Listeners #5 – Echo and Mu journey onward to the land of Paisley Park, ruled by the enigmatic Denka (whose name means “His Highness”). Denka was the mastermind of the plan to destroy the Earless ten years ago, the one that went wrong when Jimi Stonefree went rogue. And Denka himself was subverted; he fell in love…
Hooray for a few answers! Mu is Jimi’s younger sister, and Jimi belongs to a faction called the Gnomes who seem to think that it’s possible to coexist with the Earless. How, he either didn’t say, or didn’t convince Denka by it, since Denka is still happily vaporizing Earless in the present time.
Rather than taking up time trying to state explicit thoughts about the gender binary, this episode works the whole idea of duality into the story and visuals: light/dark, pink/blue, the parallel narratives, and especially the seesaw. It’s unbalanced with just Echo on it, balanced when Mu joins him, and Denka is always framed so as to be standing at the center.
Also, kudos for adding to anime’s extremely short list of non-tragic lesbian couples! With that and the little side plot regarding Echo’s boss, it’s hard to believe this is all crammed into less than half an hour. There’s not a wasted moment or a wrong step here.
Tower of God #5 – More teams are ready to jump into the melee, but Khun tells the others to chill out, he has it handled. And sure enough, he has planned for every possibility… except for the one where Bam spots his old friend, flips out, leaves the throne, drops the crown, sustains a serious head wound, and somehow accidentally converts himself into pure energy.
Good thing they didn’t actually need to win the game, now that Lero Ro is on their side. The news that the tests are really about screening out threats to the system seems to have offended him. Actually, if I was looking out for threats to the integrity of the Tower, I’d be more worried about Khun anyway, since he’s also extremely powerful and has already declared a belief that rules are made to be broken.
But Khun isn’t going anywhere unless he can come up with a remedy for traumatic brain injuries quickly. Or unless another arbitrary power of the Black March is to heal Bam up when he really, really needs it. I think I’ll bet on the latter.
My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! #5 – Despite all Catarina’s scheming, it’s a moment of kindness that causes the next major change from the Fortune Lover storyline. After that, deciding to show up unannounced at Maria’s home turns out rather better than it could have. It’s seeing her own mother that turns out to be Catarina’s big mistake.
Catarina has now replaced Maria’s potential boyfriends in at least two crucial story events, but seems not to have worked out the full implications of doing that in a world that operates according to romance-game logic. But that’s not the only thing she’s ignorant about; apparently Maria’s backstory of being rumored to be a noble’s illegitimate child is new to her. Is the world is evolving beyond the game, or was that just something that was only revealed on the route she didn’t play?
But now Catarina has to confront her own backstory. Apparently the original her didn’t just become nasty on her own. Her mother has some definite ideas about proper noble behavior which probably shaped her attitudes in the original timeline. And Catarina may yet be forced to pretend to absorb them.
And what of Appare-Ranman!? It’s on indefinite hiatus due to, you guessed it, pandemic-related disruptions. We’ll pick it back up whenever it returns.