Saibou and Starlight 12, Planet With finale

hatarakusaibou12-1Hataraku Saibou begins their final story arc, a two-parter, and it doesn’t look very cheerful. It STARTS cheerful, with our Red cell getting another Red cell as a Kouhai. The new sempai is barely able to find her way around by herself, so much of the comedy is having her try to act like a senpai while screwing up, while the kouhai, obviously much more capable, politely defers and gives advice. On their way we meet the usual lot. The kouhai is appalled by the White cell, “distributing violence instead of justice,” delivering real-world judgment in a cellular world. Where is she from, anyway? But since the episode is entitled “Hemorrhagic Shock,” you know things are going to get bleak. We don’t know what happens, but it’s a disaster like the body hasn’t seen since …, well, last week with the heatstroke. While it’s nice to see senpai get a hold on herself before the kouhai does, we’re just waiting for the worst to happen, but we don’t really know. Just the tattered hat and gloves found by White, and nothing else. They weren’t going where the other cells were, so it seems more of a mystery than a real cliffhanger, especially when you hear Kana Hanazana in the preview bit for next week.

revuestarlight12-1In Shoujo Kageki Revue Starlight 12 we follow Karen in the weeks and months after Hikari’s betrayal, if that’s what it is. Karen makes countless efforts to reach her, and as the 100th performance comes up, she finds she has lost her mojo, her “shine,” if you will. It’s dragging the other performers down, and so while they’re sympathetic to her, there’s nothing more they can do and there’s talk of removing her from the show (Maya and Claudine have snagged the top spots, by the way). She tries to read the original book but the English is too difficult, so she spends all her time translating it word by word. Oddly, the other girls are very supportive of this, like they know something Karen doesn’t, that or it’s better than her moping. Meanwhile, I’m waiting for the “Aha!”

revuestarlight12-2It comes when she gets to the end and discovers that one of the girls in the book was imprisoned for reaching for that star, meaning they’ve been performing a show with a different meaning. Karen figures that Hikari was imprisoned somehow, maybe not to steal Karen’s shine. Karen breaks the elevator door (revealing stairs), and in a return to the show’s heavy symbolism walks down while the other girls each individually show up, spouts a strange line about being a stage girl and says they’ll see her on stage. Then there’s what looks like a futuristic memorial plaque, and inside it, presumably, is Hikari in a desert. Sorry about the straight plot synopsis; I usually try to avoid that, but I was trying to get my head around this episode, partly because you could argue that it’s actually Karen who is imprisoned, by her need for Hikari and her refusal to let go, though the latter is Banana’s job. Or maybe it’s both of them. But I believe the show intends us to know that Hikari deliberately chose that path, getting the wish and refusing to use it, so that Karen can shine on her own, but Karen can’t, not right now. So one more episode to go to reconcile the girls, then there’s that show to do, though it doesn’t seem very important now.

planetwith12-1Planet With 12 ignores the appeal from the Paradise Person that last week’s episode ended with and goes straight into the battle, mainly, the Nebula Forces (nyan) and those other guys (wan) along with various aliens who are to supply the psychic power to hinder whatever the dragon does. With great effort (the scene aided by more heroic fanfares) they manage to get the dragon near the dimensional hole. The dragon, Azrabarakura, gets Souya to dream about his homeworld being destroyed and tries to get Souya to hate, want revenge, and be the dragon’s heir, but in a bit of anticlimax, Souya says “Nope, sorry,” and so the dragon is pushed into the hole–along with all the folks we know, who all get out except for the dragon and–you guessed it.

planetwith12-2Now the forgiveness bit the last show hinted at so heavily returns. Ginko tearfully thanks the dragon (who now looks like some ancient tree-thing) for saving her home planet, Souya thanks it for that dream, etc. But it looks like they’ll be trapped in the hole as well, which would have made a logical, but unsatisfactory end–self-sacrifice is heroic and all, but Souya has people to live for now, like Nozomi, and you don’t want to break her heart. So in one more closure scene, the PP shows them the way out–the surface of Souya’s destroyed planet. Having spotted a flower and made peace there, the dogship appears to take them home. Really this is sort of an ending you see in anime, the two adversaries meeting and talking, the apparent doom of all the heroes to save the universe, and rescue appearing, to everyone’s surprise.

planetwith12-3In other words, this often was like a standard anime battle show. The only differences were in the trappings, the aliens looking like company mascot figures, except for one maid-girl and a couple others, and the convoluted opening episodes when you didn’t know what side you should be rooting for. I guess you could say that these differences amounted to little more than a smokescreen for a traditional show, except that they gave the show a weird angle that made it more fun. The writing made it wittier than others as well. But in the end it all comes down to a boy pilot who doesn’t really want to fight unless he’s given a reason, and then who finds one. I normally don’t really care for such stories, but Planet With’s silliness sweetened the medicine for me.

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Yes it is, weird alien cat.
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Planet With 11, Harukana and Isekai Maou finales

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Today’s magic word is “forgive.”

After last week’s craziness, Planet With 11 starts off sedately enough, five years in the future, sort of a “Where are they now?” feeling to it even though the story isn’t over yet. Everyone except the ojiisan is still around, and we learn that they have psychic powers because of the armor that the dragon gave them … wait, why does Nozomi have powers then? She was the show’s standard normal, unpowered character. Well, nevermind. Souya is taller and more mature. No longer interested in revenge, he, with the encouragement of Ginko and all the aliens who have assembled near Earth to assist, want to forgive the dragon. It goes on in this nice way most of the episode until the dragon wakes up, and we find it’s the Paradise guy’s brother. Paradise guy looks like Souya’s lost brother, but little is made of the connection, or the fact that Souya first fought partly to avenge his own brother. And so, the metaphors are locking into place, and we’ll have the big battle, if there is one–probably a lot of forgiving violence, next week.

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Championship point.

Harukana Receive ends, and for my money the wrong girls won. There’s just no way a relative beginner should advance against Eclair, no matter how good her teammate Kanata is. At least they didn’t delay the final point too much. There was an annoying Haruka memories bit before the last rally, and more ridiculous comments from courtside from Ai, or is it Mai, which they had to repeat twice. Still, it was over with over half the episode to go. After that it was tidying up. Harukana felt down for winning, Claire, of course, puts on her happy face and tells them to be happy. Eclair have to have a moment by themselves, of course, and then a beach barbecue party, and that’s about it.

harukanareceive12-2So now the girls will go to nationals, and unless there’s a season two, we won’t get to see it. We still have emotional blobs about Kanata and Harumi to work out, so the creators have the material. But will I watch it? Well, season one wasn’t all that great, not bad, mind you, but nothing I would recommend to anyone unless they were into girls bouncing around in bikinis. Haruka, the main character, had the least dimension to her. Kanata was all right, but apart from her growth she couldn’t give that much, especially when the show didn’t cover the situation with Harumi, one of Kanata’s biggest character points. Claire and Emily were always fun to watch. Akari hardly had anything to do after she joined. The matches, as I said last week, weren’t all that exciting to watch. Too many slow-motion shots and the like. If there is a second season, well, I don’t know …

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One more of Claire,
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Diablo starts the job …

Isekai Maou to Shoukan Shoujo no Dorei Majutsu finishes too, with the big battle between KlemSkulm and Diablo, which concludes in predictable fashion. Klem has Diablo running around for a while, he whips out some big magic which weakens Klem, but it takes the revived Rem to appeal to Klem before the battle can stop. After that there’s the decision of what to do with Klem. Sylvie doesn’t want her in the city, so Klem agrees to become Diablo’s slave. After that there’s the matter of Alicia. In perhaps a too-long scene, where everyone has to give speeches, all is forgiven and she leaves town. After that it’s more sexy time, of course.

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… Rem finishes it.

Not a great show unless you like fanservice. The best moments came from Diablo, a human loner nerd who has to struggle with people in his life for the first time, lapsing into his demon lord persona because he had no other way to interact, yet also trying to be decent to these strange new people who need his help or not give into temptation when they pull off their clothes and hop into bed with him. Alas, none of the other characters had much going for them apart from their stock fantasy-world personas. I didn’t mind the fact that Diablo was overpowered and capable of winning every battle, I think because in its core this was a silly fantasy comedy and not a straight-up adventure series. As for a second season, I’d probably watch it. They have things they can work with, the Fallen and the Elves for example, and they can always invent a new race or two.

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One more of almost all the girls, all naked of course.

Island and Harukana 11, Saibou and Planet With 10

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Good to be back.

Island 11 only advances the story a little, and it happens in the final minute. But that’s okay, because Setsuna’s back on the island, and it’s summer! Not only that, he’s back at the same time he came back before, but he doesn’t meet himself, which is odd because Saya has a throwaway line about travelers meeting themselves, but let it pass. Since he knows what’s going to happen, he spares us from repeating all the old story arcs and wraps them up before the episode is over. Karen’s sneaking on the boat, meeting Sara, Karen’s trip, the shack, the island, everything is done, until we find ourselves in an outdoor festival we didn’t see before, so it’s time for new stuff. This time it’s weirdness with Kuon, Rinne’s mom, who, in an old photo, is wearing the same homemade ring Setsuna gave Rinne. Not only that, but we finally get a peek into her room and see she’s got another pod in there. So is Setsuna actually Rinne’s father and he’s doing a loop? Who’s the dad in the picture? Well, there’s only one episode left, not enough time to whip up much drama, so I guess there will be one crisis, averted, and then lots of happy gooey sentimental stuff.

hatarakusaibou10-1Hataraku Saibou 10 starts as just another day in the body, with all the cells doing their cell-stuff, everyone chugging happily along, the one threat used as an introduction to the guys in the yellow suits (monocytes, we’re told). I would have been happy if the entire episode was like this low-stress happy time, but you know they have to give us something serious (though I frankly don’t know why–just let the body be healthy for once). This time it’s the return of the staph cell, but she’s stronger now and has some nasty tricks up her sleeve. And so we meet the only cell in the show we haven’t learned about yet–the lovely and deadly macrophages, who turn out to be the monocytes out of their suits. Apart from the explanations it was all pretty routine. I enjoyed Red’s visit to the nasal cavity with all its amenities for relaxing the hard-working cells. It’s good to see them get a break now and then.

harukanareceive11-1Harukana Receive 11 is one of the reasons why I rarely watch sports anime. I can understand Harukana winning the second set to make things more exciting, and the switches to side characters watching or wondering who’s winning, but then they draw out the final set with endless pronouncements of “We will win this!” from both sides and at the end of the episode it stands at deuce. If the gameplay was at least fun to watch maybe I wouldn’t mind so much, but the action scenes have gotten repetitive, Claire and Haruka rising to spike or block, close-ups of the ball flying around, all in slow motion. The creators have nothing else to show us. So now we have to wait until NEXT week to crown the champion …

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The only show I know of where fighters on both sides use performance-enhancing drugs.

Planet With 10, on the other hand, has a fight so nutty and fun that I thought for sure it was the finale. Souya challenges the big dog, who suggests they meet in a week for the final battle. But there are no delays in the story here–the show immediately jumps to a week later and a deserted island where both sides and cause damage. The others are invited too, mainly to provide commentary. It’s pretty evenly matched, both sides giving and receiving damage, when Takezou roars in with his great final blow to avenge his son, and, having done so, falls out of the action while dog and cat continue their battle, just a non-sequitor moment, or maybe the show decided they needed the trailing plot-strand sewed up.

planetwith10-2The battle goes on until they’re … in SPAAACE … where they knock each other out, fall to earth, wake up, swallow themselves again, and how they’re huge machines, still trading blows, until a hole is opened in the big dog and Souya and the rest charge into it, leading to a sort of de-evolving, until they’re back in human form, and the final blow is made. Again, the action was exciting, kind of ridiculous at times considering the people fighting it, while the CGI manages not to call too much attention to itself and the soundtrack blares inspiring, old-school anime fighting anthems. I thought for sure that everything was taken care of and this was a rare, ten-episode series, but there’s still that dragon to fight in five years, actually next week. While I wait I will wonder why there aren’t more shows that can be out-and-out goofy as this one.

Saibou and Planet With 09, Harukana 10, Revue Starlight 9, Isekai Maou 10

Hatarakusaibou9-1Hataraku Saibou 9 features Killer T, well the one we’ve watching, and the story of his arduous training alongside who would become Helper T and a bunch of other grunts. Helper T was a genius who always did best, and Killer T was a low-confidence bumbler. Naturally, they are enemies and rivals, but they secretly hold respect for the other one, with lots of army-type scenes, shouting, punches of love, etc etc. The stuff of many a manga, I’m sure, and one I don’t really want to watch. Apart from the interesting facts the voice-over gives us, nothing much redeems the episode. White Cell is hardly seen, same with the platelets, and I don’t recall seeing Red at all. Let’s move on to the next episode.

planetwith9-1Saibou might have been a letdown this week, but Planet With brings everything together with the silliest and most dramatic confrontation I’ve seen in a while. It comes down to two people’s desires. First we have Yosuke, who has come to the realization that he can never have Benika (and frankly, she’s way too cool for him), and to deal with that pain and others, decides he will seal the world and stop their evolution forever. Torai tries to stop him, then Miu and Harumi, wait, weren’t they on the same side? Anyway, they fail, and everything is sealed … except Souya, thanks to that cosmic being guy. Which leads us to the other person this episode’s about.

planetwith9-2A few episodes ago it was clear that Souya had no clear reasons for fighting once the threat of the dragon was gone. Besides, this isn’t his planet–let them make their own mistakes. But Nozomi talks to him and says “I’m on the side of the people I want to befriend!” and Souya’s eyes went wide. I guess then seeing Nyan, Ginko, and Nozomi all sealed made him realize that he actually did care for some things on this planet. First, a speech to the sealed people to wake them up, then, as the music soars, Souya, the big cat, and the cute maid take on Yosuke. The scene is very exciting and triumphant, but also kind of loopy when you consider who the heroes are:

planetwith9-3Most importantly, Souya finally has something to fight for, and while we were expecting this realization for weeks, having it happen doesn’t take away from the moment.

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Claire’s game face.

Harukana Receive 10 starts the final match, and naturally they don’t do it all in one episode. The first set takes up most of it, and early on it’s Haruka marveling at how intense Eclair gets when in a match, especially Claire, normally so carefree but now downright scary with her game face on. They get an early lead, but naturally Harukana regroup and keep it close. That’s expected, I suppose, but I really wonder if Harukana have any business being in a final game against Eclair, even though they trained together and had their mom as their coach. Well, Kanata’s no slouch, either. We get a flashback to when Emily learned to assert herself (Ironically, a loss to Kanata), and a bit where Shii sings her song on the sideline, at which point I muttered “Can we get back to the match now?” Not to mention some surprise moves by both sides. So next week we’ll finish the second set. I just hope they don’t extend it for too long. Finally, why do I find myself rooting for Eclair?

revuestarlight9-1It’s hard to tell at first who Shoujo Kageki Revue Starlight 9 is going to feature. At times it looked like Karen and Hikari, but it settles on Banana again. She STILL can’t let go of the 99th performance, and in fact is acting a little crazy about it to Junna. She talks about that performance and how it brought everyone together, and how she doesn’t want to let it go, even as the script, costumes and weapons undergo changes. Meanwhile, we get the entire story of Starlight from Hikari, from the original book, and, yep, it’s depressing, and, judging from the flashbacks, not a great choice for showing off the talents of the school’s best performers, but let that pass. Two goddesses, Claire and Flora, try to reach the star in order to get Flora’s memory back, and she does, but Flora loses her sight and vanishes somewhere. Karen and Hikari can easily see themselves in those roles, and they happily imagine it together.

revuestarlight9-2Banana’s true feelings come out in the duel with Karen, not Hikari, because Banana realized that it’s Karen’s new passion that changed the circumstances and ruined Banana’s dream of a repeat performance. In the battle Banana admits she doesn’t understand why Karen is so passionate to go to the new, blinding light. Karen’s replies among the sword slashes are banal, though true enough: every performance is different, people need to move forward, etc. And because these duels are won by who has the better argument and not by skill, Karen wins. Fortunately for Banana, Junna is around to console her and quote famous westerners about moving forward, and Banana seems fine with it all. It all makes me wonder if the auditions (and they’re almost done, says the giraffe) are going to do something unpleasant but beautiful to the girl who finally wins. Will Karen actually lose her eyes, or vanish into the star, of which there are two? What about Hikari? Your guess is as good as mine.

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Demon logic.

Isekai Maou to Shoukan Shoujo no Dorei Majutsu 10 takes the ultimate story arc, getting that demon out of Rem’s body, and makes it ridiculous. Let’s ignore what Diablo has to do to get to KrebSkulm, if you can, get to what has been obvious to anyone watching the ED: Krebskulm is a pre-teen girl in skimpy girls who isn’t sure why she should destroy all mortals, and since the ones here are nice to her and offer her biscuits, she happily joins up with them. More biscuits! There’s brief interference by another demon, who gives a good fight and then runs. If the show hits another season I’m sure we’ll see more of him. Also, Rem is torn because Krebskulm did mayhem to her people and family, so there’s a moral issue. And we get a new story arc at the end when Alicia seems to go a little crazy, but I didn’t understand it. It will be an anticlimax if that becomes the last story arc. These are a lot of issues to resolve in the last two episodes. Probably the show will turn silly and resolve them in ten minutes, leaving more time for Diablo and the three girls (Four? Five?) in bed.

Planet With 7-8, Isekai Maou 8, Starlight 6-7, Island 9

planetwith7-1Last week in Planet With they had a big colossal battle to save the earth from the dragon. Fine and dandy, but it looks like there are plenty of loose ends to tie up. There are characters not accounted for, like Shiraishi, and factions still at odds. To set up episode 7 we get a dream-backstory where the Siriusians (Souya’s race) are about to capture the Rielian princess (Ginko, still dressed as a maid), when the Dragon attacks Sirius. Whoever’s in the cat-mecha goes off to rescue both and succeeds in doing neither, apart from Ginko and Souya. Anyway, you figure Souya’s part is over with. Brother avenged, Dragon gone, etc, but now Shiraishi shows up as a schoolgirl to hypnotize him, then his brother appears and claims he’s actually another race to give him a warning, and finally Benika and Yousuke show up and announce they’re with the Sealing (dog) faction now … oh, and Souya has begun to exhibit dangerous psychic powers

planetwith7-2I rather like his answer for now, basically “You two groups fight it out. I’m through with this,” but it’s not the best answer in the long run. Benika considers humanity just as dangerous as Siriusians and needs them sealed, and Souya fought against that, though that wasn’t his only motive. Also, Souya’s battle is over but humanity’s is just beginning. He is going to have to make a decision to fight for humanity, to show compassion for others, in order to grow. Nozomi, the representative for Planet Earth in this show, nervously watching from the sidelines, is the key for that. I just hope we don’t get episode after episode of Souya grumping around while everyone tries to mess with him, as entertaining as the messing around in this show can be.

planetwith8-1Episode 8 spends a lot of time with Benika, member of the Sealing Faction and a self-admitted “traitor to the Earth.” We get her sad backstory, her life as a cop who sees a detective gunned down by a boy and decides that power will corrupt and destroy people. Ironically, she is now using her own, awakened powers (they Grand Paladin folks are discovering that they don’t need to vials) to try to seal humanity, which is about as big an abuse of power as I can think of. This forces Torai, a former ally and all-around good guy, to fight her. Why not Souya? Well, he’s still bitter about everything and even has a catharsis moment about his lost planet. He’s not human, after all. Let humanity decide for themselves, and he’s right. It’s an excellent little scene, with Nozomi defending him and the maid and cat loyally standing by. Ironically, it’s the ENEMY that wants him to fight the most. But since his refusal forces the other side to fight amongst themselves, it’s a good call. Too bad we learn that the Dragon is still alive, so he has some fighting left to do in a later episode. It IS a shame, however that Souya still hasn’t found a reason to fight for the Earth, not just for revenge …

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Diablo is, for once, on the defense.

Not a lot to say about Isekai Maou to Shoukan Shoujo no Dorei Majutsu 8. The character development and additional bonding for the story arc happened last week. This time it’s Diablo vs first the Elves’ ultimate weapon, which Diablo is first at a loss to defeat until Shera gives him a tip. Then things actually get ugly as Keera, spared his life by Diablo after Shera pleads, is beheaded by Galford instead. I say “good riddance,” but Shera is upset and Diablo pissed, so Diablo fights Galford, and after another difficult fight, wins. And is exhausted, but not enough to drunkenly molest Sylvie in his sleep, because the episode hadn’t had any sexiness up to then. Well, it was interesting to see Diablo facing two difficult opponents. It seems as the series continues, his enemies are going to get more powerful, which is fine. Give Diablo a real challenge once in a while.

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Kaoruko and Futaba, in a flashback that foreshadows.

This time in Shoujo Kageki Revue Starlight the light shines on Kaoruko and Futaba. We already know their dynamic. Kaoruko is lazy and conceited and depends on Futaba to get anything done, and up to now Futaba is happy to carry that load. But now Futaba has worked harder (not with Kaoruko) and gets a solid prelim audition slot (a regular audition, not a weird one–that comes later) while Futaba is shut out, and told that she doesn’t have what it takes. The two have a fight, she gets hissy and decides to leave school in girlish spite, fully expecting Futaba to chase after her. But Futaba almost doesn’t, and it’s giraffe time. The fight, like many, is more of a pep talk than a battle, where the two reaffirm their relationship, basically that Futaba will be the first to see Kaoruko truly shine. What gets me is, several episodes ago Kaoruko and Mahiru were sharing a bath and Kaoruko teasingly told her that they both are witnessing the people they need most drift away from them. She seemed more or less fine about it then … And if there are regular auditions as well as giraffe auditions, which take precedent. Who knows? Anyway, next time it’s Banana’s turn. She’s long overdue.

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Banana, in a light that’s a little too bright.

Well we got our Banana episode, though I’m not certain I got all of it. Banana is more of a behind the scenes type of girl, who found the spot for top star “too blinding,” even though Maya criticizes her for it. Nothing wrong with that–it’s good that the show acknowledges the performers and crews that don’t want stardom. But the show hints that because of this Banana is slacking. Not that she’s not without issues–the 99th performance gave her so much joy and warmth that she can’t let go of it, and because those memories and countless photos are safe ones, she doesn’t want to move on. Her experience in the giraffe stage is replay of the old “Starlight,” over and over again, until the present catches up and Hikari, not involved last year, becomes a random factor that helps her realize the new Starlight won’t be like the old one. But through it all, the replays, the conversations past and present, Banana remains her mostly serene self. She says she welcomes Hikari into the mix, but she’s so, as I said, serene that it’s hard to see if she’s changed at all. And so the episode ends and makes me wonder if this is actually going to be a two-parter, or if we’ll revisit Banana later in the game …

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I don’t like the looks of this.

Island, or is it “Never Island” 9 takes us straight out of the tropical paradise we’ve been used to and plunks us down into the future, a grim religious dystopia where it’s cold all the time and everyone lives on ever-shrinking rations. We slowly pick up the story as Setsuna, once again without memories but prone to visions of old times, meaning our times lives us with a Rinne who is building one of those pods based on old family blueprints. Meanwhile, little ragamuffins led by future Karen steal food and get shot, and Sara is the kindhearted daughter of the minister or something. Through misadventures it turns out that there is no life, no Avalon beyond their island, and everyone’s doomed from starvation or violent death by soldiers. Setsuna declares that he will save everybody, meaning probably getting back in that pod and, what, go into the future? That’s not going to work. I just hope he goes somewhere; the show just took one of its strengths, the tropical surroundings, the beach, the laid-back atmosphere, and replaced it with a grey-brown dirty city. That was a bad decision unless Setsuna leaves quick.

Planet With 6, Harukana, Isekai Maou and Saibou 7, Island 8

planetwith6-1Planet With 6 makes wonder where the story is going to go from here … To start with we have two big confrontations left over from last week. The first one, Souya vs Takezou, ends quickly, with Souya landing the big punch and Takezou landing harmlessly in Yousuke’s mecha hands. Whereupon he and Yousuke both hand over their vials. So the sealing (dog) faction is defeated and all is good, right? Well, there’s that other battle, Shiraishi vs Takashi, made confusing because we don’t know why they’re fighting or who’s side they’re on. But the confusion ends abruptly. While no one wants the dog to seal mankind’s evolutionary growth, Takashi is revealed, in a long, bewildered doggy infodump, as the resurrected Dragon, who destroyed Souya’s planet, and declared that he will bring peace to Earth by smashing the hell out of anyone who fights.

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Our mighty heroes.

So instead of two factions, we apparently have three, though with Shiraisi out of action it appears to be down to two again. So we get a long fight with lots of declarations and shouting. Ginko joins Souya in the mecha mainly do nothing until one bit at the end. I expected there to be a stalemate, one of them escaping for a later episode, but instead … it finishes. Souya wins. Takashi, after hearing garbled advice from Souya (which he got from Takezou) crumbles away, Souya gets a vision of his brother … and that’s it. NOW what will the show do? Souya got all the vials, defeated the dragon, and got his complete revenge. Apart from dealing with tomorrow’s hangover the story is done … there’s still six episodes to go. We get a clue from next week’s title: Sirius, and we learned from the dog that that planet was “warlike,” so is there going to be a return to that? Maybe Souya will go rogue and his new friends Harumi and the occult club, and/or his former adversaries will bring him back. It’s anybody’s guess.

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Guess Akari’s character type.

The tournament over, Harukana Receive 7 turns to … well, it was weird at first. The opening concert scene with the crap CGI made me check the name of the program I was watching. Turns out it was the dream of Akari, that girl we met at the end of last episode. She wants to join because she saw Eclair in a volleyball magazine and thought beach volleyball was glamorous. The weird thing is that Akari is famous herself, a local idol made famous by a cute commercial she did years ago. She wants more glamour, I guess. But what she needs is friends, though the tsundere side of her won’t admit it. Haruka and Kanata instinctively realize this and do their best to befriend her, leading to many tsundere moments and another “If you lose, you have to join the club” challenge. For all of Alari’s bad attitude, she changes her tune and gets friendly rather too quickly. But I liked Kanata’s serious but encouraging thrashing of the poor newbie, and Haruka’s kindness toward her. The two are making an excellent team even off the court.

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Rem helps Diablo snap out of it.

Isekai Maou to Shoukan Shoujo no Dorei Majutsu 7 does everything I predicted it would. Shera was hypnotized by Keera’s flute and so gets into the carriage with him. Later, Diablo, Rem, and Alicia go off to get her back, just as she’s undergoing an attack by flesh-eating slime as Keera gloats. As you can expect, there’s way too much fanservice, and too much “Shera, tell us how you really feel?” with Shera declaring how she feels a tad too much. Then Keera brings out a four-headed dragon and we get a cliffhanger. All was to be expected. However, the show takes an important step further. Shera’s apparent desertion early on reminds Diablo of his days in our world, as a boy named Takuma, deserted by his so-called friends. So now he’s again undergoing a feeling of being betrayed by someone important to him, and not wanting to get further involved in this emotional mess, doesn’t act until Rem, still a friend, snaps him out of it. I’m sure he would have come around to it, but better sooner than later when there’s clothing-eating slime involved. I wonder … if he had had friends like Shera and Rem back on Earth, would he have been sent to this world?

hatarakusaibou7-1Hataraku Saibou 7, underneath its usual silly cover, is the darkest episode yet. First of all, it’s cancer. I can’t think of a worse thing to happen to a body. It takes just about every type of cell, apart from the reds, who as usual stand around wishing they could help, the body has got to defeat it. Fortunately they do, well, until the foreboding line … for now. What makes it darker is the cancer cell’s backstory, hunted by killer-Ts, wondering why he was brought into this world, and White’s “Sorry, he have to do kill you.” For the good of the body, of course. It makes the human body seem like a rigid orthodoxy that does not permit any sort of difference within it. The metaphor falls apart when you remember that the cancer cells were trying to destroy this society out of revenge, they’re not just misunderstood, not-normal cells. I hear the body has a lot of bacteria floating around that aren’t produced by the body but don’t hurt anything, but indeed can be beneficial. I wonder if the show will mention that, and what they would be like. That’s another of the growing list of topics I hope the show gets to cover.

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Setsuna, hanging out with Setsuna.

A lot happens in Island 8, and every time something does, the show gets even weirder. First we have Setsuna in a boat, rescuing Rinne, whereupon they shipwreck on that island. They actually find the other Setsuna, decaying, and also some super-advanced technology, with a weird capsule, not what I expected. They spend a few happy days on the island to settle Rinne’s obviously rattled psyche back in order, and they had back in the boat … and Rinne dies. Did not expect that, either. Then Natsumi returns and we get a lot of backstory about how Rinne was not washed up on the beach a few months ago, but sleeping in a time-stasis capsule on the island. Turns out the island isn’t so hard to find after all.

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Or send them to the past, or something. I’m not sure.

The lengthy infodump brings back Karen’s mom and also gives us a lot of mysterious artifacts found around the world, each with its own legend about a witch who cursed two lovebirds, so they travel a long way to find the witch, who says they will be reunited in time, or something like that. And the capsule is to keep whichever Setsuna fresh until that point, I guess, like it did Rinne, or it goes back in time so that Setsuna can save the girl and kill the guy (who, our Setsuna muses, was the Setsuna within Rinne), or maybe I’m getting confused and it’s a different capsule. Anyway, Setsuna agrees to get inside it and go back in time, or the future where they will be reunited, or to just not die so … I don’t really know anymore. The final bits seem like a farewell to Karen and Sara, so maybe we’ve seen the last of them and we’re going into the past or the future … argh.

Island 5, Harukana and Saibou 4-5, Planet With 5

island5-1Once again, Island takes a complex story arc and polishes it off in one episode. In episode 5 we focus on Sara, the cute little shrine maiden with great hair, as she has Setsuna do a few weird things. First, catch a dangerous sea snake (the venom might help cure Soot Blight Syndrome), then a dangerous massage, then make him ride her all around the island to give the old folks massages, er, that aren’t dangerous. Setsuna does it all with his usual good nature, and then the really weird truth comes out. She has to go back in time and conceive herself, with Setsuna as the father, and yes, Heinlein is mentioned. That way she can also prevent the terrible fire that killed her mother, I mean, her, and become a child of god again. If you think that’s weird, the true story of her famous family (which is conveniently in a book Rinne finds) is even weirder, and especially nasty. But there’s a happy ending, well, apart from the shrine burning down. For all the events it’s actually a nice, compact little episode, but they’re running out of people for Setsuna to help.

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Caught!

Harukana Receive 4 has very little to do with the current story arc, which is about the junior tournament everyone’s training for. The episode is mostly about how Haruka can get Kanata to trust her more on the court (is “court” the right word for beach volleyball?), and it’s not one that is solved through any dramatic conflict, it’s little gives and takes, like choosing matching swimsuits. Haruka wants this one set, but they’re snapped up by another volleyball team, Ai and Mai, a convenient way to introduce more characters, so they go with the set that Kanata wants. Emily steps in, at the request of Narumi, encourages Kanata that it’s okay if she partners with someone else. Meantime, Haruka is doing secret training so Kanata will entrust more of the floor (sand?) to her. Apart from the expected “geez, I wish you had told me?” lines, everything is accomplished, and the two are now calling each other by their given names. How it’s going to work when they actually play together is anyone’s guess.

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The match is off to a rocky start.

Episode 5 brings us the first round of the tournament … well, naturally they are going to drag it out so we don’t get to see who wins the match with Ai/Mai. This is thanks to some flashbacks of Ai convincing Mai to try volleyball (indoor), because it’s a game where short people can defeat tall people, or so Ai says, whereupon they lose a match because, Mai thinks, she isn’t tall enough. Ai is determined to make it up to Mai, and Mai becomes an unlikable competitive trash-talker. Unused to beach volleyball they make a few mistakes, but by the episode’s end they seem to have their groove, and Kanata is so devoted to the pokey that Ai/Mai are now picking it up easily, and Haruka hasn’t gotten her block timing down yet. I wonder if Kanata’s strategy is to let Haruka find her groove, or she’s just pointing her obvious pokeys up because she doesn’t know what else to do. Meanwhile, Eclair win their match easily and then turn to adding sideline comments to Harukana’s. Because it’s only the second set, expect another episode just like this one next week, full of flashbacks and “We’ll definitely win!” comments. I’ll be looking forward to Eclair’s commentary.

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The Eosinophil cell shows her true strength.

It’s never a dull moment in Hataraku Saibou, just one disaster after another for this hapless human. Last week it was two types of flu, and this week it’s food poisoning probably from bad sushi. But it gives us a chance to meet another new cell, the Eosinophil, sort of like last week, she’s seen as weak against invading germs, though brave, and other cells make snide comments, but then another threat arrives, a parasite, something that even our regular white blood cell can’t handle, and she gets to show what she’s really made of. The visualization of the first germ, the enteritis vibrio, was kind of lame, though white blood cell killing it from the inside was fun. The parasite, Parasitic Anisakis, was pretty cool–a giant monster dolphin. The format is all getting kind of predictable, a new threat, a new cell to combat it, red cell going “What’s that?” and the white cell explaining, a bloody battle and some heroics. Next week it’s cedar allergies. Boy, this poor body can’t catch a break.

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Geez, I’m glad I don’t have allergies …

At least episode 5 deals with something mundane, well, pollen allergies are a yearly annoyance, but usually not life-threatening. But inside this body it wreaks more destruction than the other pathogens and viruses combined, to the point of legends of the apocalypse. The fun is that it’s two different body functions (B-cells and mast cells) who are trying to help and making things worse (“the B stands for baka!”). Their fight, coming right when things are at their bleakest, teardrop floods, mucus flooding, multiple sneezing launches, etc) was probably the funniest moment of the series so far. Also, I had wondered when and how the show would introduce a drug, and I figured it would be something robotic, and I was right! What do I get?

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Don’t forget about the snake.

Meanwhile, inĀ Planet With 4, even as we get new revelations, gets more confusing. We see what the sealing power can do to a human, as Nezuya appears, not weird, and with the fire out in his eyes. Then a sweet scene between Nozomi and Souya where he tells her a lot that he didn’t need to, and she thanks him for defending the town, which he did, and he’s taken by surprise by this fact. This might become important later when he squares off with Takezou and tells him that, essentially, he chooses whom he fights, i.e,, he’s amoral. The idea that he actually does care for some people and will defend them, like Nozomi, hasn’t struck him yet. Meanwhile, Takashi is set to battle the dog faction of Nebula after his nice secretary turns heel on him. In other words, two cliffhangers. So we got both Nebula factions in battle, and Souya and Takezou, who are Nebula and whoever the good guys represent. I don’t think they even know. Why Takezou is going against Souya when they have the same goals is beyond me, but in this show a lot of things are.