Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Hyakko - Episode 9

It's been a little while since I last had the pleasure of its company, but after a couple of somewhat improved instalments we reach episode nine of Hyakko.

Following the trend in recent episodes for introducing characters we've already seen around before one by one, this time we get to meet Minato Ooba, a girl who is rather overly prone to tears if even the most minor of things goes wrong, but conversely when somebody helps her out she simply can't leave them alone for an overwhelming urge to help them out - The kind of "clingy" person that can really get on your nerves pretty quickly. Torako soon finds this out for herself after lending Minato a one hundred Yen coin, and thus much of this episode sees both herself and Ushio (who is also suffering from "the Minato effect") trying to figure out a way of gently (or not so gently) weaning her off of her "helpful" streak. This does have its mildly amusing moments, but as has so often been the case with this series, it's not in the same league as the kind of memorable scenes or gags you'll find in a series like Hidamari Sketch or Lucky Star.

However, in contrast to the second "chunk" of this episode, that first mini-story seems like pure genius. The closing portion of this instalment is simply Suzume wanering around collecting snacks from people. No real humour or gags (unless, "oh look, Suzume has lots of snacks" counts, and in my book it doesn't), no punchline to make it all worthwhile at the end, just a pointless, time-wasting meander around the school building. I want my ten minutes back!

If the first part of this episode was hit and miss, then the second didn't just miss, it went out into orbit and ended up in the outer reaches of the universe, so pointlessly poor was it. It's moments like that which only serve to remind us what Hyakko isn't, and that's a top-notch slice of life anime series. Sure, it's passable and it does while away the time with an occasionally reasonable degree of success. Then again, so does picking your nose.

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