Friday, February 19, 2016

AOKANA: Four Rhythm Across The Blue Episode #6 Review

I never knew Shindou was capable of making such expressions!

What They Say:
The Kunahama Institute is one of the first in the world to give out new anti-gravity footwear to its students. Not only does this invention change the way the basic world functions, with students now being able to shoot across the sky, but it also gives birth to a new sport -- The Flying Circus. Asuka Kurashina is a new transfer student at Kunahama who has never wanted anything more than the ability to fly. Suddenly mixed in with students who have already mastered the art of flight, Asuka must overcome physical and mental barriers as she adapts to a new environment filled with new people, all while trying to master a new way of life.

The Review:
Content: (Please note that the content portion of the review may contain spoilers)
The tournament rages on as both Asuka and Misaki make it to the next round. Now, on one of the hottest days of the year, these two girls must compete with not only their opponents but themselves as they try and fight their way to the finals. The question is: Can Kunahama truly compete with all of these other schools with more advanced flying circus teams? I mean, they've only been operating for a month or two!

As this week's episode starts, Asuka is already in a heated battle with the devilish Kasumi Kurobuchi. Even though their fight is at a stalemate upon our introduction to it, Asuka quickly turns the tide and surprises Kasumi (And even her own teammates) as she overcomes a sticky situation and ultimately tacks on another win for Kunahama. Following that, it is revealed that Misaki will be going up against none other than Shindou Kazunari again. Crap. Well, there goes that victory. There's no way this is even going to be close.

But then it was. Even though the match started off in Shindou's favor, Misaki was able to pool her efforts with Masaya (Commanding her from the ground) and actually make a match of this after all. After turning around a three-point deficit, Misaki transforms this particular round of the tournament into a non-stop dogfight as she piles point after point on to her score. However, this doesn't last for long as Shindou realizes the situation he's in and puts on his game face. Or, at least, what we think his game face is at this point in time. Needless to say, Shindou reclaims his lead with less than a minute left and pushes Misaki into the losers' bracket as he advances to the next round to face off against...Uh-oh, it's Asuka.

After a quick pep-talk and some mediocre fanservice in the locker room, Asuka is ready to face off against the Takafuji captain and reigning national champion. And, of course, that match starts just the way that you'd expect it to, with Shindou exploding to the first buoy as Asuka heads to cut him off. This time around, though, Shindou isn't playing games. He's so focused on winning that he starts busting out moves we haven't even heard of yet (IE: The Cobra and the Suicida). With his curiosity about Asuka peaking, its as if he's waiting for her creativity to be unleashed. Even with that being said, when she finally does get crafty, he isn't able to counter it. Asuka starts unloading air-kick turn after air-kick turn and ultimately air-combo'ing Shindou to the point where he can barely retaliate. But her combo can only last so long as on her fourth consecutive special move, Shindou recovers and retaliates, launching Asuka into the water. Kind of. I'm not really sure, there was a huge splash...but then she wasn't wet. Can anyone tell me how that works?

The most interesting part of what happens after lies in the reaction from the national champion. Noticing that he is in a tough spot, he lets out his true colors. The loudest noise of the series so far escapes his mouth as he screams in a fit of rage before shooting off toward the pink-haired flying fish girl. Blinded by madness and desire to win, Shindou manages to score a few more points as Asuka is helplessly slammed into the again (Kind of) again. From this point, it isn't long until the buzzer goes off and Takafuji wins the round.

Now, you'd think that the team would be happy about how well Asuka did. And they are -- except for one person. Misaki. After the match, she just stands at her team's tent with tears pooling up in her eyes. And frankly, they didn't look like tears of joy. The way it seems is that Misaki is not only personally offended by Shindou's attitude toward Asuka compared to herself, but she is also incredibly upset. If this is actually what's going on (Which I'm sure we'll find out next episode), this might play a huge role in determining Misaki's psychological state and emotional well-being. And even though this could be the drama that I have been waiting for, it still hurts knowing that it's my favorite girl who is feeling the burn.

In Summary:
This installment of AOKANA serves as the obvious follow-up to the first tournament of the season. With some exciting action and further development of the flying circus, the sixth episode isn't a break by any means. In terms of pacing and suspense, this is perhaps the heaviest episode so far. Only one new side-character is introduced, but I doubt she will even matter because she literally only had two or three lines. Apart from that, though, the sixth episode was a predictable yet still entertaining experience that ends on a subtle cliffhanger for us all to look forward to.

Grade: B

Streamed By: Crunchyroll

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