Since I wrote about Food Wars! separately, I felt I needed to throw in an extra show for this post. I just feel bad if it seems like I didn’t put enough effort into an update. On the one hand, Juuni Taisen has consistently failed to draw me in. I did pretty much decide to drop it after last week’s episode. On the other hand, this would be a super short post without it, so I gave the show another shot.
Credit where credit’s due, the anime finally broke a bad habit: it stopped killing people shortly after presenting their backstories. This week, we delve a bit into Monkey’s past, but she doesn’t die at the end of the episode. I’m shocked too! Monkey might be the only warrior here who isn’t a full blown asshole, and if so, this tournament is just a microcosm of the world at large. Twelve of the best warriors have been gathered together to fight to the death. Some of them don’t really want to fight, but that doesn’t also mean they don’t want their opponents to die. Monkey is the only participant who wholeheartedly embraces a peaceful resolution. Rat is on her side for now, but he doesn’t hide his disdain for others. And when you really stop to think about it, the world’s not so different. You can try as you might to broker peace, but you can’t always talk it out. It doesn’t always boil down to misunderstandings and ignorance. Sometimes, people are simply evil and selfish. But Monkey is the optimistic type who will continue to fight for what she believes in even if she fails over and over. She’s still young, though. She might think Rat has a lot to learn — he’s only a teenager so he’s even younger than her — but she should really worry about herself. After all, there’s still time to chip away at that idealism. If anything’s a constant in life, it’s time:
“If people bring so much courage to this world the world has to kill them to break them, so of course it kills them. The world breaks every one and afterward many are strong at the broken places. But those that will not break it kills. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially. If you are none of these you can be sure it will kill you too but there will be no special hurry.”
I just wanted to be pretentious and quote Hemingway. But still, I wonder if her lover can truly be as patient and strong as she wants him to be. Well, that’s assuming she even survives this tournament.
Kekkai Sensen & Beyond Ep. 3
This week’s episode features four brief glimpses at four individuals: Leo, Zapp, Chain and Steven. There’s nothing too deep or interesting here. Just a bunch of somewhat amusing vignettes to kill time. I usually jot down notes whenever I watch an episode, but I only had two for this episode:
- Did she just kill someone?
Context: Tracy, one of Zapp’s lovers, walks in on him with another woman. Good news: she’s more concerned about her lost cat than his philandering. Bad news: she’s really psycho for her cat. Tracy casts some sort of spell on the other woman’s breasts and… did the woman’s breasts just explode? Is she dead? Well, the same spell wraps itself around Zapp’s dick, and nothing gets a guy going more than penile stimulation.
- It’d be better if everyone didn’t have human voices.
Context: Veded, Steven’s housekeeper, is not human, but she speaks as though she’s a gentle older woman with a big heart. One of my favorite things in sci-fi is when different species and races would speak their own language, but the main characters could still understand them. It’s an effective world-building trick. I don’t think making up a fake language is that difficult. It’s fine if it sounds like complete gibberish to us. It’s not like you need to recruit a linguistics professor or anything.
Anyways, I want to be able to dive deep into every show I watch, but it’s just not always possible.
Evil or Live Ep. 3
We continue to oscillate wildly between deadly serious prison thriller and lame anime humor. Now go back to the previous sentence and remove the words “thriller” and “humor.” When we last left off, Shiori needed to get her hands on a phone, but Shin will only give her one if she sleeps with Hibiki. Unfortunately, she can’t keep herself from throwing up every time she tries to get close to the guy. So what does Hibiki do? He fills the condom with her vomit, and somehow this works…? I’m not sure what Evil or Live is trying to accomplish here. Is this supposed to be funny? Campy?
Afterwards, Hibiki goes to his dorm room and meets his roommates. Everyone welcomes him at first, but it becomes quickly apparent that they only want to take advantage of his ties with Shin. They send him to get food from the cafeteria, and at this prison, you can get delicious-looking food in exchange for food tickets. Naturally, Hibiki doesn’t have any, so instead, he grabs a bunch of the free stuff. Even though it’s supposedly disgusting, he doesn’t have any problems eating any of it. When he gets back to the dorm room, everyone’s mad at him. Unfortunately, they’re all a bunch of nerds addicted to the internet, so they can’t even beat him up. Someone out there must think this is really funny or something, but like the vomit condom, it just feels dumb. The show isn’t campy enough to pull this sort of thing off.
But it’s time to swing the pendulum violently back in the other direction. Outdoor exercises are led by none other than the head instructor, and if you can’t speak to him without stuttering, you’ll get a swift kick to the stomach. So all of a sudden, we’re back to prison thriller territory. Unfortunately, the characters are stupid, the setting is stupid, and the premise is stupid. So there’s nothing particularly thrilling about any of this. All I have is this weird, half-assed mixture of genres. It’s like… eating mapo tofu with noodles and curry-stuffed meatballs.
Kino’s Journey (2017) Ep. 3
Well, I’ve given the series three whole episodes, and I don’t think I really want to continue. I thought I was going to see a beautiful world. I was hoping for something mature and contemplative like Mushishi. Instead, all I’ve been shown so far are a bunch of asshole countries. This week, Kino stumbles upon a technologically advanced country that travels on wheels. It goes where it pleases, and it doesn’t really care if you object. If another country stands in its way, it’ll just use a giant fuck-off laser to carve a path. Oh, it doesn’t want to kill anybody. It’s not evil! The country will thus warn people to get out of the way… shortly before running over their home and farmland. At best, the country and its inhabitants resemble humanity’s selfishness. We’ll scar Mother Earth, and we might feel bad about it, but eh… what are we gonna do? Humans gotta human, and this country’s gotta travel. And yet, all Kino can mutter is “What a bothersome country.” Well, Kino’s lukewarm assessment deserves an equally lukewarm response from me. Meh to Kino’s Journey.
What should I replace Kino’s Journey with? Is there a fall show I’m not watching that deserves a closer look?