Episode 8: Oh, The Forbidden Red & Blue!

Yet again, the toilet spirits of Saito High are in trouble, and this
time it is up to the Red Mantle to set things straight. At the offset, Toilet Hanako is
sick and the Red Mantle has taken a mysterious journey, which apparently requires him to
stride upon a port-o-potty. While Kazumi is lamenting (and micturating) in the bathroom,
he encounters a lovely young woman wearing a blue jacket, or hanten. When she offers to
give Kazumi the hanten, she punches him on the jaw (hanten also means a mark, thus
referring to the bruise she leaves. Clever, eh?)

Anyhow, it turns out that the Blue Hanten is the embittered sister of the Red Mantle, and
her anger over how she had been treated by her brother when he attempted to train her in
the toilet spirit arts has coalesced into a magic glove that takes control over anyone it
hits. For revenge, she will…pull off the mask of the Red Mantle!

Now, the above shows that there is a hell of a lot of plot in this episode, probably a
little too much. The explanation of the glove and of the Blue Hanten’s bitterness are
essentially long expository monologues that absolutely stop the show in its tracks. The humor also
scrapes pretty low, particularly in the early scenes involving Hanako’s cleavage and a
similarly configured body part on the chairman.

But while this episode does have a number of problems, overall I enjoyed it. While the
first act is so very plot-heavy and expository that it kind of bogs down, the second act
contains two absolutely hilarious sequences that made the watching worthwhile. First, the
flashback of the Red Mantle’s description of his training of the Blue Hanten is stylish
and clever with several nice touches, my favorite being Haruto’s studious notetaking. The
second part of the second act involves the whole of Saito High chasing down the Red Mantle
to take his mask, and it is very cleverly staged.

In the end, of course, everything ends up all right, and the Blue Hanten forgives the Red
Mantle, and indeed apologizes for her own actions. This strikes me as a particularly
Japanese conclusion: the student apologizing to the master for believing the training was
too difficult. Were this an American-produced show, I think we’d not only see the trainer
apologizing for the harsh training, but admonishing everyone within hearing distance that
they should all follow their hearts, do whatever comes naturally, and other anthemic
hippie slogans.
Rating :B

About Kent Conrad

To contact Kent Conrad, email kentc@explodedgoat.com