Kokkoku #4 – Juri has officially had enough of this, and is ready to fight back. After putting a serious dent in the number of random thugs running around in Stasis, she and Grandpa have a chance to sit down and have a heart-to-heart about what he’s been hiding.
Visiting Stasis isn’t some regular family ritual— it was a one-off moment of kindness to try to give Juri more time with her dying pet. But somehow someone else got involved, and that person is Majima. Who, it turns out, also has a family history with Stasis, and an ancestor that became a Herald. Unless that’s the same ancestor as Juri’s, now we’re talking about a third group of people with a magic stone and the power to enter Stasis.
Majima seems angry that the Yukawas have been hiding their stone rather than using it to do good deeds, so one wonders how she wound up hooking up with the cult. Is she just using them for manpower, with plans to double-cross them once she can grab Yukawas’ stone? The cult leaders seem to be a little too intelligent to let that happen, and the opening credit sequence suggests that Juri and Majima will eventually have to join forces.
We have confirmation now that the Heralds do eventually use up their power and die, though it can happen over a very long timespan. (The head that Majima pulls from the dead Herald has a hairstyle at least a century out of date.) It stands to reason that we’ll get to see someone turn into a Herald, but who? Grandpa Yukawa, after overexerting himself? One of the cult leaders, as karmic retribution for their crimes?
Hakumei and Mikochi #3 – Hakumei learns a Very Important Lesson about gunpowder when an improperly stored bag of it blows up Mikochi’s house. But that’s okay, Sen the mad scientist has a work crew of reanimated monkey skeletons that can build a new house for them while the friends go film an episode of Elf vs. Wild. Being able to follow that opening with a story that keeps your attention is an achievement indeed.
The real point is to tell us a little bit about Hakumei’s history. Before she met Mikochi, she was homeless and living rough, and enough of a free spirit to enjoy it. But somehow Mikochi persuaded her to give it up and rejoin society. Or something about Mikochi persuaded her.
Hakumei even now has a job, as we see in the second half, and many more lessons to learn about health and safety. Her boss is a craftsman named Master Iwashidani. The joke that isn’t fully translated for English speakers is that he’s a weasel (itachi) but his name contains the word for pilchard or sardine (iwashi).
Hakyu Hoshin Engi #3 – You can tell this story has its roots in a classical Chinese novel when the villain manages to off two people in a matter of moments by maneuvering them into a situation where the only option left under imperial court protocol is to dramatically commit suicide. It certainly backs up the remarks last episode about Dakki being dangerously smart, although it also leaves us in a situation where only two female characters introduced so far aren’t dead, and one of those is the villain. It would be nice to see that balanced out in coming episodes.
If you’re looking for some equal-opportunity fridging, well, I think this show will be delivering soon. All signs point to Bunchū being set up to kill his best friend.
Meanwhile, Taikōbō picks up his second ally in a row who immediately rushes off to train more so that the hero’s party doesn’t level up too quickly for the plot to handle. Unlike the last ally, Yōzen is also looking for that special someone he can be himself around. In a completely manly and heterosexual way, of course.
I’m glad to see the frantic pace slowing down and giving the story time to really happen. Hopefully this is representative of what we’ll get for the rest of the season.
Beatless #3 – Lacia’s exploration of the behavioral cloud takes her back to anime cliché land, with the comedy faceplant to the boobs being a particularly tired example. This then provides Arato another chance to demonstrate that he is a Nice Guy, unlike the perv who kidnaps Lacia to be his toy girlfriend. Which winds up being about Arato again, because what’s really important is that he’s the only person in the world who would care enough to track down a kidnapped android and defend her honor by smacking the kidnapper repeatedly with a delicate piece of electronic equipment. I mean, the average human fist isn’t that great, but it’s got to be better suited for this than a 3-D visor.
On the more interesting side of things, it is apparently a known thing that sometimes advanced AIs will create their own androids to send out into the world to learn about it. If Lacia is one, that explains why no manufacturer is trying to reclaim her. So is she an avatar of that AI, or is she a completely separate being, perhaps with no knowledge of how she originated? I doubt Arato is going to think of asking her that anytime soon.
Kōka also seems to be operating under or with some non-human authority when she tells Kengo that his punishment for abusing the “antibody network” has already been decided. Is it the same as Lacia’s, or something opposed? Since they broke out together and Kōka calls Lacia her “sister”, I think it’s probably the former. So is this part of their master AI trying to take over human society, or has it been in charge for some time and is just deciding to reveal itself?