Nisaka is suddenly an adorable dork now.

No really, he is now all of a sudden. I mean, look at this guy’s face…

In what I can only describe as one of the filler episodes of Love & Lies, Nisaka gets quite angry at the thought of being the centre of attention, playing Juliet…not sure where this sudden emotion came from as he is already the centre of attention being the pretty boy in class. So after school, his father arrives out of nowhere and treats both him and Yukari to a parfait…umm, yeah. It’s almost as if his douchebagness has been wiped away completely and his tsundere heart has melted away, as he finally relents when he sees how much it means to Yukari (his crush) for him to play Juliet.

I initially thought that the comparison between Romeo & Juliet and the events in this show did not exist, but as I watch this episode, the more I can see that it is very very obvious to see. Both Romeo and Juliet had a wife and husband arranged for them by the Montague and Capulet families, and were not meant and allowed to be together, but their hearts told them otherwise, and that cost them both everything. The play itself captures not just the joys of love, but the naivety of love and the chaos of it. In order to keep their love intact, both Romeo & Juliet would rather die together than to live a lie with the wife and husband their fathers have arranged for them.

(I know all of this as my school class did Romeo & Juliet for its play as well – it’s a weird requirement for UK high-school kids to study Shakespeare, you see)

Misaki is beginning to understand the chaos of love more now, as she knows that Yukari should be with Ririna, but her heart is telling her to shut up and take him instead. Curiously, we haven’t had anything about who Misaki’s assigned partner is. It was implied right from episode 1 that she is a few months older than Yukari, so she may have received her notice already and just not told anyone (if it turns out to be Nisaka then I’m just going to laugh!). Now Yukari is seriously stuck. He won’t admit it, but as he and Ririna exchange more letters as time as gone on, the two of them are beginning to grow closer; it will be interesting to see what the two of them will do when they are reunited (Ririna is likely to attend this play of theirs).

This week’s New Game!! sees some new people arrive at the Eagle Jump offices.

Nene applies for a part-time contract programmer job, and succeeds, but I think she only got the job because Umiko was the foot in the door. Then two interns from game school, Narumi and Momo, come along just as people are reassigned cubicles in the character design team. Mad that the young Aoba is credited as character designer for the new game, Momo begins one of those “I’m-your-rival-but-we’ll-be-friends-anyway” relationships with her straightaway.

I think that now some new characters have arrived (Hotaru, Christina, and now these two), things will begin to pick up. New Game!! began on a bit of a downer, choosing to turn to drama and anxiety than real comedy. But looking back at it now, it’s something I can forgive them for, as I like all of the new characters already.

Meanwhile, another one of my favourite girls this season returns…

The girls in Sakura Quest find themselves left holding not a baby, but an cynical teenage brat. When Erika runs away saying she wants to leave Manoyama for Tokyo, Shiori begins to get in two minds on why she is the only one out of the five who hasn’t had any thought of leaving the town, when the others all have. This episode also reveals one other crucial thing: as Yoshino sees that the town’s residents are supporting themselves as they are, she begins to think whether an outsider like her even has the right to ask for change.

This is a thought I have when I watch Sakura Quest every now and then. If a sleepy town like Manoyama is coping fine on its own, what right does someone who hasn’t lived there have in having any say on what kind of future the town should have? This reminds me of the halfway episode when she pondered on why she was chosen to fill the shoes of Queen.

As a city boy born and bred, I can understand why Yoshino is pondering on this, just as I can understand why Erika wants to leave Manoyama so badly. I am no good in the sticks; I need my internet and my 24-hour shops and my good transport links.

I finally have the chance to watch the whole of Owarimonogatari Ge now; as I said last week, I didn’t anticipate it would last so long. I won’t lie about this new Monogatari instalment: it dragged on, and on, and on.

It’s a serious shame, as Monogatari has been a long ride that I’ve enjoyed since the beginning, since we were all introduced to the beauty that is [insert your favourite Monogatari girl here]. In these 3 episodes (which seemed like forever), we see Mayoi come back into Koyomi’s life. Her last story was very complex, and this one (Mayoi Hell) is just as, if not more. Later, we get some kind of relief, as Koyomi and Hitagi go out on a day-long date, where they both learn much more about each other; seeing Hitagi act all lovey-dovey over him is priceless. But the final story, Ougi Dark, left me both captivated (in seeing Ougi again) and annoyed (for the same reason).

I guess it’s only as the entire franchise begins to come to an end when I can finally see how tiring actually watching it can be. Well I will say that I’m glad it is ending soon, and they’re not stretching it out as long as humanly possible.

Finally on to Squid Girl, and this is the first episode in the show that I didn’t actually mind, although I will still say that the show is not something I would pick to watch on a desert island.

Squid Girl comes down with a squid disease, which makes her crave shrimp even more. Later, she has a duel with a local sandcastle builder, creating a bizarre monument that moves on its own. And even later, she discovers the wonders of…umbrellas. One wouldn’t think that, as a water creature, she shouldn’t even care for using umbrellas, but alas as weapons, they can be…*sigh*

I guess some time away from watching Squid Girl will make me less mad about comedy sketch shows I seem to pick and later regret doing so.

This will be the last post in this column for a while, as I’m flying across the Atlantic to go to Dragoncon in Atlanta over the Labor Day Weekend (first weekend of September), and playing the role of ‘dumb tourist’ while I’m out there. This column will return in a few weeks’ time, and will cover three weeks’ worth of shows that I caught up on whilst being jet-lagged 🙂