The Adventures of Mikuru Asahina Episode 00
Oh come on, can't they promote anything other
than The Third: The Girl with the Blue Eye
at the beginnings of their DVDs?
The opening theme here is "Koi no
Mikuru Denetsu" The voice is kinda odd.
The episode begins. There's a street here, and some shops. Pigeons coo in front of a stone sign. Now here's a more modern sign, identifying the place as the Iwaigawa Shopping Strip. Some pretty BGM plays. In front of a produce stand, there's a girl in a figure-hugging red outfit that shows off some cleavage and everything above it, some hose, a red bowtie, and red bunny ears. She's holding a sign of some sort, but it's not being translated yet. I expect they'll get to that. A male voice identifies the girl as Mikuru Asahina. I was right; the sign tells us that the Napa cabbage is half price for a limited time. The male voice tells us that Mikuru seems like a normal, kind, and extremely cute girl, but that, well, instead of being strictly normal, she's a battle waitress from the future.
Okay, that's definitely a shift from the genres I've been watching and reading in anime and manga.
The voice tells us not to ask why she's from the future, or a waitress, because that's not important yet; they're just minor details you have to have "shoved down your throat" so he can get the story going.
Mikuru starts talking. Oh dear. I'm not particularly one to complain about dubs, but... what is that? A Cream
impression? That register is totally unconvincing for the voice type speaking in it. And her name is in the episode title, so I assume I'll be hearing a lot of it. I hope the other voices are better than that. The male voice seems to be, anyway. Maybe it'll grow on me. At any rate, I see why they gave Patricia Martin her role at the café
Anyway, she politely asks the people around to check out their napa cabbage. The male voice brings up the battle waitress thing again, but only as a means of voicing our potential confusion about her bunny-girl costume. Well, it's because this is her part-time job, and it apparently involves dressing like that to promote produce. A couple of elderly women remark about the price of the cabbage, and say they should hurry and buy some. A man pulling something remarks to Mikuru that she's working hard. She responds that she's trying her best. The male voice — hey, I think I'll call him the "narrator"; I hope it catches on — remarks on the cheerful way she said that, and on her outfit that screams "trying too hard". But her innocent charm sells the cabbage out in record time.
Mr. Kiyozumi Morimura offers her her pay packet, apologizing for the meager amount compared to her work. She's sure it's more than enough, thinking she should apologize to him, as that's the only way she can help. She bows, sticks the packet partway into her Victoria's Secret Compartment
, says a goodbye, gives her next destination as the butcher's, asks to be
excused, and leaves.
She apparently turned into a mascot for the shopping strip, loved by all the people in the neighborhood. The narrator even cheers her on, telling her to bring back the customers who started flocking to the megamart (megawarehouse store) last year. He says the fate of the small businesses could be riding on her shoulders. (Or possibly a little lower...)
But that has nothing to do with the story. She's slowing anyway, not "bouncing" as much. The narrator brings up the "battle waitress" thing yet again. (Why is he saying it like it's some big revelation after he's told us twice now?) Her objective is to secretly watch over someone, and keep him from harm. And that someone... is Itsuki Koizumi. He looks like a normal, carefree high school boy, but he is, without realizing it, an esper. He needs a trigger or catalyst to awaken his powers. (I'd be willing to guess that this something is "a friend being put in danger".) Mikuru shadows him in a pretty obvious manner, still in her not-particularly-inconspicuous outfit... and still carrying the sign. The narrator points out that she looks like a girl with an unexpressed and unacknowledged high school crush, but she was probably sighing because she saw that Itsuki was safe.
Mikuru finishes her other job, which also requires that scanty outfit (hey, the narrator pointed out that aspect of it; I'm just relaying it), and returns to Suzuki Stationery, where she lives in the back. Mr. Yusuke Suzuki (who's 65; I mean, I guess that's what the number means) welcomes her back, and notices that she seems tired. Mikuru attributes this to the customers. He's glad to hear they're busy, and tells her to have a good evening.
She enters the room and drops onto her knees. The narrator tells us that with her work done, she can remove that sleazy (almost non-existent) outfit, and change into more comfortable clothes for bed. She takes off her ears, starts to pull her outfit off from the top, and...
...before we can see anything more than a bit more breast, the screen turns blue. :D Gotcha, didn't they?
When it turns back, Mikuru is in short-sleeved night attire. The narrator says that the camera was stopped at that point, so we shouldn't bother asking to see the footage, as though we thought it had been merely cut; they don't have it. Mikuru lays her head on the pillow.
Somewhere, someone is wearing a cape, a pointy hat, and shoes, and standing on some sort of walkway — a dock, perhaps? — in front of the water. It's Yuki Nagato, but you probably knew that without the narrator's help by now. She's standing there dramatically, but the narrator doesn't know why. You might say she's not ordinary, and maybe a little weird; the narrator tells us she's actually an evil alien witch. He goes on to tell us outright that she's planning something diabolical involving Itsuki, but says there's no reason for her to still be at school when he's gone home. It was early evening, but now, it looks like midday. He says you can do what you want but putting in scenes like that makes it difficult for editors.
Had the rug pulled out from under you yet?
So Mikuru and Yuki have a battle scene, with no apparent reason given. The viewer's imagination is going to be expected to come up with the reason why, as well as their first meeting, the narrator tells us, and remarks that the reason will remain unexplained. He says that if the movie makes any sense, they'll be lucky.
Mikuru is in her battle waitress outfit, striking a fighting pose. Yuki stands there calmly. Mikuru tells Yuki that
Itsuki won't be someone she can control; she'll protect him. She's suddenly dual-wielding pistols. She "fires" them. Yuki withdraws her wand, called Starring Inferno. Mikuru says it's time to use her secret weapon. She throws down her pistols, removes a contact (I guess) so she has one blue eye. "Mi-Mi-Mikuru Beam!"
It flashes, blacking the camera's view for a fraction of a second. As Yuki rushes her, the narrator explains that it's a super-dangerous laser beam. The camera can't seem to decide whether to look at the sky, or at Yuki on top of Mikuru. The narrator is wondering what's going to happen next. Someone else calls for a cut, and tells Yuki that wasn't part of the script.
And now we're at Ohmori Electronics. Mikuru is back in her bunny suit, holding a microphone, and Yuki is holding a sign that probably says "Ohmori Electronics". Mikuru starts to say something about the store, but talks up the owner instead, and says the store's been around since his grandpa opened it. She then tells the people about the stock, that they have everything from batteries to refrigerators. (Okay, I guess refrigerators are electric, but aren't those usually considered appliances?)
So now, Mikuru is walking in the middle of the street after her defeat. She recalls that the Mikuru Beam didn't affect the alien witch, and wonders what she'll do.
She goes to her room. She's not a transforming hero; she has to change her clothes. (And we get about as far into that as we did before, and then it cuts to her leaving in her bunny-girl outfit.)
At the same time, here's Itsuki, looking blankly at the world as usual. Yuki emerges from an alley with a cat on her shoulder. He asks who she might be. She says she's an alien who uses magic. He asks if it's so; she says it is. He asks what she wants with him; she explains that she's after his hidden powers. The boy asks what she would do if he said she was being a nuisance. She is prepared to use force to get the powers, seemingly not caring so much about being considered a nuisance. The boy asks how, and she demonstrates, raising her wand. A lightning bolt shoots from it, and Mikuru pushes him out of the way. The bolt misses both of them, but Mikuru runs into a pole. Ow. She says she won't let her way. Yuki says she's won that round, but she won't be so lucky next time. She tells her to make funeral arrangements (or to find herself a name for the afterlife), for the next time will be her last. As she leaves, Itsuki asks the girl in the bunny-girl outfit who she is. She claims to be just an innocent bunny girl passing through, and runs off (in the direction of Yuki?), leaving Itsuki to wonder who she is. The narrator stops in the middle of telling us about Itsuki watching Mikuru to question the skyward tilt.
He tells us at the beginning of the next scene that some more story has been left out, and he's not sure what's happened, but is sort of kind of sure that the flames of battle have flared up again. Mikuru says she won't ever run away, even in times like that. She tells the evil bad alien to leave the planet at once. We get a whole bunch of zooms in on Mikuru's face. Yuki tells her that she is the one who should leave this time frame, because she (and at least one other; I don't know how broad her "we" is) will seize Itsuki and his powers, as well as take over Earth. Mikuru won't let her, and will risk her life to stop her. Now there's a girl with long green hair behind Yuki, and a man. Yuki tells her to prepare herself, because she'll take it. The green-haired girl gets in front and laughs evilly. A side view reveals that there was yet another man. The three approach Mikuru. Apparently, she knows the girl, Tsuruya. She tells Tsuruya to get herself back together. Tsuruya bursts out laughing, because she can't take her seriously in that outfit. She says the alien is controlling her, and approaches Mikuru again. The narrator attributes the control to EM waves or something (hey, he's as unsure as I am!) Mikuru doesn't know what to do, so they throw her in the water. Then, while she's splashing around, Itsuki shows up suddenly (the narrator doesn't know where he's been, and notes that he may have been caught in a shot earlier) and helps Mikuru out. She complains about the cold water.
Itsuki asks what she's doing there. She gives a muddled explanation, but someone reminds her she's supposed to faint at that point. She "faints" into Itsuki's arms, and he tells her to get a hold of herself, and picks her up. The narrator points out that you'd normally call an ambulance or have a passerby get help, but this boy decides to carry her himself. (He seems jealous of the situation.) The narrator notes that Yuki & co. left without finishing Mikuru off or interfering with Itsuki. He notes, with some confusion, another tilt, along with all the mysteries, contradictions, and plot threads left dangling at the midpoint. He's also surprised that they're only halfway through.
Now we're treated to a pretty drawing of Mikuru.
And we're back, in Itsuki's house, it seems. It bothers the narrator that Mikuru looks like she's just gotten out of the bath, even though she's being carried, implying that Itsuki washed her himself while she was unconscious. Itsuki lays her on a futon. The narrator suppresses his murderous rage as Itsuki covers her with a blanket. He reminds us (and himself, more than us) that we're watching a movie. Then Itsuki bends over to kiss her on the lips, as the narrator says that if he gets any closer, somebody off-camera's going to kick him.
But before it happens, Yuki stands in the window, telling them to hold it right there, and that Mikuru shouldn't be his choice, but her, because mingling of their powers will unlock his potential. He asks her to explain. The narrator asks whay he isn't surprised at Yuki showing up in the window. (Uh, because the script told him she was going to show up?
) She only explains that he has two choices: her, in which they evolve the universe into what (she thinks) it should be, or to be with Mikuru, and destroy the future. This worries Itsuki. The narrator wonders if her earlier line was to Itsuki. Itsuki understands that he's a key, and a key only has power in someone else's hand: power to unlock a door, and when the door is open, something will change. But because he doesn't have enough information, he's not going to decide yet. Yuki agrees that now is not the time to decide, and the time to give him that information is not far off. She notes that we see lack of information as an obstacle, and leaves.
Hey, it's another commercial, like the last. This time, it's for the Yamatsuchi Model Shop. Probably along the lines of model airplanes and stuff. It opened last year after the owner left the corporate workforce. He based his store on his hobbies. But sales haven't been so hot, so take pity on him and buy stuff, okay? She is instructed to hold a gun, and she warns people not to shoot things like that while pointing it at other people, and that they should shoot empty cans or something instead. She's instructed to shoot it. A few rounds go off before...
..the scene switches to Mikuru in her waitress outfit cooking while an adorable little girl holds a kitty. Then she waves at a leaving Itsuki. The narrator explains that we've probably lost all interest in following the story, but they've started living together. (I assume Suzuki at least knows that she's got a new place?) Now Mikuru is flipping a (blanket? rug?) over a railing and starting to beat it while the little girl talks to her. Now she cautiously opens a bathroom door (whoa, a swinging door instead of a sliding?) behind which Itsuki is standing, with only steam to preserve his modesty
. (The narrator notes that it's become like a housewife drama, which make you wonder about the sci-fi battle scenes
. Itsuki, Mikuru, and the girl play Uno. The narrator wonders if they're spicing up the middle with moé. Now Mikuru and Itsuki sit half a foot away from each other in front of a window. They put their hands to their side, Mikuru unintentionally putting her hand on his, then withdrawing it.
Now for a close of the girl holding the kitty. The narrator wonders who she is; Itsuki's little sister, perhaps? She's told to introduce herself, and she does: she's Shamy! She holds the cat up to the camera. The narrator notices that this cat is probably the one that was on Yuki's shoulder.
Speaking of, Yuki transfers into Itsuki's high school. She puts something into a shoe storage unit. Or something. Look, it's one step up from a show cubby, since it has a door, but there's no lock. The narrator explains that she's going to try to ensnare Itsuki with her sex appeal, but it seems to him that she's going after him fairly.
Mikuru also transfers there. You may ask why she didn't do that earlier, given that she's supposed to protect him, but the narrator doesn't know. So now the genre is romantic comedy... or love triangle. At school, they uphold a truce of sorts, but outside, they're back to battling it out... in fights to the death that lack any sense of excitement. (One scene is on a playground. The kids are standing and sitting around watching kinda boredly.)
The final act arrives with a note: "Let's settle the score." The director apparently felt they needed to end it, no matter how. Mikuru sees now. (Sees what?) Tsuruya enters to deliver a line reading that reminds me of when Akira read Kuroi's lines for Minoru
. In any case, she asks Mikuru if she has a creepy old stalker, or if her doctor said she had athlete's foot. Tsuruya is having trouble maintaining her composure as Mikuru reveals that it's time to battle to evil alien witch. Tsuruya slowly loses it as she tells Mikuru that she's counting on her to save the Earth. She bursts out laughing at the ridiculousness. The narrator points out that there's sort of a continuity error there: given that the two knew each other at the lake scene, was it supposed to happen after
the transfer, maybe? That would set the whole "living together" sequence later, as well... and when you don't know what else to do, look at the sky.
Now for the climax. Yuki says they have to resolve this by the end of lunch break. Mikuru agrees with that, but is sure Itsuki will choose her. However, Yuki won't acknowledge his free will. The narrator wonders why she doesn't just go and get him if she wants him that badly. Mikuru won't let her do it; that's why she came from... THE FUTURE!
Cue the bunch of zoom-ins.
Now they get into position, and start shooting colored beams at each other. Something sets off Roman candles, making Mikuru cower; a girl (the one for whom the show is named, perhaps?) tells her to fight back. A teacher comes bursting through the door, asking what's going on.
The narrator asks us not to mind that; the battle's continuing, and Mikuru's been cornered. Yuki tells her it's time for her to give in. Starring Inferno's star flashes. It's a lame special effect, the narrator admits, but wants us to use our imaginations. Itsuki sees to Mikuru, and tells Yuki to stop it. The cat says to stop talking and get on with it, and just use the mind control powers she apparently has. Someone offscreen tells the cat, Shamisen, not to speak. Yuki taps him on the head with SI, shutting him up, and covering it by calling it ventriloquism. (Okay, but in that case, she also has voice-changing powers along the lines of Haley Eisenberg in those cola commercials.) Yuki tries the mind control shtick, but Itsuki blazes with light, blowing away Yuki into a Twinkle In The Sky
He helps Mikuru up, saying that it's over.
His powers have awakened, and Yuki's at the far end of the universe. Peace has returned. Cherry blossoms are falling all over the place. All's well that ends well. Thanks to our heroes. Another tilt up?
A female voice claims that the story was fictional, as were the characters and stuff in it. Oh, except for the ads.
And now we're in the screening room. The female voice finds she has to say it again. Mikuru and a guy are there, as well as Yuki and Itsuki. The voice asks Kyon why she has to say that, as it should be obvious. Another girl stands up, saying it's finished. She has a red armband that says "Ultra Director" on it. She turns around.
Ladies and gentlemen, our title character! Though she isn't actually named yet...
She thinks it totally rocked! The SOS Brigade doesn't know the meaning of "impossible"!
So apparently, our narrator was Kyon. He's unsure about it being shown. OTC is sure it'll be packed when they show it at the arts festival. She thinks they should charge admission; she'll ask the film club. It they do that, they'll get their money back from it and
have enough for the next one! Kyon thinks he'll skip the festival and take a nap.
And now, "Hare Hare Yukai"!
Interesting so far. I'm looking forward to a not- Show Within a Show
Next time: The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya I!