All together, now: ‘KOU SAMA! GO SUMMER! KOU SAMA! GO!!’
…Er, I’d carry on a bit more, but they didn’t sub the rest of this Takai-centric OP after that point. But no matter, because, even just 58 seconds into this epi, we can tell that the Shaft A-listers must have returned from the holiday that they all must have been away on during epi 9 (and may that be the last time I ever have to refer to that epi *shudders*) in order to bring back some of the verbal and visual gymnastics that we all love about this show. And, lo and behold, we also seem to be on our way to Venus. Sort of.
Sister advises everyone on the riverbank that the rocket that is to take ‘em all to Nino’s planet can only carry a max. weight of 500 kilos, which is apparently the same weight as (cue Sister stepping onto the scales) five average adults. Clearly, Ric is having none of that, adding that they’ll just have to leave behind Sister. At which Nino gets rather upset and suggests that they all shift some of their flab in order to accommodate their favourite musclebound nun. The rest of the epi follows the successful efforts of Ric and the Mayor to become even leaner, the successful efforts of P-Ko, Nino and Stella to become sick at their you-must-only-eat-strawberries diet, and the successful efforts of Last Samurai, Hoshi and the iron heads, overseen by Sister, to Get Ripped. Which means, for the latter, weighing even more than ever before. Soon, basically all of them end up failing to maintain their various physical regimes. Except for a certain iron head, who, during one of Ric’s Sex Ed. lessons, decides he’s going to end up fathering Stella’s children. To which Stella has a few things to say. Cue some rather impressive fisticuffs from the kiddies, before one angry iron head somehow swaps his holy muscles with the other, less angry, iron head and all is well again in the classroom and on the riverbank.
Thank. Gawd. Okay, so they haven’t actually boarded any rockets yet. However, this epi basically remembered that they were clearly planning to do so, and they were so damn entertaining during said planning and even took it upon themselves to tackle serious issues such as the importance of having a healthy diet and weight. Well, if you swap ‘tackle’ with ‘take the piss out of’, might be more like it. Either way, we once again had some plot development, some character development and some lotsandlotsandlots of LOLs. Yay!
First up, the plot. Well, perhaps not that much to say about it that I haven’t already said, but it was nonetheless interesting to see who is and is not intending to travel to Venus, with the ‘is nots’ basically consisting of Jacqueline, Billy and Shiro. Nino’s worried chibi-faced head-shaking at the thought of having to leave Sister behind was as adorable as it was funny, and her connection with her fellow villagers (though not explored so much in this LOL-centred epi) was once again made apparent. Which also leads me to think that, beyond the LOLs, there may be a more serious drama mixed in if certain key characters change their minds or are unable to go after all. For now, though, it seems that most of the gang intend to go with Nino, so, er, yeah, we’ll see if that actually happens or not in the handful of epis that are left of this series…
As mentioned, this epi basically followed the various groups of characters in their efforts to lose weight/ get healthy. Predictably, P-Ko’s the one who suggests crash dieting, and hopefully her ridiculous antics are enough to put off anyone considering fruit-flavoured near starvation as a from of shifting that arse. In short, the girls clearly do not need to lose weight anyway, doing so merely for the beloved Sister. Of course, a certain red-haired gardener may have just had an ulterior motive behind the whole weight loss idea.
This made me giggle. A lot. Not least of all ‘cos, amidst all the nuttiness, it’s true. That is, the idea of wearing nothing but your boyfriend’s shirt/ seeing your girlfriend wearing nothing but your shirt is a clichéd but nonetheless sexy image. Of course, the fact that the Mayor doesn’t actually wear shirts makes the whole idea all the more awesome.
In contrast to the girls, Ric and the Mayor’s weight loss methods were , of course, pretty successful. Disturbingly so. Therefore, you’ll have to forgive me for not going on about Ric in his itsy bitsy teeny weeny T-shirt and hotpants (personally, I prefer my bishies not to have visibly protruding hips beneath a Vivian Leigh-in-Gone with the Wind-sized waist. Nuff said). On the other hand, the buffed up Hoshi and the iron heads (if not so much the inherently manly Last Samurai) were only mildly less disturbing. But the very camp descending from ropes in ripped clothing as if they were extras in a remake of an ‘It’s Raining Men’ music video was pretty fab-u-lous, and one of the most bizarre/ awesome images in this epi.
The second half was fun too, though I felt the whole muscle thing was a bit drawn out. Saying that, though, the fight scene between Stella and Tetsuwhatshisface was very well choreographed and I enjoyed all those crazy angles during all their gymnastics. And the fact that it all kicked off while Ric was trying to teach them about Sex Ed./ the reproductive cycle (not sure if he was going for the PSHE or Biological angle here) was hilarious – especially as, in his words, he hadn’t even got to that part yet.
In short, until the Takai OP is subbed and I can talk about that even more, those were my highlights. It’s kinda hard to talk about a comedy show as zany as this one can be without just listing one’s LOL moments, but I did really enjoy this epi (though, yes, a good dose of relief might have been mixed in with the enjoyment) and I hope that this is a sign that the comedy is back on form, as well as (hopefully) the fact that the drama/ relationships and optional meta-undercurrents of social commentary will also be brought back to the forefront of things in the final arc.