Attack on Titan #57 – Finally Eren gets to see what lies outside the Walls: a society where the Titans are both an excuse to oppress and brutalize, and an inspiration to absolute fanaticism. A more technologically advanced society, but one which is just as ready as his own to form factions and turn against itself.
History and its abuses are the real star of the story right now. The narrative of the Eldian Empire as devils and the competing one of it as the bringer of all things good are both undoubtedly false. Meanwhile, inside the Walls, history has been erased completely. Even Eren’s own family history has been a blank to him until now. But now he can see it with his own eyes through Grisha’s memories.
Now it’s possible to understand what Zeke— because that must be him controlling the Beast Titan— meant when he said that Eren’s father has brainwashed him. Zeke rejected Grisha’s ideology just as Grisha rejected the one that was forced on him as a child. And you certainly can’t say that Grisha wound up learning not to use his kids as weapons.
Midnight Occult Civil Servants #11 – With the fate of the country at stake, Senda is able to work the appropriate channels to get Arata put in charge of cleaning up Kanoichi’s mess. Arata brings in every single reinforcement he can think of, and with the combined might of the hosts of heaven and Japanese bureaucracy, Japan is saved. Or, at least, only slightly cursed now due to the lower-quality silk.
Kanoichi look like he’s going to take a whole lot more convincing before he agrees that killing everything on sight isn’t the ideal way to handle Others. And next time Arata has to deal with him, he may not have so much backup, with Coyote and Yuki both heading off to Izumo for a while.
The tatarigami that Manari nearly becomes is a class of powerful spirit which exists to carry out a vengeful curse. Pacifying tatarigami was once part of the work of the onmyōji, the diviner-magicians, of which Abe no Seimei was one. Arata may not be ready to accept that he might be the reincarnation of his ancestor, but he’s certainly taking up the same work.
Dororo #23 – Hyakkimaru and Midoro take Hyogo and Mutsu out of the fight for good, but at the cost of Midoro’s renewed life. Hyakkimaru takes a few minutes to sort out how to keep fighting now that he has his arms back, and then they’re at it again in the Daigo manor house, with a raging fire for extra symbolism. Meanwhile, recurring characters are drawn from near and far to gather as if they sense the story is about to end.
Here we start to see how the story is going to answer the problem of Hyakkimaru’s desire to be whole being set against the people of Daigo’s wish to not have their land ruined by the breaking of the demonic contract. And the answer is shaping up to be a good old-fashioned peasant rebellion. Rather than leaving their fate in the hands of those with power, they will need to forge their own path.
History says this is not going to work out for them in the long term, since Japan wouldn’t drop feudalism for another three centuries. But it is consistent with the time this is set in; there were a number of rebel groups operating at the time, most notably the Ikkō Ikki, one offshoot of which managed to set up its own state in western Japan for a while.
RobiHachi #11 – At last, Isekandar and its grand shrine! Which, true to the ongoing theme of the series, is being suffocated under a blanket of consumerism. But the journey is the destination, etc., etc., and Robby and Hatchi can part good friends, even though Hatchi is now being dragged back to the Moon to resume his presumably boring royal life, and Yang hasn’t given up on Robby even though he no longer has the excuse of a debt.
Shinto is much more comfortable about mixing religion and commerce than most branches of the Judeo-Christian-Muslim tradition are. Shrines often sell good-luck charms and the like, and mikos (aka priestesses or shrine maidens) are often high school and college students being employed part-time. Even so, this episode seems to say, it can be taken too far.
We’re probably looking at one more episode to wrap things up. How it will work out, I have no idea. The writers have a wide-open field of possibilities to leave everyone happy. Even Yang and his henchmen, who have never been made out to be all that villainous, should wind up mostly content.
Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba #11 – Tanjirō goes to investigate what turns out to be a labyrinth of a demon-controlled mansion, and gets to meet his last two long-teased companions from the closing credits. One turns out to be pretty badass, if not the world’s most subtle strategic thinker. The other is the one that gets practically all the screen time.
In just one episode, Zenitsu is shown to be cowardly, suicidal, clingy, useless, hysterical, incapable of hearing “no” from women, and an expert at blaming everyone else for his problems. He is Captain Awkward’s inbox made flesh. In manga form, it would be easy enough to flick one’s eyes across the page and get through his drama quickly, but having to sit through it in realtime is exhausting. We can only hope that the show now considers him sufficiently introduced and will dial him back in future episodes.