Anime roundup 12/14/2017: Getting Serious

Land of the Lustrous #10 – Phos is still a mental wreck, hardly sleeping, actively hallucinating conversations with Antarcticite, but e has so impressed eir comrades that even Bort thinks e can make something of em. So Phos gains a new partner, while both Bort and Diamond act like this is truly no big deal and they’re both totally fine with breaking up and seeing other people.

No sooner have the two strongest fighters paired up than the Lunarians up the stakes with a brand new menace that’s strong enough to terrify even Bort. This is the second time they’ve come up with something new while Kongō is “meditating”, which strongly suggests that they know his schedule, if he has one, or have some way of spying on him.

There is some amazing directing this episode, taking advantage of the freedom inherent in CGI animation. I don’t think I’ve really seen this in anime before. Mostly, it gets used in anime as a cheaper way of imitating 2-D animation or live action, but this was really using it to its full potential.

(Anime Strike/Amazon VideoHIDIVEADNVVVVIDbilibili)

Inuyashiki Last Hero #9 – For a quick tour of stereotypes of Americans, look no further than this episode. First, people aren’t talking about the asteroid much because it’s assumed the US will take care of it. Then, when the news of Hiro’s latest massacre spreads, comparisons are made to Rambo and US Marines. And finally, the crying baby annoying everyone on a long-haul commercial flight is white. Anime Americans: rude, obnoxious, but highly effective when you need something destroyed.

But there’s an important point to placing that baby and English-speaking father on the plane that Hiro chooses to crash: now, he’s killed foreigners. Now he can’t tell himself that he’s only wanted in Japan. Now he’s going to have a much longer list of victims to check off.

He was already up against a big math problem anyway. At a mere thousand people per day, it would take him over 300 years to kill a number of people equivalent to the current population of Japan. I’m sure his cyborg body could last that long, and he’d get some help from the fact that the population is declining already on its own, but he’s bound to get bored sooner than that.

So at this point, the outlines of the endgame are clear. Hiro is going to try to make sure that asteroid reaches Earth, while Ichirō has to stop him and save the world. But first, he’s going to have to start by saving Mari and her friend. Or trying to, anyway. Suddenly being shown as a much nicer person than before is a big hint that she’s not going to make it.

(Anime Strike/Amazon Video)

Hozuki’s Coolheadedness 2 #10 – Being a diligent chief of staff, Hōzuki takes periodic trips to the world of the living to keep himself up to date on the human experience. After encountering Maki and Miki, the usual discussions about the spirit world and the modern world take over. Until it suddenly turns into a perfectly straightforward horror story about a man about to get what’s coming to him. All right, I didn’t expect that.

The outstanding coincidence of Hōzuki and the pop idols crossing paths, among 36 million people in the greater Tokyo metropolitan area, is later explained by King Enma as the result of an impulsive decision to ship Maki and Hōzuki. Bored gods, it turns out, amuse themselves by setting up Meet Cutes, taking their cues from anime clichés like bumped into by a girl carrying toast in her mouth, or having a girl fall from the sky. (Yes, people who don’t watch much anime, this really is an established cliché. Although usually the girl is naked for some contrived reason.)

The annual meeting of the gods in Izumo is the kamuhakari, traditionally said to take the entirety of the 10th month of the lunar calendar (roughly equivalent to November in the Gregorian calendar).

(HIDIVEADN — Aniplusbilibili)

Magical Circle Guru-Guru #23 – As the Demon King rants and Force-chokes his chief henchmen into working his will, Kukuri, Nike, and company arrive on the continent of Zan. Now it’s time at last to face the ultimate evil, to embark on the final battle… to turn in all those plot coupons they’ve been accumulating.

Kukuri proceeds to demonstrate once again that, as Nike says, she’s the protagonist. Not only does she proceed to fake out and defeat the second-most powerful foe after Giri, she’s even able to make him leave the field of battle happy.

And so all that remains is to face the Demon King, only for the final reveal to be that Giri is yet another figment of Kukuri’s magic. Or… is he? I’m seriously not sure at this point. Maybe he really is the old man. Or the demon guy who popped up to explain things. Or… I don’t know, I guess we all have to wait for next week’s finale.


Kino’s Journey -the Beautiful World- the Animated Series #10 – Kino and Hermès arrive in a place said to be hostile to travelers, but everyone is pleasant and kind and generally wonderful. The catch is not revealed until after they leave, in a note explaining that the people of the city-state knew there was going to be a volcanic eruption, and decided that they were just going to sit still and accept it. But, before they went, as their last act, they wanted to improve their TripAdvisor rating.

I am having a number of suspension of disbelief problems here. There’s the thing about unanimous acceptance of mass suicide, there’s the ability to forecast the precise day of a geological event well in advance, which would take technology far beyond ours that is not evident in this setting, and if the town is sitting right under an active volcano, there should be noticeable signs like, say, earthquakes.

It doesn’t even feel worth analyzing the motivations of the townsfolk when it’s obvious what the real reason is for including this story. The gun enthusiasts who seem to have dominated the poll of which stories to animate probably just picked this one because of the Woodsman angle and the mention of Kino’s teacher.


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