Saturday, March 12, 2016

AOKANA: Four Rhythm Across The Blue Episode #9 Review

I'm a crying, sulking, weak and no-good girl.

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)
Now that the third and final girl of Kunahama's flying circus team has gone into an emotional slump, it's basically set in stone how this episode is going to play out from the very beginning. The power of friendship must once again come together in order to do blah-blah-blah and this-and-that in order to force Asuka into a happy state once again. Following her ten-foot plunge into the ocean during her match in last week's episode, Asuka's slip into depression is just another bump in the road for Kunahama. However, depressed Asuka is very unlike depressed Misaki and depressed Mashiro. Instead of spending all of her time crying and thinking she's no good, she...reverts to singing old anime openings instead? Man, I wish that's how I harnessed the darker places of my life.

Regardless of how Asuka copes with sadness, this is obviously an issue that must be addressed if Kunahama is going to have any hopes of performing in the next tournament. So of course, the girls do what they do best -- unite and try to force the depressed party out of hiding. But when Asuka goes missing, that gets a little bit harder. Luckily for Mashiro and Misaki, she's only missing for like ten minutes and eventually just shows up at Misaki's house to apologize for not responding to a text message. Damnit Asuka, you can't even be sad correctly. Who even are you? Misaki then winds up inviting the two other girls to stay the night which, of course, causes Mashiro to erupt into a lustful, Misaki-induced panic. However, since there are more important things to deal with than yuri at the moment, Misaki forces Mashiro to leave the room so she and Asuka could talk. But before we get into that, there is something...unsettling that I must address about the situation at hand.

Just why does Misaki have a gun? And why is it just casually displayed on a rack in her bedroom? For those of you familiar with Japan's gun laws and policies, this should be an immediate red flag. Hell, even if you aren't familiar with Japanese gun laws, this should be a red flag. What is Misaki going to do with the gun? Did she have Mashiro leave the room just so she could finish off Asuka? I mean, Misaki has been out of it lately -- maybe this is all part of her plan? Would Mashiro even turn in Misaki if she were to kill Asuka? Asuka's whereabouts at this moment in time aren't even apparent to anyone but Misaki and Mashiro. If she has a good hiding place for the body, it's basically guaranteed that she can get away with murder. Oh my god, what if the gyoza she made earlier was actually stuffed with human remains instead of pork?! Just what is this series about to turn into?!

Needless to say, Asuka isn't murdered and the two girls literally just talk for a little while. Phew, that was close. Eventually, Misaki is able to get Asuka to cheer up a bit and the three girls make their way to school in a much better mood the following morning. Well, except for Mashiro who is still furious about being kicked out of Misaki's room and then being promptly forgotten. But hey, Asuka is all better now so it was worth it, wasn't it? Upon arriving at school, another unexpected turn of events occurs -- Asuka challenges Misaki to a match. The catch is, if Misaki loses, she must join the team again.

This match might actually be my favorite of the series so far, despite how short it was. Asuka gets off to a quick lead as Misaki take a shortcut to the second line. As Asuka makes her way to the second buoy, Misaki evens the playing field and scores a point of her own during a counterattack from Asuka on the offensive. After a quick dogfight, the two girls launch simultaneous air kick turns at each other and literally no one says anything about Misaki being able to do this all of a sudden. What's up with that? Everyone freaks out when Asuka and other players pull off the air kick turn, but good ole' Misaki does it flawlessly and no one bats an eye? No wonder she quit playing this stupid game. Eventually, the match comes to a close with Misaki winning by several points. But, this is an anime so of course she rejoins the flying circus team anyway. Hooray! All the girls have defeated their inner demons and may now proceed to further the plot once again! Imagine Dragons would be so proud.

In Summary:
Even though Asuka's inner-struggle...uh, struggles to find an appropriate tone, it's still a delight on behalf of Mashiro and Misaki's strong supporting roles. We get to see a couple flashbacks from Asuka and some baby pictures of Misaki that do a solid job in displaying just how quickly time has gone by and how the mindsets of the respective girls have changed. The match between Asuka and Misaki is one of the best so far, despite is brief longevity. But the shining star of this episode has to go to Mashiro playing with a cat toy in a box. I feel like everything from that point onwards can only get worse. Also, five points to Misaki for hiding a gun in her room from the Japanese police force and not taking advantage of it to murder her friends. That really shows how far she has come in terms of character development.

Grade: B

Streamed By: Crunchyroll

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