With the vampire aspects ramping up slightly, every little inference starts to have more impact.
What They Say:
The One-Thousand Year Spring
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Kohei's life in the academy is starting to fall into a routine and he's definitely a creature of habit, which is pointed out at the start when his friends note that he's been getting the same meal every day and not a terribly healthy one at that. Kohei's fitting in well with everyone for the most part and he's getting into the rhythm of things, though there are some things that throw him off. In particular, one that would thrown anyone off, is a detective show that's on and may be the inside joke of the series as it deals with sumo detectives. Detectives who wear their normal outfit but have a suit jacket on top of it. The theme song is sadly rather catchy.
The first half of the episode is pretty leisurely in its pacing as it's just the kids going through the school motions. There's a pleasant scene with several of Kohei's friends, mostly girls of course, visiting his room and noting its somewhat spartan nature and the need to add some color in there like flowers. There's a very relaxed atmosphere to it all that helps to paint that perfect well that exists in the school on the surface while knowing there is something darker underneath. A joke at the very beginning of the episode about how delightful Kohei's neck looks gives clue to that as you really get a good sense of how they're toying with Kohei. Or, more specifically, how Iori is enjoying himself in messing with Kohei.
When Iori brings him into the student council president's room, he plays a rather fun little game that raises the stakes lightly be eventually turns serious. Especially when Erika arrives. While Kohei certainly got the clue beforehand, there's a certain deniability about it that you could sense he wanted to play. But with Iori stating it flat out and Erika confirming it, we're given the reasons behind how they play their game of fitting into the real world and some of their abilities. While the vampiric elements have been related to the very end of the first two episodes, it's given a lot of face time here with the encounter between the four that are involved as Seichiro is there as well. The reasons for bringing it into Kohei's awareness fully, and the threat of erasing his memories, starts the more interesting part of the series as it's where they want to go with it that will define it.
The choice that Kohei is given here is one that you can imagine a lot of people actually wanting to be given. Naturally, the lead has to be somewhat hesitant and mildly wishy-washy about it, but it's a piece that adds to the idyllic nature that the show has presented so far. With Kohei wanting to have a normal high school life, there's a really tough choice for him there to make and what he does is understandable. And unlike a lot of series that play with this predicament, this is a rare time that Kohei's motivations and feelings come across as genuine and you can sympathize and understand and even agree with them. Fortune Arterial is at the changing point now where it will have things familiar to the first two episodes, which were highlighted here, but it will also push the undercurrent more. Maintaining that balance will be the hard part, but Kohei's choice gives me hope that it can achieve an intriguing high school vampire series.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70" LCoS 1080P HDTV, Dell 10.1 Netbook via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.