Hozuki’s Coolheadedness 2 #9 – Goban the tabloid nekomata goes to the court of the third king of Hell and nearly manages to do a serious profile on him and his chief of staff, but it’s derailed by the world’s most photogenic cat. Then Hōzuki holds off the combined forces of the Eight Cold Hells using only a banana, winning the Crowning Moment of Awesome for this week.
The trip to Sōtei’s court starts with an expansion of a gag from the first season. When the ten kings gathered for a banquet, there was some grumbling about how traditional paintings make all the kings except Enma identical. The author thus made all ten kings incredibly distinct from each other, including two women and a guy who basically looks like Santa with a reindeer assistant. The 40-year timespan over which the Santa references have gotten increasingly annoying covers the expansion of secular Christmas in Japan.
Part 2 has some undertones of political maneuvering as the
snowball icicle fight gives Hōzuki a chance to demonstrate to the management of the Eight Cold Hells that secession would be a dangerous idea. But it’s also a chance to showcase a few demonic odds and ends with no popular legends attached to them. Oh, and the names of the hells supposedly coming from what they make the inmates say? Yes, really.
Land of the Lustrous #9 – It’s the end of winter, and Phos has changed dramatically. Haunted by Antarcticite’s abduction, e has grown deadly serious about eir duty. Mastering eir new metal arms, e can now carry a heavy blade, casually approach an attacking Lunarian party, and strike it down singlehandedly.
Although e can do amazing things now, e is constantly fracturing and being re-formed, in a sort of ongoing kintsugi. And now e has to contend with the reaction of the other gems, a mixture of fascination and horror. Phos has become something outside any of their experience.
Everything Phos does now is about trying to make things right: watching over the remaining fragment of Antarcticite, checking every Lunarian to see if it’s brought anything recoverable, mending Kongō’s robes. E seems ready now for an opportunity to turn the tide against the Lunarians. But they seem to be improving their game as well. What will they come up with next?
Magical Circle Guru-Guru #22 – Magic hair was not the sword of water after all; the Water King has lots more blessing to give, in the form of a giant fist and the actual sword. Which inadvertently sets free that bane of high-level adventuring, the monster that can turn people to stone. Petrification is traditionally resistant to your standard healing techniques. In most games, fixing it necessitates either learning a special super-high-level spell, or hauling the statues of your party members back to the nearest temple.
Luckily, Kukuri is at a high enough level to counteract it, but not before she nearly gets psyched out by being led to believe that she’s suddenly grown up and can’t use Guru Guru anymore. At least, I think that’s what happened. If she’s lost her powers for real, everyone is truly screwed.
There’s just enough time for a quick visit to the home of the wind spirits for elemental sword #4. A little lampshading (or, in this context, maybe metagaming) of what that means, and the party is off to the final confrontation. They actually have two or three episodes left, so this certainly isn’t going to be easy.
Inuyashiki Last Hero #8 – As it raises the stakes even further, Inuyashiki enters a new territory of viewing discomfort. No, I don’t mean the piles of bloody bodies, we’ve seen plenty of those already. I mean gyoza with cheese. Ewww.
Ichirō’s daughter Mari finally gets a little time in the spotlight. Mari is the beautiful and successful mean girl, except she’s not all that successful at school, and she really wants to be a manga author— a profession which, the situation of her classmate aside, is not generally associated with great wealth. That’s why her mother is so adamant that she needs to get qualified for a career which will pay the bills.
Ichirō settles the argument and makes Mari his ally with jarring abruptness. Well, maybe it helps that she just discovered some of what he’s been up to in his spare time. But this is probably all aimed at making Mari sympathetic quickly so something terrible can happen to her shortly.
Although it’s not entirely clear how yet, since Hiro doesn’t seem interested in attacking civilians anymore. In revenge for the botched raid, he’s decided to kill every single police officer in Japan, except for Cheese Guy, who will suffer for his culinary crimes by watching all his colleagues die. After that, though? Well, there are those images of Mari and Mrs. Inuyashiki burning in the opening credit sequence…
Kino’s Journey -the Beautiful World- the Animated Series #9 – This week, it’s a smorgasbord of high-rated stories that couldn’t be padded out to full-episode length. First, some bandits observe recurring characters and note how badass all of them are, then recall how the old guy still has PTSD from meeting Kino’s teacher.
Teacher’s allegedly hilarious psychopathy shows up again in the last segment, with a country that removes all memories of it at the outbound checkpoint, rendering it ironically unforgettable. Teacher could of course have just explained, because knowledge of the process isn’t revoked, and not left Kino wondering all this time, but then there would be no story.
There’s also a twist on The Emperor’s New Clothes with an unwitting Kino in place of the tailors, and a quick segment where Tī spits on a local custom, and one interesting thought experiment about quantifying reputation. Irony strikes again when the man who has played the game better than anyone can’t find a good murder victim to use his points on.
That last one feels like there could have been enough material to explore in a full episode, actually. It’d be interesting to know how the system is audited. Without robust auditing, it’s going to have terrible problems with logrolling, and unequal social capital is going to lead to inequities in whose deeds are reported.