The finale of Boku Dake ga Inai Machi was excellent and emotionally satisfying, and I don’t mind that they cheated a bit.
I had wondered how Satoru was going to get out of his situation, being trapped in a wheelchair with his would-be murderer, with that gate swinging open. It starts well, with the two playing mind games (“I filled the hole in your heart!”), but we soon get flashbacks to talks with Kenya, Hiromi, and Sachiko, where, reminded that he’s not alone in all this, he tells all. Obviously they have a plan in store. On one hand this made me feel better because I really wanted Satoru, who had grown so much and acted so selflessly, to live. On the other hand, since we didn’t know he had told everyone, it was, as I said, a bit of a cheat. Not to mention that they had the perfect plan, put a bag on the ground exactly where Satoru would land, upon which he landed perfectly, on his back, able to wink at Yashiro up above. How did they know this would be the way Yashiro tried it?
No matter. That scene, with Satoru splayed on bag and quick close-ups of Kenya, Sachiko (best mom in anime), and other everyday defenders of justice, is the highlight of the season for me, the payoff for twelve episodes of anxiety. But I grew anxious again. There was still plenty of time in the episode for things to go wrong. I had been told that the manga was still going (but I was told this in February). I thought Yashiro would escape, get out on a loophole, do something that would make him a threat, but no, they simply extended the happy ending so we could see Jun (married!), Airi, and other outside characters again, and have Satoru read his old story about not having courage, and thus, friends … until he got some of both.
All the loose ends were tied up nicely, apart one–where the hell did Satoru get his time-traveling ability in the first place? I know, a plot device, but one so blatant as this needs an explanation and we never got one. I kept asking: does someone want him to go back and change history? Or for him to become an adult? Why him? Are there others? Why not other victims of powerful people? This is the thing in the series that leaves me the most unsatisfied, especially when it did just about everything else so well. Terrific characters, constant dread, and the strongest thing of all: its anger over how children are often broken by adults because they’re powerless, and how brave it is for both children and adults to fight back. Well done!
Gate had a finale too, and while I wasn’t as thrilled by it, I didn’t expect anything more.
After an intro reminding us that Youji is an otaku that values hobbies more than work, women, etc. Then we watch him do the opposite–create an independent plan to infiltrate the capital and get Pina out, and act surprised when his fellow soldiers volunteer because they respect him as a soldier and a human being. So off they go, as usual, getting into the palace without any resistance, and bursting in on Zorzal while he’s acting triumphant, and naturally Pina is there, not in her cell, so they don’t waste any time.
I wish I was an evil overlord to I could say things like “Release the giant ogre!” Nowhere in the show has an ogre been mentioned before. The only reason for it that I can see is to kill a couple of minutes and to let Rory and Lelei show off. I always like Lelei’s light shows, and poor Rory has had very little to do recently, so she deserves a minute or two of mayhem-making in the finale, before sitting on Youji’s lap. After the usual escape where the JSDF is on top of every threat, they have both Pina and the old emperor. Everyone’s all deferential and he’s very nice to everyone, in spite of the fact that he was a conniving SOB in the original series. After that, Pina, in short pants, becomes the crown princess, the warrior girls all hook up with soldiers, and everyone’s happy except Youji, and his pain is for laughs. That’s what you get for ditching Pina’s coronation for Comiket.
There’s obviously room for another season. They have to deal with Rory’s fiancee issues for one thing, and I’d like to see that. But while it’s reassuring to show the good guys obviously capable of obliterating incompetent enemies, it gets a little dull. Even in a land of sexy fetish symbols we never see the soldiers misbehaving. We never see any successful intrigue from the opponents–all of their plans are thwarted and cut off. The only humans misbehaving are government ministers, with their attempts to “find resources,” i.e. exploit this new land and the people there. Well, maybe another season will work that in. If there is, I’ll watch it. This was a dumb show, but fun to watch. I liked Youji’s mix of military smarts and bumbling otaku-ness, and watching the harem mess with him, especially Rory. And while it bothered others, I really didn’t mind watching the JSDF in a too-heroic light.
Dimension W 11 starts with the aftermath of the Loser/Chrysler fight, and now Loser has all the numbers and is probably invincible or something. Meanwhile, Lwai fills Kyouma and the rest about how he’s actually a robot controlled by what’s left of himself back home, and he’s fine with that. So is Kyouma, so the show makes a point to tell us, and I suspect it’s supposed to be a touching, breakthrough moment for him, but the show never really established his issues, because the big final story arc depends on him not knowing their source …
A little disappointed that so much of the backstory is made via a memory shared by Loser which everyone is forced to watch. Too convenient; this show has proven it can do better than this if it wants to, but there’s only one episode to go so maybe it was a timesaving decision. Worse, the memory also had a lot of pseudo-scientific bullshit about possibility factors mixed in before Seanmeyer got all evil and started killing people. The memory didn’t really tell us anything we didn’t already know. Loser lost his wife, Seanmeyer is evil, and Kyouma was there. What I’m afraid of is that they’re going to take all those weird possibility theories and toss them around, with light shows, while Kyouma gets his memory back. No, wait! I forgot that we’ll probably start with Loser meeting his lost wife, now a gigantic octopus thingy.
Koyomimonogatari 10 brings us Yotsugi, in search of something that can’t be found by searching for it, not only an interesting riddle but one you’d expect from this show. The conclusion, brought to us by Hanekawa again, was a pretty clever one, even if I had sort of guessed it midway through. While I wonder at Yotsugi’s motives for doing this (WHY was she looking out for Araragi?), the idea that she was in the first place was kind of nice, reinforced as it was by Araragi’s comment that people who have unfettered moments might have people looking after them to thank.
#11, maybe the weakest yet, has Araragi asking Yuzuru (after she beat the crap out of him) about Yotsugi. Land one punch and she’ll tell you, and the show spends the rest of this short time with Karen figuring out what Yuzuru actually meant by that. That it means a refusal to answer Araragi’s question I can understand, but Araragi’s attempt at going through with the fight out of some courtesy I can’t figure out. But the episode DID have Araragi and Karen in a bathtub full of puddings, so that’s something.
Gate 23, with its triumphant 11.5 hour raids on the capital and the Jade Palace, is not as fun as it could be. We see the JSDF prepare and implement their attacks, and apart from a few moments when they appear outnumbered, nothing goes wrong. They secure gates, they paratroop, they launch missiles on dragons, while Zorzal looks more flabbergasted by the second. The only interesting bits are Tyuule’s advice,” where I have to remember that she’s not on his side, nor the JSDF, but working purely out of revenge against the empire. I wonder how the show is going to treat her next week?
The raid on the Jade palace is a little better because, for me at least, there was more at stake. I wanted to see Bozes and her troops defeat the imperial troops, or at least survive. That they do, thanks to the JSDF, in ho-hum fashion, but Bozes then spices things up by galloping to the capital to rescue Pina, and nearly getting killed. As for Pina, she’s still stuck down in that cell, hopeless and useless as ever, and our heroes, Youji and the fantasy-fetish girls, are still riding in that jeep.
Finally, Teekyuu! 81 slips badly to an SPG of 3.75 as Yuri accompanies Annenkov to a mixer full of monks and encounter a vengeful bathroom spirit. Maybe too much time setting up the scene.
I should have known better, over a month ago, to use Wikipedia to get names of characters in Boku Dake ga Inai Machi. I learned the murderer’s identity then, and every episode since then has been a wait for him to expose himself, which he finally does in episode 10.
Still, I’m a little surprised that it happened so quickly. When Hotaru got in the car with Yashiro I thought we might just get some foreshadowing, that is, after the seat belt thing I would have figured it out, and had the sense of dread I should have had. Especially since everything up to then had been so smooth and easy. Aya was suspicious of the gang, but did a 180 and instantly trusted them, so much for HER heart-hole. Her befriending Kazu was a nice touch, since he and that other kid were wild cards in the situation.
As for Yashiro, just another boring killer. He even uses the hole in the heart metaphor to justify his actions, saying it’s no different from finding fulfillment through kindness and bravery, a variant of that ridiculous “You’re the same as me” crap villains often say. But of course we sort of knew that about him. What mattered was the menace he presented to innocent children, and later, adults. So the scene in the car, in spite of what I knew, still had great effect. He’s very good at killing, and Hotaru is, at this moment, a small boy who’s completely trapped. Naturally, the show leaves us with Hotaru drowning in the lake, with no help from his friends (nice touch, that, showing the other kids living their happy lives), so we’ll have to wait to find out … what happens. Fortunately, Wikipedia doesn’t go into details.
Gate 22 left me a bit frustrated, but it turned out all right. First, I couldn’t believe that Youji and the gang would happily walk off after the second attempt at Lelei’s life, (that attempt was rather fun, with the crowd joining in. The first time Rondel’s been effective at anything), especially after the wizard geezer’s attempt (#1), and sure enough, Shandy HAD been tricked and the second attempt appeared to be effective … Cut to another story, and I gritted my teeth. Especially since the new one was just more Pina abuse with no movement in the story. Happily we go back to find out Youji’s backup measure had been effective. The next part, apart from some more Pina abuse, was a little nuts, I mean, Shandy is. Even when she learned she had been deceived, she STILL wants to cut Lelei’s head off? That aside, the show is moving toward the climax I figure is coming in two episodes, with everyone on the move except idiot Pina, and some paratrooper porn next week.
I probably would have enjoyed Musaigen no Phantom World 9 more if I understood the historical context of the play the gang gets roped into performing, that is, more than a thirty-second peek at “Ikedaya Incident” in Wikipedia. Still, it was fun to watch. I cringe when I see shows that have amateur plays in them, with my own memories and all, but they laid off on the bad acting and stage mishaps, and when they settled into the Phantom’s realistic play setting, we got some of the best sustained action yet, a period dramatic story with a phantom thrown in, exciting action, and, it being KyoAni, it looked fantastic.
Gate‘s story is getting so big, I wonder how they’re going to wrap everything up in the episodes they have left … We start with the brief battle at the Jade Palace where, as expected, Pina’s soldiers and some others drive off the bad guys, but the political fallout has begun, with the PM telling ministers to wait, then later gives in when a bigger bad guy force arrives. I suppose it’s not an issue, but it feels weird to know the ministers are more up on the Jade Palace situation than Youji and his team are. Radios are a good thing, guys.
Elsewhere they plant little seed of future problems with an unpleasant press photographer, and then of course there’s Pina, still a political idiot, who, when summoned to the Palace by Zorzal, in spite of what she knows, ACTUALLY GOES, and is promptly locked up. I’d feel a lot more confident about the good guys’ chances if someone besides Pina was in her position. As for Youji and company, well, that assassin is still after Lelei, but judging from the idiots he hires, this pied piper fellow can’t be that big of a threat. Then again, it’s hard to take anything that happens in Rondel seriously.
Dimension W 9 is good and bad, mostly good. The bad comes with a new villain, Seameyer, who appears to behind just about all of the bad stuff that happens. Shadowy villains are common in anime and elsewhere, but in anime these characters tend to be smug, smirking types that bore me as much as they infuriate me. Seameyer is no different, grinning evilly while Lwai gets gunned down in a flashback, casting images of himself on the wall whenever the good (are they?) characters find a clue, and going nyah nyah nyah a lot.
But there was plenty of good. No surprise that Kyouma has the answers to what happened at Adrastrea, and so, what happened during his wife’s operation, and indeed, Kyouma wants to get to the bottom of it too. But it’s done very well. First Kyouma lapses into a coma, flashback time, but then we get Salva’s flashbacks, too. I was starting to wonder why. Then, Kyouma floats into one of Salva’s memories, to the surprise of both, and the revelation comes that Dimension W is connected to our world by memories, and memories are vital to the formation of possibilities. Nice concept. Don’t know if I buy it, but it’s solid enough to work as a foundation to this world. Speaking of possibilities, the show is loading them on us now. What’s with that weapon the girl found? Is Mira actually Kyouma’s dead wife? Will the other collectors we see actually have anything to do later on? I could go on and on …
As for Nurse Witch Komugi-chan R 9, we waited most of the episode to learn what the misunderstanding was. Kubi (fired) and kubi (neck). While we waited for the inevitable I managed to enjoy one bit, where the enraged Komugi defeated a monster not with her magic powers but by using her wand to bludgeon it into submission.
Koyomimonogatari 7 starts with “Platinum Disco,” so I was in a good mood to enjoy another trivial little episode of this Bakemonogatri-lite series. As you could guess, the person with a question this time is Tsuhiki, about her tea club-mates’ refusal to listen to reason and accept that there is no ghost-kid who signed up as a member. She tries to stab Araragi with a tri-color pen a couple times for good measure. The answer to her question, or rather, her object of rage, is pretty clever and it does make you wonder just who is doing the deceiving here. Kanbaru helps out this week too, but she’s more subdued, watching poor Araragi mine the books at her house. I’m trying to remember: has Araragi solved ANY of the mysteries in this latest series, or has he always turned to some girl or another?
Gate 20 turns back away from Youji and company’s flight from the assassins to show us Sherry and the dove diplomat Casel’s flight from Zolzal’s (or should that be Tyuule’s?) private stormtroopers, the, er, Oprichnina. At the end of which they wind up outside the Jade Palace. Japanese soil right now, with Sherry shouting out to Sugawara for help, forcing him into a rather disgusting decision, but it’s for a good cause, right? Not just to get certain fanboys watching to get excited, or course not. Too bad for Casel, dragged away with no one wanting to marry him. Last episode I was grumbling that we were spending time in that silly magic town, but now I want to go back there. Oh right, Lelei’s not there anymore. And we’ll have to get this current crisis sorted out before going back to the main characters.
KonoSuba 7 is a bit of a letdown. Kazuma dies again (at least this time it was less embarrassing) and meets another goddess, the perfectly sensible Eris, who actually feels bad for him and is set to send him to a comfortable life in modern Japan, when he realizes he actually misses Aqua and the other goofballs. One of those stories. … Well, he’s set to move on in spite of that, but Aqua calls him back and of course his life is miserable again. And it’s winter there now. It’s still winter here, by the way, and I’m getting tired of it. Not that that has anything to do with the show.
Dimension W 8 … Well, of course those guys on the plane aren’t dead; they spent too much time introducing them last week. And I still can’t figure them out. They’re mostly a bunch of cynical bounty-hunters who would turn on each other in a second, but, apart from that one American guy doing a number on the other one (and that feels more like a personal issue rather than cold-blooded business), they spend a lot of time cooperating and bailing each other out. Well, occasionally they’re left behind, but no one’s doing any killing yet. Meanwhile Kyouma and Mira innocently drive up the road on their own, oblivious to the fates of the others, until a couple of them show up. They’re cuddly and cute so you know they can be trusted.
I’m still trying to get how this island works. People left there start waking up when the collectors show up, animated by new potentialities, and tend to get swallowed by that blue thing when they do, if they’re male. Salma was swallowed up, but there he is lying on a couch–albeit near death. It grazed a collector and he’s also in a coma. Coils aren’t supposed to work but they seem to be working fine. Kyouma, Mira, and the cute diggers go through a dead zone, where Mira stops functioning, and apparently Kyouma also nearly dies as well, no idea why–but they make it through. However, it doesn’t feel as though the show is just making shit up as it goes. There seems to be sound logic in this invented world, and my confusion over it is partly because it doesn’t want to tell us everything yet, that and I’m forgetful.
Gate 19 starts with disturbing plans from the empire, then gets mostly silly. First we have Zorzal pronouncing himself emperor and raising the rabble against the green people, then meeting with his sneaky-looking generals about how to beat them using more underhanded, covert tactics, something they should have been doing long ago. Meanwhile that long-haired brother runs off to get other countries to help get rid of Zorzal, though that’s pretty much going to screw the empire, but as Diablo points out it’s pretty much screwed anyway. Pina is witness to both these situations and seethes a lot. I wonder how much she can actually do to prevent it. Apart from her efforts at peace with Japan, she’s never been a very forceful leader apart from her squad. So it’s all worrying and I want to see what happens next with their nefarious plans …
And we don’t find out, as we immediately head out to that silly magician city Rondel to catch up on Lelei’s dissertation, a letdown after all the intrigue. The show makes it up to us by having Mimoza, who really ought to stop saying a-la so often, give us a general rundown on the fantasyland’s legends, all pointing to the gate opening and closing every millennia and letting a new race in, though they don’t explain why the last two races are human. If it opened on earth before, then where? An SCA event, perhaps. That would explain a lot. Anyway, we get some whining from Arpeggio about being an impoverished academic working on rocks while her younger sister goes out and contracts with large organizations and picks up practical experience, soup bowls are overturned, we get a destructive fight where the bystanders are hardly recompensed, while I wish they’d get back to the politics, and then it does just that.
Not sure who ordered the assassin. Zorzal, possibly, out of jealousy, because Lelei’s popularity is a threat, or Tyuule, to pin it on Zorzal. No matter who it is, the one they hired wasn’t very effective. You don’t really need to walk up close to the victim if you have a crossbow, especially when she’s surrounded by armed friends. So Youji, making the first decision he’s had to make the entire episode, announces they’ll run for it. Another mystery, as is why Pina wanted Lelei at the palace in the first place, but that one’s probably just slipped my mind.
So that was fun, and so is Dimension W 7 … well, the first part isn’t. We learn why Kyouma hates coils so much. Turns out he was once the star of a “Juvenile delinquent is saved by good girl with a tragic disease” story. The girl, Miyabi, can possibly be saved if she’s given an artificial body, so Kyouma enlists in the Grendels more or less in exchange for that. He goes to Easter Island on that doomed mission … and mysteries happen. He can’t remember what happened after a point. At the same time, Dimension W takes Miyabi’s head. Tell me that’s not a coincidence, and the fact that it probably isn’t, and that I suspect he’ll meet Miyabi in some bodyless form later, rescues what would have been a dismal tragic backstory.
Cut to the present, where all these oddball collectors have gathered at Salva’s request to travel to Easter Island to snatch an individual coil away. The collectors are the usual, arrogant types we see in these shows, but they don’t seem to hate each other. I guess they were too busy giving us exposition to argue. Still, I expect a few deadly duels before the arc is over. The exposition is interesting, however. The island, where Tesla’s experiential facilities were once headquartered before, you know, is a dead zone where coils don’t work, except for THAT one. More interesting to me is the thought that coils convert the unused potentialities of a situation into energy, and when possibilities materialize, they act up. So the more possibilities the crazier it will get. Then it ought to love this episode, because the plane carrying all the collectors except for Kyouma gets attacked by a blue thing and goes down. Are the collectors all right? Does this mean Kyouma has an advantage? Is that glowing thing they spotted Miyabi’s head? So many possibilities!
Dagashi Kashi 6 starts with dagashi you can play with before you eat it, though the idea of eating Himo Q after playing with it is kind of gross. Also, Maken Gumi was crap for rock-paper-scissors. Ohajiki you can’t eat, I believe, so I don’t know why they brought it up. We then switch the first winter scene the show’s offered us yet, a flashback to Saya desperately wanting to play doctor with Kokonatsu, and featuring Yoguret, maybe the only dagashi that’s actually good for you, and made by a pharmaceutical company. It’s a predictable but cute scene and shows us that the boy Kokonatsu was as dense as the teen one.
Teekyuu! 77 is a disappointment. Much of the story is taken by a brown bear getting ready for hibernation, and the jokes don’t come very fast. SPG of only 3.91. But I learned that bears stick a cork up their butt to keep themselves from pooping before they hibernate. This show is almost as educational as Dagashi Kashi!
GATE has a satisfying finish to the dragon arc and still has time to get busy with new ones. In fact, it was a let-down when I found episode 16’s first bit was a bunny girl singing a happy song before being told to kill Noriko. I wanted to get on with the dragon. But the show managed to lessen my disappointment by throwing in a cute scene where Delilah, the bunny warrior (Sorry, the concept makes me laugh) and Noriko discuss ways to kill her without pain. And the fallout wasn’t bad either. Tyuule is working undercover to destroy the empire but Delilah thinks she’s a turncoat. Some nice future content there.
But we finally get to the dragon, rather, more of a plot device to get Tuka’s head on straight again. Some fighter jets test the dragon’s abilities, unbeknownst to Youji, and the order is given to provide backup. Why they couldn’t do that upfront is mystery to me. Yes, Youji didn’t want others involved, but he has no say in it. Anyway, it sets up a “here comes the cavalry” scene in episode 17, ironically, after the dragon was already dead. The show was smart enough to have the main characters do the heroics, especially Tuka.
Episode 17 has one of those scenes where locals (here, the dark elf warriors), are trained to use sophisticated modern weaponry and totally screw it up when the time comes. Should have seen that coming. But it’s set up nicely, Youji has a plastic explosive trap laid out but they can’t tell where the dragon is because Rory’s com link can’t get through the rock. So it’s a lot of scrambling and improper use of missile launchers or whatever they are. Another nice touch of the show to have the magical local characters strike the first effective blows against the dragon, especially when they were all convinced they couldn’t hurt the damn thing. Youji’s plastic explosives are almost an afterthought, and ignited by some errant magic.
But, wow, this show moves fast. They’re still catching their breath when another plot thing kicks in, this time with Giselle, one of Hardy’s apostles (Hardy gets a lot of mentions these two episodes) who’s ordered to bring Rory with her for marriage, and we learn what Rory thinks about that. Yay, another plotline for the future! It all leads to ANOTHER dragon battle, but, as I said, it’s cavalry time and that’s that. Well, I think they’ve got enough stuff lined up for the rest of the season. Which will they do first, or will they do them all at once? The preview shows a lot of politicing and hiding behind bushes. I suppose you can’t blow up a dragon every week.
And again, another episode in a series I haven’t posted yet comes along. Okay … Gate 18 splits things up. Youji goes off to look for resources while Sugawara and the new ambassador Shirayuri schmooze with the empire to get the peace talks moving along. But Tyuule … wait, did she order that poison or not? She says to hold off but to get something for her, rather ambiguous. But what is her game, anyway? She wants revenge on the Empire, and especially Zolzal, so poisoning the emperor, asshole though he may be, and putting Zolzal in charge, seems counterproductive. But Z’s an easily manipulated tool, so she might have broader schemes in mind. Elsewhere it was nothing much. A cute look at the magical town of whatever where Lily, sorry, Lelei, is going to defend her dissertation. The town is the episode’s title, but nothing much seems to be happening there …
In Nurse Witch Komugi-chan R 4, the strangest thing happens. Komugi enters a ninja contest … and she wins! She trained hard and it paid off! The arrival of another monster does NOT keep her from success! Not only that, she not only wins but she defeats the monster and claims the card, and the other two girls were around, too! Komugi does not screw up in any way! How refreshing.
Episode 5 continues this thought. Sure, Komugi flunked a midterm, but she studied hard after that and passed. The rest of the episode was both dull and strange, dull with Tsukasa’s “I’m alone with (that guy. Can’t remember his name),” complete with fall and hand-on-tit business, and strange because Komugi gets called out of her English test only to find Kokona already dispatching it. Even the characters wonder why Komugi bothered …
And episode 6 was the inevitable swimsuit episode. Nothing more to say, except that the drama show they filmed early on wasn’t bad (the shows within this show are sometimes the best parts), and why did Tsukasa reveal her secret to Komugi at the end when she didn’t have to? Well, who cares?