Kyojin 22, Monogatari SS and Uchouten Kazoku 10

Shingeki no Kyojin 22 is, er, not very cheerful.

Levi makes it look easy.
Levi makes it look easy.

We get two action scenes, the first being the pursuit and rescue of Eren, that is to say, the incapacitating of the female giant who ate him. It’s an interesting look at Mikasa in blood rage compared to the much cooler and more effective Levi. In fact, Levi is so adept at making the giant a hunk of useless meat in human form that you wonder why he didn’t do that when the giant was chasing them all earlier. Well, it doesn’t matter, Eren is rescued, though Mikasa wasn’t given the chance for revenge. Maybe next time. The second bit of action was a cautionary tale about recovering the bodies, which wound up creating another body or two. I’m fully on Erwin and Levi’s side on this one. Dead is dead.

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The remainder involves the army’s inglorious retreat to the city, and the show takes great pains to compare it to previous inglorious returns, the ones that the young Eren looked at with such admiration. There’s even a little kid playing the Eren role, which probably cheered Eren and Mikasa up a little, but the whole thing was so heavy-handed that I felt more like Erwin and Levi at that moment, stoically moving on while townspeople asked about sons and daughters or jeered about the terrible loss of life. That’s how I felt about the scene, anyway: just keep moving, they’re laying the sorrows of war stuff on too thick, but the scene will be over soon. Things promise to get more interesting next week when it’s back to the courtroom. Oh, shit, another courtroom scene with stereotypical societal faction members give ridiculous speeches? Maybe not so interesting. We’ll see what Armin has up his sleeve …

On the other hand, Monogatari Second Season 10 is a pretty cheerful episode … overall. I didn’t expect this arc to finish so quickly.

Mayoi's grown into her backpack.
Mayoi’s grown into her backpack.

We start with the initial shock of Araragi returning to the present only to find his world overrun by zombies. Rather, as Oshino helpfully explains in a letter, this is actually an alternate timeline, and not the inevitable consequence of saving Mayoi. I think. I’m not really sure. Time travel stories always confuse me. Anyway, after the zombies are driven away (with rice?!), we and our heroes get the delightful surprise of seeing Mayoi fully grown and in survivalist mode. What’s more, she has a letter from Oshino that explains the situation. As far as conversations go it’s straight and too the point–surprisingly so, I thought, and I sort of wished Araragi had told her the truth of the situation. I’m sure she was wondering what’s going on.

Not quite, you're going to save the girl AND the world.
Not quite, you’re going to save the girl AND the world.

After that it’s time to meet Kiss-Shot Acerola-Orion Heart-Under-Blade, or the person wielding it. I had forgotten who this person or thing is, only thinking when they briefly showed her face during the Oshino letter visual rush, that she looked like Shinobou. Along the way, of course, we have a conversation, and given the circumstances (possible death from an opponent far more powerful than them) it’s a brave and positive one that showed the bond that these two odd people have made, mostly on the idea of “saving the girl in front of you” and choosing between the girl and the world. They’re both smiling and laughing throughout. They’ve made their choices and don’t regret them.

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Which I suppose was the intent, for this older, bitter Shinobou they encounter is the person who didn’t make the right choices and regrets it. I expected a long, bloody battle with bitter tongue-lashings from KSAOHUB and Shinobou both, but the only blood we see comes from KSAOHUB’s eyes, and then Shinobou’s, as they’re both in agreement. “I made the wrong decisions and now you’re standing before me happy.” “My decisions were pretty close to yours, so I can’t figure it out.” “Me neither. Well, you better kill me.” “‘kay.” And that’s it. So rather than a fight, we get another conversation, a short, sad one. All Araragi gets to do is pat KSAOHUB’s head. Mission accomplished. Araragi saved Mayoi and then the world she was in, then returns and meets the Mayoi he knows in typical fashion, but reversed. I didn’t expect that at all, and it was beautifully done.

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After and during a lot of dire warnings by frogs, Uchouten Kazoku 10 brings us the long-awaited Ebisugawa plans for winning the election, and it’s pretty cruel, actually. The father actually wants to wipe out the Shimogawa family, and we see them one-by-one fall prey to the attacks. Okay, we only see two of them and can only imagine what happened to the mother, and Yasaburou is surrounded at the episode’s end. All for a petty love squabble many years ago. We also, finally, get the details of Souichirou’s capture and death by stew, but as Yasaburou mutters, he sort of had figured it out already. In short, this is one of the bleak episodes that many series have before the tables slowly turn closer to the end, in this case, two episodes away.

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