Aoharu x Kikanjuu (Aoharu x Machinegun) Episode 9 Review

Hotaru’s So Super Cool

PROS

  • The 2nd to 3rd Act Transition.

In almost every narrative (of any genre or medium), there’s a point in the story where the protagonist(s) would encounter some great force that would bring them to their knees and wallowing in despair. It’s the turning point in the story where we see our protagonist at their lowest and most vulnerable. And we always expect them to come out of this point in the story having learned their lesson and ready to face the villain a second time.

Using the Avengers as a quick reference, this is the scene in the movie where all hope seems to have been lost and the team torn apart—so after Loki’s little game of mayhem in the Helicarrier and during the part where Cap and Tony look a bit distraught and hopeless by their loss.

In a different show these would have been tentacles.

In a different show these would have been tentacles.

The very beginning of this episode showed us that Hotaru was greatly distraught by what’s happened in TGC. Her will has been shaken and she blames herself for their loss. But we expect her to get out of her stupor, if not this episode then maybe on the next one.

Hotaru don't!

Hotaru don’t!

This episode could have just depicted all three members of Toy Gun Gun dealing with defeat in their own separate ways without having any kind of resolution and I would have been fine with that. But instead the episode focused on Hotaru, which again I don’t mind. The episode revolved around her and her friend Kanae, who, despite being against Hotaru being a tomboy who enjoys survival games, decided to pick her friend back up and motivate her to stay true to herself.

I liked Kanae—we don’t know much about her, but we know enough. She’s Hotaru’s girly friend and that’s all we need to know about her character really. I liked both of their talks to each other and I buy Hotaru’s heel-turn back to being her old cool self again.

However… Even though I buy Hotaru’s heel-turn, the way Kanae decided to go about it (the 50-meter dash race bit) did feel a little hokey to me. Not that hokiness and cheesiness are alien to this show. But still, I couldn’t help but think that maybe they could have done something better.

Eh...

Eh…

  • Kanae Yajima

Side-Note: Everyone should just go gay in this show. Matsuoka should just go for Yukimura, Midori should have both Fujimoto and Ichi and Hotaru should just have Kanae. GAYNESS FOR EVERYONE!

I ship this.

I ship this.

  • Everyone Else Not Hotaru

Now speaking of those other characters, all their bits in this episode was very funny and amusing…

I want this manga.

I want this manga.

CONS

  • Pointless Scenes

… But ultimately pointless. I was fine with the length of Yukimura’s scene as the episode did establish a Hotaru focus early on, but I couldn’t help but think of how pointless the scenes with team Hoshishiro was. It was funny and amusing, but what was the point?

FANSERVICE!

FANSERVICE!

Now not every scene has to be riveting or even have a point, but the scenes with them just felt a bit too long for me—especially since we barely got any Matsuoka in this episode. And that’s probably why I’m peeved that there was so much more focus on Hoshishiro over him.

VERDICT

It wasn’t a bad episode by any means, but I didn’t like the lack of Yukimura and Matsuoka in it. The Hoshishiro scenes were funny and I like the Hotaru x Kanae speeches (but not the running thing too much). Still, I’m eager to see what happens next after all this.

Score: 7.5/10

  • PROS
    • Hotaru’s transition from depression to cool.
    • Kanae Yajima
    • Some funny scenes.
  • CONS
    • Racing bit.
    • Lack of Matsuoka and Yukimura.
Fujimon... You need help.

Fujimon… You need help.

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Aoharu x Kikanjuu (Aoharu x Machinegun) Episode 8 Review

I WILL CONDEMN YOU!

PROS

  • Midori-Sensei (again!)

A well-written and sympathetic villain is often to be desired in a story to create greater tension and drama, but ultimately the villain needs to serve one crucial goal in the story, and that’s to be an obstacle for the protagonist(s) to overcome. Sometimes you don’t need a villain to be super fleshed out or even sympathetic to be a good character. Sometimes all you need is someone who seems impossible to overcome and someone that the viewers, readers or gamers to hate.

Midori-sensei: Sadist and overall jackass.

Midori-sensei: Sadist and overall jackass.

Midori-sensei has always had a very ominous air about him, but on episode 8 of Aoharu x Kikanjuu we see just why Matsuoka and Yukimura fears him so much. He’s a manipulative sadist who enjoys inflicting physical and emotional pain onto others—(not to mention a really skilled player in the survival games). And even though that’s all there is to him, that’s perfectly fine because it works. The past few episodes has done a great job of making all members of TGG to be very likeable and enjoyable to watch, and watching him torment Matsuoka and Yukimura is kind of hard to watch because we understand how much they hate this guy and how much pain he’s caused both of them in the past.

We want them to win because we like Matsuoka and Yukimura and when they lose to the doctor it’s kind of sad.

  • Hotaru Tachibana Versus Nagamasa Midori
PEW! PEW!

PEW! PEW!

After watching the fight between Hotaru and Fujimoto, I expected the fight between Hotaru and Midori-sensei to be as intense or better. And though I’m not sure if I’d say this battle was better, I still enjoyed it a lot. It showed that Hotaru can go toe to toe with Midori and it showed (though we’ve already seen it multiple times) just how much Hotaru cares about Matsuoka and Yukimura, but it also showed that she’s still very much open to being exploited and tormented by the sadistic doctor. He knows that she’s a girl and he knows that if Matsuoka and Yukimura finds out they might kick him out of the group and he uses this knowledge to his advantage—and uses it in a cheap and very underhanded way, as expected from Midori’s character.

It caught her off guard. Hotaru got sniped by Ichi. Midori’s team won. It’s a bit of a downer ending yes, but it’s that point in the story where the characters encounter some sort of dark period in their life that they need to overcome in order to move on and be better people. I’m not sure how each member of Toy Gun Gun’s going to come out of defeat, but it’s clear that every one of them has issues that they need to let go if they want to win against Hoshishiro.

JUSTICE!

JUSTICE!

  • Matsuoka’s Past With Midori

Minus the previous female member of TGG being tortured, we learn in this episode that Matsuoka and Midori were once really good friends—which I thought was a great addition for Yaoi fans out there. But I also thought that this added more to both of their characters as well as Yukimura’s. Minus the torment done to them in the past, now there’s a backstabbing/betrayal element to it that makes things between Toy Gun-Gun and Hoshishiro even tense!

That's adorable.

That’s adorable.

CONS

  • Time

The one complaint I have for this episode is that there were some lulls in it for me. I’m thinking mostly back to when Midori was torturing Matsuoka and Yukimura. I know that I praised the doctor for his sadistic ways and effectiveness as a villain and I’m not complaining about this because I felt bad for our protagonists and couldn’t stand to watch them be tormented. No, I’m complaining about this because I got bored watching it. The scene felt like it went too long for me to the point of boredom. It did what it had to for the story fairly quickly, but I guess they just felt the need to show more of it and frankly it didn’t work. I’m not saying that they should have just made the fight between Hotaru and Midori longer instead, no, I believe that most of the time less is better. Too much of a good thing can be sickening or, in this case boring. Maybe they should have made the fight between Matsuoka and Midori last a little bit longer instead, mostly just for pacing really. Still, the episode was still all pretty good and enjoyable as a whole.

There should have probably been more Yukimura or Matsuoka fighting against Midori.

There should have probably been more Yukimura or Matsuoka fighting against Midori.

VERDICT

It was a good episode overall. Probably not as enjoyable as the previous one, but I still liked it a lot and even with the lull in the former half of the episode I still had fun. This was more of a character centric episode, but the pacing and timing wasn’t handled too effectively. Either make the Matsuoka fight longer or maybe delve deeper into the flashback stuff.

Score: 8.5/10 Great!

  • PROS
    • Midori-sensei as a bad guy.
    • Hotaru versus Midori
    • More Midori stuff from the past.
  • CONS
    • Lulls in the first half.
Don't worry Hotaru, you'll get him next time!

Don’t worry Hotaru, you’ll get him next time!