Monday, 18 October 2010

Soredemo Machi wa Mawatteiru - Episode 2

After a first episode that sort of worked and sort of didn't, occasionally at exactly the same time, we return to possibly Japan's worst maid cafe for episode two of Soredemo Machi wa Mawatteiru.

While I'd love to pretend that there's a plot to speak of, this particular instalment is really all about Hotori Arashiyama running around and stirring up trouble with her ebullient personality and, let's be frank here, rank stupidity when it comes to most things.  Luckily, these two traits offer up room for a fair amount of comedy, be it Hotori's rather odd and sudden obsession with her teacher, accusations of sexual harassment or oddball ideas for how to better promote the cafe to attract new and more sophisticated customers.

Of course, all of these ideas fall flat on their face for some reason or another but you can't help but get carried away by Arashiyama's near-frenzied excitement and passion about pretty much everything, which actually makes her a rather appealing character despite her being a bit of a rude and obnoxious loud-mouth at times.  Here, this combination makes for a rare individual who you can both laugh at and sympathise with at the same time, and it's perhaps this that does a lot to make this episode feel more fun and lively than the show's opener.

This episode also feels like it fits far better into what SHAFT do best - some neat visual and wordplay gags, expressive and flowing animation, quotes from Akira and well realised moments of humour make for a far more entertaining episode, plot or character progression be damned.  Thus, my initial misgivings about Soredemo Machi wa Mawatteiru have been lifted - for now at least, although deep down this early inconsistency does make me wonder whether we're looking at the next Natsu no Arashi here; a series which can occasionally be brilliant, but all too often falls flat on its face.  A little bit like Hotori herself, you could say.

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