Aoharu x Kikanjuu 09-11

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I think we’ve found the male equivalent of the girl from The Grudge…

spring15-irenesWell, after that disaster at the TGC, all of the the members of team Toy Gun-Gun have taken a bit of an unofficial silent break. For the older team members, this isn’t the first time they have faced such a grueling defeat by Hoshishiro, so they are able to adapt a little more to the situation than our main lead. Also, because they are adults, they also have the emotional fortitude to bounce back a little better. However, the same can’t be said for our young female lead.

Hotaru is having a lot more trouble dealing with having suffered a defeat so great. And not so much the loss itself, but the fact that she was not able to do anything to change to the status quo. She can’t stand that she was able to do nothing to help her team. That she froze in the heat of battle, that she was outdone by a man who was so obviously evil. It closes heavily on her heart, and the pain of feeling useless and worthless threatens to take away the love that she had for the sport altogether.

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Now we the audience of course know that she’s not at fault, and that she was merely out of her depth and facing an opponent that was way out of her league. However, her teammates are unaware of her turmoil and probably don’t have the words in order to help her. But thankfully, her best friend, the girly girl Kanae, who we haven’t seen in awhile, is there to cheer her up. It’s a rather simple episode with a simple moral in regards to not giving up and keeping at something that you love. This episode was pretty predictable, you know how it’s going to end before it’s even really begun.

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After Hotaru find her resolve again, she’s determined to stay with her team and give them her best. She’s also determined that she will tell them the truth about her gender so that there will be no more secrets or lies between them. Yet, she doesn’t even really get a chance to do even that. Masamune beats her to the punch and after wining and dining her. He forcefully tells her she’s out and dumps her out of the apartment and off the team.

It’s a very sudden and abrupt scene, and the raw shock and emotions the Hotaru portrays make her extremely sympathetic and you feel for her. The emotions she shows here is like if she had just been told by her boyfriend that she had decided to tell that she loves him for the first time, tell her right after that they are done and throws her out in the cold. Hotaru, despite her looks, is still a girl and a teen with deep and tumultuous emotions. As a fellow woman, I can understand how heavy this hit her and had tremendous sympathy for her at that moment.

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That’s why when Yuuki does a fantastic verbal lashing at Masamune, even willing to get physical with the bastard, it was extremely satisfying. Yuuki is a self-professed follower, wherever Mattsun goes, he will follow. And yet in this, he refuses to say the words that his best friend wants to hear. Masamune’s reasons for tossing Hotaru out? It’s the usual that you’ve seen in anime before. He’s trying to protect her and her love for sabage by hurting her and making her leave before the TGC “destroys” her. I don’t usually like these kind of plotlines in anime, they only make sense and are done right in certain stories, and believe me, this isn’t one of them. It doesn’t take much to realize that the one that Mattsun is really trying to protect, is himself.

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Now, in most series, the person who was hurt and thrown out, will figure this out with ease and almost immediately return and tell the offender what he thinks of him and face him head on. However, I was actually pretty shocked when that’s not what Hotaru does (especially considering what kind of confrontational person she is), instead, she does the last thing I ever expected her to do. She takes her gun and challenges Midori to a rematch!

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Knock, knock…

My first thought was that she must be out of her mind considering how out of his league she is. And yet, I’d say her talk with the sadistic SOB was probably the most fulfilling talk she’s gotten all season. Sometimes it just takes a psychopath to tell you how it really is. It’s kind of interesting to watch her interaction with Midori, even knowing what he’s really like, she talks with him like she did before. And for the most part, the guy continues to show that normal kind part of him that most of the world sees, and it’s only now and again that he allows the true, black parts of him to surface and show the real psycho behind the facade.

And of course it’s that part of him that gets Hotaru on the right path and reminds her that if her taking him down isn’t the answer, and that if she doesn’t take care of her team, he will gladly break them beyond repair and add them to the collection that is his own survival game team. This gets Hotaru to go back to confront her team, and tell them that she refuse to leave. She’s shanghaied by Yuuki into looking at some pictures, and then…that’s where the series begins to run off the rails a bit.

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A talk with the devil…

The second half of episode 11 and the reveal of the secrets of Toy Gun-Gun turned me off a bit. The reveal that Yuuki embellished the story of the girl getting tormented and lied to Hotaru in order to manipulate her sense of justice, I can understand all that. However, it’s the reasoning that rubbing me the wrong way. He says that it was their own team that was in the wrong that day, and yet, despite the explanation that it was because Mattsun fired him gun despite being “hit”, I just can’t agree with that. A guy protecting his teammate from that psycho does not make the team “bad”, no more than Midori stretching the very limits of the TGC to their breaking points and yet staying within them, doesn’t make him and his team “good”. The explanation doesn’t change my perception of the situation at all. Midori still tormented their teammate and used it to break Mattsun even more. It makes no difference to me that Mattsun disobeyed the rules since he was trying to save his teammate. Goodness knows how many times Midori technically broke the rules during this last competition, so no, I can’t agree with any of the reasoning being put forth here.

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The rule of three…

They also try to say that Mattsun’s reaction to Midori comes from his overwhelming obsession at trying to beat the man in the TGC. While I don’t deny there are traces of obsession there, which is what led to his foolish decision to battle him alone, I’m starting to question if the writer knows anything in regards to psychology. Because what she’s showing, is not what she’s telling. When Masamune faced Midori for the first time in the series, that was not obsession that he was making him quiver like that. That was obviously a deeply seeded fear. Masamune was terrified of Midori. His desire to defeat Midori, to me is the step he needs to take in order to begin to break free of the man’s control. While this need has probably become an obsession, Mattsun is far from a Captain Ahab. Depending on Midori’s hold on Mattsun, him defeating Midori can be the key he needs to break free, or it could be worthless.

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However, Yuuki thinks that Masamune’s continual obsession to beat Midori is in and of itself enslaving his friend. I can’t disagree with this. In a way, Midori’s control over Masamune shows even there, as until Masamune defeats Midori, he will think of nothing else. He knows there’s nothing that he can do for him, but he’s hoping that maybe Hotaru will be different than the other third members that abandoned the team, and will be able to save Mattsun from this neverending cycle. Hotaru is has been put through a lot in the last few days, but she’s not a heroine for justice for nothing.

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It’s time for some tough lovin’.


This series will end next episode and for the most part, it’s been fun. I don’t have a lot of hope for the last episode since it too seems to be very predictable. Also, I have a feeling that this is going to be one of those series that just end and expect you to pick up the manga to find out the rest. There’s just too many plot threads that have been left open to be able to conclude in one episode. I’m at least hoping that next week, after 11 episodes of attempts, Hotaru at least reveals that she is a girl. That plot line has gotten pretty old at this point.

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Wanna play a game?


A Chicagoan biochemist, teacher, and an aspiring virologist, with a love for science only rivaled by my love for movies, animation, and anime. Both a lover of action/adventure and romance, I'm a girl who walks the entire spectrum. Mecha, Sci-Fi, Psychological Thriller, Romantic Period Piece, if it's has a good story, I'm there.
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2 Responses to “Aoharu x Kikanjuu 09-11”

  1. BlackBriar says:

    I didn’t care much for the episode where Hotaru’s friend was trying to cheer her up. Easy to tell how that would end no matter what so it’s unworthy of note. The others, however, were more or less alright.

    What’s surprising is Matsuoka’s reasoning for participating in the TGC as Yukimura explained on and it’s rather sad when you think about it. Bad enough to destroy another person’s love for their activity is low. That kind of obsession where it hurts those around is right up there with the captain of the Moby Dick story. Yet with someone like Midori looming around, I can’t completely blame him. The guy can easily get under the skin and shows he has no qualms doing it.

    The disappointing aspect in this is obviously the reveal of Hotaru’s true gender still not coming to pass. For a while now, I’ve been hoping she’d finally tell them so the series could show the two guy’s reaction and the aftermath in long term. Waiting until the final episode feels cheap and leaves me cheated after so much anticipation over the weeks.

    • IreneSharda says:

      The thing to me is that it’s actually more Midori’s fault than Masamune’s. Whatever Midori did to completely control him like that is what’s causing him to go round and round in this vicious cycle. He wants to break free of the man’s psychological control, but he doesn’t know any other way how other than to beat him at his own game. However, his obsession with trying to do that only put’s him more under the psychopath’s control every time he loses to him. And Masamune doesn’t want to hurt others but he’s constantly getting broken by Midori at every TGC and that ends up affecting all those that are around him.

      And yeah, I really wish she had told him on the episode she was going to, but now it feels a little like an afterthought. It would be hilarious if both of them knew she was a girl all this time but thought she identified as a boy and therefore treated her as such. 😛

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