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Well, the US vote is today. Sadly, their future is not in my hands, and besides, this place is no place to talk about whether the person they elect will do all the things they promised to do in their first 100 days. So…if you are a US citizen, I won’t tell you who to go for; as long as you choose someone you know is right for the job…that’s the most important thing. Nothing will change here of course; I mean UK people like me already have Brexit to go nuts about!

Moving on……I’ve been naughty, as I ended up nosing around online and I found some translated pieces from the Sangatsu no Lion manga, a good part of me regrets doing it though. Then again, after reading what was there, I can tell that SHAFT made a very good choice in adapting this, as the characters are perfect for both those who appreciate their more serious side and their more comical side. Some upcoming characters are going to lift Rei’s spirits right up, some are going to make him a stronger person, and some will make his world come crashing down again. Well I think now we’ve reached this far, I’m happy to say that Akari, Hina and Momo have effectively made themselves his new adopted sisters, when before I was questioning why he would even hang out with people like them.

This semi-flashback episode shows the more serious side to Rei’s life. His blood family was killed by a truck at a young age, so he was effectively forced into a shogi family, with a strict and possessed teacher (Kouda), an abusive sister (Kyouko) and a mentally unstable brother (Ayumu). It was very nice how the show matched Rei’s life to brood parasitism, in that the person who is taken in ultimately kills off its inhabitants. When Rei surpassed the brother, he quit and his grades lowered considerably, and when the father forced the sister to quit the league in place of Rei, she disappeared off out of the house all the time. Kouda had made Rei the monster he has become and in order to leave the house before he made things worse, he chose not to go straight to high school and go pro, thus having the funds to live alone.

I know for a fact that they will make an appearance in due time (sooner than you think), and I can’t wait to see Kyouko get in Akari’s bad books, as I know she’ll kick her rebellious behind in 5 seconds flat.

Meanwhile, today was make or break day for band in Hibike! Euphonium 2; nationals or no nationals. While the theme was important, the episode itself seemed like time that needed to be filled…the “post-Mizore/Nozomi arc, pre-next arc” episode. It’s a harsh criticism, but a good part of us knew that Kitauji would make it, and as half of the episode was the band doing their epic piece (and it is epic!), it would be even harsh to call this filler……and I won’t, as I’m in a much better mood than last week when I was trying so hard to find some sense out of Occultic;Nine. More about that later.

I have to bring up Asuka again, as I have this feeling that she will be the center of an upcoming arc. Haruka seems to be only President of the club by name; it was Asuka’s speech that got them hyped up before they played (as opposed to Haruka’s tiny “whoo!”), and it was she who collected the award. Everyone in band knows that she is their face, as she seems to be practically perfect at anything. Yet she deliberately chooses not to be president, which leads me to think more that she is only playing the euphonium for herself, and not for anyone else. Why she and Haruka haven’t clashed more is beyond me; does Haruka have that much of an inferiority complex? Asuka’s such a well-written character, and that’s why I hate her so much! *laugh*

So far, Brave Witches has left us with some very likeable characters. I know the ones who haven’t made a splash (Aleksandra, Sadako, Waltrud and Georgette) will soon enough, and their own stories will make up more filler episodes. So far, I know nothing about any of them, but we still have 7 or so episodes to go.

This is definitely one show where the filler episodes have never put me off watching it; the original Strike Witches operated like that, and so using these mini-stories inside of one long one works best for a show like this. This week, instructor Edytha Rossman has given Hikari a week to show she has what it takes to be a part of the unit. Edytha is nothing like what instructor Mio was in the original; she is both strict yet fair and sympathising. I like how this simple test of fetching a hat off a monument without flying gives Hikari the chance to test her magical power, and most importantly her resolve and enthusiasm.

Speaking of resolve, let’s move onto that show you know I regretted choosing.

I think we are finally getting somewhere in Occultic;Nine, in terms of who actually killed the professor, but I still can’t quite see anything, as this is no tidier than past episodes. Some characters are drawn with shadows while others aren’t, everything still seems too claustrophobic, and even though the police detective Moritsuka is becoming more of a presence now (and less annoying than MC Ryota), I know that, when this show finally ends, we will be left with more questions than answers.

A show like this definitely needs more than one watch for the viewer to see some kind of sense. As I keep saying, the characters are good……everything else is not.

What could be worse than this week’s Occultic;Nine? This week’s Long Riders! Scarcely touching cycling, the topic is how they fund their expensive hobbies. While Aoi tutors children and Yayoi takes care of her father’s books, Hinako and Ami have humiliating yet well-paid cafe jobs. While Hinako has to wear a cheongsam to impress perverts at her family’s Chinese restaurant, Ami does the downright silly magical maid routine at another pervy cafe. This was the worst kind of filler, and focusing on cycling should remain the only topic of the show, as opposed to going on about their pathetic lives.

Not quite the face-melting torture I’m having with Occultic;Nine, as Long Riders! is still influencing me more to get back on the bike, but this was an embarrassing watch, and the sooner Ami gets on her new road bike, the better. And when will we ever see last week’s mystery girl again?

Next week should (fingers crossed) see a new arc for Kitauji to practice for the Nationals, Rei trying to be happy again, some major progress in finding out who killed the professor, more girls from the 502nd unit given their 15 minutes of fame, and more bike riding (instead of wasting time in cafes).

But maybe shows will be delayed due to the aftermath of the US elections…that’s one excuse animation studios haven’t used yet.