Kamisama no Memochou Eps05-07

I tried so hard to get this done yesterday, but I just couldn't. Sadface. On the flipside, the Dota2 tournament finishing gives me back a lot of free time. (Good job, EHOME. I swear you threw that very first match against Scythe.SG, though.) Unfortunately, some rekindled blog work is now eating up my time. I'll focus on Yuru Yuri after this post; let's see if I can't get that up in the next day or so.

What comparisons...

With this batch, my interest in this anime has been rekindled. The characters have managed to grow on me; Narumi isn't weak and useless, but rather just has different strengths than I had expected. Alice, with all of her childishness and old-school style of speaking, is endearing me like none other; she's not so tsundere that it annoys me, but she's bossy enough that I seem to quite like it. This arc introduced Renji Hirasaka, the maker of the Hirasaka Group, and even in these three episodes hasn't concluded yet. Since the post was getting pretty long, I decided to break it here. While the detective-work still isn't the main focus, the story itself is keeping me pretty curious.

Wow, she's really small, isn't she.

Ep05 began with the theme of summer cleaning (I thought it was "spring cleaning", but whatever). Alice pouted while Narumi rounded up her stuffed animals to wash (that was a nice touch, putting them in the safe bag first), with Ayaka's help. Various references were made to Narumi being good for nothing else; it's sad how much he gets looked down on (and yet still comes back). A wayward (and highly intentional) comment by Hiro about how Narumi was sniffing Alice's things, which were akin to her bare skin, made her freak out and refuse to let Narumi do her laundry anymore. She failed at it herself, though, so she settled for just putting the clothes in the laundry basket herself, thereby circumventing Narumi's perverted ways.

Oh? Tell me more~

The major plot point, though, was about Yondaime's dabbling in profitable investments - the Hirasaka Group was the promoter for an indie girl band. Being a mock brother, Narumi was recruited in order to do things like scout out the venue, redesign the website, promote the band, etc. Alice was quite heartbroken, of course, letting her feelings be pretty clear. (I like how she doesn't really beat around the bush, at least not to herself. Maybe I'm just reading too much into this, but it does feel like Alice likes Narumi and admits it.) Just after I said last episode that Ayaka didn't show up much, she spent quite a lot of time with Narumi in this episode (although most of it was in montage-mode), which made most of their outings seem like the perfect set-up for dates. Yondaime was clear in what he wanted Narumi to do, like a good manager, and also let him know to watch out for the previous group that had been taking care of the band. For some reason, they chose to break their contract with another group (with shady yakuza ties) and hired Yondaime, although it wasn't really explained why (other than to add a sense of danger, of course).

Ha-ha, can't mention Disneyland?

Somewhere in the episode, Narumi randomly ran into what Yugi of Yugi-Oh would look like were he not controlled by an ageless Egyptian pharaoh. I swear, that hairstyle made me pause and laugh for a really long time. Renji Hirasaka, back in Tokyo after a long absence, met with Narumi at a club (where Narumi was attempting to take pictures, for some reason that surely had to do with promotion of the girl band). After an intentional drink-spill on Narumi's part (to get Renji away from the goons he was fighting), they essentially spent the day together and spoke about being friends. I couldn't keep the BL-lover in me away with this scene; Narumi was so serious about the friendship that it set off all sorts of alarms. Despite the obvious relation to the Hirasaka Group under Yondaime's control, Renji didn't show up much, reappearing at the very end so that it could tie-in well to the next episode.

Such serious tanning!

Someone was out to get the Hirasaka Group, and the stage was pretty clearly set for it to be the group that the girl band had previously been with. Some group t-shirts were stolen from a storage room and men wearing the shirts, claiming to be from the Hirasaka Group, barged into the venue for the big concert. Nothing much came of it, though it just set everything up for another confrontation in the next episode. Meanwhile, more of Yondaime's life was "revealed" when Narumi travelled to another part of Tokyo to pick up an apron that Min had ordered, running into Yondaime with his old friend, the young shopkeeper of a fabric store. With every little bit that was revealed, I was actually getting more and more interested in Yondaime's history; he doesn't particularly seem like a regular yakuza head.

Red as a tomato seems endearing suddenly.

Alice, having gotten thoroughly annoyed at the lack of time Narumi had to spend with her, deposed him of his duties. Unlike may tsundere that only serve to bother me, I do like Alice. She doesn't seem to say things that are outrageous, although her feelings do get the best of her. She accused Narumi of running off to the smell of money, and relieved him of his duties as her assistant (even though she had previously mumbled that he wasn't just her assistant). For his part, Narumi didn't seem phased by her actions at all. Rather, he made it a point to spend some time with her in the evening, when he had more time, and told her clearly that, whether or not he was busy, he still cared for her. How old is Alice again? I can't remember if this romance is a little taboo or not.

Narumi seemed pretty useless to me at the beginning, too.

Ep06 was almost like a placeholder, not ending the arc and not really providing lots of information. It seemed to be there purely to set up for ep07. After the accidental meeting with Renji at the zoo, he and Narumi talked more about being friends, even going so far as to do the "bonding ritual" with cups of Coke. When it was revealed later in the episode that it was Renji that was causing the problems for Yondaime with the girl band, it wasn't a surprise at all; there was quite a lot of set-up to ensure that Narumi was caught in the middle. The good thing about this early scene was that Narumi revealed some more about his home life; his mother died when he was very young and his father rarely came home. His older sister worked, while his father provided them with money. Whatever Narumi felt about his family, it's clear that he at least feels welcome with Alice and the Hanamaru.

Take her by surprise!

There was apparently a fire at the venue, causing Alice to urgently call Hiro in order to see if Narumi was okay. He had been almost begged by Renji to not go (providing more to the climax later, really, since obviously both sides care about Narumi), and escaped mortal danger. Upon returning to the hang-out, it turned out that the Hirasaka Group had caught a culprit responsible, though Yondaime knew that it was Renji that was behind it all. There was much alluding to a fall-out that had happened between the two "mock brothers", over a woman named Hison, and even Alice commented that Renji was ruthless and cruel. She urged Narumi to not get caught up in things on his own, and she provided him with the comfort and confidence he needed to "confront" Renji the next day (as in, in ep07). It was rather sweet how the two slept in the same bed, quite platonically. Other than these events, nothing really happened in this episode.

...so cute...

I have to comment that this arc went a lot better than the previous one about money laundering. The same problem of scene-jumps was present here, but I could deal with it a lot better. Either I've come to like the characters a lot more or it's the fact that there isn't a superbly annoying character around (Meo). I think it's a little bit of both. I liked Narumi's insight in this episode; it made it clear that his talents lied outside the physical. He's a good judge of people and was able to handle some amazing events; it's as if the ceremony with Yondaime actually did give him courage. I must say that another thing I've grown to like is the incredible timing of some events; Tetsu showed up (having been away to the racetracks for a few days) just in time to save Narumi and Ayaka from getting attacked from the fake Hirasaka Group members. It was entirely believable, if just a tad too coincidental, and I do actually like that type of "planning" in anime.

Why did his phone need to be broken?!

If I had to categorize, then ep07 was the closest build-up to the climax, heading right into it. The episode began with Narumi seeing Renji, without the t-shirt that he was to deliver (so he retained the excuse of seeing him afterwards). As typically as possible, Narumi attempted to get Renji to understand that he was waging a war against someone that wasn't his enemy. I didn't find this scene as annoying as other "see the light" scenes, mainly because Narumi is the mock brother of both Yondaime and Renji. At this point, he has the right to say things like this. Renji didn't relent at all, telling Narumi of the reason he hated Yondaime. Years prior, he and Yondaime lived together with Hison (during the time that Hirasaka Group was still gaining territory and pitted against the big Gotouda Group). They made a pact to not make a move on her and instead kept away all guys that approached her. During a certain fight, though, Yondaime used Hison as a shield, causing her death, and was even paid off to keep quiet (as Hison's existence was erased thereafter). This was the event that caused the Hirasaka Group to "win" against the Gotouda Group, I surmise, and Renji never forgave Yondaime for it.

So direct! So forward! I adore.

A large portion of the episode was devoted to getting the Yondaime to ask Alice for assistance; without it, Alice wouldn't be able to snoop around fully and discover what had really happened. Yondaime was content in keeping his mouth shut about the incident, taking the blame for Hison's death, while Renji was amassing forces in order to take down everything that Yondaime had made precious to himself. Despite all the flowery words being thrown around, I didn't once feel annoyed with Narumi's character. When Yondaime finally understood what Narumi was saying - that Renji was still Yondaime's mock brother, underneath it all - he officially asked Alice for help, to bring Renji to him. Of course, the other NEETs had already been working, and the process was expedited quite a lot. The concert proceedings took a back-seat to all of this, to me. Narumi was still in charge of promotion, of course, and it seemed to be going well. I didn't pay much more attention than that.

Ah, so that's the way to get women to talk.

The episode ended with Alice revealing her findings thus far. Hison had most likely been the lover of the leader of the Gotouda Group (since a chunk of money was transferred to her every month, for living expenses), and the leader's jealous wife was the one that had attacked her. Yondaime had never actually been involved directly, much less used Hison as his shield. A large sum of money was transferred out of the leader's account after the attack; part of it to a surgeon and part of it to a real estate agent, an acquaintance of Yondaime's. That was all the information Alice allowed onscreen, as she urged Narumi to run out afterwards to tell Renji of the truth. Climactic as it was, Narumi got the call that Yondaime had been stabbed and the episode ended.

I have no idea what that means. "Feketerigo"?

As far as revelations go, it's pretty clear what happened. There were multiple hints in this episode, and it all came together completely after I saw the t-shirt that the guy from the fabric store (Yoshiki) had sent for Narumi. I'm pretty sure Yoshiki is Hison (considering he has a wound in his stomach), and the money sent to the surgeon was for his recuperation. (Despite a sex-change operation not having been confirmed - and probably won't be - I'll continue referring to Yoshiki as a man for now.) Yoshiki made various references to Yondaime having helped him when the fabric store first opened, which was probably the rest of the money (that went to the real estate agent). With a dangerous wife on the prowl (though a divorce went through), it was dangerous for Hison, and so the leader of the Gotouda Group erased her existence in order to protect her. In order to make sure nothing was leaked, Yondaime kept it a secret - though why from Renji, I'm not too sure.

Not the bear! Not the bear!

I didn't foresee a 4-episode arc, since the last story was so short (and useless), but this seems as good a place as any to cut it off. I think that next week will be the end of the arc, unless there's even more to be said, though I really doubt it. I hope Renji stays around as a recurring character, with Yondaime, though I get the feeling that he'll disappear to do some soul-searching.