Sakurada Reset Episode 17: Answers and more questions

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Okay, I definitely had to go through a few scenes more than once, but this episode certainly explained a lot. I actually like the way that the flashback in this episode was handled. I was very confused while I was watching it because I wasn’t sure if I had just forgotten too much about this series. However, it felt like everyone I needed to know from that flashback was mentioned through the course of this episode, so it didn’t end up being a problem.

Let’s start with the obvious. The reveal that everyone in the world has an ability is pretty big. Sakurada is not some special zone of the world with strange natural properties. Instead, it’s a factory for creating the minimum number of ability users needed to keep the rest of the world from being overrun by abilities. Urachi is also apparently the son of two of the founders of this town, whose abilities are keeping the town going.

The only thing I don’t understand is Kei’s power. He has overridden every power thrown at him so far, so why didn’t he have his memory power before he reached Sakurada? Did he have it without realizing it? That seems like an awkward thing to not notice.

Now let’s get to the speculation. Urachi has expressed his disdain for abilities and a goal of eradicating all abilities. The Witch in the flashback states that Urachi’s father can only keep his ability active while he’s alive. She further states that he only needs to live for twenty years before the time locking ability appears. So, Kagaya has likely locked Urachi’s parents in time to keep them alive. Urachi’s resentment probably comes from having his parents taken from him in order to keep the world safe from abilities, so he seeks a more permanent solution.

So, the big question I have is this: what exactly is Soma trying to accomplish? It doesn’t seem like the eradication of abilities is that bad for her. The only explanation that currently makes sense to me is that she has seen a future where Kei no longer interacts with Misora because her ability is gone.

I also think the scene with Kei on the phone was meant to confirm that the current Sumire is a fake, and that the past Sumire died to keep Urachi from figuring out what she’s doing. It would just be nice if I had an idea of what she’s doing…

Knight’s & Magic Episode 4: The dreaded presentation

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I found this episode less frustrating than previous episodes, but it still has its share of issues. Honestly, the scenes surrounding Ernesti’s meeting with the marquis seemed fine. The marquis clearly wanted to trick Ernesti into revealing a hidden scheme and Ernesti basically blinded him with pure passion. When the marquis offers to take over Ernesti’s work and present it to the king, Ernesti’s reaction also kinda makes sense. As a former programmer, I don’t expect he would mind talking about his work, but multiple formal presentations of the same product are excessive. The marquis was basically offering to do some of the business stuff for him, allowing Ernesti to continue working.

This episode also seems to get at the reason behind the slow improvements in Silhouette Knight design when Addy mentions that Ernesti’s talent is thinking of Silhouette Knights outside the realm of human anatomy. Human anatomy can be frustratingly inefficient at times and it changes slowly, so it would be difficult to make rapid improvements with such constraints.

The Order of the Bronze Fang was probably the most awkward part of this episode in my eyes. They’ve been showcased before in this series, but they still felt unnecessary in this episode. When the shaker worms attack, I could only suspect that the marquis or the suspicious father of Addy and Kid was behind it. It’s really hard for me to believe that the trip to meet the marquis and the shaker worm attack were unrelated. Add in the fact that the ending of the episode is some sort of precursor for war and I just can’t make any sense of these bandits.

Plus, why do these men need to bring out every single person who has worked on the new units in order to arrange a meeting with the marquis? Why not just talk to someone in charge?

Ernesti’s ramblings seem interesting, but I’m curious how far they can carry the series. The events at the end of this episode make me wonder if everything is headed towards an ending where the series says “now that you’ve made the new machines, Ernesti, let’s just throw them into standard combat for the rest of the season”. It just seems like a bit of a waste.

Fate/Apocrypha Episode 4: That’s not Lancer

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Well, this episode certainly escalated quickly. Honestly, I felt like I had a lot more complaints in this episode than I normally have. Let’s start with the good stuff. This episode showcased a lot of new Servants, and they’re pretty much all cool. Sure, there are three characters from Greek mythology, but I’ve always had a soft spot for Greek mythology. Plus, Chiron is an Archer opposing Achilles, who was killed by a magic arrow.

In the Red faction, we also have a bit of a reversed situation going on. In normal Fate stories, the Servants work to keep their identities hidden, even to the point of keeping them from their masters. In this series, it’s the reverse. I’m not sure if this is supposed to be a significant difference or if it’s just another indication that the Red faction is a bunch of random mages, but it’s intriguing.

I’m really not convinced about the homunculus. Everything about him seems so arbitrary, and I feel like there are only so many places you can take a character like that. He starts out as a throwaway doll to be used for an experiment, so I’m assuming he’s going to find some self-importance in his life.

I guess I’m surprised that Siegfried died so quickly, since I thought the backstory he was given last week was an introduction, not a death flag. Still, I guess it makes sense now. The homunculus probably inherited his power, which would explain why Mordred calls “Siegfried” a fake in the opening battle of the series.

I actually thought that I would be making the early death comment about Spartacus, since he was getting ripped apart. But he seemed fine with the pain, and it looked like he was just captured. Maybe he was the distraction to hide Siegfried’s impending fate.

Did Gordes really use a Command Spell just because Siegfried refused to use his Noble Phantasm? It didn’t look like the situation was particularly dire yet. I get that this guy has a lot of pride, but that’s infinite levels of stupid. Also, why did it consume two Command Spells when it failed?

Princess Principal Episode 3: We have the technology

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I guess this week’s episode is going back to normal (in a way) with a standard mission to introduce Beatrice as a character. And there will likely be more introductions to come given that we haven’t even met the ninja character yet. While I find Beatrice annoying, I don’t mind how she was presented in this episode. She’s traumatized by her past and permanently altered as a result, but she still manages to use it to her advantage in the episode.

The split between Ange and Charlotte is still pretty confusing. I’ll probably continue to refer to them by their public names. Charlotte’s self-esteem makes me wonder if Ange just thought her personality wasn’t appropriate for a princess. They make for an interesting pair too, since Ange wishes to use her spy training to run away with Charlotte while Charlotte wishes to become queen to gain the authority to be with Ange.

The main part of this episode that really stuck out to me was the fact that Beatrice was with Ange in the first place. I get that she’s part of the spy school now, but why wouldn’t she want to stay next to the princess in this situation? And the fact that she’s with Ange pretty much propels the episode forward, so this seems a bit important.

I was initially questioning how the voice imitation gimmick even worked out because Beatrice entered the room after the man had already killed himself. But I went back and examined the scenes. She probably got it from when she and Ange were listening in on the guy’s conversation in the switchboard room.

This episode also confirmed the direction of this series. It’s moving through the past events leading up to what happens in the first episode. That makes me wonder if the spies’ plans fail and the first episode is meant to show that Charlotte is still unable to become queen by the end. Maybe I’m just a pessimist, but it would explain why the first episode was so unassuming.

Kakegurui Episode 4: Back to poker

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I’m shifting the schedule around because there’s no episode of Re:Creators this week.

This episode is really keeping things fresh for the series. This is the first game where the game itself wasn’t decided by one of the players, allowing for a more even cheating ground. It’s also the first game that isn’t a straight one-on-one and it’s potentially the first time we see Yumeko cheating (if she’s really working with Mary). So far, Yumeko has taken advantage of her opponents, but this episode seems to be suggesting some potential collusion.

That being said, the scenario proposed in this episode seemed a bit strange. I honestly wasn’t expecting Mary and Yumeko to be put into the same group because the group system doesn’t seem very great for teamwork. Since they’re not gaining any money and only one debt is forgiven, what bargaining chips do the players have for working together?

The game itself is also a little confusing, since the fact that you can’t see both of your cards seems to make it really tough to play as strategically as you would in a normal poker format. Given what the organizer said about cheating, it’s like the game is designed to encourage the players to cheat. The best way to get a handle on the game is to have someone else tell you what card you have.

Did anyone else find the introduction of Ikishima Midari to be a bit strange in this episode? She doesn’t really have much purpose in the game, so why is she appearing? Does she have some hidden influence? Or is she just being set up as the next person in line to face Yumeko? It’s true that she seems to be very similar to Yumeko in terms of their approaches to gambling, so she could be an interesting addition.

I’m curious to see how this game will go. From my eyes, it’s obvious that Kiwatari’s supposed to be the weakest player at the table despite his initial boasting. I refuse to believe that the deadpan girl filling the fourth slot is just a random side character with no purpose in the game.

Made in Abyss Episode 3: Jumping in

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This episode felt so strange because it seemed to be making me question so many of the assumptions I’m used to making in anime. Was everything up to this point really just a prologue? I’m having trouble believing that characters like Nat, Shiggy, and Leader are just left behind in favor of Riko’s grand journey. It’s not even a complaint. The atmosphere of the episode made it so difficult to believe the gravity of Riko’s decision to go down into the Abyss forever that I was expecting it to go awry.

I had to watch this scene with the map a second time just because it felt like there was so much information here. Not only does the scene give us more information about the Abyss, but it also talks a bit about how the information is obtained, focusing a lot on hearsay and “common sense” of the world.

The piece about the sixth layer in particular is pretty interesting. The term “last dive” actually has some weight behind it, meaning that there’s less mystery surrounding Riko’s mother’s “death”. Still, it really makes me ask why someone with a newborn child would volunteer for something like a “last dive”. The answer may be as simple as wanting to find a cure for Riko’s eyes.

For me, Kiyui seems like a big question in this episode. The fact that Reg points out a mysterious sickness in Kiyui seems like setup, which is really uncharacteristic of a goodbye scene. It feels like it’s supposed to be relevant in coming episodes. But how can it affect Riko’s journey?

Was I supposed to conclude that Leader left the box in Reg’s bag from this?

I guess this episode really did leave me with so many questions. Heck, was that scene with the skeleton in prayer supposed to be important? I’m looking forward to seeing what the journey will hold…and getting answers.

Sakurada Reset Episode 16: Some serious future manipulation

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Was that progress I saw in this episode? It looked like Kei was finally willing to allow Misora to move forward despite resetting away every character change she’s had up to this point. I was worried that he’d explain it away by saying he was just trying to support the play by allowing her to smile, but it seems promising. As for Sumire, I’m still not sure how I feel about her. It’s interesting to watch her manipulate events in this series, but I can’t get over my initial impressions of her and the way she speaks. It’s also so hard to reconcile her ability sometimes.

I guess we also learn the big plan in this week’s episode. Urachi’s planning on erasing all abilities in the town. That doesn’t seem too crazy yet. Given that Sumire tells him “truthfully” that his plan will succeed, it’s possible that she’s planning on reviving the abilities after he wipes them out. It would explain why she asked Kei to read the manuscript about the founding of the town (which should be when the abilities came into being).

Sumire’s message to Kei seemed a bit strange to me, but I feel like the explanation is pretty simple. The conversation in the coffee shop later in the episode seemed to be highlighting the fact that resets can’t really undo ability activations (depending on the ability). Similar to how the lock on Urachi’s organizers can’t be undone by the reset, it seems pretty reasonable that Tomoki’s messages also aren’t undone.

It’s possible that a pre-reset Sumire sent the message with full knowledge of events after the reset and allowed the reset to wipe Tomoki’s memories. If the Sumire who sent the message was the Sumire who killed herself two years ago, then it’s also possible for the current Sumire to say that she didn’t send Kei to pick up trash without technically lying because she never send the message.

Who is Sumire talking to here? If it’s really as simple as I think it is, she must be talking to the dead Sumire. Something about that makes me wonder if it’s that simple, though. On a related note, Kei sends a message to Sumire in this episode, which never really gets addressed. It might be preparation for a future reveal that the current Sumire didn’t receive the message.

Knight’s & Magic Episode 2: DIY Robot

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While I still find the engineering-level approach to mechs interesting, something about the lack of detail in this series leaves a lot to be desired. Random narration and quick montages still seem to plague this series to skip through things. I was fine with it in the first episode because some of the introduction didn’t seem completely necessary, but now it’s feeling excessive. Too much of the complications from Ernesti’s new mechanisms seem to be quickly explained away with “bad mana control” or something.

The simplest example is the conversation about adding back arms. The fact that Silhouette Knights have been historically designed based on humans seems pretty important, but the engineers are able to get over this pretty quickly to follow Ernesti’s new proposal. Plus, it seems like the main reason for adding the arms is the fact that Silhouette Knights are typically holding a shield, shown in the later training exercise. However, the diagram that Ernesti displays none of the actual challenges he’s trying to fix.

Another detail that seems missed is Dietrich’s change in character. He goes from being deathly afraid of Ernesti in the beginning of the episode to being a promising and reformed knight in his very next scene. What gives?

Also, these mini-suits kinda came out of nowhere. I wonder if there’s some future scenario where the tiny suit merges into the larger suit to act as a cockpit.

And this is super random, but this guy has a robot as a throne…that’s new.

All in all, I guess too many things in this series leave me wondering, which is strange for a series that seems to be going into detail about giant robots. It makes me wonder where the series is heading if it feels the need to move so quickly.

Fate/Apocrypha Episode 3: Fights across the board

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I’m starting to understand why this series is running for two seasons. If we need an introduction like this for every Servant, it’s the only way we’ll have time. That being said, it’s technically three introductions if you count Chiron. Those aside, this episode seemed to focus a lot on an escaped homunculus, which was a bit strange. He seems important, but I can’t imagine what his role is other than being a MacGuffin for Caster.

I’m not sure what to make of Ruler’s impartiality in this episode. On the one hand, it makes sense that she would try not interfere with Servant battles when possible. On the other hand, she was very quickly convinced that Karna wouldn’t attack her once Siegfried arrived.

Quick note: I think I misinterpreted a scene from last week. I thought that Ruler had no idea what her role in the Grail War was, but that doesn’t seem to be the case from this episode. I’m guessing that line was just her way of saying “why do I need to be here?” instead. My bad.

The fight animation in the battle between Karna and Siegfried just didn’t feel great to watch. It was like I was watching two blurs slamming into each other with explosions in the background. It didn’t feel like an actual fight. I hesitate to say that it was all bad, though, since I thought certain parts looked fine, like the face in Siegfried’s explosion and the shot of each Servant with auras around them.

The rest is just going to be small scenes. This scene in particular was pretty hilarious. Nothing to see here, officer!

Siegfried’s background seems suspiciously similar to Arturia’s background in that they both felt pigeonholed into the whims of the people. Also, wasn’t Gordes trying to hide Siegfried’s name?

Arturia’s parenting skills are pretty strong.

Princess Principal Episode 2: The lies have escalated

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Okay, this episode convinced me to stick with this series. Should I have seen that twist coming? Maybe I should have, but boy did it hit hard. The revelation doesn’t just change how I view this week’s episode, but also has implications for the first episode. So many things in this episode make much more sense after seeing three words at the end of the episode, like the princess’s words to Beatrice about befriending a devil and the fact that Ange was so quick to reveal herself as a spy. I can’t help but want to continue watching a show that does something like that.

So, is the Ange from last week’s episode also Charlotte? This might not truly be a good question, because there’s a lot of evidence that she is. First off, it’s safer for Ange and Charlotte to continue using their swapped roles. The princess is out of danger and it’s less likely that Ange’s superiors and comrades notice a change in her behavior. Plus, the title of the series would suggest that the main character (introduced as Ange) should be the princess. Still, you can’t discount the possibility given how well the two were able to imitate each other.

Another fun piece from this week’s episode was the numbering of the episodes. This week’s episode is marked as “Case 1”, while last week’s episode was “Case 13”. This suggests that the remainder of the season will be a progression leading up to that first episode. It’s interesting, but also strange. That first episode doesn’t seem to be anything close to a final episode. Shouldn’t there be something more after that? Will there be 14 episodes?

I felt like the episode even did a good job with the mystery surrounding the “traitor” in the organization by introducing a red herring among the higher-ups. That military guy looked pretty jumpy when they were talking about the traitor who informed the princess, so he seemed like the best bet.

Alright, I’m on board. What’s next?