Anime roundup 5/9/2019: Developing Stories

Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba #5 – Even after Tanjirō takes out the biggest threat, the Final Selection has a kill rate of 75%. The only candidates who aren’t traumatized by the experience are one who’s too big an idiot to be afraid and one who seems to have been out to lunch to begin with. The Demon Slaying Corps really needs to work on finding some better way of identifying good recruits.

Of the five candidates who allegedly survived, we only see four; going by the Law of Character Economy, I presume the fifth is the guy with the boar’s head who appears in the opening and closing credits.

But now, as an official demon hunter, Tanjirō gets the spiffy new items that mark his status: his official school robes uniform, his messenger owl crow, and his personalized wand magic sword. This last is brought with the man who made it, who appears bedecked with wind chimes and wearing a curious mask. It depicts Hyottoko, a comical character of uncertain origin associated with many festivals and dances. If you’re a translator deperately trying not to put footnotes in your subtitles, “clown mask” is a more than reasonable approximation.

(CrunchyrollFunimation (video player workarounds) — HuluAnimeLabWakanimbilibili)

Midnight Occult Civil Servants #5 – The community helpline is getting complaints about trans-dimensional shenanigans at City Hall. Sakaki finds a victim who shows signs of supernatural meddling, so the team is off to Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building No. 1 to see what someone has been doing to the observatory elevators.

Soon, Arata is trapped in the personal realm of a mysterious but talkative new being, where he gradually assembles the facts: The being is Pandora, trying to refill her box. She has the power to bend electromechanical systems to her will, but she’s not terribly skillful at it and also not bothered about what happens to the people she interferes with. And the author of the source manga is a fan of Hellraiser.

And then, in the finest tradition of Japanese bureaucracy, the problem is deemed solved by Pandora moving to Europe to haunt their elevators instead. There’s not even a hint of plans to pass what they’ve learned along to their foreign counterparts. All it amounts to is that now Arata knows that Sakaki has suffered a great loss, which means now he has a reason to find out about Sakaki’s missing sister.


RobiHachi #5 – The travelers are stranded at the Haccone checkpoint when it turns out they need extra travel documents. There’s a local fixer who might be able to help them, but warnings abound about how he can leave people “hollowed out”, a particularly ominous phrase in a world populated by kappas. (As you may recall from the Sarazanmai premiere, kappas are thought to pull a vital organ out of human behinds.) But the truth is much more shocking: this is a sequel!

For those who haven’t seen Cute High Earth Defense Club LOVE!, it was a magical-girl parody featuring magical boys instead, with the obligatory cute animal mascot being a pink wombat from space. Yup, that pink wombat. There were frequent visits to a bathhouse called Kurodama, which is, yes, the same word used for the guards at Wombat’s gate.

Your correspondent has fallen down on the job here, because Wombat isn’t the first character from Cute High to show up. The head of the Martian tourism board in episode 2 bore a striking resemblance to the teacher Wombat used as part of his disguise when moving around in public. It was a small detail that would need a lot of explanation, I was out of room, and I wasn’t absolutely sure it wasn’t a coincidence, even though Cute High and RobiHachi share a creator-director. Well, let that be a lesson to me.

(Funimation (video player workarounds) — WakanimAniplus Asiabilibili)

Attack on Titan #51 – With Reiner revealed and into Titan form, it’s time for some good old-fashioned giant brawling! Wait, no, it’s time for overthinking whether and how to deploy Eren. Eventually the choice is made to let him go and duke it out right in the middle of his old hometown.

But even though Eren can now basically grow his own weapons, he isn’t the key to defeating the Armored Titan. No, Hange has wheedled some suppressed technology out of one of the other military forces and come up with crude rockets. Those might have a chance of taking Reiner out. They’ve at least put him into enough danger to bring out a flashback for next episode.

Then again, Reiner has a neat trick which could have allowed him to survive even decapitation. That is going to require a lot of pseudoscientific hand-waving to explain, but it might be another useful trick that Eren can learn.

(CrunchyrollAnimeLabWakanimAnime on DemandFunimation (video player workarounds))

Dororo #16-17 – Itachi’s brigands follow the treasure map to a village inhabited by one creepy guy and a whole lot of mysterious bloodstains. The lure of riches blinds them to the obvious danger, and soon half of them are dead and the other half are taking on a giant shark. Another thing that hasn’t occurred to them even after they’ve escaped is that the sharks are named “Second Son” and “Third Son”. Unless the creepy guy himself is named Ichirōmaru, there’s more trouble swimming around that island than they realize.

But the big moment is when Itachi discovers that Dororo doesn’t entirely present as a boy. Or rather, that should have been the big moment. As soon as this show premiered, photos were circulating of a page in the original manga where Dororo is very clear about his identity. Now we’ve reached that point, and the adaptation has chosen to… just ignore that declaration? Or maybe delay it? Until the show makes a firm decision about which way it’s going to jump on this— and I’m guessing that will wait until Hyakkimaru and Dororo are reunited— I’ll stick with the original author and keep using male pronouns for him.

Meanwhile, Hyakkimaru finds his way back to Jukai in desperate need, but even Jukai won’t help him, because the narrative seems to need everyone to become arbitrarily mean to him at this point. But Jukai has some grudging sympathy for him eventually, when Hyakkimaru insists that he has been able to form a friendship as well as become a killing machine. In contrast to Tahōmaru and his retainers, who are becoming killers without empathy.

(Amazon — bilibili)

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