I had completely expected a low level pool fanservice episode; maybe it’s because I’ve been following R+V and forgot that sometimes plot can happen. So when I got through this episode, I was pleasantly surprised that it turned out like this. Quite an artistic feat, this one. I liked it a lot, and I suddenly have some hope for the remainder of the series. Maybe we’re finally getting past the BS one-episode fillers, and going for the true plot.
Yuzuki and her friends are at a pool resort where Nozomi, the glasses-wearing girl of the group, often works to help her relatives. Nomura, a classmate, also part-times at the resort, often making yakisoba. The girls who ordered the yakisoba end up not wanting to eat it all, resulting in a lot of wasted noodles and an annoyed Nomura.
As he returns home, Nomura finds his usual bike spot taken by a bullish old woman. Back in his room, Nomura continues his “game” – placing stickers on a calendar’s bikini-clad centerpiece as they race to the goal, a free trip to Hell courtesy of the Jigoku Tsuushin.
The next day, Nomura is working on the whiteboard advertisement, and Nozomi finds that he’s a rather good artist. It turns out that the girl he’s drawing bears a strong resemblance to Kokoro, a girl he has a crush on. He’s surprised when he sees Kokoro arrive, and even more so when she’s with another man. With that, Nomura begins fantasizing more about Nozomi than Kokoro, and the week continues with the same annoyances and issues.
As the three annoying people – Ryu (Kokoro’s boyfriend), the annoying neighbor, and a delinquent senpai – make their way to the finish line in Nomura’s game, Nomura edges closer to finishing his own manga. When he does so, he’s ecstatic to find it’s featured in the weekly magazine. Nomura gains huge amounts of confidence and even asks Nozomi out on a date, and Jigoku Tsuushin moves on from the assignment, as he doesn’t have any interest in sending people to Hell at the moment, and they don’t want to do it anyway.
While heading home one night, he comes across a girl trying to commit suicide by jumping off a bridge. He restrains her and is surprised to see that it’s his first crush, Kokoro, trying to end her life. Kokoro confesses that Ryu, her ex, had three other girlfriends, and she couldn’t take the shame of it. Nomura convinces her that she can certainly find a better man, and it seems to make her feel better. Nomura walks her home, where she thanks him before parting.
The situation brings Nomura over the edge, and he decides Ryu has won the game, earning a one way ticket to Hell. He soon finds, however, that he cannot connect to the system. Soon enough, Enma Ai pays a visit, but only to show him the way to Hell. Kokoro, who could not live with the stigma of being saved by someone like Nomura, has decided he must die so she can move on. Nomura is tortured in a very manga-esque way before succumbing to the gates. The next day, Nozomi is depressed over Nomura’s sudden disappearance, as she thinks there’s definitely something going on. Meanwhile, Kokoro has already hooked up with another good looking guy, but is no longer able to wear a bikini because of the mark of the Jigoku Tsuushin on her breast.
- Like I said, this is generally a better episode than anticipated. Nomura brings endless amounts of hilarity as the series decides it’d be a good idea to make everything pretty much as funny as possible. Nomura himself is quite the otaku, right down to the genuine nosebleeds from seeing some marvelous “assets”.
- Nozomi is pretty oblivious that the whiteboard changed to match…well, her. I like how Nomura doesn’t succumb to damning people to Hell early. It’s a shame he had to have a crush on someone as shallow as Kokoro, whose name makes it almost ironic. FYI, Kokoro is “heart” in Japanese, and her character pretty much has no heart. Nomura could’ve been a huge doujinsha!
- Don’t let the editors see this episode, they’ll think mangakas can get entire pages drawn in a matter of seconds. Mangakas only wish they had half the talent of the great Nomura!
- How many girls have that hairstyle like Kokoro? The entire time I saw her, the only thing that popped in my head was Kuchiki Rukia. Kind of strange, random thought.
- Every pool scene in anime has an inflatable banana, but really, have you every seen those? I think I saw them once, back in Indonesia, and they looked really stupid. And yet there’s some sort of obsession with them?
- Kikuri has the oddest wardrobe ever. And I bet by now she’s cursing the fact that she’s possessed a stupid wind up toy. Or maybe she’s loving it because Yamawaro has to do damned near everything for her.
- Nomura absolutely FLIPPED when Ai came. I suppose if I saw Ai in my room, I’d probably do the same thing. That is, of course, assuming I’m not being sent to Hell…
- Hands down the most artistic torture scene of the season, and maybe the entire series. I can’t imagine any other time where I’ve actually been enthralled with the torture, but this one really takes it. Sure it’s pretty low budget, but that’s what makes it so awesome. The red lights shining through Ai’s…erm, eyes…was positively eerie. Great stuff.
- TATANIC where?!
FINALLY, we get to the true plot. Took them long enough!