Anime roundup 3/11/2021: The Road Not Taken

In this week’s viewing: Higurashi and (spoiler) talk about parallel worlds, Re:ZERO indulges in some counterfactuality, and more!

Attack on Titan #72 – Gabi and Falco have hopes of contacting one of the Marleyan POWs for help sneaking back to the mainland. But of all the fancy restaurants in all the world, they have to walk into the one run by the ex-boyfriend of the woman Gabi killed. In the company of that woman’s family. And even after they realize their mistake, the day has more surprises for them.

So all that time spent lingering over Sasha’s death and its effect on her friends and family wasn’t just rubbing it in, it was setting up this big unhappy reunion. And there’s still more to come, as Eren turns up to try to explain himself to his oldest friends. Plus, Pieck is still lurking somewhere nearby.

Poor Gabi is having to deal with having her worldview upended even further. Once she was happily living the life of a military sf hero, but she’s stumbled into the wrong story and now has to serve as the focal point for an examination of just how screwed up child soldiers are. And it’s Mr. and Mrs. Braus who get the chance to articulate the author’s solution to the cycle of violence: that the only way to end it is for one generation to choose not to pass it along to another.

Not that there may be much of a current generation left to pass it along soon anyway. This week’s pwnage news includes the discovery that the Marleyans have a clever way of tagging specific people so that Zeke can convert them into mindless Titans, and so whatever frantic defense Pyxis is throwing together is already pointless. There’s really nothing left to stop Zeke having his minor apocalypse, other than Eren.

(CrunchyrollAnimeLabWakanimAnime on DemandShahiid AnimeFunimation)

Higurashi: When They Cry #22 – Satoko tries everything she can think of to make Rika change her mind about leaving Hinamizawa. She tries reason, she tries anger, she tries flouncing out of the timeline every time anything goes slightly wrong for her. But after learning about Rika’s own time loop, Satoko decides what she really needs to do is go back to 1983 and help finish the process of crushing Rika’s spirit.

At this point we appear to have completed the bridge between the origins of Satoko’s looping ability and the start of the series. The first scene in episode 2 can now be put in context as coming slightly before episode 1, as it shows Rika being pulled from the 1984-1989 loop back to the 1983 one.

Satoko is entirely consumed by her feeling of grievance now. As a past abuse victim, it’s possible to understand how she wants so desperately to cling to a situation where she feels safe and supported. But what we know now raises question about the arc that focused on Satoko and her uncle. Is the next episode going to pull the rug out from under Keiichi’s rescue campaign and reveal that she was faking it all along? Or did it happen, and become worse for her because she was now used to being the one controlling things, and she was reminded how it felt to be powerless?

There are some more flashbacks here to material from the original When They Cry, but again it looks like it’s not necessary to delve into them in order to understand what’s going on now. One shout-out is worth particularly noticing, though. Satoko’s suicide by truck in one loop was surely put in there by someone who knows that “Truck-kun” is infamous these days as the primary way that people are transported to new lives in the reincarnation portal fantasy genre.

(FunimationAnimeLabWakanimAni-One)

Re:ZERO -Starting Life in Another World- #47 – While Subaru wrangles allies to stop all the attacks on Roswaal’s mansion and its neighbors, Emilia enters the second trial. Where it was horrifying for Subaru, Emilia’s version is nothing more than a visit to a world where Fortuna is still alive, and Geuse is still sane, and the only task she has to accomplish is getting the two of them to articulate their feelings for each other.

Subaru’s second trial was about explaining himself; Emilia just has to fight the temptation to stay in the dream forever. Like with the first trial, she comes out of it stronger, having had a chance for closure. Next up, the future!

Meanwhile, things are hopping at the mansion. The magical beast attack on the village has been halted, Garfiel and Frederica are keeping Elsa at bay, and have they forgotten anyone? Oh, right, the kid on the giant angry hippopotamus. Plus there is a magical beast that their magic charm didn’t work on, but it seems like any moment someone might remember that Otto could talk to it.

(CrunchyrollAnimate Gamerbilibili)

Otherside Picnic #10 – A pleasant evening at a yakiniku restaurant goes awry when something figures out the elevator trick for visiting the Otherside, abducts Akari, and then Kozakura turns up just too late for the others to explain that she has just joined an interdimensional rescue mission.

This gave us some weird and entertainingly creepy moments, but it doesn’t seem to have advanced the plot much. I guess we know more about what the thing that always tries to get on the elevator from the fifth floor now, but the big question is what commandeered the elevator in the first place. Could it have been Uruma Satsuki, who seems to be hovering at the edge of Sorawo’s perception more and more? Why does Sorawo keep seeing Satsuki in mirrors and portals and odd interdimensional spaces?

The other tidbit is that Sorawo has thought of a way to go back and rescue the Marines. Well, to go back to them, anyway; recall that the reason she and Toriko left without them was the likelihood that the Marines would freak out if they learned about the women’s powers. Hopefully this plan involves a way to break the news to them gently. Or maybe the hope is that after being trapped so long, the Marines will just jump at any chance to get out, regardless of whether it involves foreigners with spooky powers.

(FunimationAnimeLabWakanimAniverseBahamut Anime Crazy)

Wonder Egg Priority #9 – Neiru asks the other girls to come visit her place, so they come over for a nice afternoon of snacking and nail-painting and tech demos and a debate about the morality of turning off life support.

Now we see why Wonder Egg Priority has been so sparse with details about Neiru. Finding out what’s going on in her life upends everything about the Eggs and everything around them. Acca and Ura-Acca aren’t part of a magical phenomenon but a technological system. And that system has something to do with gendered suicides and… parallel worlds? Crossing to them, or perhaps bringing people back from them?

And this all has to do with a society of geniuses who have been engaging in eugenic experiments by creating Neiru, and presumably her sister, and her old friend Kotobuki. It is also significant that Kotobuki, like Ai, has heterochromia. Even allowing for the fact the heterchromia is far more common in anime than real life, this does imply some kind of connection between them.

So are all the girls actually the children of Plati members, and it just happens that the custodial parents of some of them preferred to raise them in a more standard way? Or are they perhaps the cast-offs, seen as failures after testing at an age they’re too young to remember? Is Mr. Sawaki a Plati member, keeping tabs on them for the secret project? And what exactly is Plati’s, or Aonuma Corporation’s, interest in the suicides of teenage girls?

Amid all this, there’s one light moment, which is finding out that the brainiest girl has named her familiar Pinky. Animaniacs has aired in Japan, and you will never convince me that that was not a reference to it.

(FunimationAnimeLabWakanimbilibili)

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