Impressions! Spring 2016, Week Ten

Realizations of how little I’ve prepared for my exams are piling in faster than a bloodthirsty horde of Kabane. But on the plus side, even if I forget how to talk about Beowulf, some of the shows coming to an end this season are proving to be unforgettable.

When the holiday comes around I might binge Kuromukuro or get back on board Haifuri. Six shows I’m still enjoying and even more I’m excited to eventually try – what a season this has been!

Netoge

Yay, Rusian’s back! And the worries that ended last episode? Well, they’re not back. Maybe everyone was just dreaming that existential crisis they had about Ako. But the unnecessary fanservice is back! Got to, uhm, appeal to the, uh, target market and stuff, yeah.

A whole bunch of things happen this week, mostly dedicated to the need to get into some ‘PVP’ action. While it’s hilarious to see Master so easily beaten, having never truly gotten good at LA with all her premium items propping her up, Ako and Rusian’s relationship feels so static now. I’m sure the show will have one last go at ‘dealing’ with that problem, but for now it’s settled too easily, coming to its climax in comfort rather than in chaos.

Succeeding at the siege is only going to bring the game into ‘real life’ further, which is what Ako has always been doing; projecting their marriage in the game into an inevitable marriage with Rusian IRL. Hopefully this is just a big calm before an even bigger storm. Hopefully Rusian throws us all for a loop and just dumps her or something. Anything other than what we have now, in total support of the girl we’ve been spending the whole show trying to change.

Kiznaiver

I found last week hard to enjoy, but this week healed all the wounds. Last week all our focalization was behind the puppet-masters who grew to be more and more overbearing in all the wrong ways. This week we get back into the minds of the victims of their manipulation, and it’s a wonderfully wild ride.

Love should lead to peace, but love was made for two people to come together. Have a chain of desires, and break down all disguises, and everyone can only fall apart, united by their mutual suffering. That’s the only way we can find peace – in paralysis. Because from characters in a story to the people we base them on, we can’t live without a struggle.

The best part of this episode? Tenga revealing his feelings. Tenga making us realise how much the story has pointed to those feeling. Tenga’s always antagonized the Kizna corporation the most, but he’s become fleshed out as one of the greatest victims not of their meddling, but of the fundamental faults of a dysfunctional people just trying to get along with each other.

Boku no Hero Academia

The Purple Pervert was a hard sell for me this week, and I’m still not gelling with his character. But I get the vision he contributes to – of how the power of quirks is in how you use them, not just the ‘power’ of a quirk itself. That’s how a hero can trump your average baddie; they use their ability inventively to save a life. The villains just use their powers to crush things when and where they can.

Even our master-villains trip up like this in not having intel on which students would be weakened where. That makes the lower villains have to hesitate, which gives our heroes time to devise a plan, while all their adversaries were doing was playing a waiting game. Of course we see some heroes just overpowering their foes – but people like Deku and Tsu have to be creative to win.

What has me hooked for next week is simple: what’s the power of this man with all the hands, and how handy will he make it when he joins the fray?

Flying Witch

Knowing the mother’s profession sheds even more light on how this family so comfortably works together to evoke the magic of the world around them. Children’s storytelling is a lot harder to get into than one might think; it takes an understanding of the simplest pleasures life has to offer. There’s no wonder she’s raised the family she has.

The fortune telling just adds to this. With the complexity of the readings themselves but their vague, simple outcome, we always want to re-expand what we hear into a complex story. It’s just like any kind of anticipation – things can often turn out far more banal than we image they will, but there’s a pleasure we can take in that.

Akane’s gifts may have been weird, but the realization of the fortune they gave made them a far more fun experience to hold and behold.

Re:Zero

The longer we get to know Rem and Ram, the more they grow apart as characters into their own selves, which parallels the sense of them growing further and further apart in the story – now one is trying to save the other, when before they were as tight as a duck’s ass, always close to one another and stingy with their expressions. But split apart, they always come to life more. So is it a good or bad thing to have some distance between them?

I don’t think Subaru’s going to die again in this ‘level’ of his life, and I loved his remarks about wanting to continue the story, remarks that call attention more and more to how it’s not really the show that’s ‘self-aware’ of its genre – it’s just him. It genuinely characterizes him, makes me interpolate how much his shut-in lifestyle was spent in fantasies lie these, and how his expectations have been met and flouted so far.

But you don’t get the strength to throw a girl like that from just physical training. If the Witch can activate all his nerves as he speaks of Return by Death, surely she’s the one letting his body go beyond its limit too. She has a purpose for him, and that further makes us concerned for where Subaru came from,and why he was chosen by her for whatever task he’s set on.

Kabaneri

As the Kabane are let in, so does the truth penetrate Mumei’s heart. She’s always fortified her beliefs before with her love for her ‘brother’. But seeing families destroyed in front of her eyes, by her own actions, like the civilization crumbling around her, her entire life is in a meltdown.

Biba believes he is ‘liberating’ humanity from the ‘cowardice’ of castles – ironic as castles are always used to symbolize strength. He’s willing to face the Kabane, to have one who was once loyal to him come to a hair’s breadth away from slicing his skull. That’s where his confidence comes from; his soldiers, with their goggle-eyes, only share his narrow vision. That means there’s hope that Ikoma, who never trusted him, and Mumei, who has lost her faith in him, can topple his tyranny.

The pacing wasn’t perfect this week, but the chaos felt visceral all the same. We’re nearing the climax. Ending the second Act. Things can only get more exciting from here.

Short-Cuts

  • Space Patrol Luluco: Her love is the superficial throwaway first love of any normal young girl. But that’s what makes it so special, to her and to us. Trust Trigger to take a cinematographic symbol and have someone pluck it out of her and make us hate him so much through how he mistreats it. Sure, that crystal heart is silly, but it’s always been in the center of our screen. It may be an empty love, but it fills the show with joy and hope. Without it, there’s no belief that we’ll be able to continue…

That’s all for this week. See you next time!

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