Episode ten of Kyouran Kazoku Nikki didn't just bore the pants off me, it pre-empted some kind of Great Escape for my entire wardrobe. Naked and decidedly unamused, can episode eleven lift my spirits?
In a word - Yes. In a series of varying quality such as this one, we've seen episodes both good and bad come from it, but personally I have to rate this as easily one of the better efforts. For starters, everyone's favourite biological weapon Hyouka gets a well-deserved focus this time around. What's more, he falls in love for the first time. All together now: "Ahhhh".
In all seriousness, just about everything about this episode was spot-on. The flow of the instalment was an expert blend of the kind of madcap stuff you'd expect from this series and more reasonably-paced moments, the balance of funnier and more serious moments was also just about right, and indeed the overall emotional content did a great job of handling the issues at hand without ever delving into 'over-the-top' territory.
It isn't easy to have the average viewer empathising with a biological weapon, but this episode makes a pretty good fist of it - We've all been there before, with those weird feelings in your head every time you think about the person you want to be with and so on, and when mixed in with a bit more of Hyouka's back story you have yourself one very good episode.
So, this series' roller coaster nature with regard to episode quality strikes once again - All I can do it enjoy the good episodes, such as this one, and try and 'tune out' the rest to make the most of it. If nothing else, the tone of Kyouran Kazoku Nikki continues to take a U-turn from my original expectations, so if nothing else it should be commended for its willingness to take the odd risk here and there rather than constantly playing to the bland old 'zany anime' stereotype.