FranXX 22, Hisone 11, Steins;Gate 12

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You know, if I were the Earth, I’d consider rejecting you too.

Darling in the FranXX 22, post Grande Crevasse battle, has the kids trying to prepare for the next stage in their lives, or so they think. So they dutifully plant vegetables, which die because there’s no life in the earth anymore. Meanwhile, everyone learns what we already knew–that Kokoro is pregnant, and she’s given choices, neither of them having to do with actually having a baby. Other team members get sick from the pressure or overwork. The Nines are pitiful possibly because they can’t get the nutrients they need, but they’ve lost their reason for existence. And 02 is a zombie who keeps getting mysterious cuts on her arms, until Hiro, not at 100% either as you can imagine, realizes it’s because she’s still in Strelizia, up in space, and the cuts wounds from battle (he learns this from a mind-meld from when their horns touch–something I figured they would have figured out before). But there’s hope. One of the plantations is still intact and it has good soil, but by now Hiro has made his decision. He’s going to ride a Klaxosaur that somehow will respond to human orders up into space, up to Mars, to reach Hiro, as they promised. The others … well, it’s an interesting question.

franxx22-2They use the proverb “You can’t swim in the same river twice” several times. You can take that as a metaphor for them to turn their blades into plowshares, but for all of them to decide to go up with Hiro, to return to the fight, seems to reject this notion. Battle is all the Nines ever knew, it’s all they think they’re good for, so they’re fine with going up (never thought I’d see that asshole Alpha on the same side as our guys, but anime loves to redeem villains). But the others are now fully-human adults who have seen other things of the world. Hiro, of course, has no choice but to join 02, but the others? Because they can’t abandon their friend, who has always, as Goro points out with a fist to the jaw, gone his own way? Because eking out a living on Earth isn’t appealing to them? Because the battle isn’t over? Maybe the latter, but the people doing the fighting were never doing it for them. Why should they care? And what about those frozen people, the ones without abilities. Quite possibly our heroes will die or get transformed in space and they’ll be unfrozen and sent to Mistilteinn to start a farm …

hisonemasotan11-1Hisone to Masotan is getting near the climax, too, and while episode 11 is the grandest episode of the lot, the major story-point, well, up until the very end, is an internal realization and decision by Hisone. She’s quit the SDF and returned to her parents’ house where she mopes and remembers Kakiyasu almost physically throwing her off the base. Meanwhile, the ritual has begun, Sada flying Masotan, and it’s going swimmingly. I figured Hisone would have a turnaround at some point, and it comes. She realizes that while she had found a lot of people to love (that she turned her back on), but it was because of Masotan, and she must protect that which is most precious.

hisonemasotan11-2Great, I thought, but the ritual has begun, Masotan is a long way away, how on earth could she even get up there? But at this point the show throws us a curveball, as Sada remembers a lost love of her own–how she lost it is the episode’s last story-point, and Masotan freaks out. How Hisone manages to meet up with Kakiyasu et al., in a nice, wet scene of apologies and forgiveness, then actually get back in Masotan’s stomach, is absolutely ridiculous but effective and fun. And cheerworthy. As provincial as I am, I should point out that there is a bridge like that in Toyama–it’s on the way to Takaoka.

hisonemasotan11-3
When this show started, I never thought the yogurt lady would play such a key role.

The episode has by now hit us with despair and triumph, but we got the final plot point, and it’s an interesting one. While Hisone has realized how important Masotan is to her, there’s still her interest in Okonogi to contend with. The situation looked impossible before, now it’s maybe impossible again. Can someone bear to let whoever it is get sacrificed? I’m not sure who it’s going to be … by the ragged clothing it’s suggested that it will be that girl whose name I can’t remember, but I get the feeling Okonogi will intervene, or Hisone. Either way, it’s a sad, primitive way to do things, and I for one would object to anyone going. I wonder if the people in the belly of the giant dragon feel the same way? Well, we’ll find out next week, even if I think it can’t possibly top this episode.hisonemasotan11-4

stainsgate012-1
This is a lovely little scene, even if Mayuri doesn’t know what’s going on.

Steins;Gate 0 had a mid-way arc-closer last week, so I figured something big would happen this week. Looks like we’ll have to wait until next week, because episode 12 turned to the more personal story of Kagari and her lost memories, and the question of whether it’s better if she gets them back or not, considering the hell she’ll remember. But the issue is presented gently, in the form of a song that Mayuri in the future taught the young Kagari, that causes a fainting spell when Mayuri sings it again. We spend most of the time with Rintarou and the girls going from character to character trying to find the origin of the song. One person heard it from another, just about every girl in the cast except Maho, who’s not around. Rintarou thinks it might be a telephone game, and it would indeed have been fun, if a pointless exercise, to discover that no one invented it–someone heard it from the past, or the future, from someone else who heard it from the same people. It all finishes with a bit of plot at the end. Kagari discovers at least part of her memories, happy ones, but at the same time, some bad people have spotted her. Well, overall a sweet way to spend an episode, but I suppose it couldn’t last.

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