White Album 2 – 05

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Things are tense between Setsuna and Haruki on the way home, but Haruki calls her later that night, and apologizes for not telling her he stayed at Touma’s to practice. She tells him how her friends stopped talking to her back in middle school due to misunderstandings, and is afraid of losing friends again. Haruki promises he’ll never leave her; before hanging up she makes him call her by her first name. The next day, during a test, the teacher confiscates Touma’s music book. She loses her temper, grabs it, and runs out of the classroom. Haruki and Setsuna join her in skipping class and practicing. Later, at home, after completing the last song for the fair, Touma collapses from exhaustion.

In a friendship, sometimes withholding information is as bad as lying. Setsuna’s been there before; it involved a boy, and her friends abandoned her one by one. So she has every reason to suspect history is repeating itself when she finds Haruki’s toothbrush in Touma’s bathroom. But as Haruki tries to efficiently get to the vital points of things, he doesn’t let the discomfort he felt with Setsuna on their walk home linger to the point where a rift between them would widen. He apologizes, she tells him why she acted the way she did, he understands, and he promises her he won’t leave her like her other friends did. It’s a long phone call, but we like how it unfolds and progresses, especially when she abruptly ends it after finally getting a “Setsuna” out of Haruki.

So everybody’s happy, right? Well, not quite. Touma is putting so much into the music, it’s unlikely she’ll graduate along with her club-mates without their help. She doesn’t even bother filling in the blanks on a test that will affect her grade, and worse, she shows up a teacher, not letting him take her music book with Kitahara’s name on it. But she’s also working so hard, she may not have any more gas for the actual performance; staying up for days on end is no healthy way to live. And at the end of the day, Haruki is developing feelings for two girls, and vice-versa. Just because Haruki and Setsuna are on amiable terms now doesn’t mean another misunderstanding or two isn’t lurking on the horizon.

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Rating:7 (Very Good)

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Strike the Blood – 05

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Minamiya captures a henchman of Christoph Gardos and later arrests him with help from Astarte, confirming he’s an unregistered demon and believing him to be a sympathizer of the Black Death Star Faction. Meanwhile, Kojou’s class teams him up with Asagi in badminton doubles, but before practice he’s attacked by two shikigami messengers, who give Kojou an invitation to a yacht party hosted by Lord Dimitrie Vatler of Ardeal, a servant of the First primogenitor. When Kojou attends with Yukina as his date, Vatler tests his strength with a familiar before introducing himself.

If you like cliches being employed unironically and in quick succession, then you liked this first episode of the “Warlord’s Empire” arc. A cold open in which a seemingly ferocious panther-man is swiftly dealt with by the delicate yet powerful Minamiya, the “Witch of the Void”. Kojou barging in on Yukina changing and lingering far too long. Being teamed up with Aiba, who is jelaous of Kojou’s recent closeness with Yukina, and like Yukina, actually likes Kojou but pretends to loathe him. She changes into a comely badminton outfit, while Yukina sports a cheerleading outfit and later party dress; in both instances warning Kojou not to look at her.

Unfortunately, Kojou is a bit of a dense fellow, not realizing the love triangle he’s in, and all he does is further enable Yukina and Aiba’s persistent tsundere behavior. It’s always annoying when the end of one arc establishes that some degree of progress has been made in the relationship of two characters, only to see them regressing at the start of the next one. Apparently Yukina needs to constantly tell herself Kojou is a pervert who deserves ridicule every time he shows the slightest hint of acknowledging she’s a female. One of the few exceptions this week was at the grocery store, where enjoyed their casual bonhomie, discussing demon lords and onions in the same breath. But yeah, this was a rather thin and uninspiring outing.


Rating: 5 (Average)

Valvrave the Liberator – 16

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Saki switches on her radio so L-Elf can hear that A-Drei is part of the Dorssian operation. Knowing the plan has gone bust, L-Elf detonates the bombs anyway. Saki is stuck with A-Drei in the same spot where he, L-Elf, and their other friends killed their Royalist teammate to save themselves. L-Elf is stuck with Marie and Unit 1, which Marie boards. Pino tells her that she was the Valvrave test pilot, and she “ate” her memories in the form of runes.

Akira, waiting to hack the transport, informs them that Satomi, Takahi and the others have been found by the Dorssians and Inuzuka and Yamada are bogged down, making Unit 1 the only Valvrave that can act. Marie pilots it, allowing Pino to take all of her remaining memories in order to destroy the Dorssian fleet and secure everyone’s escape. However, surpassing the unit’s limits and unleashing one more devastating attack leaves Marie an empty husk.

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The revelations come fast and furious this week: the truth of Marie’s past – which was quite a surprise, when we look back on how minor and unassuming a character she was in the first season. We like how that past elevated her into a much more prominent position in the Valvrave mythos. It’s a shame that her exploits this week may have well left her brain-dead, but you can’t say she didn’t go out in a blaze of glory, and for a good cause: she quite literally saves everyone else, who manage to get away safely in the stolen transport. If this was the end for her, it was a righteous one.

Additionally, we learn more about L-Elf’s past with his former buddies, and how they all “sinned” at that Karlstein facility. This info comes from A-Drei himself, who isn’t aware that the student he’s talking to is actually Saki. It also introduces the Royalists as a shunned and hated element of Dorssia. L-Elf was the one who pulled the trigger on their Royalist friend, which is interesting, considering years before his life was saved by a princess (whom we also catch a brief glimpse of). And while Marie, Akira, Inuzuka and Yamada were all instrumental in New JIOR’s eventual victory, Haruto was notably useless this week.

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Rating: 8 
(Great)