Natsume 11, Last Exile Fam 20 (I think), Moretsu 10

Natsume Yuujinchou Shi 11 is the beginning of a two-parter that doesn’t feel like one. Natsume learns that the house he first lived in is going to be sold. It has happy memories for him, about the only ones he had until he moved to where he is now, so he has struggled to forget them because they hurt too much. Odd behavior, indeed. Also, we have a Macguffin: a photo of his late parents, another painful memory. He insists to everyone that he’s okay about the house being sold, and, he can look at the picture now, so he’s fine, right? We even get moments where he talks to himself like he’s giving one of his show-ending soliloquies, but Tanuma sees right through it, and even Nyanko can tell that it’s bothering him. This is reflected in the outing, the boys get lost in the forest while trying to find a soda spring one of them once knew of. A silly adventure to regain something one had when they were young. When a youkai ambushes Natsume and he loses the photo, the boys abandon their goal and help him look for it. They were playing a game; Natsume is trying to regain something he once feared but now desperately needs. Next week he visits the house, but this week felt so complete that it’s hardly a continuing story at all. Still, I wonder what memories the visit will conjure up.

Smile while you can, Sara.

I’m catching up with Last Exile Fam, so I’ll just give some brief thoughts. First, were the people who secretly met with Millia the stupidest conspirators ever? Not only were they so easily caught, but they demanded that Millia make her decision right then and there. And after they’re caught, they blame her for no reason. Good riddance. The Glacies treachery at the end was far more effective because they kept their mouths shut. Also, Fam has a terrible sense of timing, to tread on Sadri’s foot the moment he’s about to give her some important information about her life? But what bugs me the most is the concept that Luscinia, Lilliana, and now Millia have been given a clear vision of How Things Work that makes them invade other countries and slaughter countless soldiers and civilians. The only excuse I’m getting is overpopulation, but there are surely peaceful ways to take care of that. I find this sort of high-handed certainty in leaders that give them an excuse to make their subjects suffer absolutely disgusting. Okay, my thoughts weren’t all THAT brief …

All great miniskirted pirate captains know to put a leg up when making swashbuckling speeches.

It must be tough to be the captain in Moretsu Pirates 10. Not only do they have to fight their way through nasty turbulance and slip past and eventually skirmish with two ships, but Captain Marika is doing it partly blind. It’s clear from earlier episodes and in this one that there is more than one side to Gruier’s empire, and they’re more than willing to fire at each other. Since Gruier is on the Bentenmaru, this puts her on one side. Which means any ship out there might or might not fire on her if they find out. Gruier’s presence is, in Marika’s words, a valuable card that should be held in reserve. But what IS Griuier? We learn that she’s made genetic material that Serenity space buoys older than she is recognizes, suggesting that she’s a clone. A clone princess doesn’t sound right. We don’t get any answers, and neither does Marika. Either that or she’s already figured it out, since she’s got some formidable genes of her own. It’s fun to watch Marika assess the situation and make a quick decision, with a flourish, but like the other episodes it’s all rather routine and straightforward, a straight-ahead plot with little in the way of side notes.

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