Steins;Gate finale, and other shows.

Not sure I like the ending of Steins;Gate. It makes perfect, logical sense, at least it seems to. I lost track of the endless returns in time to fix this thing or save that person long ago; it really boiled down to whether Okabe could rescue Kurisu, and in what messy way would his Master Plan (you have to use caps to describe much of Okabe’s actions) go wrong, because you knew it would. And it did, with a lightsaber he didn’t check beforehand (just like a mad scientist), leading to his brave sacrifice.

Go, Okabe, er, Hououin, go!

What made it so satisfying was that Okabe was able to be his mad scientist self all the way through the crisis, whipping his lab coat around, taunting Kurisu’s father, even though he knew what he would have to do next, or rather, have done to him. And while I wondered if he would live, I wondered if his death would be worth it. He went through hell to save his friends’ lives; how would they feel if he sacrificed his own. Even though they would not know what he did, they would dearly miss him, and would change the past themselves to save them if they had the ability.

A happy ending.

So I’m glad he’s still around. I’m less happy about the meeting with Kurisu at the end. I know they set up the idea that everyone has some deep-down memories of the lost timelines, but the two getting together at the end felt like a forced happy ending. And, perhaps more importantly, we never do find out who Daru managed to have a kid with. Oh, well, this was a splendid series. Time traveling, suspense, world conspiracies, mixed in with eccentric characters who were as much fun in the slow moments as they were when there was danger, perhaps more so. Okabe, especially, was fun to watch, whether he was speaking into a switched-off phone, making mad scientist speeches, or desperately running to save someone, always arriving too late.

And the finale gave us two “do-do-doos.” It wouldn’t have been complete otherwise.
Tiger and Bunny and Hanasaku Iroha are finishing soon, too. Three solid series that suggest the anime industry isn’t sinking after all. Speaking of which …

A not-so-happy ending, oh, there's an episode left.

Tiger and Bunny is a good-natured, but heavy-handed show. Not much subtlety. Either everything’s going well or they aren’t. Episode 24’s first half, everything is bad, and in the second, everything is good, well mostly. Sometimes it’s too much to bear. There’s so much angst and evil gloating in the first half that I almost jumped ahead. Only the necessary “We believe” speech, provided by Blue Rose, breaks things up. Meanwhile, why didn’t Kotetsu or Barnaby think of using the robot’s gun before? Why didn’t Kaede think of her escape attempt before? At least they explained Lunatic away, though it was through a flashback, as if the creators suddenly remembered they had to account for him. As for the ending, I think it’d be a hell of a thing if Kotetsu is actually dead, but I don’t believe it. Lovely dying conversation between the two heroes, tearful and silly at the same time.

SKET Dance 23 is even more frantic than usual. After introducing us to an anime called “Liberty Maji” in which Maji does a Mami-diamond-musket-barrage thing except with baseball bats, and we learn that the anime director “Watanabe” (think afro) and character designer “Kikukata Sadako” contributed (we see them running down the street, screaming, with storyboards before them), I’m thinking “How many references are going to slip past me THIS week?” Also “Well, it’s got to slow down at some point.” But it doesn’t, really. The girls all drink the youth-elixir and the usually quick dialogue gets even quicker, and louder. Everybody shouts at everything, and this time some of the shouts are little girl voices. I can imagine a lot of people hating this episode for that reason, but I ate it up. I won’t worry too much about the different artistic design this episode, or what the odd, stylistic bits were while they were chasing the cat who had stolen their seaweed (don’t ask).

No.6 10 gives us more absurd dystopia but mainly concerns itself with the action, that of getting Safu out of the correction facility, or whatever they call it. Sion and Rat see another side of this place–from the bottom, where they are dumped, and then climb up a mountain of corpses to get to the ventilator shaft, which is supposed to give a counterpoint to the nice, clean regular No.6 environment. It would have worked better if the corpses were decomposed. Instead, the thousands of them all look fresh. Meanwhile Dogkeeper and Rikiga have gotten into the facility rather easily using other people’s clothes and stolen IDs, where they are able to open automatic doors the moment Sion and Rat need them. No.6’s high-tech surveillance abilities aren’t up to snuff. Things get better when Safu/Elyurias infiltrate Sion’s brain and the tables are turned: Sion suddenly knows exactly where to go and what to do; Rat can only watch in awe. But this god-like force in his mind also turns the boy into a cold-hearted killer. Rat warned Sion that the facility would change him, but I don’t think this is what he had in mind. So while we chew over this moment of relative morality, another door magically opens for them and we’re ready for the finale. I hope it’s hopelessly silly. It’s the only thing that can redeem the series now.

Inami, as usual, ready to hit someone.

Like last time, we get an early look at Working!! season two. Hmm, not bad. They wanted to introduce the characters again so no one dominates the episode, that is to say, Inami only throws one punch. Takanashi’s little thing fetish seems bigger; he gets upset when the manager swats a bug. We still hardly see the new girl. Let’s hope they can keep a better balance this season.

Kyoko, after hitting her head.

Yuru Yuri has a story where the girls recollect a bully from their childhood, who was obviously Chitose. Not bad. Then a story where Kyoko hits her head and becomes normal, and everyone worries. Dull.

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