Anime Roundup 3/22/2018: Is This the Real Life?

Hakumei and Mikochi #10 – Hakumei’s work is causing her some serious muscle aches, so she and Mikochi arrange to visit a local hot spring. But the baths are closed, so they go back home and just plan to try another time. Wait, no, this is Hakumei and Mikochi we’re talking about. Since the baths are closed, Hakumei decides she can build one herself, and the day turns into an exploration of the logistics of cutting bamboo when one is 9 centimeters tall.

To balance the geeky story, the back half of the episode features an unexpected visit from Mikochi’s sister Ayune. Even in a show with well-rounded characters, Ayune is the fastest to be filled out yet. She’s lazy around the house but dedicated to her work, embarrassing and yet supportive, frustrating and overbearing and yet clearly concerned for Mikochi’s well-being and happy to see her doing well. We’ve only got one more episode to go, but I hope the show manages to sneak the story of how Ayune gets engaged in somehow.

Speaking of engagements, Ayune gives her blessing to Mikochi’s despite the fact that there isn’t one yet. This makes two times that people have assumed Hakumei and Mikochi are a romantic couple and haven’t gotten a direct denial. Getting that question cleared up once and for all is another thing it would be nice to get in the final episode.


Hakyu Hoshin Engi #9 – It’s not just the one guy Yōzen defeated— all the top dogs of Kingo Island have their own personal pocket dimensions in which they can manipulate reality as they choose. As the comic sidekick, it falls to Sūpūshan to locate the next one in the most ignominious way possible, and then serve as the test subject to demonstrate the consequences of losing to its owner.

Taikōbō seems completely in control of the situation, even momentarily bending the fourth wall to realize he’s in an anime, but suffers a sudden reversal and leaves the defeat of the gamer as an academic exercise for Gyokutei. He seems to think it’s now obvious where their opponent’s real body is. I’m stumped, any ideas?

Meanwhile, the narrative gets anxious again and throws in a flashforward to Ōtenkun taunting Taikōbō about being part of the plan to remove Dakki’s supporting Doshi (remember that?). I wish it could have spent that minute or so giving us a little more time with the three ladies. Nice to know that they’re more than just a one-off visual joke, but it wasn’t even clear until they showed up again whose side they were on.


Kokkoku #11 – Sagawa’s life story just kind of peters out without explaining how he got interested in seeing the end of the world, but it was just a last-ditch attempt to keep everyone from killing him. And it works, almost.

Of course, he’s not that easy to kill, but the show could have at least tried to commit to the fake-out rather than immediately telegraphing it by making Takafumi’s murder attempt look comical. I know he’s supposed to be pathetic and useless, but the fact of him being able to generate real murderous intent was adding to the creepy atmosphere up until now.

Sagawa retreats into a cocoon, develops additional arbitrary menacing powers, and finally emerges as a baby. Not only can control of the Specters slow or speed time, it can actually be reversed. But it’s another kind of failure.

Even though Juri thinks she and Sagawa aren’t too different, she didn’t develop such a sense of grievance that she tried to misuse the Stone. Stasis rewards the people who face life and try to get on with it honestly. Tsubasa’s and Takafumi’s mishaps and departures mirror how they’ve retreated from adult life. Sagawa wants to abandon life in another way. Juri, her grandfather, Majima, and Makoto have developed powers that work with Stasis because they’re prepared to move forward and exert control of their lives, and only that.

(Amazon Videobilibili)

Beatless #9 – Everyone races off to Chūbu Airport (a couple hours from Tokyo by current bullet trains) to stop Shiori from collecting Marina, because if she’s shown to have the same serial number as Lacia, somehow that means Lacia gets repossessed. Various androids blow stuff up and shoot death rays at each other, and Arato is injured when it turns out that cars 100 years in the future don’t have airbags anymore.

Completely aside from that, the important points in this episode are: (1) Arato’s dad describing a situation where hIEs are programmed to act like humans, (2) Methode showing that she can easily order up an hIE to impersonate Shiori, and (3) yet another reminder from Watarai that artificial intelligence surpassed human intelligence generations ago.

We all know where this is going, right? The only big question left is if Arato himself is human or an android. I’d bet on human— Beatless has invested so much energy in making him the Nice Guy who appreciates androids and which the viewer is supposed to identify with, I don’t see it throwing all that away.

We won’t see it thrown away next week in any case, because there’s yet another recap coming up.

(Amazon Video)

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