Chronos Ruler finale – Aiks is one disappointed demon when he morphs into his full-on scariest form and all it does is make the humans argue about which one of them gets to nobly sacrifice themselves to save the others. Mīna makes a good case that even if she loses, she’ll win, but Victor has a clever idea to save everyone. Unfortunately, when adapting a manga that’s been running for over two years now, no one’s going to take down a secondary boss that easily…
When all is said and done, Aiks is only temporarily defeated, and Victor is right back where he started age-wise. But not with his family; he’s made the amends he is able to make with his parents, and Kiri is actually willing to acknowledge him as a father (at least when he thinks Victor isn’t listening). And Mīna is able to grudgingly admit that she does actually care for her son too. It’s a solid conclusion to the arc of the season that Victor is reconnected to both his past and present families.
Looking back at the summer preview, Chronos Ruler presented as a slightly stylish but otherwise forgettable action show. The premiere did nothing to dispel that impression until its very last few seconds. I wonder how much more attention it could have gotten with a quicker reveal of its true premise, or if it had been promoted as a family drama about loss and regret that happens to use action tropes. I can’t argue that this is uniquely and objectively the best show this season, but it is my favorite of the ones ending with it, and I hope it succeeds enough to justify adapting more of the source material.
Made in Abyss finale – The bonus double-length finale has everything Made in Abyss has done so well: the fantastic scenery, the tantalizing hints about the Abyss’s origin and function, the utter horror of Mitty and Nanachi’s backstory. Not only were Mitty and Nanachi forced to experience the most appalling suffering, Nanachi went on to compound it with her efforts to get Mitty out of her misery. To the cave raiders, Nanachi must be a monster as awful as Bondrewd. Worse, in fact, because they apparently approve of Bondrewd’s experiments.
But then it also returns to the things that make me hesitate about recommending it. Riko is naked for no particular reason again, and it just cannot give up its peculiar fascination with bodily orifices in general and Reg’s naughty bits in particular. And now that they’ve got Nanachi for local knowledge, the only unique skill the alleged heroine brings to the team is cooking.
This should be the best show of the season. It kept the production values up right to the end, it’s got the fantastic setting and characters, and it does have me eager to find out what’s really going on at the bottom of the Abyss. And yet I can’t recommend it without including a warning about its creepy interest in preteen bodies.
18if finale – After last week’s nadir, 18if had one more chance to make the case for the series as a whole, but it flubs that too. The power that has slept since Biblical times awakes to vent her rage, but is invited to a tea party with the witches, which results in a philosophical discussion which just winds up floundering in a morass of half-formed ideas. The story of Genesis encourages some screwed-up ideas about women? Well, yes, but wait, maybe the existence of women’s lib is going to save the day. Or maybe destroying the world is the therapy Eve needs. Or, wait, what?
Eventually the writer decides to punt Haruto into another world (hey, maybe it’s supposed to be a shaggy-god story!) and put him out of his misery. Ironically, considering everyone else loves and worships him, the overall story has served him very poorly. We never really found out much about him or why he is the speciallest coma patient ever. All we know is he’s a college student and the accident probably involved a car (as shown in “Threshold”).
18if served up the best episode of television I’ve seen all year, which makes this all the more disappointing. I can’t recommend the series— but I’ll be remembering “And Then There Were None” at Hugo nomination time.
Magical Circle Guru-Guru #13 – And meanwhile, Guru-Guru continues chugging along at full steam. Rather than ask directions, Nike and Kukuri spend a whole episode stumbling around Copahl looking for anything resembling a quest hook. They find a village watched over by
Puff the Magic Dragon a puffing dragon, get recognized as a new set of monsters, and bump into old friends. Along the way, Nike demonstrates that his thief training has acquainted him with the most important rule of adventure games: pick up everything that isn’t nailed down.
Here we will need to leave Guru-Guru for a bit while we take a couple weeks to check out the fall premieres. But first, I want to recognize it as the best show I’ve watched this season.
It did not have the best production values, or the most outstanding episode. It has not had terribly involved plotting, deep worldbuilding, or complex characterization. But one other thing it doesn’t have is any need for caveats when recommending it. I don’t have to say that it takes a couple episodes to get good, or to watch just one or two bits and ignore the rest. I don’t need to note that it comes with a certain amount of unnecessary preteen nudity. I can just say, “Check this out, it’s pretty funny.” And that is enough to put it at the front of this crowd.