Land of the Lustrous #6 – Phos’s new legs are such a wonder that e begins to entertain thoughts of actually being useful fighting the Lunarians. First, though, e has to overcome a few smaller hurdles, like learning to stop. And the fact that the rest of eir body is still so weak that e can barely hold a sword. Assigning em to work with the only gems who are even more out to lunch than e is was probably supposed to be a hint, but Phos is undaunted until the actual enemy shows up and e is reminded of what they’re all facing.
It seems like the gems are slowly losing the fight. Yellow Diamond remembers all too many partners who have been lost to the Lunarians. And that was before the “new model” which uses pieces of the gems started showing up. Kongō seems to be the only one able to stop those, and he isn’t always available.
Kongō is a suspicious ally anyway. He knows more about the Lunarians than he’s saying. He claims to be meditating when he’s asleep and dreaming. And he’s upset by the mere mention of humans. So he knows whatever is really going on—and he chooses to keep it from the gems. The Moon does seem like a place to avoid, given the experience of Ventricosus and Aculeatus, but the full situation may be more complicated than “Lunarians want to destroy all the gems”.
Magical Circle Guru-Guru #19 – With Kukuri out of the picture, it’s down to Nike to protect the Queen of Flowers until she blooms, which he does by the light of his manly posing! The Queen who emerges this time isn’t the delicate lady from before, but a willful punk teenager ready to kick butt. Equipped with vegetable machines of war, Nike and Old Man North-North rush to Batoha Tower, fight monsters, engage in rap battles, and yet again arrive just in time for Kukuri to find her own way to freedom.
The joke count is as high as it’s ever been, but this episode also brought in a little profundity. Magical powers that vanish with childhood are a common trope in fantasy, especially in anime, but rarely is there an explanation beyond “the author needed to add more drama”. It’s an interesting notion that powerful magic can only be performed by children because only children have the singleminded selfishness necessary. Though this still means this is yet another story which will end with the heroine losing her powers.
Hozuki’s Coolheadedness 2 #6 – Back in the days of Yomi, Hōzuki and a couple other former child sacrifices decided to sneak up to the living world to see the most beautiful woman in existence. We get the standard tale of Princess Sakuya, so that Hōzuki and his friends can admit how they were responsible, but it’s all fairly straightforward.
Then some much more interesting events happen in Children’s Limbo (Sai no Kawara). Unlike the Christian Limbo, this one takes children up to several years old and does not assume they are innocent. In the traditional version, children have to stack pebbles as they pray for salvation, only for demons to sweep through and knock the stacks down. The Jenga analogy is, in retrospect, blindingly obvious.
Amongst the children is a Messiah who would have become a great leader, but since he died young, he is merely a very naughty boy. But a boy who will still lead other kids and stands up to demons, wielding the most feared weapon of the Japanese schoolchild: kanchō. This is a game Japanese kids play that involves running up behind adults and giving them a solid poke in the butt.
The Messiah’s plans for his next life may be a small disappointment because he is reborn as a girl with a very girly name. But I don’t see that that doesn’t mean she can’t be a little terror and grow up to be a mighty leader, right?
Inuyashiki Last Hero #5 – Hiro may be baffled by the feelings of other people, but there’s one person who truly matters to him: his mom. Who has sudden incurable cancer, just like Ichirō did. (Possible moral of the story: Serial killing sucks, but cancer is the real villain! I mean, obviously, it’s killed more people than Hiro ever will.) This inspires Hiro to see if he really can cure it, switch to financial crime to pay for his mom’s early retirement, and decide he’s bored with killing people. But then, the police just have to go and show up and ruin everything with their petty commitment to seeing justice done.
Meanwhile, Naoyuki has managed to contact Ichirō and sign up as his hip sidekick. Now, I accept that, given what he knows about Hiro, Naoyuki can read about mysterious healings and make the immediate deduction that someone out there has similar powers and a better moral compass. I’m less willing to buy that he can manage to summon the mysterious hero on his very first try, given the sheer number of people in the Tokyo area. Even in a society with low violent crime, a megalopolis of 39,000,000+ people is going to have thousands of crimes going on simultaneously. The interaction between Naoyuki and Ichirō makes for some great scenes afterward, but I’d like to have seen Naoyuki have to work a little harder for it.
Kino’s Journey -the Beautiful World- the Animated Series #6 – In this week’s adventure, the author has read about the horrors that happen in a system of unrestrained chattel slavery and is inspired to write a story about slaveholders getting their just desserts… er, vegetables.
What the kid proposes doing is not more horrifying than actual things that, for instance sometimes happened to actual slaves in the pre-Civil War southern United States. One thing this setting doesn’t have, though, which the old South did: an existing system and ideology which normalized that sort of brutality. In this case, selling someone into slavery seems like a completely novel idea to both the traders and the society that sold them a slave. I’m having difficulty suspending my disbelief about going straight from no experience with slavery to “hey, let’s dismember her for fun!”
Also, if these traders regularly travel this route, and have a habit of foraging for greens along the way, shouldn’t they have noticed by now that those plants are poisonous?
I don’t think I can completely blame the adaptation at this point. Either the Kino’s Journey books are highly overrated, or the poll for what to adapt was crashed by people trying to deliberately select less well-written stories.