This week’s monster is created from a shut-in student who is bitter that he doesn’t have any friends. He also resides in the room above the convenience store, so his first unwitting target is… En, who went into the store to get bread. The monster-of-the-week’s powers is corrupting friendship, so En becomes angry over small grievances he has with Atsushi, causing their relationship to fall apart. Yumoto is pained to see the two good friends fighting like this, and tries to get them back together with little success.
A few days pass, and En’s and Atsushi’s relationship is still on the rocks. Yumoto now fears that it may even break up the Battle Lovers team. Realizing that something is afoot, Ryuu and Io finally decide to help Yumoto figure out this mess. It turns out that En and Atsushi are not the only students who have had rocky relationships lately. They quickly pinpoint the cause of all these problems to be a monster that lives above the convenience store.
When Atsushi finds out that it was a monster that was causing En to act strangely, he is furious. Yumoto manages to blast the monster out from the convenience store and all the way to the school, where the battle lovers reconvene. Atsushi attempts to beat the monster single-handedly, but the monster is too strong and nearly crushes him. Thankfully, En is here to save the day! While En is still under the monster’s control, his bond with Atsushi is too strong. With some help from Atsushi, En manages to break free and he and Atsushi vanquish the monster together.
After all is said and done, both students are friends with each other once again.
There wasn’t really much parody-ing this episode, or if there was it wasn’t the main focus. Episode 6 explored Ryuu’s and Io’s relationship, so it’s only fair that En’s and Atsushi’s relationship got explored too. En and Atsushi got some really good characterization here, but special mention goes to Yumoto. As it turns out, Yumoto CAN get serious about certain things, as airheaded as the kid may seem.
I just… really like these “friendship strengthening” episodes in general, even if they come off as somewhat cheesy and clichéd. Friendships are great, but they can also be incredibly fragile (and boy do I know that). If someone says the wrong thing or hurts someone’s feelings, even if they didn’t mean to stuff like that could end a relationship. But what makes a strong friendship is that the people involved are willing to forgive each other.
Whether En’s and Atsushi’s relationship can be read as them both being really gay for each other or just good friends, I really like that it’s shown how much they care about each other. Like with episode 6, the other characters didn’t get too involved with the fighting, though in this case I didn’t feel as annoyed because BOTH En and Atsushi were fighting the monster together. I think it’s also much more notable to see En so motivated to fight, as he’s usually the slacker/laid-back guy of the group. That he’s fighting so hard now means that he cares THAT much about his friend, and that’s really sweet to see.
I kind of wish we could have seen more of Komi Shou, the dude who got turned into a monster. Young shut-in people (aka hikikomori, sorta related to NEETs) are a growing problem in Japan, and I’m so, so glad that for once it isn’t romanticized in an anime. Far too many hikikomori and NEET characters in (otaku-centric) anime are glamorized (No Game No Life anyone?), but the reality of living such a life is far from glamorous. Komi Shou is shown to very obviously suffer some sort of despair (or possibly even depression) about not having friends, and it is shown as a very unhappy lifestyle. I’m also glad that there weren’t any jokes poking fun at his situation, because that would just be mean-spirited.
Overall, I may be biased, but I thought this episode was much better written than previous episodes. This one was probably played a bit straighter than past episodes, but what humor there was felt a lot more natural and actually funny. Plus, there’s tons of great characterization all around, even from Yumoto, Ryuu, and Io despite not being the main focus of the plot. The next episode seems to focus on Ibushi, which is great as he hasn’t had a much focus as the other two Chevalier members.
Out of five: