Rinne no Lagrange 22 brings all its strengths together and produces a huge episode. Not its greatest, but damn close.
If there’s a flaw to the series it’s that the events sometimes get so cosmic that we lose our connection to it. That’s because the show is centered around and grounded by Madoka, a Kamagawa girl who can can certainly fight with her Vox but is more effective when she’s dealing with people. In this episode she has two key moments. The “of COURSE I’m coming with you” bit near the start, complete with face-pinching (just about all the humor we get in the episode), and her taking down of Dizel when he attacks Lan, which, though it ranks up there on her greatest moments list, proves only to be a temporary respite. Otherwise she’s a bystander. The rest of the episode stars Dizel and Villa, with Kirius, Izo and Array (I knew they’d be back) helping out, and Lan and Muginami watching in shock at what their brothers are doing.
And while the battles are exciting, the light shows are fun to watch and the danger feels real, it’s not as compelling as it should be. I was curious but not surprised when Dizel turns out to have the “tainted heart” and goes stark raving mad, maybe killing Villa for an old offense forgotten by everyone but him. What shocked me was how he went after Lan, and that was because we know Lan and like her (and made Madoka’s enzuigiri all the more satisfying), but at the same time I was thinking “Well, this proves he’s gone nuts. No way he’d try to hurt Lan if he was right in the head.” Going nuts means we’re not dealing with that character anymore; we’re dealing with, well, a nutcase.
It feels like I’m dropping negativity all over the place, which is unfair. There’s a lot to like in this episode. The space battles were good, so was Villa’s desire to reach out to Dizel in spite of the situation–the highlight of the episode. The girls have to break their vow not to use the Voxes for violence, but, thinking about it, only Madoka dealt any. The misdirection was well-done; I thought this would be Asteria’s arc. For much the episode we didn’t know Dizel had lost his mind, so I had fun trying to figure out why he was attacking everyone. And the score is magnificent. Lagrange has one of the best soundtracks I’ve heard for a awhile, and it cuts loose here and makes every scene memorable. As for Madoka, she’ll surely have more to do next episode. Maybe she’ll headbutt with Yurikano again. Looking forward to it.
Yuru Yuri II 11 is a change. It’s a full story, not a sequence of sketches, and it’s actually sweet. I’m going to ignore the fact that it was Kyoko’s own story they were telling. They find a time machine in the tea club’s storage closet (naturally), and then it’s only a question of who’s going to fall into it first. Akari loses and winds up a year in the past, where she gets Nishigaki to get it fixed while she tries to prevent all the terrible things that happened to her that year (all about her self-esteem) to not happen. It drags a bit after that because we know she’s doomed to fail but it’s fun to see her try. Akari is the dullest character of the lot but the other characters get a lot of screen time (with a bonus Chinatsu ball-eating hair moment). And it actually gets touching as her sister holds off her impulses and gives her some decent advice. Again, a sweet episode even with the Kyoko story ruining it.
Even if I don’t know what’s going on, Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon II is the busiest anime show I can think of, and that means it can pull off an entertaining episode through sheer volume. Here in episode 23 we lurch from battle to battle and even manage to forget that Tenzo was off to rescue Double Bloody Mary until we get back to him at the end. We start with him and Margot, the latter buying him some time before nearly getting crushed by “Miss Iron Balls” and “Miss Balloon” until Kimi rescues him. Meanwhile Muneshige is continuing to rewrite history by not having the armada move on and refuel and so that the Brits can firebomb them by firebombing the Musashi instead. A slight rewrite of history. In fact, more than one battle this episode is won by editing, namely Neshinbara’s rewriting of King Lear (Nesh can do it because he’s in the play) so that MacBeth shows up and skewers him. That’ll show old Thomas Shakespeare, who, by the way, was BOTH the girls in Nesh’s past. Now they’re friends again and Nesh even as a sacred armament to boot!
But that comes later. Right now things look hopeless for the Musashi, pounded by enemy craft that shouldn’t be there and with its robot dolls out of commission, until the still-naked Toori shows up and tells her to rewrite too, so she cries for help and everyone not already fighting shows up to counterattack. Why they weren’t doing so already I don’t know. We also get ends to individual battles between Honda and that death guy, Honda winning when her anteater, aided by those little black blobs, materializes full of offensive spells, and Mitotsudaira by using her chains, and Joan of Arc is brought up, but mercifully, doesn’t actually appear. And that’s all my notes, ladies and gentlemen. Next week we get back to Tenzo dueling that guy. I don’t think it will have the manic pace as this one, but it’s certain to be weird.