Akame ga Kill! – 09

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With no immediate missions, it’s a time of rest, healing (both physical and emotional), training, and rebuilding. Najenda heads off alone to try to recruit new members, as Night Raid is down to just six, including her. Tatsumi defeated the Three, but he must become much stronger to wear Incursio properly. He’s moved by Leone relaying Bulat’s belief he would someday surpass even him. But that’s a process.

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Meanwhile, Esdeath has finished assembling her new team of Imperial Arm-using special police force, but interestingly, we’re introduced to them one from the perspective of perhaps the most normal of them, Wave. Sort of a combination of Tatsumi and Bulat, his normal reactions to his quirky colleagues add a touch of levity and humanity to the proceedings. Esdeath also stages an exciting welcome by attacking them.

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The other members: Run, Bols, Kurome, and Doctor Stylish, are new or mostly new faces, but crazy ol’ Seryu, who healed from seemingly mortal injuries, is a nice addition. As Esdeath grows closer to Night Raid as an enemy (her “Jaegers” now outnumber Night Raid, and seem just as capable), Tatsumi gets more curious about her, so Leone and Lubbock clue her in.

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Turns out Najenda marched beside Esdeath as a fellow general in the Imperial Army, but part of why she deserted was that she simply couldn’t stomach being around Esdeath and her sadistic henchmen anymore, as they conquered towns but kept their captives alive and suffering as long as possible. Furthermore, Esdeath is being this brutal because she wants more and more rebellions to crop up, so she can keep warring indefinitely. That is the true danger of Esdeath.

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When the opportunity to get a better look at her comes up Tatsumi takes it, and after the Three, he realizes just how much stronger he’s gotten since joining Night Raid when he easily defeats the last foe standing in a fighting tournament sponsored by Esdeath. But assembling the Jaegers and prolonging the war aren’t her only goals, as she’s reached that certain age.

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That’s right: Esdeath is still looking for love, and that quirk is what sets her apart from most silver-haired ice villainesses we’ve come across on our travels. Despite the fact her falling for Tatsumi is telegraphed from a mile away, its execution is still plenty entertaining, as the initially bored Esdeath grows more and more interested in Tatsumi’s fight as he displays the five very particular qualities she demanded of a mate, including an innocent smile that seals the deal.

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Of course, Esdeath isn’t interested in dating an equal, so after meeting and congratulating Tatsumi in the arena, she offers her “gift” to him: a collar and chain, because who wouldn’t be honored to be dragged along, nay, knocked out and fireman lifted away by the lovely General Esdeath? I’ll tell ya who…TATSUMI.

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But I can guarantee you of two things: he’ll survive this, and he won’t waste the opportunity that presented itself. No, not the opportunity to see Esdeath naked (though that’s a noble goal), but to spy on her. Who among her countless enemies have ever gotten as close as he’s about to get? He’s the luckiest and unluckiest bastard in the whole empire…at the same time.

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Space Dandy 2 – 09

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This week’s episode, centered on an intergalactic dance contest, doesn’t come close to the greatness of last week’s mind-bending adventure, and it was never going to. Granted, I watched this episode in English, which makes the dialogue sound more forced to my ears, regardless of the language it just didn’t have as strong a story, and seemed more annoyingly self-referential than usual.

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As usual, things start out small, with QT learning about said contest, with a first prize with far too many zeroes in it to be considered legit. Dandy likes to dance, so he doesn’t need much convincing, so off they go to “Planet Grease” (groan), which seems to have fallen on hard times. The only store that looks open in the central ghost metropolis is a record store, where Dandy buys Chekhov’s LP.

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Then they find the Planet Chief, who laments that there’s been no contest for centuries,ever since the crucial “Danceinians” went AWOL, and his own ma has been in a coma since that time. The Chief gets a look at Dandy’s ass and convinces him to pretend to be a Dancinian to draw a crowd for a new contest, which they’ll fix so Dandy wins, precluding the need to pay out the prize they don’t have.

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The ruse only attracts a half-dozen strange alien dancers of all shapes, sizes, colors and styles. It also attracts “Tom Travolta” (groan), a gold-plated, afro-adorned alien with a ring-shaped ship not unlike those of the Danceinians of yore. He steals Dandy’s thunder, and Dandy decides to play Chekhov’s LP (ingeniously using QT’s wheel and Meow’s claw as a turntable). The very un-disco like orchestral music has the affect of accelerating time to a ridiculous degree, until Dandy & Co. are dancing bags of withering bones.

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The lichens (first explained early on by the narrator) then start to dance and grow themselves into giant glowing rings: turns out the Dancinians weren’t aliens at all, but a natural biological function of the planet. When their energy merges with Dandy and Tom’s dance-off basically obliterates the planet (and Dr. Gel and Bea in orbit); the episode isn’t really interested in explaining it further than it’s another example of the ever-turning wheel of birth, life, death, and rebirth. But hey, Dandy at least managed to wake an old lady up and bring a smile to her face; in that regard, revering to amoebae isn’t that big of a deal.

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