Weekly SEVENS Review: Episode 14 *SPOILERS*

Onward to episode 14, Romin’s Kitchen! Spoilers after the jump.

Welcome back to another week of anime and another week of reviews.

For those of you who don’t like SEVENS, I intend to do weekly retro roundup reviews for previous series at some point. The idea is to do a compilation of mini-reviews for 1 episode for each series per week, IF I can find a decent solution to data storage for about about 20 years worth of anime. Around 1000 episodes of Yu-Gi-Oh! eats up a lot of storage space and unfortunately my aging computer doesn’t quite have the room for all of them at once.

Anywhos, where were we? Right. Romin’s Kitchen.

Full disclosure right off the bat: There’s not much of a duel in this episode, making this the first real breather episode in the series. If that turns you off in any way, this isn’t the episode for you.

Before we begin though, a little bit of trivia.

The animation director for the episode is Nagao Hiroki, an animator who’s done a few shots for the SEVENS in the past, but also notably did work on ARC-V and VRAINS. Or is it Nagao Hiroo? There’s conflicting information on how the name is read and ANN currently has them listed as Nagao Hiroo.

That having been said, if there’s a shot in SEVENS that feels like “old school” Yu-Gi-Oh! then Nagao Hiroki(I’ll be calling them that since Hiroki is literally what they go by on Twitter) probably had something to do with it. …Not that we’ll see much of that in this episode.

Link to their Twitter account

So, what actually goes on in the episode? Uh.

The premise of the episode is that Rook is still mad at Romin for double-crossing the gang, which leads to Romin in the kitchen as she tries to make curry rice to get on Rook’s good side again. Why curry?

All those shots of Rook eating in previous episodes are why. Rook likes his food.

Unfortunately for us, as Romin kindly reminds us at the start of the episode when Yuga brings up the idea, Romin’s area of expertise is ALSO eating. She knows absolutely nothing about the kitchen. And she’s going to be cooking curry. Uh oh. If you’re familiar with anime tropes, you can already see where this is going.

Y’all ever played the Persona games?

Yeeeeah. Romin’s a bit of an idiot sandwich. In fact, she’s a full blown safety hazard. Hell, the first thing she manages to do is start a flour explosion while looking for the rice.

Thank god this series is also a comedy, otherwise everybody would be dead.

Cue the running joke of the episode. Gakuto’s unique blend of real-life competence and absolute hysteria serves as a foil to Romin’s murder cooking, with Romin defaulting to some variation of “B-but, I’ve never cooked before!” every time she screws up, with her scenes getting more and more shoujo-esque each time she screws up.

In case you were wondering, yes, you’re still watching Yu-Gi-Oh!

And in true anime fashion, she does everything from getting ingredients wrong to straight up chucking in sulfur, charcoal, and potassium nitrate as “spices”. Google those ingredients. I’ll wait. Naturally, Gakuto’s patience wears increasingly thin at Romin’s sheer lack of common sense.

Oh yeah. Those “roses” you saw above? They’re vegetables held up by the underlings. Note the underlings’ hands.

The final batch is more or less what you’d expect from somebody who’d be better at making explosives. Plain white rice topped with a bubbling sauce of unearthly neon blue. Luckily for everybody involved, it turns out to be absolutely salivating, despite the color. Rook even decides to name it after his ace monster. Huh. That’s weird. Usually you end this joke with the food being bad enough to kill somebody. Oh well. All’s well that ends well right?

By the way, did you know that Dragears Curry has its own character profile on the SEVENS homepage?

Oh wait. Nevermind. After chucking in a few more dubious spices Romin somehow manages to get the curry to turn into a volcanic eruption they’re in and floods the entire building. Did I mention that they were using the kitchen in Roa’s high-end luxury apartment? Roa comes home after a day at the card shop only to see the entire building spewing neon blue curry as emergency services arrive on scene. I guess that’s karma for ya.

That’s all for the A plot.

The B plot of the episode involves Yuga chasing after a Kaizo-equipped duel bicycle after Romin’s compliments cause him to rush off in a fit of joy. Unfortunately, Kaizo’s little joyride is quickly stopped by a trio of Goha drones.

Hmm. Red killer robot eyes. I wonder where we’ve seen that before?

Cue the Kaizobike transforming into a humanoid robot, complete with its own 70’s style theme song…sung by Kaizo himself. The Goha drones aren’t one to be intimidated, and quickly pull off their own super robo sequence, turning into…a 3-drone-wide floating barricade? Well that’s anticlimactic. At least it works I guess? I mean, Kaizo’s intimidated by the glorified traffic light.

Kaizo quickly decries violence and suggests settling this peacefully with a duel, and after some deliberation the drones agree to his suggestion 2 to 1…much to Kaizo’s surprise? Wait what? Uh. Guys? Are you feeling ok? You know this is Yu-Gi-Oh! right? After 20 years of death games taken for granted you’d expect duels to be the default solution to all of their problems and anything but peaceful. Then again I suppose this IS Yu-Gi-Oh! since they end up dueling in the end.

But wait, didn’t I say there isn’t much of a duel in this episode? Yeah. About that. The duel happens at lightning speed, with each turn lasting no longer than a few seconds as Yuga watches on. The standard duel music even plays at 2x speed! And then they all died.

All four of the dueling drones seem to shut down for a moment, followed by the Goha drones suddenly conceding defeat and leaving. Luckily a quick mention of Romin is more than enough to bring Kaizo back online, although the duel bike’s battery reserves have been drained between the heavy power demands of the duel and Kaizo’s robot mode. Afterwards, Yuga and Kaizo head to Roa’s place, picking up Rook along the way and tying the the two plots together.

So. How’s the episode? Uh.

As far as the plot goes, the A plot is your usual “girl sucks at cooking haha” slice of life comedy episode, with the only “twist” being the ending where the food turns out to be actually edible. And well. I feel like that punchline’s already been done before. The episode isn’t as surreal or subversive as other SEVENS episodes in that regards. Though I suppose that’s a sort of subversion of it’s own when given the show’s track record. It’s very much an episode about practically nothing, in a show where almost every episode has been about SOMETHING.

A somewhat non-Yu-Gi-Oh! episode in what’s otherwise been a surprisingly faithful Yu-Gi-Oh! show. I feel like this aspect comes through the most in none other than Kaizo’s antics, where the Goha drones have to give any sort of deliberation at all to the idea of a duel and Kaizo never seems to have expected his duel request to have gone through in the first place. I mean, card games in a card game anime is second nature. You never give it thought and you never expect your challenge to be turned down.

That’s not to say that I think SEVENS seems to have dropped its plot setups. If the trends so far hold up, the A plot’s toxic waste hazard is likely a distraction from the real setup of the episode: the B plot.

Everything in the B plot could potentially be parallels to aspects of real life computing, which feel kind of important in an arc where a super AI has been foreshadowed as our next big threat.

AIs are capable of much faster reaction times than humans, which when coupled with advancements in neural networking can make an AI opponent multiple orders of magnitude stronger than any human player. If we were to assume that the Goha super AI were to say, become a future opponent, then it would make sense that it would display many of these traits.

Meanwhile, the super robo sequences of Kaizo and the Goha drones seem to point towards the potential extra functionality and increased processing power for Goha’s AIs. But at the same time the Goha drones aren’t quite as unanimous in their decisions as you’d expect the AI systems of a totalitarian mega-corporation to be.

Note how only one of them has a big fat X on it.

And lastly, the sudden shutdown of Kaizo and the drones might point to the side effects of heavy workloads, or perhaps something more sinister where Kaizo’s systems have been compromised due to his interactions with the Goha drones. Depending on which direction this thread takes, either Yuga and friends will find a way to overload the super AI and turn its heavy power and cooling demands against it, or we’ll have a plot thread in which a compromised Kaizo sets up Yuga and friends in a series of traps followed by a huge redemption arc in which he regains control.

We’ll have to see if any of this plays out as I expect though.

In the end, it’s a breather episode. Not much more to say than that. There isn’t as much tension or social commentary to be found when compared to your usual SEVENS episode. That’s not to say that it’s completely shallow. That bit with Kaizo and the drones definitely feels like setup for something bigger. And although the A plot’s dialogue is mostly played straight, the atmosphere and animation for the episode makes up for it with its wide variety of references to other genres, ranging from shoujo romances to 70’s super robos, crime thrillers, and cooking anime.

It’s an interesting mix of genres that takes you on a bit of a ride.

If you’re just here for the duels, the episode isn’t for you. But if you want to unwind with a bit of a drug trip? Go for it.

Onwards to the next episode!

Mechafish vs Mechabird as Yuga duels Maguro Nanami! Yes folks, that’s another pun. Tuna of the Seven Seas. See you next week.