Amazing Stories

Anime roundup 3/3/2016: X Marks the Plot

Active-Raid-8 Active Raid #8 – What a nice little romantic episode. Sena is reunited with his ex-girlfriend, and they get a chance to argue about their breakup and confess their past mistakes. While fighting in powersuits and trying to disarm a bomb left by Logos, of course. What do you think this is, a girly romance series?

After being the one-note uptight neatnik for the last few episodes, it’s nice to see Sena get a chance to be fleshed out. In fact, it’s downright surprising. But apparently Sena’s military past is going to be important to the story somehow. I hope this means Kuroki will get a chance to move beyond his distinguishing character trait, too. It’d be only fair.

Speaking of fair, it’s Funasaka’s turn to do the barely-dressed transformation thing and show off his personalized Willwear. The subtitler has very carefully not translated the name of this one, so I’m going to let you in on the secret: Kōtetsujin means “Steel Man”. That makes this the third episode in a row where Funasaka has been involved in some kind of superhero reference (stretching the definition a bit to include James Bond). I’m sensing a mild case of authorial or directorial self-insertion.

The next episode promises “betrayal and idiots everywhere”. Sounds like a perfect fit for election season.

(Crunchyroll)

BBK-8 BBK/BRNK #8 – With the business between Entei and Ōbu concluded, BBK/BRNK wastes no time in making life far more complicated for Azuma and company. Kicking off with what looked for a moment like a break in the fourth wall, we are introduced to the American and then the Russian bubuki teams, because of course all the large dangerous countries in the world will have one.

The leader of Team America (and I love it’s actually called “Team America”) is the embodiment of every Japanese stereotype about obnoxious tourists from the US: a fat dude in a T-shirt and fanny pack who is way too enthusiastic about everything including physical contact. On the bright side, he gets to display some American coolness by being basically a short version of Elvis. Also, props for having a racially diverse team, which is not something you always get with depictions of people from Western countries.

Team Russia, on the other hand, is really really white, and their leader has the Ultra-Blond Hair of Evil, so I guess they’ll be taking over as the antagonists now. (As Matobai points out, the Entei crew isn’t doing a very good job of being evil overlords anyway.)

One weird coincidence: Epizo is 16, just like Azuma, and the rest of Ōbu’s crew, and Reoko’s body, and the rest of the new bubuki users look to be about the same age. Was there a worldwide power outage 17 years before its present, or something?

All this new wackiness feels like BBK/BRNK is laughing to keep from crying. Because underneath, things are dark. Every buranki heart on Earth except Entei’s has stopped. Reoko is taking all the physical and emotional damage of fighting fallen buranki, and one loss could mean the destruction of the whole world. Was she always insane, or is this breaking her?

(CrunchyrollADN)

Utawarerumono-21 Utawarerumono: The False Faces #21 – Just as things are winding down, this show finally stands up and delivers a turn of events which feels genuinely serious and mysterious. Anju’s poisoning came out of nowhere, and there are no obvious suspects. Raikō seems the least perturbed by it, and he’s one of the few people intelligent enough to arrange it, but it’s hard to see how he could have managed it without an accomplice with better access to Anju. Honoka, maybe? I can’t think why she’d participate.

Vurai may not be the sharpest knife in the drawer, but I think he smells a rat. His estimation of Oshutoru is high enough– even if it’s in an adversarial way– that he probably thinks Oshutoru is innocent. He doesn’t seem like the sort to help with an escape, but he might be trying to arrange a more honorable death. We’ll see!

(Crunchyroll)

Orphans-21 Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans #21 – Some tropes transcend cultures. Anime or Western TV, if you talk about the family members you need to help when you get back home, you’re asking for trouble. If you have an argument with your best friend and then agree to postpone patching it up until after a battle, you’re practically signing your own death warrant. And if you do all that and then suddenly decide you want to help out on the battlefield when you’re normally a REMF, you are absolutely freaking doomed.

This show has been doing a great job of keeping things uncertain until now, but that death was so telegraphed, Ulysses S. Grant is sending reinforcements.

That was the worst moment. The best is of course Akihito being ungracious enough to take a potshot at one of Carta’s men just because they were standing there being perfect targets. The writer has worked out that only way a ragtag band of juvenile mercenaries can take on a proper army head-on is for that army to be incompetent, and Carta’s border patrol is just plausibly (and amusingly) incompetent enough.

Next up is Ein as Gaelio’s puppet (maybe literally), and I expect our heroes will be very glad there’s only one of him.

(DaisukiGundam.infoCrunchyrollWakanimAnimeLab)

Erased-8 ERASED #8 – The abandoned school bus is such a good hideout that, as the kids discover through a very close call, it’s the exact same place that the murderer was stashing his stuff. Satoru’s backup plan is to hide Kayo at his house, which works out beautifully because he has a magical supermom who has worked out what’s going on so thoroughly that she just happens to have everything pre-arranged for a sleepover.

The best part of this episode is seeing Kayo experience the kindness that Satoru took for granted in his first trip through childhood. First she’s not sure how to react, and then she finally loses it over the idea that someone would actually cook breakfast for her.

And the worst part is a sudden need to drag in a cliché from a million obligatory hot springs episodes. Seriously, we had to see the guy-listens-to-girls-giggling-in-the-bath routine in the middle of this? With Satoru’s mother and an underage girl? Really?

Having finally gotten Kayo to a place where she can be safe, everyone makes some kind of collective decision to undo all that hard work by first showing Kayo’s mother who’s got her and then telling the one other person they absolutely shouldn’t tell. Even without the narrative being clear that there’s only one adult male left that it cares about, the fact that the killer is making use of A SCHOOL BUS should be a pretty big clue.

(CrunchyrollDaisukiAnimeLabWakanim – peppermint anime)

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