Ah, the standard episode in which a character is angsting and his or her friends spend the episode trying to talk him or her out of it. I now realize how often such an episode can go wrong: it’s obviously predictable, and often it comes across rather lazy. I now realize that series as Suteki Tantei Labyrinth and Code Geass did a rather pathetic job on it: Mayuki and Lelouch did nothing but angst over what happened, then his friends come and say a few words, and they act like nothing ever happened.
Episodes like this one need lots of inspired dialogue. They need introspection, both from the character him/herself and from the ones around him. They mustn’t try to be standalone episodes, assuming that the next episode will continue on like nothing ever happened. And I must say that Crystal Blaze did a pretty good job at it. Manami was definitely depressed, but I like how the creators used a bit of comedy in order to lighten up the mood from all her angst. In this series, the characters actually try to understand both each other and themselves, and that’s what makes this so appealing.
Seriously, Crystal Blaze is one of these series where every major character has become likable, and especially the good guys are a joy to watch. I already sung praises to Shu and Manami, but Ayaka’s caring nature and Akira’s down-to-earth nature are also wonderful. And of course Poririn rocks as well. Th relatively large emphasis so far on the bad guys also really helps. These guys are definitely not your typical misunderstood villains, and they they’re turning out really nicely.
I’m really not sure what exactly it was that the creators did, but this is everything a 12-episode series should be. The reason why I prefer 26 or 39-episode series above series of such a short length is that they can easily go wrong if they’re not focused, and it takes something special to get some quality development out of the characters, something which is much easier for series with 26 episodes, because it usually takes me around 10 episodes to really connect with the cast of characters.