Nobunaga the Fool – 04

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Between gaining command the war giant The Fool, befriending da Vinci, fighting a seasoned foe to a draw, and becoming betrothed to the Queen Himiko of Yamatai, Nobunaga certainly seems to be amassing the means with which to make his own destiny, something he imparts to his brother is crucial to living life.

As his father and other clan leaders consider the benefits of their new alliance with Yamatai with regard to shoring up their defenses, and plans for a betrothal (not wedding) ceremony are underway, all Nobu wants to do is take his new regalia and stove in the heads of his enemies as soon as possible. “The woman is extra”, he says coldly. Nobu: Male chauvanist.

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Himiko remember being lovingly tossed about by Nobu as a child, and so sought him out for marriage as soon as she was able. Beyond the puppy love, we sense some ambition in her: she’s forming a bond with someone she knows will be going places in the near future, while at the same time she’s a big part of why he’s going places, by giving him the regalia. Their ceremony itself is a mad marvel of excess and theatricality, blending both Eastern (kabuki stage) and Western (wedding gown) tradition and ending with the traditional cutting of the (ten-story) cake with a regalia-boosted katana strike.

Part of why everyone calls Nobu a ‘fool’ is the way he jumps headlong into things; his character also fits much of the symbolism of the tarot card of the same name, a card that inspired the modern Joker, which is often “wild.”  We’ll see whether these nuptials are win-win for all or have unforeseen ill-effects. We’re also curious to see if Jeanne, now believed by most (but interestingly, not Himiko) to be a dude, will continue to be sidelined. We’d like to see her pull a knife (figuratively speaking) on Nobu more often.

7_very_goodRating:7 (Very Good)

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Noragami – 04

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Despite being susceptible to street-market scams, when Yato tells Yukine and Hiyori straight-faced that every dream he has will become real, part of us believes him, as they do for a fleeting moment. It’s just that, at his present pace, it could take several millenia to do so. Also, this entire episode was essentially an elaborate dodge of his responsibility to stop Hiyori’s out-of-body experiences.

Or perhaps we just can’t see far enough in Yato’s plan for helping Hiyori, as he decides the time is right for her to meet his “girlfriend” Ebisu Kofuku and her many-named regalia Kuro/Koku/Daikoku. We had a notion that perhaps this Kofuku would provide some valuable answers regarding Hiyori’s situation, but she’s a bit of a clumsy airhead, and the meeting is cut short by a job request.

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But perhaps as a result of his recent visit to Kofuku (more on that later) when Yato appears he ends up knocking his client off the building atop which he was perched. Yato conducts formal introductions with the client, one Urasawa Yusuke, who then regales Yato, Hiyori, and Yukine with his tale of woe about a lovely girl he met who drove him bankrupt, unemployed, and considering suicide as the only way out. Did we mention their entire encounter with Urasawa takes place while continuously falling a seemingly infinite height?

The “highly mobile” setting lends an urgency to the situation that is comically subverted by Urasawa and Yato’s utter lack of haste. Ultimately Urasawa’s girlfriend is revealed to have been Kofuku—goddess of misfortune (Binbougami)—a bond Yato severs with Yukine, earning Yukine kudos from fellow regalia Daikoku. The potential is there for Yato to achieve his dreams, but Kofuku warns Hiyori that Yato was once a fearsome war god who’d fulfill any immoral wish in exchange for adherence. If Yato were to return to his bad old ways, will Hiyori and Yukine run away (as Yato seems to instruct Hiyori), or stay by his side to redeem him?

7_very_goodRating:7 (Very Good)

Space Dandy – 04

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The beauty of Space Dandy is we never have the slightest idea where it’s going to go, but we know it’s going to be good. That trend continues this week as the entire episode chronicles the systematic zombification of the entire Space Dandy universe, which you can trace back to Meow getting bitten by their latest alien captive which turns out to be a zombie.

Dandy and QT take him to the hospital where he’s pronounced dead, and he eventually infects the rest of the hospital, Dr. Gel and the mercenaries sent to capture, Dandy, and eventually QT and Dandy (Dandy’s outrage that even robots can be turned is both justified and hilarious). Previous outings would suggest a reset button would be hit and we’d be on to a new, unrelated story in the second half, but Space Dandy wasn’t done with its zombie milieu. The narrator matter-of-factly takes us through the gang’s new un-lives as zombies.

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They still communicate and show emotion; just not in a way easily perceptible to the living. Too slow to capture aliens, they “live” off Dandy’s own life insurance policy. Like living beings, they listen to their elder (the alien who first infected Meow) who tells them to eat yogurt. They make peace with their new selves, and the society of space, so huge and diverse, is very accepting of their new status. It ain’t easy to make a zombie episode fresh (no pun intended), but it’s no surprise Space Dandy pulled it off with ease.

As more zombies are made and take out their own life insurance policies, the insurance companies hire zombie hunters, but they’re turned too. As the universe becomes wholly zombified, the episode explores the benefits of a universe populated by a single species unified by its undeadness; a world without war, disease, or differences. Then the narrator himself becomes a zombie and signs, well, groans off, and the episode ends with Dandy, QT and Meow settling in for a good Romero flick.

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Rating: 8 
(Great)