A new problem for Ryousuke
I was really surprised at Boku H this week, because I thought it was really successful in pulling out an episode that achieved a good mix of comedy and sexiness while at the same time fostering an atmosphere of despair. It wasn’t a big melodrama fest, it was just a well-constructed situation that had a depressing inevitability to it. Actually, nothing about the episode was over the top, making it a really good episode for setting up the final push. But it definitely wasn’t a filler episode, more like what I’d call a bridge episode, giving us a pathway from the big fight against Galderbroug in Grimwald to the climax of the season: what will Lisara, Ryousuke, Mina, Quele, and Iria do about Ryousuke’s impending death?
The laughs in this episode were genuine, mostly one-liners. The lengths that Lisara, Mina, and Quele go to to keep Ryousuke from finding out about the outside world engender the most: Mina saying that she “accidentally” put Ryou-chan’s phone *and* computer into the laundry (“Teehee!”), Ryousuke’s reaction to Mina’s acceptance of his dirty magazines, Ryousuke’s about-face when Ilia suggests they play cards for clothes, and Ryousuke’s reprise of Mina’s reaction when caught cheating at cards “Teehee!” (admittedly it was for a noble purpose, to get the ladies out of their clothes). The sexiness was also there, from the aforementioned card game to Lisara and Quele donning naked aprons (well, mostly naked in Lisara’s case, but as Ryousuke says about her string-tied swimsuit “That’s good too”), and there’s always Lisara contemplating in the bath for eye candy.
And through it all ran the thread of despair. We know from the beginning that a war has broken out, but they’re determined to keep it from Ryousuke. The three ladies that love him are focused on only one goal: to save Ryousuke’s life that’s now scheduled to end in 2 weeks. And after Iria shows up, they get her help also, hatching a plan to have Mina confess to Ryousuke, and have him fall in love with her to release her power as the strong soul (As I mentioned weeks ago, the soul they detected was Mina when she confessed to Ryousuke). But Mina seems a bit hesitant. She saw Lisara run to Ryousuke’s side when he was knocked down vs Galderbroug. She’s been lauding him to Quele, and she knows that Quele now loves Ryousuke, too. And can she really confess to him? It took so much effort last time, only to have it ruined by a train. Can she muster the courage?
But just to further complicate matters, Merlot has sent another reaper to collect Ryousuke’s soul when he dies: Tarnia Earhart. And Tarnia is the one who spills the truth to Ryousuke: What’s actually happening outside, and it’s all his fault. And finally the news that the people that are being killed are people who have had their lives extended by the Royal Family (which btw is Lisara’s family). Ryousuke starts believing he’s completely selfish for wanting the same treatment, when “he’s” caused all these people to die. But in yet another interesting move for the show, he’s not wallowing in self-pity or depression. He resolves to spend his last week making up for the pain he’s (inadvertently) caused, fighting for humans. And in the midst of this, he confesses to Lisara. What can she do? Everyone knows she loves him, including her. But if they love each other, how can they release Mina’s power and save Ryousuke. Is it better to love a dead man walking, or to reject him in hopes that he can be saved? Here, she chooses the latter, but she can’t face him when she says it, teary-eyed.
I really felt they set the whole episode up well, and for one that’s only about a day long, and with no action, no location changes, and just exposition, I thought it moved well, avoided melodrama, and seems to have set a strong base for the following episodes.
Tarnia is now the “Bad Guy” in the series, but it’s not evil, or even cruel. She’s reality. She has a job to do, and she wants to do it right. Is it wrong to show Ryousuke the truth? Is it wrong to make him face the knowledge of what’s happened because of his actions? No, he didn’t intend it, but that’s what happened. How *can* he ask for special treatment? Would his integrity let him?
I do have a couple questions about this calamity, tho. How many Royals could there be? And how many people could they have saved? Grimwald didn’t seem like that big a place, and House Restall didn’t seem very big either. How did so many people get saved that it causes such a massacre? That’s the part that doesn’t make much sense to me.
The Ugly this week is the proof of the phrase “Beauty is more than skin deep.” During the fight with Galderbroug, Lisara was injured, and seems to have been burned and scarred all over her body. In a really different move for anime in general, and in particular an ecchi eye-candy anime, Lisara still has those burns or scars, over a week later. And they’re just there. They’re not making a big deal about them, they’re not fawning over her injuries, and they’re not making her be all morose about it. They’re just there. We’d seen Lisara and the other reapers regenerate their clothes with energy, but apparently they can’t do the same with their skin. And I really like that. I like that they’re not covering her up because now she’s ‘ugly’, that they’re not even mentioning it. I actually think this is a really positive step (and no, I’m not trying to read too much into a boobie anime, believe me). She’s still the main eye-candy of the show, still shown in the bath, back and front, scars and all. This is two episodes in a row that they’ve taken somewhat daring directions with Lisara: Last week it was almost naked the whole time, this week it’s her battle damaged body. And they’ve taken something that would usually be called “Ugly” and turned it around. For this review, this is hereby called the “Non-Ugly”.
And finally, filling out the “Full House” of Ryousuke’s Harem