WIXOSS finale, Shirobako 11

A few episodes ago, when things were only a little incoherent.
A few episodes ago, when things were only a little incoherent.

Three weeks ago I up my hands at selector spread WIXOSS. I no longer knew who was what person, or what their motives are. The last straw was episode 9 or 10, after Iona defeated Akira and, became herself again, is that right? Which means that, among other things, the Lrig they’ve all been calling Iona should have another name, or she should go to being called Lrig again, oh wait, that’s not right. So Ruu calls her Yuki. Meanwhile, Tama refused to change with Iona, if that’s who she is, and so gets stuck in a cage by Mayu, which she doesn’t like but I did, because at least I knew who and where she was. And can you imagine Tama’s personality in Iona’s body? Elsewhere, Akira is still insane, and, what else, oh, Chiyori was mercifully beaten and gets to be left out of the bullshit from now on. Lucky her.

I thought it was "Mayu" ... You need a scorecard for this show.
I thought it was “Mayu” … You need a scorecard for this show.

I wrote the above after watching whatever episode it was (this show is so confounding I’ve even lost track of the episode numbers). And I meant to keep up, but got caught in the big snows in the north and was away from my files, and the dog ate my homework. But I’ve finally watched the last episodes tonight, where, let’s see. Tama was still trapped in that pit, only there was a door all along. She shows up just in time for the Mayu/Ruu showdown, where Mayu cheats and tries to make Iona, er, Yuki fade away, and so Ruu sort of combines them into one Lrig, and she calls her Mayu, their opponent’s name, because things weren’t confusing enough. All this time everyone except that one nasty Lrig has been trying to get through to the first Mayu, to get her to drop this stupid game and come out into the real world, but, well, she’s dead, so everything falls apart, but Ruu’s wish to get every lrig into their original body was granted (with a speech and imagery that screams Madoka), by whoever grants things in this show, and so everyone’s happy except the nasty Lrig, who died or something. Oh, the first Mayu turns into butterflies.

And everything finally goes to hell ...
And everything finally goes to hell …

The only thing that interested me was the fact that Mayu (the original one) was an actual girl locked up in a building tucked away in an estate, though we get no other information than that. What gave her the power to make this mess? Her imagination? I like to think so: a socially deprivated girl developed powers that gave her the power to mess with people she could never meet herself. Otherwise, meh. I kept watching because I rather liked the characters, and the imagery and other visuals could be breathtaking, but the show had long ago fallen apart like the white room does in the end. A shame, because the series began so well. It patiently put the situation together without telling us too much too soon, but it lost control after we learned about the Lrig-switching, and the problems snowballed from there. Well, as I said, pretty to look at.


One of the things I like about Shirobako is that it’s an adult show. I don’t mean adults-only, I mean that the characters are all adults, mostly, and the crises are those of adult professionals. No life-or-death situations, instead, the crises are things that confront many people while they go through their jobs and their lives. At the same time, there’s an edge to these lives we’re watching because they work in an artistic field that is demanding, stressful, and often their reputations are on the line, but they’re also passionate about their work and proud of it; each episode is a new obstacle to conquer but also an opportunity to create something wonderful. So this week’s struggle is something mundane but important: Aoi must find more animators to draw the key frames for the all-important final episode.

A flashback to the job interview hell days.
A flashback to the job interview hell days.

We basically watch her trying to do just that. She doesn’t meet with much success, but we figured she wouldn’t, at least not this episode, because it’s really the beginning of a story arc. What’s fun is in the searching. She hits up everyone she can think of, fantasizes “the little match girl,” while little parodies of real studios appear. At the end she’s jokingly directed to Mitsuaki Kanno, the director of “Neon Generation Avangaldon,” meaning we could be in for a treat next week. When we’re not enjoying all this (though I frankly didn’t get most of the references), we get another side of Aoi’s professional life when she’s asked to sit in on interviews the studio is having, which brings back her own painful interview experiences, and there’s the line that baseball guy says, about how “I’ll do anything” basically means “I don’t know what I want to do,” which I especially liked. How long does Aoi want to keep doing this?

Twos and threes: Wixoss, Vanadis

Now that I’ve finished all the episode ones I planned to watch, it’s time to catch up with episode twos … and threes, oh boy …

We’ll start with selector spread WIXOSS, that happiest of shows, with its messed up situation, which in episode two, somehow, they manage to make even MORE messed up. I had hoped last season that the show had not forgotten about Akira, with her rage and button pushing, and I’m happy to report that she’s back and nastier than ever. HOW she got that way is the twisted part. Iona is Ruuko’s Lrig, leaving Iona’s body open to Iona’s old Lrig, Ulith, and she’s in love with Akira. And she gets Akira to fall for her, too. So the woman who saves Akira from despair is in the body of a woman whom she despises.

Speaking of twisted ...
Speaking of twisted …

Not that Akira minds; she’s got someone to love now, a good makeup artist, the only thing missing is that sheer rage, and it seems that Ulith is in love with THAT, not with Akira herself. So to stay in the good graces of the one she loves, she’s got to get her hate on. All this is much more interesting than what’s going on with Ruuko, who makes no progress on her own but nearly uses a battle to the fired-up Akira, mainly because she doesn’t have any motivation, really, and has, with Iona, an Lrig who second-guesses her strategy. Just what she needs. Anyway, that’s episode two.

No, this is not Madoka Magica, it's not even Shaft.  Why do you ask?
No, this is not Madoka Magica, it’s not even Shaft. Why do you ask?

In episode three they find another twist, and we gain a little more information about that over-saturated whitespace, where we now find Tama weeping. The mysterious Mayu appears and tries to convince Tama that Ruuko was a big liar, but Tama isn’t buying it. And then we see Mayu’s big flaw: she’s afraid of being alone there. But she agrees to send Tama back with a “You’ll be sorry!” line. And she probably is, and so is Ruuko. I had expected the two of them to meet again farther along in the series, but I suppose the show will take every opportunity to twist that knife. But the best scene is where Hitoe and Yuzuki scold Ruuko for fighting Akira alone, while Iona the Lrig fumes that the girls are misleading her. It hits me that so few of the characters are acting out of malice, at least now. Akira is fighting for Ulith’s sake, really. Iona honestly lusts for battle and believes that Ruuko does too if those meddling friends would shut up. Only Ulrith seems to be purely malicious, and I suspect we’ll get to the bottom of that soon enough.


Now, catching up with Madan no Ou to Vanadis, a name that means nothing to me in the blur of first episode watching, unless you add “that show about the young lord who is captured by the enemy commanded by hot warrior babes who treat him a lot better than his lousy kingdom ever did,” and then I’m a little more interested. In the second and third episodes Vorn talks Elen into borrowing her army to defeat his old country because they’re about to pillage his piece of land. Elen admires his hubris, and probably other things, while Vorn just wants to defend his home now. Meanwhile, Alsace is overrun by bad knights and the loser commander Zion is about to assault innocent little Titta the maid, when the good guys show up.

That's one down ...
That’s one down …

And it leads to battle strategies described by a narrator, some not-great action scenes, and wonderment (on my part) why Zion didn’t just bring in his two dragons in the first place. Okay, one gets killed by Elen’s windy sword, but then he just uses the more formidable one to make his getaway, or tried to, anyway, as it turns out that Elen’s magic sword is as interested in Vorn’s now-magic bow as Elen is in Vorn. I must say, it’s a shame when trained animals get killed in a human battle, and you don’t see too many dragons around. A shame they both had to go like that. Yes, it’s all pretty silly, and I’ll wait a bit to see if I want to keep watching or cut it off here at this convenient story arc break.

New 2014 Fall #1

Once again I’ll start each show by posting the first comprehensible image from each show. I don’t really know WHY I do this, but it’s tradition.

Here we go!

It's hard to tell, but that's money.
It’s hard to tell, but that’s money.

An interesting start to Terraformars. We watch the world’s wealthy watch a fighter named Akari who’s trying to raise cash for his sick girlfriend and has to wrassle agiant, flesh-eatin’ bear to do it. But it turns out that this isn’t a story about rich and poor, but about finding a cure for the virus that kills the girlfriend on Mars, which is overrun with mutant cockroaches which we put there a long time ago. So after Akari kills that bear he joins the expedition to mars and we meet some of his new comrades, the usual episode one stuff.

Our hero.
Our hero.

Terraformars actually started a week or so ago, and episode two just came out, but I don’t know if I’ll get that far with this show. It looks good. Hamasaki Hiroshi is the director and it has a similar style and visual feel as Steins;Gate, at least early on, but the more I think about it the more mundane the show gets. It loses steam when we start meeting new characters, clownish boys, sympathetic, mysterious girls, and the positives I mentioned before can’t cover that up a weak story forever. There’s nothing much to Akari apart from rage and befuddlement when he can’t use it. I’ll give it another episode. Oh, gee, it’s already out, but there are too many other shows I have to check out first.

A lovely day in Akihabara.
A lovely day in Akihabara.

Denki-gai no Honya-san is a sort of Working!! in a Akihabara bookstore, and it looks like it might have the same problems that series did with getting the characters set up and having them bounce off each other and the customers. We follow Hiotan, a fairly new employee, as she encounters the fearsome “Ero manga G-man,” who turns out to be okay, and the benign oddballs she works with, like, er, that guy, also Sommelier, Sensei, the cosplay girl who didn’t get much screentime this episode, and the manager, who might be the only actual perv in the outfit. But later we turn away from Hiotan and watch Sensei in a last minute rush to finish her doujin for the next Comiket, or whatever they call it in this universe. So perhaps it’s going to be an ensemble cast rather than one led by one protagonist.

The staff being spied on.
The staff being spied on.

Some of it is completely predictable, the rush to finish the doujin scene especially, although that guy (okay, I’ll look him up … Umi) staying behind to help Sensei but keeping it a secret was a nice touch. We get the impression that they might work on a romance there. Other parts are sort of odd. For instance, girls will turn red for no apparent reason, and that OP with the apples. The story and pacing have that episode one clumsiness we see so often in shows. Some good bits, my favorite being probably Sommelier matching customers with manga, hence his nickname. On the other hand, I can’t believe Hiotan didn’t know what BL stood for. But overall, a happy little series that I’ll keep watching for now.

How nice, a wedding.
How nice, a wedding.

Danna ga Nani wo Itteiru ka Wakaranai Ken is another benign happy, show. Kaoru, a perfectly ordinary young woman, married Hajime, a hardcore otaku. We get little (it’s only five minutes long) snippets of their domestic life, which is basically her reacting to him. Indeed, the title pretty much says it all. Kaoru has no idea what her husband’s on about.


Maybe the best bit came at the start when we see what the two are thinking at their wedding, which was, basically, “huh?” In spite of this, and all of the culture clashes that fuel the show, the couple are in some sort of love. Both Kaoru and the ED say “I don’t know why, but I’m happy.” So there’s a layer of sweetness to it. However, it’s too early to tell if the culture clash jokes that fuel the humor will sustain the series.

Yeah, right.
Yeah, right.

Next it’s the return of those happy young girls in Selector Spread WIXOSS. The first season got so strange that I had quite forgotten who had done what with what wish and who’s a card now, etc, but the show manages to remind us. We have Ruuko, happy and melancholy in turns, out with her friend(!) Hitoe, doing girly stuff, a nice way to ease into the story again, though the dark side is still there, since Hitoe’s Lrig is Yuzuki. Some very odd scenes, three girls on an outing, except one of them is two-dimensional and four inches tall, and thus relegated to straight-man duties. They meet another selector, the genki Chiyori from last season, and while they warn her about the dangers of battling we get the story-so-far synopsis. Chiyori apparently learned some of it already out of a book, which none of the main characters has read, but apparently not all of it.


The dark stuff happens soon enough, as Iona, now Ruuko’s lrig (I WONDERED what had happened to her), keeps going “c’mon c’mon, you know you wanna!” and reminding her that Tama’s still missing. That, I suppose, is Ruuko’s wish, and you know she won’t be able to resist battling anyway. Also, they have to get Yuzuki back in three dimensions, meaning Hitoe will be an lrig, and then … oh, I don’t want to think about it too much. In spite of the bizarre and inane plot twists, I enjoyed season one more than a lot of people did, so I’ll probably continue to write about season two.

Finales: Ping Pong, Wixoss, Nanana

It’s an insult to other sports shows when I say Ping Pong is more than a sports show.


But look at the final match. Sure we get some great action. We see Peco scoring a couple points and then Smile scoring one, but there are gaps in between these points while we watch the people watching or get an extended flashback at how the two boys become friends. Reflecting on their lives so far and then seeing them tear it up at the ping pong table, both at full power and loving the moment, like what Peco showed Kazama to do last week, makes the actual outcome an afterthought. Even Koizumi and Obaba leave the match early, to sit on a bench and reflect on their own pasts and get interrupted by that Kaio guy, another old friend. We only learn about it in the flashforward at the end, in an already-fading photo at Obaba’s dojo.


That was a little surprising, but not much. The show had things to tell us about ping pong that a single match couldn’t tell us. We see it best in a segment midway through, where we watch each each of major characters as toddlers or children, at the table, hitting the ball back to an unseen person, while the music sings about being alive. There is a joy to playing such a simple game, the simple repetition of it, swinging an object to hit another object, maybe instinctual, almost therapeutic. And the fact that someone is hitting the ball to them in the first place means it’s a shared activity, whether between friends, strangers, or parents.


And then everyone moves on. Peco reaches a standard, not sure who he’s playing for, but he’s playing. Kazama is at a slight low-ebb, but the fact that he can talk to Smile while skipping stones on the beach says something about his characters. Glad to see Kong decided to stay and is being rewarded, though I worry about his mom. As for Smile, you might wonder why he’s settling for the life he’s in now–a middle school teacher? Really, Smile? But look! He smiled! He laughed! He jokes with kids! Something he had kept locked away for years is free now. It might be that he’s the happiest character in the show now.

One more of Koizume and Obaba.
One more of Koizume and Obaba.

Yeah, it’s an insult to other sports shows, because they all have something to say about life when they have their characters improve their game and climb the ladder, or face setbacks. And even a lesser show like Free! did something similar with its finale when it showed the four boys not terribly concerned with winning, but simply swimming together. But Ping Pong is a grittier, messier show, closer to how ordinary people live than any other sports show I’ve seen. It wasn’t about the game, but how the game can make or define or teach you as you grow up. It depicted these rough, grotesque-looking lives so well that I was drawn into it more than any other show this season. Also, the story seems perfect for an 11-episode season, nothing was rushed or dragged. I know it’s been a manga and a movie before, so I found this impressive. Well done.

Selector Infected WIXOSS doesn’t really end. They’re coming back in the fall, but before they leave us they decided to confuse us even further.


Let’s see, Hitoe, Ruuko and Yuzuki exchange speeches and ideas and it boils down to Ruuko’s original plan, to wish that all the Lrigs were free. She wins, and suddenly Hitoe can be with her without pain, which wasn’t part of the overall plan but nice nonetheless. Still, how come that wish got granted? Now it’s off to battle Iona, during which, Tama-chan is whisked away so that the oversaturated Mayu can plant seeds of doubt into Tama’s feeble mind about Ruuko’s ultimate desire. So that, while the battle is still going on (?), Tama begins to make the contract with Ruuko but doesn’t say all the words. So instead, Iona’s wish gets granted, Ulith takes Iona’s body and Iona becomes RUUKO’s Lrig. Just what she wanted. Tama is left to drift.


That last part actually makes sense. Iona gets to team up with someone who loves battling as much as she does. I suppose if you’re going to be an Lrig anyway, that’s the best situation for you. Smart wish, Iona! But where is Tama? Why did Hitoe’s wish get granted? Was the battle over? Who won? Who lost? It’s a shame that we got a season finale where the cliffhangers are outdone by the confusion, but the show had been heading in this direction for a while. The early episodes were nicely plotted, letting peer into the mystery little by little while developing the characters and needs, but then it fumbled the ball, and while it still had some compelling moments, it was harder to see them past the weirdness. Well, I’ll probably pick it up again in the fall. I liked the characters enough that I want to see what happened to them, and that carried me past the show’s flaws, like the battles, which the lightshows couldn’t salvage (overall, the show looked great), and, er, all the confusing things I’ve already mentioned. Let’s see if they can right the ship in the fall.


I think Nanana’s Buried Treasure ended too, but they were tossing in so many little hints at the end that I wasn’t sure. But noitaminA shows traditionally run 11 episodes and there was no real preview. At the end, we’re no closer to finding Nanana’s killer than we were before. All they did this episode is drive Hiyooi away, maybe catch him in the closing credits. After that we get a rather nice scene between Juugo and Tensai over the artifact they found and Juugo’s promise. Tensai’s grown on me a lot this series, but Juugo still holds maintains his front of uncaring cynicism that no one really believes. To prove my point, he and Nanana have a fight to decide what she really wants and it’s revealed that they both have hearts, which we already knew. Really, not much of anything in this episode, making it feel like they’re expecting a second season. I wonder if they’ll get it. The first season had its moments but it failed in its attempts at telling mystery stories. But I liked some of the characters. Like WIXOSS, I’ll probably watch one just out of momentum.

Ping Pong 10, Wixoss 11, Nanana 10

I can’t remember when I looked forward to an episode as much as Ping Pong 10. Happily, the episode did not disappoint. But it surprised me a little.

The hero arrives!
The hero arrives!

The Peco/Kazama match could have wound up the other way and it would have made sense, maybe more sense than a guy with a bum let taking out the champ. But that wasn’t a big surprise. Instead, we get something different altogether. Yurie hinted at it before she flew away: Kazama’s looking for a hero. I thought him finding it in the form of Peco to be a tad perverse, but it makes sense. Kazama doesn’t believe in heroes–he never had one. Everyone’s always let him down. For Peco to announce before the match that he is the hero only incenses Kazama into bludgeoning him out of the first two games. Meanwhile, Tsukimoto, for whom Peco is indeed a hero, quietly sits in a stairwell and tells Koizumi that the hero is returning (while we get views of a giant, ruined robot in, possibly waiting). Though at the time, we can’t see it.


If there’s a flaw in the episode it might be that the switch that is flipped inside Peco seems to come out of nowhere. He hears Smile’s voice and responds to it: have fun. Whatever the reason, he starts to play with the joy he used to have, wins the next two games, and we get the second big image of the episode–flying. They point out the contrast (sometimes overdone) between Kazama’s slow, agonizing climb up mountains and Peco, the bird, flying above him with little effort. It connects with that memory of Kazama’s dad talking about birds. Meanwhile, Yurie is flying away in a jet, happily off to find her future. This joy of playing rubs off on Kazama to the point where he actually smiles. Though he loses the match, he finally discovers that the game isn’t necessarily pain. He’s finally found a hero.


The match takes up the entire episode, as it should, with little breathers where we check up on Tsukimoto in his stairwell, or Baba and Kong, watching with great interest and providing commentary. The show uses every visual trick it has to show the match’s progress. Sometimes it’s a flow of static images scrolling by, sometimes it gets metaphorical and shows the opponents sprouting wings, sometimes they simply play, with no embellishment. They use so many tricks that it comes close to overwhelming the viewer, but to the show’s credit, it doesn’t. They’re the best action sequences of the series yet; the show rose to the occasion. I am, however, worried about next week. Are we going to see a flashback to Koizumi’s loss, what with Peco’s bum knee? I know they’ll play with that angle, but I think the show and the characters are too smart to settle for history repeating.

One more thing. Though they use the bird image for Peco, to me, when he plays, he looks more like a monkey.

If Hitoe wins?  What happens.  If she doesn't?  Well?  Huh?
If Hitoe wins? What happens. If she doesn’t? Well? Huh?

On to Selector Infected WIXOSS and its own game, which no one (among the selectors) is playing for fun anymore. That’s maybe the point of this episode and what appears to be Ruuko’s true wish–that everyone can play together for fun. Well, maybe that’s her wish. She has one other one that is very similar to that wish in that other show I’m trying hard not to compare this show to, but no one thinks it can work. Yuzuki goes into some observations gained while being an lrig to that effect, but she doesn’t really know for sure. Maybe that’s the problem with this show: no one knows what’s going on anymore. Iona’s having a big selector tournament, but why? She’s not saying. Tama thinks there might be a solution, but what? She doesn’t know. Poor Hitoe is so obsesses with her wish that she again doesn’t see that it’s come true for her, though at great and ongoing pain. And we at home hardly know what’s going on anymore. Meanwhile, after we get the Hitoe business taken care of, we’re waiting for the inevitable Ruuko/Iona battle which will do … what? Sad to say, this series has fumbled the ball of plot.

Yuu finally does something constructive.
Yuu finally does something constructive.

The competition in Nanana’s Buried Treasure 10 is who can get to the latest treasure first, the club or Hiiyo. And it works out just as expected. The club does the dirty work and Hiiyo tries to take it away at the end. Well, it was more fun than some other episodes. The whole business of deciding which girder to walk on using the Fibonacci Sequence and a 13-character zodiac didn’t make much sense to me, but the puzzles here rarely do. It was fun to watch because Juugo decides, as usual, to leap right in and nearly get himself killed, and then Tensai gets clumsy and nearly does the same. And it was fun to see Hiiyo get knocked around a little, or a lot. too bad he’s still got that ring, so we have a cliffhanger for next week’s assumed final episode.

Ping Pong 9, Wixoss 10, Sidonia 9

Ping Pong 9 is a little disappointing in one respect, but only one.


For all of the characters it’s following, all the different paths, like that long-haired guy who’s trying to find himself or that whiny girlfriend Sakuma’s found himself, it looks like this show is going to settle down and be a sports anime after all, for good and bad. We have Peco playing through pain and painkillers to go up against Kazama because his friend Tsukimoto is “calling” to him. What sets is apart from traditional sports shows is that fact that they’re friends and the relationship between them has changed. Smile used to look up to Peco, he was the hero to be called upon, like Peco’s being called upon now. But he’s no longer the stronger force, the protector. You could maybe say that the roles are reversed, but Tsukimoto isn’t the type to play up being a hero. I suspect a lot of heroes are like that.


Along with the heroes business we get another question: “What do you play for?” We look at Tsukimoto and wonder. Peco because he’s the hero, or so he says. Kazama, holed up in the can, tells Sakuma he is playing for himself, though maybe a better answer would be his father and family. Outside the can he says “for the team.” Meanwhile we got that guy wandering the world in search of himself (no luck), who probably didn’t have anything to play for, which, if this was a lesser show, would suggest that’s why he wasn’t a better player. But the show has been sneaking us glances outside the ping pong arena: Kong’s mother, Sakuma, and showing us that living entirely for the sport is a mistake. Sanada seems to think that he must beat Tsukimoto to earn Kazama’s respect and to get the girl, but it’s possible that he’s mistaken.


Meanwhile, heroes have to slay monsters. The show has ignored Tsukimoto in the tournament up to now, but the Sanada match is too important to skip. Tsukimoto wins, easily, robotically (I love the hydraulic noises they sneak in while he’s playing), testing Sanada before finding the strategy he uses to beat him. The game features some of the show’s best split-screen moments yet. We watch them slide by like a river, or one image forcing another one offscreen. Next he plays … who? Typical anime logic would suggest that it’s Peco/Smile in the final, but this show is a little smarter than that. Can he actually beat Kazama, even with a knee full of painkillers?


Meanwhile, on Selector Infected WIXOSS, everyone is still trying to get their heads around the inanity of the situation, hold on, that’s just me. Everyone in the show, since they live in it, is quite serious. It’s just me and a million other viewers who are trying to figure out who thought up these ridiculous rules. Yuzuki, on the other hand, has done some thinking of her own. She’s decided she doesn’t want to play, and she’s gone out and told Ruuko, which means she’s stuck in 2D land forever. Why the hell not? Now that her former lrig Hanayo has her brother/boyfriend, no reason to go back. Hmm, if she hadn’t said that (and the show gave no indication of her being punished yet) and she guides poor Hitoe to victory, she’d get the friends, and Hitoe would be stuck with whatever wish HER selector had. What if her selector is a NEET who hates being around people? Anyway, plot-wise, nothing much gets accomplished. Even the Ruuko-Hitoe battle is interrupted when she freaks out over her former friends’ proximity, which opens up a whole bunch of other questions, like who’s the idiot running this game. Oh, right, that would be Mayu, who we didn’t get a good look at because of the supersaturated light, but she has a nice Kyubey imitation thing going on with her hair. Elsewhere, Iona calls out selectors (by all, I mean Ruuko) for a big event which I figure will round up the series with a million unanswered questions and more bewildered fictional characters and viewers.

Meanwhile, on Knights of Sidonia, Nagate makes a new friend!

Sometimes it points and makes cute noises!
Sometimes it points and makes cute noises!

They don’t have a name for it yet, apart from “Shizuka” or “placenta specimen,” the former being an insult to the real Shizuka and the latter being icky. But watching that thing achieve more sentience and mimick Shizuka’s behaviors, I got to feeling almost paternal toward the thing, and Nagate, still something of a bright-eyed boy in that society, seems to feel the same. If you encounter a monster that can mimic the girl you had a thing for and died, you’d act with revulsion. It must be doing something right to have that effect on Nagate. Or maybe he ought to just get over Shizuka’s death already and move on to another girl, or sexless being. It’s not like he doesn’t have a lot of choices. Numi, the scientist who is in charge of the Shizuka-whatsit even does a clumsy meganekko number on him, but zero gravity makes falling over impossible.

For such a sophisticated show, this looks like something Fritz Lang would do.
For such a sophisticated show, this looks like something Fritz Lang would do.

While we watch Nagate watch Shizuka-placenta and wonder when the thing is going to turn on them (very soon, it appears, but Numi’s on to it) we get other little plot points, such as Nagate’s continued success on the battlefield, the emigration of 100,000 citizens and the social implications of that. That’s in the background for now. We also get strangeness with Kunato (remember him?) discovering a part of the mansion he hadn’t seen before, people visiting Ochiai’s clone, inexplicably held captive down there, but for now it’s just plot seeding. And finally, the harem are trying to get Nagate’s mind off the alien thing and on to … them, I suppose. As for me, I’m rooting for some more battling. It’s been quiet long enough.

M3 6, Wixoss 9, Ping Pong and Nanana 8

This part was kind of fun.  Jilted from beyond the grave!
This part was kind of fun. Jilted from beyond the grave!

Let’s see … in M3: Sono Kuroki Hagane 6, Emiru gets turned into that dark crystal stuff, and that night a corpse, not an admonition, comes out to do the week’s mayhem. Emiru isn’t all dead because Minashi and Heito can hear her voice, well, when the corpse shows up, they all can, but then she IS dead right about the time that Akashi, in the Reaper, gets pissed off because Sasame is in danger. So did the corpse fly off because Emiru was dead, or because Akashi went into some higher state of angst and confusion? And do I really care, either way? Sorry, I don’t have any special feelings for any of the characters in this show, and it’s six episodes in. Not even Emiru, who might actually be dead now. Each one of them has a character trait or another that annoys me, except maybe for the experienced pilot girl who never gets to do anything, and you’ll notice that I’m not using her name, because I’ve forgotten it. Same with that guy she’s teamed up with.

In Selector Infected WIXOSS 9, we have Ruuko feeling sad because both her friends Yuzuki and Hitoe have deserted her. Suddenly, they’re both back! She ought to be happy, right?

Not necessarily.
Not necessarily.

The situation is entirely messed up, and not in a good way. Selectors who succeed become Lrigs, and if they succeed again, they get the wish–the other selector’s wish, not hers. So, Hanayo was once a girl who had a wish of her own. I wonder what it was. I will bet you that it had nothing to do with banging her brother. On the other hand, Kazuki isn’t Hanayo’s brother, so maybe the setup is doing her a favor. She get to get a cute boy as her wish. She just has to put up with the fact that she’s in Yuzuki’s body and everyone in the world, including Yuzuki and Kazuki, calls this incest, and she will be ostracized for it. So, really, the setup isn’t doing either of the girls any favors.

I thinking it's sinking in that it's HER wish, now.
I thinking it’s sinking in that it’s HER wish, now.

The episode is called “The Cruel Truth,” but it feels more inane than cruel. Why on earth is Hitoe getting a second chance at this? And is it beyond the games’ ability to match lrigs and selectors? At least that would make the Yuzuki/Hanayo situation more understandable. But Hitoe doesn’t recognize Ruuko anymore, not even getting jolts of pain when she’s around. What changed about her when she got the new lrig, which she shouldn’t be getting in the first place? Also, what does this all this mean concerning Tama? Was she a special-needs child who found she was good at the game? Did she have a wish? Was she capable of making one? And if not, was that the reason why she got paired with the wish-less Ruuko? That would mean that the pairings are indeed made by some kind of design, so maybe the game creators decided to have a good laugh at Yuzuki’s expense.

Ping Pong 8 begins the championship qualifiers, and looks into how everyone who has a shot, but devotes most of its time to Kong and Peco, who play in round 2.


That might not be the best picture to use there, because we’re not really sure what Peco’s upset about. When the match with Kong comes he’s full of energy and confidence. He won’t play Tsukimoto until the finals, and he must know he’ll get to him eventually. Maybe he’s worried about that Kaio guy who’s after Kazama’s girl (and may well get him, since she pretty much walked out on him to start the episode off). Well, whatever. There’s still Kazama that someone’s got to beat, and a Peco/Kazama match actually interests me more than Tsukimoto/Kazama, and that one interests me plenty.


I don’t know if you can all Tsukimoto the main character; maybe the show’s going to pull away from him for a while. All he does this time is win his first couple matches and hover around, bored, as the episode’s real drama plays out. Even Peco’s beating Kong doesn’t really seem to interest him on the surface, though we get a “The Hero Returns” sequence when he sees Peco play. Whatever Tsukimoto thinks of Peco’s resurrection, he isn’t going to show it on his face. The real story is Kong’s defeat, and, if the visuals mean anything, his ultimate return to China. I hope not. I like the character a lot and would like to see him work more with his Japanese team. But in the meantime, we have more games to pay attention to next week! And only three episodes to do it in!

This guy shows up and the episode goes to hell.
This guy shows up and the episode goes to hell.

As for Ryuugajou Nanana no Maizoukin 8, whatever things anyone had going come to a complete stop when they introduce Hiiyo, one of the founding members of the Adventure Club and its acknowledged biggest asshole. Everyone he meets grits their teeth, hides behind other people, or takes a swing at him. It’s not surprising, since the first thing he does when he meets someone is insult them or something they love. It’s rather surprising he’s there to begin with. The episode began with two other characters being introduced, or reintroduced: Yun, or Saki, the cute little thing from Juugo’s delivery mission, and some guy, and I figured we’d spend our time with them. Instead, Hiiyo shows up and pisses everyone off for no apparent reason, including me.