Dororo Episode 10: The other son

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Daigo sees the waning prosperity of his country

I was pleasantly surprised by how likable Tahoumaru was in this episode. Given the resentment he’s shown in previous episodes, I expected him to be a brat, but he seems like a decent character from this episode. I’ll be curious to see how he ends up turning against Hyakkimaru. I think he could end up being a decent villain as long as he doesn’t go berserk when he finds out the truth. I look forward to seeing where things go.

Daigo finds out Hyakkimaru is alive

It’s about time this guy figured out that his son was still alive. We’ve seen Hyakkimaru go crazy fighting against normal humans in the past, so I wonder if Daigo’s involvement will foster the darker side in him.

Tahoumaru wonders how to fight the crab

Tahoumaru seems like a perfectly reasonable character so far, which is great to see. He seems to care about his subjects, and he’s willing to fight for them himself. Given the demonic side of Hyakkimaru that we’ve seen, I think it would be great to see Tahoumaru actually act as a counterweight to that. It would force us to question the protagonist, which could be interesting.

Tahoumaru traps the crab on land

Also, I think he’s a worthy rival for Hyakkimaru given his capability in this episode. His plan to defeat the crab seems solid, and it almost works.

Hyakkimaru meets Tahoumaru

Personally, I think the episode would have been slightly better if it had focused solely on Tahoumaru. Hyakkimaru’s interference here seems a bit excessive. That being said, I suppose it’s about time the two met.

Also, was that crab a demon that held one of Hyakkimaru’s organs? In the end, it didn’t look like a statue broke, after all. I think the story’s better if it is, though, since it would mean that Tahoumaru inadvertently worked against his father in his attempt to please his father.

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Boogiepop wa Warawanai Episodes 12-13: Instilling fear

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Seiichi is told he's about to die

This arc ended up being pretty entertaining overall. I still think that there were a few loose ends that felt awkward, but it was more fun to watch than the Imaginator arc. I also liked that it incorporated elements from the other series, because it truly gave the sense that this story was meant to set everything else up. I hope it’s not just because I watched the episodes in pairs, as I suspected it might have contributed a bit to overall understanding.

Gen confirms the death of Seiichi's fan

Am I supposed to conclude that the Towa Organization is the ultimate antagonist for this series? They feel like they’re being tied to everything at this point.

Seiichi meets Suiko

I’m not sure I fully understood what Seiichi’s role in everything ultimately was. Is he just there because the timeline is convenient for his story? He also seems to set the Imaginator case in motion by talking with Suiko here. It might just be because he’s an author, but I didn’t really get the heavily nuanced language he used.

Nagi states her feelings about Masanori

I guess I can appreciate the irony in this line. After spending some time with Masanori, Nagi concludes that he’s kind at heart, all without realizing that he’s the one who killed her father and Kuroda. Those two were probably the main influences in her life, so it makes it interesting. It also highlights the turmoil in Masanori that becomes a factor later.

Seiichi talks about the influence of bugs going in different directions

I’m a little disappointed that Masanori doesn’t get a fair amount of time to develop. The concept of the “bugs” within him is actually quite fascinating. I think it’s meant to highlight a sort of cognitive dissonance, as the series suggests that he’s acting against his nature when he does his work as an assassin. At least, that was my takeaway.

Nagi figures out Kisugi's motives

It’s cool to watch Nagi deduce Kisugi’s true nature based on what little information she had. I do like the idea that Kisugi essentially yearns for the kind of fearlessness that she targets. These motives actually make a lot of sense.

Nagi resolves to keep helping

I think the series does a decent job of introducing Nagi as the “hero” she attempts to be in the future. Personally, I think that Pigeon was a bit underdeveloped for the role she played in the story. It’s not completely illogical for her to be in love with Kuroda, but she kind of comes out of nowhere. I did like the references to Suiko and Echoes in this arc, though. Overall, it was an entertaining story.

Egao no Daika Episode 10: On the other side

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Looking out over the bleak battlefield

While it’s a departure from previous episodes, I’m glad that this episode is effectively showing the events of the last episode from Stella’s perspective. I think it helped to redeem the previous episode a bit. I do think that it contributes to a bit of a confusing timeline overall, but I like how it was used. I’m still hoping that Stella and Yuuki meet, but it’s looking a bit unlikely at this point. I’m curious to see how things end.

Lily complains to a child

Part of the annoying thing about this episode is how much Lily has been asking to die. Given how many other squad members have fallen up to this point, I’d actually be a bit disappointed if she does end up dying in the end too. Her plot armor has gone on too long.

Stella struggles to survive

It’s nice to see a bit more from Stella’s past. It’s pretty clear that she’s had it rough.

Stella believes she's not putting up a front

I enjoyed this conversation between Owens and Stella. It’s not just Owens that sees the emotions Stella has repressed. We’ve seen the clear indication ourselves, so we can easily agree with Owens when he points out that he went from believing Stella had no emotions to realizing that she was putting up a front.

Harold faces off against Owens and Stella

Honestly, I was ready to point out last week that Owens and Harold very clearly shoot at each other, and we only see Harold die. Logically, it made no sense for Harold to miss at that range. I’m glad that I didn’t, though, since I liked the way this scene was presented. In the previous episode, no one on the Soleil side cares about the aftermath of the fight, so we as the audience aren’t shown the death of Owens. In reality, both sides are devastated by the incident, but we only see each side separately (as they would).

Owens sacrifices himself for Stella

There’s another smaller scene that similarly demonstrates a cool use of perspective in this episode. When Harold’s unit appears, the characters on the Grandiga side all recognize him from the previous fight that crippled Pierce. However, remember that we saw that fight from the Soleil side. As a result, the episode is able to use a flashback that’s completely new to the audience. I think it’s a great use of the flashback.

The squad questions the funeral for Harold

Also, I like the little fake-out at the end of the episode, where it’s revealed that the Empire is holding a huge funeral for Harold, an enemy combatant. While the main characters are mourning their leader, he ends up completely ignored by his own superiors. Instead, they’re recognizing his killer.

Yakusoku no Neverland Episode 9: When the wall isn’t enough

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Ray finds out about Norman's shipment

The challenges never stop for these kids. This week’s episode is probably the bleakest one yet. To be fair, I don’t think that the escape should be easy, so it’s nice to see these kinds of developments. However, part of me is worried that obstacles can keep popping up to artificially extend the time needed to escape. I hope it’s not the case, since I’m getting pretty curious about the outside world.

Norman tries to comfort Emma

This episode does so many interesting things with the camera to add to the scenes (it’s hard to convey with screenshots). In the scene where Norman walks to get the water, the camera follows his perspective, seemingly to heighten empathy for his sense of fear.

Ray tries to convince Norman to escape first

I do like the idea of letting Norman escape first, because it puts all of their plans into action. As a result, we get to see how it might have worked if they weren’t caught.

Ray remembers his life as a fetus

While I don’t really buy into this idea that Ray can remember being a fetus, I can accept that it’s a part of this world. That being said, I’m curious why this revelation exists. On the surface, it could just be another nod at how bleak their situation is. But I wonder if the scene is somehow suggesting that the gate, which is where all of the heaviest security is, will inevitably be the route to the outside.

Norman finds the note left behind by Krone

I’m curious about the fact that Norman finds Krone’s dying message before he tries to escape. I initially thought that it was going to be a warning about the cliff around the wall, which Norman later confirms. However, I’m getting the sense that it’s going to be next step. Perhaps Krone knew that their plan wouldn’t work, so she offers an alternative.

Norman finds a cliff

In that case, the fact that Norman goes to wall to see the cliff anyway might serve a dual purpose. He could have been confirming the information from Krone, since they never trusted her. Additionally, he probably gives the kids an extra edge by using the incident to make Isabella think that she’s broken their resolve. It might not be how things turn out, but that’s how I would see it.

Isekai Izakaya Review: The most important beer in the other world

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Questioning whether the food is good

I’ve always been a sucker for a cooking show, and this one’s a pretty light one. Split across 24 half-length episodes, this series follows a Japanese bar named Izakaya Nobu, which is connected to another world. Together, the two Japanese characters work to serve a range of customers coming from a completely different culture. It’s a premise very similar to the series Isekai Shokudou, so it’s hard not to compare the two.

Tactical retreat is important

I do think that this series does a lot to distinguish itself. From an adaptation standpoint, each episode ends with a return to the real world. A short segment after the credits will feature either a local bar somewhere in Japan or a recipe related to the main dish in the episode. Anime food is fun to watch and all, but seeing real-world food can be pretty appetizing.

The girl is hard to please

While Isekai Shokudou brought with it a wide set of characters, each with vastly different backgrounds, Isekai Izakaya is probably a bit more focused. The series tends to focus more on how the restaurant fits into the society of the other world, and the characters are all local to a particular part of that world. As such, many characters recur, which builds a stronger sense of community within the series.

Wondering about the elder

Additionally, the setting of Isekai Izakaya has more of a Western medieval atmosphere, as opposed to the clear fantasy setting of its counterpart. As a result, I think the series loses out on the clear “other world” feeling when it’s introducing its characters, but the issues that the main characters face feel a lot more relatable as a result. I suppose it’s a matter of preference.

Confusion

Overall, I personally think that it’s unfortunate that this series aired so soon after Isekai Shokudou, since I think that show takes the same concept and does a better job. That being said, this series has a lot of things going for it, and tends to be more inspiring from a practical standpoint. Many of the items in the show are standard Japanese food, but the episodes end with fun variations that brought new ideas for experimentation in the kitchen.

Overall Score: 7/10

Winter 2019 Grab Bag Week 9: Girly Air Force

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Gripen is annoyed

Girly Air Force Episode 8

Time for a somewhat mid-season check-in on this series. I haven’t talked about it in a while. Honestly, I don’t think the show has been too bad so far, but it does get a bit monotonous. In recent episodes, it seems like they’re regularly introducing new Daughters into the mix, when I was expecting more of a focus on the main three. Heck, we still haven’t learned all too much about Eagle yet.

The mission succeeds

The pacing in this series strikes me as strange. The entire operation, which was supposed to be a big deal takes less than five minutes in this episode. This is a mission that they’re retrying after having failed in the past, so it seems like it should be a fairly major event. Instead, it’s somewhat relegated to a mild opening act.

As a side note, I know it’s been a while since I last talked about this series, but was there ever any doubt that Kei would solve Gripen’s flying problems by jumping in the cockpit with her?

The Daughters hit the beach

I mean, it’s not like I’m trying to say I need more time devoted to the obligatory beach episode or anything…

Kei meets Viper

I think the concept behind Viper is quite interesting, with the idea that her appearance changes based on who’s looking at her. I’m a little annoyed that Kei densely insists that she’s Minghua even after having it explained to him by Yashirodoori, but what can I expect from that guy?

Kei tells Minghua that a skirt doesn't suit her

I think that Kei’s relationship with Minghua is my least favorite part about this series. And it has nothing to do with Minghua, to be honest. She’s fine as a character, but I think that Kei acts like a jerk to her for no real gain.

Grimms Notes The Animation Episode 8: Power of the Tao family

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Tao offers to travel with Shane

This week’s episode honestly had a pretty interesting concept behind it, but I thought it had a lot of trouble tying things together. It was a good look at many of Tao’s motivations, and it fleshed him out as a character. However, his connection with Shane felt awkward, and I thought that the idea of a villainous main character was a bit wasted.

Shane and Tao return to a familiar Story Zone

I thought it was cool that Tao and Shane come from the same Story Zone, but I wish that Shane could have been developed alongside Tao in this episode. For the most part, she’s there to give context to his past, but it would have been nice to get a better sense of why they met and became friends. I get that Shane was an oni shunned by everyone around her, but what about Tao made her want to join him?

The oni are unarmed

The episode seems to continue along with the idea of questioning the fates laid out by the Storytellers. The oni are largely portrayed as victims simply trying to escape to safety. I like how the episode starts to set up Momotaro as the villain in the story, but it would have been nice to get a better understanding of why the power shift happened.

Momotaro appears with new friends

Is it ever really explained why Momotaro was attacked by the not-heartless at the beginning of the episode. I suppose you could explain it away by saying that the Chaos Teller was just manipulating him, but it’s weird to see the minions swap sides like that without much reasoning.

Momotaro sacrifices himself to save Tao

I truly dislike the “forced” misunderstanding that’s pushed by this flashback. The earlier version of the flashback is clearly cut to hint at Tao’s “betrayal”, which he later confirms in vague terms. It’s frustrating to watch since it’s clear where it’s going.

Tao lectures Momotaro

There’s a secondary consequence of this episode, which is that it confirms that blank book holders can legitimately change fates. There was this vague notion in Snow White’s story that perhaps her ultimate fate was inevitable anyway, but it seems safe to say that Tao completely altered Momotaro’s fate in his past.

Dororo Episode 9: Some background information

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Dororo falls ill

After a couple of lighter episodes, we’re right back into the suffering with this show. It’s nice to see Dororo’s past, though, even if it’s full of sadness. If anything, it’s a good demonstration of what she’s had to endure and of how much her parents cared for her. And given how the episode ends, it looks like Hyakkimaru’s father is finally on to him, which might make for some more human-on-human interactions soon.

Dororo worries that Hyakkimaru will leave her

I actually kind of forgot what Dororo is referencing here. When did Hyakkimaru leave her behind? Either way, it was nice to see this sense of how attached she is to Hyakkimaru.

Itachi betrays everyone

As much as the episode wants to portray him as the main antagonist, I somewhat agree with Itachi. From what we’ve seen, Dororo’s father forms his crew because of a resentment for the samurai, and he spends the episode consumed by vengeance. I think it’s reasonable for Itachi to adapt to the changing times and get himself out of that mentality, strange as it might seem.

Dororo's mother confronts Itachi

It certainly is gut-wrenching to see Dororo’s parents literally kill themselves to keep her safe, though. I have to give them credit for that.

Dororo watches her mother die

Other than that, there’s not really much more to say about this episode. It’s self-contained, and it goes over Dororo’s past well. She feels a lot more understandable now.

Hyakkimaru's father finds out about him

It’s about time this guy got involved.

Boogiepop wa Warawanai Episodes 10-11: Back to the past

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Boogiepop tells Echoes a story

In a valiant attempt to catch up with the airing release, I’m taking on two episodes this week. This next arc seems to focus on the background of the series a bit more, going back in time to explain Boogiepop’s name. So far, it strikes me as a lot more straightforward and interesting than the Imaginator arc, so I’m curious to see where it will go. The arc also starts with a reference back to Echoes, so I’m hoping it ties the other stories together in a meaningful way.

Scarecrow wonders about the Towa Organization

I’m still not sure I get the Towa Organization, but I appreciate that episode 10 starts out trying to explain them some more. Scarecrow’s a surprisingly interesting rendition of the “grizzled” detective type, and the episode does a good job of indicating early that he’s willing to betray the organization.

Nagi meets the detective

The younger Nagi was pretty entertaining to watch. I like how the episode gives some justification for her behavior in the present day. The idea that she tries to become a superhero as she suggested to the detective is a nice touch.

Scarecrow meets Boogiepop as he dies

Scarecrow’s story ends up being a sad one, but it was still nice to see him risk his life to save Nagi’s life. His influence on Boogiepop’s name ends up being a bit disappointing, since he just gives a vague description that we can link to the current name. I guess it’s fair for a series like this one.

Kisugi checks in on Nagi

Episode 11 is a nice shift from the previous episode. Scarecrow’s story is initially portrayed as the act of a hero, but we see in this episode that it has the direct consequence of putting the drug he steals in Kisugi’s hands. She then uses it on herself to evolve into a fear-draining villain. I like the idea of calling his actions into question by giving them a dual nature.

Kisugi marvels at evolution

I do have a slight problem with how “evolution” is used in this episode. The fact that someone with a science background like Kisugi calls regenerating rats a clear indication of “evolution” seems a bit much. I’m not sure I can buy into that.

On the other hand, Boogiepop’s conversation with Kisugi was great. She’s forced to face down a being who’s clearly stating an intent to kill her, and the way the two talk around that idea is cool.

Egao no Daika Episode 9: The source of chrars

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Yuuki starts to question herself

It looks like we’re back in Soleil for the second week in a row. I suppose we needed to deal with the aftermath of the chrars reveal before switching again. For the most part, I liked the idea behind the chrars as they were explained in this episode, but I thought that the character focus on Harold in the episode was weak. He almost seems like a pawn of the story to force Yuuki down a path of over-correction. Anyway, the episode ends with Harold fighting a unit he recognizes, likely Owens or Stella, so I assume we’ll be back on Grandiga’s side next week to see the aftermath.

Harold orders the annihilation of the imperial units

I don’t mind the conflicting ideals of Harold and Yuuki, but I’m curious what will happen with the void that’s left after this episode. I did like seeing this portrayal here, in which Harold forces the other officers to kill so indiscriminately that they’re visibly disturbed by it. It shows just how far he’s willing to go, and sets him up further as Yuuki’s polar opposite.

No one really cares about the chrars data

Well, the reaction of the “elite” to the information about the new chrars isn’t too surprising. I would have liked for them to at least make their case, even if it’s as simple as saying they have to keep using the chrars because they’re at war. Or they could make an outright claim that Verde is nuts or something. It makes them feel overly dismissive to the point of being unrealistic.

Layla admits her past to Yuuki

The fact that Layla tells Yuuki everything about her past makes me wonder if she’s headed toward her own death.

Layla discovers the nanomachines

As I mentioned before, I quite like the nanomachine reveal in this episode. The idea that the chrars are causing environmental damage is a pretty clear reference to the current climate change debate, which is nothing new. However, I like how grounded the explanation is, making it believable for sci-fi. In reality, the chrars are draining nanomachines that keep the world terraformed. That’s a cool idea.

Yuuki wonders how to end the war

Yuuki’s statement here makes me wonder if she believes that war wouldn’t be as much of a problem if we didn’t have technology. It’s not an uncommon sentiment, but it’s one I disagree with.

Harold faces the enemy alone

In the end, I felt like Harold’s death was perhaps too quick. I never ended up feeling anything for him, and I never felt like I had a good understanding of what motivated him. Maybe he’s just a weak character overall, but it’s frustrating to see. It seems like the show wanted to make his death mean something, but I guess I didn’t get it.