Anime roundup 6/26/2014: Short-Timer Syndrome

Nanana-11 Nanana’s Buried Treasure finale – Here ends the first book in a series, and this episode is only too happy to remind us of all the multitudinous dangling plot threads left over. But we do get a conclusion of sorts as Jūgo picks up the courage to ask Nanana directly what she truly wants, even if it gets his arm broken again. Nanana answers that she really does want vengeance, but she has other unfinished business, in watching how the island that she built and the people who now inhabit it develop.

And develop they have. Consider that nod to the wrestling match in the first episode. The last time Jūgo’s arm was in that position, he was focused on being able to cop a fractional feel, but this time it doesn’t even cross his mind– or the director’s. The typical light novel adaptation would absolutely have made that bit all about touching boobs again. The story of this whole show, past about the first 15 minutes, has been not falling into light novel clichés.

It’s been nice. It’s not Art, it’s got no big message for the audience, it has way too many characters, it isn’t a complete story. But really nice. It’s been like a pleasant stroll with some quirky but ultimately likeable people. I’d enjoy another jaunt with them if the later books get adapted.

Mushishi-10 Mushishi semi-finale – The Twilight Zone comparisons are particularly strong in this episode, with the cast consisting of one human and a stubborn tortoise which might as well be played by a prop. Ginko finds himself trapped on a mountain in a neverending late blizzard seemingly caused by the local mushi lord– a sort of mushi-animal symbiote which keeps things in balance in the wilderness– and ultimately works out that it was all about getting hold of one of his critical supplies in order to reinvigorate some of the local fauna. (No, the mushi lords don’t rise to a level of sentience where they can just ask.)

This season goes out with the most beautiful art yet, from the snowscape of winter to the muddy spring thaw to the green shoots and early flowers of full spring. With so much ot look at it hardly feels like 22 minutes.

So that’s it for now after only 10 episodes. If there is one big disappointment in this revival, it’s that we never got to see the special that aired twice in Japan, and the two-parter originally planned for the end of this season has been pushed onto the home video release instead. Here’s hoping things are working better for the next section, scheduled for this fall.

JoJo-12 JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders #12 – Joseph Joestar gets to take a break from being the comedy foreigner this week and show that he can still hold his own in a fight even if he is a grandfather. In fact, the grandfather part turns out to be essential, as the verbal aspect of the fight is conducted through the metaphor of child-raising. His spirit photography skill turns out to be a big asset as well; in true action-adventure fashion, it doesn’t have to be an actual photo, just as long as something gets broken in the process.

Family and the spiritual connections that come with it do keep popping up in this story. It’s not just the Stand abilities showing up in the Joestar family due to Dio’s use of their ancestor’s body, but also Centerfold’s death rebounding on his mother somehow last week.

Brynhildr-12 Brynhildr in the Darkness #12 – Suddenly, some explanations! The aliens (or whatever they are) are called drasils, and particularly special ones are called granes. Grane is Brünnhilde’s horse in Wagner’s Ring Cycle. (In the original Norse myth, the horse is Grani and given to Sigurd by Odin.) Given that mythological reference, I’m guessing “drasil” comes from Yggdrasil.

There is a group of defectors from the lab who caused the accident that freed Neko and the other witches. They’ve been gathering weapons and equipment to mount an attack on the lab and destroy the witches, and they’ve made themselves some distinctive new outfits because, I dunno, the manga author thought Calvinists with automatic weapons would look really cool. We also see the first male with special powers, and learn that Kotori was the one everyone was chasing after, because she carries a grane that could destroy the world, but that’s okay because it couldn’t possibly hatch yet, oh wait, it just did, drat.

On the character side, this episode is absolutely the nadir so far. Ryōta has become the center of the world for nearly every one of the witch girls; they’re paralyzed when he’s threatened, they give up their lives so he can live, they basically have no agency and have to do what he tells them. Even the memory of Nanami explains how to release Neko’s powers as “heres what you need to do,” as if Neko obviously would not be capable of making the decision or taking the action herself.

The exceptions are Mako/Valkyria, who’s similarly infatuated with and dependent on Chisato, and Kotori, who is probably the next to die. The impending apocalypse isn’t feeling like such a bad thing at this point.

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