CHAOS;CHILD #7 – Sure enough, the Aoba Clinic gang was too hasty to assume they would be targeted next, and the murders have in fact continued right on schedule. The examination of the latest victim reminds everyone of an important clue to what’s going on: that the brains of all the victims so far were found to be slightly enlarged. This may be what helps Kurusu put the pieces together in a moment of lucidity before the horror crashes in on her. (Either that, or she’s already in on the plot. I trust no one at this point.)
So there’s a psychic out there who can control people but the targets wind up with brain damage. That explains Takuru’s bleeding last episode, if the same psychic was responsible for giving him the delusion of being attacked in the cafe.
So who is that psychic? Mad pyromaniac Senri Minamisawa felt like a bad fit for the serial killer, but of course we now know that wasn’t the real Senri. But suppose Senri’s talent was actually projecting mental illusions? Although Takeshi couldn’t have known her directly, the part about wanting revenge for the suffering she endured could easily be Senri’s actual motivation, slightly modified to give Takeshi a plausible-sounding story to tell himself.
ACCA: 13-Territory Inspection Dept. #8 – Jean finally gets the full story on how his mother left the royal family to live as a commoner, plus or minus the odd intervention from her royal helicopter parent. Mostly it’s what we’ve already guessed (though I’ll admit I only expected Abend to be known to Grossular, not to be Grossular). But one crucially important point not covered in the text is that ACCA appears to be following the grand old sfnal tradition of telling a story about exotic foreign people in an imaginary land to disguise criticism of something in the author’s own society. It’s about the Japanese imperial family.
Like Dōwā, modern Japan keeps succession to the male line; has a monarch who’s getting on in years; has suffered a serious drought in the male heir department; and traps its ruling family, particularly the women, in what looks to many outsiders like a suffocating web of ritual and tradition. The imperial family is also a very sensitive topic; definitely the sort of thing it’s much safer to write about under a thick layer of analogy.
ACCA also invites a historical parallel. Dōwā’s current system dates from when it subjugated all the other kingdoms in its archipelago; Japan likewise was once a bunch of independent states, most of which were unified in the late 1500s. The period immediately following the unification was the Tokugawa era, when the emperors were figureheads and the real power belonged to a line of military dictators. That ended with the Meiji Restoration in 1868, when the emperor and his loyalists rose up to depose the last leader of the Tokugawa clan – in other words, there was a coup of sorts, led by the nominal head of state.
The head of the Privy Council doesn’t quite rise to the level of dictator, but he does control the flow of information into and out of the palace. He’s going to be the champion of tradition when Jean’s heritage is publicly revealed and insist that Schwan is the only qualified heir. So the head of the coup everyone in the Inspection Bureau is chasing their tails looking for is almost certainly the king, determined to break free and start forging some new tradition.
The other thing the Tokugawa era is noted for is the attempts to keep Japan walled off from the outside world and new technology. That also ended with the Meiji Restoration. The Suitsu episode was a nod to that, but maybe it’s true of Dōwā as a whole, and Jean’s going to learn that the rest of the world is in the 26th century with androids and FTL travel and who knows what else.
Saga of Tanya the Evil #7 – Amidst the proud soldiers of the Entente, one has particular reason to want a rematch with Tanya. Unfortunately, his hobby is collecting death flags. First he promises his wife and daughter as they’re evacuated to a foreign land (I guess the alternate fantasy US is going through one of its occasional brief periods when it isn’t terrified of refugees) that he absolutely will see them again soon. Then there’s the matter of the Christmas present. Then he just has to comment on what a lovely crinkly bit of easily defensible coastline he’s been assigned to…
The Orsefjord is a dead ringer for our universe’s Oslofjord, which was the site of an attempted naval invasion not too different from the one in this episode. In April 1940, German ships attempted to come up the fjord to land troops to invade Oslo. Unfortunately, they had no magical air support to take out the guns of Oscarsborg fortress, which sank the heavy cruiser leading the attack. The remaining German ships fled and were forced to land their troops 50 miles away.
That wasn’t much of a setback for the Germans, though; Oslo was still taken shortly afterward. So the course of the war hasn’t altered much, other than they now appear to be fighting WWII instead of WWI. It seems like this could go on a while, so this is either going to be airing during the spring season as well, or heading for an abrupt ending.
Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans #45 – Odds of two to one in his favor aren’t enough for Rustal Elion, so he has a plan to really let him crush the opposition quickly. Sneaking an agent with a Dáinsleif into the revolutionary forces gives him the opportunity to go to town on his enemies with a whole battery of them. (I eagerly await his clever explanation of how he just happened to be carrying a whole stack of illegal weapons around when he allegedly had no idea he might have an excuse to use them.)
Crushed and overwhelmed, Tekkadan has no choice but to retreat. But they decide to administer one last heroic strike before they go, scoring a symbolic victory by taking out Elion himself.
Unfortunately it doesn’t work. And now they really have nowhere to run. And Shino is gone. And Yamagi never got a chance to tell him how he felt. And your correspondent is seriously annoyed about this.
It’s all very nice that someone wanted to try to be inclusive and have a gay character, but it’s tokenism, not representation, when the character doesn’t get to fully inhabit the story. Yes, plenty of romances and friendships have been broken up by untimely deaths in this show, but the others felt like they were progressing up until that moment. Whereas Yamagi’s feelings were established early on, and then the show put him away in a box until he was needed to yank the melodrama chain.
All right, it could have been worse; at least they didn’t go for extra cliché points and kill the gay person. But still, very disappointing.