100-man no Inochi no Ue ni Ore wa Tatte Iru 4 continues to explore moral dilemmas and selfishness with some humorous bits thrown in. This time the team needs to take a long journey and need horses, but before they can even take the next step (a martial arts tournament) they are waylaid by human bandits and Shindou is captured. The moral question is tossed out there–save her or do the quest and save her that way, and before you know it it’s THREE captive heroes and Yuusuke losing in the first round, but it’s to a nice girl named Kahvel who helps him out, and the captives are saved. The hard feelings over Yuusuke’s seeming desertion of Lu and the others is brought down to Konosuba-esque muttering by Hakozaki. Speaking of Konosuba, Kahvel has interests that would fit her right into that show. I like how, in spite of the tragic backstory given to Shindou, the show has the characters bickering a lot, but it’s kept light.
Episode 5 focuses on Kusue, the warrior who is so peaceful and shocked at violence who became warrior class because the gameworld is cruel. It pretty much works out the way we expected: she tries hard and suffers, but gets her gumption when faced with saving a small child from some monsters. Actually, that part was pretty good. It was nice to see Kusue with a look of angry determination rather than confusion and fear. To contrast Kusue’s reluctance to fight we have, as I said before, the Konosuba-esque Kahvel, who lives for slicing apart living fresh to the degree of fetishism. But the two are a good match in that the latter helps the former to train, and she manages to get a little better at the thing she hates. I guess the moral is “sometimes you have to do violent things to help others, like it or not.” But there’s a larger dilemma coming up. The people they rescued are a group of heretics (including the kid) who are to be executed. In order to live they might have to abandon their moral values. Well, we know it will work out, we just don’t know how.My guess is that the heretics aren’t really the goods they’re supposed to deliver. Otherwise that gamemaster fella is a sicko.
Might as well catch up and do ep6 while I’m at it … In this one they face the moral dilemma of joining the soldiers and prisoners, while hearing out both sides in private conversation. Turns out the enmity between the two sides has gone out of control, and the head soldier, Kamilto, is a jerk, but we figured that. The question is how to rescue the prisoners and still bring the goods to whoever. Kamilto makes the moral question a bit easier by betraying the heroes in a mountain full of nasty traps, rather like a game, really. And there’s a boss monster for the heroes sans Yuusuke waiting for them at the close of the episode. But I’m more interested in the moral situation. The heroes can’t kill or injure humans, but Yuka, in a splendid, low-key rant, suggests that Kamilto’s actions, and his country’s use of slaves and desire for conquest, make him and his side “inhuman.” Something to chew on when the heroes get out of this mess and meet Kamilto again.
Tonikaku Kawaii is such a tease. In episode 4 we meet Chitose, Tsukasa’s little sister who isn’t a blood relative or something, and watch the expected but fun jealous rages when she discovers Tsukasa’s gotten married to this dope. He’s abducted, incriminating pictures are suggested (I love how the one maid strips without hesitation), he escapes, and things get a little strange when Nasa discovers a moon rock on display, borrowed to make Tsukasa feel better, and then damage is done (I love how the one maid brandishes a huge sword without hesitation). Anyway, things work out all right. There’s even a proposal scene at the end. But what the hell is Tsukasa’s backstory? Why the huge mansion? Why the moon rock and how does it make Tsukasa feel better? Who is this grandma character? I can hear the show snickering at me as it presents these tantalizing questions.
While Tsukasa is apparently rich, Nasa is poor, which is why I get alarmed when they go out to buy things. The futon and other necessities, okay. But in episode 5 they buy both a TV and wedding rings. The compulsion comes from either side depending on the item. Tsukasa is a movie nut (about the only new thing we learn about her) and her passion for them is enough to make Nasa agree to buy one. At least she doesn’t insist on an expensive one, Kaname’s speech about women’s wishes and what they say notwithstanding. But most of the episode is about Nasa’s compulsion about wedding rings. I don’t know how anyone would not know the difference between engagement and wedding rings, and I can’t believe how hard it was for Tsukasa to pound into Nasa’s head that they don’t need an engagement ring because they’re already married. But his motives are pure–he wants something to remind him of Tsukasa when they’re not together. The rest of it is ring shopping and sticker-shock, if that’s the word for rings. But now it feels more like they’re actually married, and the couple’s sweetness are beginning to win me over. Damn, another show I can’t drop now.
This show likes to go off in random directions after setting up a situation, or rather, it gets mired in a different situation than where you think the story is taking us. Episode 6 starts with the idea that Nasa wants a bigger apartment, with a double bed, and it goes on like that for a while, then does a left turn and suddenly it’s all about going to Nara to meet Nasa’s parents, and then focuses on the bus trip there. Oh, and let’s not forget the camera. All of these parts are cute, though I get tired of Nasa’s internal monologues. Also, sometimes I want a little more linear movement. We don’t even meet the parents this episode. Well, there’s Chitose lurking in the background, planning to ruin their marriage. She and the parents will liven up the next episode or two, unless the show takes another left turn.
Senyoku no Sigrdrifa 4 brings us the inevitable swimsuit episode. Pillars have shown up when the girls are separated from their planes, and they can’t get back to base the normal way, so they, with a bunch of positive manly-men, put on their swimsuits (where did they get them?) and go around the scanning point via sea. It took them forever to figure out they could do this, and use an underground cave system they had developed for just this type of emergency. Anyway, it’s a chance to ogle the girls in swimsuits and laugh at the manly-men slapping their cheeks and falling to their deaths only to recover. It was all fun, but it left little time for the battle, and I wanted to see the sound-disruption system in action, but they gloss over it.
And after frivolous episodes, most shows get serious. Sigrdrifa 5 certainly does. Serious talk in a fanservice-laden bath scene, serious talk in a restaurant, between Odin, Azu, and Claudia, serious talk in Satomi’s office, in hallways… all to do with the arrival of Yayoi and her ace squad and the announcement of the plan to take out the Fuji Primary Pillar. There’s a lot of history between Yayoi and some of the girls, especially Sono, but we don’t get any details, only that Sono is not happy Yayoi is here. Probably to do with the lost Ortlinde. There’s also talk about Yayoi and Azu, who aren’t the best of buds either, both still flying even though they could retire, and there are hints that Azu would be better off letting her fine mind work on something else. Frankly that feels like a death flag for somebody. In fact, I suspect that the battle next week might leave the squad a Valkyrie short …
Now I’m trying to figure out the end of episode 6, when they’ve busted into the pillar, found dead airplanes strewn around, and encounter Thor–and the planes of Japan’s Hero Wing, so is that Ortlinde’s old unit, the one she died with? Resurrected and now the enemy? And why Thor? He didn’t do any necromancy stuff in the legends I don’t think. Well, that’s the action plot level story as it stands right now. What’s more interesting is the deal with Yayoi and Sono (whom I was pretty sure would die this episode, but if they’re going to kill anyone they’re saving it for next week). Turns out two years ago Yayoi had a “bad feeling” about Sono going up and sabotaged her plane so she couldn’t go into a battle which nearly killed Yayoi. Yeah, I’d be pissed off, too. In the present day it’s the same, interesting that Satomi thinks the same way. Is that his paternal side coming out? Maybe a special bond that brings Sono to his office at odd times to sulk? The story is still coy about that, but Satomi says he lost a Named once, he probably doesn’t want it to happen again. Before all this it was all cheerful and we meet in passing several other pilots with names like the “Dancing Goddess” and “Maid from Hell.” Hope to see them in action next week, though considering the doom atmosphere I also hope they’re not there just to be wiped out.