Anime roundup 2/10/2022: Getting Medieval

In this week’s viewing: Ranking of Kings and Attack on Titan embrace the less fun side of pseudo-medieval worlds, and more!

Attack on Titan #80 – Zeke works out the loophole in the Attack Titan’s power, but it doesn’t help him any. Eren has worked out the loophole in the rules about the Founding Titan. The key to gaining the upper hand is that the power of royal heritage isn’t an unchangeable natural law, it’s only a custom followed by a conscious entity. Who can be convinced to change her ways.

At last we properly meet the original Titan, Ymir, and find not a goddess, not a witch who trafficked with demons, but a ghost trapped outside time, repeating the memories of a life of endless drudgery thanks to a chance symbiosis. Never having had the experience of any other life, she simply continues on with her routine in the afterlife, until Eren gets through to her that she can make another choice. It might not just be all the yelling, either. As the first Titan, she should have the same ability as Eren to look forward and see how she can affect events.

That means it’s time for Eren to show his hand. As you may recall, the options were to sterilize all present Eldians, or to give the world a taste of Paradis’s doomsday weapon in order to persuade it to back off. Eren, unfortunately, has chosen option 3: Mutate into an alien monstrosity, set all the Wall Titans loose, and kill everyone outside Paradis. At this point, the entire world is screwed unless someone else gets through to Ymir and convinces her to call off the attack. Thanks to the Paths that connect all Eldians, there might conceivably be a way that Zeke could call in allies.

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Ranking of Kings #16 – Desha goes as far as admitting that he’d really like to kill Miranjo given the chance, but he truly is interested in collecting his criminals, starting with Gigan. But that gets Bojji fully involved, demonstrating his skills sufficiently that Desha is willing to believe it when Despa tells him that he has no chance in a fair fight against Bojji.

Gigan has seen some crap, and it’s no wonder he’s impressed by Bojji, the first person of authority he’s seen act in a truly noble way. Desha and his brothers had the best of intentions (or so they convinced themselves) in rising up against their father, but they were very quick to resort to torture and weapons of mass destruction. Desha has already proven time and again that he is not a generally good person these days, but something about Bojji’s actions has reawakened his better impulses, and he’s willing to try to improve things a bit by taking Gigan back in as a member of his guard, rather than reimprisoning him.

Bojji does not forgive so easily, and no wonder when we’re talking about the guy who betrayed him and tossed him off a cliff not long ago. And he also now realizes that the person behind all of this is the same one who was present when his mother was killed (by a troop of Gigantic archers who, for all we know, may have included Gigan himself). He is a generally good person, but this may be too much for him to get past.

This brings us to Miranjo and the demon, who Desha thinks are working together. That means the demon wasn’t just someone Miranjo found to make the bargain with Bosse. I’m guessing the demon may be the same as the cute little satyr in the opening credits now. It appears to be what saved her by placing her in the mirror after an arrow almost killed her (I’m thinking that soldier holding the flag may have deliberately arranged that). It’s probably the key to why she was mutilated as a child, and how this whole plot, whatever it is ultimately about, came to be.

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Sabikui Bisco #5 – Bisco and Milo roll into a new town populated entirely with children, where they prove that trust and science can save the day and win over a bunch of new converts to the side of the Mushroom Keepers. And Pawoo rolls into a neighborhood populated by one sinister old couple who only reinforce her attitude that everyone outside the walls of Imihama is dangerous.

I’m guessing there’s some truth to the old couple’s story about a Mushroom Keeper (or someone claiming to be one) experimenting on their old community, and that feels very much like a hook for a later adventure. Having introduced a villain like that, there’s no way this story isn’t going to force our heroes to cross paths with him sooner or later.

In the children’s town, Bisco winds up forcing a kid into a patented shōnen-style high-stakes trivia game because he has a very Japanese form of illiteracy. Japanese makes use of multiple writing systems, including two syllabaries— hiragana and katakana— which can be used to spell things out phonetically, and kanji, the logographs imported from China. Kanji communicate meaning much more clearly, but the reader needs to ideally know a few thousand of them, which means years of learning them in school. Furigana is syllabic writing which can be provided alongside kanji to explain their pronunciation. The fact that Bisco can’t read the map without furigana means he never learned kanji properly. One more useful skill that Milo provides.

One of the biggest questions left dangling by this episode is what the heck is with that iron giant the kids are inhabiting. The only direct mention of it is that “part of Tetsujin landed here”, as if everyone in the world knows what Tetsujin is. The name literally means “iron person”, and in a world where rust is a big deal, this looks like an important piece of the story of how that world came to be.

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Miss Kuroitsu From the Monster Development Department #4 – Tōka already has enough on her hands when a random executive drops in and decides to run a personal audit on her department. Then she gets sent to check on how things are going at the amusement park. And somewhere out there, Mizuki Karen keeps getting talked into one-day minion gigs.

The way Tōka handles Camula, first by turning the surprise visit into an opportunity, and then making the best of the even better opportunity that drops into her lap, shows that she might have what it takes to climb the ranks at Agastia. Especially the second part, where she displays the kind of quick thinking and evil cunning that are bound to impress Megistos if he can see them in action someday.

The trip to Leaf Land is more of a mixed bag, with the Great Leader revealing how deep her weakness for cute is, but more cheap shots about Wolf’s problem. Tōka gets to look like the responsible adult as she does responsible adult things while the CEO and Wolf manage to cause all kinds of potential trouble with one of their competitors.

I’m wondering when Karen’s story intersects with Tōka’s again. After all these rounds of abusive gig work, Karen deserves a chance at a steady job. Then again, maybe she’s not cut out to be a minion at all, and Agastia would just be a different kind of terrible.

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Tokyo 24th Ward #5 – Ran is the first to realize that the terrorist they’re chasing is Kunai, his buddy who was always jealous of him as an artist but great at computers. In fact, he realizes that Kunai is the one who make the breakthrough that led to Drug D, and that he’s committing a ridiculous act out of a misplaced sense of guilt. But even so, he isn’t fast enough to save Kunai.

With its story fully told, Drug D looks like a metaphor for social media. Spread through ubiquitous smartphones, it originally produced pleasant feelings, but once someone worked out how to manipulate people at scale, it became just one more tool for destroying lives. And although our heroes now know what’s going on, it’s still out there, everywhere, ready to destroy more.

The tale of trying to truly eradicate it would be an interesting story, but it looks like that isn’t where Tokyo 24th Ward is heading. The successor to Hazard Cast is all ready to go and Kōki’s dad is giving the command to turn it on. What could possibly go wrong?

(CrunchyrollFunimationWakanimAIS PlayAniplus AsiaBahamut Anime CrazyLaftel)

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