White Album 2 – 11

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Flashbacks chronicle November ’07 to February ’08. Touma teaches Haruki the guitar and later secretly plays along on the piano; Haruki gives her an English grammer book which she treasures; she kisses an asleep Haruki after their concert; learns she learns her mother flew to Japan to watch her, and after the recital and invites her to live in Vienna with her. Back in the present, Haruki responds to Touma’s confessions by embracing and kissing her, but goes too far, upsetting her, and she runs off.

Touma has loved Haruki practically since they met and he started caring for her, unbeknownst to Haruki, but he’s not fully to blame for his ignorance. This is because time and again Touma has put the interests of others ahead of her own and acted contrary to her best interests, and stubbornly stuck with decisions she shouldn’t have. Earlier in the series Setsuna adopted a specific persona around her classmates that wasn’t the real her. Touma also adopted a persona around Haruki and Setsuna; that of someone cool, sarcastic, and aloof who likes hanging out with them. In reality, hanging out with them has given her nothing but pain, and as the couple she gave her blessing to grow closer, she decides to bow out of the triangle altogether.

Once again, it’s what’s best for the others, but not her. Being just friends with Haruki isn’t enough, and it never was, and yet she’s never been able to express it in a way he could comprehend. This episode showed us that other Touma that she hadn’t shown to Haruki until that snowy night in February when he picks her up from the airport. Even then, she’s put off by his overaggressive kissing (we assume it’s her first kiss with an awake boy), which only serves as a reminder that this is what he done many times with Setsuna. Touma knows what she wants, she just doesn’t know how to get it. If Touma really is the one he loves, Haruki has some work to do that will make prepping for the concert seem like, well, child’s play. Time to grow up and stop playing around.

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Rating:7 (Very Good)

 

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Valvrave the Liberator – 22

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Haruto and L-elf crash land in a deep crater with a broken transmitter. Haruto finds a flare, but the two start arguing and get into a fight. Meanwhile, when another student Shoko is tending to dies, it compels her to enter Unit 1’s cockpit, where she learns from Pino that Haruto resigned his humanity to avenge her when he thought she was dead. After experiencing visions of the dead, Haruto and L-elf say they’re not ready to die, creating a reaction that shoves L-elf off him. They use the power to launch the flare. Three Dorssian fighters arrive, but they’re fought off by Rukino Saki in Unit 4, who was freed by A-drei. Haruto and L-elf promise to help each other “unveil the world” by exposing the Council of 101.

In the depths of despair Haruto claims that he’s being punished for his actions, which he deems sins. But the terrible situation he, L-elf, Shouko, and JIOR find themselves in is a result not of actions, but inactions and omissions. With some time to think and get whaled on by L-elf while they’re in chunky orange Tintin spacesuits, he finally learns that. Everyone learns a lot this week: L-elf learns Liseilotte was a pro-human Magius, and finds something to live for: carrying on her dream of a world where her kind can coexist with humans. Shouko learns that Haruto had to push that button, and he only pushed it because of her. A-drei learns that L-elf was possessed when he shot his eye, and didn’t really betray him.

After all hell broke loose last week, this was a welcome taking-stock episode that allowed everyone to catch up. What’s so brutally ironic (and typical of this show) is that had the things that came to light for people this week happened just two weeks before, Shouko could have postponed the ill-fated summit that led to the branding of JIOR as a nation of monsters. A-drei could have freed Saki earlier. Alas, Shouko and A-drei learned the truth and Haruto and L-elf had it out too late to avoid a bunch of death. Now that they have, there’s a path forward; perhaps bumpier than it needed to be, but at least Haruto and L-elf are in agreement: it’s not time for them to die, and there’ll be no more secrets. It’s time to unveil the world.

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Rating:7 (Very Good)

Stray Observations:

  • Why, it’s another Future Saki cold open, with what looks like Satomi and a baby L-elf “prince.” They’ve also apparently preserved the school where this all began. Interesting…
  • Shouko gets the full rundown from Pino, complete with Haruto-absolving ValvTube evidence! The scene unnderlines just how much easier things could have gone in the last two episodes had Haruto just told Shouko the truth.
  • Spacesuit fights are always so amusingly clumsy, aren’t they?
  • Something very Star Wars-y about Haruto meeting with Dead Kyuuma, Mari, and Aina (Hi Aina!).

Nagi no Asukara – 11

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Chisaki is caught off guard by Kaname’s confession. Hikari decides he’s not “going to sleep helplessly” and break his fast; Manaka follows. Akari and Itaru prepare to get married, but Miuna tries to hurt Akari so she’ll return to the sea and not die. The surface fishery cooperative apologizes to Hikari and offer to help with the Ofunehiki. Uroko’s assurance it won’t do any good. Akari asks that she be allowed to assume the role of Ojoushi-sama in the ceremony, after which she’ll marry Itaru. Moved by Akari’s determination to do something before it’s too late, Chisaki resolves to confess to Hikari.

When everything around you is changing and time grows short, you do whatever you can. When you witness others working hard to do something, you’re inspired to contribute in some way, any way. Even if the situation is hopeless, or your actions will likely have no effect on what’s to come, you try anyway. There’s always a slimmer of a chance if you try, as opposed to no chance if you don’t. These are the ideals by which Sakishima Akari and her brother Hikari are living their lives. They’re swimming against the tides of fate, and Itaru and Manaka are swimming right beside them.

It’s pretty clear that everyone the lead four are scared of the coming “sleep,” and with good reason: it’s a terrifying proposition, and has been ever since it was first announced. It also seems like something biologically inevitable, as demonstrated when Hikari suddenly gets woozy in class. As the Ofunehiki plans are restarted and Akari volunteers to be the Ojoushi, it occurred to us that perhaps this latest Ofunehiki could end up being as significant as the very first, and powerful in ways even Uroko can’t fathom. Or it could end up being a futile attempt to restore normalcy to an increasingly abnormal world. There’s no harm in trying.

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Rating:7 (Very Good)