Anime roundup 5/16/2019: The Ladies Vanish

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Attack on Titan #52 – Just when it looks like Hange’s fun new explosive toys might give the Survey Corps a victory against their toughest opponent, the other shoe, or rather Titan, drops. But not before Reiner has a chance for an extended flashback filling in some bits and pieces that have been hidden from the viewer until now.

Discovering that their enemies are also human has taken a psychological toll on both sides. In Reiner’s case, it led to episodes where he so completely submerged himself in his cover as a Survey Corps recruit that he would forget his mission. Even just after getting rid of a fellow Corps member who overheard some careless talk, he forgets again in moments and wonders how Marco could have been caught by a Titan.

The man who is the Beast Titan remains an enigma. He seems to be sympathetic to viewing this mission as a suicide. Neither Reiner nor Bertholt seems especially happy to be doing the things that they’re doing, but they seem to feel that they’re trapped in this situation. We’ve seen that the lesser Titans are criminals exiled by the civilization beyond the walls, so perhaps even the more powerful ones don’t have much standing in their home society.

(CrunchyrollAnimeLabWakanimAnime on DemandFunimation (video player workarounds))

Midnight Occult Civil Servants #6 – After the girls that were “borrowed” to set off the zombie ritual start waking up with odd dysfunctions, and turning out to have been missing for a very long time without aging, Sakaki opens up about his missing sister. All the cases seem to be linked by a mysterious being who appears in a cloud of black sand. And then, when his own friend is kidnapped, Arata realizes there’s another factor in common.

Kudos to Arata for realizing immediately that his friend being snatched by the same person he’s trying to track down is such an insane coincidence that it isn’t a coincidence at all. What’s Coyote’s motive, though? Is he being a jealous boyfriend, or is this some way of ultimately getting the kidnapper his just desserts?

And why do the girls have to disappear permanently? Though an ability is being stolen here and there, they seem to still be in condition to keep living their lives. And, given the way the kidnapper grabbed both Sakaki’s sister right in front of him and Izumi from the middle of a crowd, he doesn’t seem concerned much with secrecy.

(CrunchyrollADNbilibili)

Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba #6 – The day has come for Tanjirō to leave his mentor and head out on his first mission as an official demon slayer. It leads him to a town where young women are being stolen away and eaten by a demon that can pass through walls. The demon is no match for Tanjirō’s bloodhound nose, but things get complicated when it turns out it can split itself into three bodies.

This episode is all about Tanjirō and Nezuko working out the mechanics of the new job. It was one thing when it was just them versus demons out in the wilds, but now they have to consider keeping bystanders safe and operating in the urban environment. Not to mention the potential complications of people finding out that Tanjirō is carrying a demon around in his backpack.

Looking to the longer term, Tanjirō now has his first clue about how to undo Nezuko’s transformation. He just has to find the first and most ancient of all demons, who could be anywhere in the world, disguised as any… yeah, okay, he’s going to be conveniently located in Japan, isn’t he?

(CrunchyrollFunimation (video player workarounds) — HuluAnimeLabWakanimbilibili)

RobiHachi #6 – Robbie and Hatchi fetch up at the planet Hamama II just as it’s about to begin its great big eel festival, which of course celebrates great big eels. There they finally learn that Yang is still after them, and Robbie is further disappointed when he discovers what the local gender ratio is.

After all that predatory innuendo, it turns out Yang really does just want his money back. Not that the henchmen’s suggestions for suitable punishments aren’t extremely unpleasant, but it’s a relief that that whole conversation didn’t go in the direction the show has been hinting from its start.

Meanwhile, Robbie’s single-minded pursuit of women has been explained somewhat by new information about the genesis of this show. It has emerged into English-language fandom that the director, Shinji Takamatsu, wanted to make a science-fictional version of an 18th-century Japanese classic, the Tōkaidō Hizakurige. This concerns the wacky adventures of two lechers as they make a pilgrimage from Tokyo to Kyoto. Their names are Yajirobi and Kitahatchi, the author’s pen name was Ikku Jippensha, and now you can see where our heroes get their names. Yang, however, is an original invention as far as I can tell.

(Funimation (video player workarounds) — WakanimAniplus Asiabilibili)

Dororo #18 – The power of a demon infuses the remaining shark as Hyakkimaru arrives, but even a mutant land shark is not much of a challenge for him and it is swiftly dispatched. The bandits find where the treasure is hidden, Tahōmaru and his troops find the bandits, Shiranui finds all the loose explosives, and then rocks fall and everyone unimportant dies. Itachi finally expires after taking more arrows than Boromir, Tahōmaru runs away, and our heroes win by default. Except they don’t really know what to do with the treasure yet.

This episode is just one missing piece after another. We still haven’t gotten the declaration about Dororo’s gender that should have shown up by now. We never did find out why the sharks were called Second and Third. Dororo’s quarrel with Hyakkimaru is completely forgotten, as is any debate about Hyakkimaru’s mission. The total lasting effect of the last three episodes is that Hyakkimaru has gained half a leg and lost half a sword.

The visuals are recovering, at least. The look of the first half of this show was one of its big selling points. After the low it hit at the start of the second half, it’s nice to see a sense of art working its way back in.

(Amazon — bilibili)

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