4s, 5s, 6s, and a couple 7s–Maid-dragon, 100-man, Idaten, Peachboy, Hamefura

I find I have nothing whatsoever to say about Koboyashi-san Chi no Maid Dragon 4 and 5. Episode 5 might be the more productive in that Ilulu finds something she wants to do and so stops lazing around the house, that is, work in a candy shop so she can hang out with kids, which she likes to do with no dragon ulterior motives like smashing or eating them. So she’s moving along. We also meet the shop owner’s average teen boy Aida, who gets some accidental fanservice and thus quickly bonds with Ilulu. Okay, fairness to Aida, he thinks she’s a good match for the shop. Other than we get background on the bickering pals Tohru and Elma’s past together, Elma posing as a goddess because the food they serve her is just too delicious, Tohru beats up some toughs, and everyone visits a theme park where a good time is had by all for different reasons. It’s all very happy and made me smile. So I guess I DID think of things to say.

This changes the plot a little.

I have more to say after watching 100-Man no inochi 4. They had set this story up to be another question of survivals and morals, with the humans fighting the orcs because they couldn’t afford the sacrifices anymore, and the orcs calling humans ungrateful savages, though it still appears to me that the orcs started it. Anyway, we start with some battles, Tantil and Iu challenging the orc queen, and the others running from place to place to mount an offensive, you know, the usual battle episode, but then the show delivers a curveball–the volcano erupts, and there’s a tsunami to boot. This naturally changes everything and breaks the situation into two new ideas, first, that the humans had grown complacent and had forgotten the hard work it took to survive on that island (aided by a lovely, melancholy song the priestesses sing while we watch the carnage), and the other being Yuusuke’s single-minded determination to beat the orcs using the eruption to his advantage. Considering the suffering going on that feels cruel, but it’s what we expect Yuusuke and “We have a job to do” attitude to do. Still, it feels like a Deus ex Machina who’s not on either side; it feels like a cheap way out. But at the end an actual god (I figure) comes out of the volcano, so the “Deus” part is literal, and we don’t know whose side he’s on, if either. It could get interesting.

Well, in terms of the moral issue, looks like the humans sort of started it. In some flashbacks we see the queen orc in a cage, being delivered somewhere, by humans. Shipwrecked on the island she somehow (no male orcs there) gives birth to male orcs, and then the humans, the ones that tried to enslave her, turn up again. Never mind that they aren’t related to the slavers and have no such motivation, the queen couldn’t know that. So that out of the way, let’s look at the battle, the usual series of attempts, failures, deaths and revivals, highlighted by Iu showing up out of nowhere in her underwear to fight the queen on the ship. Cool that she surfed in on her shield, I must say. Then we have Yuusuke’s encounter with an orc and baby orc, with the orc doing its best to protect the child and getting killed for it, making Yuusuke loathe himself more, if that’s possible, and lament the horrible nature of humanity which he is a part of. But it’s not over yet as we have that Deus, actually a dragon, flying around and sucking away the life force of the humans, and maybe the orcs, we don’t know. This seems like a more simple story, the living trying to defend itself against a monster trying to kill them. Maybe a letdown unless the dragon shows some motives of his own, or we see the guy with the glowing head again.

Prontea looks like he’s having fun.

Now four episodes into Heion Sedai no Idaten-tachi, and we have a basic setup which is getting more confusing by the minute, apart from the battles, which seem to be the important thing. In fact episode 4 finishes with three battles set up for next week … That said, and with all the action and intrigue, I’m having trouble deciding what to say about it. We got the military empire Zoble up against the “free” capitalistic paradise Hotaena, with the demons in human form working for the former, and two of the Idaten, Ysely and Prontea working for the latter, both sides using humans to achieve their own ends, the demons to propagate, the Idaten to kill demons, I guess. Slightly to the side stands Rin, who doesn’t understand much of it and doesn’t care. She’s watching the seal. And Paula, I suppose, who hasn’t done much of anything yet and is more of a talking partner for exposition. That’s all pretty basic and there are a lot of episodes to go. There will be more secrets revealed as we go on, but if the whole idea turns out to be “The Idaten are as bad as the demons!” then I’m outta here. As for the fighting it’s basically martial arts shounen stuff, colorful and often great fun to watch, but nothing I’d watch a series for. So for now I’m still watching, but for how long? Well, I want to know how these three battles turn out.

I had thought Millia was a bore, then she pulls out a moment like this.

Around to the sixes now, Peach Boy Riverside having a between-arc character-establishing episode. We say goodbye to the vampire ogre as he watches his body burn, chatting with Atla the angel. We also get Carrot (where did she get that nickname?) impressed by Sally punching out the bigoted shopkeeper from before. Hawthorn, every the lawful guy, drags her off to the police station. Frau, still in that scary form, gets restored by Atla and we learn a little more about that relationship. But mostly we get Millia the nun, her memory gone and rescued by Mikoto, who almost kills her when he spots an ogre horn on her. It’s very interesting: Both Mikoto and Sally, two of the nicest people you’ll meet, get all glowy-eyed and nasty the moment an ogre is near, even if it’s harmless and vulnerable, yet they’ll beat up anyone who insults a demihuman, well, Sally will. It leads to the best scene in the episode, where some mid-orc comes to kill Millia, Mikoto cheerfully saying he’ll kill the survivor, and Millia painfully tearing her own horn off. It’s almost as if she’s denouncing her own heritage. There’s also the fact that Sally was the one who injured her in the first place, another scene the show might decide to show us later if it feels like it. And let’s not forget that this is all flashbacks and the show should be at the martial tournament. Where is this show going, except in circles?

Whoops, we doubled back.

Well, circles it is, as episode 7 loops back to the destruction of Hawthorn’s town. Someki’s doing, apparently, tough he’s called back before Sally can get glowy-eyed and kill her. Since we know, sort of, that no one important is going to die, unless Frau’s going to sneak one in, it’s rather hard to care. I suspect the reason for the circular storytelling is that this is another character development episode, and the creators didn’t want that interfering with the flow. Meki gets her nickname “Carrot,” preferring that over “ninjin.” Sally and Mikoto have a nice chat and we get to see more of Mikoto’s obsessiveness. Finally, we meet Berrett, who is NOT a little girl, who was brusquely saved by the witch of the forest, whom Sally now wants to meet, and Sumegi has plans for Sally which we already know will fail. It was nice to see the show pay a little attention to Hawthorn, whose home country was just destroyed, not just having him brush it aside.

Control yourself, Sophia.

Hamefura 6 is also a flashback, in the form of a story recounted to Maria about the other girls and boys’ adventures looking for a ghost, getting caught in a storm, finding a cabin and keeping themselves entertained. Not much at all really, just another between-arc standalone. The best bit was Sophia fighting off the scary lightning by telling a story about a brave warrior and a witch defeating a dragon in the forest. We see the story in picture form but the other characters can’t, so they can’t know that the warrior is Cat, the witch herself (coping for her odd looks), and in the end they get married! I laughed at that while the rest of the episode I only smiled. I suppose it helps that I’m on Team Sophia.

Some gender-swapping for your amusement.

And 7 isn’t a flashback, just a standalone where Larna shows the gang a magic dollhouse where people can live the life of their dreams. Naturally Catarina opens the door and everyone gets sucked inside. So there is a story–how to get everyone out again, but mainly it’s an amusing glimpse of each characters inner fantasies. Interestingly, not all of them revolve around Catarina (whose dream is to lie around in bed with snacks, a console, and romance novels), but most of them do. I like Mary’s the best–she simply snatches Cat away from Georgo. No, scratch that, I like, I think it was Keith’s, where everyone is gender-swapped. All in all, a mildly amusing look at all the characters’ fantasies, though I kind of wish it had been a little more extreme …

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