Mugen no Juunin – Immortal First Impressions (1): Finding the evil ones

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Manji loses his sister

I guess I’m behind again, but I’m here for the grit. This episode put a lot of effort into looking dramatic, and I think it did a good job of selling the tension of its setting. Overall, the theme of the series seems interesting overall, and I like the concept behind Manji as a character. I think that the action has me wary so far, but it’s still too early to tell (I’ll probably check out the second episode fairly soon).

Rin visits her father's grave

The story follows Rin Asano, the daughter of a dojo master slaughtered by the followers of Itto-ryu. Left as the sole survivor of her family, she seeks vengeance against everyone involved. In order to reach her goal, she enlists the help of Manji, an immortal swordsman seeking atonement for the death of his own sister. The two work together to eliminate the swordsmen of Itto-ryu.

Rin is sent to seek out Manji

I’m sure that I’m exactly the wrong person to comment on this, but I thought that the opening scene of the first episode was a bit much. I guess it looks cool, but it’s a bit too much flashing for my taste. As a general comment, the action in this episode as whole seemed like it was being skipped. Many scenes seem to cut to black as sword strikes happen. I think it fits with the general style of the episode, but I hope it doesn’t last forever. I’m kind of hoping for something like Dororo.

Manji must kill evil men

As I mentioned before, I think that Manji’s character is really interesting. He’s apparently tasked with killing evil people, and he seems to consciously work towards that. I liked that he questioned Rin when she gave her request, attempting to make sure he wasn’t being lured into something nefarious.

Rin just wants revenge

Manji also has a decent point when he comments on Rin’s grudge. From Rin’s perspective, it certainly would seem like her family’s fate was completely unjustified, but she has no idea what motivated the swordsmen who attacked them. Since Manji seeks to defeat evil, it’s something that he would think about, which makes for an intriguing scene.

Manji attempts to kill Sabato

The episode seems to cut to encounter with Sabato fairly quickly. Still, I think he’s a great first enemy for Rin. He makes her question what she truly wants out of her quest by offering to kill himself. Rin essentially acknowledges her weakness and prepares to “settle” for one death when she attempts to kill herself. I like the scene as a callback to her earlier conversation with Manji, when he asks her to prove her resolve. In this scene, I’d say that she proves the opposite.

Golden Kamuy Final Episode (24): Changing sides again and again

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Sugimoto shows Nopperabu the dagger

I know better than to expect resolution from this series, so I thoroughly enjoyed this finale. I think the shifting alliances in this series are cool to watch, and I liked how Nopperabu was handled. It’s kind of sad to see Asirpa separate from Sugimoto, but it should be funny to watch how Sugimoto interacts with the 7th. As always, the many funny moments in this episode were spectacular.

Inudou can't bear the shame of his brother

Inudou’s story wasn’t too bad for how quick it was. I like that this show gives stories to the side characters, even if they’re doomed to die.

Nopperabu's plans are revealed

I do find the contrast between Sugimoto and Wilk interesting as a father figures for Asirpa. Wilk has great expectations for her, while Sugimoto just wants to keep her safe. I’d say both are valid, but they play out in very different ways. It’s too bad Wilk ends up being shot, but it wasn’t totally unexpected.

Kiroranke signals to Ogata

Kiroranke finally gets his story revealed, and it actually makes a lot of sense. It sounded like he just wants the Ainu to fight back against the other cultures that threaten them. It’s an extreme stance, but not an unreasonable one. It makes him an interesting faction.

Sugimoto and Tsurumi are brain damage pals

I like watching Sugimoto play the field in this extended war for the gold. He has his own motivations and has no issue allying with whoever is convenient. From the perspective of the audience, it gives us a good chance to look at the characters on each side.

Sugimoto knows that Ogata shot him

The big question for me in this episode was what Ogata’s motivations were. We’ve seen that he’s generally emotionless, so he could just be a mercenary for hire. I think it would be more fun if he had some kind of personal reason to join Kiroranke, though. Maybe I just missed something.

Sugimoto's brains are infecting people

I loved this joke about eating Sugimoto’s brains and inheriting his obsession with Asirpa.

Final Score: 7/10

Always enjoyable and funny to watch. This show is always surprisingly ridiculous for how serious it wants to be. I felt like the second half built upon the first half and took it to an even more absurd level, which ended up being totally fine.

Golden Kamuy Episode 23: Closing in on Nopperabu

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Shiraishi and Sugimoto are in a tight spot

This week’s episode was definitely full of action with the full-on war-like scenario, but what surprised me the most was how much it managed to make me laugh despite that. It’s probably the best part about this series as a whole. As we get close to the end, it’s starting to look like all of the pieces of the Nopperabo mystery are lining up, but I don’t feel like I have any definitive answers yet. Hopefully, that changes soon.

Tsurumi knows his plan will work

It’s cool to see that Tsurumi has thought things through, but his bloody approach still seems pretty insane.

Ushiyama saves Tanigaki and Inkarmat

I really liked this Ushiyama death fake-out even if it has been done before. The way Ushiyama delivers this line is so perfect that you almost believe he’s ready to die.

Sugimoto threatens to kill the dying Nopperabo fake

Sugimoto’s antics with the fake Nopperabo were also pretty hilarious in this episode. My favorite part is when the fake yells while pointing at the fire in the room, which makes Sugimoto and Shiraishi yell in the same way when they see it.

The battle rages on

Oh, the joys of seeing multiple screenshots to depict a large-scale battle. I actually liked the fights in the first half of the episode, so this is disappointing to see.

Kiroranke offers to help Sugimoto

Wow, Kiroranke had plenty of opportunities to betray people in this episode and get away with it, but he seems to tell the truth in every case. Is he really on the main characters’ side?

Sugimoto runs into Nopperabu

Well, that’s awkward.

Golden Kamuy Episode 22: Prison break of epic proportions

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Salmon is very important

The chaos of this episode sums up this series pretty nicely. To be fair, it wasn’t hard to guess that the mission to meet Nopperabu would go awry, but there was no way I could have imagined how crazy it got. I’m looking forward to seeing how the dust will settle, since this episode certainly hinted at some possible tragedies in our future.

Hijikata helps with the chitatap

When all is said and done, this is still a solid cooking show. Watching Hijikata join in on the chitatap preparation was hilarious.

Inkarmat is unsure how to interpret her fortunes

I like this scene from Inkarmat a lot, explaining how she has come to doubt her fortunes and why that gives her hope. I truly hope that she’s right, even if the fact that this is anime makes me suspect a more grim ending where all of her fortunes end up coming true.

The plan starts getting complicated

The way this heist was set up was really cool. I’m totally okay with an early mishap foreshadowing how far the plan goes off the rails. I mean, I suspect that the “mistake” was ultimately intentional, but it was fun nonetheless.

Hijikata roams around in the background

I’m curious to see how Hijikata factors into everything, since he has remained mysterious this entire time.

Asirpa is taken to the real Nopperabu

I’d like to see Asirpa meet Nopperabu in the next episode. It feels like the series has been building up to this moment a lot, and it would be a good climax for the season. Plus, it would suit the tone of this series to have the initial plan fail spectacularly but still allow Asirpa to succeed in her own way.

The 7th shows up

Having the 7th show up was fairly far into left field, but it’s a nice addition to the chaos. Finally, everything seems to be coming together.

Golden Kamuy Episode 21: A very dark episode

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Sugimoto talking about ancient ninjas

There’s no Double Decker this week, so the schedule is shifting a bit. For how crazy this episode was, it did a surprisingly good job of bringing story threads together. I’ve been kind of wondering for a while how Tsurumi’s actions relate to the main cast’s actions, and they’re surprisingly connected. As always, it’s entertaining to see how insane this series can be while continuing to be fairly serious.

Talking about the blind bandits

The setup for the bandits was actually quite interesting. They had more of a story than I would have expected, and I think the idea of miners blinded by sulfur mining seeking revenge is cool.

Old man warns Asirpa about the bandits

I honestly expected this guy to be one of the bandits.

Inkarmat remembers receiving her kimono

Given the extent of Ogata and Tanigaki’s flashbacks, part of me feels a bit cheated with Inkarmat’s backstory.

Inkarmat dreams about bears

Hey, it’s been a while since we saw these bears. Good to know that they’re part of this season too. That aside, I’m still confused about Inkarmat’s relationship with Tanigaki. From side research, I’ve seen some discussion about a missing story from their travels together (before rejoining the main cast), so I wonder if it’s just a consequence of adaptation edits. That’s too bad.

Toni Anji tells Sugimoto that he can't go back

The interaction between Toni Angi and Sugimoto in the end. I’m curious to see how Sugimoto reacts to this line about never being able to go back to who he was before the war. It could be an interesting setup for some character growth.

Tsurumi plots on the sidelines

I was pleasantly surprised to see that Tsurumi’s plans were related to the weapons that the warden was buying from the blind miners’ efforts. It might not be much, since Tsurumi’s still doing his own thing, but it’s nice to see the stories relate to each other.

Sugimoto is strangely similar to Hijikata

The suggestion that Sugimoto might be related to Hijikata came pretty far out of left field. Honestly, I think it’s a great development, and it makes a lot of sense.

Golden Kamuy Episode 20: And suddenly sumo

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Asirpa stands on a sunfish

Things sure did get serious quickly in this episode. Still, the episode remained true to form with the extended sea otter scene. I definitely wasn’t expecting that. I’m looking forward to seeing how the series will progress now that basically everyone is suspicious of everyone else (except maybe Sugimoto). I think it’s interesting that the series seemed to be pushing characters together into a big group right before dropping a bombshell that puts them all at odds.

Inkarmat flirts with Tanigaki

Inkarmat’s interest in Tanigaki seems a bit random, but I guess it works. When I started hearing her story with Asirpa’s father later in the episode, I was hoping they might tie together, but I didn’t see a link.

The boys spend some quality time together

Well, that happened.

Inkarmat tells Asirpa that Nopperabo isn't her father

I’m not sure what to believe now. The series seems to be pushing hard to debunk the idea that Nopperabo isn’t Asirpa’s real father, with Inkarmat’s story and the brief glimpses at his black eyes. It honestly makes me wonder if it’s trying too hard. Do I need to be suspicious?

Inkarmat shows evidence that Kiroranke

I can’t believe Inkarmat and Asirpa both outright accuse Kiroranke of betraying Asirpa’s father, and the episode ends with Kiroranke still in the group. The fact that Inkarmat gets the fingerprints identifying from Kiroranke from Tsurumi introduces a level of suspicion that I wasn’t expecting from this series at all. It’s actually a pretty intriguing mystery.

Shiraishi sums up the episode

I think this is a fair summary of the episode. I like that Sugimoto pushes to keep everyone together despite their suspicions, but I’m really curious to see how that will work for them.

Prison break?

Meanwhile, it almost feels like Tsurumi just has his own private story going on to the side of everyone else.

Golden Kamuy Episode 19: Finding out more about the crew

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Asirpa is disgusted

This week’s episode acted as a pretty seamless reintroduction of Tanigaki back to the cast with a surprise Nihei appearance. Additionally, we got some background on Ogata of all people. I guess the series is finally getting around to showing its characters’ pasts. Surprisingly, Ogata’s story worked really well in my eyes. I’ve been having trouble placing Ogata’s character in the main cast, and his story did a great job of bringing out his unique personality, even if he’s kind of a psychopath.

Asirpa talks about the bears that are seen as gods by her people

Having been raised in a Western culture surrounded by highly anthropomorphic deities, I found Asirpa’s descriptions of the kamuy incredibly fascinating. We’re used to the concept of animals as sustenance, but this idea that bears are gods allowing themselves to die for humans is cool.

Sugimoto tries to convince Asirpa to return home

The scene where Asirpa refuses to return home without meeting her father felt to me like one of those scenes that’s probably necessary even if it didn’t feel too impactful.

Nihei's dog returns

Wow, what a good dog.

Ogata kills his mother to try to find his father

While it’s pretty disturbing that Ogata would go so far as to kill his mother to see if his father cared, it’s admittedly memorable as a character trait. It’s actually jarring as a scene, since I didn’t see him as that kind of character before this flashback.

Ogata's father asks about his mother

I also like how Ogata’s father reacts when learning about Ogata’s mother’s death. The fact that he sees it as an act of pity seems like a nice way of showing the same thought process as Ogata. It might make Ogata’s behavior make a bit more sense. At least, that’s how I saw it.

Ogata searches for answers from his father

Ogata’s last question to his father actually comes off as surprisingly pitiful. At the end, I’m not sure whether I’d lean more towards calling this story sad or disturbing.

Golden Kamuy Episode 18: Even more feels

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Main characters standing on some rocks

I can’t even be upset about the random tangent in this episode, because I just enjoyed Tanigaki’s story so much. The redemption of his friend, Kenkichi, wasn’t too hard to predict, but I really liked the fact that they used the kanemochi as a constant device throughout the story. This episode was truly a great introduction for Tanigaki as he prepares to officially join the main group. I look forward to seeing more of him.

Granny prepares for burial

This was a weirdly somber moment in the present day. Perhaps it was meant to set the tone for Tanigaki’s story, but I was surprised to see it. To be honest, the lost of the granny character doesn’t mean too much to me, as sad as it might be to say that.

Kenichi figures out the secret ingredient Tanigaki uses

The culturally educational bits in this series are still my favorite moments. Even if it’s a small thing, the fact that the kanemochi was such a reliable food source in Tanigaki’s family tradition is just interesting.

Tanigaki blames Kenichi for the death of his mother

This story was a decent representation of a man consumed by revenge. I thought it was cool that Tanigaki realized after the fact how much he focused on Kenkichi, even blaming him for other misfortune in Tanigaki’s life.

Kenkichi recognizes the walnuts in the kanemochi

This was such a great moment for Tanigaki. Food has been such a big focus in this series, so it was great to see the kanemochi save the day in a situation where Kenkichi could no longer see or hear. It makes the scene even more impactful, and keeps the kanemochi as the central theme.

Tanigaki and his group find the other main characters

So, Tanigaki somehow managed to find everyone else. I’m curious to see how his story impacts his interactions with everyone else. I thought the bit about finding his role was a good setup, so maybe that will play into how he moves forward.

Golden Kamuy Episode 17: The true treasure is clearly dried persimmons

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bit his face off

I really felt like this episode was getting back to what I enjoy in this series. The episode was an amazing mix of comedy, serious, and surprisingly heartwarming scenes. I was totally expecting this episode to get super serious because of how pissed off Sugimoto looked in the previous episode, but I probably should know better by now. The reunion with Shiraishi ended up being pretty funny, and I loved the way the episode ended.

continental dollar bribe

Dang, I was pretty impressed with how Suzukawa handled this whole exchange. He clearly knew his target well, and using a bill plate to bribe someone is kind of awesome.

shocking shootout

The sheer shock value of this scene was insane. To be fair, it’s great to see that kind of harsh reality in this series, since I think mixing that with comedy is what the show does best. It’s just a bit of a shame. I was starting to like Suzukawa, but he got written off quickly.

swimming through the air

I mean, having Koito swim through the air to catch the balloon is silly, but it was effective.

never betray us

I get the feeling that I’m just forgetting some small scene from the first season that explains the fake tattoo. But yeah…that worked out, huh? I can’t discount the possibility that Shiraishi was just too incompetent to make an accurate copy of the tattoo.

sugimoto during the war

It’s long overdue, but it’s definitely nice to finally get some insight on who Sugimoto was before the war. I guess the guy in the flashback is his friend who died, and the girl is the one he’s trying to help with the gold.

sugimoto saved by persimmons

I didn’t expect feels in this episode! In all seriousness, this was an amazing line from Asirpa. It’s a great ray of hope for Sugimoto, who has clearly had it rough.

Fall 2018 Grab Bag Week 5: Goblin Slayer, Ulysses

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I’m watching too many shows this season. So, I have quite a lot of impressions to get through. I wonder how many shows are going to make it into the grab bag rotation.

Goblin Slayer First Impressions (1-4)

Hey, I heard people were talking about this show. I’m not really a big fan of super gory shows. I mostly like watching this show because I’ve played a decent amount of D&D and this show plays out like a pretty standard campaign. I can envision that one player who creates a character with a single defining trait and then goes to great lengths to make that character trait relevant in every exchange. Enter Goblin Slayer, the guy who’s obsessed with goblins and will bring up goblins in basically any way he can.

At the end of the day, I’m a sucker for the D&D references in this series. The character jobs are all familiar, and I like the constant references to dice. It’s also fun to see how Goblin Slayer in particular comes up with crazy ways to use his limited abilities to fight goblins. It’s the equivalent of one player asking if they can try something, and seeing what happens when the DM replies with “only one way to find out”.

Oh, the joy of spell slots. Better enjoy that short rest, right?

This is that awkward moment when you realize that Fireball has a 20-foot radius. Huh…I never thought about how ridiculous that is.

To be honest, I really like to see shots like this with Goblin Slayer’s phantom red eye. They’re…pretty cool?

Ulysses – Jeanne d’Arc to Renkin no Kishi First Impressions (1-4)

I’m really not sure about this show. I have no problem with re-imagining every supposed saint in history as an immortal Ulysses powered by a Philosopher’s Stone. Shifting the perspective of history is something I like to see in a show. My main issue is that the characters in the show have a weirdly childish side to them. The main character, Montmorency, has an excuse, as he literally spent seven years interacting with no one. But I really don’t understand why every other character seems to have an obsessive reliance on Montmorency when they’re all either stronger or more influential than he is.

As a general impression, this show moves quickly. Honestly, I think it moves too quickly for its own good, leaving certain things in the dust. For example, a large part of the series revolves around the fact that Montmorency disappears for seven years because he becomes so obsessed with creating the elixir he needs to tolerate the Philosopher’s Stone. How does one completely lose track for that long? Who cares? I’d be less upset with not knowing why if it wasn’t such a sticking point for every other character.

But hey…Astaroth is a pretty nice character, right?

Speaking of pacing, everyone is basically back together by episode four. Richemont’s capture ends up feeling like a cheap catalyst, since she’s back by the time Montmorency becomes active again.

Sure, why not?

The wonders of elixir. It evaporates immediately on contact with air, but it can apparently survive in your body for…as long as you want? It’s not like the stomach shares the same entryway as the lungs or anything.