At first, I have to say that my heart sank a little when I realised that this epi was going to focus on Kozue. Sure, I could see it coming, given the previous foreshadowing about how kooky her character is and how she’s always going off by herself in search of mysterious occult type things etc. etc., but in spite of this penchant for the mysterious, I’d sort of found her a bit of a third (and not very bright) wheel.
Until I finished watching this episode.
I did this section first this time and it was becoming too long, so no Summary this week (I tend to go a bit overboard with those too, hehe), so instead I’ve mixed in some summative comments amongst the analysis, with more pics and headings:
Woah. Even for a show about the occult, this was pretty far out. Of course, I’m talking about THAT ending (and another cliffie no less, that’s two in five epis already, I think), so I’d better go in some kind of chronological order…
After the predictable klutzy moment and the recycled from epi one ‘Megane! Megane!’ routine, her faux OOPArts spoon at least allowed our favourite occult-loving/ -hating tsundere to show off her awesome knowledge of all things spoonbendy. However, it didn’t take me too long to start warming up to Kozue, after watching her chase after the cat (something I’d probably do). Such shenanigans were in danger of going on too long for the viewer perhaps, but, fortunately, she then promptly and rather spectacularly fell over a cliff. Okay, not so fortunate for Kozue, but pretty awesome comic timing, which is one of my favourite things about this show.
The middle section with the girls was the turn-around point in my re-evaluation of Kozue, when the girls were having lunch and then lying back and dreamily discussing various superstitions and Kozue’s fascination with the occult. Not least of all cos it was so refreshing seeing them do normal things like have lunch, gossip and giggle together, as opposed to being possessed by lamias or chased by mothmen, I guess. Speaking of which, Kozue seemed perversely ungrateful when she dismissed these in her nothing-occultish-ever-happens-to-me speech. However, her reference to The Little Prince and her determination to grow and learn more about herself through such longed for, potentially epiphanic experiences indicates that she’s not just an occult-themed attention seeker…
And then, just when I was thinking, isn’t it nice that there are other teachers in this place trying to make their students learn stuff, one of the teachers asks for a volunteer to almost kill himself. Talk about interactive teaching and learning. Despite Ami and Maya’s worried faces, Kozue’s bravery and sense of adventure were admirable. As were her last thoughts. Admirable and hilarious that is.
Damn right, desserts are sacrosanct.
And then that FREAKY SH*T at the end, which made me think of kozue’s near death experience as a cross between a regression into the womb (that umbilical cord like rope thing), an outer space/ gravity-less setting, and a Ghibli-esque dreamscape (er, more My Neighbour Totoro than Grave of the Fireflies, that is). Were we simply seeing the kinds of things Kozue might hallucinate about if she were near death? Or was it really some limbo-type, in between life and death space? Of course, we didn’t see enough of it nor long enough to find out, before Kozue was pulled back into the land of the living. Or was she? Would the Kozue we know really shrug off her lost glasses and think so little of her beloved occult all of a sudden? Unless she decided to change her priorities after, of course, almost dying and thus is on her way to find other, perhaps more practical things to spend her time doing? Or was she once again possessed by some kind of supernatural beasty, leaving her real consciousness behind to search for said glasses? Either way, clearly a good moment to have a cliffie-ending.
Other character- and plot-development of note:
There was, of course, less of Uchida this week (will leave it up to you as to whether that’s a good thing or not), but we certainly saw enough of his funny faces, which seemed to fall either into the ‘terrified’ (of Maya) or ‘loved-up/ perverted’ (due to Ms Cute Waitress) categories. Seriously, though, you’d think he’d learn after picking on Maya the first time round not to do so again, unless he’s some kind of masochist of course. Regarding the waitress, her voice is simply too annoying for me now to say any more about her than I’ve already done so in this sentence. But speaking of she-who-must-not-be-named, at least the Vice Principal has found at about her rival, I’ll admit that I enjoyed her displeasure at what she saw, in a sadistic kind of way (well if she’s going to fall for someone that useless, I have no sympathy for her).
When Maya answered Number Five’s phone, I was pretty disappointed that it wasn’t some scary supernatural prank caller, and even more disappointed that the Mysterious Man didn’t give Uchida more hell when he spoke to him on his phone later. Also plot hole ahoy: wasn’t the phone only supposed to be for one-way communication, for the Time Agents to report back, rather than receive calls? On the other hand, I appreciate the irony of calling plot holes in this show, which, let’s face it, is not really about an intricate plot anyway, as opposed to supernatural flavoured comedy…
Moments of Win:
…which leads me, finally to fan-girl over some of my highlights. Not least of all the many more faces of Maya. I think that these should be put into their own web-comic, or photo-album at least. There were just so many of them and they were all so awesome. except for the one after Uchida dares to tell her that he doesn’t see her in that way at all. Which is a pretty damn good thing if you ask me, certainly not worth her getting angry about. I’m only hoping she reacted that way because she was offended by how vehemently he denied it, rather than the fact that she might have had any feelings for him that were crushed. Besides, it looks like she’s due to meet real-time Bunmei-kun next week, so that’s one weird thing we can do without.
Other moments of Win in brief: Maya’s (as mentioned) very informative OOPArts lecture; Ami’s face while Maya was giving said lecture; Maya’s first pissed-off face in reaction to Uchida daring to pick on her in class the morning after the cowardliness before; Maya (bizarrely, from what we’ve seen) requiring Ami’s help to limber up in P.E.; finding out Japanese people had the three-second rule in 1999 too; lunch with the girls and Maya’s rare, but heavenly smile; Uchida’s Epic Fail when he tried to pick on Maya again; kozue’s final prayers and thoughts about her family, especially her gluttonous sister; and the freaky arse near-death sequence and Kozue’s even freakier recovery at the end.
I thought it was a much slower paced epi than last week, but that, this time, it worked (unlike the middle of epi three). Also, I thought it was a great way to build Kozue’s character and the relationship between the three girls, and to incorporate the comedy that we love so much in this show.