June 19, 2016
Even though I enjoyed watching it during the original broadcast I couldn't really let myself go because I was certain that Kyoani was setting us up for a particularly dreadful Gainax ending.
Well, it turned out I was wrong. The ending is a good one, and it turns out that this series is one I like rewatching, at least parts of.
I've mention that there are scenes which, when I reach them, I pause playback and just look at them. This is one of those:
This is a good opportunity to introduce Team E, which by this point in the series (ep 12) is the best one in the school. Mai is second year high school, probably 17 years old. Koito, Reina, and Haruhiko are all first year, 16. And Kurumi-chan, over there on the right, is in fourth grade, which makes her about 10.
What I like about this picture is that Kurumi is a bit freaked and is hiding behind Haruhiko and holding his arm, and he doesn't mind.
Here's the reason why she's freaked:
Team E just took on two pretty large and dangerous phantoms and sealed them easily, without any fuss, while the whole high school watched. They did a great job and the whole student body is applauding, and various people are calling out to members of Team E by name, including Kurumi (and not including Haruhiko, ha ha) and it's that attention which has Kurumi a bit intimidated.
Kurumi is my favorite character in the series, strange as it might seem. She isn't played as a lolicon object, thankfully; it's more like she becomes everyone's kid sister.
She's a prodigy. Here's the phantom hunting club:
She's the only member who isn't in high school, and it took a while before she accepted that she should be in the club, and a member of Team E.
She carries Albrecht with her all the time, but no one makes fun of her for it because everyone knows that he is how her power manifests, and at least in the club another reason is that she's more powerful than most of the people there. And they know it, because they've seen it. When she uses Albrecht to fight against phantoms he is really very formidable. At this particular point in the story, Kurumi and Koito are the two strongest members of Team E.
Hanging out with the big kids, having lunch in the high school cafeteria, still freaks Kurumi out a bit, but "with great power comes great responsibility" and she recognizes that phantoms can be a serious hazard and only people like them can fight the phantoms and protect everyone. (And also to protect the chickens and the bunnies.) So she's doing it, and she's dedicated. Even if she's afraid, even if she's a bit overwhelmed, she's going to fight.
And sometimes it's really scary, because at this point (the very end) Team E is overwhelmingly the strongest team around (not just in this particular school), and when jobs come in no one else can handle, Team E gets them. But Kurumi is game. She'll contribute what she can, and she knows that Big Brother and Big Sisters have her back, as long as she has theirs too. She's part of the team and she won't let the others down.
Kurumi wasn't in the books on which this series was (loosely!!) based. Adding her was a stroke of genius by the director IMHO. The casting choice for the voice was also a stroke of genius. The performance was absolutely superb.
But what's best is that she's kawaii but not moe.
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At Chizumatic, we take pride in being incomplete, incorrect, inconsistent, and unfair. We do all of them deliberately.
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