Kokkoku #9 – At last Sagawa’s real ambition is laid bare and, like all the best villains, he’s motivated by something which is admirable in isolation. The problem is just that he doesn’t trust people to leave him alone. And so, because he’s too paranoid to allow any of the Yukawas to live, it increasingly looks like it has to be him or them.
The other problem is that his longer-term plan may not work the way he wants it to work. Someone commented in this episode that having Sagawa as the only Herald might be influencing the nature of Stasis itself, which in turn means some kind of effect on how the overall world works around him. Maybe it’s not just a thematic statement that the death or disappearance of the founder of the Genuine Love Society coincides with the end of Japan’s pre-industrial era. Maybe he wanted to see the future, just like Sagawa, but his very presence kept the future away.
The new information at least provides a glimmer of hope for Juri. Though she no longer has a way to separate herself from her Specter (assuming she wasn’t just faking being unable to expel it), if they provide the ability to experience time both very quickly and very slowly, then perhaps she can adjust her own personal time to run at the same speed as everyone else’s.
Hakyu Hoshin Engi #7 – We’ve seen hints here and there that the Sennin world includes highly advanced technology in addition to fearsome spiritual powers. This week, it’s on full display as they unpack their UFOs and their advanced computers and make free with the coruscating beams of energy.
The Death Star Kingo Island has the more powerful death ray, so the only way to defeat it is for someone to sneak in and disable it from the inside. Yōzen decides that he is that person, and when he gets dropped into the pocket universe of one of the Juttenkun, it turns out he may be right because he isn’t just a random human with advanced spiritual training, he’s something else entirely.
Whatever Hakyu Hoshin Engi was off doing last week, it’s resulted in a level of visual polish above and beyond almost anything else on offer this season. The background art has been spectacular from the beginning, but everything about the dueling islands, the inner spaces of Kingo, and the surreal pocket of hyperspace is fantastic in both senses of the word. Even on the character animation front, there are no more randomly oversized hands and feet.
Even though fans of the manga are unhappy with how abridged this adaptation is, what is on the screen is an actually good TV show, and I’m glad to have it back. Don’t scare me like that again!
Hakumei and Mikochi #8 – Once upon a time, a rich guy decided he wanted to be a slumlord. But he decided he wanted to run a really fun slum full of quirky and bohemian characters, and his successor has taken that to an extreme. So Hakumei, Mikochi, and Konju find themselves in the middle of a gang war that really isn’t.
In the end, everyone seems to accept it as all in good fun, although it appears that people were actually hurt and some things were actually destroyed. It’s great that Hakumei got to be an action heroine and Mikochi got to save the day with her cooking skills, but it comes with a bit of the awkward and uncomfortable baggage of poverty tourism.
Beatless #7 – Lacia’s pseudo-employer wants to market products based on the idea of humans and androids living in full adult relationships together, which is an exciting new idea because, I don’t know, science fiction is banned in future Japan or something. But at least the discussion provides confirmation that there are male androids out there, somewhere that the story isn’t terribly interested in. Also that same-sex relationships are another thing that are too dangerously progressive for a story set a century in the future to even mention.
In more interesting news, Methode pegs the point at which AIs surpassed human intelligence at 50 years ago. So the androids really are collectively sandbagging, and have no real use for humans., and might be working their way toward revealing the fact. The question is why they even bother maintaining the facade.
Which might be what drives Methode. She doesn’t seem to approve of keeping humans around. Her motivation for breaking up the “Favlon” shoot seems to be discouraging the idea that humans and androids can live that closely. I was thinking she got Shiori’s approval because Shiori seems to have a crush on Arato, but it seems that Watarai approves of it too.