18if #6 – Natsuki is tired of being bullied and tired of her classmates looking the other way. So she escapes into a world where she can pretend she’s her favorite superhero, zapping evil with a simple incantation and an assist from her fox spirit sidekick. Slowly she realizes that it’s no better than her former life, filled with monsters and devoid of any other human beings she can rely on. But she’s got the power of a Shinto priest now, and there are other uses she can put it to…
Since Natsuki’s curses have an effect on the waking world, I wonder if her exorcisms helped banish some evil from it. That might be what balances the scales so that the “curses always rebound on their casters” rule applies to the bullies and not her.
This episode featured the most dramatic case of genre whiplash I’ve seen in some time, probably not since (mumble mumble spoiler) in Samurai Flamenco. When Natsuki is happier, she feels like she can take on anything, as illustrated by the sudden veer into old-school mecha combat against an entire alien invasion. That could have just been stupid, but by committing fully, it came out the other side of ridiculous to produce something beautiful.
Made in Abyss #6 – Grudgingly accepted into the Seeker Camp by Lyza’s old friend Ōzen, Riko rapidly learns that even the camp is not free of the horrors of the Abyss. In a storeroom in the middle of the night, she runs into — some kind of semi-animate, intelligent garment? A horribly truncated monster? — anyway, some hideous thing well worth wetting Reg’s bed over.
Ōzen is not exactly a comforting presence herself, especially when she bluntly informs Riko that Lyza is buried in the fourth layer of the Abyss. When Riko gets over the shock, she may well ask herself: How is it that an experienced White Whistle made it back past the point of no return, but then died in an “easier” place? And who buried her? If she encountered Reg and he was coming back up with her, then he’s probably the one. Did he tell Ōzen about the grave on his way up, before losing his memories?
Another thing going on in plain sight is the matter of the individualized whistles. Lyza the Terminator’s looks like a coffin. Ultra-strong Ōzen’s looks like the head of an ox. Do the whistles suit the people who get them, or do the people change to match the whistle? Yet another question whose answer will likely turn out to be deeply unsettling.
Chronos Ruler #6 – We’re halfway through the season and still have only had a glimpse of the main villain, but that’s okay. The drama of the Putin family itself has been plenty entertaining, and Past Victo is doing nicely as an antagonist. He was so secretive that even the 2200-year-old demigod doesn’t know if he married her sister or not, or how he found her weapon that’s been missing for a millennium.
Things are not cleared up at all by the results of a surreptitious DNA test showing that Kiri is unrelated to Mīna. Apparently the only way to tell for sure is to wait until Kiri turns 18 and see if he mutates into a supernatural being. So what was the point, then, other than setting up an unintentionally funny moment caused by someone on the animation team slapping whatever random English text they had at hand onto the test paper?
I’m curious whether Kiri is even a blood relation to Victo. That business with Aisrehdar and the ink drawing suggests she had a lover once; could Kiri be one of their descendants?
Katsugeki Touken Ranbu #7 – 1565 is late in the Ashikaga dynasty, also known as the Muromachi shogunate after the district in Kyoto from which most of them ruled. They never had a very strong grip on Japan to begin with, with most power in the hands of daimyōs, the local lords. From the mid-1400s until the country was firmly united under the Tokugawa shoguns, the daimyōs were constantly jostling for influence and land, leading to a state of chronic localized civil war. For that reason, this time is known as the Sengoku (“thousand kingdoms”) Period.
The Ashikagas were puppet rulers by this point anyway. Yoshiteru was either assassinated or forced to commit suicide (accounts vary) because he made the mistake of trying to act on his own initiative.
In this story, this sends his spirit into a demon mask and allows him to manifest as a creature not unlike the Retrograde Army soldiers. Is this just a one-off because the writer wanted to throw in some variety, or is it an important clue to the real nature of the Retrograde Army? We will have to wait and see.
Likewise, for why the opening credits are still all about the Second Unit even though the story has left them behind. It could be there’s supposed to be an alternate version featuring the First Unit which ran afoul of the razor-thin margins of a typical anime production schedule, or maybe the First Unit is heading back to the base now and the Second will be carrying the story onward.
Magical Circle Guru-Guru #6 – Kukuri and Nike arrive at yet another village which needs saving from a monster. Actually defeating the demon is a simple matter next to navigating the usual pratfalls and peculiar local customs. Even though Guru-Guru is (allegedly) the key to saving the world, it seems not everyone looks fondly upon it.
Next up is the dark elf mage Raid, but luckily his magical incantations are even more ridiculous and time-consuming than Kukuri’s. Although games have had a lot of influence on other forms of quasi-medieval fantasy, one thing one rarely sees dramatized is “Casting time: 3 rounds”. This show is doing a pretty good job of making up for it repeatedly.
The translation continues to be excellent. It’s hard enough to make a translation sound natural, but even harder when handling comedy and especially puns. It’s times like this I really wish translators were credited.