Tokimeki Memorial 16 - Afro: Impossible

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Oh yes, TokiMemo lives!! Through rain, slow, sleet, and hail, the fansubbers eventually deliver their mail...even if it does take a long time. But on the plus side, TokiMemo is the kind of anime you can take long breaks in between, come back, and still understand, unlike a highly plot-driven anime like Kanon or AIR that love to cliffhanger you.

So whenever TokiMemo gets released on it's seemingly monthly schedule, it's always a nice surprise, as I look forward to seeing it to its conclusion.

Although, I must agree with the sentiments of many when they say TokiMemo just quite isn't what it used to be.

It's turning very, very quickly into a generic harem anime with generic characters. The focus is largely on Sayuri now, and we're going to have to pray to all the Shuffle! deities to get a different ending...

(more after the jump, so on so forth)

This episode, as the ten million before it, deals largely with the panic of Riku Aoba and Sayuri Kurata Amamiya and their preparations for the culture festival. Meanwhile, the other two harem members (a while ago, would we have called them that?) get demoted to secondary roles. Fight, Tsukasa and Mina!

Anyway, as Horror Movie Sayuri puts it, there are 3 days to the festival, and we cover two of them in this (relatively) blindingly paced episode.

Yagen the awesome-music'd science teacher assists Riku with the construction of a f'ing huge mildly large tent to hold the class project, a horror...tent...thing. The kind of thing you'd walk through on Halloween, y'know?

TokiMemo stretches it's suspension of disbelief license a bit farther with Yagen's use of robots to cleanly construct the entire edifice. One of the last remaining graces of TokiMemo is the amusing reality it's created for itself, with afro-creating ghosts and robots; it surely doesn't take itself seriously.

Speaking of, how about Piyoko the talking yellow thing, eh? Another amusing scene here, with Doujima creating a supersized duplicate of the 'yellow devil' for maximum scary-ness in the festival. Rememeber, he's the one who got his ass royally kicked by Piyoko.

Meanwhile, Sayuri works on the play with the scary transgender drama teacher, and it's revealed she likes her guys weak and submissive, like standard anime harem leads. Hmm, wonder who that could be.

Saving grace of TokiMemo #2: the side characters actually exist for once! I think TokiMemo is the only school anime with more than 10 schoolpeople who have a regular role, and more than 5 teachers. OK, OK, so the screenshot is just a standard meganekko obsession, but still, the more characters the merrier.

Anyway, Yagen shows everyone the f'ing huge somewhat big tent that's about 20 times their design specifications, and runs off. For once it's not Riku who takes the blunt of the blame but rather Sakurai the annoyingly confident and Itsuki-(esper)-like class president who gets harassed for once by the scarily bishonen club leaders.

Riku worries about how to fill the tent to capacity, since it'd be hard to fill a tent that huge with props in two days. His solution of course is another Metal Gear escapade where he jumps a fence and begs the Afro Goddess person to let some of her ghostly friends haunt the building.

They're already ahead of the curve though. This is screaming "things are going to go wrong".

Also, we get a bit of Tsukasa in this scene, who happened to see Riku as she left club practice (really late, too) and deciding to hang out with him. The animators get bonus points for not jumping at all the upskirt opportunities here.

Riku also gets an awesome++ for being a selfless guy (moreso than usual harem leads) by getting to his knees and begging Afro Goddess Women. Tsukasa gets Riku love++, which is very dangerous. That's another interesting thing about TokiMemo: all 3 characters have a possibility of going Boxcutter on everybody. Think of it: we've got Sayuri, the idol who is rapidly cracking, Tsukasa, the obsessive that just might realize the truth, and Mina, the one that's ignored. A lot. What we need here is some harem face-off action.

But meanwhile, we get some severe scares for the Mina and Tsukasa crowd (myself being the former), as both Riku and Sayuri think of each other. It's clear that Riku's falling for Amamiya at this point, despite two much more very interesting and available girls around him. Although, I can't blame Sayuri for the fact that there's only one or two useful guys in this series that aren't pervs.

Anyway, the next day comes along and everyone's amazed at the work Riku's put in to get the thing working. His status is definitely rising among his peers; compare it to the nekomimi Riku from the beginning. Still, I would doubt that advances by him on any of the main trio would go overlooked at this point.

Oh yeah, and that screenshot? A quote just asking to be Murphy's Law'd.

Speaking of popularity, as joking as this may be, it's still damn freaky. Riku's clearly got his harem pheromones in full gear. And oh yes, that's another speaking-role female. How about it, eh?

Anyway, the rest of the real harem finally shows up for their cameo (this is Mina's first appearance so far...), fighting back against Sayuri with a tag-team effort and Asa English.

Mina wins again with the Shy Underclassman charm here, bringing some goodies for the team. For some reason this was smacking of Nerine to me; maybe it was the whole shy demeanor, blue hair, lots of food thing.

However, do note that the box is not as huge as the perspective makes it look, and that it doesn't contain omelettes. How dissapointing.

Confident Sayuri shows up to face off against the rest of the harem, only to be off-put by a veritable mob of girls around Riku, as opposed to a veritable mob of Not Important Guys around her. Feel the storm brew, eh? As typical as the "Every damn guy likes me and pays attention to me except the right one" character type may be, it's still played well in TokiMemo. Kind of.

Sayuri goes into Boxcutter mode and exchanges a lot of words with Riku without showing her face (#1 sign that they're unhappy). Riku gets more Harem Lead points for following up on the "It's nothing" comment by Sayuri, the two words that mean anything but nothing. Way to have a backbone!

Sayuri gets mad and runs off into the haunted house, shocking everyone. A little bit later we hear her scream, which sets off alarm bells across the entire school. No, not literally. And so we are launched into Metal Gear Mode again with Operation Rescue Sayuri!

All the guys go in to rescue their love Sayuri, while the girls stay back, presumably because of Riku's explanation of the Very Evil Afro Ghosts.

Speaking of, double win bonus for Meganekkko Girl who's a smart, founded in reality girl!

The great part of this scene is the ridiculousness of it all - the guys are in full stealth gear with weaponry, with a mix of Mission Impossible blaring in the background. Truly hilarious in all it's unbelievability. Unsuprisingly, the guys lose the fight against the ghosts pretty easily, without even putting up a fight, to be honest.

At least half an hour after hearing the last of the boys cry out, the girls begin to worry, for Sayuri at least - an amusing moment in all it's honesty. Riku and Amamiya are the only ones apparently left alive and non-afroed in the building, although of course they care more for the latter.

And then Sayuri comes out of nowhere. She's happy again, which is rather odd. It's also strange that she likes the interior - it seemed rather plain during the Mission Impossible segment, but maybe the guys were looking in the wrong places. She explains all the misconceptions - she screamed only because she tore her dress (how typical).

And so the girls feel sort of bad that they sent the guys on a witch hunt - but not really.

Luckily however we end with some bonus Tsukasa/Mina alliance action, as they care about Riku decidedly more than the rest of the classroom. They should've gone all Metal Gear also and stormed the building to rescue Riku, but instead they stare at the exit longingly while Riku flails about inside looking for Sayuri.

This is what sort of could constitute a cliffhanger although with no doubt he'll be out unharmed by the beginning of 17, since that episode has all to do with the main event, the culture festival - finally, let's get the show on the road!