Granbelm #6 – Given the news that Anna has locked herself away from even her own family in a new fit of rage, Shingetsu decides the best course of action is to tell a murderously angry person something that will make her even angrier. But Anna calms down, renounces her place in the tournament, wishes Shingetsu well… oh wait, no she doesn’t. Really, did anyone believe her for a moment?
To be fair, Shingetsu and Mangetsu have the recent example of Nene taking her elimination in stride. And they don’t know about Suishō giving Anna that last little nudge off the edge of sanity. But Anna’s mother should have suspected something.
Suishō seems to be at the bottom of everything lately. She’s already hinted that she was responsible for the curse that gave Kuon a reason to join the tournament. Her little story about the puppet show sounds like the answer to Mangetsu’s question about why the tournament even exists. Suishō may have been at this a very long time. Like maybe centuries. Like maybe right back to when magic was pulled out of the world to begin with.
Where does this leave Mangetsu? She represents a totally new power from outside Suishō’s control. The new feelings of fulfillment she’s having suggest that she was formed precisely for the purpose of winning the tournament and taking the prize away from Suishō. But what, exactly, is the power behind her?
Dr. Stone #6 – Taiju and Yuzuriha have figured it out, and Senkū is revived. His next plan involves sending a spy to Tsukasa’s incipient chiefdom, which has to be Yuzuriha because Taiju has no concept of operational security. Senkū himself chooses to make contact with the locals, hoping that he can reach them before Tsukasa. It doesn’t occur to him that they might judge Tsukasa unfit to join their civilization.
I think we can all stop worrying about how Dr. Stone is going to treat its female characters. It’s well established at this point that Yuzuriha is not a delicate flower and not going to be relegated strictly to girly domestic things. True, Kohaku does need a bit of rescuing, but Senkū does an excellent job of modelling respect for bodily autonomy in the process. The point being made yet again is that Senkū and his friends are the heroes not just for being good at easily measurable things, but because they’re the civilized ones.
There’s a little more discussion of the petrification phenomenon. Not only does it heal people, it somehow allows energy to come from somewhere to power conscious thought. The implication is that this may have been caused by a well-intentioned experiment. If whoever it was pushed ahead even after seeing what happened to the swallows, then they apparently decided that stopping civilization for thousands of years was worth the cost.
The Ones Within #6 – Akatsuki’s affliction doesn’t play into the next challenge after all, except to keep him out of it at Yuzu’s insistence. Himiko and Anya are selected instead to face whatever weird dangers Paca has set up for them next. Everyone else uses a period of enforced rest to scheme and develop ever more elaborate suspicions about each other.
What if Yuzu and Akatsuki really are working together? Does it matter much? Keeping Akatsuki out of the challenge probably didn’t make any difference one way or the other, and it doesn’t seem like Yuzu had any inside information, so she couldn’t have known what she was keeping him out of. They aren’t deliberately collaborating with Paca, even though he wants to help Akatsuki.
Paca himself is accused of manipulating players’ behavior. Maybe he could be the one behind Akatsuki’s gradual loss of function. But it certainly suggests that Kaikoku and Zakuro are on the right track when Paca says that Kaikoku is the closest one to getting a time out.