Tower of God 8 continues with the team-tag game and it falls completely apart. Khun has a strategy A and a strategy B which both fail because Quant is too powerful, but somehow manages to trick him into falling to the bottom of the tower, then betrays his own team and helps him get back up, so the A-team loses. Supposedly it’s to help Khun’s real team, the ones he “made friends” with beforehand. And we learn that certain players, for one reason or another, are going to pass anyway. The strategies were fun, especially Khun’s going off the bridge with Quant, but not really, but why did he even bother? By the time the B team has their chance, with Endorsi as their ranker(?), I’ve completely lost track and interest in the contest and want it to finish. Meanwhile Rachelle/Michelle just stands there with her back turned and Bam, who isn’t fooled by what Khun said before, wonders if he should help her climb the tower. And I’m even interested in that other girl, whose name I forget, wondering aloud to Hoh if she is still motivated … The characters more or less make sense, but the story is getting more and more confusing.
Now that the first story arc has ended, Toaru Kageku no Railgun T 15 steps back and starts work on the second, in low-key fashion. Most of it is flashback to when Kozaku was introduced to another human lab-rat, Dolly, and I thought “Wait, wasn’t Shokuho the one who hung out with Dolly?” And I was right. They both did. Kozaku, furious at Dolly’s treatment, was shoved into a cell and Shokuho stepped in to be Dolly’s friend. Now the two are out to rescue the twin clone who now shared Dolly’s thoughts. No nefarious reason, but because she is a friend. It looks like the hate-filled Kozaku is out to do a face-turn. To give the concept of friendship more emphasis, we switch to Kuroko’s out-of-wheelchair party where Misaka thinks happily that it’s good to have friends. So basically we have two sets of friends here, and they’re going to meet at the beach, the recovered Sister having a strange flash of intuition. In terms of the story this is interesting. Apparently everyone cloned in this fashion have some mental connection, however weak, which means more Sisters, and possibly Last Order, which means Accel … Nah, that’d be too much to ask. The thing that bugs me is right now there’s no antagonist in view unless the lab is set on getting the Dolly Sister back.
Nami yo Kiitekure 8 once again is full of things that keep the story more or less moving (What IS the story, really?) while making connections. Well this time there are two little stories, the first one frivolous. Minare doesn’t have a show idea so decides to call her dad and ask where her name comes from. Since her dad is a good-for-nothing you can figure out where it’s going to go. The good news is that it allows Minare one of her best passionate speeches and reemphasizes her desire to kill all men, and it also brings up the familiar issue of families …
… upon which we turn to the other story where Makie’s possessive older brother confronts her and Nakahara about where she’s been. That one almost ends unhappily, but Takahara has a family too, with a sister who left her husband (deadbeat or not, we don’t know), and they indirectly save the day. Back to Minare and the bear story we saw in episode one (quickly written by Kureko, with Mizuho pointing out that men can be helpful, too, like Takahara, come to think of it). After seeing Makie’s towering brother I can see the bear being an embodiment of men being threats. Now, dysfunctional families and rotten men are two of the show’s regular themes, but the show juggles them so deftly, with constant comic asides both visual and verbal, that I just sit back and wonder what variation on the themes the show’s going to toss us next. Add Minare’s anger and heroic self-destruction, and the concept that the best humor comes from laughing at oneself, as the show laughs at Minare, and you got another great episode.
Kakushigoto 8 can string ideas together too, though they leave it all in the first half, where the concept is “tentative,” first with the dog’s name, then with names manga-ka give to their works before they think of a good one, but the old name sticks. Also how an inked work doesn’t have the same inspiration that a rough penciled draft has. That leads to first impressions and how hard it is to get past them, even as Hime befriends a girl who makes a bad first impression in school, and a heartbreaking scene where Kakushi finds a painting his father made of him, his wife, and Hime, which is labeled as “tentative.” Oh, and a bit about half-assed anniversaries and Kakushi’s manga reaching it’s 100th chapter without anyone but Rasuma noticing. All this leads to a more emotional second half where Hime doesn’t want a birthday party because of the work it would cause her dad, who of course wouldn’t mind at all, and the fact that you should celebrate while you can, because maybe in the future you can’t, maybe even if it’s half-assed. The show seems to be pushing the sentiment button more and more each episode.
Hamefura 8 again does very little to move the story forward, but instead tells us what we already know. Basically, everyone but Mary and Maria are sucked into a magic book that turns their desires into a story, so we and the horrified Mary watch as every boy in the story puts the moves on Catarina–fortunately she keeps slamming the book shut before the stories get too lewd. It’s suggested that the book amplifies the desires, but it’s still what we expect, even up to Catarina’s wish-story. The only interesting thing was Alan’s story, because his fiancee closes the book before he can even get started. “All I did was play the piano.” All that’s gained from all this is that Mary now knows that everyone is hot for Catarina, even Sophia, but she might have figured that out already, and that Catarina seems to have no hormones. Maria, outside the book with Mary, is stuck only observing. At the end we get a tacked-on bit between Cat and Alan sitting in a tree, maybe to make up for his story being cut off. Oh, and we get another shot of Sirius looking overly surprised for no reason. I wish the story would get around to him and get it over with.