So, a human antagonist appears! Professor Bamba’s former student has much better resources and a better handle on what’s happening, which raises strong suspicions that he might in some part be responsible for the goings-on.
Kimura’s research institute has an interesting name. Sarugaku was a sort of vaudeville popular in Japan from the 11th to 14th centures, eventually giving rise to more serious forms of theater such as Noh. The word has survived with a meaning similar to “monkey business”; saru even means “monkey”, explaining the stylized baboon logo.
So Kimura’s bunch are primate researchers, meaning Kimura is also aware that the monsters are mutated or constructed from humans. What he plans to do with that knowledge is undoubtedly nothing good.
Concrete Revolutio #4 – This time, the monster of the week is, er, monsters! Two kinds of them: yōkai, which are supernatural creatures from Japanese folklore, and kaijū, movie monsters such as Godzilla and Gamera. Emi, as a fox (traditionally believed to be shapechangers and tricksters), is one of the first kind, and Jirō, or something trapped within his body, is of the second kind.
The evolution of how kaijū were portrayed is hinted at here. Godzilla, for instance, was a city-wrecking terror at first, but in later movies he defended Japan from other monsters and even became a bit friendly to humans.
There is so, so much packed into this episode in shout-outs and hints and clues that I can barely scratch the surface here. Perhaps it’s best summarized with a list of questions left afterward:
- What ever happened to Baby Gāgan?
- His adopted older brother is coming back as a superhuman later, isn’t he?
- Who or what is/was Maria?
- Is the alien conspiracy limited to Japan, or are they all over the world?
- That scene where the aliens are revealed! You can’t turn your back on this show for a moment, can you?
- Was that scene from World War II just a random nod to how US comics of the time sent their heroes onto the battlefield, or are they laying the groundwork for something bigger?
- Where did Professor Hitoyoshi find Jirō (or whatever he contains)?
- Most importantly, who is Kikko telling this story to, and when is she telling it to them?
Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans #4 – Some have been comparing this show to Aldnoah.Zero, because it features Martians vs. Earth forces and centers on an emotionless protagonist with great talent at mecha piloting. I haven’t felt there was that much similarity between Mikazuki and Inaho; Mikazuki seems more deadened than hyper-focused, and he doesn’t have Inaho’s annoying habit of being forced by the writer to deliver a lecture every other episode.
…Until this episode, where Mikazuki takes Kudelia out for a day on the farm for no apparent reason than to give her an educational lecture. Well then.
The fact that it is a maize farm probably helps lend this version of Mars an air of the exotic for viewers in Japan, who are also unlikely to be struggling with the urge to make jokes about Children of the Corn.
The trip also helps to serve up one of the Gundam franchise’s specialties, badguys who have multiple factions and aren’t entirely bad guys. The local Gjallarhorn commander is trying to hide the seriousness of the situation from headquarters, and the investigators checking up on him turn out to be sort of nice guys, or at least capable of pretending to be. This chance encounter between them and the kids will be making things much more complicated down the road.
Utawarerumono: The False Faces #4 – Even Utawarerumono is not immune to the suffocating blanket of stupid that covers a show when it’s time for a hot springs episode. Suddenly it’s time for a ton of fanservice, plus Nekone and Rurutie engaged in a sudden competition to see who can be the most annoying character!
All right, fine. Do you have that out of your system now, writer(s)?
We do get a few interesting dribs and drabs, such as further confirmation that Haku is from another time and place– he knows what words are, but he can’t read the ones all around him, and didn’t even recognize them as words, so he’s from someplace with a very different writing system. Then there’s the reveal about Ukon, and the news that the emperor who built the city and its out-of-place-looking ziggurat centuries ago is still alive and in control. More of that and less of the baths next time, I hope.