Shiki 14

Yowza…just when I think Toshio’s gone bye-bye, he springs into action once his wife rises. He even gets it all on tape. It must take an ungodly amount of dedication to treat one’s recently-deceased wife like, well, a fetal pig in biology class, and treat her arm like a pincushion. Toshio won’t let the risen corpse speak, even though she knows his name. As far as he’s concerned, his wife is dead. Whatever this is, it’s a golden opportunity to discover what makes the vamps tick.

Even so, you can’t help but sympathize with his corpse-wife: he’s doing these terrible things to her while she’s wide awake, listening and watching. Even for a vamp, this is clearly torture, which then leads to a staking, Toshio’s last resort to extinguish her. We all know staking and beheading vampires is the only way to get rid of them, but he had to be scientifically sure. With this concrete knowledge, he’s the only one who can save the town.

Meanwhile, Megumi kills the Tanaka kids’ dad, and later expresses her concern that Yuuki hasn’t risen yet. I love how she still has the hots for him. It would be a shame if Yuuki ended up cremated in the “big city”, since the first half spent so much time on his character. When the creepy feminine guy who did rise rubs it in Megumi’s face, she has a rock and Chuck Taylor ready for his face. I love it when this kid pays for his big mouth. Rating: 3.5

To Aru Kagaku no Railgun OVA

After watching the latest Railgun-infused episode of Index II, I felt it as suitible a time as any to watch the Railgun OVA released last month. Only 35 minutes long, it plays out as an extended episode of the anime, in which Uiharu, Kuroko, and Ruiko team up to solve the mystery of why Misaka is seemingly going insane with anxiety. It’s good to see the whole gang back in action (Ruiko is apparently sitting out Index II), and everyone plays a crucial role in solving the caper.

The antagonist, a bitter professor who was fired from a rival school, hides behind the Antiskill shield, but once the girls dig up her story, it isn’t long before Kuroko teleports in to call her out. I didn’t buy why she was targeting Misaka, and didn’t see what she hoped to gain from it, as Misaka has saved Academy City from demise more than once; she’s no good if you make her go bonkers, and if she does lose it, there’s no telling what she’d do with her wicked awesome powers.

While the plot is cheap-and-cheerful and the baddie’s a throwaway, the OVA’s production values are above reproach, and the action and downtimes are well-spaced. I particularly like how it begins in the middle of a chase, without any time to waste, then ends with the quartet staring down a table full of rich pastries. For a series whose focus is on the action, Railgun/Index has always delivered on the slice-of-life side of things as well. Rating: 3.5

To Aru Majutsu no Index II 6

Touma and Index are merely cameos, as are MISAKA, Last Order, and Accelerator, but those last three are sure to play a role in the next episode(s). Misaka Mikoto finally returns, but Kuroko Shirai takes center stage this week. She’s worried about her onee-sama hiding things from her, and those fears are justified when she ends up tangled up in the middle of Misaka’s mess. There’s a new esper on the scene, Awaki Musajime (epically voiced by Harumi Sakurai from Angel Beats! and dressed like Alpheon from CANAAN). Awaki has stolen a briefcase containing…something bad. When Kuroko recovers the case from Awaki’s henchmen, Awaki appears and shows off her own teleporting skills (stabbing Kuroko all over the place with metal spikes…not fun!).

When Misaka goes out late, Kuroko follows her. The nighttime scene of her gliding artfully through a resplendent Academy City skyline is one of the most gorgeously animated sequences in the series so far; it’s good to see the futuristic city in all its glory. Both Kuroko and Misaka are really fun to watch when they’re serious, and both of them get very serious indeed in this episode. Kuroko had a tendency to be a excessively lecherous bore in the Railgun spin-off, but aside from nude drop-kicking Misaka early on, she gets her mind out of the gutter and hunkers down, fueled by her love and concern for Misaka. Especially when she just tapes up her wounds and heads back out; total bad-ass. She’d not about to let Misaka face her demons alone. Rating: 4

MM! 7

Sheesh, two series with beach episodes in as many weeks. It’s all pretty pro forma, until Nao crashes the party with a giant robo-shark, abducts Tarou and Yuuno, and makes them play house with her (with a real house, that pops out of the sand with the touch of a button. Is all this incredibility really necessary?

This is the love triangle the title speaks of: Tarou, Yuuno, and Nao, not Mio. In the house, Nao plays the mistress instead of the daughter, claiming all of the physical abuse Yuuno visits upon Tarou has worn him down, and he’s sought a gentler person to be with. This would make sense if Tarou wasn’t a masochist: it simply isn’t fair that he keeps getting clobbered, not only when he accidently touches her, but when she touches him as well.

But he is a masochist: Yuuno’s involuntary violence turns him on, so it’s a boon, not a liability. Because of this, Yuuno is the most suitible match for Tarou. Nao isn’t satisfied, and drinks a potion that gives her a slammin’ body, but her assistant immediately appears, destroys the roof of the house, and manages to fire bolts of lightning at stationary targets and miss. MM! has its strong points, but action and peril aren’t among them. At least, not since the boxer episode. Rating: 3

Nurarihyon no Mago 19

Rikuo’s had his friends cooped up in his house for a long time, because everyone is starting to suspect something. Then Kiyotsugu decides to drag everyone back to the abandoned school to investigate a youkai sighting. The post he reads on the internet is a trap set by Inugami, who very annoyingly always has his tongue sticking out. I know he’s a dog, but sometimes dogs close their mouths.

The other thing I don’t like about Inugami is, he’s a bit too one-dimensionally evil. Yeah, he resents the fact that Rikuo is accepted by humans, but if that’s true, why is Rikuo keeping so much information from his friends. Granted, if Yura found out he was a youkai, she might attack him, but the rest of them probably wouldn’t be to shaken up about it. After all, plenty of hints have been dropped, and they’ve all had to deal with youkai at one point or another. Kana has a crush on his night version, fer cryin’ out loud. Just spill the beans already.

Anyway, back to Inugami. He’s jealous of Rikuo, and wants him dead. So he uses his humans as bait, lures him to the school while it’s still daytime, and makes his move. Meanwhile, Nurarihyon chinwags with a really big tanuki in Shikoku whose son is Tamazuki. I’m thinking that as Tamazuki’s disciples fall one by one, eventually daddy is going to intervene to right the wrongs perpetrated against the Nura clan. First things first though, Rikuo has to somehow stop Inugami from killing his friends. Rating: 3