Was it just me or did the animation seem noticeably choppy and uneven in this episode? There wasn’t even that much action. Sort of disconcerting to see it happen so early in the season.
Rumors have been spreading of a chibi version of a Tengu randomly abducting people. While some have taken chace with butterfly nets, and others with divining rods, Maya tries to get to the bottom of this by sic’ing her time traveling spoon bender on the issue. And therein begins the love comedy misadventures of Fumiaki "Bunmei" Uchida.
While Fumiaki doesn’t prove to be very useful as far as finding the Tengu (actually, Maya accomplished more in her 2 minutes of screen time than Fumiaki did in the whole episode), we do get to see a variety of Fumiaki’s faces as Hana aptly calls out over at That. Perhaps the best moment was when Fumiaki turns his future telling camera on the lovestruck dango-haired vice principal (and her buxom breasts) and sees a chilling future. Did the cameraphone just get a little too powerful perhaps? My guess is this was a one-time power, it seems unlikely that he’ll point the camera to figure out his future with Maya or the new girl, Mikaze.
We get a lot of Fumiaki in this episode, for better or for worse. I don’t know that we learned anything new about him. He’s still the somewhat dopey, occasionally competent lead who seems an unlikely savior of the world. His life returning back to 1999 is also a lot more lonelier. Gone are his spoonbending powers. Gone are the groupies. Gone is the fame. When he realizes that he’s actually back in time and can talk to his mother, he calls her, only to hear her chiding his younger self with the name that no one ever uses – Fumiaki – and hangs up in silence. It’s tough to say "Hi mom, it’s me!" when your other self is sitting next to her. Good scene from a character standpoint, but I wouldn’t have minded learning about the possible time travel paradoxes talking to your former self might cause.
However, Fumiaki finds a bright light when he stumbles on a curry restaurant and meets a cute waitress named Mikaze, who just happens to call the younger Bunmei on TV by his actual first name. How did she know his name? We’ll never know… because Fumiaki himself never asks. He’s just so overjoyed at hearing someone besides his mother use his real name, he goes into a curry yousei induced stupor.
As if he wasn’t smitten before, Fumiaki now falls head over heels for Mikaze. Visiting her every day for a good week (all while not doing much to find that Tengu), before she offers to show him around town. Now I have to admit, perhaps it’s because the bizarre looking landlord and her twin sister influenced me, but the whole episode I was expecting Mikaze to turn into some sort of monstrosity. Personally, I would’ve guessed a succubus. When she showed interest in Fumiaki, I was convinced. And then when she shows up in a flashy sportscar, I was absolutely convinced. How else could she afford such a luxury? Once she proceeds to drive around town like a maniac, slowly sucking away Fumiaki’s life force all the while, I thought it was just a matter of moments until she’d traipse off with him to some secluded area… and she did, taking him down into a bunker underground. Some sort of tourist area she claims. However, throughout the episode she continues to remain on the up and up. Even breaking down into tears when she sees the paper cranes strung up in the bunker, in honor of those who died to build it. She’s a little too perfect though. And seeing how the episode ends on a cliffhanger, I wouldn’t be surprised if she ends up being revealed as a monster in the next ep. But then again… I wouldn’t mind if she was actually a normal human being and complicated the Maya-Fumiaki partnership.
Maya plays a very small role in the episode, but like I mentioned, she’s able to map out the locations of all the abductions and seemingly tracks down the kidnappers. And based on what we saw, they’re not tengu, but actually little baby mothras. The episode ends on a cliffhanger with one of the mothras about to get a hit on Maya, but there’s not too much drama. It’s only episode 3, we all know she’ll be fine. And if you didn’t, you would’ve seen it in the next episode previews (why do previews blatantly give away a cliffhanger ending?).
This detour into the life of Fumiaki wasn’t bad, but it was an abrupt shift in tone, with very little drama or scare tactics. Hopefully we’ll return back to the life of Maya next week.