Re: ZERO – Starting Life In Another World #17
No matter how bad things get for Subaru, it is always possible that they could get worse. And, lately, they do.
The monster that showed up at the end of last episode is a flying leviathan, kind of a cross between Monstro, Jaws, and a plane full of jet engines, which is known as Moby-Dick. Well, okay, it’s called the Hakugei (White Whale), but that happens to be the Japanese title of Moby-Dick, and I do believe it’s a deliberate reference.
Whatever it is, it’s targeting Subaru, at least until he’s kicked out of the wagon. Remember way back in episode 6, when it seemed suspicious that Subaru was found so easily, and it was worth speculating that Roswaal had put some kind of beacon on him? Did it seem odd that it needed to be established that Rem and Subaru are still carrying the bag of money with them? It definitely looks like Roswaal is trying to get Subaru killed.
Instead, Rem sacrifices herself for the final time. It looks like she’s been somehow erased altogether from the timeline. I don’t think she’ll even be there when Subaru reverts back to his current save point in front of the apple cart again. And maybe that will be the moment when Subaru finally realizes how much damage he’s doing. It should happen soon – this show is almost out of characters who haven’t had a turn to tell him what an idiot he is.
And if all that isn’t bad enough, Subaru learns that all he can do by reaching Emilia is to get her killed even faster this time through. It does raise the possibility that he can control the spectral hands to some extent, as Betelgeuse seems to, but for now it just means he has to find a way to die again.
It’s no surprise in a teen drama when the beautiful senior who steals the heroine’s crush turns out to be possessive, suffocating, all around kind of a bitch. Even so, in the face of evidence that Kakeru is seriously uncomfortable with the situation, Naho is too unassertive to do anything but look away.
It’s here that Naho articulates what sets Orange apart from the small flood of repetitive stories we’ve gotten this year. Instead of an older, wiser, stronger Naho jumping back in time, it’s her painfully shy 16-year-old self trying to deal with the situation. It’s not a simple request for her to turn herself into someone she originally took 10 years to develop into.
But small victories are making a difference. Because she encouraged Kakeru to join the soccer team, Suwa can see what’s happening, and is there to support her in taking the next step that she needs to take.
Now that Naho is encouraging Kakeru to disentangle himself from Ueda, that’s one part of his misery on the way to being resolved. But I think we’ll find out that there’s a lot more on his mind than whether he’s been dating the right girl.
Mob Psycho 100 #3
Any depiction of a New Age cult in anime, even a fairly silly one, has the specter of Aum Shinrikyo looming over it. The guru claiming to be a chosen one of some sort or other is a theme all around the world, but the weird headgear meant to put one’s brain in sync with the guru is probably inspired by Aum’s headsets.
While not harboring any obvious apocalyptic leanings, this guru is obnoxious enough to set off the foreshadowed “explosion”, which turns out to be a massive explosion of all sorts of pent-up random emotions, morphing Mob into a Super Saiyan of gloomy anger. So he’s pretty much a normal adolescent in that respect.
Mezato, the girl from the newspaper club, doesn’t really get to do much, so I presume she’s being set up as a regular who will have more to do in future episodes. Reigen is mostly vanishing into the background now that his place in Mob’s life has been established, but it’s interesting that Mob goes to him for advice, and that the advice he gives isn’t bad.
Cute High Earth Defense Club LOVE! LOVE! #3
For no apparent reason, this week’s episode contains an extended plug for Folktales from Japan, which is an actual show that is available on Crunchyroll if you want to check it out.
Aside from that, there’s not a whole lot here other than cementing the basic pattern that most of the rest of the season should be expected to follow: student with a punny name (this week’s is approximately “really long recitation”) is unhappy, gets grabbed by the Beppu twins, takes a flying squirrel to the face, and morphs into a monster which the Earth Defense Club then has to fight with the power of love. As they say, it’s the attempt that counts more than the quality, but this really didn’t feel up to Cute High‘s usual standard.