Anime roundup 8/3/2017: Wonders Never Cease

Made in Abyss #4 – Having made good their escape, Riko and Reg have a mostly pleasant, sunny walk down to the end of the first layer of the Abyss. Riko shows off her cooking skills, Reg comes up with a new use for his extendable arms, and then they are briefly cornered but only by someone who wants to help.

And yet the ominous signs are multiplying. Riko says after she loses the “compass” that everything that leaves the Abyss is eventually reclaimed by it. And then Habo reveals to the viewer that “we” are all ultimately from the Abyss. Does he mean the explorers, which would bring new meaning to the children of lost explorers being raised to explore it further? Or does he mean all the natives of Orth? Either way, it would explain why everyone around Riko is putting up only token resistance. She was expected to do something like this sooner or later.

There is a curious feature on the map of the Abyss we’re seeing every episode now. It doesn’t really seem to have a bottom. That could just be because Orth’s knowledge only extends so far, but it might also be that it goes through rather than down. Is this a Hollow Earth situation? Or a reverse one? Is this even Earth? Is this even a planet? And what’s with that forcefield Riko mentioned in passing?

(Anime Strike/Amazon VideoHIDIVEWakanimVVVVID)

Katsugeki Touken Ranbu #5 – Yagen and company have managed to stop the loyalists from disrupting the surrender negotiations for Edo Castle, but the Retrograde Army has another idea. The ōtachi is not just a decoy, but has orders to kill the head of the defenders directly if necessary. And if that doesn’t work out, Plan C is to unleash the anachronistic artillery, set Edo on fire, and kill everyone.

Whatever the Retrograde Army is after, it doesn’t appear to be preserving the shogunate. Taking out the shogun’s army minister, or wiping out his headquarters completely, isn’t going to achieve that. They seem to be going for maximum chaos instead.

And… it looks like they’ve succeeded? One or two members of the Second Unit are dead (though, depending on how conjuring weapons into human form works, I wouldn’t rule out a dramatic return at a moment of great peril), and Edo is having the sort of devastating city-wide fire that has all but leveled it from time to time.

Meanwhile, Saniwa is distracted by something going on in 1565, which seems odd– if the Retrograde Army successfully caused chaos further along the timeline, why bother mucking about in the Sengoku Period?

(Anime Strike/Amazon PrimeCrunchyroll — WakanimAniplus — bilibili)

Chronos Ruler #4 – Mīna turns out to have a different affliction from her husband — she’s near-immortal, thanks to being a descendant of the original Chronos, and 500-plus years old. That answers the riddle of why her Horologue scar isn’t visibly aging her backwards when she uses her powers. It actually is aging her backward, but she has a lot of time to spare, so to speak.

Unfortunately, Chronos’s power descends by strict primogeniture, and Mīna’s sister makes it clear that neither Mīna nor Victo can stand against her. Fortunately, Big Sis doesn’t want Victo dead (yet). Hopefully this all means Kiri is valuable to the Chronos organization, as a descendant of the god, and will be spared in the nick of time.

We get a little more insight into the events of 12 years ago: Victo undertook a dangerous mission and returned with information that was incredibly valuable to the organization. He was fine then, so the strike at him and his family must have been in retaliation for that. I’m still not sure when he got hold of that artifact, though — if it was on that mission, would Chronos have detected it?

(Crunchyroll)

Magical Circle Guru-Guru #4 – Never let it be said that the humor in this show is excessively highbrow. But it is, thankfully, right back onto the mile-a-minute pace of the first couple episodes, and I don’t care how many bodily function jokes it throws in if they’re absolutely buried by all the other material.

Most of this episode is concerned with Nike and Kukuri’s attempt to train, which is going back all the way to ye olde 1980s tabletop role-playing games. A character in that sort of game doesn’t just have all their stats blip up the moment they’ve accumulated enough experience points, no sirree. Gaining a level in Dungeons & Dragons requires setting aside weeks for intensive training and reflection before the character can make use of what they’ve learned. The only time you’ll get a training montage in a modern computer RPG is the tutorial at the beginning, which you can usually skip.

(Crunchyroll)

18if #4 – Well, here’s a first for me. I’ve never seen an anime show tackle an eating disorder seriously before– and, indeed, the topic is extremely rare in anime and manga. So while this episode has a scattered narrative and doesn’t do full justice to the issue, it’s nice to see it being addressed at all.

It does hit all the fundamental concepts: Airi has a deeply dysfunctional relationship to food. Though she binges on junk food, she doesn’t experience it as food (even in the dream, Haruto notices that the donuts have no taste). The pleasant memories of the food she used to enjoy are blocked by a tangle of negative emotions around self-image and dieting.

But since this is anime, curry rice fixes everything. Curry rice is practically the national dish of modern Japan. It is one of the fundamental theses of anime that curry rice is the single tastiest thing ever invented by the human race. If you have one episode to stop a case of bulimia, it’s the obvious choice.

(CrunchyrollVVVVID — bilibiliFUNimation)

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