Wednesday, March 23, 2016

AOKANA: Four Rhythm Across The Blue Episode #11 Review

I've never tasted such a repulsive victory before...

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)
It's the moment we've all waited for -- the final tournament. With Kunahama playing better than ever before, things are going to heat up quickly. But will their new and improved tactics be enough to surpass the likes of both Takafuji participants (Reiko and Rika) as well as Inui Saki and her perfect and beautiful FC? With all three girls from Kunahama slated to go against players from various backgrounds in the first round, things already take a sonic boost toward an exciting start. The first (And the only one we'll see in the first round) pits Mashiro Arisaka against the Rika Ichinose, the girl who taught Mashiro everything she knew.

In a dramatic "Teacher vs. Student" matchup, Rika and Mashiro both bring forward their A-game and don't let down their respective guards for even a moment. After Rika scores the first two points, Mashiro must bring out and showcase her new tactic, "The pickle stone technique"...or something like that. I don't know, it had a weird name. Regardless, the technique (Which involves Mashiro mimicking Inui's aerial control tactics) evens the score between the two and, suddenly, Mashiro has control over the match. Confused about how to handle the situation she's been thrust into, Rika spends the rest of the dogfight just trying to regain composure, which ultimately results in Mashiro claiming the first-round victory. But, considering just how friendly the two girls are with each other, Rika claims that she will beat Mashiro next time instead of being a sore loser. The two eventually laugh their way out of the sky and the next batch of matches begins. Well, after udon of course.

The next matchup we get to see involves Asuka Kurashina and the third-place seat from the last tournament, Mayu Ganeko. Since we don't get to spectate the match until it is already underway, we miss the beginning half in which Asuka is already dominating Ganeko. This domination actually continues in Asuka's favor and after what seemed like less than one minute, the match ended with Kunahama's "Flying fish" claiming victory and moving on to the final round. This, of course, brings up the most important matchup of this week's episode -- Misaki Tobisawa vs. Saki Inui. And, my-my, what a match it was.

Saki, as always, propels toward the first buoy and claims an easy first point. Then, following her traditional "Birdcage" technique, she ascends hundreds of feet above Misaki in an attempt to control her for the rest of the match. However, Misaki has other plans. Utilizing the "Sonic boost" she learned in last week's episode from Masaya, Misaki is able to even the playing field and force Saki into a dogfight that she must reluctantly accept. And, for the first time in history, Saki's back is touched and Misaki has evened the score. From this point on, the match erupts into an intense battle of Saki trying to regain control and Misaki relentlessly assaulting her in order to prevent that. Eventually, Saki can no longer just sit there and take the assault and, instead, shows that she has emotions and begins to fight back. Of course, Irina is taken aback by this and commands Saki to just follow their plan of maintaining perfect and beautiful FC. Saki, however, is overtaken by her emotions (Which she, in a surprising turn of events, actually HAS) and continues to fight back. Normally, I'd give away the ending result of a match like this. But instead, I'm going to leave that to you guys to find out for yourselves. Mwahahaha.

In Summary:
Much like the last tournament episode, this penultimate addition is action-packed and suspenseful throughout. We get to see each of the main heroines play in their respective matches and screen-time isn't really forced into one direction as far as that goes. With the bulk of this episode spent on actual FC matches, there isn't much subplot action -- but there still is a decent amount of fanservice with a few locker room scenes and some vigorous stretching by Misaki. All in all, I'd say this episode does an exceptional job of setting the stage for the finale and definitely drags the level of excitement from viewers up a notch or two when compared to the last few installments. Personally, I'm very interested in seeing how next week's final round will turn out.

Grade: A-

Streamed By: Crunchyroll

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