Finales: Re:Creators and Isekai Shokudou, and PP 11

There wasn’t much for Re:Creators 22 to do once they got rid of the threat. Everybody says wise words to their creator or creation, the latter insisting that their god will give them the justice or boyfriend they want, and off they go, except for Meteora, partly because she can’t cast the portal spell and use it herself, and partly because she likes it here. Now powerless, she gets a new identity and proceeds to do what she admired about the creators, that is, create something. We see billboards and posters advertising their further adventures (Aliceteria and Mamika in a crossover full of flowers and stuff). I wonder if the stories will get deadly dull since the creators might not have the will to kill their darlings anymore. Suruga is the only one to tell her creation that his life will continue to be nasty. Apart from a couple nice bits (Selesia appearing in an ad on Souta’s phone) it was just as dull as I expected.

The show managed some good self-referential lines up to the end.

What about Magane? The finale completely ignores her. I partly don’t mind because I never liked the character, but to not have her show up, unless she sneaked in somewhere I didn’t notice, felt wrong. The creators in this show seemed to lose control or interest the farther the series went. The first few episodes weren’t like that. The idea of fictional characters entering or own isn’t new, but they managed to do interesting things with it. The different genres duking it out on more or less equal terms was good, and they asked solid questions about what the creators and the creations would do in the situation. I’ve always liked the father/daughter relationship between Matsubura and Selesia, and the bonding that boy pilot Rui and delinquent Yuya do. The setup was fascinating and the show strode confidently forward, tossing out ideas each episode.

But after that they seemed to find themselves in a hole. Meteora, the most eloquent of the creations, was stuck in that booth chanting cult-babble and casting spells. Altair, while full of murderous intent throughout, wound up doing little more than muttering evil things and snickering. The other creations all became more and more irrelevant (apart from the nice twist for Blitz). What was Hikayu supposed to be doing there, anyway, apart from comic relief? Why did Matsubura show so little shock at Selesia’s death, well, until it was all over? It’s a shame. The show had a lot of promise and often lived up to it, but by the end I was indifferent.

One more of Selesia, alive somewhere.
Wait, but YOU’RE Princess, well, not really anymore, but …

Princess Principal had spent most of its time dilly-dallying in little spy games, stealing plans here, offing people there, none of it of much consequence to the overall conflict between East and West, but I’ll admit that the two-parter that will close the season is a tasty one. We already know that the girls are to kill the princess, and suddenly Ange finds that all of her comrades have been transferred, or have just vanished (chilling reference to the spy school last episode), and Control is now run by the military. Ange makes plans to run off with Princess, but the latter refuses, accuses Ange of trying to run her life for her, and escapes, leaving Ange locked on that airship going to Casablanca, I assume. She reappears as Ange disguised as Princess, mission accomplished, and meets some colony soldiers who are going to revolt.

Except, you aren’t, but you are, but … oh, forget it. Like the glasses though.

It’s a fun twist. First, the plotters think they’re talking to a girl who is pretending to be Princess, when actually, this is the Princess everyone knows, except, Princess from the start is actually a girl pretending to be Princess! Good thing they didn’t have DNA tests in 1872 (though they DO have cars …). I’m also pleased that this bunch of soldiers will actually escalate the war the way I was hoping the series would from the start. But how are they going to polish this off in one episode? Well, the other girls might be gone, but I can’t believe they’re not going to appear again, especially Dorothy. Chise gets some info that might be useful, maybe, somehow, perhaps. And what is Princess going to do? The other problem is that her mother the Queen’s life is now in danger (okay, not her real mother …). Is she going to follow along with the revolt, become queen, and then act as a figurehead for those men and have THEM run her life? And of course, what about Ange and her relationship with Princess? No, too much to fit into one episode. They should have started sooner.

There’s a bit of mystery solved, in case anyone cares.

Isekai Shokudou finishes the season without fanfare, no special episode or plot twists that put the restaurant in danger or anything like that, and I’m relieved about that. We do learn that the chef is the great-grandson of a great warrior who was hurled onto this world after an epic battle, something Altorious alone knew. That bit’s a bit clumsy, especially with Alexander the elf’s family connections thrown in. Never mind, it’s just a little surprise that changes nothing. Far more important is the complementary pork soup (It’s Meat Day!) that just about every patron tries and loves, of course. The customers love everything the chef puts out for them, and rarely do they stray from the foods they eat when they first visit. Lack of imagination there, but I’ll let it slide because this show was about people eating food; everything else, including the equally unimaginative fantasy setting, was secondary. The only other quibble I have is that they could have brought the politics of that world into the restaurant more than they did. I would have liked to see some enemies or rivals share a meal of croquettes or whatever. Sadly, the various customers didn’t often chat up any of the other, strange people there. Well, as I said, it was a nice little show about the pleasures of eating, and it was a pleasant way to spend a half hour.

One more of Aletta, who’s actually happier than she looks.
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Re:Creators 21, Shokudou 11

Re:Creators 21 is almost entirely a conversation between Altair and the Setsuna that Souta created. Apart from a suicide attempt by the latter, stopped by Altair, there is no action. Sounds deadly dull, but in fact the sentimental lines both people give worked well enough that the episode flew by. Altair, quickly realizing that she could never kill even an imitation of Setsuna, and completely at a loss at her very presence, cannot argue with anything Setsuna says, only add counterpoint. Many of the things Setsuna tells her Altair already knows; she knows she gets power from the fanboys out there being the main one. But a lot of the talk is of regret, which Altair had turned to rage.

So no fighting; this is no longer a story about a villain who needs to be defeated, but instead the unification of two lost souls, one being responsible for the creation of the other. Setsuna accepts the rage as natural, and something she could not expressed herself, and she is able to inform Altair that she is a character that made weak people believe in themselves. Maybe if they had met while Setsuna was still alive Altair could have saved her, but of course Setsuna would not have needed saving, so forget I wrote that. In an interesting twist, while jumping to rescue Setsuna, Altair announces that since she has infinite power, she will create her own universe for the two of them. And then there’s Souta, and the tearful irony that he had given everything to make this fictional Setsuna, and wondering that, if doing so, he had caught up to her. He’ll never know, the real Setsuna is dead, but he did create a character that at least one other person loves, even if they’re fictional too.

Isekai Shokudou 11 hints at a disruption of the show’s regular, peaceful structure, as the Red Dragon instructs Kuro to make sure no harm comes to the weak humans who work at the restaurant. Is someone going to cause serious trouble? We hadn’t seen any real conflict after episode one and the argument about the best rice dish almost came to blows. Turns out there is a bit of danger, as two chimera kids innocently wander into the restaurant and start singing a magical song (an out of tune lalala), and so Kuro has to protect the dazed Chef and Aletta by … telling them to stop. So much for that. For me, the most interesting thing is the connection the episode makes to another. The kids found the door on a scary island once patrolled by “The Chimera Killer,” which turns out to be Alphonse when he was stranded on it. The carpaccio and the curry buns looked pretty good, too.

Tsurezure and Abyss 9, Re:Creators 20, Princess P 9

A lot of these kinds of looks in this episode.

Tsurezure Children 9 feels like a letdown though the content is perhaps the purest display of how kids can over-analyze every single thing their prospective sweethearts say and screw up any progress they’ve made, or say the wrong thing and regret it immediately. The best example is the Kanda/Takase scene, where both kids, desperate to get back on track with the other, almost mind-game themselves out of a relationship for good. She thinks he might not like her anymore, while he’s trying to find a way to confess. It’s a miracle they agreed to be friends after all. No wonder the episode was called “Square One.” Meanwhile, Kamine and Gouda, after that kiss, talk themselves out of another one, though they both clearly want to. Takano, the queen of fooling oneself, might slowly be getting it through her thick skull that she likes Takurou, but now HE’S playing mind games on HIMself. Meanwhile, Minagawa, who delights in mind games on other people, has more fun at Jun’s expense, and now I begin to see why he’s hesitating. It’s next to impossible to know when she’s serious. So, basically, no progress is made anywhere, not even Kanda/Takase, and that couple have been the best so far at overcoming their mind games and going for the lips, well, up to now.

You know what this means …

Made in Abyss 9 has all the frights and excitement I thought we would get in the survival training. More or less the first thing that happens, apart from using cute furry things to lure away a madokajack, is encounter the lair of another one. Reg has no choice but to blast it, and you know what that means. Now it’s up to Riko to drag Reg’s body around while she tries to survive without his help. They’re chased by another monster, then fall into the trap of a amakagame and wind up in its stomach! Then they’re chased by cute furry critters because they smell like fruit, because of the amakagame, you see, then, perhaps the worst of all, Riko has to ascend for a while, vomit, hallucinations, and ANOTHER monster at the end! But Reg finally wakes up.

After all that fun the point is made that Riko could not have made it this far without Reg, which we already knew, and Riko already knew. Ironic, then, that this episode is all about Riko doing exactly that, and dragging an unconscious and thus useless Reg with her to boot. For me, it was also satisfying. I had sometimes thought that Reg was doing all the heavy lifting in this journey. I’m very happy to see Riko act brave and resourceful, and survive, on her own.

Well, there’s two episodes left …

Re:Creators 20 had one good thing going for it: we finally got to see Altair taken aback, a couple of times actually. And there’s the long-awaited reappearance of you-know-who (not Mamika), thanks to Souta, and Magane’s illogic. Did you really think she wouldn’t show up somehow? On the other hand, the other parts of the episode were mostly downers. Sure, it looked like creating another version of Altair was going to work, but it was too early in the episode, so you know Altair would come back and make some more boring speeches about her fan-based power and the end of the world as she killed more people off. What’s her bullshit point about heroes all dying, anyway? It doesn’t work like that. … I’m curious as to what Blitz will do at this point. Surely they’ve kept him around because he was a sort-of father figure to Altair. What is he going to add at this point? Also, with two episodes to go, how are they going to pace it? I suspect that we’re in for a lot of long, emotional speeches next week.

Princess Principal 9 gives us a letter from Chise to her big sister back in Japan, and tells her that she’s a spy. Considering her connections and proximity to secret stuff, I’m not sure she should be writing that. Maybe the letter will be sent by private courier. Anyway, we have an amusing series of clash of cultures scenes to begin with, then a confrontation with some asshole, which leads to a duel. Not sure what the point of it all is. We didn’t really learn anything new about Chise. However, I enjoyed the ignorance that both sides have about each other and the scenes where one side refuses to learn anything, as opposed to the scenes where one side tries awkwardly to learn, summed up by that ridiculous dance the other girls do for Chise at the end. Also, that this is a Japanese show, but its one Japanese character is more of a western stereotype.

Re:Creators 19, PP 8, Shokudou 9

Well, actually …

Last week’s Re:Creators was too happy and optimistic for a show that already killed off a popular character, so I figured this week would make up for it in the depressing department. First, Aliceteria goes, after being goaded by Altair, who also makes evil speeches to the audience on the joys of tragedy, I think. Alice’s death is the noble end of a pure knight, I suppose (having not changed or matured at all since she came here). Altair says the same between giggles and smirks. Going out a hero, while seeing things through to the end, is the theme this week. A lot of talk about heroes. Sadly, heroes die a lot.

Bye bye.

The hero talk goes on between Selesia, Charon, her comrade and love interest, with Rui making his presence felt in the argument and the battle. They start by trying to talk Charon into stopping, but it turns out he wants Altair’s way out, because he’s grown tired of fighting, something Matsubara gave him. So the argument turns to what heroes do and don’t do, straightforward, but adding in the complications and the changes this world forces on you. That doesn’t work either. So Selesia makes her decision, and, I suppose, goes out a hero, taking Charon with her. So that’s TWO down, and we don’t really know what happened to Hikayu, though I suspect she’s alive. … Now, I wonder if it’s possible for the creators (of the various characters, not the Re:Creators staff, though they technicall did, er, you know what I mean) to go back and draw up new versions of those who fell. Suruga brought back Blitz’s daughter, didn’t she? More likely, however, it’s Souta’s time at bat.

Princess Principal 8, though technically another stand-alone episode, is given some depth from its unraveling of what the deal is between Ange and Princess, or Charlotte and Princess, or whoever is whom at a given time. It’s hinted at early when Princess asks Ange why she calls her Princess, and then we get the whole story, within a story Ange tells to a little pickpocket girl she befriends while on stakeout (once again, the story this week is just to give the episode something to do while it exhibits the characters). In spite of its retelling for a small girl, it’s so obviously the truth that I can’t figure out why the show didn’t just tell us, but I suppose a straight infodump would be dull. Now that we know what happened, I’ll never be able to figure out if the girl I’m looking at is Princess or Ange, and I suspect I won’t much care. This show is beginning to wear on me.

Sorry about the wait, no that’s Aletta’s line, anyway, Isekai Shokudou 9, while better than last week’s, isn’t up to much. Part one has two dwarves who come in, talk too loudly, and act jolly a lot. Then, to be assholes, they put a metal door over the restaurant door so that no one else can get in. Who cares if the little rest house Guilheim built around the door has attracted travelers? Why can’t they eat delicious food, too. The second story actually introduces some international politics, as Prince Shareef has a crush on Princess Adelheid and is preparing to normalize relations (with her country, not the princess) so he can get a chance to marry her, but that, unlike the various parfaits and soft creme soda treats, is left unfinished at the episode’s end. Wonder if the show will ever get back to it …

Abyss 7, Re:Creators 18, PP 7

Made in Abyss 7, when not giving Riko horrific news, or pounding Reg to shit, is all about Ozen the Immovable, who is so delightfully twisted that when she later is shown to be not quite THAT bad (but bad enough) I was disappointed.

I don’t like the sound of that.

After we get a quick scene of Habo hoping that Ozen doesn’t tell Riko about the vessel, Ozen does exactly that, and we learn something about Riko’s past that made me say “Ohhh shit!” in a way that I haven’t much done since Madoka MagiKa. Instead the concept of being in the Abyss making you become less human and more … well, look at Ozen for example (with concepts of god and death thrown in), returns in a more personal way than before, and we have to wonder, considering the other experiments Ozen tried with the curse-repelling vessel (which is NOT what it does, heh), just how human Riko is.

Don’t like the sound of that, either.

Not to mention Reg, who’s next on Ozen’s torture list, though this time it’s physical rather than emotional. Ozen tells them both that she despises them and is going to kill them. Reg, naturally, fights back and doesn’t get very far, and at one point I thought he had actually died until I remembered he had fired his ray gun. Not that it matters to Ozen the Immovable, who beats him up some more. Throughout all this pain and suffering Ozen seems to be having a wonderful time. Again we have to wonder if Riko is going to wind up as strange as Ozen, though probably not as, er, dark.

As I said, I was a little disappointed by what happened next, Reg waking up and finding other people there with Ozen, the whole unpleasant experience being sort of a test to see if they could survive on lower levels (apart from the punishment Reg got, where Ozen admits she got a little carried away), though the dark lines she mutters throughout made more sense–Ozen was genuinely curious about them. She also admits she lied a little, and she actually gives Riko some good news. By now the mood has lifted a good deal. We watch flashbacks of Ozen and Lyza, then her apprentice, in bright sunlight, the latter not letting Ozen’s appearance or reputation deter her. It’ll get dark again soon, now that Riko and Reg are about to undergo Ozen’s survival training. Heh.

Speaking of “heh” …

I thought that Re:Creators 18 would be an episode where Altair gets the upper hand and everything gets dismal for a while. Instead, nearly the opposite happens. Magane spouts some nonsense at Souta, with an occasional decent line that often reflects whatever scene they cut to next, or maybe it’s coincidence, since much of it has to do with the ability to do anything–cut to Blitz meeting his daughter. Back to Magane/Souta, where the latter admits that he will do just about anything, good or evil, for the sake of … he just doesn’t know. Magane seems to like this answer, or its amorality, and goes off on another verbal bender about making value out of fool’s gold for the sake of fan-approval which Souta rejects, which apparently triggers something we don’t see yet. And Yuya gets his spectre-thing back as well, because it will be more fun. So basically this whole giant event is for the benefit of Magane, I think. And all of that is for the benefit of us, the viewers at home.

I don’t know what Magane is on about now, but it seems to be working.

Anyway, the rest is a series of gratifying scenes. Yuya, Blitz, and, er, Extreme Final Legend Martial Artist Hikayu (and by “gratifying” I didn’t mean her outfit) defeat Shou in comical fashion–Hikayu’s grand entrance was the funniest thing I’ve seen in a while. Then it’s on to Rui, Selesia, and Aliceteria, with some help from Meteora, going up against Altair, remember her? Time to bring out Charon, from Selisia’s world, and now things are more even, but what can he bring? Can he throw Selesia into doubt? I don’t believe it. In fact, I wonder how they’re going to extend things further. Everyone has defected from Altair’s camp except for Charon. Well, as long as everyone in the audience has a good time. If it doesn’t, if they have more time, maybe the characters will resort to a little kayfabe action to entertain them. And we’ve seen that the fangirls would like some hot Yuya/Shou action, maybe with Hikayu watching.

Princess Principal 7 is a major letdown from the cruel ironies stacked atop ep6. In it, the team infiltrate a laundry to track down a lone killer who goes after Commonwealth sympathizers, because he would send his nerve-gas stained clothes to the laundry to clean, right? So the good guys think. I was rather pleased to discover that the killer actually did not do this, and that their discovering his jacket, thus his identity, was an incredible coincidence for the sake of the story. Why he actually wore his military jacket in the first place doesn’t enter into the minds of the killer nor the show’s creators.

But the plot is secondary to what the show wanted to give us–a look at poor women laborers in nineteenth-century London and the appalling conditions they worked in. Of course, the girls buying and reorganizing the laundry to increase efficiency and worker safety wasn’t realistic, but this is a 21st-century anime series, after all. Silly bits aside, they did an okay job with it, with the help of the show’s consistent vision of what London at the time actually looked like, with steampunk trappings. But once again I wonder when they will come up with a long-term story arc, if ever.

Re:Creators 17, Isekai Shokudou 6-7

The Rui/Aliceteria battle was the most colorful.

Re:Creators 17, for the most part, does what we expected it to. Good buys battling bad guys, who may not be so bad, it’s hard to tell sometimes. Shou squares off against Yuya (while fangirls squeal–nice touch), and the latter, after he gets over the surprise of Shou even being there, and even without that spirit-thing, is more than happy to take him on. Not much to say there. Aliceteria goes up against Rui but seems to have something sneaky on her mind, if that’s possible, yet continues fighting even after their brief chat, and again, we don’t know the outcome. Meanwhile, Selesia flings everything she’s got at Altair and none of it works, which makes it dull to watch after a while; it only gives Altair a chance to show that she knows everything that’s going on, give a few evil character talks, with some commentary about audience appreciation thrown in, and vanish for a bit because, happily, there are limits to her power and she can’t break out of the cage, though, if she knows everything, why did she walk into it? Oh, Magane shows up to pester Souta but we cut away before anything interesting happens.

Finally someone tells it like it is.

Stalemates and quick cuts, nothing much happens until the very end, when Blitz confronts his creator Suruga, and we get a very good scene. Suruga is the only creator in the series who happily admits that they create pain for their characters to make the story more interesting, for which I applaud her guts (which we nearly see in the scene). She also befuddles him by saying his lines along with him, and belittles Setsuna for killing herself for things thousands of other artists experience every day. And she also reminds him, by bringing back Blitz’s daughter, who the god around here really is. For once, one of the bad guys is taken aback. And I think I have a new favorite character. How that’s going to work into the main story we don’t know. It seems like the winners will be determined by who makes the fanboys cheer the most, and since Altair is now fanmade, she has the advantage. Maybe a cage match between her and Hikayu …

Fightin’ words.

Isekai Shokudou 6 starts as “A Day at Work with Aletta,” including a shower scene we didn’t really need, but after the guests arrive it veers away from that (and the steamed potato theme) to a long argument about and ode to sandwiches. Every customer we’ve met so far gets into the argument, that basically their favorite food (which have become their nicknames) makes the best sandwich, and they all give impassioned speeches about them. It gets rather dull, and I was disappointed because we never actually see any of the sandwiches they talk about. Then it’s back to that potato, a common poverty food, and how it can be made to be delicious. I’ve never tried steaming one before. Must remember to pick a couple up at Albis the next time I go.

What I can’t figure out about episode 7 is, if Alphonse Flugel had spotted a countryman eating in the restaurant, why didn’t he tell him he had been marooned? He didn’t have to sit on that island for twenty years … And if he was afraid he wouldn’t see the door again, surely the other man’s presence should have reassured him that there was more than one. Speaking of doors, one of them appears in outer space, crashing into an asteroid or something. It makes you wonder who sent it there. Also, some interesting backstory about the dragons, and we finally meet our newest worker, Kuro, dragon of death, who will apparently work for chicken curry.

Episode dump: PP, Re:Creators, Isekai Shokudou

Princess Principal 2, a flashback episode, brought out a weakness, in me, not the show. I get lost in espionage shows a lot because I am too lazy to remember just who is siding with whom, who is only pretending to, and who’s double-crossing who at any given time. Thus, the final scene where the Princess and Ange reveal (to us, not the other characters), that they’d been trolling everybody all along made my slothlike mind shut down for a bit. Still, it’s fun to think that Ange is helping Princess get to the throne by pretending to be caught and then blackmailed. It’s also fun to discover that Princess is a lot more crafty than she looks.

 

Episode 3 is more loading up of characters we knew would be together after we saw episode 1 anyway, but I suppose it’s a good way to establish some backstory for everybody. Ange and Princess’s past are now old news, so we turn to Beatrice, Princess’s loud and rather worrisome lady-in-waiting, or whatever she is. She is still shocked that she’s among spies, and even more so that her beloved Princess is hanging out with them. But she somehow goes with Ange to steal back some banknote plates that are on an airship, and what do you know, they bond a little, surprise surprise. An even bigger surprise is that she can throw her voice, or anyone’s.

Beatrice’s reasons for finally helping still aren’t clear. She goes along with it because is she gets caught it’s major trouble for Princess (she could admit that she was spy herself and was betraying her, but I suppose you need one character in the show who’s lousy at lying), but she must still believe that the spies are going to do the princess in and replace her with Ange. Oh well, fun to watch, but I’ll be happy when they’re done with the team-building and get with a good storyline.

Not sure why most of the PP pics here are of Beatrice …

As for episode 4, I have very little to say about it except to note that the suspicions that the girls and their higher-ups have on each other is now almost as interesting as the caper of the week, this one involving, I think the theft of a mass-producible cavorite thing, fun enough, I suppose, with the steampunk trappings and the fact that the girls can sneak around just about anywhere. Meanwhile, they have Chise on their team now but they don’t want to use her, and HER side isn’t sure who to side with. Princess has a lot on her plate, since she’s a spy, has a possible marriage, and the fact that some people suspect she’s a double agent. And they pick a name for themselves, even though they probably shouldn’t.

Fight-O! … next week.

Re:Creators 16, oh dear, they just go on and on. On the other hand, they were close to finalizing the birdcage thing last week and I wondered if there woul be several episodes of meandering, but no, it’s going to go up next week, which is fine with me. However, if they had done away with all the pep talks and “Are you ready?” business, not to mention the fanservice from both genders at the onsen, they could have done it THIS week. Well, it’s started now, more or less, with Meteora having a secret plan (and an ability to conjure things on her own, like Selesia’s mecha) and Altair sticking to her “I knew they were going to do that” lines. And next week we have no idea what is going to happen (I barely understand what they’re trying to do …), and what will happen after the big event. That’s an excellent situation for a show to be in, I just wish they would get around to it.

The triumphant return of the hero.

Isekai Shokudou 4 we meet two more of the up to now unmamed customers, first, Gaganpo, the lizardman. Turns out he’s the big hero of his tribe and so has won his opportunity to open the mysterious door (he returns with takeout for his village). The first time we’ve seen the door in a public area. We also get sexy lizard scenes, and a narrator who makes it all seem like an anthropological documentary, were it not for the omlette rice. Then there’s the elf-girl Fardania, the first customer to have dietary restrictions, who nevertheless swoons over the tofu steak.

And in episode 5 we meet the lion-guy, named, sadly, Lionel. He was thrown in jail for doing nasty things in another country and wound up being a gladiator, and there’s no way he can lose after his five bowls of Katsudon! Rowr! Next, the half-elf Victoria, who will not be fully accepted in society, so chose sorcery instead, excellent choice. She likes pudding. An odd moment when she and Fardania walk right by each other without either of them thinking “Hey, another elf!” Okay, she’s half-elf but she’s got the ears. Up to now we’ve seen only one example of each species in the restaurant. Maybe 1.5 is all the dimensional gate can handle.