Another 9, Natsume Shi 10, Symphogear 9

Whoa, a real bloodbath in Another 9. And it took me only a moment to realize that the show was using some cruel logic on me.

But the fun, if you can call it that, happens mostly at the end, as usual. Before that the show does some tidying up. Nakao probably died because of a head injury he received in Yomiyama. He could have keeled over and died at any time after that. Which can’t come as any consolation to the kids outside of town. The fact remains that he died outside of city lines, and if he had gotten himself checked in town who knows what would have happened? But let’s put that aside. The main thrust of the episode, apart from the flatbed truck carrying construction equipment inserting itself into a house… but I’m getting ahead of myself. The thrust is that Matsunga had said he had left something in the classroom, so Kouichi, Teshigawa and Mochizuki decide to go look for it. No one else. They don’t want anyone else to know, or they might be put in danger. So naturally, Kouichi tells two girls about it as they’re going to the meeting.Aha, I thought. One of them is doomed.

Misaki is also around (a fact that looks more suspicious every time I think about it), and the four of them explore the old school’s classroom 3, full of rotting wood and teetering dusty things piled up, so I knew nothing bad would happen there. They even find room for little bits of comedy. And they find what they’re after and it’s off to the AV room where they listen to Matsunga describe his class’s misadventures at the old shrine. Recently, I was joking about a character getting struck by lightning. Well, guess what. But I didn’t expect a second death moments after. Of course, this is just the flashback. The show cuts from that to shots of the two girls walking home, one getting in a car, maybe moving away, and a guy parking his flatbed truck. Ah! Which one of them will die?

Naturally, the tape cuts out the moment Matsunga gets to stopping the curse. Before I was able to do a facepalm over plot devices, they up the ante by getting interrupted, and Teshigawara breaks the tape. Misaki said “Idiot.” I added “Moron, dumbass,” and other things. I thought cassettes were still in use in Japan. Doesn’t he know not to pull a cassette out while it’s playing? But this bit of pathetic comedy gets brushed aside as the show again jumps to one girl, then the other. I should have seen it coming. Two people died on that mountain moments apart, so why couldn’t two people get killed the same way now? And it was a gloriously frightening series of scenes. We see the truck hit the house and think that’s it, and relax a little as the other girl’s car glides along mountain roads in the rain. Surely the show is just teasing us now, right? … Neither the character nor we viewers get any warning. Well done indeed.

So where does the show go from here? If Mochizuki can repair the tape and not die in the process, I guess that’s the next step. However, Misaki remains a mystery, and I’m still suspicious about the librarian.

Natsume Yuujinchou Shi 10 is mostly plot. While there’s the usual Natsume-musing speech at the end concerning his growing respect and understanding for Natori, it feels like an afterthought, like since they always have Natsume musing about something he’s learned or accepted at the end, they pretty much made it up on the spot. That’s okay. It can’t be easy to have something profound to say every episode. And the story’s conclusion was a good one. For a long time it was unclear how it was going to turn out. Was Houdzuki actually sealed? Did he actually leave the mountain and desert his followers? What if his rival Fudzuki wins their contest? The answers turned out a bit convoluted but with Natsume and Natori working together (and Hiiragi and Nyanko assisting) we get another lovely conclusion. They didn’t have to exorcise anybody, the rival gods made their peace (I don’t think they were really enemies to begin with), everyone floated away while the humans admired the light show. The usual. But it didn’t have the same weight that the great Natsume episodes have.

A new psychological rehabilitation technique: Enka singing.

The main thrust in Senki Zesshou Symphogear 9 is Tsubasa’s healing process. Physically, she’s pronounced fit, not that we needed to know that, really, considering she was in a battle recently, but it’s good to get an official pronouncement. But there’s still the internal stuff going on which leads to a conflict in her character which doesn’t make much sense. She’s said over and over again that singing is a form of combat, that she’s always thought that, but there she was five or so years ago singing happily with Kanade. So she must be lying to herself. This is taken care of when Hibiki and Miku (trusted enough that she’s allowed into the secret base underneath the school–who the hell built a school over a base, or vice-versa? This is almost as stupid as Heroman‘s alien research lab hidden underneath the White House) take her on a “date,” i.e., the usual: Shopping, soppy movie, karaoke, and Hibiki shows her the city that’s been around her all the time. The climax is when Tsubasa does a live concert and rediscovers her love of singing. Well, I’m glad she’s finally cured. Now they can work on Chris, who still mistrusts everyone yet aids Hibiki in destroying some noise, then goes into a bout of self-loathing for it.

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