Attack on Titan #31 – If you thought the first series of Attack on Titan dragged out terribly, especially in the latter half, if you got tired of multi-episode fights, if you wanted it to quit messing around and make with some explanations, then season 2 is here to win you back. It understands where it went wrong and is trying as hard as it can to make amends.
So we’ve gotten Ymir, and the far different civilization she’s linked to, and the horrifying implications of what happened in Conny’s village. And just when it looks like everyone’s going to have a few quiet moments to process it all, Reiner takes Eren aside and calmly explains that he and Bertolt are the Titans who kicked this all off by breaking through Wall Maria, and if Eren would just come visit their hometown right now, they’ll call off the genocide.
Eren, it turns out, has just been warned that something is sketchy about those two. He pretends this comes out of the blue and that he thinks Reiner is cracking up, and he is actually not wrong. Reiner can dish it out as the Colossal Titan, but he can’t take it as a human facing the constant threat of Titan attacks.
And one of those attacks was Ymir nearly killing him. Is she also from the same mysterious place as Reiner and Bertolt? Or are there two unknown powers at work here?
The Eccentric Family 2 #5 – A lot of shout-outs to the previous series in this episode. It’s the night of the Daimonji bonfires, recalling the previous year’s festival when the Ebisugawas and Shimogamos wound up in an aerial artillery battle. Near the end of the last series, we learned that one of Yajirō’s old favorite forms was a streetcar, and that he can still manage it occasionally despite otherwise being stuck as a frog. So Yasaburō cajoles him somehow into being the family vehicle for this year’s festival, inevitably setting up a rematch with the Ebisugawas.
It’s also a time to note changes in the last year. Benten was always the most powerful being around, unmatched by anything other than her own boredom. Now there’s someone stronger than her, trying to take away her place in the social order. It was hinted before, but Akadama makes it very clear now: the Nidaime is, like Benten, a human child he “adopted”. (Tengu are credited with stealing children away, confusing people, etc., much like European elves.) Only he’s not really the Nidaime (“successor”) anymore, because Akadama’s cut him out of the will.
Benten’s desire to be amused seems to be at the root of the trouble; she and her opponent let on that they have met before. After all those postcards home about being so terribly bored, she must have seized on the opportunity to make life interesting again. Only it now stands a chance of being a little too interesting, for her and especially the less powerful around her.
Kado: The Right Answer #5 – It’s a lazy summer day in Tokyo (f/x: obligatory cicadas) even though the entire world is rattling its sabers at Japan. The JSDF is being put to work helping scientists figure out phlegonics (which, if I have my Greek roots correct, is the study of particles which just can’t be bothered) rather than going on high alert. All of which seems to suggest that Inuzuka has already made the decision to hand the wam over to the UN.
But zaShunina has an even more efficient idea: open-source the process for creating the wam. It has something to do with an advanced understanding of topology and some hand-waving about the human brain being sensitive to electromagnetic fields; in other words, it’s learnable by a large number of humans and now it doesn’t matter who has the wam stockpile.
So, free energy for everyone! Or at least everyone who has either a head for math or a friend who does. Describing the wam as essentially a hole punched in higher-dimensional space sounds like something that should be explored further, though. What is the magic inexhaustible energy source on the other side of that hole? And could putting a lot of holes in close proximity to each other possibly turn out to have negative side effects?
Rage of Bahamut: Virgin Soul #5 – Charioce has a brilliant plan to stop Azazel once and for all with Mugaro’s power. Azazel has a brilliant plan to stop Charioce once and for all with Nina’s power. Both are equally confident of their success, despite the awkward fact that neither alleged ally has actually agreed to help them, and Charioce doesn’t even know where Mugaro is.
But everyone knows now that Mugaro is somewhere in town. There seems to be some gender confusion, though. The agents of Heaven seem to be looking for a boy. Maybe. Japanese doesn’t bother with gendered pronouns much, so Sofiel and Bacchus just talk about “the child” with no particular indication of gender. It’s possible that the translator has received direction from the producers that the gods think Joan of Arc had a son; it’s also possible that there is supposed to be deliberate ambiguity, and the translator or editor doesn’t like using “they”.
Another possibility is that everyone is partly right and Mugaro’s dual nature extends to being intersex. Until this gets cleared up, I’m going to stick with the uncertain “they” for Mugaro, and if they turn out to be not strictly male or female, it’ll be time to break out the Spivak pronouns again.
Alice & Zoroku special – I guess that double-length premiere finally caught up with them. Anime production schedules are always tight, and sometimes there’s nothing to do but admit the episode can’t be delivered and replace it with something else. In this case, it’s a live-action interview assembled with great haste and little budget.
At least it’s not the usual filler. Though I’d always rather have the next actual episode, I salute any show willing to make the effort to put together something other than a straight clip show when it needs to fill airtime. And it was interesting to hear the actors talk a bit about the experience of making the show.