Anime roundup 5/15/2014: Don’t Lose Your Head

In this week’s viewing: People are losing all sorts of body parts on all sorts of shows.

Mushishi-6 Mushishi #6 – Sometimes, Mushishi is a beautiful meditation on the fragility and wonder of life. And sometimes, it’s just a straight-up horror story. Like this one, complete with actual axe murderer.

Cherry trees have a huge presence in Japanese myth and lore. One of the big events of spring is hanami, “flower-viewing”, when people go out to look at the newly blooming cherry trees. Cherry blossoms are a symbol of youth and used as a metaphor for the briefness of human life. Pairing Saho with a cherry tree gives extra emphasis to the wrongness of her unnaturally long life.

The kodama represents a denial of death twice over: first the mask of youth granted to Saho which covers up the natural aging of her body, and second, the medicine which halts pain but also destroys the senses along with it. In both ways, it’s about trying to hide from the natural progression of life and cheat death. Ginko sees it as such a thorough crime against nature that he takes much more drastic action than usual, choosing to burn everything rather than guide people and mushi back to balance gently.

JoJo-6 JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure #6 – Finally out on the ocean, it’s time for a change of pace with an aquatic battle. Naturally the Stands and their users can do without oxygen for extended periods and still talk normally underwater, because JoJo wouldn’t be what it is if the combatants couldn’t display their machoness by expounding about their attacks and taunting each other with inappropriate honorifics. (This week’s villain calls Jōtarō nii-chan, which is a baby-talk version of the form of address used for one’s older brother. Jōtarō’s response after declaring victory is to use os-san, which is highly familiar and thus disrespectful, plus it suggests that the badguy is over the hill.)

By the end of the episode, our heroes have gained a spunky kid travelling companion who will hopefully get a name next week, lost one enemy, but are also down a ship. We seem to be establishing a pattern here where no form of transportation can survive a full episode with our heroes riding on it.

Nanana-5 Nanana’s Buried Treasure #5 – There may be three or four mutually antagonistic factions at this point, but apparently that doesn’t keep everyone from being able to get together for dinner out. Speaking of interesting honorifics, when Tensai says that Nanana has invited her and Daruku to come over anytime, she uses the rare -dono, which makes Nanana out to be the lord and master of the domain of apartment 202.

Jūgo now makes his estrangement from his father total by refusing his allowance, which means he has to scramble for some other way to pay the bills. Luckily the builders of Nanae Island thought of everything, and there’s a designated gangster district where he can make a quick few bucks by delivering some mysterious white powder.

It all comes to naught, except that we got a chance to meet Sister and her gang, who will undoubtedly become important to the story later. It also shows how far behind Jūgo has left his disbelief about the magical treasures (assuming he really disbelieved in the first place) that he’s so willing to accept the story about the arrow.

Brynhildr-6 Brynhildr in the Darkness #6 – With Kikako temporarily sorted and everyone free of the risk of imminent death for a little while, Ryōta makes the not unreasonable decision that what this situation really needs is a mad scientist. As he already happens to know one, it’s off to the downtown lab to recruit the guy, who goes from Scully to Mulder in under a minute when confronted with proof of Neko’s powers.

We also get a look at what’s going on in Kotori’s head, as she attempts to sacrifice herself for the guilt she feels over her best friend’s death. And another glimpse of what Neko and all the witches have been through as she matter-of-factly explains that Kotori will be fine as long as her extermities haven’t started falling off yet.

This is a very pro-science show, although it’s dabbling in the paranormal, and this was one of the most pro-science episodes yet. Ryōta persuades both Kotori and his scientist friend to stick with him because of science– the friend to investigate an unknown phenomenon, and Kotori on the pretext that the astronomy club must continue.

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