Shiki 17

Seishin still can’t get on board with Toshio’s methods, and this is driven home when he meets exactly what he’s been talking about: Toru, who is killing to live, not out of evil or hatred. Do vampires have just as much a right to kill humans as humans have to kill animals to live? Is this just the luck of the food chain? This seems to be his line of thinking: Killing vampires is still killing. He won’t kill. After a strange encounter with poor tormented Kaori, he goes to the Kirishikis’ mansion to hang out with Sunako. Will she bite him?

Meanwhile, Toshio is holed up in his clinic, carving stakes for the coming battle. He definitely seems resolved to go out fighting. When another victim arrives, he lets slip that it isn’t an epidemic. Ritsuko, remembering seeing Nao in action, asks Toshio what he meant, but the conversation stalls. When a fellow nurse is kidnapped, Ritsuko is drawn out into the night and bitten herself, and it’s over. It seemed she had come around to the conclusion about what was going on, but it was too late. She is glamored by her biter to refuse treatment and insist on being left alone.

Finally, Mrs. Kirishiki appears in the clinic, with her…interesting outfit. Toshio comes at her with a stake but Mr. Kirishiki shoots it to pieces with a sniper rifle. Is this...Game Over? Well, she bites him, and tells him to burn his data, and he does. But who said this wasn’t the next stage of the plan Natsuno suggested? Natsuno can think for himself; perhaps the risen Toshio will be rebellious as well.

Of course, first things first: Toshio has to die and rise. And his last words before being bitten suggested he didn’t care about the village anymore; it was full of idiots who did nothing to stop their plight. Excellent stuff. Rating: 4

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Amagami SS 21

In a break from the previous five arcs, I’ve decided to do individual write-ups of the last five episodes, in hope the series goes out with a bang and not a whimper. I’ll assume the producers saved who they deem the best girl (or at least the most challenging) for last.

Tsukasa Ayatsuji (voiced by Kaori Nazuka) hasn’t been much of a factor in the series thus far, serving the obligatory class prez role. But I was looking forward to the series bringing her out of that neutral, dormant state and giving her some personality…and human flaws. When Junichi decides to help her out with the Founder’s Festival, he, like us, learns a great deal about Ayatsuji-san in a very short time.

Ayatsuji excels in academics, is a swimming instructor, and is extremely well-organized when it comes to the festival planning, to the point where the timid, inept Junichi is almost in the way. But we also learn that she has a older sister (no more than one or two years her senior, by the look of her) who she seems extremely annoyed to have bumped into while with Junichi.

There are several other subtle hints about her “inner side”, but none so in-your-face (literally) as the final shot of the episode: Having found and read her notebook, Ayatsuji fears he now knows of this side, though in reality nothing he read was incriminating. Regardless, by putting him in a deathlock she’s shown him a side of herself neither he nor anyone else in the school knows about. There’s infinitely more promise in this arc than either Sae or Rihoko’s, for which I’m glad. Rating: 3.5

To Aru Majutsu no Index II 8

There’s a massive inter-school sports festival in Academy City, and the family and friends of all the students are invited. Touma and Mikoto have some nice rapport-building scenes (let there be no doubt, they’ve actually become good friends), and Index actually fails to successfully bite him for a whole episode. There is also a host of new characters, including a very well-endowed, spirited class rep – she, like Mikoto, also has good chemistry with Touma.

There’s also a blonde courier, who’s arrived in the city amongst of all the festival hubbub to make a trade with the C of E for a magical artifact called “Stab Sword”, a weapon imbued with the power of the blade that stabbed and killed the Son of God. This artifact is capable of killing a saint in one hit, so it’s a big deal if the Catholics snag it.

Touma also finds himself in numerous compromising positions, which is pretty much par for the course as far as his “misfortune” goes. This episode was a nice transition from the Railgun mini-arc as it re-established a few old Index characters, introduced new ones, and set up the next standoff between churches; this time in the heart of science; Academy city. Not too shabby. Rating: 3.5