between Honey and cake. And so the episode ends with Chika defeated, and later that evening, Honey reflecting on what Tamaki told him.

***

This episode is easily the best of the Honey and Mori episodes, even better than the cavity episode. This sheds on a light on Honey’s character while dipping into themes of toxic masculinity and true strength. Even though he loves Chika dearly, Honey refuses to compromise who he is. He won’t ever go back to pretending to be a manly man, not for anyone on the planet. And that’s okay! Boys can express traditionally feminine traits and shouldn’t be ridiculed for it. I love this episode so much, and I look forward to getting into the rest of the flashback episodes.

NEXT TIME:

Ouran on Tuesday!
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Akane the Catgirl



Joined: 09 Oct 2013
Posts: 1043
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 13, 2017 2:35 pm Reply with quote
Akane Analyzes Mini: My Hero Academia and the Importance of First Impressions

Hello, and welcome to Akane Analyzes! Sorry I didn't show up on Tuesday. I've been spending the past week in a constant state of fear, anxiety, and general despair at the state of the world. We need heroes now more than ever before. Yeah...someone with a strong sense of justice...



[Huh.]

So, I've been watching My Hero Academia (or HeroAca) as a source of comfort in these tumultuous times. I rather enjoyed it, though I've only seen Season One, so make of that what you will. However, one thing that stuck out to me the most was that very first scene. And that, my dear readers, is what we are going to discuss today.

So how does this anime begin? The story starts on a bright summer day. We see a small boy in tears and shaking. "Why are you being so mean!?" he squeaks. At first, we are led to believe that it's this child who is being picked on. However, he then says: "You're making him cry, Kacchan!" We pan out to see another boy on his knees and crying too.

"If you keep on hurting him," the little boy continues. "Uh...I'll uh...I'll stomp you myself!" Nothing has changed about his expression.

We then see that this child is confronting three other boys who we can assume are the bullies. The leader- a spiky-haired blond- just smiles. "You want to pretend to be a hero?" "Kacchan" asks as all three activate their powers. "You don't stand a chance without a Quirk, Deku." As "Deku" gasps, the bullies proceed to beat him up. And so the scene transitions out with some narration from a now older Deku, on how this was when he learned the sad truth about the world.

This scene lasts for less than one minute, and yet in these little-over forty-eight seconds, we are given a plethora of information about not only our two main characters, but the world of HeroAca. Let's start with our main lead:



This is Izuku "Deku" Midoriya. The first thing we see is that he's very emotional. He doesn't hesitate to hide his fear and sadness at what the other children are doing. In spite of this, we can also see that he's very courageous and willing to stand up for others. Lastly, he's willing to speak up for his beliefs, even if he's facing someone he considers a close friend.

Then there's the bully character.



This is Katsuki "Kacchan" Bakugou, though this is him as a teenager. In this scene, we can infer that he is not the nicest guy around. He doesn't take Deku's declaration of stomping seriously, and even smiles as he unleashes miniature explosions from his hands. He doesn't hesitate once to beat up Deku, making fun of him for trying to stand up to him.

Then there's the use of the word "Quirk". We know these children are not normal by our standards, but based on what Kacchan says, it's Deku who's the odd one out. In this world, we can infer that nearly everyone has superpowers, and that those without are seen as inferior. Deku, who is Quirkless, wants to be a hero, but in Kacchan's eyes, heroes are required to have Quirks e.g. not abnormal Quirkless beings. Both have very different ideas on what heroes should be, and it's from this that we can guess this will be the main theme of the show.

All this information can be parsed in those forty-eight seconds of screen time. I am of the belief that any given first episode should establish as much as it can about the story, characters, and world it provides. HeroAca accomplishes more in less than a minute that a good chunk of anime do in three episodes. THIS is how you make a good first impression, and I'm glad this anime went on to be the success it is.

Thank you for reading! Can you think of other anime with good first impressions? Leave them in the comments below, and I'll see you on Tuesday! Take care.

NEXT TIME:

Back to work! Ouran Host Club is coming your way!
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Akane the Catgirl



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PostPosted: Tue Aug 15, 2017 9:59 pm Reply with quote
Akane Recaps Ouran Episode Nineteen: In Which The Straw Feminists Return Flashily

Last time on The Young, the Rich, and the Air-Headed:

Anyone with one or more siblings can tell you that it isn't always easy to live with them. The Haninozuka brothers are one example. Younger brother Yasuchika desires to prove himself the better heir to his family's name, and if it means beating the sh*t out of Honey, than that's what he'll do. And that was what he tried to do on one particular day, as he went straight to the host club to do battle with the resident pint-sized host. The key word is tried, because Honey won as usual. But that wasn't all! In the past, Honey was pressured into fulfilling a stereotypically masculine role as heir to the Haninozuka school. This made him miserable, thus making it easier for Tamaki to convince the poor boy to become a member of the host club. Speaking of, the hosts decide to get the Haninozuka brothers to reconcile, but as they soon discover, Chika is pretty unreasonable about Honey's sugar-eating habits. The two decide to duel once more, with Honey winning because nobody gets in the way of cake. And f*ck gender roles.

"Lobelia Girls' Academy Strikes Back!" features the last out of all three appearances of the Zuka Club, and this is arguably the funniest of them all. Let me just tell you that this episode has one of the funniest punchlines out of all of them, containing a clever callback to the very beginning of this series. Let's go.

***

So the episode begins with the boys showing up at Haruhi's apartment with gifts, only for her dad to answer the door. Just as the hosts are about to leave, Ryoji drags them back inside, then proceeds to say this: "Don't act so traumatized 'cause you see me without my makeup on. Even [SLUR REDACTED] get stubble first thing in the morning, which is more than I can say for any of you."



Tamaki just laughs it off uncomfortably, then offers their gift of sweets to Haruhi. Super Dad responds by suckerpunching Tamaki in the face, then happily accepts the package while acting like nothing is wrong. Turns out that Haruhi is out with some of her girl friends, which Tamaki assumes are just some old pals from middle school. But as the boys prepare to leave, they overhear Ryoji mentioning said girl friends being Lobelia Academy students. This raises so many alarm bells that the Fujioka apartment may as well be a firehouse.

We then cut to Lobelia, where we are given a quick reintroduction to the Zuka club as they are surrounded by adoring fans. They haven't quite given up on having Haruhi join their misandry cult, as they have her right in their clubroom. They've even gotten her to wear the Lobelia sailor uniform! And she's hot enough to have the entire club go gay for her!

Back at home, Super Dad frets over the news that his only child has been kidnapped by man-hating lesbian actors. (Now THAT is a rare sentence.) Neither Tamaki nor Ryoji like the idea of Haruhi being encouraged to kiss someone, but before the twins can bring up Episode Two, Tamaki shushes them. He then announces a rescue attempt before Haruhi's dad can kill him.

Meanwhile at Lobelia, Haruhi is growing very frustrated with being cooed over by her captors. After all, she just wanted to go shopping! (Attentive viewers may notice that the scene where Haruhi is kidnapped by the Zuka club is shot similarly to the scene where Haruhi is kidnapped by the Hosts all the way back in Episode Seven, highlighting how the two clubs are not so different.) Benio apologizes for hastily abducting our heroine before explaining why they needed Haruhi to begin with.

You see, it's the Zuka club founder's birthday, and they celebrate it every year by putting on their star production. Their lead femme actor, however, is currently hospitalized, and they want Haruhi to be the understudy. She declines, but the Zuka club refuses to back down, explaining she's basically going to be a living prop with about five lines at must. It's not until the Lobelia girls give Haruhi a sobstory about Benio's deceased mother that our heroine relents.



[My guess? It's fake.]

Outside Lobelia's gates, Ryoji explains how risky it is to rescue Haruhi from the Zuka club, as they've been known to bankrupt their enemies into oblivion. How does he know all about their enemies? While his wife, Kotoko, was pregnant with Haruhi, Ryoji discovered a box of her Zuka club memoribilia. This spurs the boys into action, though unlike last time, there will be no crossdressing. Not when the professional drag queen is in town.

Meanwhile, the Zuka club is rehearsing for their big show. Benio plays the role of Lord Frederick, are as Haruhi puts it, "OH MY LORD FREDERICK." Yeah, there's a good reason Haruhi rejected their offer at first; she can't act or sing to save her life. Ironic, because Maaya Sakamoto (her Japanese voice) is well known for being a former child actor and a damn good singer. Proof? That's her singing "Gravity" in Wolf's Rain.

The hosts are watching the rehearsal (disguised as Benio's fans). None of them are impressed by her acting, not even her father. At the very least, the Zuka club is aware that Haruhi has about as much musical talent as Kim Kardashian, having her lip-sync instead of using her actual voice. We just kind of have to take the show's word about how bad it is.

Outside, the boys and Ryoji have successfully infiltrated the Zuka fanclub. Ryoji is a natural at bullsh*tting about loving Benio, much to the host's astonishment. Two of the fans gush over the play, with the president mentioning that if Marianne's understudy screws up, they'll have their sukebans beat the crap out of her. That's when Tamaki realizes what time it is.



[It's not f*cking around time, men.]

In the theater, Benio hasn't failed to notice the host club's arrival. However, she hasn't noticed Kyoya's sudden disappearance to the projector room, which has a very useful projection screen. Ultimately, the show goes on, with the boys and Ryoji deciding not to interfere after all. Until Tamaki realizes what Benio's real plan was; steal Haruhi's first kiss to spite the hosts.

Good thing Kanako Kasugazaki beat Benio to the punch!

Yep, Kyoya remembered the events of Episode Two also, as he displays a picture of the kiss right in front of a packed theater. Benio is angered by this, and Haruhi escapes her wrath by jumping onto Tamaki. Yes, you read that right. And so the episode ends with our heroine being chased by everyone and all of our main players slipping on the cursed banana peel.

***

This episode might not be top five material, but it's definitely top ten. This is mostly due to how hilarious it is. I still can't get over Ryoji's suckerpunching of Tamaki and Benio's hamminess. Admittedly, this is probably one of the shortest recaps I've done of this series, but that's because most of it is just joke after joke after joke. It's rapid fire comedy that never gets tiring. See you soon!

NEXT TIME:

Code Geass returns!
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Gina Szanboti



Joined: 03 Aug 2008
Posts: 6540
PostPosted: Wed Aug 16, 2017 7:40 am Reply with quote
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his only child has been kidnapped by man-hating lesbian actors. (Now THAT is a rare sentence.)

Even rarer, man-hating lesbian thespians! Wink
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Akane the Catgirl



Joined: 09 Oct 2013
Posts: 1043
Location: LA, Baby!
PostPosted: Tue Aug 22, 2017 6:42 pm Reply with quote
Akane Recaps Code Geass Episode Eight: Caped Weirdo And Pals Make Hotel Debut

Last time on Code Madness:

Eight Years Ago...
Lelouch: Father, Mother's been killed and my sister's been paralyzed and blinded!
Charles: Oh, yes, what's her face.
Lelouch: Her name was Marianne!
Charles: Kid, I have literally over one hundred wives. I can't love all of them equally.
Lelouch: You don't even know mine or my little sister's names, do you?
Charles: You have a little sister?
Everyone facepalms.
Lelouch: Screw this, I'm outta here! You're not my father anymore!
Charles: And for that, you're going to Japan! That'll be two less mouths to feed.
Lelouch: FATHER!
Charles: Funny, I thought I wasn't your father anymore.
Present time...
Lloyd: So, anyway, here's my super awesome robot-
Cornelia: The pilot's promoted.
Lloyd: But he's an Eleven.
Cornelia: I don't care, as long as it can deliver the head of Zero to me faster.
Cecile: Anyway, Suzaku, how's school been treating you?
Suzaku: Cecile, why are you acting unusually mother-like?
Cecile: Because it says here you're an orphan. Now eat your rice balls, sweetie.
Suzaku: And why is there blueberry jam in this?
Lloyd: Bless Cecile's heart, she's trying.
At School.
Shirley: Welcome to your new home, Don Fluffles! Hey, Kallen, I know your secret~
Kallen: B*TCH I WILL CU-
Shirley: You have a crush on Lelouch!
Kallen: ...okay. Let's pretend I wasn't going to murder you.
Shirley: You're so funny, Kallen! But seriously, he's mine.
Somewhere in the Saitama ghetto...
Military: Hand over your oppai shirts, now!
Cornelia: Excellent. Zero will be drawn here like a fly to honey.
Back at School:
Lelouch: Dammit, she got me!
C.C.: You're really going, huh.
Lelouch: No sh*t?
C.C.: If that's the case, I'm going to have to shoot you.
Lelouch: Wait what.
C.C.: Don't worry, I'm not going to kill you. I'm just gonna shoot you in the leg or something. Can't be that important.
Lelouch: Really? I've been dead on the inside long before I met you. I'm not afraid to be dead on the outside!
C.C.: Jesus Tapdancing Christ! Fine, go and blow yourself up! You're going to lose, anyway.
Lelouch: And what makes you think that, my dearest green-haired Godiva?
C.C.: Because Cornelia's not an cowardly idiot like Clovis.
Back in Saitama:
Cornelia: Come out, come out, wherever you are.
Zero: I'm right here! Men, advance!
Cornelia: Men, retreat!
Back at School.
Shirley: Anyway, I think Lelouch is actually a lot nicer than you think he is.
Suzaku: I think so too.
Shirley: Suzaku...are you gay?
Suzaku: I dunno.
Shirley: Seriously, if you are, I'm so proud of you, but Lelouch is off-limits.
Suzaku: I highly doubt that.
Shirley: Well, let me call him right now and ask. Hey, Lulu, can-
Lelouch: I'm busy! P*ss off!
Shirley: ...still off-limits.
Meanwhile...
Lelouch: Damn, Cornelia isn't like Clovis at all! God I'm screwed.
Cornelia: Get the portable guillotine ready, boys. I've been waiting for this day.
???: Look over here!
Lelouch: Who's that wearing my clothes!? Oh, whatever, I've gotta get out of here.
Underground.
C.C.: Well, Lelouch?
Lelouch: Don't. Even. Say. It.
C.C.: ...I told you so.
Lelouch: GAAAAAAAA-

"The Black Knights" features the official debut of Lelouch and pals onto the international scene, and what better than a hotel hostage situation to introduce themselves to? For the most part, it's a great episode with plenty of action and plot advancement. However, there are certain questionable elements. Allow me to elaborate.

***

The episode begins with a shot of a Japanese homeless community before cutting to the very rich and very white student council girl riding on the train above them. (Okay, that was a clever contrast.) All three are heading out of the Tokyo settlement to Lake Kawaguchi for a lady's getaway trip. Tellingly, Nina tenses up as the train heads into a tunnel. Milly reassures Nina that there will be plenty of Britannians at their destination (f*cking enabler) and that this won't be like the ghettoes. So they're starting to hint that Nina has a legitimate reason for her anti-Japanese attitudes. Guess what they do with it?



I'm going to have to be honest with you all. Nina Einstein was a huge missed opportunity for the show. I think she could have been used to demonstrate how the average Britannian civilian is indoctrinated to believe in the country's propaganda. See, racists aren't cartoony villains you see in the movies. They're your classmates, your coworkers, your neighbors, and even your friends and family. Nina could have been a good example, but they never do that. What they do with her...well, you'll see.

Elsewhere, the Japanese resistance meet up with Zero in their fancy new hideout, which is a Britannian military transport. He explains that he got it from a nobleman (read: Geassed him into handing it over) and reassures his men that there's "no strings attached". The rebels marvel over their new digs, when one turns on the TV to see a report on a hotel takeover by a group called the Japan Liberation Front. Yes, the same hotel where the student council girls are staying.

As further exposited, this entire situation is related to a certain kind of phlebotinum known as Sakuradite, which Japan is rife with. See, the hotel was hosting an annual meeting over Sakuradite distribution by it's producers, and said meeting is very very important. You can imagine that certain factions would not be happy about the exploitation of their nation's resources. Now they're doing the very thing that Zero told the rebels in Episode Four not to do, which is get civilians involved.

Back at the hotel, Nina's worst nightmares have come true as the JLF leader tells them that everything will be fine as long as they don't do anything to fight back. At the hideout, Lelouch receives a call from Rivalz, only to hang up on him because he's not an idiot. Over on the Britannian side, Cornelia and her men realize that there's only one way to get inside the hotel, as all other routes have been rendered inaccessible by the JLF. They'll have to go underground and submerge the hotel, and considering their superior firepower, the rescue operation should be a piece of cake.



[...you people have no sense of humor, you know that?]

What none of them realize is that the episode is less than seven minutes in, and also the JLF have a secret weapon to take out potential rescuers. However, what the JLF doesn't know is that a disguised Euphemia has been taken hostage too, and her being discovered would be Very Bad. After a brief cut of C.C. talking about Lelouch with an invisible someone, we see Suzaku and buddies overlooking the hotel. None of them can help because Suzaku is an Eleven, and considering what the race of the hostage-takers is...you can draw your own conclusions.

Back at the hideout, Zero is watching footage of Shirley's father expressing worry over his daughter's well-being (...and now I'm sad because future episodes). Lelouch realizes they need to do something about this, and that at this rate, Cornelia will have everyone killed. Suddenly, he realizes she hasn't done anything. Before he can continue thinking, Kallen and one of her friends interrupt by bringing in a box of gear they found. That's when Zero makes the announcement that they are not to be called a resistance, but knights of justice!



Outside the hotel, Cecile tries to comfort Suzaku by telling him there's still hope his friends will make it out okay. Suzaku tells her he has faith in the powers that be: "I prefer the logic of systems to individualist emotions." Suddenly, the situation goes from the "merely holding hostages" stage to "actively killing the hostages" stage. This does not make Suzaku happy.

However, Cornelia refuses to renege on her principles, in spite of the fact that people are actually being f*cking murdered. Before too long, the Britannians receive word on Zero and Pals stealing their van and them heading over right now. As Zero appears, Cornelia prepares to execute him, only for the masked man to appeal to her love for Euphemia. After all, Euphie's been her morality pet since childhood. With that said, they can do an Enemy Mine to rescue Cornelia's baby sister.

Zero and his knights make their way in, as Lelouch muses on how the JLF can't resist meeting him. Outside, Cornelia admits that working with Zero can buy them more time before another hostage dies. Besides, this is the perfect opportunity to defeat both of their enemies at once. It's also the perfect opportunity for Suzaku, as even if he's just a decoy, he can still save his fellow classmates.

We then cut to Suzaku preparing to enter the utilities to submerge the hotel. As he goes under, he remarks on how close he was to becoming a hostage, as Shirley had invited him on the trip to Kawaguchi. Ooh, a plot bunny! Fanfic writers, get your Word documents ready. Inside, Nina accidentally blurts out "Eleven" when one of the JLF members comes near her (yeah, fear and bigotry will do that to you). Before the girls can be dragged into another room to be presumably raped into submission, Euphemia reveals herself.

Elsewhere, Zero asks the JLF leader what he hopes to accomplish with this hostage situation. He explains that this is basically just an attention grabber, much to Zero's dismay. As Suzaku goes to work down below, Lelouch geasses the leader into committing suicide. Euphemia and a few other JLF members walk in to see the numerous dead bodies, which Zero claims were suicide (well, he ain't wrong.)

Meanwhile, Suzaku is performing a lot better than expected for a decoy. Even the JLF can't believe how good he is! Upstairs, Zero and Euphemia have a small but tense chat about the latter's status as sub-viceroy. Lelouch admits he killed Clovis because of his royal blood (also because he was a useless coward). Wait, isn't Euphemia royal blood too?



Underground, Suzaku destroys the JLF's secret weapon, much to Cornelia's awe. While he sets out on submerging the hotel, he and Zero lock eyes for but a few seconds. However, it's Lelouch who has the last laugh on the Britannians, as he detonates some explosives to prevent the hotel from going completely under. As Suzaku mourns his lost friends (don't worry, buddy; TWO of them survive to the last episode!), Zero reveals that the hostages are safe and sound on the water.

And so, with the world as their audience, the Black Knights make their formal debut.

"People! Fear us, or rally behind us as you see fit! We are the Black Knights. We of the Black Knights stand with all those who have no weapons to wield, regardless of whether they be Elevens or Britannians. The Japan Liberation Front cowardly took innocent Britannian civilians hostage, and they mercilessly executed them! It was a wanton and meaningless act. Therefore, they have been punished. Just as former Viceroy Clovis was punished for ordering the slaughter of countless unarmed Elevens, we cannot stand by and allow such cruelty to be carried out, and so we made him pay for his actions. I will not repudiate battle on a fair and level field, but neither will I tolerate a one-sided massacre of the weak by the strong! The only ones who should kill, are those who are prepared to be killed! Wherever oppressors abuse their power by attacking those who are powerless, we shall appear again! No matter how mighty, how formidable our foe may be, those of you with power, fear us! Those of you without it, rally behind us! We, the Black Knights, shall be the ones who stand in judgment of this world!"

***

Well, that was epic. This episode was well constructed, well edited, and overall well done. However, the handling of Nina Einstein is a bit troublesome, and it'll only get worse as we go along. It's already hard to empathize with someone who's main trait is being explicitly racist, but if they had made her backstory more clear to us, maybe she could have been more likable. As it is, the episode is still great.

What's Nunnally Doing?

Nothing useful. I think the episode forgot her for a second.

NEXT TIME:

One of the best episodes of Ouran Host Club!
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Gina Szanboti



Joined: 03 Aug 2008
Posts: 6540
PostPosted: Tue Aug 22, 2017 8:26 pm Reply with quote
Quote:
Those of you with power, fear us! Those of you without it, rally behind us! We, the Black Knights, shall be the ones who stand in judgment of this world!"

He should've stopped before the last sentence. Were I inclined to rally behind vigilantes, I'd be ok with the relatively objective criteria of oppressing/slaughtering the powerless/unarmed = bad guys; being oppressed/slaughtered by the powerful/armed = good guys. However saying they'll be the ones standing in judgement of everyone is a big red flag for "meet the new boss, same as the old boss."
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Akane the Catgirl



Joined: 09 Oct 2013
Posts: 1043
Location: LA, Baby!
PostPosted: Tue Aug 29, 2017 4:10 pm Reply with quote
Akane Recaps Ouran Episode Twenty: In Which The Twins' Backstory is Revealed

Last time on The Young, the Rich, and the Air-Headed:

The boys of the host club have arrived at Haruhi's apartment with gifts! Unluckily for them, only her father answers the door. Where is our heroine? Why, she's with the Zuka Club, who have spirited her away to their homebase at St. Lobelia. Haruhi, of course, doesn't particularly care for the sort of attention the Zuka girls are showering over her, especially because she just wanted to go grocery shopping. It turns out that the Zuka Club is putting on a play and need a last minute understudy, and all that's needed to convince Haruhi is a sob story about club president Benio's mother. They've even made sure to accommodate Haruhi's absolute lack of talent. The hosts and Haruhi's dad sneak in to see the performance, under the guise of being Zuka fans. That's when they learn the true motive of Benio- steal Haruhi's first kiss. It's just too bad that another girl beat her to it.

And so we reach one of my absolute favorite episodes, "The Door the Twins Opened!". As explained in the alternate title, this is where we delve fully into how Hikaru and Kaoru joined the host club, as well as why the behave the way they do. It's a total gem, and I've been looking forward to writing this recap for a while. Let's not waste any more time.

***

The episodes begins back on that snowy day, as a young Hikaru and Kaoru play the "which twin is which" game. As the girl who came up to them makes her guess, a pile of snow falls from a tree, representing the twin's shock. As Kaoru explains: "The two of us were always together. We were like a single entity, a unique being. And that closeness was very important to us."

We cut to eight years later, during the twins' second year of junior high. "However, we knew we were, in fact, seperate beings. The one that was not me was Hikaru, and the one that was not Hikaru was me. For us, this concept was something that was..."

Before Kaoru can finish that thought, Hikaru notices a young girl waiting for them at the courtyard. She's come to confess to Hikaru, but the boy she's talking to claims he's Kaoru. When he asks the girl if it's okay if she dates him instead, she says yes. Then he says this: "Hey, Kaoru! She says that she'd be fine with you instead!"



I don't remember if I told you this before, but Hikaru and Kaoru were even bigger a**holes before they met Tamaki, and this scene demonstrates that perfectly. They even insult the girl's hair and tear up her love letter RIGHT IN FRONT OF HER. There's having issues, and then there's just being cruel. Make no mistake; though we are meant to sympathize with them somewhat, the show makes it very clear that what the Hitachiins did was unacceptable. But as the girl starts crying, a certain cute transfer student comes up to comfort her in a most charming manner.

In study hall, the twins are utterly bored, having decided not to play one of their online games after all. "Whenever something got to be boring, we ditch it. That's just how we did things." Some of their classmates gossip about them, but what gains the brothers' attention is how nobody wants to be their friend, even when their parents pressure them to. Contrary to what the other students say, there was one person Hikaru and Kaoru liked- a maid who worked for them a long time ago.

We cut to ten years earlier, where the Hitachiin family is hosting a gala. The boys are modeling their mother's dresses, with Hikaru in pink and Kaoru in blue, as they explain to an "auntie". When the lady mentions how similar they look, the boys simply tell her she looks like a frog. Which they unleash on her.

The boys' beloved maid arrives on the scene and admonish the two for their prank. "We really liked that maid. She was different. She didn't try to flatter us or win us over like everyone else in the house did." However, late one night, Hikaru and Kaoru discover her trying to steal from their family safe. Before she can kill them, the two reveal they have an alarm on them, and that they even have the combination to the safe she's trying to break into. All she needs to do is guess which one is which and they'll help her.

Hikaru and Kaoru wake up later that night to see that the combination (which was hidden in a piggy bank) has been stolen, as well as the contents of that safe. They catch the maid sneaking out from a window, and ask her why she broke their promise. She admits she couldn't tell the difference, and that maybe nobody could ever distinguish between the two fo them. "That maid- the only person we ever liked- dropped that bomb on us and then disappeared into the night."



[To this day, she lives a quiet and peaceful life in Bora Bora.]

That event impacted them so badly that the Hitachiins grew more twisted, eventually crafting a barrier between them and the rest of the world. Of course, the occassional idiot would try and befriend them, said idiot being Tamaki. He's come to invite them to join his club, even telling them he's convinced the other three hosts to become a part of his posse. They reject his offer, but insist that if he really wants to, he can play the "which twin is which" game.

The rules are that Tamaki has one month to guess which twin is Hikaru, and he needs to explain why. To the Hitachiin's suprise, he accepts their challenge, saying that if he wins, Hikaru and Kaoru have to become hosts. The games begins, with Tamaki bursting into the twins classroom and somehow managing to get invited to a film festival. When he fails, he walks back to his own classroom, where Kyoya is reading Osamu Dazai. (Face it, you only knew who he was because of Bungou Stray Dogs, also animated by Bones.)

Tamaki asks Kyoya to help him win the game, which Kyoya responds to by saying the club doesn't need the twins. The club king still insists he needs them, then wonders why Hikaru and Kaoru don't dress different if they want to be told apart. Despite Kyoya's unhelpfulness, Tamaki refuses to give up, as he shows up at the Hitachiin manor to make his incorrect guess. He's even figured out what gimmick the twins are going to have!



As the twins drive away to school, the wonder just what is even up with Tamaki. However, they do find his antics quite amusing, even comparing him to some feudal lord. Neither can't help but laugh out how serious Tamaki's trying to be. But then again, the game is becoming quite boring...

We cut to the twins telling Tamaki the game is off. But that's not all; they heard that Tamaki is the wedlock baby of the school's chairman. In fact, they've done a little research on his backstory, and wouldn't it be terrible if people found out about his missing mother and illegitimacy? Their answer is no, and though they understand that he's lonely, they still don't need anyone besides each other.

Back in the classroom, the twins are confident they've shaken Tamaki off, though they do regret ending the game as early as they did. And so the two invoke the hedgehog's dilemma: "We were always contradicting ourselves. We wanted to be told apart. We didn't want to be told apart. We wanted people to know us. We didn't want them to know. We were always looking for someone who would finally accept us, but there was no way that would ever happen. Not as twisted as we were. We were so afraid of someone breaking through our barrier and hurting us, we kept a strong lock on our hearts to protect ourselves."

For those who don't know (and let's face it, you've seen Evangelion), the hedgehog's dilemma is a philosophical metaphor describing the "challenges of human intimacy". A group of hedgehogs must share body heat during the winter, but if they get too close, their spines will hurt each other. And that's what Hikaru and Kaoru are going through during the events of this episode. Both desire intimacy with other people, but they fear being hurt by those other people, and so they stay distant.

Oh, all right. One joke.



[Just a reminder that Sonic X kind of sucks.]

The twins spot another girl waiting in the courtyard. The scene plays out almost exactly like the last one, though this time, the girl has come to confess to Kaoru. She runs off in tears, though before the boys can rip up the love letter, Tamaki cries out that Hikaru is the one about to tear up the envelope. Though his guess is correct, the twins insist on reasoning rather than intuition. That's when Tamaki makes his move.

"Yeah, sorry about that, but it's still too early for me to tell. I mean, you are both totally identical, but it all depends on how you choose to look at it. Being so identical is a talent in and of itself. So from now on, you should try to perfect the whole 'two-in-one Hitachiin brothers' act. But you mustn't forget that you're also independent beings with your own personalities. And while you're doing that, I'll keep bugging you until I can tell you apart!"

As the sun comes out from behind the clouds, the twins insist that what Tamaki is saying is absolute nonsense and utterly contradictory. "And what's wrong with that?" asks Tamaki. "Haven't you realized yet? You two ARE contradictory. It's what they call individuality." The twins angrily ask him how the hell they can emphasize their sameness while showcasing their differences at the same time. Tamaki fires back with his own question: "When someone guesses wrong, why do you look so sad?"

We flashback to that winter day all those years ago, only to see that the girl guessed wrong. She apologizes, telling the twins not to cry. "I remembered how surprised I was when I heard her say those words. In fact, I bet we both looked like we were about to cry at that moment." In the present, Tamaki states that while he may not be able to tell the two apart, someday, someone will. All Hikaru and Kaoru need to do is let them in. With that, the twins are hooked.

Some time later, we see the future hosts around the campus. Haruhi is taking her tour of campus, Kyoya is wandering about, Honey and Mori decide to join the club, Tamaki is in a classroom, and the twins are outside. All are looking at Ouran's ringing clocktower. One month later, the twins cautiously, but assuredly, open the doors to the host club and their future. And that's how the episode ends, as the episode's title card finally shows up.

***

Top five. This is definitely a top five episode, maybe even top three. Everything just works in this episode. The acting is on point, the writing is perfect, and the editing is just the best. I really enjoyed going through this episode, and I hope all of you did too. See you later.

NEXT TIME:

More Ouran, then Code Geass.
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