Oh that minion died, better go fix that, we’ll conclude this conversation never.
I want Machine-Doll to bury this spy subplot so hard. Or at least I presume it is a subplot. It’s so hard to tell when it has accumulated as much screentime as the PREMISE OF THE SERIES.
Okay, I can be generous and say that the Cannibal Candy stuff was done with the intent of getting Raishin to Walpurgisnacht. I would disagree how they went about it (specifically, how LONG they went about it), but at least that was all serving a greater purpose. So much time is squandered on these side distractions it’s obvious at this point that they are hoping for more seasons.
If this show makes me eat my words and wraps up by episode 12, I might actually be -more- pissed about that.
Because going from fight 100 to fight 1 in a single episode will be distracting. And it’s obvious that this fight is not going to be over in ten seconds next episode. Cherubim is still going to be a threat at least one more episode, maybe even two.
So where does this leave you and I, my viewer? An episode that, while the spy stuff isn’t badly executed exactly, the bipolar nature of the episode switching gears leaves much to be desired. This spy stuff just bothers me. Raishin is no James Bond. Oh, the guide character is dead. Didn’t see that coming like Oprah at the buffet.
OH SHOKO, TOO? Fuck this show! With a hard, uncomfortable object!
Where the hell was she? She vanished, comes back. Shoko’s turning into a real Schrodinger’s Obi-Wan.
Okay, let’s be fair. Shoko’s use here as Raishin’s ‘boss’ contrasts the previous characterization as his surrogate mother of sorts. Here? She’s hard, frankly, a bitch, very much the Roy Mustang of our little party. And I liked that, really, I did. Raishin’s character lends itself well to emotional foes more than physical ones. Doll combat is so insubstantial at this point that when Yaya finally takes on Cherubim, we have no idea what’s going on. We know Raishin is giving Yaya energy, but we have no way to gauge it.
It’s become a common gag to meme whenever in anime a character calls out their attacks, telegraphs their strategy, or takes ten minutes out of a firefight to explain shit for the audience’s benefit. And let’s not forget, “what does the scouter say about his power level?”
But this week is a perfect example of WHY that trope exists. Lots of words are being thrown around, we see spells being cast, and punches thrown, but we barely know what the hell any of this shit does. DragonballZ, for grins, used power-levels as a rough estimation of where everyone stood in relation to each other. Fighting in that series operated on a very simple premise: Your ki and physical strength can be manifested as these energy powers. Further, the rules were a bit flexible, some fighters used techniques to focus their energy and raise their fighting power in either single moves or hid strength from their foes to lull them into traps, but the rules were laid out to us. There might have been bitch moves when someone suddenly spiked in power for no good reason, but we knew what that MEANT.
Machine-Doll? I think the intent was to show us from the perspective of a commoner who has no experience in puppetry, but that just means we’re listening to a bunch of nerds argue about some Brony fanfiction crossover with an apocalyptic game we’ve never played and ponies from a show we’re barely aware exists. We are lost, and when lost, we tend to tune things out.
No, wait, the Bronies are better than Machine-Doll, because if you WANT to learn about ponies, they’re all too willing to help educate you. And even when you aren’t.
So the key to which our hero is to obtain his goals, through Yaya and the Walpurgisnacht events, is so much Greek to the audience. We learned some things about Banned Dolls, and the children in the orphanages. But that’s like showing us a chemical reaction in a microscope when we’ve been studying Biology. It’s helpful information to the plot, not the action. And you need both!
Raishin’s character growth (which is really regression, since its impairing him, so his growth will be next week) was natural, I bought it. But the auspices under which it came was totally blurred together for me.
Strike the Blood is aseries that has been getting better and better. Unbreakable Machine Doll seems to just be getting worse and worse. I fear for this show’s future. It’s really too late in the season that I would feel comfortable outright dropping it, but man, I am really going to find it hard to apply effort if these trends continue for the NEXT six episodes.