|I wonder how much of it is my growing accustomed to this show’s mediocrity over 1.5 seasons, but Medaka Box Abnormal has had a good run in these last 3 combat-focused episodes. Sure, the story has thrown all sense out the window, but this conveyer belt formula of presenting a new badass villain each week works for this show. The new villains introduced in this episode weren’t particularly creative, but Naze’s phlegmatic attitude was oddly charming, and Koga’s bounciness made for one of the best fight scenes from this series yet.|
Poor animation has marred all of this show, even the good episodes, but the last 3 episodes all had moments when they shone. In this one, the battle between Akune and Koga featured some of the most competent choreography and production values I’ve seen from the franchise thus far. They were obviously going for capoeira with Koga’s moves, reminiscent of Karen from Nisemonogatari. Nisio does remind me of Nasu at times with his love of reusing tropes, devices, and themes through many different franchises. It wasn’t quite as impressive as Shaft’s rendition, but the animation was very good with minimal use of shortcuts like looped frames. It conveyed that girl’s bounciness very well, and the combattants’ actions both made sense and could be seen clearly. Those are good things.
Having a third of the episode devoted to a flashback starring Akune could have been interesting, but I don’t think we learned much other than that he used to beat up Medaka in middle school. We already knew that he used to be a delinquent and that Medaka was the type to constantly take punishment without so much as a flinch. There was the creepy boy giving orders to Akune without speaking – I’m not sure how to interpret the quoted subtitles at this point – which I’m guessing is foreshadowing for a future conflict. Given the way this show paces itself, I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s next episode. There are so many men-behind-the-man at this point – even Shiranui is starting to seem like one – that I can’t get myself to give a rat’s ass about any villain other than the one right in front of our heroes.
The art here actually reminded me a lot of Mysterious Girlfriend X
I was a big fan of Naze, even if she didn’t actually do anything other than talk in this episode. Miyuki Sawashiro helped with another solid performance as an unflappable sarcastic girl. The ending conversation to the episode was perfect, and her delivery of the last line was a large part of the reason. “Most girls are wearing panties.” I also like her completely ridiculous design, with the ever present knife and the one seeing eye. Given how much Nisio likes to have his characters get meta on themselves, I would bet that those and the bandages will be explained. I wonder if that knife was hidden under her paper bag during her middle school days. And does she have any abnormal talents other than being able to turn Koga into an abnormal?
Also, I’m not sure it means anything, but in anime, hair and eye color are important identifiers, and Naze has the same of both as the Kurokami siblings. Long lost cousin? Evil clone?
Naze’s transformation of Koga certainly adds something new to the talent vs. effort and abnormal vs. normal (and what of special?) themes that drive this show. Apparently abnormality isn’t an inherent trait but something that can be surgically implanted, which has me questioning just what abnormality is. After all, Unzen demonstrated by showing off his luck with dice, which no amount of muscle or bone modification can affect. And we’ve been consistently told that Zenkichi was a normal despite the fact that he has the strength and skills to match abnormals – implying that no amount of self improvement can turn one from normal to abnormal. Plus, the existence of Koga throws into question the value of the Flask Plan. A potion is certainly more desirable than surgery, but considering how well Koga turned out, it almost seems like the best course of action is to pump all that money into Naze’s research. But maybe Koga will have some fatal flaw that reveals why the Plan is still needed.
I liked what I saw, which is difficult to say after most episodes of this series. Maguro hasn’t been as laugh out loud hilarious as he was in his room during his introduction in episode 2, but I’m excited to see how he and Naze will bounce off each other. Besides being his replacement, she also obviously has a talent for improving others, and she appears to have a competitive streak, wanting to show him up in that very field. This fight is going to be personal, and fights are always more fun when more is on the line.
Thanks as always to Fosh for providing captions