Double Feature: Death Parade 10+11

Oh god it’s winking at me!

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Time for conflicts to come to a head. Time for the veil surrounding Kurokami to come undone. Will you care about her plight, or will this peter out and waste your time? Let’s find out!

I made no secret last time that Death Parade has been trying my patience. Not to the point of where the series is broken, but just a series of questionable choices from the story side of things. Production remains quite strong, and while the acting leans to the hammy, it isn’t really to the detriment of a work where mood is so important to the presentation.

We open with Decim asking to be suspended from judgments, parroting Kurokami’s words from last time. There needs to be more purpose behind them. But Nona quickly sniffs out it’s Kurokami’s influence saying these things, not really Decim himself coming to the conclusion.

Kurokami’s body is breaking down. It seems Human recreations have a finite existence in this afterlife place.  Nona orders Decim to judge her finally, and adds in she will send a special guest.

But Decim is aghast. He doesn’t think that darkness is Kurokami’s true nature.

Again, back to this utterly confusing thing about darkness being their metric.  That is not what we’ve seen, and why is it the goal?

This is the problem with the dilemma.  Arbiters have this dogmatic way they judge, perhaps it is so old a metric that no one lives who was around when it was conceived, as we are led to believe all the arbiters were born at some point. Centuries past, perhaps, but still born. Even creepy grandpa god isn’t REALLY a deity, just a powerful Arbiter type.

“Why do we judge Humans on the lurking darkness within?”  “Because.”  “But shouldn’t we have a goal?”  “Nope, it’s jsut the way it is.”   “Okay, so, how about I judge people based on something else, if the reasons behind it don’t matter?”  “WHAT? YOU FUCKING HERETIC! DO IT THE RIGHT WAY!”

There needs to be SOMETHING behind this. The argument of tradition is very powerful in Human minds (very much so in Japan), but often those supplement the basic idea of tradition with something.  Gay marriage isn’t tradition, therefore it’s wrong.  But the argument is also clothed in the idea that it is “immoral”, that there are no children to be conceived therefore the state should not have an interest.  Now I’m not trying to debate the merits of those arguments, but merely illustrating that there ARE rationalizations, no matter how flimsy, behind the fact that it is tradition.

If you put “It is tradition” in a vacuum, it ceases to be a moral dilemma, and becomes a black and white argument with only one clear answer for us to conclude. Having a bad guy whose motivation is clear is important, and we lack that here. It’s doubly confusing because they are so dogmatic, while simultaneously saying they couldn’t care less. Continue reading

Madan no Ou to Vanadis: Act 4

Fumble, foul, or failure?

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So, we open on an impressive ambush tactic.  Tigre castles his refugees and soldiers, so when the Muslin forces attack, they are met with swords instead of helpless villagers. Nice move.

Unfortunately, it only wins them the spearhead. Two thousand guys isn’t going to outfight 40,000, there’s just no way on an open field.

And…and…okay, this fight is just goofy. Tigre and Ludmila are having their mid-combat heart to heart, which is made all the sillier by the fact the Muslin soldiers are encircling them in some form of interpretative dance until it’s time for one to enter the foreground and get killed.

Well, wouldn’t you know, when you kill the most respected knight in the entire kingdom for backing Tigre, turns out the other knightly orders don’t respect you enough to remain in your control.  Three of Brune’s knightly orders arrive just in time to bail Tigre out of this jam.

This is where my historical perspective kind of kills the mood for me.  Barbarossa is just laughing off the fact 5,000 knights have arrived to kick his ass.

To put this in perspective, when the Roman Emperor sent for reinforcements to the Pope (the event that launched the Crusades) he was expecting about 300 knights.  That is to say, he thought he could beat the entire Seljuk Empire with just 300 of the mounted destroyers, even though his army had suffered it most horrific defeat a matter of years earlier. That’s how badass these guys were.

Barbarossa laughing off “Well what’s 5,000 against my 40,000 men?” is…ugh…it’s so unlikely I can’t form a proper simile to express it.

And we now understand why he’s losing.  Barbarossa thinks the mastermind is the Battle Maiden.  Oh, you poor, horribly un-genre-savvy fool. You have no idea what show you’re in, do you? Any normal universe, sure, she’d be the hero. But not here. Continue reading

Inou-Battle: Act 4

No, Trigger, not like this!

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Final leg of this series. How does it stack up against our horrifically low expectations? Do you even need to ask?

So we open that Tomoyo has failed in her publishing attempt. I’m…I’m not sure if I’m upset this isn’t given more emotional weight, it’s almost played for laughs with how she beats up her body pillow. But on the other hand, it is nice to admit it isn’t the end of the world, after all, she’s a kid. She has her life ahead of her. So not dwelling on this is a good message, all told.

You know, maybe I’ve been overly hard on you, show. Maybe…

Oh, she IS despondent that Hatoko loves Andou.

…Fuck me for giving you the benefit of the doubt, Inou-Battle. I really should have known better.

So Kuki is spending summer vacation trying to get between Andou and Chifuyu, who is still this world’s most adorable lolita dominatrix.  None of this is particularly amusing. Though I did like that the kids ignored the car and were after the stuffed whale consolation prize.

Aaaaaand we get to endure Kuki falling in love with the world’s biggest dick. What will save us from this?

Water park shenanigans with Sayumi…damnit. Just your average harem date, without a lot to elevate it. Save for the very end when Mephistopholes pulls out the F card. Oo, something that’s almost kind of interesting! Continue reading

Akuma no Riddle: Episode 10

Old habits die hard.

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This isn’t even my final form!

…We get that out of our system now? Good. Moving on.

This week opens with Hanabusa handing Haru a note.  Haru’s very dejected expression was excellent.  She began the series full of smiles and optimism, but the events of the previous two weeks have shaken her.  Here there is no surprise. No wide-eyed doe bewildered by the action, merely a sad acceptance, like a child going to the doctors. It will  be done, though she doesn’t like it.  This is the first time it’s felt like Haru has learned anything from her ordeal, and I appreciate it, guys. I do.

However, it is not an advance notice. Hanabusa is inviting Haru to a tea party.

Back from credits, we see an alarm going off.  Oh maaaaiiiii. Otoya returns. With a vengeance!

In the girls’ room, Haru is happy to go the tea party.  Aaaaaand we’re back to the usual.  “Maybe we can be friends!” “No we can’t. Stop being stupid Haru.”  Hell you’ve seen this conversation seven times already, I don’t need to abridge it for you.

Unfortunately for Otoya, while she did make it back to the academy, the first person she encounters is Hanabusa, who insists on making Otoya part of the festivities. And she takes her by force, blocking her scissors with her bare hands.

But when we get to the tea party, dun dun dunnnn! It’s a trap!

…The soundtrack really wants me to be surprised.  Bless you for trying. Continue reading

Double Feature: Nobunagun Episodes 10 + 11

They fight, and fight, and fight and fight and fight…

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Okay, my finger hasn’t been burning the last couple days, so I think it’s okay to put some stress on the left hand. Huzzah! Time to play catch-up.

Nobunagun 10 gives us a bit of backstory on the Commander, before diving into the final battle that will come to dominate the remainder of the series.

I have to admit I am flummoxed as to why they felt this was necessary.  Let’s go, Samurai Kyubey.

It’s the third century, and the Commander is a little girl.  Her village, it seems, has been burned to the ground.  It’s in Japan, which is interesting.  She mentions “Himiko-sama”.  Now according to Chinese records, prior to this period the islands lived in a feudal system of over two dozen tribes with “a shaman queen”, whom they named Himiko.  It was eventually replaced by a five-empire system of strong military states.  In effect, the Commander is from the transition period of this feminine empire (from what we can tell, she was an elected ruler) to the Imperial-samurai system we know so well.

Is that really important? Not really. I just wanted to point it out.  It would be nice if it had much bearing on the story but that would be hope. And, on this blog, hope comes here to die.  Still, I’m a little impressed about the detail as traditional Japanese history has tended to expunge the fact they ever willingly submitted to a woman.

No, instead, Samurai Kyubey just kind of whisks her away to help him acquire souls of Humanity’s best and brightest. Most disconcerting is that her first nap in stasis is 300 years long.  Yes, Samurai Kyubey abducts a little girl like a stray and keeps her in stasis until he needs her help retrieving blood samples.  What? Is she sleeping with all of them? Probably.

Continue reading

Noragami: Episode 10

Disappear.

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Kicking off our final story arc is Yukine working in shop with Daikoku.  Yukine is working to pay off the money he stole over the past few…weeks? Which presumably means there was way more than we saw, since he left the charity money on the ground the one time we saw.

Speaking of paying back, Kofuku reminds Hiyori that she has a debt to pay. Twice now she’s helped Hiyori bail Yato out of a predicament, which by her estimations comes to 10million yen. …Kofuku suggests Hiyori gets into porn.  Oh I love you, Kofuku, destroying people’s lives no matter how you try to help.

Well, it’s a visit to Tenjin’s now.  He notes he’s surprised to see Yukine still, after the danger Yato put himself through.  Yato says it was part of his plan, and personally I like the idea of Yato being a pragmatic kami than this whole “father” bullshit.  It isn’t enough to say Yato wants to invest in Yukine, to see him reach his full potential, because he naturally believes in him? We have to tack silly paternal bonds onto it?  Okay okay, cultural identity and all that. I still think it’s silly.

Yato also thanks Mayu, and Tenjin even admits that Mayu is extremely tough after being trained by Yato.

One of Tenjin’s regalia, Miyu, is missing.  Mayu tells Hiyori and Yukine privately that it’s because she stung Tenjin.  It seems just being introduced to the idea of Yukine’s crisis was enough to make her contemplate her own lost life, and she stung Tenjin in a moment, it seems she wanted to be a teacher, or something.  Or at least it was a prayer regarding becoming a teacher that moved her so, which may explain how she came to serve Tenjin in the first place.

Mayu explains that as far-shore creatures, Regalia are prone to want to cross over.  It makes them very vulnerable to temptation and regret, which is why they must be vigilant and like water, never allowing things to bother them. Continue reading

Sakura Trick: Episode 10

Do you want to build a snowman?

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The Grown-Up in me is saying “Gee, Anna, cutting it close? Nobunagun and Noragami are two days away.”  But the kid in me is saying “SQUEE SQUEE BACK TO BACK SAKURA TRICK TIME NAO!”

If there had been any doubt that Sakura Trick is throwing slice-of-life static universes to the wind, this episode, shored up by last week’s, has really been…depressing, in a way.  I used the word “finality” last time, and this week brought it up like the looming mountain ahead.  But there’s still plenty of open road between here and there. Though considering the implications socially about our lead characters’ lives, perhaps “oncoming storm” is more appropriate, and these are starting to feel like the last bit of sunshine.

Fitting then, that this episode is about having no sunshine.  In more ways than one.

Mind, I don’t think we’re headed for a sad ending.  Only that this week’s tone was very…looming.

It is snowing! Something that doesn’t happen often, and the girls are split right down the middle.  Haruka and Shizuku love the snow and want to eat outside.  Kotone, Yuu, and Yuzu are against.  With Kaede abstaining a vote (due to the final student council meeting of the academic year), inside lunch wins! Unfortunately for Archbishop Kotone and her forces, Pope Haruka has chosen to secede, taking Shizuku outside where they will eat lunch!

Shizuku suggests, however, they return inside, it is rather cold for them.  But Haruka insists. It may not snow the next two years.  She will not miss her only high school snow (oh come on Haruka, it will snow next season, it has to).

Shizuku observes that Haruka is like Kotone in this regard.  And that is why they both lead the Church of Yuri.

The show will elaborate on this, but by flashing back to Episode 3 where Kotone got serious-face, it puts the idea in your head without anyone saying it that this snow, which will probably be gone by tomorrow or the day after, is a metaphor.  Or am I confusing my metaphors and analogies again? DAMN MOON SPEAK!

Haruka (arguably influenced by Head Haruka), also notes this.  We are reminded quite quickly, and bitterly, that for Shizuku and Kotone, the party doesn’t last forever. Their relationship has a defined end, and that end is graduation, which is now just over two years away. Continue reading

Outbreak Comapny: Episode 10

The sheer power of that chest would have blinded you anyway, Shinichi.

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Another light comedy episode.  Curse you Outbreak Comapny for raising my hopes and dashing them just as instantly.

There were consequences from the soccer game to be discussed.  Really? HONTOUNI?!?!?

Nope. Just that some soldier made a cam recording of the soccer match…and the video was leaked online. Now the public is learning about Eldant.

But Shinichi has a plan. And it is brilliant. They will use the cover of filming a movie to conceal the fantasy world. Standard fare.

The brilliance of his plan is that it will be SO full of copyright infringement that when they leak more footage the project will be “forced” to cancel. With Petrarca basically playing the role of every magical girl ever, with heavy influence from Madoka. Continue reading

Galilei Donna: Episode 10

Actually still better than the DaVinci Code, take that as you will.

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This week was rather touching.  I don’t really know how to get into it though without ruining it or making it sound really, really dull.

Now, getting this out of the way: While there is a little creepiness in crushing on your descendants…keep in mind you genetically probably have more in common with your current spouse than your great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandfather. That’s just the odds. You probably share a more common ancestor than that far back (such as, real world example of ancestry, Dick Cheney and Barack Obama share an ancestor of some 180 years ago.) So I personally don’t find it all -that- creepy but it is rather odd it’s a plot point.

But believe me it was not boring. We got to observe Galileo and Hozuki working on projects together, finalizing the design for the first of the airships that would come to dominate the skies in Hozuki’s time.  They share a livelihood in their engineering.  Galileo’s true function, I believe here, is to give a voice and articulate what has always driven Hozuki. He speaks of how his dreams are fantastic, and through math and science he can turn them into reality. The first minutes are essentially a training montage of their engineering skill.  Of note: Galileo references his struggle to prove heliocentrism, which at this point in “history” is still just a theory he’s hammering out, still collecting data on.  But his words mirror those of Roberto’s.  When confronted a few weeks ago he told the girls that without Adnimoon’s resources, even if they did discover a new energy source, it would be useless to them. They wouldn’t be able to manufacture it.  They wouldn’t be able to sell it, to break the cycle by themselves, especially as they are still technically criminals.  Galileo parrots how difficult it is to take on the establishment. But he concludes that it is his duty to try and break the accepted truths if he can prove them wrong, which can be interpreted as “breaking” the “adult world” Roberto warned her about.

Oh, and she gives him a little goldfish….a little metal goldfish that is her pet…? Uh…k. I’ll buy that show, but only because I can’t be bothered. It does actually make some sense now why Galileo adorned each sketch with a goldfish.  Still I’m confused why her goldfish was made of tin…or whatever it was made of. Like…it needed water and everything to live before, didn’t it? Or is every fish she owns a Picco Rosso (the real fish, the ship, and this good luck charm)? Continue reading