Ranking of Kings #4 – King Daida is aiming straight for the top and letting no warning stop him, whether it’s from his own subconscious or the official king reviewer, who as much as tells him straight out that the end of this path is madness or death. Next the mirror has promised him the power that made his father #9 on the list, so down into a mysterious basement that clearly should not be visited he goes.
Meanwhile, Bojji is briefly the guest of one of those insane former kings. Actually, the king doesn’t seem too insane, given that the forest actually does contain one heck of a mystery and thanking the spirit of your kill for providing your dinner is just basic manners in some cultures.
Granted, the king does try killing Bojji, but he’s hardly the only one doing that this episode. There’s also the matter of some poisoned meat, and then Dōmas shoving him into the Darvaza Crater. Considering the latter, it was probably Dōmas that poisoned the meat, and Bebin’s knives were thrown by someone trying to stop Bojji eating it. That someone is almost certainly Kage, who could also then be the person who returned Bojji’s bag. That means that Bebin was not lying when he said he’d sent Kage off on a special mission, and he actually has acted with Bojji’s best interests at heart. Or at least against outright killing Bojji.
There are two huge inexplicable things in this episode: a cloud that slurps up animal spirits, and a hole allegedly leading down to literal Hell. Both are signs that as standard as Bojji’s home looked, this is not your standard medieval fantasy setting. At this point, I won’t be surprised if it turns out to be almost anything: a generation ship, a virtual world, who knows.
Rumble Garanndoll #5 – Yuki decides to return to her secret mundane life after her embarassment, so it’s up to Hosomichi to coax her back into the Garann. Going about his duty as her manager, he lines up a concert date, gets the word out, and sends Ukai off to get one special item to motivate her.
I wonder if Ukai’s “Who are you?” was just a silly throwaway moment or if there’s going to be a real and relevant answer to it. In the meantime, Hosomichi has earned his pay with one key insight about Yuki’s fandom. When he and Rin started working well together, it was because he supported her feelings for Zaburn. To get the same level of coordination with Yuki, he supports her— because she may be inspired by a previous idol, but deep down she is, as he says, a fan of herself most of all.
As Hosomichi and her fans pump Yuki up, Rumble Garanndoll really tests how cynical it can get while still staying uplifting. The fans know all of Yuki’s bad celebrity habits but they love her and want to see her peform anyway. Maybe there’s a message in there about accepting celebrities as flawed human beings. Or maybe it was just funny.
The Faraway Paladin #5 – Stagnate has split his avatar, and Will has to rush to defeat the other half. Even if he can, one way or another, the cycle of life is about to reassert itself and he will have to say goodbye to the people who are truly his parents in this life.
With a last-minute assist from an additional god, Will does win the battle, but loses the war. If Blood and Mary are not to become permanent undead in Stagnate’s service, they have to choose to return to the cycle of transmigration. They get one more evening to have a drink with Will and then move on. Will gets ten more years of Gus as his crotchety grandpa to level up and figure out what to do about the High King before the binding on him expires.
It’s a bittersweet end to the first chapter of Will’s life, but one that feels unforced. It follows naturally from the terms of the agreement with Stagnate and Will being the child that Blood and Mary wanted to have. Now Will has to venture out into the world, and here his memories of his past life will serve him in good stead. Having been raised in isolation, that’s the only knowledge he’s going to have of how to interact with other humans.
Irina: The Vampire Cosmonaut #6 – Irina is first plagued by nightmares, then by real illness, then survives an assassination attempt, then is shipped off to the launch site without Lev because he finally lost his temper at the constant remarks about her being subhuman. Though it turns out it may actually be a good thing that Lev is currently locked in a room with strong walls.
After spending the entire series to date assuring the viewer that its vampires aren’t all that vampiric, Irina suddenly does an about-face and shows that blood actually does do something meaningful for them and there are side effects for the person who gets bitten. (Given how full of bacteria the typical human mouth is, you’d expect the aftereffects of being bitten to be fairly unpleasant anyway. Kudos to the writer for at least briefly considering the hygienic aspects of the situation.)
Lev has now assaulted a superior officer for a second time. I don’t see any way he gets out of this other than someone notices the centrifuge was tampered with and the blame lands on the most senior person who was present. If he transforms into a vampire, that probably goes badly for both him and Irina, because now there’s a spare experimental subject and the first one can be conveniently disposed of.
Muteking the Dancing Hero #6 – Fresh off his first loss, Muteki has a falling-out with DJ over creative differences, and then suspects him of seeing other heroes, and then tries to do it all alone, resulting in an even worse loss. But with a little push from his friends at the arcade, he repairs the friendship and gets back on track to fight Aurora better before the whole of Neo San Francisco turns all goth and tentacley.
This episode mainly feels like padding, but it does tease an interesting thing or two. DJ has some reason to seek out Suteking, even if it isn’t as Muteki’s replacement. And we now know that Vivi is the arcade kids’ guardian. They also mention something unpleasant having happened to Vivi, which is probably connected to the events now, given that last week she said something about a familiar sensation when Aurora emerged and defeated Muteking.