Zetsuen no Tempest – 06

Junichiro tells Mahiro and Yoshino how Samon had Hakaze killed by stranding her on an island, showing him her bones as proof. The paradox irks Hakaze, still alive on the island, but before they can investigate, a fruit is raised in Junichiro’s town. Natsumura tries and fails to get him to break his neutrality, while Mahiro and Yoshino escape on a bus with the special talisman in the form of a chained gun.

While in the forest, they are ambushed by soldiers of the Black Iron Syndrome Countermeasures Force. Mahiro is knocked out, while Yoshino willingly goes with Evangeline, as they’ve worked out a deal where he cooperates with her in gathering info on the Kusaribe clan, who the force aims to defeat, along with their Tree of Exodus plans. Mahiro intercepts the convoy Yoshino is on, and Yoshino must bail to avoid appearances of collusion.

The richness and excellence of this series is such that it can introduce a big and seemingly significant revelation one week, only to be almost immediately placed on the back burner in lieu of more pressing matters the next.We also had a little chuckle at the prominent mention of bones in a Bones series. But the new big revelation is that Yoshino is collaborating with Evangeline Yamamoto (long time no see) behind Mahiro’s (and Hakaze’s) back. It comes as an initial shock, but, also makes sense. Yoshino can’t entirely trust them, but nor can he entirely trust Mahiro or Hakaze. (Evangeline seems more concerned with her and Genesis than Samon and Exodus).

Yoshino is no stranger to lying to Mahiro’s face; he did it the entire time he was with Aika. But he starts to feel guilty hanging out with him and getting rescued by someone he’s lied to on so many matters. That guilt makes him feel vulnerable and expectant of some kind of retribution, but none seems forthcoming, which could either be Mahiro being dense or unobservant, or not wanting to confront Yoshino on his “treachery.” Then there’s the nugget about Aika not being Mahiro’s sister by blood, and that his feelings toward her might’ve been a bit more complicated than brotherly love. Regardless, Yoshino can’t fully trust Mahiro to save a world that, in a way, already ended when he lost her.

Rating: 8 (Great)

Kamisama Hajimemashita – 06

Since their last kiss, Nanami finds her heart pounding whenever she’s near Tomoe. When she comes down with a fever, Tomoe disguises himself as her and goes to school in her stead. Kurama, believing he’s Nanami, tries to win her over with his prowess at English and singing, but fails. Tomoe discovers a deviant demon in the girl’s locker room and seals it in a lollipop. Meanwhile, Mizuki pays Nanami a visit and burns incense to transport her soul to the past to meet the “real” Tomoe, a cruel, village-raiding brute under the employ of the “Bloodthirsty King.”

Kamisama Kiss has been a consistently strong and entertaining series throughout its first half, with its own unique, ethereal ethereal look, feel, and style. This latest episode may be our favorite yet, as it contains a little of everything and doesn’t waste a minute of its running time, and slowly nudges Nanami further into something resembling a romantic interest in her familiar. She may be a deity, so she has the human-youkai love taboo to deal with. Furthermore, Tomoe taking Nanami’s form could have been a hammy mess, but he handles it, Kurama’s lame advances (seriously, his English sucks), and a perverted lesser demon with cool aplomb. We especially like how he’s not a perfect copy of Nanami, but rather an amalgam of Tomoe’s mannerisms with a paler, bustier, more fox-eyed Nanami.

What impresssed us is that his day of school in Nanami’s body wasn’t the whole story, as the second half deals with Mizuki trying to convince Nanami that Tomoe is trouble, and it’s the fox’s plan for her to fall for him. To this end, Mizuki transports her soul into the friggin’ past (not a dream or hallucination, but the actual past) where she meets a Tomoe who looks the same but has far rougher edges, and for a moment looks poised to have his way with her (she inhabits the body of a village maiden named Yukiji). The whole sequence is very…otherworldly. But her brief trip to the past seemingly had little effect on her opinion of Tomoe: whomever he used to be doesn’t concern her as much as the kind, gentle Tomoe she’s come to know and is falling for. But we’re curious about the fate of Yukiji, and who that Bloodthirsty King dude is.

Rating: 9 (Superior)

Jormungand – 17

As per their family pact, Koko agrees to help Kasper in his dealings with the SR Squad, a rival arms dealers who work in the shadows. Tojo contacts his former bosss, Colonel Hiroki, who confirms the SR Squad provoked HCLI. He arranges meets for both Kasper in Jakarta and Koko in Japan. Kasper meets with his representative Ms. Kurosaka, but she turns out to be an assassin, whom Chequita swiftly dispatches. She and Kasper’s other men fight their way out of the hotel, and the battle begins.

When Tojo started talking, we were worried whether he’d ever stop. Even the episode acknowledges it’s quite a bit of exposition, as Jonah, Lutz, and others start to get antsy and nod off during the briefing. Why the talk is being held out in the airport parking lot and not a hotel room is also weird. But the result of this is, we now know what HCLI’s up against, though Hiroki and his SR Squad switch up their methods, deciding to come out of their shadows and hit hard, perhaps in an effort to scare off or beat down HCLI quickly.

They make a statement in their first strike with a friendly assassin with a flexible katana hidden in her belt. Chequita proves she may be the toughest, craziest of all the tough crazy women in the series, operating as a both a lightning-quick shield for Kasper and a one-woman SWAT team cutting and shooting through the SR Squad like butter (Ever shot at butter before? Not as fun as it sounds). The burst of action in the end makes up for all the dull exposition earlier on. As for Valmet undressing a drunk Koko and suggesting they shower and sleep together – their evening ends…ambiguously, so it’s anyone’s guess what ultimately happened there.

Rating: 7 (Very Good)

Car Cameos: Colonel Hiroki drives (himself!) in a Nissan Cima (F50) AKA Infiniti Q45, whose elaborate “gatling gun”-style headlamps were groundbreaking when the model was first unveiled in 2000. Other cameos include a Suzuki Wagon R, Toyota Prius, Toyota Vanguard, a Toyota AlphardVolvo S80 (not Koko’s) and a couple Toyota Hiace vans and trucks.