Knights of Sidonia 2 finale

Compared to last week, or last season’s finale, Knights of Sidonia: Battle for Planet Nine is a little more subdued.

But then, when you open with a killer alien who’s invaded your spacecraft via tentacles and taken on the form of the girl you loved and it killed and absorbed, naked, and about to kiss you, you got a pretty good episode right there.  Especially since, as I said last week, the scene had used up all its rescuers; who was going to get Nagate out of this?  But I was wrong.  Izana gets a tentacle of her own into the power supply and, er, does something, I’m not sure what, something about cutting off a head.  Whatever it was, Benisuzume was not pleased, and it gave Nagate a chance to use his knife again.  Wonder if we’ll see Benisuzume again?

Here comes the cavalry.
Here comes the cavalry.

That was a good moment, though I was certain that Beni had managed to slip something via her tentacles into Nagate’s mouth, leading to a John Hurt in Alien moment, but it didn’t happen.  Well, not yet.  Instead, as sort of a final topper for the show’s excellent battle scenes, we get about 100 gauna descending on Nagate, standing defiantly with his knife in one hand and the unconscious fair maiden Tsumugi in the other–and then the cavalry comes in the form of more gardes and blast the shit out of everything.  At least the show had the decency to somewhat explain its deus ex machina, and to put a cruel spin on it: Nagate and Tsumugi were bait to draw out the enemy.
After that it was just wrapping up, well, the naked girl in Nagate’s cockpit notwithstanding.  We don’t see Tsumugi again, but we can assume she’s okay.  Nagate gets a medal, Lala the bear confronts Kobayashi about using Nagate, Ichiai/Norio are going to do fun things with the bits of Beni that Nagate brought back with him.  And finally, a touching scene where Nagate visits his childhood home to pay respects to his grandfather.  But no mention of a season three.  Well, I hope they make one.  When this show’s not wasting time with harems involving a gender-neutral, a clone or two or six, an alien tentacle, and even a couple regular girs, it’s the best show running.  They didn’t fix the cgi problems but frankly I think overall everything looks better now.  And it maintained its alien look and feel.  Really it felt like what it was, the second season of an excellent series, marred by stuff in the middle, so I have nothing to add that I didn’t say last time, except to ask if or when season three is coming.

One more of Izana, with one of her more common expressions, not that I blame her ...
One more of Izana, with one of her more common expressions, not that I blame her …

Sidonia and BBB 11, DanMachi 12

Knights of Sidonia 11 …  Damn, I wish the entire series was as good as this episode.
When KoS does a big battle scene it is always fantastic: fast, fluid action with terrifying moments, aided by the amazing art and soundtrack.  And at this episode’s conclusion, you wonder how the hell Nagate is going to get out of this one, with Benisuzume, or what’s left of her, squirting tentacles into his gardes and forming into what has to be Shizuka, sitting on his lap.  Before, what was going on with Izana and Tsumugi, you had the feeling that it would be all right because Nagate was still around, but who’s going to help him now?
Well, someone had better, because he spent most of his screentime this episode being resourceful and heroic.  First there was Izana and that guy (after a strange and pointless talk by him about discovering alien worlds–how do you like it now?) being chased around by that giant who looked like Attack on Titan thing crossed with a gauna, until the ledge is cut off and they’re falling–and Nagate catches up to then.  It’s a bit of a shame that Izana didn’t have more to do in her side-story except survive, not that survival doesn’t require any less skill and bravery than skewering gauna does.  I was hoping that they’d have let her make more of a difference.  One more thought: I knew that little ceremonial sword those pilots got would come in handy …
For making a difference you have to look at the two main battles, Tsumugi and Benisuzume and Nagate and lot of gauna.  The first one was great to look at for a while but got a little stale because it was basically a red dot and a pink one flying around and crashing into each other.  We also had Norio/Ochiai smirking about how Tsumugi was the more advanced model, and he’s not wrong a lot.  So it came as little surprise when Tsumugi got the upper hand.  Unfortunately, Benisuzume has more guile than Tsumugi, and soon I was wondering if this was the last we’d see of her.  As for Nagate, he pulls Izana and the guy out of danger, fights off a couple dozen gauna, and then rushes over to stop Benisuzume just in time.  But again, NOW what’s going to happen?  Great episode.
Kekki Sensen 11 is a quieter episode, but still an amusing one, at least until the end.  Much of it was White, or Mary MacBeth, telling the story of her and Black, er, Will as children.  White is born without psychic powers in spite of her parents being casters.  The parents love her anyway, and so does Black, who has powers to spare but has decided not to use them.  This infuriates White (and me too, since he gets bullied a lot).  Still the siblings are close and always work out their difficulties.  And there’s some business with a camera.
Naturally it gets darker, so at the end she captures and “blinds” Leo, and Black takes him away and starts a new armageddon, or something.  More unpleasant stuff follows … but I sort of wonder if White is actually dead or not.  I also don’t get the idea that she has no heart but instead a shield inside to protect her (the shield acting up is what I assume to be the reason she lives in the hospital), and besides, characters who are supposedly powerless quite often have a lot of power.  As for her looking at pictures in Leo’s camera, maybe that triggered the change of heart in her.  Like Will once photographed Mary, Leo photographed White.  Well, next week, look for a lot of things blowing up.  Two more questions: what about Leo’s eyes?  They didn’t just pluck them out like I thought they would.  And why did the kids get the nicknames “White” and “Black?”

About time a god started glowing around here.
About time a god started glowing around here.

DanMachi 12 almost feels like a side story.  They’re still down in that lovely, peaceful 18th level where the trees are lush and the goods hopelessly overpriced.  And for it while it remains placid, just a peeping at bathing girls scene and some backstory from Ryou, and then some adventurers who are jealous of Bell’s rapid rise decide to ruin the fun by kidnapping Hestia and challenging Bell to a duel, and turns invisible and beats the crap out of him, until Bell makes the inevitable comeback.  Hermes set this up in order to teach Bell that there are some unpleasant people out there (he also set up the peeping–probably trying to teach Bell something else).  I suspect the show was also trying to teach us the viewer about the unpleasant people, useless because we’ve seen them since episode one.  It gets ridiculous when Hestia uses her powers, as if she couldn’t use them before, and then that big skull shows up, the episode ends, and I’m scratching my head.

Sidonia 10, DanMachi 11, Teekyuu 46-47, and BBB 10.5, if that matters

Normally I write up my comments for a show within minutes of watching it, or an hour, but I watched Knights of Sidonia 10 two days ago.  You’d think this would mean a more thoughtful review, but it probably means I’ve forgotten most of it, in spite of the 78 screenshots that are cluttering up my desktop.
First, the episode is a welcome return to the danger and fighting.  Second, they’re doing a couple new things, not least that Izana is having an adventure of her own, well, with that other guy.  Izana’s hasn’t had a hell of a lot to do in the series apart from going into battle and not being the focus, except when she was injured and Tsumugi rescued her, or being a ticketholder in the Nagate harem sweepstakes. But now she’s fallen into the atmosphere of that planet and has had to use her brains to get herself out of danger from the gauna by jettisoning her fuel cells, estimating that she had enough power to coast down.  And I say it’s about time we got to see Izana use her wits and guile for a change.

Sometimes this episode reminded me of Roger Dean
Sometimes this episode reminded me of Roger Dean …
... and other times of The Road Runner.
… and other times of The Road Runner.

Also, this is the first time we’ve not had a battle in inky space but in a place with an atmosphere.  I frankly wasn’t tired of the space battling and I’m sure we’ll see more, but it was a refreshing change.  That the little floating mountains made me want to put on Yessongs was a bonus for me.  I’m looking forward to watching gardes and gauna duking it out while flying around those rocks.  Or, like Nagate, landing on them.  Ouch.  I don’t care how new his armor was, I don’t see anyone coming out of a fall like that alive.

Oh, damn, she's not dead.
Oh, damn, she’s not dead.

Let’s see, there was also Kobayashi’s cryptic decision not to rescue Izana and that other guy, well, until Norio/Ochiai gave her a reason–to test a new thing.  I wonder if it’s because she has confidence that Izana could survive, or maybe that she was expendable.  I personally think Kobayashi’s getting scarier by the episode.  And finally we have the return of our old friend Benisuzume (with the scariest music the soundtrack has come up with yet) … Damn, I thought they had killed her off last season.  Not only is she a Sidonian nightmare, but we have the odd moment of Tsumugi just racing up to attack her.  Strange behavior if you take into account that Benisuzume could technically be called her mother.  Either Tsumugi doesn’t know the history or her own origins, or she knows them all too well and attacks her in a blind rage.  Hard to tell at this point.  Still, it’s all a good introduction to the next arc, and I can finally say it’s a pleasure to watch this series again.
Kekkai Sensen 10.5 or whatever is a catchup episode, so nothing new.  But, this show being what it is, it was fun to watch anyway.

The horrors of dungeon-crawling.
The horrors of dungeon-crawling.

DanMachi 11’s dungeon crisis is a little disappointing.  It starts out okay, with the rescue team showing off their abilities while the gods and goddesses just stand around … great job, being a god, hun?  Meanwhile Bell struggles with all of his might, dragging his unconscious friends down tunnels, encountering that goliath (who looked like he lived in AttackonTitanland and took a wrong turn) and barely escaping by jumping down a hole into utter darkness.  I was looking forward to a taste of a goliath fight, so I was disappointed in that.  Then level 18 where they’re rescued, Bell picks up a couple more female admirers, and that whole “you just ran off!” business is settled, because the rescue squad shows up too.  And no one in Aiz’s group shows a bit of surprise when the gods show up where they’re forbidden.  Unfortunately, next week it appears we’ll have to deal with some of Welk’s issues.
Teekyuu! 46 has Marimo and the alien girl visiting an electronics store.  The alien girl gets mind-controlled by, er, an alien.  An excellent 3.10 SPG.  Episode 47 isn’t as successful: SPG of 3.6, and there was even a split-second pause!  Show, what’s wrong with you?!?!

Sidonia and Nisekoi 9, BBB and DanMachi 10

In Knights of Sidonia 2 9, something finally happens.

No, not that.
No, not that.

Okay, it takes a while.  First we have Nagate and Izana off on their romantic visit to the Thousand Year Village, with its cherry blossoms, zero-gravity hot spring, Nagate’s thickness, and Izana’s growing frustration, which causes her to fling him and herself into the lovely giant window shielding them from the vacuum of space.  But Yuhata and Tsumugi are somehow peering in, i.e., the show is in full romcom mode so nothing much happens except for some blushing afterward.

Uh, guys, I think that's a gauna ...
Uh, guys, I think that’s a gauna …

Thankfully we get back to more pressing matters after that.  They’re close enough to planet nine to send out recons with that armor thing protecting them, and we get an interesting scene where … was that Samari … spits out bile at Nagate because he’s not going out with them.  I often wonder how the other pilots react to Nagate’s status.  Also, Izana is herself going, replacing a pilot who deserted (another useful look at Gardes morale).  And guess what?  She sees a gauna, before anyone else does, even the sensors, interesting in itself but that can wait, because this gauna is as nasty and full of tricks as all the others, but it’s to be continued yet again.  Damn, if they had cut back on the harem antics we could have gotten this battle already.

Kekkai Sensen 10 promises a big fight, but sort of weasels its way out of it.

Oboyoboyoboy a big fight! ... Huh, what?
Oboyoboyoboy a big fight! … Huh, what?

It’s really a dirty trick.  I mean, we get the makings of a fight between the good guys and the Thousand Regioka Brothers, in Chinese battle suits, but the show decides to get stylish again and so us why Leo was crying over the burger and spaghetti being plunked down in front of him at the diner, basically a tour of the weird and disgusting restaurants in NYC.  Sure it’s fun, both for the extreme meals and the trios’ reactions to them–I especially enjoyed Leo’s hallucinatory encounter with the God of Chow, but all the while I was hoping to get back to the big fight they were promising.  Sigh.  So all we get out of the non-adventure is a little more background on Black, or whoever’s inside him, apparently a caster of high reputation, not that it matters.  And as far as the overall story goes, White tells Leo she wants his eyes.  We don’t get to see his reaction, for a more ordinary type of messing with the viewer than the show usually employs–the episode ends.  Next weeks seems to be a recap, too.  Damn.

(I can't resist)  Run away!  Run away!
(I can’t resist) Run away! Run away!

DanMachi 10 has Bell (now level 2), Werf, and Lili traipsing merrily into the middle floors, where things get very nasty for them.  Nasty enough that Hestia organizes a rescue party and is prepared to break the rules and go in herself.  I wonder if that would make Bell happy, to get rescued again.  Well they haven’t found them yet, and I hope that the moment1t the rescue team gets too far they encounter Bell’s team happily limping their way up with no need for rescue.  Probably won’t happen.  Hestia spent too much time making a team for such an anticlimax.

What could possibly be worse than a minotaur?
What could possibly be worse than a minotaur?

Meanwhile, while we and Bell have been told how nasty the middle floors can be, I wonder if Freya has a hand in this.  Maybe not.  Ouka’s group had just as much trouble.  Maybe the floors are really this bad.  If so, maybe everyone should have prepped a little more, or made a larger team.  It makes you wonder how earlier adventurers survived it.  On the other hand, I hope she interferes now.  It sort of bugs me to see Hestia and Hermes going into a place where gods aren’t allowed.  It would be funny if the gods proved to be completely useless at this and need rescuing themselves.

Nisekoi 9 is in two pieces.  In the first half, Raku is forced to clean the school pool and calls upon Chitoge and Chu, and naturally everyone else shows up too, all wearing cute swimsuits.  And we meet Fuu, a friend of Haru’s and another new girl for the harem, but after introducing her the story completely forgets she’s there and goes on the usual pool-cleaning comedy bits like slipping on the slimy floor and splashing each other with hoses while Paula hangs back and pretends she’s too cool for them.  … and that’s about it.  In part two Onodera is sick, Raku is sent to take care of her, and naturally Haru is there to display her jealous rage, until SHE turns out sick, too.  Apart from Raku getting the locket back (remember the locket?), nothing much happens in the second half either.  I like Haru’s jealous rages, but it’s time the show moved on to other things …

BBB 9, Nisekoi 2 and Sidonia 8

In Kekkai Sensen, we finally learn that White, not to mention Black, is up to.  It really comes down to one line.

Okay, I should have figured it out already, that whatever story arc they come up with will be some baddie or other going for Leo’s eyes.  Maybe because others had already made the attempt (and failed) that I stopped thinking about it and figured it would be something bigger, like the destruction of NYC or Hellzapoppin or whatever they call it now.  Well getting the eyes could lead to that.  It’s a good setup because White is conflicted about it.  She’s devoted to her brother (with good reason), but she likes Leo, and there’s her father’s line about stopping Leo when he does something bad.  So I guess there’s the second side to the story, driving the demon out of Black.  And also taking care of White.  Why did she collapse in the station, anyway?

Monster of the week.
Monster of the week.

That happens later.  First off we get another confusing but fun battle to deal with, and the introduction of a new character, Zed, shoved into Libra’s ranks by that old master like the old guy was tired of him.  This time Libra battles another of those supreme vampires or whatever they are, winning after some effort but not as much as you’d expect, because they’ve become a good team, as the master says before fobbing Zed off on them.  Still, I think the monsters ought to be a bit more formidable sometimes.  But who cares?  It looks great.

For Nisekoi 2 8, at least the first half, it looks like Shaft got tired of the main story and decided to have a little fun.

Mind you, this isn’t a straight up Madoka parody, though it has it’s moment, like Rurin (who doesn’t actually look like Kubey at all) explaining the negative parts of magicalgirlness (girlity?) after Madok–, er, Onodera signs the contract, and her frilly undergarments.

... and other things.
… and other things.

Rather, they’re just having a little fun at the genre’s expense.  There are plenty of MG parodies out there but this one holds up pretty well.  I especially liked Chitoge’s reaction to her transformed outfit, compared to Tsumugi’s.  Of course, this being Shaft, there’s transformation fanservice (and the enemy’s clothes-rending attack) every few seconds.  But being Shaft also has advantages.  The scenes’ visuals are incredible, and they have Madoka overtones throughout.  So it had a visual resonance for most of us.  Some of the jokes are good, too.

Alas, it was only half of the episode.  In the second half, Raku goes to help Onodera’s mom at their sweet shop again and is stuck in the kitchen with Haru for most of the scene, leading to the inevitable “I hate him … oh, he’s kind of nice in some ways … what am I saying?  I HATE HIM!” bits.  Though, perhaps inspired by their work in the first half, Shaft’s visuals seemed even more wild and vivid.  Or maybe it’s just me.  Anyway, it rescued the scene, as Shaft’s production work so often has with this series.

Judging from Knights of Sidonia‘s teaser last week, I thought for sure we were in for a return of the good Sidonia, with intrigue and thrilling battles, and not the harem antics we’ve had for the previous two episodes.

Typical harem lead line.
Typical harem lead line.

The closest thing we get to intrigue is Yure talking to Sasaki about the explosion and how it’s was her fault (debatable), and there was a movie-within-a-show scene that was supposed to fool us, but instead winding up frustrating me because it looked more fun than what the episode actually gave us, which was Yuhata adding to the harem by moving in unannounced, Yure forcing Izana to wear a sexy outfit then stranding her so she could naturally run into poor, oblivious Nagate, and then Yuhata spotting them and following them to figure out who that tramp was walking around with Nagate.  And there was Yure conning Nagate (and this bit was actually funny, though I can’t believe Nagate is stupid enough to believe it) to go investigate an old park, basically set them up on a date, while Yuhata and Tsumugi’s tentacle listen in, and … Damn it, how long until Sidonia reaches that solar system anyway?

BBB 8, Sidonia and Nisekoi 7

Kekkai Sensen 8 gets some of its energy back this week, even though the episode (and the next, apparently) all have to do with Zapp.  Well, actually, that’s not true.  We spend some time with Leo and Black early on, the latter so acting like a nice guy that I wonder if he really is, and later we learn that there’s a split personality going on here.  Also Black and White say that they’re two pieces of the same thing, which makes me even more confused.  I wonder if White is split in two like the person who’s part of the same thing she is, er, is.  Never mind, it’s more teaser for the future.
Back to Zapp and his wasted life.  He and we indulge a bit in that before we finally get the first decent battle we’ve seen in a while, where some kind of monster is battling another, and one of them is actually a highly-developed master of the blood-discipline, and wants Zapp to train with him, and when he says no, seals him into a blood-bubble with the other monster.  It plays out in an amusing way, playing to Zapp’s lusts and not the purifying discipline you’d expect from this blood master.  But it works.  And next week we get more of Zapp, though by now I’m a lot more interested in the main arc with Black and White.  Well, if there’s a good battle I won’t care much either way.

Knights of Sidonia also breaks out of its slump with a good first half, but it falls back into harem antics after that, until we’re teased with what should be the big story arc.
But back to good part first.  The tentacles keep growing and then prevent Numi from disconnecting the monster from its Higgs-whatever supply.  I’ll add that the brand new glowing red beastie growing a new weapon was one of the scariest moments in the second season, mainly because we didn’t know where it was pointing.  The growing alarm onboard the Sidonia with the gravity going wonky, and Yuhata’s frustration because the classified nature of the experiment gone out of control made it hard for her to sortie the Gardes.  But it’s settle, abruptly, when something cut it off and it went poof.  Even that was scary because I expected it to appear again, somewhere else.  And maybe scariest of all is Kobayashi’s decision to keep the experiments going.  I thought it was a good thing when she killed off those immortal guys, but now I’m not so sure …
But it’s all covered up and the main characters have nothing better to do than to try to get Nagate’s attention.  Izana turns into a girl at an embarrassing moment.  That one pilot (Samari?) asks him out, talks about her growing fears about the big fighting coming up and propositions him with about the sexiest line a Sidonia girl can muster before learning that Nagate’s kind of an idiot, but that’s okay because she got to Nagate before En Honoka could–oh, yes, we’re allowed to ogle the Honoka sisters again.  You know, I have nothing against harem series in general, and I don’t mind bits of it even in Sidonia, but it’s been three episodes with only a few scenes of importance, and the rest of it clones, gender-free people, and an artificially-produced alien hybrid all trying to make it with Nagate.

Haru's high school career is off to a rousing start.
Haru’s high school career is off to a rousing start.

Nisekoi 2 7 also pulls the show out of its slump, in fact, they really ought to have begun the new season with this episode, never mind what that would have done to the Paula McCoy continuity.  We meet Haru, a first-year on her first day, rescued from thugs by a brave fellow student whose face she didn’t see (guess who), and who is determined to meet him again and to warn another student, a villain named Raku Ichijo, to stay away from her big sister Onodera.  Just the sort of thing you’d expect from this series, but it’s the first time all season we’ve had the level of playful confusion the show is capable of.  The scene where they officially meet and she freaks out gets fresh energy every time another member of Raku’s harem shows up, and of course they all do (except Tsumugi, but they were saving her for a big belly-laugh at the end).  It’s all Haru building on her own fear and hate while each girl wonders what she’s on about and Raku gets understandably more nervous.  I expect things will get back to normal next week, but it’s nice to see the show rise above its doldrums once in a while.

The big shows fall short again, and Nasuno desu 6

There are two big shows right now, Sidonia and BBB, but for the second week in a row they don’t add up to much.  Maybe they’re developing their big stories or they’re just dithering.  Right now it seems like the latter.

Which means you’re perfect for Nagate’s harem!

Knights of Sidonia 2 6, after a peaceful episode where nothing much happens, has an episode which even less happens until the end, where we can see where the story is going to go.  Stupid Oiachi/Kunato and stupid Gauna!  Before that, the show again stooped to bad high school comedy levels when Nagato falls on top of Izana with a hand you-know-where, though since Izana is neither male of female I don’t know why it matters so much.  Also, he moves into fancy new digs and has Izana move in with him, innocently of course, and Tsumugi’s cute tentacle sort of moves in as well and asks to sleep with Nagate.  Yep, quite a harem situation we got going here.  Might as well invite some of the Honoka sisters as well, though being female humans they might not fit in.  Anyway, when they test the graviton beam emitter and we see those tentacles snaking down the cables, I sighed in relief in spite of the threat, or maybe because of it.

Klaus beats up a lot of these guys and it gets a little boring.
Klaus beats up a lot of these guys and it gets a little boring.

With Kekkai Sensen 7 we’re still waiting for the main story arc to really start.  Maybe it has, with Black, White’s brother, befriending Leo, and Leo thinking that this kid isn’t so bad after all, only to learn at the end that Black is indeed one of the Thirteen.  But nothing really happens beyond that.  I wonder if Black actually likes Leo.  He seems to like Leo as White’s friend, and I’m sure they’ll play up that angle eventually.  He’s probably just going to go for Leo’s eye and try hard not to kill him, out of friendship and respect.  As for the rest of the episode, Zapp gets in trouble and Klaus has enter a bare-knuckle boxing ring and beat a bunch of guys, while we hear bullshit speeches about man’s lust for pure fighting.  Not terribly interesting.  Let’s get to the main arc, people, before the show loses its momentum.

Meet Ayano, Nasuno's mom, and a sewage spirit or something.
Meet Ayano, Nasuno’s mom, and a sewage spirit or something.

Even Takamiya Nasuno Desu! is a bit off this week, with a weak SPG of 4.1.  I guess they spent too many seconds introducing Ayano, the sewer spirit who’s Nasuno’s mom.  It’s development time all around for ALL the season’s masterpieces.