Too epic to be included with another episode, this week’s post will chronicle the showdown with the Hokuei teachers in episode 07, an episode that inspired full on RAGE HAET which gave way to BURNING PASSION and MANLY TEARS OF ADMIRATION. Exam results come back, and Yukino and Arima’s scores have dropped somewhat (though still solidly in the top 15 for each of them.) For a moment Yukino starts to take it out on Arima, but in the end that is but a momentary issue. The larger threat is the meddling, controlling teacher-advisors led by Dark Emperor Kawashima the Cruel. His hair white as a consequence of his love and compassion being sucked from his soul as part of a pact with daemonic forces (he’s really only 35), he utilizes several means to try and break the couple up and return them to being top test scorers as part of a insidious plot to boost his school’s standing and lure in ability users from Gakuen City schools for the purpose of training them to take over the world. While the end was a little too neat and tidy for my tastes, it was such a damn good episode that there was no way I could pare it down enough to fit another episode into the post without 9+ paragraphs and close to 70 images.
Things start off well enough. Yukino takes her two sisters over to Arima’s so they can use his yard to grow sunflowers to feed their club pets. Not sure why they’ve got rice and ramen shirts…
Cat eyes Yukino is always fun.
Apparently they’re going through a brief 1980’s German post-modern phase.
Asapin becomes AWESOME-pin in this episode!
Sparkles and all…
Going out so often has meant some less time for studying. Arima’s so calm about it all…annoyingly calm by Yukino’s standards.
Her jealous, competitive nature is never far from the surface.
After finding out that Arima has dropped to #3 and Yukino to #13, they’re getting over it when both are called to the disciplinary office. There, Dark Emperor Kawashima the Cruel and his lackeys confront them about they’re lower grades. The horror! Only in the top 15 of their class! Kawashima the Cruel professes to be concerned with their futures, but he also lets it slip that he was hoping on them to make the school look good with their test scores. Quickly the dark lord switches from fairly amicable to the sharp arrogance of one who expects to never be opposed, but Yukino and Arima are having none of it. With boldness and righteous indignation they both protest his suggestion that they break up and not have a relationship until they go to college, even in the face of Kawashima the Cruel’s faceless thralls calling on them to apologize. In a glorious display of determination and solidarity the two back each other up against superior numbers and social standing. Yukino thinks back for a moment on how she’s come from the attention seeker she was to the enemy of the teachers she is now, and draws strength from the power of True Love and Friendship. In the end, Kawashima the Cruel’s forces taste a bitter defeat, unprepared as they were for any sort of resistance. But the war is not over.
Oh so smug at the beginning.
Oh, the truth comes out!
Fuck yeah! RISE ABOVE! WE’RE GONNA RISE ABOVE!
Yes, because if you admitted it they could probably report you for doing so. Slimy fuck!
And now it’s time to turn that plotting on a new enemy!
Yukino’s evolution from elementary school teacher’s pet to high school badass.
Yukino, and Arima, have been changed for the better by meeting each other. Here she remembers exactly how being with Arima made her see things differently. It’s also one of many thin, vertical images used in this episode.
Row, row fight the power Yukino!
Arima also finds his resolve in his memories of Yukino. ARIMA BELIEVES IN THE YUKINO WHO BELIEVES IN HIM!
CHOU LOVE BRRREEEEEAAAKKKKKAAAAA!
The forces of Dark Emperor Kawashima the Cruel broken and routed, Arima and Yukino emerge victorious from the disciplinary room and continue about their day. But when they get home each finds out the Kawashima the Cruel has resorted to the dastardly tactic of contacting their parents and calling them in for a meeting in his fortress of evil. Yukino finds Arima to discuss this turn of events and relate how their parents reacted. Arima seems somewhat nervous, though Yukino’s parents were filled with BURNING PASSION at the prospect of being called in to the meeting. Still, it’s an uncomfortable atmosphere, but the two hug and reaffirm that they’ll get through it together. The happy development of their relationship has been upset by Kawashima the Cruel’s unprovoked attack, but even in the midst of uncertainty they only grow stronger and more determined.
Here we see the elusive Chibi Yukino stalking her prey. But what appears to be a sleeping Arima is in fact a feint designed to lure her into hug range.
Shiro Amada would agree.
A family of badasses.
This hand glows with an awesome power! It tells me to destroy anything that would get in the way of my daughter’s love!
Use of reaction warheads is authorized.
Yukino’s parents have left her in despair!
But all that’s needed is a cute moment together.
Both houses assemble in the lair of the Evil One for the parents conference that has been called, the young Miyazawas in contrast to the older and more proper looking Arimas. Kawashima the Cruel begins with his same speech to the parents, telling them that letting their children be in a relationship will ruin their lives forever just because they aren’t number one and number two in the ranking anymore. He keeps getting more personally involved in messing with their lives, expecting the parents to just agree with him. First Arima stands up to the foe once more, neither he nor Yukino shying from the righteous fight. He’s calmed by his parents, before Yukino’s dad begins the final assault. Completely schooling Kawashima the Cruel in what it is to be a good parent and teacher, he lays out how he’s never forced Yukino into doing things that she is opposed to for the sake of her future, and that that freedom has resulted in the high achieving (even without heavy studying), good natured daughter he has today. He’d rather that his daughter had her youth to enjoy than be a few spots higher on the grading ranks. The lord of House Arima then delivers the knockout blow to the tyrant, agreeing wholeheartedly in such a modest and understated way. Their son has never asked anything of them while still being such a model student, and they too would prefer that he lived freely. Shaken to his core now that both students and their parents have defied his will, Kawashima the Cruel collapses in on himself and admits defeat. While the ending felt a little too ‘everybody’s happy’ for my tastes, Yukino and Arima do make some peace with their defeated foe by promising to study some more.
The opening of the Battle of Hokuei Conference Room.
Be relentless, Arima, never give your enemy a moment’s pause!
Yeah Kawashima! Is this how adults do things?! You’re so selfish, you only care about yourself! /Kamille Bidan (ugh)
High school was alright, but I don’t know if I’d go that far. Now college, that’s the prime of your life!
House Miyazawa’s attack, and reactions. Combining several of the vertical shots used frequently in this episode.
A great victory for True Love and Friendship. In the short and savage war much hung in the balance, and never before has such a confrontation been ended so deftly and decisively. It ranks along with Sawayakyaa Alliance’s defeat of Kurumi Vichy-tan Ume’s blitzkrieg offensive as one of the great victories in shoujo warfare.
This will be Patrick Colasour once he’s a father.
“A true victory is to make your enemy realize they were wrong to oppose you in the first place; to force them to acknowledge your greatness!” – Gul Dukat, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
Adversity has only made them stronger! May they continue to grow and destroy (in a shoujo way) all who would oppose them!
Final Thoughts: - Wow, this episode just knew all the right notes to hit to fill me with BURNING PASSION for the events in it. The intense anger of Kawashima the Cruel even daring to intrude on their lives and tell them they should break up. He may have spouted some lines about being concerned for them, but a sympathetic villain to me he was not. Concern about one’s future is certainly relevant, but he was clearly obsessed with it and in turn would have helped ruin the youth of two deserving people. The way he tried to tell them how to live so forcefully like that definitely connected directly into my “Oh? Well fuck you!” indignation when I see similar things in real life. Advice is one thing, but what Kawashima did is way out of line and is basically coercion.
- On the other side, this episode had more emotional investment and dramatic resolution at the end than some action and mecha shows. Seeing Yukino and Arima stand up straight away was damned impressive and had me cheering and pumping my fist. Then the way that their parents also didn’t show even the slightest hesitation in doing the right thing for their kids was GAR as hell, just in a more subdued fashion. On the surface it was calm, but thinking about all the ways personal and societal expectations were playing out made for a complicated battlefield upon which they operated deftly. No one bowed down to the authority, especially formidable to the students and even more so in Japanese society, of the teachers. The parents didn’t give in to social pressure on how they’re ‘supposed’ to raise their children for success. And both families got along well despite being so different in appearance, class, and personality. Superb.
- Art style emphasized the vertical strips of images both static and moving this time around. There was plenty of the hand drawn sketch still shots as well, but it’s fun to see the creators varying their techniques and experimenting with new ones every few episodes.
- Next post will probably be 08 and 09 together. There just wasn’t enough room to fit 08 into this one without making a massive post. Though at some point I might make another one episode post if the episode warrants or there’s a week where I’m pressed for time.