Anime Roundup 12/31/2015: Shadow Play

Kagewani-13 Kagewani finale – Kimura was going to die somehow– by the rules of horror, boasting about how you have everything under control for your grand plan absolutely guarantees you a fatal petard hoist.

Traditionally it comes at the hands (or equivalent available body part) of one’s mad creations. And so it does here, except that if losing control to the kagewani is irrevocable, as the woman from Yunnan says later, and Bamba is in control then, that means that bringing it to Sarugaku and letting it free for a moment was a deliberate choice. So though a small amount of justice is done, we end with the monster taking a human form.

Disquieting and a bit depressing, it’s the perfect ending for a little gem of a horror series.


Concrete-13 Concrete Revolutio #13 – Well, of course Kikko admires Jirō. Because he is, quite literally, The Bomb. Ba-dum-tshhh!

Jirō is the result of a kaijū taking down the Enola Gay and suppressing the atomic bomb that was to have devastated Hiroshima– which, as some of you may recall, was codenamed Little Boy. (Since Professor Hitoyoshi says that Jirō is completely unique, I guess we don’t have to be on the lookout for a suspiciously powerful fat man.) The imprint of the kaijū is reminiscent of the shadows left on the walls of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by people who were vaporized in the blasts. (Technically, the shadows were caused by radiation bleaching background objects except where it was stopped by human bodies, so a failed bomb shouldn’t leave a shadow, but what with aliens, witches, psychics, and time travelers running around, it’s a bit late complain about getting physics wrong.)

Concrete Revolutio has been treating kaijū as a metaphor for atomic weapons for a while, but now it’s literal. What’s inside Jirō is the power of an atomic bomb. Now we know why Equus works only for him– because he can be its power source. And that’s why only a queen of the yōkai is powerful enough to contain it.

As this show heads into hiatus, it seems like everything is a chaotic mess. Not only has Jirō defected from the Superhuman Bureau, The Being Formerly Known As Akita has lost faith in it and taken another path. (Which brings up the question of how he became Akita in the first place; did he find a willing civil servant who happened to be on the brink of death, or was it another murder?) Most of the remaining Bureau members are entangled in a romantic morass, and around them Tokyo is going nuts.

Yet it’s not as bad as it looks. The close of this episode is devoted to differences between the Shinka timeline and our own. The Shinjuku riot of October 1968 is halted or at least blunted; the latest xenophobic law has been stopped; and hundreds of thousands of people never died in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. For all the complicated flailing around trying to figure out what is right, the superhumans have managed to make a positive difference.


Orphans-13 Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans #13 – After the fight is over, it’s time for the remembrances. Funerals have apparently fallen out of fashion along with religion, at least for the underclass that most of Tekkadan and Brewers come from.

And for romance– or, in Naze’s case, just outright scandalizing the kids. Mikazuki finally reciprocates Kudelia’s interest, kind of, but in an utterly ham-handed way that leaves her rightly unhappy. Merribit and Orga are getting on each other’s nerves in a way that strongly suggests a long future together. Yamagi has inched slightly closer to eventually confessing his feelings for Shino.

Back on Earth, Almiria has gotten herself a remarkably chivalrous fiancé, but she’s no freer than the pirates or the Tekkadan kids. Everywhere in this universe, children are the tools of a system which uses them brutally.

It’s really hard to remember sometimes that this show was created to sell toys, and that’s an amazing achievement.


No Utawarerumono this week, but it’ll be back in January. Next week, we’ll step back and take a look at the best shows of 2015, and we’ll pick up Utawarerumono and Gundam again on the other side of premiere week. Happy new year to you all!

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