Katsugeki Touken Ranbu finale – Touken Ranbu was always going to wind up in a difficult position. On the one hand, it relies on the romanticization of the samurai era to power its characters and setting. On the other, the plot is all about needing that era to end so that Japan can move forward, and those who would keep it stuck in the past are the enemy.
So, like Kunihiro, it waffles. It needs to show the good guys winning, but it wants to keep Toshizō Hijikata as a noble and heroic figure despite being on the wrong side of history. The compromise it settles on is to have Kanesada needle Hijikata into going all in on suicide. Then, deciding nostalgia has been served, it can switch to sword guys slicing up a bunch of undead real good and promote the next entry in the franchise.
Compared to the average for video game adaptations, which is next to unwatchable, Katsugeki Touken Ranbu has done very well. It’s had some glorious art and animation, sympathetic characters, and a well-realized setting, both in the past and the future. But in comparison with its own first few episodes, when it looked like we were getting an enemy with explicable motives, and then the team was going to have to deal with a real change in history and the death of one of their own, it feels like it has failed. The “oh never mind, everything’s fine” moment, and the choice to stick with infinitely respawning mindless foes, are a stumble from which it never recovered. If it had never raised expectations that high, it would have come out as a competent effort; unfortunately, it goes down in history as a disappointment.
Made in Abyss #12 – As Riko continues to heal (hopefully), Made in Abyss switches back over to goshwow sf mode for an explanation of why the Abyss is such a hideous place. The bottom is, essentially, a psychic black hole. The “force field” is it pulling in both light and consciousness, and going against that flow can tear your very soul from your body if you’re close enough.
That provides some explanation as to what’s happening on the surface, and why Kiyui is fine as soon as he’s taken away from Orth. The fact that kids are dying at an unusual rate means that the pull or the range is increasing. I’m baffled about the part where it kills people on their birthdays, though.
What’s at the bottom? Is it a mindless artifact causing all this as a side effect of its intended function, or is it happening deliberately? If consciousness becomes more and more dense as you approach the bottom, as Nanachi says, then something intelligent could have formed spontaneously there, too. Riko’s dream when Mitty is with her suggests that something is looking back.
Magical Circle Guru-Guru #12 – Having finally worked out a plan, the party suits up and infiltrates the castle as a group of pilgrims. After battling past guards, monsters, the Cretaceous Period, and some surprisingly relevant cooking lessons, they prepare to wrest the Banana Moon from the chancellor, only for the fight to develop entire dimensions they weren’t prepared for.
But we’re coming up to the end of the season, so it’s time for our heroes to all take a level in awesomeness. Nike is finally able to conjure a sword that doesn’t suck. Juju uncorks some serious clerical awesomeness and then, in the finest prophetic tradition, goes a bit insane. When all is said and done, the chancellor has had the most satisfying defeat yet.
There are still three more elemental powers to collect, and Nike doesn’t even know where to go next. But don’t worry, Guru-Guru is going to be continuing all the way through the end of the year. Though the party is splitting up just when it was hitting a groove, there’ll be plenty of time for everyone to get back together again.
Chronos Ruler #12 – Victor fights free of his doubts a second time and punches Aiks hard enough to make him vomit up Couljours’s missing timeline. For convenient plot reasons, the normal flow of time takes long enough to reassert itself that Victor can run back to his parents’ house and talk to his mother, who turns out to be smarter than he gives her credit for. She’s figured out who he is, and that the thing she most urgently needs to say to him is that winning at life was supposed to mean winning socially too, not becoming an abrasive loner.
Usually a writer allows characters in this situation to complete their apologies, but Victor’s mom is gone before he can finish saying what he wants to say. Aiks tries to be helpful, but just winds up proving that he really doesn’t understand how humans work. And then it is on.
I thought Aiks was the “His Majesty” that the Horologue controllers were talking about last time, but apparently that’s someone who outranks even him. And who appears to be a human. This means either an even more powerful Horologue, or perhaps… one of Chronos’s descendants gone bad?
18if #12 – I’m glad there’s one more episode of this show, because that was awful. Yūrina is just the last guardian of Eve, and the least-developed of the bunch. The celebrity plot is reused, and freeing her from Eve’s control by kissing her against her will because deep down, she really wants to be assaulted? Really, 18if?
Back in the real world— assuming it is the true, real world, because when you have a friendly ghost being able to pop in and text people, you wonder— the witches are able to locate Haruto. Something is said about how time may be flowing differently for him. Could that mean that he’s been asleep even longer than Mirei, despite his apparent youth?
By a strange coincidence that I’m sure isn’t, the mysterious man from last week is a doctor at the same hospital where Haruto is being kept. I’m wondering about the bartender at the place where Dr. Kanzaki hangs out, too, as she steps up and gets involved this time.
And one more coincidence: Haruto notices that the door to Eve is the same one Lily comes out of. So are they, on some level, the same person?