Sankarea 2, Accel World 2, Moretsu 15

Nothing much happens in Sankarea 2 until the end. They spend the way there developing Rea’s character, from early childhood up to now, and it isn’t pretty to look at. Pictures taken of her naked, or close to it, every year to show her growth by a father so lousy you can’t find a good point in him at all. Any time she gets close to someone and tries to become independent her father takes it away from her, often at the expense of people she likes. Best to be unhappy than to cause others unhappiness, she decides as she drops her clothes yet again. Since the living world is nothing but barriers and loneliness for Rea it’s no wonder she’s obsessing about death, well, not death so much as change, or freedom. Maybe, she thinks, being a zombie would take care of that. I’m not so sure, but we don’t even know how zombies work on this show yet. Compare this to Chihiro’s eccentric but likeable family, the grandfather who eats poison plants, the sexy cousin who plays with his adolescent head … though we spend less time on Chihiro’s side, the contrast between the families is brought home. But it’s all a holding pattern until something happens, and finally two things do. Babu shows why he’s in the opening credits and Rea tries to poison herself. Something dead now living, something alive wanting to die. You begin to wonder what the difference is.

A combat machine with issues.

Basic development time in Accel World as well. After a quick defeat it’s lunchtime with Kuroyukihime again and time for exposition and some basic gameplay rules. Actually, the whole deal is pretty bad, not as bad as in Madoka or Bokurano (as bad as it gets), but once you’ve installed this wonderful brain-burster thing you have to win matches in the combat world in order to get more burst points, and if you run out, you can’t brain burst ever again. I wonder how they’ll treat the brain-burst stuff in this show; is it mainly a tool to use to your advantage, or could it work like an addictive drug? Too soon to tell. Much time is also spent on Haruyuki’s self-image and how it reflects in his character and we see that revisited when his avatar Silver Crow takes on the guy who beat him before–not knowing that the guy has leveled up. The most interesting line comes from Kuroyukihime (I’m tired of typing that name already), when she says the avatar given her was so hideous that she sealed it up. What does that say about her self-image? And we still don’t know why she takes such an interest in him. It’s questions like these that keep the show getting too predictable. Even so, I’m still not sure I want to watch it every week.

Nefarious forces infiltrate the Bentenmaru.

Moretsu Pirates 15 winds the pirate-y and girly threads tighter than we’ve seen before, as Marika takes the yacht club girls supposedly off on another practice cruise but actually to board the Bentenmaru and do some pirate work before their letter of marque can be revoked. That’s right, giggling girl pirates! And it’s fun as hell. The Bentenmaru has been modified to the point where no one, not even professionals, could simply operate it, let alone high school girls. And as responsible as the yacht club is, they can’t help but push a button or two … whoops. When they’re stuck with a problem, their solution is to eat cake. This is the girliest pirate crew the universe has ever seen. Meanwhile we get another angle on things as the Bentenmaru crew are watching the whole thing through hidden cameras, making agonized faces, and desperately whipping up newbie manuals to sneak to them. The episode works so well that when Marika announces a FTL jump I couldn’t wait to see their reaction. Good episode.

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