Anime roundup 3/3/2022: Turnabout

In this week’s viewing: Attack on Titan decides to be hopeful for a change, Ranking of Kings has some unfortunate background, and more!

Attack on Titan #83 – As the Wall Titans continue their inexorable march out into the world to destroy it, the Jaegerists turn their attention to what’s really important: making the tiny fraction of humanity which is going to survive the Rumbling even smaller by executing anyone who isn’t fully on board with the Eldian Empire plan.

But glimmers of hope remain. Hange and Levi are alive, more or less. So are Magath and Pieck, who are pragmatic enough to see that they need to ally with anyone they can to stop the Rumbling. Jean and Oyankopon are unwilling to bow to the Jaegerists, and Conny, when it comes right down to it, doesn’t have it in him to personally murder a kid, even if it is to save his mom.

Armin very nearly finds his excuse for suicide, but Conny isn’t going to let him out of the fight that easily. And, as he finally admits, it wouldn’t do any good to make his mom into an intelligent Titan, she’s not cut out to be a monstrous killer.

The last ally to be gathered up is Reiner, who wakes up to find people from his early training days in Marley, his time in the Survey Corps, his adult days, and this latest battle all standing over him like a surprise episode of This is Your Life. With five of the six intelligent Titans who aren’t Eren, and the people who know the workings of the Titans best, this crowd is humanity’s best hope. The question is, what can they do?

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Sabikui Bisco #8 – Milo wins the contest to go attack Kurokawa, only to eventually have to be rescued by Bisco, and for it then to turn out that Jabi was perfectly capable of handling the situation himself. Now Kurokawa has the full recipe for the Rust Eater, Jabi is on a suicide mission again, and Milo and Bisco are full of arrows and struggling to stay alive.

We learn a lot about Kurokawa this episode, starting with the fact that he is a huge nerd. I mean, there was the sf film festival in the early episodes, but now we also know that he plays something suspiciously like Magic: the Gathering and can drop Sailor Moon references at a moment’s notice. Also he has at least one prosthetic limb for reasons that I’m sure will turn out to be part of the story, and he’s a former Mushroom Keeper, which pretty much means he has to be the evil experimenter one from the flashback a few episodes back.

And Kurokawa’s evil, despicable master plan is— Americans take note— for-profit healthcare! Present-day Japan has universal healthcare, and it is a measure of how normal that must feel that a damaged and corrupt post-apocalyptic government is summed up by saying that it has to try to make money off forcing people to pay for treatment.

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Ranking of Kings #19 – Kage’s sudden discovery of his ability to swallow people whole is followed almost immediately by the discovery that even that isn’t going to stop Ouken. With nearly everyone mortally wounded, the Big Four step in, and even they can’t stop him.

Miranjo, though, unexpectedly steps in to save Kage. She has the same power as Hiling, and something about all the recent events has gotten through to her, healed the ghost of her past self, and persuaded her to intervene for Kage’s sake. Kage is the one who has to make the decision to turn back, though, as he does after a few words with his mother.

Meanwhile, the playback of Bosse’s memories concludes with him going mad and killing Gyakuzans indiscriminately after discovering what they had done to Miranjo. There’s a big missing piece, though. Miranjo’s memory of the Gyakuzans told Daida that they mutilated her specifically because of something she had done— something which doesn’t figure into Bosse’s story at all.

Then again, maybe the Gyakuzans really are meant to be incorrigible. Viewers in Japan have pointed out that the whole narrative of Houma and Gyakuza resembles the story Japan likes to tell itself about its occupation of Korea, and the depictions of Gyakuza before and after the Houmans’ arrival line up with popular images of Korea as well. It will be extremely disappointing if that is all there is to Gyakuza.

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Miss Kuroitsu From the Monster Development Department #7 – Tōka and Dr. Sadamaki decide it’s time for some traditional Japanese corporate teambuilding, in the form of a departmental drinking party, and wind up watching it all go horribly wrong. And then Tōka winds up arranging an extra dose of wrong when she takes Wolf over to her place to sleep it off.

Wolf’s childlike faith in Tōka is shaken when, despite what he believed last week, he discovers that she is starting to mentally misgender him. And not only that, she’s not interested in any kind of romance and sees him as a sort of offspring. The latter parts are fine, but I am edging back toward disrecommending this show for its treatment of Wolf.

The look into Tōka’s career ambitions and her fighting ability works much better. She’s not just some office drone who accidentally wound up working for an evil conglomerate, she’s fully invested in Agastia’s mission and ready to do whatever it takes to work her way to the top and help steer the plan for world domination. Given that the working world is portrayed as an afterthought in so much anime, and so much sf, that’s actually kind of refreshing.

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Tokyo 24th Ward #7 – Ran is still a fugitive, but somehow still able to stay on a small island and elude the police, who are busy arresting ever more people in the slum. Meanwhile, in a slightly better show, Shūta desperately tries to level up his baking skills while his dad is off enjoying a vacation in Paris.

The problem with picking a guy from a nice, respectable neighborhood as the main protagonist is that Tokyo 24th Ward can say that some bad stuff is happening out there, but it doesn’t have a route for really explaining how it goes wrong. If it were centered on a resident of Shantytown, you could see how more policing was screwing up their lives. But for Shūta it’s all just happening in the background.

Anyway, we do at least get confirmation that 0th is back and is the one engaging in the tag war with Ran. And speaking of people from flashbacks, I’d love to know who turns out to have been in the Mr. 24 costume. I expect it’ll turn out to be someone who is still playing a role in the story today.

(CrunchyrollFunimationWakanimAIS PlayAniplus AsiaBahamut Anime CrazyLaftel)

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