Anime roundup 2/3/2022: Second Fiddle

In this week’s viewing: Attack on Titan reveals who’s really in charge, Sabikui Bisco spotlights its secondary characters, and more!

Attack on Titan #79 – Along with the power of the intelligent Titans come the memories of people who previously had that role, so before he commits his genocide, Zeke decides to take advantage of the chance to stroll through the memories Eren inherited from their father along with the Attack Titan. Or at least that’s what he thinks he’s doing, until Grisha looks up and sees Zeke. For the rest of this episode, he slowly grows to realize that he is enabling the very thing he wanted to stop.

The Attack Titan’s special power is to see what its future inheritors can see, not just the memories of previous ones. (But if the key is that the Paths work through time, then the other Titans aren’t inheriting memories either, but literally looking into the past.) Pair that with the Founding Titan’s ability to compel the subjects of Ymir, and Eren can force the past to bend to his will. And that will is not to go along with Zeke’s plan, but from how terrified Grisha was about what was coming, it does involve setting the Eldians’ doomsday weapon off. If it’s Paradis or the rest of the world, Eren will choose to defend his friends, just like the hero of the standard shōnen adventure story that Attack on Titan once appeared to be.

The one apparent hole in the Attack Titan’s ability is that the current one can’t see their own future. They’re limited, like Grisha, to whatever other incarnations of that Titan are willing to show them. That means Eren may be flying blind about his own life, unless a future Attack Titan is guiding him. If there even is a future Attack Titan.

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Ranking of Kings #15 – With matters settled around the main entrance, Bojji has to rush off to another crisis. Now the basement is being invaded through Miranjo’s portal by another Underworld force, led by King Desha himself, with only Dōmas and Hokuro (okay, technically really just Dōmas) holding them off.

For once, the situation favors Dōmas’s approach of relying on sheer brute strength with only a modicum of tactical thinking. The Order of the Underworld happily marches single file into his one-man blockade until Desha takes it upon himself to demonstrate what idiots everyone is being. I know Desha has arrived on a conquest attempt and one should be cheering for his defeat, but Dōmas had that kick to the nads coming. Desha may have done everyone a long-term favor by giving Dōmas yet another example to think about of how just hitting people as hard as possible isn’t enough.

As for Desha’s presence there, he claims he’s just there to retrieve his kingdom’s greatest criminals and lock them back up. This story was probably intended to put everyone at ease, but now one of those selfsame criminals has entered Bojji’s service and Desha has therefore tagged himself as an enemy already. And, for all their apparently superior technology and planning, do Despa and Desha have any clue what’s going on with Bosse?

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Miss Kuroitsu From the Monster Development Department #3 – Tōka procedes with a monster of her own design, the Hydra, which will destroy Blader with her numerous heads and deadly poison! Except Tōka keeps giving in to pressure to reduce the budget and keep to a tokusatsu TV schedule and the Hydra winds up as yet another horribly underpowered monster. But talking to the nice guy at the bento place keeps her spirits up.

I know the romance between two people who don’t realize when they’re out of costume that they’re deadly enemies is a very old trope, but goshdarnit these kids make it so adorable. I think part of it is that they’re helping each other through everyday problems rather than being forced into blockbuster-movie-level raging passions.

Meanwhile, Cannon is working as a faux costumed character at a theme park Agastia conveniently owns and is desperately trying to get a real job. He’s forced to admit that monstering is what he’s suited for, though, when he has to rescue Hydra from two local magical girls.

Where all the other characters so far are clearly inspired by the tokusatus world, Magia Rose and Magia Zwart are a homage to Sailor Moon. Their costumes and their transformation sequences make that clear. Actually, they especially seem to be a homage to two specific Sailor Moon characters: Sailors Uranus and Neptune, the world’s most famous lesbian magical girls. (Unless you watched the ’90s English dub, which claimed they were just very handsy cousins.)

Everything Cannon does has the humor turned up a notch. I mean, it can hardly not be with him being a giant bird, but extra props for moments like pulling out the gun. I hope we get to see him a lot more.

(CrunchyrollShahiid AnimeSushirollBahamut Anime CrazyLaftelmeWATCH)

Sabikui Bisco #4 – Milo and Bisco’s journey to Akita starts with some aimless wandering and arguing because Bisco can’t be bothered to explain that they’re looking for his ride. Then it continues with some more wandering as Milo desperately tries to learn to control a giant riding crab. Then some more because they decide to bed down in a building which turns out to be less stationary than expected.

This whole episode feels like a lot of explanations were skipped over to get to the actiony bits. “Jellyfish” suddenly being an itinerant peddler doesn’t fit with her having her own military-grade aircraft in the irst couple episodes. But it’s presented like that’s the real business she’s been in for a while. Actagawa is still an enigma despite most of the episode being about Milo trying to get along with him, and while we do get a smidgen of explanation about the temple, it is quickly abandoned for LOOK LOOK A GIANT SHRIMP.

One thing that does get fully explained is the loyalty-enforcing grub, though not why Milo had to extract it that way, as opposed to, say, just using his hand to pull it out.

Jellyfish is a fun character to have around, and it’s a shame that she’ll probably just be popping up now and then, because she’s got more personality than the two leads combined.

(CrunchyrollFunimationWakanimShahiid AnimeSushirollBahamut Anime CrazyLaftelmeWATCH)

Tokyo 24th Ward #4 – A few months after the disaster at Gourmet Festival, Shūta discovers that Kozue has been visiting the bad side of town and immediatley jumps to the conclusion that this somehow involves the hot new drug everyone’s taking. Actually she’s visiting murals painted by Ran over Carneades’s tags which are paying homage to her father. That’s the part of this episode that works.

The part that doesn’t quite work is an attempt to get at the main criticism of predictive policing, which is that the only thing it really predicts is more policing. By sending more SARG people to Shantytown, more crime is discovered there, creating a feedback loop in Hazard Cast. The presentation of Shantytown as a generic dirty crime-ridden slum with men leering at Kozue from darkened corners doesn’t do much to help this point, though. Neither does portraying drug users as monsters who can only be controlled, not helped or reasoned with.

But the real plot point that Tokyo 24th Ward is moving forward with is that Ran’s old buddy Kanai has somehow been persuaded to commit a major act of terrorism, which is linked to a simultaneous manifestation of Asumi and Carneades. It all sounds like a big coincidence, but the historical Carneades was noted for arguing both for and against justice. And with Kanai appearing to have been enhanced in the same way as RGB, it could be that Asumi and Carneades are both masks being worn by the same power.

(CrunchyrollFunimationWakanimAIS PlayAniplus AsiaBahamut Anime CrazyLaftel)

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