Tank Music That Doesn’t Suck; and A Portrait of the Artist as a Token Loli

Kanata about to play in the day for a second time
She's going to try to play it again! Run for your lives!

Week 3 begins with the same 2 series I started with in week 2 before losing the plot and heaping all the rest of them together. So it is more ソ・ラ・ノ・ヲ・ト and Ladies versus Butlers! in a continuing to put good episodes together shocker.

A drawing of a soldier on a wall
This struck an interesting chord I hadn't experienced since a rewatch of Gundam 0080

The third episode of ソ・ラ・ノ・ヲ・ト focuses on building the relationship between Rio and Kanata. The episode begins with Kanata making what looks like a traditional Japanese breakfast for the rest of the crew and especially the miso. As she cleans up and looks at what’s left at the bottom of one of the bowls, Rio is informed that she and Kanata will be left as the rest head off to get more supplies.

Rio talks to Phylicia about her distrust of the church Rio and Phylicia talk over fortune cookies they acquired from some kids at the local church. Rio expresses a distrust of the church because they demand money for useless superstitions, but it isn’t their fault says Phylicia. They talk about Kanata and how she tries her best, but Rio says that isn’t enough to fit in.

Phylicia, Kureha and Noel leave which leaves Kanata with a chance to practice with just a mouthpiece. Predictably, she’s terrible at that too. Later the two talk about military life and why Kanata joined. She starts by saying that it was they only place she could learn an instrument for free before saying protecting the country was important too. Rio says people with goals last longer in the military. Rio starts to talk about why she joined before Kanata passes out from illness.

Rio bows for assistance at the churchRio tries to help Kanata the best she can with what she has available. When she finds there’s no snow or even medicine available, because supplies were low, she has to go into town to ask a girl name Yumina from the church for assistance. Kanata gets some treatment and is able to sleep it off.

As she is sleeping, Kanata remembers watching someone play “Amazing Grace” (I think anyway) on the trumpet. As the clouds depart for sunshine in her vision of the past, she is awoken by Rio humming the same melody. She startlees Rio into cutting herself while skinning an apple. They talk a little about the melody and Rio’s surprise that she can remember a melody hearing it once. The conversation turns to how Kanata views herself. She thinks of herself as like the leftover beans from making miso which are essentially worthless. She works hard because she’s been treated as such her whole life.

Rio decides to take Kanata over to the gymnasium where they store the tank called the Takamikazuchi. Rio starts the thing up and gets it to play an orchestral version of the song. The two then talk about what the song means and how their relationship should work from this point forward. Rio caused a whole lot of trouble for the person she learned from, and she expects the same out of Kanata.

The rest of the crew returns and they talk a little to Rio about what happened as Kanata sleeps. Phylicia knows which song Rio played even though she swore never to listen to it again.

Rio uses the tank to listen to tunesMy thoughts through this episode still largely focused on what the hell happened to Japan to cause this. It may never really be adequately addressed as the normal slice-of-life rules apply. Overall this was a pretty good episode and with tank music that doesn’t suck. After all, I expect even in the future to see most guys driving tanks loving 80s crap metal. 82/100

Kazamatsuri Toichiro falls over his background
Is there any point to this character at all?

Ladies versus Butlers! continued with the harem anime staple of introducing another character who will fall for the lead. It’s simple and effective in most cases, and this proved no exception. The episode begins with Akiharu bumping into Osawa Mimina, who understandably is apprehensive about running into him again before running off as Tomomi looks on.

Selnia finds out Akiharu doesn't need her cardLater, Akiharu runs into Tomomi who holds a card he needs to take a servant exam later. He reluctantly takes her card before Selnia walks over and demands he begs for her card to no avail. Mimina, meanwhile, struggles to find something to draw around the campus of the school even being further harrassed by pointless character Kazumatsuri Toichiro. As the exam approaches, all the male servants have cards bar Shingo who tries to sexually harass  one out of Selnia unsuccessfully.

The exam is revealed and it consists just of following their partner’s orders for a few hours and writing about the experience together. After deliberating over humiliating him, Tomomi has Akiharu try to assist Mimina. She struggles to start drawing anything on paper especially with Akiharu nearby. They go from place to place being followed by Tomomi and Selnia.

Akiharu continues to chase after Mimina until she spots a cat she wants to draw. Akiharu is then forced into chasing the cat and getting it to lay in his lap. It gets away though. He tries to comfort her with juice and by talking to her, then some of her fans walk in worried about the fact that a known pervert may be about to molest her before they walk away wishing her luck.

Mimina also wants to leave, but sprains her ankle in the process of walking away. In the nurse’s office he treats her like a normal person in applying a bandage to a finger she hurt in her fall. Because of that, she begins to talk about how she got into drawing and why she drew. It was only because she drew things as she wanted them to be, but eventually people spotted her talent and began to make money off of it though she was just a sickly bored child. She was no longer able to find the motivation to draw as she wanted.

As they resume looking for the cat, Akiharu is confronted by the same girls from before. He says Mimina only wants to draw what she wants to draw and basically not to wear her down with expectations. He gets them to leave and she is thankful. They find the cat, she’s able to draw it with him in the picture.

The test comes to an end and Tomomi is waiting for him. He knows it was just a scheme to help her and that she and Selnia were following them all along. Some time later, Tomomi hands Akiharu a magazine featuring an interview with Mimina. She says in it her favorite place is anywhere with a reliable guy. Tomomi says it refers to him, though he can’t believe it.

From the imagination of Selnia Flameheart...

There were three objectives from this episode and I think all succeeded. First was introducing Mimina through a portrait of the artist as a token loli character. It made me realize that everything happening so far in this series has been out of character boredom. Second, to make Tomomi not appear to be completely evil, which I thought worked here. Most importantly, it was to make Akiharu more likable which I also thought was successful. More solid material buried under fan-service to come for sure. 80/100

Winter 2010 Ranking So Far

  1. Durarara!!
  2. ソ・ラ・ノ・ヲ・ト
  3. Ladies versus Butlers!
  4. Ookami Kakushi
  5. Hanamaru Kindergarden
  6. Dance in the Vampire Bund
  7. Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu – Dropped Episode 2
  8. Chu-Bra – Dropped Episode 1
  9. Omamori Himari – Dropped Episode 1
  10. Seikon no Qwaser – Dropped Episode 1