I was sitting around the other day and it occurred to me that routine can be really stifling. Getting up, eating, surfing the web, going to work, coming home, surfing the net again, eat again, going to bed, and waking up the next day to do it all over again. I should probably change things around a bit, get out more.
Welcome to LOST IN TRANSLATION
Now that their odyssey is over, Ange’s group returns to their world. Problem is things aren’t as rosey as when they left. Arzenal is in complete disarray and Ange’s former friends have turned on her. With barely anyone left to trust, Ange is going to have to think long and hard about her next move.
We finally find ourselves back in the plot with these past two episodes of Cross Ange. Although the most important parts for development are at the end of episode 17 and the entirety of 18.
Episode 17 has some minor points of development for our characters (cheif among them being Salamandinay and Ange’s relationship) and there is some humor sprinkled in for good measure until we get drawn back into the main focus of the story.
The DRAGONs have finally begun their mass assault on Embryo, but their plan is soon halted when their singularity (which was supposed open right over the Misurugi Empire) opens way away from their projections. This setback is only made worse when they are ambushed at the new opening by three black Vilkiss’, but that’s not the worst part. Through battling them, Ange finds out that the three machines are piloted by Salia, Chris, and Ersha.
After the narrowly escaping (with Salamandinay’s forces being forced to go back to their dimension), Ange, Tusk, and Vivian make an emergency landing on Arzenal island where they are found by Momoka, Hilda, and Rosalie.
Episode 18 takes place a short time after this, with Ange and her companions being brought aboard the Libertus and are told what happened during their absence . Ange also explains the DRAGONs purpose and her desire to work with them, but Jill laughs it off and reminds Ange that DRAGONs have been killing Norma for years and that cooperation is impossible. This ultimately leads to a knife fight between the two which concludes with Ange, Tusk, and Vivian leaving to go to the Misurugi Empire.
So, a lot of information was thrown at us in these 1 and 1/4 episodes. It hasn’t been stated just how long Ange was in the other dimension, but apparently it was long enough for Salia, Ersha, and Chris to desert, Arzenal to be completely destroyed, and for Embryo to basically rule the world. Jill is more desperate than she was previously: planning to use the DRAGONs as a decoy while Ange kills Embryo, threatening to kill Momoka if Ange doesn’t cooperate, and also that whole “knife fight to the death” thing. This allows all serves to get deeper into Jill’s head. The heart the matter is that Jill needs Ange to kill Embryo because she couldn’t do it herself. Ange is Jill’s proxy, her replacement. Jill hates the world. She hates how it treated her and Norma like her. She hates Embryo for how he manipulated the events of the world, and from the looks of a flashback sexually humilating her (seriously what is it with this show and rape?). It gives us a better peek into her psyche and you feel for her more with the information given, although I assume there is still more to learn about the former princess.
We also catch up on some of the other members of the former Arzenal. Emma has become a belligerent drunk, Chris has taken up teaching a few rookies on how to use Paramail’s and Hilda has basically gone full on in lesbians with Ange. She’s angry at Tusk for being a man that’s close to Ange, is irriated when Ange didn’t contact them when she was away, and is shown being happy when Ange tells her that she didn’t have sex with Tusk (Hilda even kisses Ange on the shoulder due to her relief.).
I ship it.
As for the deserters, it’s not fully revealed why they joined Embryo, at least in Salia’s case it’s not. As for Ersha and Chris, Embryo saved a child the former was caring for and brought the latter back to life during Julio’s raid on Arzenal way back in episode 13. So that may have been his ticket to their loyalty. We should get the answers in the next episode if the preview is any indication.
A woman named Misaki and a young man by the name of Yousuke find themselves the next patrons of Quindecim. Being a reality t.v. star, Misaki assumes that she and Yousuke are being filmed for a hidden camera show. Persuading him to “play along” Misaki and Yousuke are pitted against one another in a fighting game, but as the details of their deaths as well as their lives begin to flash before them, they realize this game is anything but staged.
As I expected a couple weeks ago Death Parade has once again hit the button it pressed in episode one. Episode 4 in particular probably being the best episode so far. As mentioned above, Misaki and Yousuke are pitted against one another in a fighting game with themselves as the characters (pretty offensive caricatures of the players to be blunt about it). As the game rolls on we are handed some pretty meaty info about our players, as well as Decim’s duties as an arbiter.
For the first time in the series so far, neither particpant knows the other. Which probably siginifies that people are brought to the bar either due to the circumstances surrounding their deaths or the timing of them. Although neither of this isn’t as important as what circumstances lead to Misaki and Yousuke’s deaths. These are probably the most tragic characters in the show so far, making this episode the most emotional by a good mile.
As mentioned before Misaki is a reality T.V. star (her show is about her raising her 5 children all by herself) and Yousuke is basically a hikikomori (shut-in) otaku. Once again the theme of the episode is about love, but instead of jealousy destroying it, or missing out on the chance to telling someone you love them, this episode focuses on familial love. More specifically how you treat the ones you love when you lack it yourself. Misaki was a constant victim of abuse, both emotional and physical from her children’s various fathers. This in turn created her own warped and abusive personality, so much so that her oldest two children seem to resent her for it. It’s a very tragic tale which ultimately by her being murdered by her manager.
Yousuke’s tale is one of isolation. He’s a child of divorce, with his birth mother not wanting anything to do with him. Due to this rejection he becomes standoffish and introverted. Closing people off for fear of being rejected again. Despite his new step-mothers attempts to get closer to him, Yousuke remains distant which tragically ends with him committing suicide. His last sight being his step-mother crying over him. Each of these stories are very powerful and only add to desperation to win the game. Which is even more compounded by Decim’s interfering.
In order to get a proper judgement for the two he uses a device that tampers with Misaki and Yousuke’s machines. Suffice to say Onna is not aboard with this tactic and even Decim is thrown for a loop when Misaki begins to slam Yousuke’s head into his machine after hers is tampered with. It’s one of the few instances of genuine emotion we get out of our stoic bartender. The resolution for all these events is a somber one, but does what it needs to for the story.
Episode 5 is a lot less heavy to process as it starts with a young boy and a man being brought to Quindecim, the man claiming to having seen Decim before. After a hostage situation, it’s revealed that the entire affair was a test set up by Nona to judge Decim’s abilities. Basically a workplace evaluation.
The most important aspect of episode is that it once again focuses on the machinations and inner workings of Quindecim, introducing the rest of the cast, and revealing more about the details of said cast.
We meet Ginty in this episode, another arbiter who worked the bar before Decim (who has only been an arbiter for 5 years). Ginty and Decim aren’t really the best of friends, as they nearly tear down the bar when Ginty is revealed to be the little boy (in what was a pretty well animated fight scene). Nona asserts more of her authority this episode as she forcibly takes down Ginty and once again scolds Decim, but not before playing some pool first.
At the top of the episode she is seen playing pool with the elderly man from the opening (who claims to be the closest thing to God). The two wax poetic on the duties of being an Arbiter (of which Nona has been for 82 years) and Nona is once again shown to be running things.
There is also a girl named Castra who sits alone typing away on a keyboard in a room surrounded by maps of the world and wine glasses being slowly filled by what I assume is blood. She tells Nona that people are dying almost too quick to be judged (which is odd to say).
The biggest revelation is that Onna was a patron of Quindecim, but in an odd twist she remembered exactly how she died which meant the Decim could not coerce her to play games. This lead to Nona erasing her memories, creating the Onna we know today, but only time will tell when she remembers what is done to her and how she will react.
Another thing of note is that the episode both opens and ends with children’s story about a boy named Chavvot. The most interesting thing about this is that Onna has been having dreams about the story, which Nona has been reading through. There is a connection there, and the show is being very vague about it, as well as a bunch of other things. Time will only tell just what else we will learn as the story rolls on.
Things have seemed to cool down around the base since the assault on W Island. Still worried about Mutsuki, Fubuki attempts to comfort her are put on hold when she is assigned a new mission with the eccentric Kongo sisters.
KanColle certainly gave us a lot to deal with after Kisaragi’s death last week, and to the show’s credit episode 4 manages to give us a form of closure on that front, despite some milling about.
Mutsuki is still in denial about Kisaragi’s death, which is evident by her waiting by the docks every day in the vain hope that she will return. This rightfully worries Fubuki but before she can do anything about it she is roped into another mission. Although this time with some fresh faces. Along with the very odd Shimakaze, Fubuki also meets the Kongo sisters: Kongo, Hiei, Kirishima, and Haruna. Who are all a whirlwind in of themselves. After some bumbling around, the group manage to complete their mission.
There are some good bits of development in this episode. We get a bonding moment between Kongo and Fubuki during the op when Fubuki freezes up with the fear that she will end up like Kisaragi. We also get some resolution on the Mutsuki front when she finally comes to terms with Kisaragi’s death. It’s some good drama, which I wouldn’t have expected at first glance from KanColle.
Episode 5 rattles the cages a bit by splitting up all of squadrons and rearranging them. Fubuki winds up being in the newly formed Fifth Mobile Fleet. Her new squad mates being Zuikaku from Carrier Group 5, Kaga (Akagi’s partner in Carrier Group 1), Kitakami, Ooichi, and Kongo.
We get the typical “rocky start” for the new group. Zuikaku and Kaga can’t get along due to squad rivalries, and Ooichi doesn’t like anyone who gets between her and Kitakami. Needless to say it’s up to Fubuki to smooth things over, but that’s hard with her only lifeline in the squad (Kongo) doing almost nothing to help her.
As expected there is some personality clashes and some comedy in this episode that seems much more in place here than in episode 4. One example is the girl’s argument over who should be the flagship (the leader). This results in them going on multiple sorties with each girl (save for Fubuki) having a chance to lead. These all end spectaculary with an explosion (which grows each time in area in a nice animation touch) and the girls having to be treated for their wounds. This ends as you would expect it, with the group being put in a real mission and Fubuki being named flagship.
Despite being more than a little predictable, episode 5 does give us a broader look at KanColle’s enormous cast. Which is both good and bad. It’s obvious that we will be following Fubuki the most, but with a cast this big a lot of characters could be lost in the shuffle. That being said we’ll see just what the show has in store for Fubuki.
PARASYTE – THE MAXIM
Shinichi and Migi still have their hands full with Miki, who seems to be none the worse for wear during their battle. After narrowly escaping, Shinichi and Migi think carefully about their next move. Meanwhile in the Parasyte camp a shift is beginning, as Ryoko finds herself in the cross hairs of her fellows. This leads to a confrontation that could change things forever.
Episode 16 of Parasyte can basically be broken down into “fight plot” and “plot plot” although they do intersect when needed to advance. The fight between Shinichi and Miki has some of the same spastic arm waving and slashing as previous fights, but it soon evolves into a more tactical affair when Migi tells Shinichi to go into the woods. It seems to go well as the pair cut off Miki’s head but this leads to a pretty shocking development.
It seems that Miki’s body is not comprised of 3 Parasytes, but 6! Also Miki is not even the dominant personality, that right belongs to Gotou (the man we saw playing piano in the previous episode). With Gotou comes a whole new challenge as he begins to run through Shinichi and Migi, forcing their retreat.
In the “plot plot” Ryoko is put on watch by a fellow Parasyte after Kuwamori goes to the police about what he knows (which was only prompted by them killing his family so it’s really their fault more than hers). This comes off as more plot convenient as anything else seeing as how we only saw Kumamori’s family in the episode previous, and only then it was for a couple minutes. Sure it’s sad, but only if you empathize with Kuwamori, not because they were particularly important characters. These actions put Ryoko in a precarious position when she is cornered by three of her former comrades at the end of the episode.
This leads directly into episode 17 where Ryoko easily dispatches them, in what is some pretty ingenious and creepy ways using her own body. The scene of her running around with half of her head was only one the creepiest things this episode. However, the fight wasn’t the most important part here (which is evident by it’s short time). This episode mostly serves to come full circle with Ryoko as well as put all the relevant characters in place for a climatic showdown.
Ryoko’s baby is taken by Kuwamori and her search for him leads her to conversations with both Murano and Shinichi. In Shinichi’s case Ryoko contacts him by phone after she breaks into his house, which also directly leads to her confrontation with Murano outside of Shinichi’s house (in which she assures the girl that Shinichi will be safe in a moving scene of humantiy from Ryoko). One of the more curious, but albeit effective bits of these scenes is Ryoko looking through Shinichi’s family albums, specifically his baby pictures. It gives an interesting look into her psyche as she starts to understand, if a only a little, the bond between parent and child.
This all boils down a deadlock in Hikari Park 1. Kuramori is killed by Ryoko when he threatens to kill her child (which she rightfully questions her decision in such actions), the police begin their search for Ryoko after Kuramori gives his dying words (in what was a surprisingly emotional scene), Murano arrives at the park to search for Shinichi, and finally Shinichi and Ryoko come face to face (for what we can assume is the last time) at the episode’s conclusion. If this really is the end to Ryoko’s arc it will be sad to see her go.
The past two episodes of Rolling Girls have had a lot of energy behind them, but at the same time lacking a bit of oomph to get them over to where they need to be.
Episode 4 ends the Thunderoad arc in a somewhat satisfying way. Thunderoad realizes the error of her actions and apologizes to Nozomi and friends before saving the town from the bomb (which just so happens to be a roomba).
While it was a neat little wrap up, the Thunderoad arc wasn’t as entertaining as the show may have wanted us to think it was. There are few humorous moments here and there (such as the group who set the bomb only meant for it to show a banner to the town that read “Your parents would be very disappointed in you” before realizing that the the person they sent the roomba to put a bomb in “for free”) and Thunderoad gets some development when she steps down as head of the police force (with Chiaya giving her moonlight stone to the new head, Noriko).
There are some minor moments with our main 4: It’s revealed that Yukina had been to Always Comima before (she even stayed with the same people that she and her friends are currently staying with to hide from Thunderoad) sporting a radically different appearance and apparently demeanor (Noriko and her mother claim she is much more depressing now), Ai gets into an argument with Nozomi about whether or not they should leave without finding the stone, Ai and Yukina once again question why Chiaya knows their childhood names (whose answer is conveniently halted by an interruption provided by Nozomi), and Chiaya has a brief conversation via phone with her mother before continuing her journey with the others. The girls even bond over a band. It’s the little touches that made the episode work, but it wasn’t as exciting as previous ones.
Episode 5 starts off with a much more quickened pace courtesy of a race going on in the next stop on the girl’s journey, Ai-Mie (or Mie-Ai depending on which side of town you live on).
A lot more went down here than in episode 4, with the girls aiming to fulfill a request from a girl named Himeko on uniting the two motorcycle gangs in her town (the Aichi Tensmus and Mie Motors). Turns out when the girl’s find Himeko (who Nozomi remembers as the person who carved Masami’s moonlight stone into the pendant she now wears), she claims she didn’t make the request leading to whole nother can of worms opening up.
There are a few sub-plots and characters to muddle through in this episode. In addition to the gang’s constant warring, there’s Himeko’s strained relationship with her father and coming to terms with her role in life, the mysterious bike taxi rider who is also the leader of Mie Motors (who also happens to be a childhood friend of Himeko), and the ever so dandy Mr. Dandy, the leader of Aichi Tenmusus who is trying to keep the peace along with bike taxi man. There’s also the Rolling Girls but their more set pieces than anything at this point.
Even with all this going on, it helps that Ai-Mie has plenty of personality. Aside from the random street races, there is also the rule that if a restaurant throws food into your mouth you are dragged in to eat there (apparently it’s due to the cities constant emphasis on competition). The aforementioned Mr. Dandy’s conversation with the second in command of Mie Motors (whose dialogue is always drowned out by him constantly revving his motorcycle) is pretty humorous as well. As is everyone’s astonishment of how he stays so “Dandy” in difficult situations (although he’s a far cry from being a Dandy guy in space).
With all of these elements going on around us Rolling Girls continues to be entertaining, but it needs to be a bit more invested if it wants to stray from just being another popcorn anime.
TOKYO GHOUL ROOT A
Aogiri continues their assault on the CCG holding facility, Cochlea, but are met with heavy resistance by the Dove’s. Splitting up, Kaneki and his companions find themselves in heated battles from doves, ghouls, and their own pasts.
Tokyo Ghoul has hit it stride once again, as these pas two episodes have been filled with character pathos, as well as fast-paced action (despite a couple animation hiccups).
Episode 4 is basically one huge and long fight scene. Kaneki fights Orca (the ghoul who Aogiri was sent to retrieve), Ayato battles against Shinohara (where it is revealed that Shinohara’s Arata was made from Ayato’s father), Kuro and Shiro have a reunion with Suzuya, and Amon (who got some pretty neat character development early on in the episode when his adoptive father is revealed to be a prisoner in Cochlea) and Akira wade their way through Aogiri’s ranks. Again the episode is essentially one long fight, but the direction and minor character bits here and there keep it from being boring as they roll over into episode 5.
This is where Tokyo Ghoul’s exploration of its characters full force as we get a backstory on quite a bit of them as well as their connections to each other and how that will play into later episodes. Let me try and break down the web a bit.
Kuro and Shiro are old classmates of Juuzo, they also had a long standing admiration for Amon until one of their friends died due to what one can assume was a CCG op gone awry. Ayato has still not fully come to terms with his father’s passing, but is still shown to admire him to some degree before he passes out during his battle with Shinohara. He is about to be killed until he is saved by a newly ravenous Kaneki (who is shown possessing a new Kakuja), who is in turn attacked by Amon who demands to know why Kaneki didn’t kill him after their fight from the first season. However before any strict resolutions can be made, both Kaneki and Ayato are taken away by the Owl.
All these interactions and intersecting stories give us clear insights to our characters and help explain the motivations for the reasons they do the things they do in the present. Kuro, Shiro, and Juzo probably get the lens focused on them for the most part as their somewhat complicated history is peeked on. There is stll no clear explanation as to why they decided to become half-ghouls but it’s obvious that it will be explained on in further episodes. Juuzo’s insanity persists during his fight with them (even mortally wounding Shiro) but it still adds to is character and just how far he has gone.
The other half of this episode is basically all on Kaneki again. He bursts through as just as Ayato is about to be killed by Shinohara and begins to fight, sporting a new kakugane, and a much more sadistic personality akin to his change in the final episode of season 1 (as well as the first episode of this season). The scene is great, what with Kaneki’s increasing Jason inspired madness, and Shinohara trying to remain on the offensive (though he is ultimately overwhelmed).
The scenes with Kaneki fighting Amon are also used to great effect here with Amon shouting at Kaneki for being like other ghouls and Kaneki breaking down and proclaiming how he “Doesn’t want to eat anymore” (When Amon and Akira initially see Kankei he’s feasting on Shinohara’s Arata). This adds to the theory that Kaneki has most likely eating his fellow ghouls since her joined Aogiri (this is backed up by a comment from Tsukiyama earlier in the episode about cannibalism) It’s some powerful stuff that only adds to the appeal of Tokyo Ghoul and it’s wonderfully tragic cast of characters.
YOUR LIE IN APRIL
The pieces are starting to fall apart as quickly as they fall into place as Your Lie in April reaches it’s final stretch. The main characters are coming to terms with their feelings in ways that are both emotionally gripping as well as mature and thought out.
Whether it be Tsubaki, who finds her self tiptoeing on the edge of what she is and what she wants to be. She is slowly starting get a better frame of her feelings for Kousei, but she still is afraid of what will happen if she chooses to fully acknowledge what she has been denying for so long. She’s stagnant, stuck in space that she wishes could be the same forever, but knows cannot be. She has to make a choice despite the obstacles in her way (Kaori and Music), otherwise she will be left behind. She makes that choice (deciding to stay by Kousei’s side) but it hasn’t been full explored as of yet the ramifications of that choice.
Kousei is also stuck, but his dilemma comes with the realization of Kaori’s bed-ridden state. He wants to see her, he is practically begging to, but his fear always makes an excuse for him not to go. He knows that she’s not as healthy as she claims to be, but he’s too nice to call her out on it. Although he does start to get a minor reprieve from the doldrums in the form of Nagi, a young girl who becomes his student at Hiroko’s urging (although she hates him because of the affect Kousei had on her older brother, Kousei’s self-proclaimed rival Takeshi). This does essentially prompt him to go see Kaori, and the two spend a pretty fun day together but it is soon brought back to reality after an argument.
The biggest one going through changes is Kaori. Her condition is growing worse and she knows she’s against the clock. It wains on her both physically and emotionally as she begins to wonder if anybody will remember after she’s gone, as well as her blossoming feelings for Kosei. She’s lying to everyone, but it will soon catch up to her as the days move forward. She has no idea what to do, she wants Kousei to move forward and keep pursuing his dream, but she also wants to be there to see him do it.
Despite the doom and gloom there is still some moments of humor between these two episodes, but they mostly serve to only cushion the blows that are sure to come later.
There is plenty of things going on with the Tsubaki, Kosei, Kaori triangle. Whether it be with themselves or with one another things are reaching their apex and soon all in the dark will be shown in the light for all to see.
It was a double dose of reflection for Yurikuma, with each episode explaining more on our two honey suckle licking bears, Ginko and Lulu.
I’ll be the first to state that I am only grasping at the surface elements of Yurikuma when it comes to unpacking its themes and meanings. That being said I still enjoy the show a great deal and the things I am able to unpack make me intrigued to see just how deep the box is.
We start off with Lulu (whose tale of tragedy is being narrated by Sexy Life). She was princess in the bear kingdom, a very happy one at that. Until her little brother was born. Jealous of the praise given to him that was once showered upon her Lulu concocted scheme after scheme after scheme in order to give her brother that one way ticket to the afterlife. But no matter how hard she tried, he kept coming back. Until a twist of fate took care of her problem for her. Lulu was once again the center of attention, but slowly her elation gave way to depression, only elevating when Ginko arrives at her door (well, open window) and asks to her to go past the Wall of Severance.
Lulu’s story is one of jealousy and hate that eventually evolves into a tale of longing and regret. At first she hates her younger brother (despite him thinking the world of her) and constantly tries to get rid of him (through various Tex Avery-esque shenanigans such as dropping him in a volcano, kicking him off a cliff, and throwing him into the pincers of a giant insect creature among other things). Now matter how hard she tried he would come back, a jar of honey in his hand (specifically the one Lulu carries around now), and the promise of a kiss (see what I did there?) in his mind.
When he eventually dies (which I admit I laughed at due to the randomness of it. All of the things Lulu subjected him to and he dies via a vaguely explained “accident”.Just made me chuckle a bit) Lulu is ecstatic at first, reclaiming all the praise that she had lost with Mirun was born, but she soon starts to see the error of her celebration and begins to lament her actions towards her brother. Realizing that it was not his fault that he was born in the position he was put in, but of the archaic patriarchy the he and Lulu had to live under. He was an innocent, but Lulu was unable to see that until it was too late. This realization causes her to actively give up on love until Ginko comes to her.
All of this built up with a great deal of symbolism through subtle touches of animation and direction (chief among them being the bee that periodically circles around Lulu during the story). One of the more powerful set pieces being Mirun sitting next to a tree in bear form. I will not be ashamed to say I nearly shed manly tears during episode 4.
Episode 5 gives a closer look at Ginko. She is a self-described “criminal bear” and former soldier in the bear-human wasr who is revealed to have past ties with both Kureha and her mother Reia. She moves past the wall to be with Kureha (who still rejects both her and Lulu vehemently due to her still pining for Sumika). Ginko has got it bad (cue Usher music) for Kureha, as illustrated through all of the daydreams she keeps having throughout episode 5, she and Lulu cooking her food in only aprons, and even going as moving in to her house. Despite Kureha’s constant rejection of the pair, Ginko refuses to give up, with Lulu keeping with Ginko in order to help her as well as regain her own sense of love. Makes for an interesting love triangle.
More things in school start to be handled when it’s also revealed that Ginko and Lulu only eat “invisible girls” and even then they only eat those that pose an active threat to Kureha. Such as their newest prey Kaoru Harishima, the perpetrator of the “invisible storm”, who is trying to manipulate Kureha by pretending she and their other classmates are her friends only to throw her into despair. This doesn’t sit will with our Yuri-Bears and they attempt to eat Kaoru, but are soon one-upped when Kaoru catches Ginko in a bear trap (A rather large one at that).
There is still a lot to go through as the series moves forward and a lot more of our characters to explore. The love fest barrels ever forward.
That’s it for this week. What did you guys think? Let us know in the comments below.
See you in 2!
S#!T Talking Central