Princess Principal 6, Tsurezure 6-7

Fortunately, we won’t see the man again after this episode.

In the middle of Princess Principal 6, Princess bemoans the fact that many people were torn apart by the wall, lovers, families, etc. The irony here is that the wall changed Dorothy’s life for the better. It separated her from her father, Danny McBean, a decent man who lost his hand and became a violent, child-beating wretch. Now she has to work with him in a morgue to find some ciphers stuck in a corpse’s tooth. He’s doing it for Normandy and she’s doing it for the Commonwealth, but whatever. We spend a lot of time observing Danny be nasty to everyone around him, except Dorothy, but there are maybe hints of reconciliation, though Dorothy probably doesn’t want her dad back in her life, at least not full-time. It ends tragically, with Dorothy and Beatrice (it’s usually Beatrice who does side-kick duties) waiting for Danny at a pub, not knowing that he has been killed for doing something stupid and completely in-character. I would say it’s a cruel ending, but I don’t think Dorothy has a strong emotional connection to Danny anymore. And, as Beatrice says, she wouldn’t have become friends with Dorothy if her father had been a decent father, not to mention the wall. So it ends with Beatrice singing Dorothy and Danny’s favorite song. A lot of irony this week. Not to mention the fact that this is the second week in a row where a character’s father got offed. If you include episode 1, this show is deadly for fathers.

Another week of Aho girl, where she ruins everyone’s time at the beach, tries to ruin Akuru’s peaceful time at home, but partly fails, and then ruins the city’s bon dance. And I’m tired of it. Much as I like Aoi Yuuki, the constant tone on a character who’s not going to show any depth, because she’s designed not to, has worn me down. I accidentally deleted the screenshot, too. Really.

It’s sibling on the 15-minute show plate, Tsurezure Children, is ironically one of my favorite shows of the season, even if this episode started with Akagi/Ryouko, my least favorite couple. Not Ryouko’s fault, but Akagi comes off as so damn manipulative that it’s hard for me to stomach. And Ryouko, showing she has a soft side, is falling prey to it. Moving on, we get Kana/Chiaka, trying to work kisses into their comedy routines, but a kiss is, you know, a kiss. I like this couple a lot because they’re old friends who pretty much know what the other one’s up to inside, that is, until this love business started to complicate things. After that, a not great bit between Yamane and his otaku bud Motoyama, the result being Motoyama’s been invited to Yamane’s date with Chiyo, and I wonder if this isn’t actually the most manipulative person on the show. Or maybe it’s Katori, charming up a girl who’s name I didn’t get, but he’s all flirt and nothing else, doesn’t really want to be, I think. So the girl will have her heart broken soon. At least she gave him a good elbow.

Yuki messes with Hotaru’s mind again.

Okay, Katori comes back in episode 7, but this time he gives his advice to a guy, Takane, of “bad timing with phone messages” fame. So maybe Katori isn’t so bad after all. Too bad we don’t get to see Takane try out the advice this week. But we start with Hotaru, the jealous imouto, trying to mess with Yuki via Jun’s cell phone, only it’s Hotaru who gets played. I don’t know if Jun-Yuki is my favorite couple, but I think Yuki is my favorite character. She doesn’t seem to care that the collateral damage from her charade is going to make Jun’s home life a little more complicated. Elsewhere, Takeru tries his best to act like a boyfriend, only Kamine inadvertently nearly screws it up. Still, the direct approach is the best. Finally, Chizuru is faced with a dilemma. She’s hot and blushing a lot, so it must be a fever, right, but she takes her temperature and finds she doesn’t have one. Could it be ..? Nah!

Re:Creators 17, Isekai Shoukudou 6-7

The Rui/Aliceteria battle was the most colorful.

Re:Creators 17, for the most part, does what we expected it to. Good buys battling bad guys, who may not be so bad, it’s hard to tell sometimes. Shou squares off against Yuya (while fangirls squeal–nice touch), and the latter, after he gets over the surprise of Shou even being there, and even without that spirit-thing, is more than happy to take him on. Not much to say there. Aliceteria goes up against Rui but seems to have something sneaky on her mind, if that’s possible, yet continues fighting even after their brief chat, and again, we don’t know the outcome. Meanwhile, Selesia flings everything she’s got at Altair and none of it works, which makes it dull to watch after a while; it only gives Altair a chance to show that she knows everything that’s going on, give a few evil character talks, with some commentary about audience appreciation thrown in, and vanish for a bit because, happily, there are limits to her power and she can’t break out of the cage, though, if she knows everything, why did she walk into it? Oh, Magane shows up to pester Souta but we cut away before anything interesting happens.

Finally someone tells it like it is.

Stalemates and quick cuts, nothing much happens until the very end, when Blitz confronts his creator Suruga, and we get a very good scene. Suruga is the only creator in the series who happily admits that they create pain for their characters to make the story more interesting, for which I applaud her guts (which we nearly see in the scene). She also befuddles him by saying his lines along with him, and belittles Setsuna for killing herself for things thousands of other artists experience every day. And she also reminds him, by bringing back Blitz’s daughter, who the god around here really is. For once, one of the bad guys is taken aback. And I think I have a new favorite character. How that’s going to work into the main story we don’t know. It seems like the winners will be determined by who makes the fanboys cheer the most, and since Altair is now fanmade, she has the advantage. Maybe a cage match between her and Hikayu …

Fightin’ words.

Isekai Shokudou 6 starts as “A Day at Work with Aletta,” including a shower scene we didn’t really need, but after the guests arrive it veers away from that (and the steamed potato theme) to a long argument about and ode to sandwiches. Every customer we’ve met so far gets into the argument, that basically their favorite food (which have become their nicknames) makes the best sandwich, and they all give impassioned speeches about them. It gets rather dull, and I was disappointed because we never actually see any of the sandwiches they talk about. Then it’s back to that potato, a common poverty food, and how it can be made to be delicious. I’ve never tried steaming one before. Must remember to pick a couple up at Albis the next time I go.

What I can’t figure out about episode 7 is, if Alphonse Flugel had spotted a countryman eating in the restaurant, why didn’t he tell him he had been marooned? He didn’t have to sit on that island for twenty years … And if he was afraid he wouldn’t see the door again, surely the other man’s presence should have reassured him that there was more than one. Speaking of doors, one of them appears in outer space, crashing into an asteroid or something. It makes you wonder who sent it there. Also, some interesting backstory about the dragons, and we finally meet our newest worker, Kuro, dragon of death, who will apparently work for chicken curry.

Abyss 5-6, Principal 5

Nice catch, Reg!

Made in Abyss 5 begins with a frightening scene that nearly ends in Riko’s death, and while it dallies a little it was still effective in communicating to us that this Abyss will kill you if you’re not on your toes. Good thing Reg has that ray gun going for him. The episode doesn’t have anything after that to match that scene, so the rest is going further down, to the inverted forest, speculating about the land and what the hell’s up with Reg, his ray gun, that glowing symbol on his helmet, and fleeing from monkeys. Were the season to continue like this it would be a bore, rich and detailed as the surroundings are, so they first bring in a girl looking at them through a telescope, and then Ozen the immovable, who doesn’t seem pleased with them. Still, the episode needs some new characters, fun and cute as Riko and Reg are, they can’t sustain the show by themselves.

… and they probably aren’t pleasant …

So in episode 6 we get the two new characters we expect, Ozen the Immovable, full of bad news and cryptic comments … and cute little Marulk, her apprentice. Ozen doesn’t seek to care for Riko at all, and frankly, I wouldn’t trust her with anything, let alone Riko’s beloved white whistle. Wonder if it will be returned. Thus, I also doubt her story about the grave, or at least that it’s Lyza in it, or her surprisingly lame excuse for the written message (“I don’t know how that got in there”). The big question is, is she going to let RIko and Reg continue on, or will she do some harm to them? As for Riko, it’s obvious that if nothing else she’s going to check out that grave for herself. The monster Riko encounters is just another complication, though I suspect it’s Ozen herself.

Princess Principal 5 formally introduces Chise, a strange girl from a foreign land. However, I don’t really know what the show was thinking, having her sneak on board the train to the alarm of the other girls, when we already know she isn’t the real threat. Also, the timeline is making me confused. The member of the Japanese contingent who gets killed by Jubei was around last week, but so was Chise … or maybe not. Even more bewildering was the railroad car full of soldiers, seemingly frozen, with playing cards in their hands. The story itself was fairly routine. Nice battle between Chise and Jubei livened things up. Still, at this point I hope the show will start working on a longer story arc.

Catch-up with Aho Girl and Tsurezure Children, though new episode come out today …

The boys don’t really want to be there.

In catch-up mode I would normally watch all the available episodes in succession, but one episode of Aho Girl, 15 minutes though it be, is too much for me to handle, so at the moment it’s episode four only. In it we have what I assume to be the core characters, now that the teacher is involved, and the show can start having fun bouncing them off each other as they try and fail to make Aho less stupid. What works is that in each scene we get a little more than we expect. We don’t expect the two little boys to intervene during the show to protect their friend Nozomi from Aho’s stupidity (keep fighting, boys!). We don’t expect the teacher to turn to Akuru to teach her how to love, and we don’t expect the girls to take that room investigation so far, especially the public morals girl. In short, Aho can turn any situation into chaos. And there’s the running gag of the delinquent punctuating the episode. This show might turn out to be pretty good.

Tsurezure Children has the problem that there are so many couples walking around being awkward that I lose track. I had forgotten about our first couple in episode 4, Kana and Chiaki, even though it was the funniest scene in the episode, Kana winding up trying to seduce him though neither of them are very comfortable with the idea. Second favorite is Yuki’s continued trolling of poor Jun, who is so easily manipulated (“Why are you staring at me?”) that I kind of wish she liked someone more up to her level, not to mention he’s kept her waiting for months. The Ryouko/Akagi scenes creep me out a little because it looks like Akagi is manipulating an actually very innocent girl. Finally the Sugawara/Takano relationship, which took a backward step for Sugawara but a forward one for Takano, if she could only figure it out. So one couple wind up in bed but nothing happens, another kiss, and the other two can’t get off the ground.

I’m not sure, Sayaka. You might want to stay hidden until the train comes.

So now I can watch Aho Girl 5 (I was actually going to watch Re:Creators but there’s no episode this week), where I have to contradict myself. The movie scene had nothing I didn’t expect. They go to a “Prechure” movie and Aho and Ruri overreact, as we all knew they would, well, maybe not Ruri. But it picks up in the next half, where Sayaka uses hard logic to persuade Akuru to come to the beach, and Yoshie shows up to sabotage Public Morals Girl’s attempts to snatch Akuru from Yoshiko, by drawing nipples on her swimsuit … things get out of control from there. And once again, 15 minutes of this show is like an hour of any other.

Meet Nanase, who’s fun right off the bat.

And back to Tsurezure Children 5, which is dominated by the second scene, where we meet Nanase, who’s had a crush on Kaga for a while, but he’s been ignoring her since middle school because he didn’t want friends to get the wrong idea. And now he’s got a crush on Sasahara from the astronomy club, which Nanase has just joined … We haven’t seen any love triangles yet, so this could be interesting. Nanase is a tsundere of the evil-eye variety, and while the show has several tsunderes already, I find that I don’t really mind. Anyway, Nanase and Kaga have a spirited scene and a coda (the second time this post where a mother screws things up for the kids). As for the other featured couples, Gouda and Kamine have a misunderstanding that gets cleared up sweetly, while Saki and Takase have one that really screws things up for them, though I thought it was funny as hell.

Episode dump: PP, Re:Creators, Isekai Shoukudou

Princess Principal 2, a flashback episode, brought out a weakness, in me, not the show. I get lost in espionage shows a lot because I am too lazy to remember just who is siding with whom, who is only pretending to, and who’s double-crossing who at any given time. Thus, the final scene where the Princess and Ange reveal (to us, not the other characters), that they’d been trolling everybody all along made my slothlike mind shut down for a bit. Still, it’s fun to think that Ange is helping Princess get to the throne by pretending to be caught and then blackmailed. It’s also fun to discover that Princess is a lot more crafty than she looks.

 

Episode 3 is more loading up of characters we knew would be together after we saw episode 1 anyway, but I suppose it’s a good way to establish some backstory for everybody. Ange and Princess’s past are now old news, so we turn to Beatrice, Princess’s loud and rather worrisome lady-in-waiting, or whatever she is. She is still shocked that she’s among spies, and even more so that her beloved Princess is hanging out with them. But she somehow goes with Ange to steal back some banknote plates that are on an airship, and what do you know, they bond a little, surprise surprise. An even bigger surprise is that she can throw her voice, or anyone’s.

Beatrice’s reasons for finally helping still aren’t clear. She goes along with it because is she gets caught it’s major trouble for Princess (she could admit that she was spy herself and was betraying her, but I suppose you need one character in the show who’s lousy at lying), but she must still believe that the spies are going to do the princess in and replace her with Ange. Oh well, fun to watch, but I’ll be happy when they’re done with the team-building and get with a good storyline.

Not sure why most of the PP pics here are of Beatrice …

As for episode 4, I have very little to say about it except to note that the suspicions that the girls and their higher-ups have on each other is now almost as interesting as the caper of the week, this one involving, I think the theft of a mass-producible cavorite thing, fun enough, I suppose, with the steampunk trappings and the fact that the girls can sneak around just about anywhere. Meanwhile, they have Chise on their team now but they don’t want to use her, and HER side isn’t sure who to side with. Princess has a lot on her plate, since she’s a spy, has a possible marriage, and the fact that some people suspect she’s a double agent. And they pick a name for themselves, even though they probably shouldn’t.

Fight-O! … next week.

Re:Creators 16, oh dear, they just go on and on. On the other hand, they were close to finalizing the birdcage thing last week and I wondered if there woul be several episodes of meandering, but no, it’s going to go up next week, which is fine with me. However, if they had done away with all the pep talks and “Are you ready?” business, not to mention the fanservice from both genders at the onsen, they could have done it THIS week. Well, it’s started now, more or less, with Meteora having a secret plan (and an ability to conjure things on her own, like Selesia’s mecha) and Altair sticking to her “I knew they were going to do that” lines. And next week we have no idea what is going to happen (I barely understand what they’re trying to do …), and what will happen after the big event. That’s an excellent situation for a show to be in, I just wish they would get around to it.

The triumphant return of the hero.

Isekai Shokudou 4 we meet two more of the up to now unmamed customers, first, Gaganpo, the lizardman. Turns out he’s the big hero of his tribe and so has won his opportunity to open the mysterious door (he returns with takeout for his village). The first time we’ve seen the door in a public area. We also get sexy lizard scenes, and a narrator who makes it all seem like an anthropological documentary, were it not for the omlette rice. Then there’s the elf-girl Fardania, the first customer to have dietary restrictions, who nevertheless swoons over the tofu steak.

And in episode 5 we meet the lion-guy, named, sadly, Lionel. He was thrown in jail for doing nasty things in another country and wound up being a gladiator, and there’s no way he can lose after his five bowls of Katsudon! Rowr! Next, the half-elf Victoria, who will not be fully accepted in society, so chose sorcery instead, excellent choice. She likes pudding. An odd moment when she and Fardania walk right by each other without either of them thinking “Hey, another elf!” Okay, she’s half-elf but she’s got the ears. Up to now we’ve seen only one example of each species in the restaurant. Maybe 1.5 is all the dimensional gate can handle.

Catching up with Made in Abyss

RIko has just learned about her past.

Unlike many infodump episodes, Made in Abyss 2 works very well, I think for two reasons. First, Riko is a genuinely fun character and I find myself rooting for her and worrying with her about the fate of her mother, Liza the Annihilator (is that a great name or what?). I’m also interested in Reg’s backstory, what he was doing in the Abyss and why he came out. So right there we have two, probably interconnected mysteries to unravel. The other reason the episode works is that all these odd things, the relics, the star compass, the curse of the abyss (which sounds a little like the bends), form a much greater and richer puzzle that might never get entirely solved. Also, when we get some information, it’s not the info we expect. I didn’t expect to learn that Riko was actually born in the abyss, or to see Reg in the letter Lyza sent up. It all makes me want to dive in for more.

And episode 3 brings what must be the prelude to an end, and it’s all about preparation and arguments about whether Riko should go down the Abyss in search of her mother or not. I’m a little surprised she’s going, myself. While she’s obviously impulsive, she seemed to make the decision to leave behind everything for good awfully quick, in spite of the work done in ep2 to show how her mother’s absence affects her. It’s nicely brought home by Nat, angry and sad about her leaving, blurting out the unspoken point that her mother might be actually dead. Still, off she goes, with Reg of course, and if it goes like it seems to be we’ve just lost just about everyone in the cast save two.

I have a feeling they’ve barely started.

Well, since ep4 just came out, I’ll do it too. As expected, right now the show is just two people. They put Nat and Shiggy in a flashback of sorts, And Habo shows up to give them advice and act jolly, but he’ll be gone from now on. There’s that weird girl in the closing credits they haven’t gotten to yet. I figure she’ll show up next week to rescue Riko and Reg when they’re in mortal peril, kind of like what Reg did originally. Oh, and we haven’t met Ozen the Immovable yet. Something to look forward to. She’ll have a lot to say about Riko’s mom and if she’s still alive. Other than that, to paraphrase Reg, there will be no more humans chasing them, only monsters.

 

The Reflection 1, Aho Girl and Tsurezure Children 2-3

The Reflection starts with candle boats in a river, though you can’t really tell from this.

One more new show: The Reflection, which starts with a solemn and lovely ceremony of floating candles down a river, which goes on a bit long, then we turn to four schoolgirls watching the boats from a bridge, and then one of them shows the other a live clip of some carnage going on in New York City, so on we go to watch a robot-guy, sorry, “I-Guy,” battling a turtle guy and a bat guy in the sky, while on the ground a ninja guy battles some other weirdos while a girl takes photographs. Both battles go one a bit long. The bad guys are defeated but escape thanks to some more super-powered people. Meanwhile we’ve been learning that a weird event three years ago effected a lot of people, now known as “reflections,” and now it looks like they’re rising up, at least some of them.

I-Guy!

The art style is interesting, reminding me sometimes of American superhero comics, well, when they start adding “wham!” and “zap!” to the screen the influence is obvious. I’m not sure whether they’re poking some fun or tipping their hat, perhaps a little of both, and I should point out that Stan Lee (Excelsior!) is involved in this production. But the schoolgirls at the beginning suggest that this is going to be more of an American comic style story. All that aside, I’m not sure I’m interested in this one. While it’s colorful and has full of action, I mentioned that some scenes took too long. There are more moments like that littered throughout, whether it’s a character staring at something (there are a lot of those), or the camera doing a 360 around Times Square, twice, it felt like the episode didn’t have enough material so they decided to go arty with the pauses. I’ll look at episode 2 if I have the time, which I almost certainly don’t.

Moving on to less arty shows, I then watched #2-3 of Aho girl, and discovered that my theory about the show being the perfect length is correct. By the time the second short had finished, I was sick and tired of Yoshiko, and Sayaka for putting up with her, and this is despite of Yuuki Aoi doing her best. In fact, the entire voice cast is excellent, but since half the lines are screams, especially from Yoshiko, it wears you down. It may then come as no surprise that my favorite bits came in the first episode I watched, with the kids, and later with the disciplinary committee girl, when I was still relatively fresh.

Two episodes of Tsurezure Children is a bit much, too, but here it’s because there are a ton of couples to keep up with, each of them with their own ability to screw things up, like go out for a year without realizing you’re a couple. We meet four or five new couples in #2-3, plus some from the first episode. My favorites of the first episode, Furuya and Minagawa, start things off in great fashion by introducing Horaru, Furuya’s devoted and jealous little sister, performed with gusto by Haruka Tomatsu. It’s nothing we haven’t seen before, clingy imouto, etc, but everything after that is a slight step downhill. But I’m also getting to like Takano and Sugawara. The misunderstandings about their subject might get tiresome after a while, but Takano’s disinterest in love and her belief that no one could possibly like her anyway is sweet when you notice she’s beginning to respond to Sugawara without her even realizing it, baking him cookies and the like.