It’s another Ryouko Mendou episode. This time she decides to hold a Xmas ball in the middle of summer, and once again there is an element of dangerous competition to her plans.
Couples are chained together and have to climb to the top of a giant Christmas tree, in order to win the prize of a slap up meal and/or a kiss from Ryouko or her brother.
Despite the fact that Kotatsu Neko and Ten are OK to go as a couple (presumably being a ghost exempts him!), the Kuroko say that they must mixed gender couples. Which causes a problem for a couple of the invitees. Shinobu wonders who she should take until a candidate stumbles into her path. Megane meanwhile has a devious plan to gain entrance.
So, let’s take a look at those couples.
Lum & Ataru.
Ten & Kotatsu Neko
Ran & (a giant plush toy of) Rei
Sakura & Cherry (who are both only there for the free food)
Megane & Chibi (in drag)
Shinobu & Onsen-Mark
Ryuunosuke’s Father & Ryuunosuke (who is there to experience Xmas)
The remaining 10 minutes after all this is setup is frankly far to frantic to recap. Needless to say Lum doesn’t want Ataru to get to the top. Neither does Mendou, who ends up repeatedly falling off the tree in his attempts to stop Ataru. Another highlight is a flashback to Ryuu’s previous lack of Xmases, where we see her father telling her cake was actually medicine, this naturally ends in another fight between the pair. Eventually everyone apart from our regular characters fall out the tree, so Ryouko decides to launch it into space. The end!
This episode zips along at an incredible pace, which considering it starts with about 5 minutes of filler to bulk out the plot from the manga, is impressive. The actual race up the tree has some wild animation, which still manages some subtle touches, like the pacing of Mendou walking across the room after having just thrown himself down the tree, in order to go and throw himself down it again. His body language is perfect. This is one episode I can, and have, watched time and time again.
Osamu Uemura makes a debut as a UY episode director. He did a fair few episodes in the batch, and would go onto to direct the adaptation of Takahashi’s Fire Tripper.
Screenplay: Hiroshi Iwasaki (presumably not the voice actor or the teaching author)
Storyboard: Mamoru Oshii
Director: Osamu Uemura
Animation Director: Takafumi Hayashi