Black Rock Shooter – 03

Mato and Yomi resume their friendship with Kagari on the mend, but Yomi seems disconcerted by the fact Mato has a best friend in Yuu. The basketball captain Kohata puts Mato on the team as a semi-regular, and the team goes on a training trip. Kohata is also courting a boy named Taku, but his friends post her love letter to him on the bulletin board and tease her. Rather than cry or lash out, she laughs it off, but Saya makes it worse. In the dream world, a red-eyed older girl is raising a host of worn-down dolls that resemble Kohata. Black Rock Shooter attacks them and stabs another. In the regular world, Mato finds Kohata collapsed in the infirmary.

We’re going to go out on an admittedly short limb and say Saya is that red-eyed girl with the antlers in the dream world. But she also turns evil and deranged in the real world, calling into question all her past kindness and counsel. It could be she’s manipulating Mato, Yomi, and now Kohata, whose gentle soul she systematically crushes. Not that it’s a good idea for Kohata to hold everything in in the first place. Those guys were total dicks to her and, we’d have kicked them in the balls. Taku, who let them do it, doesn’t deserve her affection.

We’re now in a very dark place with Mato’s counterpart going after dream Kohata. We wonder why: Mato has no beef with her in the real world. Is Black Rock Shooter going rogue, or are her actions the unintended but somehow logical effect of Mato’s real-world actions, as set up by Saya? We’ll have to wait and see, of course. This week didn’t spend as much time in the dream world as last week, but it did feature a plethora of powerful emotions – including dread and depression – and expand the scope and mystique of the series’ universe and its mechanisms. Plus, Saya is evil and cold.

Rating: 3.5

Car Cameos:
Mato and her team travel up the mountain
in a Toyota Coaster-like bus. A blue Fiat Nuovo 500
makes a brief appearance in an establishing shot.

Guilty Crown – 17

As Shu prepares the school for “Exodus”, in which they’ll escape from quarantine, his oppressed subjects are starting to resent his rule. This is exacerbated by Arisa and Nanba spreading the rumor that you’ll die if your void is destroyed. After being attacked by Inori, Arisa is planning a coup d’etat. The operation begins and goes off without a hitch, but when it’s over and the students can escape, Arisa strikes, with many students on her side. A Gai resurrected by GHQ arrives and slices of Shu’s right arm with Inori’s void, taking his power. The UN approves a resolution to “eliminate Japan”.

Wow. Damn. That kingdom didn’t last long. With five whole episodes left, the story is moving alarmingly fast. Shu started the episode with everything and ended with nothing. Well, that first part isn’t quite right. At the start, Shu had become fairly comfortable with his role as reluctant tyrant in order to shape the school into a fighting force. But at great cost: Ayase and Tsugumi are alienated, he impulsively discards Yahiro, and even Arisa, who he once could have counted as a friend, is the leader of the successful revolt against him. Inori stays by his side, but she’s a loose cannon, acting alone when she assaulted Arisa, an act that only made matters worse.

What’s so distressing about all this is that Exodus was a success. Shu did what he set out to do and freed the people. Would they have performed as well had he exercised a gentler hand? Would they have (A)risen up against him regardless? We’ll never know, but that’s the least of Shu’s problems: he’s lost his arm, and with it his King’s power. He’s just a kid again. And just to pile on the peril, the entire country itself is about to be bombed by the UN – apparently to stop the spread of the apocalypse virus. Things are bad – and we can’t see how they’ll get better just now.

Rating: 3.5

Nitpick: Wouldn’t the Tokyo Tower falling create, an enormous shockwave/dust cloud that would envelop/consume Shu’s whole army, considering they’re all gathered around it’s base?