Casual Friday Week 10: Chopped

Kaname’s gradual and inevitable corruption continues in the latest episode of Darwin’s Game. There’s no doubt that he wants to save his classmate Shinozaki, but he still hesitates when it comes to taking a human life. He still hems and haws at the idea that they should just storm the enemy base with guns ablazin’. Unsurprisingly, he’d rather negotiate. Obviously, we can empathize with that. We should empathize with that. If you can’t, then you should really check yourself into a mental facility. No joke. Nevertheless, Kaname isn’t up against normal people. He’s up against a poorly written psychopath in Wang, a man who delights in killing people and dangling his tongue from his mouth… ’cause, y’know, that’s apparently what mentally deranged people do.

One of Wang’s henchmen tells us why he joined up with Wang in the first place. Before he started playing this dumb game, he was just a normal person like the rest of us. But during a karate tournament, he accidentally killed a man. Needless to say, he couldn’t deal with the resulting anguish… until he bumped into Wang one day. The Eighth leader then told him that the more he kills, the less it’ll hurt! Yeah, that’s just stupid. But this is how these paper-thin villains operate. This is how this world works. People become evil at the drop of a hat. When Shuka goes on one of her mini-tirades, she sounds like an edgy teenager from our perspective. But within her fictional, made-up world where the rich get to watch poor people kill each other for sport, I guess she has a point… as sad as that sounds.

So anyways, a hero is normally optimistic. A hero normally tries to redeem his enemies, or at the very least, walk away without a fight. This is especially true in anime where most protagonists are still kids, and as a result, writers try to avoid making them anything short of idealistic paragons of justice. Normally. But in Darwin’s Game, we’re far beyond the pale. The only way to protect the people you care about in Kaname’s universe is to completely wipe out these psychopaths. You can’t show them any mercy. Our protagonist is slowly on his way towards this realization. Despite his best efforts, he couldn’t save Shinozaki in this week’s episode. Instead, he gets to see his buddy’s chopped up body shoved into a box. The wide-eyed, pacifist Kaname is slowly dying. I guess he and Shuka are soul mates after all.

Still, the animation is as bad as ever. Seriously, this is just embarrassing. And one last thing: when Shinozaki got his Sigil, I felt as though there was a chance he could end up in Kaname’s clan. But I guess no piglets are allowed. Instead, we might get another cute waifu. And if she doesn’t end up joining them, Kaname is still building up a fan club that can one day become a harem because anime just can’t help itself.


Kabukicho Sherlock Ep. 22

Ugh, I’m tired of all the cliffhangers. So did Holmes actually murder someone or not? I doubt it. Sure, he’s giggling like a maniac, but he’s been acting kooky all episode. But I should back up a bit and explain how we got here. After Moriarty threw himself out the window — nothing like a good ol’ defenestration — Watson decided that the best thing he should do is dip on his best buddy: “Hm, my friend just lost one of his closest friends… he should lose me too!” Sounds silly, right? As a result, the episode tries to explain Watson’s thought process. We take a glimpse into his past and learn all about he’s one of the unluckiest dudes on the planet. As a kid, he inadvertently helped his mom discover that his dad was a cheater. Naturally, the asshole blamed the dissolution of the family on him. Then as an adult, Watson got his rugged good looks. Unfortunately, this caused all of the nurses to fight over him, so the hospital put the blame squarely on his shoulders. Sounds stupid, right?

Nevertheless, Watson’s troubled past compels him to take the blame for Moriarty’s death. And with no emotional support, Holmes goes off the deep end. Hudson calls Irene in to help with Sherlock, but by the time she arrives, it’s probably a little too late. She tries her best — and I’m kinda surprised she would go so far for him — but even she admits that only Watson can fix this mess. As a result, I get to watch 24 minutes of two grown men feeling sorry for themselves. My problem with Watson’s pity party is the tone, I guess. Kabukicho Sherlock straddles the line between tragedy and comedy. Sometimes, we dispense with the comedy (e.g. when Moriarty confronted Jack the Ripper), but only sometimes. In this week’s episode, the anime wants to convince us that Watson’s string of unfortunate events is the reason why he runs away from Holmes, but because the examples given are semi-humorous, it’s hard to take the show seriously. I’m left sitting here, thinking, “This is the reason why you bailed on your best friend? C’moooooooon….”

Eventually, Watson does come around. But by the time he finds Holmes, we get to the cliffhanger. Apparently, there were still escaped prisoners on the loose, and one of them had kidnapped Diana. Again, maybe Holmes killed him, but I doubt it. This whole situation stinks of Moriarty, who should be dead… but as you all know, unless you find someone’s body, you can never assume anything.

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