Strike the Blood – 02

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Yukina moves next door to Kojou and transfers to his sister Nagisa‘s middle school. Kojou’s teacher Minamiya Natsuki warns him to stay well clear of Lion King Org. members. Kojou accompanies Yukina while she shops for her empty flat. While on their way to a convenience store after dinner, Yukina and Kojou witness a huge fight between two familiars. Yukina runs off to investigate and is attacked by Combat Deacon Rudolf Eustach and his colleague Astarte. Kojou shows up and saves Yukina, but his powers go haywire.

It’s well-worn, but we still like the idea of the usually ordinary guy possessing awesome powers that he almost never uses, but are always there. Kamijou Touma is another example. Both he and Kojou don’t think they can change the world but always seem to end up doing so anyway. But while Touma simply seems to have abnormally bad fortune, Kojou’s issue with his powers is that he’s not particularly confident he’d be able to control them were they to fully surface. By the end of the episode, it would seem that his fears were correct. But before all that, the episode shows that it can do slice-of-life competently, and the rapport growing between Kojou and Yukina is also progressing nicely.

Yukina’s ignorance of golf clubs notwithstanding, there’s just something amusing about the world’s most powerful vampire and his sword shaman minder going to Home Depot. But while he seems to be the model Primogenitor with his hot-pot invitation and crane game prowess, when he inserts himself in that battle he shows he can be a “dangerous being”, and Yukina’s explicit orders were to eliminate him in that instance. We know she won’t do that – it’s only the second episode and she doesn’t seem powerful enough at this point – it could complicate their relationship. Or maybe he’ll snap out of it, she’ll thank him for saving her, and he’ll begin the long process of mastering his powers in hopes of using them for good.


Rating: 6 (Good)

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Kyousougiga – 01

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In ancient times, monk Myoue Shounin leaves Kyoto to resid in the mountains of Takao. What he draws can come to life, including a black rabbit named Koto who falls in love with him. Koto makes a deal with a Buddha who gives her human form. She and Shounin have a family made up of Kurama, a drawing, Yakushimaru, a human, and Yase, a demon. This strange family garners derision from the town, so they move into the drawing of Kyoto, “the Mirrored City”.

They live there for hundreds of years, until Koto starts to dream of the world’s end, a warning to return her human form she borrowed from the buddha. She and Shounin depart for parts unknown, leaving their three children. Fast-forward to the present day, when Myoue Yakushimaru has replaced his father as Takao monk. The sky fills with unusual lightning, which he thinks could be a sign of Shounin returning, but it turns out to be a girl named Koto from a parallel dimension, looking for her guardian.

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This stylish, engrossing, inventive series has been teasing us with small tastes since December of 2011, but has finally gotten a run of ten episodes in which to expand its already dense and tantalizing story. We’ve been licking our chops for some time, and this first non-recap episode takes us all the way back to the beginning with Myoue’s father. It’s a charming, romantic tale that turns bittersweet when Koto, the rabbit who became a lady, then a wife and mother, has to leave that ideal life. There’s an alarming abruptness to going from happy family to three kids on their own, but Mirror-Kyoto is devoid of war or suffering, so the kids fare fine.

Once we’re in the age of cell phones and video surveillance (this episode covers a formidable length of time), the three now run the city like their parents once did, in the configuration we’re familiar with from the OVAs. Then, out of the blue, a girl who vaguely resembles their father suddenly makes a big, Terminator-style entrance, flanked by twin demon brothers, brandishing a big hammer, hunting a black rabbit we know to be Myoue’s mom’s original form. Just as suddenly as he lost his parents, Myoue gains a family.

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Rating: 9 (Superior)