Vividred Operation – 10

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Rei convinces the bird to tell her when and where the next alone will appear, so she can shoot all of her remaining arrows into it in an all-or-nothing effort to destroy the Manifestor Engine once and for all. She visits Akane to apologize for the tomato, and ends up staying for dinner and spending the night. Himawari and Kenjirou discover Rei’s arrows and devise a plan to track the next one she fires. Droids, marines, and finally Akane arrive at her location, and Rei and Akane both learn who they’ve been fighting all this time…

Well now, it’s about frikkin’ time the truth about Rei came out! The thing is, we weren’t expecting Rei to be as surprised as she was that Akane was one of the “four colored lights” defying her plan to power up the Alones. But that very way of describing the Vividforce points out something we hadn’t realized until now for some reason: Rei has never been close enough to the other four girls while they’re suited up for battle, so she’s never gotten a good look at any of them. Sure, the fact the girls wanting to be her friends have the same color hair as those distant lights, but we guess that wasn’t enough for her to put two and two together; she is under a lot of stress, after all.

When the fog clears and Akane and Rei face each other on the battlefield for the first time, we thought it would be Akane whose heart was broken, but Rei turns it around, making Akane the bad guy, calling her a liar who only wanted to be friends so she could get close to her and find out her secrets. Even though we know that’s not the case, Rei can’t help but feel betrayed, and all Akane has in her defense is her word, which Rei doesn’t believe. A spiral of distrust has been forged, giving Rei more motivation to destroy the manifestor so she can get her parents back. The thing is, she only has one arrow left to fire (one arrow was no match for Vividgreen)…and she’s in custody.


Rating: 7 
(Very Good)

 

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Maoyuu Maou Yuusha – 10

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Maid Ane’s speech leads to the Winter King abolishing serfdom in a bid to attract people to settle in the Southern Nations, enlisting bards to spread word of the advantages while also spreading literature made on the printing press. Word of a new church rising and other happenings in the South intrigues the merchant, who decides to involve the Central aristocracy in a price war, starting with wheat. The South responds with tariffs, and war becomes imminent, though Yuusha insists on a fight without casualties.

CMaou and Yuusha are playing the long game, but their efforts are starting to show, as the serfs of a good chunk of the continent have now been freed, and the war between men and demons is about to be usurped by civil struggle brought on by a shortage of resources. Or, in this case, the illusion of a shortage. The merchant, playing his own game (or “waltz”, as he calls it), is inspired to cause a huge stink. He thinks on the words Yuusha said to him about the thing that exists beyond profit and loss, and he knows coexistence with demons is a part of that.

His scheme causes the Central Powers to lash out, and in turn forces the Southern Powers to defend themselves from being raided of all their food. Meanwhile, somewhere in the demon world, Maou is still undergoing evaluation as the Head Maid stands guard and recollects her master dreaming up this whole game more than fifteen years ago, before she was the king. It’s nice to see Maou’s lost none of her determination and hope since then, and indeed passed it onto her would-be enemy.


Rating: 7 
(Very Good)

Sasami-san@Ganbaranai – 10

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Sasami finds out Edogawa Jou has a penis. Edogawa invites her entire class to a hot spring retreat at the Kuzuryuu (nine-headed dragon) Shrine. Sasami gets the flu and can’t go, so she disguises Tama as herself and shares all of her senses on the trip. On many occasions she helps Edogawa out, but Edogawa tells her they can never be friends because one day she’ll kill her.

Of all the series we’re currently watching, we’re just going to come out and say this may be the toughest to review. That’s not because it’s bad – most of the time it’s ver,y very good – but because it has such a unique style and intricate, esoteric presentation. Everything and everyone exists more for its own sake, but also represents some part of Japan’s rich mythology. But this week things are a bit simpler: Sasami is trying to make a friend. Ever since Edogawa Jou expressed her desire to be friends with Sasami last week, it’s been on.

Regardless of Jou’s true motives, and no matter how haughty or conceited or condescending she acts, Sasami wants to be her friend, feeding of that first encounter. She doesn’t even let the flu stop her, and uses Tama as her instrument to forge a friendship with Jou through kind deeds…and keeping her penile secret. Jou, the consummate tsundere, reject’s Sasami’s outstretched hand, mindful of her mission as her sworn enemy, but charmed nevertheless. Oh yeah, and Tsurugi sexually harassed pretty much everyone. She belongs behind bars.


Rating: 7 
(Very Good)

P.S. The “tele-divine channel” Sasami uses to stay in contact with Tama and the Yagami sisters is pretty nifty concept, combining divine powers with modern social media.

Tamako Market – 10

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RABUJOI apologies for the delay of this review.

The Usagiyama High Cultural Festival approches, and the Baton Club gets a primo spot in the schedule, when they’re assured the largest audience. Captain Midori designs the uniforms and volunteers to come up with the choreography. However, she can’t think of anything, and hides her creative block from the others. When she misses a day of school with a fever, Tamako, Kanna, and Shiori visit her, and she admits she has nothing. They decide to come up with choreography as a team, and perform splendidly. When the festival concludes, Choi, having noticed a mark on Tamako’s neck, declares her the Prince’s Bride.

Virtually every school-themed slice-of-life series is going to have a Festival episode or two that gives the characters defined goals and challenges them to rise to the occasion and meet them, and Tamako Market is no different. What’s admirable about the series is that the core characters are in a club (the baton club), but it hasn’t been a particularly integral part of the series. The show hasn’t lived and died by their…er...batoning; which is nice, because far too often it seems like series are dominated by club activities. And far more important than the actual performance (which was pretty good), was how the Baton Club arrived there.

Midori, the Fearless Leader, turns out to have quite a bit of fear after all. She cannot come up with choreography she promised, but maintains a  false facade of control and confidence as long as she possibly can. Ultimately breaks down when presented with all of the evidence she’s failing. She’s afraid of looking bad, even for a moment, but her team don’t want her to cry or hold anything in. There’s no shame in asking for help, or crying, for that matter. This episode is a feast for the eyes, with a plethora of nice little gestures, close-ups, hair-falling, leg-twisting, and eye-glazing. The characters really feel alive. We also liked the generous use of jump-cutting. Very, very nicely directed and animated.


Rating: 8 (Great)

P.S. Choi finally confronts Tamako with her belief she’s the one who must marry her Prince. Whether this goes anywhere at all, we’ll have to see.

Zetsuen no Tempest – 22

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Hakaze returns to the present with Aika’s letters for Yoshino and Mahiro, and tells them the full truth about her actions. They accept her decision calmly, as Aika predicted. Their lack of outward passion angers Hanemura, who as it happens is the only one with the power to defeat the Tree of Genesis, the Heart of which has been surrounded by a naval blockade of many nations, who have decided to protect Genesis at all costs, unaware it will lead to the resetting of civilization.

Mahiro’s entire raison d’être throughout this series was to exact revenge on the person who killed his sister. With this episode, that reason has gone kaput. She killed herself, so there’s no revenge to be taken, except, perhaps, on the Tree of Genesis itself, Aika’s natural enemy. Now that he and Yoshino know of Aika’s fate and her intentions, they are willing to follow through with the destruction of Genesis. As we learned last week, her death brought together the people required to save the world as they know it, including her reluctant backup, Hanemura.

This week, we learn how Mahiro, Yoshino, and Aika first came together. As it happens, both Mahiro’s father and Yoshino’s mother – who were marrying – bailed on their kids, but Mahiro brought Yoshino along. Thus, the guys both met Yoshino’s stepsister on the very same night. The bookend style of this flashback is a thing of beauty, as the three size each other up and decide on how they’ll address one another (informally). If Aika knew she was the Mage of Exodus back then, did she also already know how integral these lads would prove in her destined fight against Genesis? Or was she just happy a couple of amusing characters added some comedy to her tragedy?


Rating: 9 (Superior)