Aa! Megami-sama! TV - 17: Ah! What Are Talent And Hard Work?

Title:Aa! Megami-sama! TV
Episode:17: Ah! What Are Talent And Hard Work?
Keiichi is practicing at the race track with excellent results - and while Hasegawa Sora admires his competitive improvement, Keiichi and Belldandy demonstrate respect about Sora's committed work in the background that mostly remains unnoticed. But this time it will be her turn to take center stage - as the senpais have already entered her as driver for the newly established "female only" go-cart competition! [image1]
Sora is horror-stricken and convinced that this won't work. But as Keiichi and Belldandy are trying to encourage her, she agrees to at least give it a try. The first attempt with an extremely fast machine asks too much of Sora, and Belldandy has to save her before she can make a crash. But while everyone else starts to be sceptical now, Belldandy insists that Sora will be able to drive in the race: "Leave this up to me."
Now Sora moves in at Keiichi's place. After the new guest praised Banpei-kun (despite a little incident), Skuld feels she has to help as well and builds a race circuit in the temple's backyard, as well as a special car: Four-wheeled Banpei-kun with voice control! [image2] But Sora's success with this new vehicle is quite limited, and Urd's special "personality inversion" pill isn't a great success either. With Keiichi as training partner and Belldandy as moral support, Sora tries really hard but gets ever more frustrated. And it doesn't help either than the food she made for supper is considered awful by everyone: She'll fail at everything - didn't she tell Belldandy so before?
The next day, Belldandy drives the cart with Sora sitting on her lap [image3] - and finally Sora begins to overcome her fear. With Keiichi as driving coach [image4] and Belldandy as kitchen advisor [image5] she quickly improves in both disciplines, but deep inside her soul she still hides an old scar... [image6]
[2005-05-09, Devil Doll]
This is likely going to be my favourite episode of the whole series, the one I've been waiting for from the very beginning. But at the same time it makes me feel sad that this episode was aired so early: The cooking thread of the episode is taken from manga 8 episode 49 (despite the different cause for Sora to visit Keiichi's house) but much of the racing thread of the episode must have been taken from my favourite part of the manga (volumes 19/20) that I hoped to become their own anime episode much later. Maybe this is a foreshadowing that there won't be a second season?
This episode is exactly how I wanted it to be: A number of nice little gems, such as the ads banner above the temple race track or the "twisted" Sora character due to Urd's potion, make for a cheerful sentiment at times, just what we need in a serious episode like this one now and then. But aside of that, very little silly stuff, a lot of Hasegawa's background (I love the scene where she talks to the machine, and the flash-backs to her school days), a calm but strong Keiichi (who's showing the best sides of his personality here), and a Belldandy shining more brightly than ever (most notably right after having acted so weak in the previous episode). And the episode's ending is just perfect.


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