This week: Chiharu strikes back.
Overview (Spoilers Below)
Momo approaches Chio and Manana to learn how to break some rules and learn how to beat her problems with sugar. Since sugar causes Momo to lose her dang mind, she needs a bit of backup to keep her from making a fool of herself. Chio and Manana bare witness to Momo’s sugar-fueled nuttiness by buying some sweets at the convenience store, but they end up getting into the sugar themselves and encouraging poor Momo’s addiction. Thankfully, the three of them still have a great time, especially Momo, who gets to let loose and decide to meet up at home sometimes to enjoy more sweets.
Later, Chio spots Chiharu, the little girl who was messing with her bum the other day. Chiharu meets up with Andou, who’s actually her brother, and gives him grief over leaving his gang and trying to go straight. Chio approaches the two of them, and Chiharu explains that the reason she was engaging in butt combat with Chio was to try and learn about Andou’s “woman.” Andou tries to explain to the angry Chiharu that he lost a duel to Chio and had to leave the gang as part of that deal. Chiharu doesn’t buy it though and demands the two fight again to prove it. The two duel again, but Chio ends up clocking Andou twice in the face before Andou ends up groping Chio by mistake. Just then, Manana comes in out of nowhere and knocks Andou out, before setting her sights on Chiharu. The two are about to settle their beef, but Andou steps in to defend his sister, and Manana lays down her arms. Chiharu lets her revenge-quest go, too, and Andou returns to his job at the convenience store, which he had been neglecting to engage with this schoolyard battle.
In the mini-story that finishes off the episode, Andou meets a cute cat who he tries to befriend and saves from a variety of accidents.
Chio’s School Road is certainly doing a good job of developing itself as a character comedy and not just the screwball random anime it began as. Both of the stories this week focus on developing out the relationships of Chio and her friends further, as a good sense of continuity, is maintained across the episodes we’ve seen so far.
The first story, which focuses on Momo, is, unfortunately, a bit stale. It’s gimmick of having Momo deal with her sugar cravings just isn’t very funny to watch, and I would rather she spent more time interacting with Chio and Manana for laughs instead of just losing her mind over candy bars. The trouble is that the joke doesn’t really develop past Momo liking candy and being a tight ass, which we already knew she was in the first place. This might be one of those gags that don’t translate very well to the United States. This makes the first half of the episode a bit lackluster, sadly.
But credit where its due, the second half of Chio’s School Road this week delivers a tidy little story of vengeance, family and glorious combat. This battle for supremacy between Chio, Chiharu, and Andou is great fun to watch; nutty, but exactly the sort of schoolyard antics that remind one of when they themselves were in school. Andou’s hapless straight man to Chio and Chiharu’s high emotion creates a natural chemistry that gets the episode flowing, and Manana’s sudden appearance in the battle’s finale nearly made me spit out my coffee.
Special mention should be made for the short, but an adorable story of “Andou and George.” Having no sound and only running for about three minutes, this story delights the heart and lifts the spirit, telling a cute little tale of Andou struggling to do the right thing for a stray cat, who reminds him of his own cat that he lost long ago. Andou no doubt has a heart of gold, and the more the series goes on, the more I think he and Chio would be great together.
Chio’s School Road is quickly evolving into something more than the sum of its parts. Its plot is slow-going and mired in shenanigans, but it moves along inch by inch, bringing in elements of romance and growth to its world of school road duels and battles. Better keep an eye on this one, because it’s moving along faster than most, and bringing plenty of heart along for the ride.