Comet Lucifer, OPM, and Sakurako-san 8, Teekyuu 68

November 26, 2015 Leave a comment

Comet Lucifer 8 goes from blood death and getting slaughtered to happy la-la new-agey unicorn lands without the unicorns.  For the former, we have lots of flashbacks of Do Mon.  We know he was a grizzled soldier and allies with Gus, and now we know he used to watch over Sougo’s genius mother and obviously had a thing for her.  Then we see her get blown up by bad guys, and next week I assume we’ll see him adopting Sougo.  So there’s a grimness to him that makes him slug Sougo when the boys insists on protecting Felia, and that leads us to the la-la bit.  Moura and Sougo make a pact to protect Felia and so Sougo gets a hippy view of the universe and Felia’s part in it.  I’ve actually heard theories about life on Earth based on Moura’s story, that is until he gets to the part about one person being the living embodiment of a planet.  There’s a perhaps unintended contrast between Do Mon’s role of the mom’s protector, and the role that Sougo is taking up now.  Maybe Do Mon shouldn’t have hit him so quickly.
One Punch Man 8 is the first where the annoying consequences of the premise overwhelmed the episode.  As I’ve said before, maybe, the big gag of the series is Saitama throwing his punch, which takes all of a second unless he has some ground to cover.  The rest of the time is spent with the bad guys posturing and the other good guys posturing and getting beat up until Saitama gets there.  This week we had some fish-king villain, nothing terribly exciting about him, and some new heroes like Puri-puri Prisoner with their schticks that got old long before the episode ended.  Meanwhile, Genos and Saitama run around looking for the action, and I began to drum my fingers…  And then I got seriously pissed off when the episode ended and Saitama still wasn’t there.  And even though Genos did, there was no time for him to fight before time ran out.  This show doesn’t have the setup to sustain a two-parter!  What were they thinking?

Another bone nut.

Another bone nut.

Sakurako-san 8’s arc conclusion gave us a nice though not unprecedented twist, but the delivery wasn’t terribly interesting.  Shoutarou and Sakurako go and deliver Sasaki’s effects to her sister, Sayuki, who, getting into the morbid spirit of bones along with Sakurako, is disappointed that there wasn’t baby bones added to it.  They find the baby bones quickly enough, and with a lucky circumstance involving toes, unravel more of the mystery, which was more of a regrettable and melancholy series of events and memories than a crime, all of it conveyed by talk.  So not terribly interesting to watch, though I’m relieved Sakurako didn’t do her transformation sequence this time.  As for that guy in the hospital, it was unrelated to this story unless it has something to do with those two cats.  About the only notable thing this week was Shoutarou using some solid insight about them; even Sakurako was impressed.
Teekyuu! 68 retells the Cinderella tale with Yuri as Cinderella.  Three guesses as to who played the rich stepsisters, all 245 of them.  Not bad.  SPG ratio of 2.0, and there might have been some visual gags I missed.

35 7, Asterisk and Cavalry 8

November 24, 2015 Leave a comment
Ikagura and Isuka were adorable when they were kids.

Ikagura and Isuka were adorable when they were kids.

Taimado Gakuen 35 Shiken Shoutai has had story arcs opened and more-or-less finished for everyone but Ikagura, the more mature one who wears a lab coat. In episode 7 she gets her turn, and it’s pretty weird. Apparently she was a clone of sorts, raised to wear a lab coat and do research on things without restraint or mercy. We learn this via her “sister” Isuka, who left Alchemist and now works for the bad guys at Valhalla, where she is trying to ressurect dark elves, but they need a elf cell called Last Matrix which Ikagura stole when she fled whichever place they were at. It all sounds like something out of RailDex to be honest. Anyway, Ikagura is going to reunite with Isuka and make these elves for unknown reasons. We also get a sense of the difference between the sisters. Ikagura, we discover through a cute scene with a little elf, has a maternal side she probably won’t admit to herself. Oh, and she decides to have sex with Takeru at the end, though you know that won’t go anywhere.

cavalry8-1Rakudai Kishi no Cavalry 8 looked to be in the middle of a longer story arc, and maybe we’ll see Kuraido again, but the story of Ayase’s old dojo is wrapped up in one battle, Ikki vs. Kuraido. The battle dominates the episode. There’s a flashback to Ayase’s father and his defeat to set up Ikki’s using the old man’s technique to show that he hadn’t really been beaten, his weak heart gave out. Sounds like a lousy excuse if you bring it up, so everyone just thinks he was beaten fairly. As for Kuraido, the episode doesn’t make him entirely sympathetic, but we get an understanding of what the fighting means to him, and thusly to Kaito and to Ikki, leading to a few Ayase lines about not knowing the heart of a warrior. Not a bad episode, the fight was good, but I’m a little surprised that they wrapped the story up so quickly.

askerisk8-1Gakusen Toshi Asterisk 8 already wrapped up its story arc, so we have an in-betweener featuring Kirin and Saya, who have teamed up for the Phoenix tournament, if they can get their teamwork together. It’s a silly and slight bonding episode where they go out shopping for Saya’s dad’s birthday in a seedy gun shop … and the show refuses to make an incident happen. She buys the used gun and walks out peacefully. Later there’s a conflict with a girl at another school at a pool, but there’s no teamwork to be shown there since it’s an individual duel. But they talk a lot and get a little closer, and miraculously their teamwork improves just because of that. Yeah, unrealistic, as was Kirin kickboarding and unable to stop, for chrissakes.

Owarimonogatari 8, Subete ga F 7, HO 8

November 23, 2015 Leave a comment
Yet another girl demonstrates the great esteem she holds for Araragi.

Yet another girl demonstrates the great esteem she holds for Araragi.

There are episodes that aired earlier than Owarimonogatari 8, but nothing as good, I reckon, so it jumps the queue.  I’ll get to HO and those magical-sword-HS-harem shows later.  Having said that, episode 8 has a lot fewer surprises than last week’s, and unfortunately I have to remember the plots to all the previous and concurrent arcs to catch it all.  All I can say is that we start with a nice conversation between Araragi and Yotsugi, primarily about the promise the former made to deliver the now-sleeping Kanbaru to Gaen for whatever reason, and Araragi’s reluctance to do so–guilt over breaking a promise vs. guilt over endangering Kanbaru, who, frankly, is in enough danger just being around Araragi.

I don't remember that.  Did we see it?

I don’t remember that. Did we see it?

And then we shift to a getting-lost sequence, and of course Mayoi comes to mind, also that suit of armor, who may have caused it.  Meanwhile we get another conversation, and still another when Araragi calls Gaen for help.  She knows everything but doesn’t tell them anything useful.  We only get information we need when they reach the meeting place and find not Gaen but Shinobu, and we learn she and Araragi have been separated somehow and need to get back together, but they’re interrupted by another strange being.  Through it all I try to remember the old series–I don’t remember if or when Yotsugi and Shinobu teamed up, and the connection to Tsubasa Tiger.  I remember the darkness stuff, and Mayoi passing on, but, sigh, this arc is piling on too many references for me to follow it.  All I can do is enjoy bits like Kanbaru freaking out over Shinobu.

Subete ga F ni Naru 7 throws a surprise at us that seems obvious now, but I confess I didn’t see it coming.

The effort to speak in English sucks out any emotion this moment was meant to have.

The effort to speak in English sucks out any emotion this moment was meant to have.

It starts the way most of the recent episodes have, with Souhei wandering around, sitting, smoking, muttering, before finally visiting Miki, Shiki’s sister, who the show has been hiding from us all this time.  I was surprised I was there.  Then I was annoyed at the English they were speaking.  I assume Miki is fluent at it, but both of them have stilted accents that sounds like actors reading lines on paper.  That wouldn’t be so bad, but their vocabulary is too sophisticated and they make no grammatical mistakes at all.  That threw me off so much I have a hard time remembering what they were saying, except that the idea that bodies are shells comes up again, as does the concept of dolls.
Meanwhile, Moe is having a more interesting time.  After being hit on by Shimada, one of the lab girls, she gets shoved into a pod which makes her thoughts visual, or something like that.  While cavorting with Souhei in her dream world, Shiki intrudes, and some of what we’ve been hearing about starts to make sense.  Looks like she uploaded herself somehow, like Motoko in GitS maybe, or maybe this is a backup self she made.  Alas, Moe is so shocked by all this that she doesn’t ask any questions, like “Who killed you, or who killed your shell if you like?” or “Who killed the Uncle?” Instead, she finds herself on the receiving end of more questions about her own parents’ death.  The fact that Souhei was there with her in the flashback, supporting her, brings up a lot of interesting thoughts about Moe’s character, but damn it, she had the perfect opportunity to solve the mystery and she let it slip away …  Well, I suppose I can’t blame her.

And so another heavy object gets blowed up real good.

And so another heavy object gets blowed up real good.

Heavy Object 8 makes a little more sense now since it went into straight-up practical strategizing.  First, however, the show has to make sure Milinda doesn’t interfere with the show’s main theme, that little guys can beat big guys if they’re cunning.  So they have that allied object block Milinda’s way.  Then it’s our two heroes thinking up a plan for the .5 HO, well, Qwenthur does the thinking and Havia just acts as a fellow grunt making grunt comments.  At least both of them have the courtesy to realism to nearly get themselves killed this time, though their answer seems a bit ridiculous.  I know water can conduct electricity, but I’m not sure it works the way they had it.  Then the episode completely confuses us with a flash-forward to a completely different battle, just so they can get that asshole politician out of the way.  I thought he was going to be the long-term villain …

Sevens: Comet Lucifer, OPM, Sakurako-san

November 19, 2015 Leave a comment
Felia goes all yellow on us.  Good or bad?

Felia goes all yellow on us. Good or bad?

It looks like Comet Lucifer ran out of ideas on its way to the story.  What we get in episode 7 is more of what we saw in episode 6, except no one’s getting married.  They travel for a while, exchange some encouragement, the bad guys attack, Moura gets beaten up again while Sougo and Felia manage to escape, if you can call falling off a cliff when cornered by a bad guy an escape.  … That was actually one of the better moments.  Out of nowhere Roman’s mecha comes flying out of control, hitting the pedophile’s mecha just as he was about to nab Felia.  Utterly ridiculous, and fun.  After that they all wake up in a magic glade, probably the place they were looking for, and Felia gets all cosmic light on everybody.  At least it’s a change from inept mecha pilots.  And it’s about time someone figured out who Honeybee was …
It hardly feels worth it to talk about One Punch Man 7 so long after the episode aired …  The first half had the same basic flaw that the show often has: we’re just waiting around looking at the threat until Saitama decides to throw a punch.  Not that funny this time, as Genos isn’t terribly funny unless there’s some irony to what he’s saying or he had Saitama around to comment, and the Bang, the old guy, was too busy acting like the senior dojo guy he is.  The second half, where the uncomprehending and ungrateful crowd get egged on to harass Saitama was better, though it went on too long.  I wanted to know how Saitama would handle it, and I didn’t expect basically a “piss off!” from him.
Sakurako-san no Ashimoto ni wa Shitai ga Umatteiru 7 starts at Shoutarou’s school cultural festival and after some silliness about butler cafes, tosses that backdrop aside as Sakurako gets interested in a collection of bones a nutty old teacher collected.  And I was wondering if they’d be so tactless to stick a murder in a school festival …  Anyway, she starts to index the bones while Isozaki and Shoutarou find some personal effects mixed in, obscure old books with handwritten notes, a mysterious photo, that sort of thing.  So we settle back to see what they’ll figure out.  Then they up the ante with some human bones …
But it’s hard to say if these bones are the multi-episode arc’s focus, or the spark to another mystery.  Also, there are weirder-than-usual things going on in Sakurako’s head.  After letting poor Shoutarou know that she removed the bones from a cat she had and put them on display, we get the idea that perhaps the old teacher, Sasaki, had much the same idea with the human bones they found, that of an old housekeeper.  But before we can make anything of that connection the story shifts to Sakurako at a hospital bed, getting permission to work on an unsolved case from Masamichi, the person lying there, someone we don’t know about.  Again, we don’t know if the mysteries are related or that Sakurako was prompted by the discovered bones and some buried emotions to investigate another mystery.  And the show isn’t about to tell us this early.

35, Asterisk and Cavalry 7, Teekyuu 67

November 17, 2015 Leave a comment
How is Mari supposed to concentrate with people flying off of balconies all the time?

How is Mari supposed to concentrate with people flying off of balconies all the time?

The story arc introduced last week in Taimado Gakuen 35 Shiken Shoutai looked to be a longer one, what with Usagi’s getting transferred out, that asshole Tenmyoji to deal with, not to mention Mephistopheles, but they managed to wrap it all up in episode six, neatly with a nice ribbon … no wait, that was Usagi.  It’s one of those satisfying arc conclusions where the smug bishies get humiliated, the good person possessed by an evil spirit is told to get acting lessons when she tries to con anyone, in short, the things I usually hate in these stories were cut short.  There was no reason for it despite Ouka’s will, I especially enjoyed her resisting Mephistopheles at the right moment.  But above all I enjoyed Usagi getting over fear and self-loathing and disrupt two bad things happening (the wedding and the leap).  On the other hand, that magical design over the school business was inept.  We never really had a sense of it’s threat.  It looked like something Haruhi Suzumiya might have done to a field to attract aliens, but sloppier.  I suspect they stuck it in there just to keep Mari busy and out of the main story.

Here's Kirin looking more formidable than usual.

Here’s Kirin looking more formidable than usual.

Gakusen Toshi Asterisk has a lot of similarities to Cavalry, but this week it also resembles 35, with Kirin, another short girl with a dark past, self-confidence issues, big boobs, and a fondness for having the dominant male in her life pat her on the head.  Like Usagi, she chooses episode 7 to stand up to an aggressive, manipulative male in thumbs-up fashion (no biting, but she slaps his hand away) and then resumes her role in the main character’s harem.  As for what actually happens, Ayato deals with the monster in the sewers to the pleasure of the rival school peeking in, and then has a duel with Kirin, sort of a coming out party for the newly liberated character, which she loses.  One of those battles where they explain every special move they make before making it, while the other one goes “Oh, I see.”  Not as satisfying as 35’s story, but that’s because there was less at stake.
And with that, Asterisk’s latest story arc is over.  Over in Rakudai Kishi no Cavalry 7, the story arc continues.  This time the girl with problems who’s been training with the hero, isn’t a seemingly helpless little thing, but a young woman with some cunning, which is how she tricks Ikki into using his big final power by rescuing her, thus making him unable to use it in the upcoming match.  What’s more, Ayase rigs the arena with phantom sword strokes for him to run into, just to make sure.  It all leads to a less friendly and bloodier battle than Asterisk’s but with the same result, since Ikki has more than one super-power.  The girl is redeemed by Ikki, that is, she somehow regains her fighter’s honor or something, and so HIS harem grows a little, well, no, she’s not the harem type.  Anyway, now they have to go after the asshole who caused all this.  Overall, not bad, but routine.
Finally, Teekyuu! 67 slips to a SPG ratio of 3.91.  However, there was so much going on that I might have missed something.  The bald guy’s evil speeches slowed things down.  In the story, the girls put on a kid show, and justice is destroyed, thanks to a torn ACL.

HO 7, Subete ga F 6, Owarimonogatari 7

November 15, 2015 2 comments
These two get away with a lot of stuff.

These two get away with a lot of stuff.

I’m going to punt on Heavy Object 7.  I didn’t understand Oceania’s evil plan to bring attention to itself by massacring its own citizens, or how Seewax screwed it up.  The bit at the end, with the boss looking at a bunch of child-clones (anything to do with the child that got killed in the battle?) looked good and sinister, but with my sinuses acting up it’s hard for me to work up an opinion.  What struck me the most was that Qwenthur and Havia could come up with the idea that the Sandy Bridge (isn’t that a CPU?) readings were a trap but no one else did, and that the military didn’t just send an object to both places.  Also, Qwenthur and Havia get away with a lot of shit, don’t they?
I was beginning to lose patience with Subete ga F ni Naru.  At the start of episode 6 Souhei and Moe leave the lab and rejoin the students.  Souhei is planning to leave the island and Moe is pissed off that he is.  They go through all the evidence in the bright sunlight (how does Moe get drunk on zero beer?) but nothing much else happens, and I’m waiting for some step forward in the mystery and wondering how many more episodes it will take before I get it.  But I guess it all was necessary to get to the point where Souhei decides to stay and solve the mystery.  So back from the wild beach to the climate-controlled lab they go.  Souhei making the same point about the contrast that I was thinking.

Oh, hi Yumiko ...

Oh, hi Yumiko …

But finally a little progress is made.  Moe notices that during Shiki’s grand entrance the elevator was changing floors.  How that works into things they don’t tell us, since we don’t see anyone coming or going unless it was done in the two-second blackout.  But at least it’s a step in the right direction.  As for the flashback near the end, I figured it was something like that fifteen years ago.  I sort of hoped that Shiki was completely innocent in all this, but it seemed obvious, dramatically at least, that the uncle was complicit Yumiko had either misread the situation or refused to see the truth.

After the mundane ending to last week’s story arc, Owarimonogatari brings back Kanbaru, and things couldn’t be more fun!

Great to see you, Kanbaru!  What the hell are you talking about?

Great to see you, Kanbaru! What the hell are you talking about?

I wonder if we’ll ever learn why Araragi asked Kanbaru to meet him, well, probably at the end of the arc.  Not that it matters.  Kanbaru starts with a flying knee to the face, shifts to a discussion of the proximity of body parts in general and what to imagine them as, followed by come-ons (obviously Araragi wants to ravish her, that’s why he called her out, right?) and a brief foray into the works of Shugoro Yamamoto and BL stories.  As usual, poor Araragi can only parry and act as straight man.  Maybe that’s why all the girls love him; he doesn’t hit back.  Anyway, it’s the Monogatari style, verbal and visual, at full power, and I watched with delight.
What’s more, after that there’s more action than what you find in a dozen regular episodes, mixed with the talk and Araragi’s thought process.  Before they can even start for the rendezvous point they are confronted by a giant suit of samurai armor.  Naturally Kanbaru knocks it to pieces without thinking.  Naturally they discuss putting it back together and who should do the assembling (I love this series!) but the armor is tired of talk and reassembles itself, and it’s energy-sucking means Kanbaru can’t hurt it.  Now, the flames that suddenly appeared were surprising enough, but Kanbaru muttering “Hanekawa?” was even weirder.  The armor’s story is more straightforward.  But no way did I expect Yotsugi to show up at the end.  Woah, the episode threw a lot of stuff at us this week …

Quick sixes: OPM, Sakurako-san, Teekyuux11

November 12, 2015 Leave a comment

One Punch Man 6, apart from Saitama having to find villains to beat in order to keep his hero status, is more of the same, mostly.  Fortunately it’s still funny.  Learning that he has to catch a villain a week in order to keep his hero status, Saitama runs around the city looking for something to catch, frightening the civilians as he does.  He hasn’t quite figured out the comic laws in his world.  He just has to walk around doing his daily business and an opponent will show up, which is exactly what happens.  Saitama’s total guilelessness about these things can get annoying.  It took him forever to realize that he could get his status up by beating up the guy who wants to fight him anyway.  Most amusing of all is that heroes and monsters alike are now worried about the ghost town and the mysterious beings there, when it’s probably just Saitama.

In other shows this might be a romantic scene.

In other shows this might be a romantic scene.

The trouble with Sakurako-san 6 is that I had the so-called “suicide note” figured out from the start, and I was wondering why Yuriko was banging her head against the wall in the first place, much less Isozaki, who seems more perceptive.  Basically the setup was to set up the dilemma of whether to find this woman or not, whether to bow to her wish to die or try and stop her.  Isozaki made some valid points, though he was an asshole about it, and his briars growing ot of wounds speech made little sense, but Yuriko, working on emotion, had some as well.  What about the people you leave behind?  But finally Sakurako shows up and announces what everyone should have figured out from the start.  Best laugh came when Shoutarou pages Sakurako by calling her a lost child, which, in a way, she is.
In Teekyuu 66 the girls try their hand at making Udon to keep so-and-so’s restaurant alive.  Pretty good.  SPG 2.81.


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