Rumble Garanndoll #7 – Kuroki Misa, aka WerdCat, genius, hacker, gamer, and serious introvert, demonstrates her skills by shutting everyone else out of the battery girl safe house and then challenging them all to duel by online game. When Hosomichi stumbles across an epic cheat code, all he wins is an entry into a real-life dungeon crawl through the warped remains of Akihabara. And of course the champions of the True Country show up again at the worst possible moment.
Hosomichi’s story about accidentally pressing just the right sequence of buttons is almost plausible, but put that next to his just happening to know where to find a rare copy of a special concert just when it was needed to motivate Yuki, and it seems like maybe his Xaburn fandom isn’t the only thing he’s trying to cover up. Plus there’s the mysterious name that Misa dug up which is connected to him somehow. Maybe that’s his real name, and “Hosomichi” is an alias? I have a feeling that we’re going to learn more about his past and how his family got into debt with the yakuza soon.
The trip to Akihabara, with bits of it shifting into and out of existence from two or more timelines, may be incredibly dangerous in person but Misa is onto something when she sees gamelike aspects to the situation. With a maze full of cool stuff, but increasing danger if you take a detour for it, there’s definitely Eurogame potential here.
Muteking the Dancing Hero #8 – Muteking’s new song is a hit, and revealing his identity has only gone well for Muteki so far. He’s at the top of the charts, on all the talk shows, and still has time to do his monster-defeating routine again and again while Ceo can only rage about it in his lair. So naturally it is time for the heroes to trip themselves up with a couple of bad decisions.
Pumped up by a dodgy Chinatown fortuneteller (I feel like there is an entire essay to be written by this point about Muteking‘s depictions of Orientalism), Muteki decides to try his luck with Aida and it goes better than he could possibly have imagined. Being a teenager with his first girlfriend, I guess it’s plausible that he doesn’t think something very odd is going on here, but my assessment is swinging back toward Aida being an android programmed to go along with whatever is suggested to her.
Muteki’s date opens the way for bad decision #2, where DJ decides to go investigate the off-limits part of the diner while Aida is out. It is no surprise that there is some kind of countermeasure in place to protect one of OctiNQ’s biggest assets, and the DJ winds up in enemy hands. Then again, he might have anticipated the possibility, since he conveniently handed Muteki something that lets him operate by himself.
Ranking of Kings #6 – Daida gets as far as realizing that his magic mirror has ulterior motives before discovering that Apeas is also working against him. And meanwhile, Bojji has to deal with further humiliation before discovering that it’s all been a big misunderstanding.
Apeas seems to have been changed in some permanent way by the woman now in the mirror; he’s shown as terrified by the gryphon initially, but we’ve seen that he later executed it calmly in front of King Bosse. Now all his past actions appear in a different light. When he killed Bebin, it looked like he was bringing justice to one of the people who betrayed Bojji. But now we know Bebin was secretly helping Bojji and Kage, and that the snakes were on the lookout for the mysterious woman or her agents, and so he was a threat her which needed to be eliminated when a convenient opportunity presented itself. Bebin’s initial paranoia about Kage seems better founded by now.
Bojji’s latest struggle feels drawn out far too long, but getting to see the Underworld is a treat. And now it’s already looking different than first presented— no Hell full of demons, but a land of strange but peaceful beings imprisoned by a king who only understands the rule of might.
Irina: The Vampire Cosmonaut #8 – With Lev back on the list of official candidates, he’s back in the regular dorms and Irina is stuck with Anya. This has its creepy downsides which remind us that this is definitely a light novel adaptation, but it also means Irina gets a little taste of her homeland traditions to welcome the new year. But really, I wish this show didn’t think sexual harassment was cute when it happens between people of the same gender.
Lev’s side of the story goes much better. Since this is not a shōnen anime, we do not have to deal with multiple episodes of training before the big test and the final cut. Instead, the story moves forward briskly, and it looks like Lev’s chances will have as much to do with the attrition rate as with his own performance. On the eve of the decision, the candidate pool is down to 14 uninjured potential astronauts, of which six will move forward. It almost seems like Lev just has to not screw up.
The Faraway Paladin #7 – True to his word, Menel guides Will to his old village without incident and points out the nearby demonic lair. But first, there’s the matter of putting the village’s undead to rest. First it’s some adorable zombies, then a ghost that Menel has a definite history with.
So here’s where we get Menel’s backstory. His elf mom hooked up with a human at some point, he was an outcast among elves who became an adventurer, and then that turned bad and he wound up stumbling into a village with a nice lady who collected misfits like him. Also we learn that the author is an Agatha Christie fan.
We also see that as a ranger, Menel has access to a few druid spells, allowing the spirits of nature to help him out. He’s going to be using that magic to help out Will, as the paladin has finally won his first convert to the faith of Gracefeel. Clearing out the demons is being left for the next game session, I mean episode, which will be in two weeks, because like a lot of gaming groups, The Faraway Paladin is taking Thanksgiving week off.
The D&D substrate is really showing this week, is what I mean. It wasn’t too bad during the first arc, but I feel like if you can work out which edition of D&D the author has played, you could pretty much write up Will’s and Menel’s character sheets at this point.