Ranking of Kings #5 – Bojji and Daida both find their various ways to the underworld. But in Bojji’s case, all he has to deal with is gravity, poison gas, and abduction by mysterious horsemen. Daida discovers that someone has stashed an entire frozen menagerie underneath his castle, plus all the equipment for a truly horrifying ritual to give him some mysterious advantage in the rankings.
In a year where we’ve seen three shows featuring protagonists manufacturing magic potions in mass-market quantities, it’s nice to see a throwback to old-fashioned fantasy where it took real time and effort to assemble the ingredients and go through the steps to make even small-batch artisanal elixirs of power. And then, of course, all that effort is wasted when it finally occurs to Daida that this is not a good idea.
As sinister as Bebin seemed when he was first introduced, he’s turning out to be a force for good. Not only has he given Kage the chance to save Bojji’s life several times over, it was one of his lessons that finally sprang to mind to push Daida into refusing the potion. Kind of makes you hope he really isn’t dead.
Dōmas, in contrast, seemed relatively nice at first, but we quickly learned he’d lost confidence in Bojji long since. Daida, of all people, is the one who chews him out for not being faithful to his pupil, but then in the next moment decides that Dōmas may as well go all in on the betrayal by assassinating Bojji. He’s irreparably lost face… or hand, anyway.
And Bojji, it’s revealed, has lost something too. The underworlders call him a giant who has lost his power, rendering him immune to further curses. Perhaps that’s what the demonic apparition pointing at him meant, and perhaps it’s tied up with the whole magical race to rise in the rankings.
Muteking the Dancing Hero #7 – Still trying to piece together a new routine for Muteking, DJ and Muteki decide they need to seek out the legendary MC Bay Bee. When their search takes them to Candlestick Park, they stumble into a looping memory that reveals Bay Bee was with them all along.
So now they know that Vivi had one successful career as a star baseball player, and then another as a pop star, and that in every incarnation, she’s been fighting OctiNQ or whatever the power is behind it. Her last direct combat was to protect the four kids who hang out at the arcade, which suggests OctiNQ was going after them specifically for some reason.
After Vivi gives them their final inspiration, Muteking’s new single debuts, and hoo boy was that new sequence worth waiting for. I’m not sure what to call that, but it was a lot. And then it’s capped off by Muteki suddenly wanting to make himself a target by revealing his identity on live TV. I’m sure this will go well.
Irina: The Vampire Cosmonaut #7 – Despite everything, the day of the launch arrives and the cosmonaut is healthy and present. Now it’s just a matter of lighting up the rocket and a few tense hours of orbit— not for Irina, who’s having the time of her life, but for the ground crew, holed up in a bunker going nuts waiting for her radio transmissions.
The high points of Irina’s successful mission follow the low point of this episode, where it turns out everything about the end of last week’s episode was a fakeout. The centrifuge incident is duly investigated and found to be sabotage, so Lev is free again to resume cosmonaut studies. Nothing came of the scene where it looked like something was happening to Lev because of the bite, either.
But, Irina’s trip to orbit and back more than makes up for it. She’s gotten the success she deserves after everything she’s been put through, and the powers that be are letting her live for now. Now the spotlight shifts to the first official mission and the race to be selected for it. With Lev probably re-reinstated as a candidate after his release, that means Irina gets to support him now.
Rumble Garanndoll #6 – With both battery girls now having to recharge, a new candidate brings a new challenge for Hosomichi. But first there are some between-mission things to take care of, like health checks, shopping, and a little discussion of what’s really going on with Japan.
The True Country propaganda film reveals that the point of departure for the two Japans was one losing World War II and the other winning, and that the True Country now lives in the “Eternal Showa” era. In our world, eras change when emperors do— for instance, when Emperor Akihito abdicated in 2019, it was the end of the Heisei era and the beginning of the Reiwa era. The Showa era, which included the 1940s, ended in 1989 for our world. The True Country has decided to keep it even after (presumably) the emperor died, meaning the antagonists of this story are truly, in a sense, living in the past.
Alternate Japan learned about this one in Showa 90, which would be 2015, and sent in an invasion force soon after. From the argument after the film, it sounds like our Japan didn’t put up much resistance. That explains how Tokyo is largely undamaged and most people are still going about their daily lives. In fact, it sounds like Japan’s geeks were the only ones to really object, because they were the ones being censored out of existence.
So the question is why the invasion succeeded so easily. Was a deal cut by a terrified government that just didn’t want the country destroyed by another war on its own soil, or is the implication that the right-wingers which have been in power for almost a decade in our Japan welcomed their new military overlords?
The Faraway Paladin #6 – Will wanders the forest looking for other humans, facing a variety of dangers— demons, cold weather, gazebos— but nothing he can’t handle. But the very first person he meets is actually a half-elf, Meneldor, Menel to his friends, of whom Will is definitely not one. Yet.
Meneldor has been leading a band of raiders to attack a neighboring village after their own was attacked by demons. Will steps forward to defeat the raiders, then save them from hanging, then offer to fix the real problem by defeating the demons, with Meneldor’s help. A pretty good couple of days’ work for a paladin.
D&D paladins gets cool anti-undead powers, but the other part of a paladin’s life is sticking to the lawful good alignment. So Will needs to go about saving lives, ministering to the sick, and defeating evil scourges, all without violating local customs. It is terribly convenient that those customs happen to play to his strengths, like the fact that he is carrying a sack of gold (what does that even do to the local economy?), but it does take some of the weight out of his choices.