Sousei no onmyouji 18 and 19 stack up just the way I expected it to, except for the final ten minutes or so. In #18 it’s all training and practicing, with some of the usual moments of embarrassment at silly times. Benio has a freakout and runs off but gets a nice talk with Granny to sooth her nerves. And episode 19 is all about them getting their ass kicked, though it’s nice that they took Yuuto by surprise a couple times. I actually fast-forwarded a couple few times because it was so predictable, but more because Yuuto taunts were so annoying and took up so much time that I couldn’t put up with it.
But things turned around nicely. I wasn’t expecting much of a counterattack after Benio got her legs clobbered, but the sight of Kamui watching from a distance surprised me. So was his interference when Benio was about to get eaten, not to mention his offer to give her kegare legs, even though she might wind up using them to try and kill him. Kamui is a more interesting villain than I thought, much more interesting than Yuuto’s tiresome “I want all the power ha-ha-ha-ha!” tripe. The transformation bit was very well done, Benio almost getting devoured by Kegare hate only to hear Rokuro’s voice, and her conflicting emotions over impure desires and her simple wish to fight alongside Rokuro again. Even Kamui is taken back. Hope he doesn’t regret giving her those legs …
Macross Delta is STILL working with the fallout from the last battle. On Windemere we’re introduced to two new characters, Norman, and a new doctor for Heinz whom Keith is immediately suspcious of, and probably for good reason. With this, and Berger’s comment about how Roid’s motivations have changed, we can see at least part of the finish line, where a lot of people will team up and stop Roid from whatever evil thing he intends to do. Things are just as depressing, but more fun, on the good guys’ side, as Hayate and Freyja get into a cute “I’ll quit!” “No, I’ll quit!” sort-of lover’s quarrel, though the underlying problem is more serious. Meanwhile, the other Walkure do an adorable infiltration of the med labs to figure out what’s up with Mikuno. Again, the action is fun, but the reason is more serious.
I guess they figured Kuromukuro isn’t an anime unless it had a hot spring scene, or naked girls. Though come to think of it, it does have mecha, so I guess it already qualified. Anyway, we get hot springs and naked girls in episode 18 in what would have been a comic filler episode apart from the last bit, and the last bit was still comic. The evil aliens abduct the wrong girl, and Yumiko’s naked at the time–how’s that not funny? The rest of the episode isn’t bad, nice to have everyone relax and have fun, but Jose’s attempts to get attention are so pathetic that it nearly ruined it. Good thing everyone ignores him. The funniest bit for me was that even Kennosuke spots production flaws in his video.
As for episode 19, it seemed like a lot of talk to ends we already figured out. Best bit was the original hime talking to Muetta, the modern hime, unless Yukina is, about fighting demons, and I suspect that’s what everyone thinks that other alien is, who might actually be Yukina’s dad. Meanwhile, who knows where Kennosuke’s loyalties are now, and if the demon-dad shows up will he fight him? Speaking of conflicting loyalties, we have demon-dad talking with Sophie, AND Hiromi going against the UN by sneaking Kennosuke and the girl who tried to kill him onto the Black Relic. Looks like everyone is saying “screw the protocol, I’m going with my gut from now on.” … By the way, has anyone figured out how they’re going to get up to the space station in the first place?
You might have noticed that I’m on a more restricted posting cycle at the moment. Blame real life, and boredom. But I have been able to look at a couple of Summer shows since my episode 1 previews, and just now I caught up with Qualidea Code, where stuff just keeps happening.
I won’t do a post-by-post report because I was too far behind and couldn’t be bothered anyway, but my main thought after episode 4 was, wow, Canaria couldn’t buy a break, could she? First she goes to defend her beloved Ichiya as he idiotically goes off to fight the Unknown thing in the water by himself, breaking a cardinal anime rule. Only One Punch Man gets away with that. Anyway, she’s nearly killed, recovers, saves everyone again with her singing, collapses again, is finally let out of the hospital, and then we look like we’re going to get a nice confession from Ichiya, and an end to the arc, but she’s suddenly wiped out by an unknown. I was gaping as much as Ichiya was, and I still can’t quite believe it. Her abilities made her a unique character among the fighters, she was too important to the story. Frankly, the whole thing makes me suspicious.
Then episode 5 comes along, everyone saying she’s dead, Ichiya in a blue funk, everyone depressed, searching for answers. Fortunately, the show has Maihime, not only the wildest character in the show, but the only one who seems to be having any fun. She whips out several impressive speeches (Yuuki Aoi!) and fires up the students everywhere she goes, except Ichiya (for that they send in Kasumi). While the show does make sure that we see her vulnerable side, in a rather trite bawling moment, she quickly goes back to crazy, fun, and inspiring, all three at once, whenever the underlings need it. Watch as the show kills her off next week …
Meanwhile, Macross Delta 19 gives us a long talk by Berger, inexplicably appearing at the Chaos headquarters and telling everybody his “theory” about songs and the Protoculture, and along the way gives us a look back at the entire franchise, from Lynn Minmay to now. The look back is pleasant–the franchise has been around long enough that it can use resonance from previous series to add oomph to the current one, also a tad disturbing with Berger’s suggestion that Mikumo is not a real human, and that Lady M is planning to use music as a weapon, though the second thought isn’t new. But my big question is why Berger decided to talk to Chaos in the first place. Did Roid send him to mess with their minds? If not, did the Voldor incident make him rethink certain things? I always thought there was more to this guy than what he showed, but I still don’t know his motive, apart from profit. Oh, and I learned that “Do You Remember Love?” is 500,000 years old. I think it just seems that way.
Some quick thoughts about Sousei no Onmyouji, episode by episode as I watch them, as usual …
Ignoring episode 14’s catching up, we move to one that doesn’t really do much. It features Ryogo, for once, the nice girl who’s sudden liking to him made me suspect her of being an enemy in disguise, and Fushihara, whom I don’t think we’ve met before and as it turns out it doesn’t really matter. We also get Rokuro making grunting noises, and a useless bit in the middle where he and Benio both declare that they really don’t like her brother. One question about the ending: did Seigen berate and humiliate them at the end because he really thinks they’re worthless, or did he just want to get them out of the way before they learned who the Kegare used to be?
And episode 16 is sort of a relief. With the preview I thought it was possible for Mayura to die this time, that the show was going to start to kill off regular characters in an effort to ramp up the angst. But if Mayura was gone who would give us all those lovely, strange turns of phrase. So our kids manage to cleanse Mayura of her kegare infection, thanks to powers only the Twin Stars can use. It’s satisfying because Mayura’s a good kid, because it gives Rokuro and Benio some confidence after the tongue-lashing they got last week (and Seigen witnessed it), and because it gives us some insight into Seigen’s attitude toward his daughter. Apparently he feels guilty about leaving his family, and when it looks like he’s going to have to kill Mayura he … sighs with regret. I still don’t like him very much, though frankly I’m also a little tired of Rokuro’s shouting angst about his past. Maybe that’s another reason to like Mayura: she doesn’t seem to wallow in stuff, even if she’s the losing corner of the love triangle.
And finally for now episode 17, that ends with one of those “I know I’m going to die but I have to go anyway” speeches from Rokuro. Actually it was a pretty good speech considering, and I AM wondering how he’s going to beat Yuto, or rather, how he and Benio are going to do it. Otherwise I found the episode rather annoying. They spent too much time with the Seigen-is-going-to-his-death business, though thinking about it, maybe it was deliberate, since he wasn’t going to die, but it was too long anyway. And there was way too much Rokuro screaming and choking and other emotional noises, and there was WAY too much of Yuto smirking and needling, so much that I skipped ahead a few times. I expect the big battle, which may or may not happen this week, will have a lot more of this. Looking forward to the battle, but not the shouting and needling.
Macross Delta 16 and 17 are calm moments, at least in terms of battling. Instead we get the revelation, thanks to that guy, and Arad, that Hayate’s father was a nut. I can’t make it out–the father dropped that dimensional bomb on Windemere, killing lots of innocent people, but also the NUNS base. Windemerians have been pissed since then, but why don’t they take the base into consideration? Propaganda for the current war, perhaps. The father is an interesting mystery. Not only did his act go against his basic nature, so we’re told, but it’s going to affect the love triangle, and Hayate’s performance in battle. He’s going to be distracted, and so will Freyja. And they were getting so close to a romance that I wondered if the show was going to abandon the triangle altogether and leave Mirage all teary. There was that nice snow scene, and the near-confession backstage … On the bright side, the interplanetary concert was fun, especially the Windemere guys watching it and Reina’s teasing. The show is fun when Bogue gets knocked on his ass.
Episode 18 was fun to watch, but what the hell was going on? First we have Walkure and Chaos sneaking into the ruins on Voldor, told they must not delay, so naturally they stop and ruminate on things like Hayate and Freyja, Messer not being there, etc, and soon enough Freyja is captured by Cassim, who has enough doubts about this war that he’s contemplating going back to his apple farm, which gives him and Freyja plenty to talk about. Hayate joins them and soon Cassim’s showing off pics of his kid. But elsewhere Mikumo gets it in her head to sing, and things get strange.
It looks like a battle of the bands for awhile, while the machines dance overhead. First Walkure sets off some “biofolds,” or whatever they’re called, and then Heinz, more like a puppet than anything else now, sings much louder. We’re treated to different light shows among the battling planes, various characters being buffeted by some force and then getting up to sing again, Roid sitting back with a “this is all going to plan” look on his face, Hayate and Freyja make their connection (lovely bit) but go too far, Mikumo has unpleasant flashbacks, the Aerial Knights all go naked, the ruins explode or something, all the important characters faint and Hayate crashes somewhere. And I scratch my head. Who won this battle? Roid seems to think he did, and maybe he’s right. If the ruins are, er, ruined, isn’t that bad for Windemere? What happened to Heinz? Funny that “what happened to Hayate?” isn’t the biggest question I have. I should be worrying about him more.
Meanwhile, an event-laden episode 16 for Kuromukuro, much of it low-key as Muetta and Mirasa sneak into the dam facility to look for that stone. On the way they encounter Kennousuke, but interestingly enough aren’t concerned with him apart from his usefulness in getting past security. I wonder why the change attitude? And so we get a twist on this week’s theme: freedom. Sophie is being forced to go back to France, while Kennousuke argues that if this is such a free country, can’t she stay? “It’s more complicated,” she say, and points out how his loyalty to Yukihime limits his own freedom. Later, those fetters almost get him killed when Muetta has a knife at his throat, but he’s possibly saved by Sophie, working freely. As for the twist at the end, I figured the rivalry between the two girls was pettier than that, certainly not stab-worthy. I don’t believe Muetta’s dead, however; they’ve spent too much time with this Yukihime mystery to just drop it.
Meanwhile we get lots of eye-candy of the town I live in now. Above is Kansui Park …
…and its Starbucks which sometimes makes top-ten design lists. For Starbucks, anyway. I’m about a fifteen minute walk from there, and have probably sat at that table. The park is nice, but feels too industrial, not enough trees.
This little amphitheater is part of the park. They do shows there from time to time.
Ah, shit. They smashed up Favore, the only big mall in Toyama. Everyone will have to take the train to the Aeon mall in Takaoka now …
As for episode 17, I can’t figure out this credit-taking business. The folks up in the spaceship know that both Muetta and Mirasa went down together, so they’re both going to get credit for finding that rock. Yoruba, before he got distracted and decided to go after Kennosuke (is there any discipline among the Efidolg at all?), was sent down to retrieve both girls. What was the point of stabbing Muetta? Anyway, I expected her body to get dredged up when Ken saved the cargo plane from hitting the research center, but this week they decided to put Yukina’s dad back in the picture by having him appear and attach his winged geoframe to the black relic, which is a good thing considering they were battling Yoruba’s winged one and badly needed the help. As they fight among the clouds and dramatic purple lightning we get a strange conversation about fighting demons, with a “you’re not ready yet” line added. I hope they’re going to deal more with the dad than just use him as a convenient rescue plot-toy.
Kuromukuro 12 has a bit of plot at the beginning, where the bad guys think up a new evil plot, which we return to after the closing credits, with the girl with the Magneto helmet sneaking into the atmosphere with some burning debris from the ISS (what happened to it? Did the show mention?). In between we get a series of basic training scenes. Not much to say. Yukino gets stronger eventually, while Kennosuke probably didn’t need it. I wish they’d just give up on Akagi though. I was happy he broke his ankle and had to withdraw from training, so we didn’t have to keep watching him. Oh, in spite of the evidence that Ken might have implanted memories, they take his collar off anyway, and return his sword, with Yukino’s line about death being the only nod to his character we get this week. Not sure we needed this episode, really.
Geez, I wrote the above over two weeks ago!
Anyway, episode 13 has a conclusion that made all the school festival dithering worthwhile. Fully tired of watching Ken, Yukina, et al, doing your average HS festival prep scene, wondering what the “debate” was going to be all about, watching armor girl wander around the city not being conspicuous at all, wondering if that was the Mirasa the top bad guys were talking about or whether that was the purple-haired girl nursing her wounds in the forest, tapping my fingers at Jose’s stage fright business, finally armor girl makes her move and executes one of the series’ best plot maneuvers yet. Not only is Ken wounded, but he’s wounded by a woman who might be the actual princess he worshiped in the past, and if so, why is she fighting with the bad guys? … And why DO all the bad guys look Japanese? Interesting comment in an artistic format where we’re told every looks “normal,” though there plenty of foreigners at both the base and the high school …
Episode 14 isn’t much, but it’s amusing. We get the mysterious “demon,” probably Yukina’s dad, showing up and fighting off Muetta (Yukihime), chasing her around until the story’s forgotten about him, and we learn about Ken’s almost magical healing abilities which makes him able to get into the Black Relic and battling with Muetta. It gets fun here, as we discover that the bad guys are egotistical and willing to trip up the other in order to claim the glory of the kill for themselves. In contrast, Sophie and Tom show up, and with an insight from Yukina, show excellent teamwork. I must say the GAUS pilots have improved a lot since the show began. My big question is whether Muella also went off to do all this against orders as well. Hasn’t anyone on the bad guys side ever heard of teamwork?
Finally, with #15 we get a break from the fighting and plot twists. Just as well, as I’m getting burned out. In terms of story, a lot of the people at the base, and their children enrolled at the high school are moving back to their home countries, including Carlos (no loss there) and Sophie (Huge loss–she’s one of the show’s best characters), though it looks like Sophie will disobey orders after a brave speech from Ken about ice cream, not that I expected her to leave. Carlos probably won’t go either, alas. Meanwhile, Yukina keeps asking what Ken will do after he rescues the princess that tried to kill him, not really considering the sheer weirdness of she and Muetta looking exactly alike. I’m more interested in the reasons for that than for Yukina’s concern for Ken. Is she an ancestor? What about her father? Oh, the show finally gets back to him, even if it’s an “I must go” and nothing more.
I just wrote about Rewrite 2 yesterday, so might as well get three out of the way …
I don’t know if it’s a good thing or not, but this is a busy show. In this episode Kotarou informs us all about the Harvest festival, meets a guy, apparently Chihaya’s butler, who hates him, gets on a mission to find a tsuchinoko, which they actually catch (well, Chihaya does), leading to a brief meeting with an office lady with a fishing rod, disrupts class with his buddy, sees what’s underneath Chihaya’s eyepatch, gets beaten up by Lucia twice and gets a lecture on recycling to boot, sees Ribbongirl, meets a nasty person who sets off a devil hound to eat him, but he’s rescued by someone, meets a guy named Esaka at a ramen stand, who tells him things, then the butler guy tells him he hates him again. Not to mention all of Kotarou’s forays into lust, insulting one-liners, and general supportive lines. Things never stand still in this series.
In Taboo Tattoo 2, Izzy, or Bluesey Fruesey, goes slightly against orders by not dragging Seigi to America forcefully but instead invites him to join her group, the, er, Team Blue Moon, and tells Tom that she’ll get him used to his powers before putting him in danger. Alas, the show doesn’t want to waste any time, and by the end of the episode, nice Touko is been converted into a mad killer who wants to kill him (this is what happens when you follow protagonists in violent action series around, silly girl!), Tom is maybe dead, but I doubt it, and Izzy is fighting a battle of her own with a sadist, at the loss of much of her clothing. I must say, the new ruler of that country, Aryabhata, doesn’t waste any time. This is after Izzy, of course, transfers into Seigi’s class and other high school comedy hijinks. It’s straightforward, and while I expect the good guys to counterattack quickly, it’s a credit to the series that I’m curious as to how they’ll do it. I’m betting on the rabbit.
Oh look, here’s TT 3 just down the pipe.
As I figured, the good guys beat off the bad guys, and in doing so we learned a little more about both sides. Iltutmish, the little blonde thing, was given a chance in life by that nasty princess, so now she’s a cold-blooded killer who spouts strange-logic lines about justice and what it means to her, the usual bullshit to justify her insanity, perhaps not knowing that the guy she’s fighting is actually named Justice. Iltutmish also keeps stray and hurt animals, while the show works on two concepts: “The weak must be put out do die,” vs. “The weak must be protected.” I think she’s got a moral dilemma coming up. Meanwhile, for the good guys, Touko now has a tattoo! Not sure what it does yet, but no doubt it will come in handy some day. Plus the usual infodumps, and more of Izzy’s motives for keeping Seigi a secret, even though the bad guys even know all about him. Oh, and we meet a new character who will probably die next week.
You know, I probably should drop Masou Gakuen HxH, but after two episodes of pretty much the same material I still can’t bring myself to do so. It helps that episode 2’s opening scene was maybe the funniest of the season, with Reiri, the principal, announcing to the class that the earth is in grave danger, and so Kizuna will be required to sex up all the girls in the school. This is accompanied by shots of Kizuna looking shocked, or in action with Aine, and was so ridiculous I couldn’t help but laugh. After that the girls of his squad (he’s the captain now) bicker over him in various ways, we get an infodump, and we meet the American ace, Yurishia, and then a mission to an island to get samples of something, and of course a bad guy or twelve appears, Yurishia’s power is low, and we welcome a new member of Kizuna’s harem. Now she, like Aine, sneaks into his room for some fun. Assuming we get a new girl every week it’s going to get awful crowded in there.
I’m close to dropping Kono Bijutsubu ni wa Mondai ga Aru!. Last time I said that the three characters’ traits had already gotten tiresome, but that new characters might improve things, but this week they didn’t even bother to introduce any. Instead, we got a handful of unfunny sketches with the same old group, with Subaru’s 2D love pretty much dominating things again, except perhaps for the first one, where Usami’s latest labor of love is ruined by the guys’ idiocy, and their attempts to cover it up, so to speak, made it even worse. There was a sweet bit during the missing girl scene, where he draws the girl’s mom, but then it was back to unfunny loli stuff. Bring in that new girl ASAP, or any one of the others that Usami hangs out with when she’s not wasting her time at that club.