GARO: Honoo no Kokuin – 08

garo81

This week’s Herman-centric episode was as good as last week’s Leon-centric episode was bad. Because both took place over the same period of time, Garo could have structured it as a more integrated two-parter, in which Herman’s and Leon’s scenes would be woven together. But if that had been the case, this second episode would have suffered for it.

One way to think about it is that Leon lost, and learned he’s not as ready as he thinks he is, so it stands to reason his episode would also lose to Herman’s in terms of story, action, and especially comedy. This week repaired all the damage to my faith in the show last week caused.

Keeping the two sides separate let us experience All Herman, All the time. Mind you, if Herman’s horny roguishness and rubs you the wrong way, you probably didn’t enjoy this episode any more than last week’s…but I did.

garo81a

I really like how comedy was such a persistent presence this week, in contrast to the stiff joylessness of Leon’s dealings. One source of that comedy is the fact Herman is naked as his name day for most of the episode. Ironically, Herman was talking last night’s conquest about how he prefers his birthday suit to any clothes, let alone armor.

Then universe grants his wish, along with one hell of a taxing day in which he just can’t seem to stay out of trouble.

garo82

Mind you, the trouble he gets himself into is all his fault, for letting his little Herman lead him around. No one makes him disrobe; he does it of his own volition once he’s confident the pretty damsel in distress he rescued from three goons will sleep him…which isn’t the most unreasonable assumption, but it is an assumption; made in haste in hopes of satisfying his libido.

garo83

The damsel turns out to be in cahoots with the goons and rob him blind, and since he already helpfully removed his clothes, they decide to go ahead and take those too. Thanks to some quick thinking and resourcefulness (as a Makai knight, he’s used to fighting larger opponent) he manages to escape.

garo84

But must escape naked, which gets him into trouble fast in the busy city. It’s great how fast his plight escalates, until there’s literally an army chasing after the guy. Mind you, this is really just one drawn-out hassle for him; he’s not about to take any of this misfortune as some kind of lesson in being more cautious with women. Herman is who he is, and sometimes shit like this is going to happen.

garo85

This is illustrated perfectly when Herman borrows a sheet from a washerwoman’s line. A crossbowman with terrible aim corners him and accidentally loses a bolt, and Herman catches it before it hits the lady. In effect, this was a transaction: Herman takes the lady’s sheet, and pays for it by saving her life. Though he put her life was put at risk in the first place, I still think she got the better end of the bargain.

garo86

Herman loses his sheet almost immediately while being chased by mounted soldiers, but is rescued by Emma, who always seems to show up at the right time. But she doesn’t just vanish in ten seconds like last week; she reports to Herman what she witnessed: Leon losing to the Black Knight, Bernardo Dion.

garo86a

With that name drop, the mood gets more serious (you almost forget he’s nude but for a junk-covering pink bonnet), as you can tell from Herman’s and Emma’s Serious Faces above. Knowing Leon is alive, however, Herman isn’t in a hurry to go to him; he’s a teacher as well as a father, and a teacher can’t always be bailing out his student when they run into adversity.

Heck, part of him is relieved Leon lost; after all, he was never going to believe his carefree horndog dad telling him he’s not ready to storm the castle. And Leon didn’t just fall short in strength here; a Makai knight’s duty is to protect, not fight or to dream of taking revenge and defeating nemeses. A Makai knight must float above all that, or risk being turned by the darkness inherent in their business; ‘one who studies horrors is studied by horrors’, and such.

Anyway, below is the exchange that ends the episode’s A-part, and from the delivery of the lines to the pause between them, followed by an abrupt cut to commercial, it’s pretty much goddamned perfect:

garo87

I Lol’d.

garo88

Herman ends up paying a visit to Garm, someone we haven’t seen in a while but seems to be a kind of Makai Supervisor who never wants for fruit. She also knows a lot more than Herman does, which pisses him off when she doesn’t inform him Dion turned ‘dark’ and attacked Leon.

garo89

This is important because he and Dion were once on the same side, despite being complete opposites in personality-wise. Herman was pretty much the same outwardly carefree horny guy back then, while Dion was sterner, more serious, and the look of being weighed down by something. Herman, Anna, and Dion stuck together as the witchhunts raged, and one night when the three were cornered, Dion stayed behind to cover the escape of the other two.

It’s a valiant, honorable thing to do, but it spells doom for Dion, as in order to save his friends, he puts himself in the position of losing himself to the darkness he always felt lurking within him (that ‘weight’ I mentioned). Herman and Anna may well have been the last two people Dion protected as a Makai Knight. Now he works for Mendoza.

garo810

I didn’t think we’d ever return to that barn where Herman was cockblocked and robbed, but we do, and this time Irene is genuinely upset and in need of rescuing, as one of her associates has turned into a Horror. He’s not a particularly tough horror, and Nude Herman is able to dispatch him without even donning his armor.

garo811

Heck, when he ends up back in a situation where he must protect Irene — for real this time — and it’s suggested they sleep together after all, it’s as if the universe is balancing things out, just as he expected they would. Though he still needs to go pick up his clothes at the pawn shop, which means he needs coin, and last week’s final scene of a naked Herman is thus fully explained.

Yes, I much preferred separation Herman and Leon’s stories to their being meshed across two episodes. I’m glad Leon’s story was over and done with so it didn’t have to stink this up. Throughout most of last week I was frustrated, lost, and a little bored, to the point of wondering “Hey, I wonder what his dad is up to!” Now we know. We got the Full Monty, and it was glorious.

9_mag

Advertisements

PSYCHO-PASS 2 – 07

pp271

Psycho-Pass 2 follows an uncharacteristically indulgent episode with one that sets aside the guns, drones, explosives, and boats and gets down to the less shouty and visceral but arguably more interesting police work that’s necessary to learn about, find, and catch Kamui Kirito.

After showing us Mika grudgingly cleaning up area stress mess her superior made for her, we delve briefly into Akane’s own mind, where she shoots the breeze with an echo of her mentor Kogami, who reminds her of the basics of detection: being confronted with something impossible either means wrong assumptions…or insanity.

pp272

Both he and Togane bring up the same possibility: the answers are probably closer than they think. I see Akane continues to light cigarettes, but we have yet to see her puff, unlike Shion, who wonders if Saiga is being so calm because he’s found out a way to stop Kamui. But Matsuda said nothing, so he’s got nothing; as long as Sybil continues to deem Inspector Shisui’s psycho-pass as clear, she — and by extension Kamui — can do as they please.

Speaking of psycho-passes…we finally meet a family member of Akanes, her grandma Aoi, whose hospital Akane rushes to when there’s a report of a medical drone malfunction. Aoi is fine, but encourages her as Kogami did in her head earlier, though in a different way. Her granny tells it like it is, and the way it is is that Akane always puts others before herself and understands the value of life; every life — to the point of neglecting or jeopardizing her own.

It makes Akane a tremendous cop, but it wouldn’t normally be the formula for a happy life, or even a clear psycho-pass. But Akane doesn’t  mind living in a crime scene or not having a boyfriend or putting in the work that’s needed.

pp273

Her main frustration in life is probably having to serve under a system as fundamentally corrupt and flawed as Sybil, simply because the alternative is probably worse; the cure is worse than the disease. In this, she’s diametrically opposed to Kamui, who’s willing to do whatever it takes and sacrifice as much life as is needed to bring Sybil down.

Which begs the question: What does Sybil make of all this? Akane confers with “Chief Kasei” to try to divine that. At this point in the case Akane is not in the mood for playing around; she flat out voices her suspicion Sybil is afraid to take action outside of normal operations, lest it reveal their weakness. Sybil is aware Kamui is unique, but because he’s not the kind of ‘unique’ that made, say, Mikishima an excellent candidate to join the Brain Trust.

When Akane tells her there’s no way to bring Kamui in By The Book, Kasei agrees, but she doesn’t want him brought in period. Sybil would prefer if Kamui quietly disappeared, and points out that Akane and Togane had the means to ‘deal with’ Kamui but refrained from doing so. But Akane isn’t killing anyone if she doesn’t have to. She promises Kasei she’ll arrest him lawfully and bring him to proper justice, not the shadowy, loose end-tying justice Kasei intimates.

pp274
pp275

Speaking of Togane: As expected, Mika hasn’t shared her knowledge of his intense clandestine surveillance of Akane with anyone, and particularly not Akane, who remains a thorn in her bushy tail. Not that there’s no value in withholding knowledge and until she finds out more, but as she learns Togane was once an enforcer eighteen years ago, and every inspector he touched was declared a latent criminal and executed with Dominators, she may want to say something to someone soon.

Also,  Togane is totally on to her; both her unsettling of his quarters and the spilling of her drink suggests she may be a bit of a klutz.

pp276

I mentioned the presence of nitty-gritty police work in this episode, and there’s plenty to be done. A lot of progress is made in the case, but that progress was unwittingly delayed by, yup, Mika, who simply sat on Hinakawa’s digital report on the pharmacist holo at the scene of Aoyanagi’s death. That holo was another aged-up version of a child who died on a plane crash fifteen years ago.

pp278

Realizing how Hinakawa’s skills can aid in the case, Akane sets him to work aging up the 184 children (of the 201 passengers) who died on that flight. They also learn that the sole survivor of that plane crash was one Kamui Kirito. Boom.

After locating and inviting the doctor who treated Kamui to answer some questions, Akane tells Mika to look into Kamui’s treatment records to corroborate whatever the doc ends up giving them. Naturally, she pawns this work off on Hinakawa, who’s already got an all-nighter ahead of him.

But when Hinakawa hits a confidentiality wall and suggests it could be due to sensitive drug or medical tech patents, Mika recalls the name of one of the leading organizations in that field: the Togane Foundation. Uh-oh.

pp279

The one tasked with talking with Dr. Masuzaki is Professor Saiga, which is, again, a wise choice on Akane’s part, because it affords us an always welcome Epic Old Guy Staredown, but Masuzaki is actually fine with telling Saiga everything, or at least something about Kamui. Heck, the Doc seems almost paternally proud of the kid.

pp279a

But just as Akane depends on the talents of Saiga and Hinakawa, Shion and Yayoi, Ginoza and Togane, and yes, even Mika (who’d be relegated making Starbucks runs if were her boss) in order to achieve her goal of bringing Kamui to justice, so too does Kamui rely on others to achieve his goal to bring Sybil down.

That’s made abundantly and shockingly clear, as is the earlier notion that “the answer is closer than we think”, as the aging up of the remaining 185 children reveals that dozens of holo-impostors of people Akane and the others know are already walking among them.

9_brav

Sensei’s Fashion Guide for a Good First Date

Have you ever asked that guy you like on a date by mistake and suddenly realized you didn’t mean to make it a date and have no idea what to wear?? Fear not! Denki-gai no Honya-san’s Sensei-chan has got you covered.

dgnhss20

If you’re going to make a serious play, lay it on thick, girl! Let him know you mean business by wearing as many shiny things from as many different fashion senses as you can cram into a single outfit.

Bonus points if you make your eyebrows extra thin, rim your eyes in white, use too much pink and wear lash-extenders.

Just make sure he’s ready for that. Otherwise, if you want to down-play the dateness of this date, maybe you should try something subtly rough…

dgnhss21

Nothing says ‘Nah man, this isn’t a date’ like a honking leg of fried chicken and a bag of trash. He’ll know you’re just bros from the get-go!

[Oggaki’s note: I’m not sure if this is better or worse with sweat pants she decided to leave off…]

Umio-kun’s Girls with Glasses Rant

dgnhs8s1

“Why aren’t you wearing your glasses? Do you think your glasses are a drawback? You believe that urban legend that you can’t be a heroine if you wear glasses, don’t you? It’s nonsense! The thicker the lenses, the thicker the shield! The longer the legs, the longer the sword! A sturdy frame is your armor! Glasses are your offense and your defense — your heavy massive equip! Nay! Not only your equip, but your stats, your abilities, and your materials! The greats of the world know this to be true!”

Denki-gai no Honya-san – 08

dgnhs81

Denki-gai no Honya-san 8 is another Sensei-focused, breaking into the manga industry episode and… well it’s not very interesting. There’s no way this show can sell me on the struggles of an artist’s struggle to become a professional in a show this intentionally goofy. More importantly, while DgnHs is actually very funny, it’s jokes about making manga aren’t the funny part and it can not and will not ever escape the long shadow of Nozaki-kun’s humor about the same topic last season.

Fortunately, DgnHs gets me laughing in other areas and the episode wasn’t an entire wash.

dgnhs82

For one thing, we got TWO black and white Lime Cat movies this week. I have no idea what they are parodying, unless DgnHs is just making fun of art house movies in general, but these are just bizarrely funny.

This week’s Lime Cat is from Fu-chan’s perspective. Except there is no cat… that cat is a zombie! Obviously Fu slaughters it with the full length baseball bat she hides in her brazier. The second episode sees Fu following a lone zombie to a grave yard where a host of zombies try to scare her dressed up as ghosts. Obviously Fu slaughters them too.

dgnhs83

The real meat and potatoes of this week’s episode happened in the final arc where Sensei accidentally invites Umio-kun on a movie date and then completely freaks out over what to wear, her lack of girl power, etc.

With the not very helpful help of Hiotan and the girls, it’s ultimately decided that none of them know, at all, what boys want other than big boobs and that the only way they will make any head way is to invite an actual boy over and ask him.

dgnhs85

This being Hiotan that is helping, she invites none other than Umio-kun himself. Sensei is terrified since none of this was ever meant to be brought to his attention. However, the results are positive: after a lengthy rant about glasses, Umio admits he doesn’t care how she’s dressed, since her glasses make her cute, and thus he thinks she’s cute all the time.

D’awwwwwww!

dgnhs84

Some of this week’s best moments were during the ‘what do boys want, anyway’ scenes. My personal favorite was Sensei-chan stepping into her manga mind to pretend to be a guy. She evaluates each of her friends in a hilarious way and ends up getting all weird with Fu-chan before giving up.

dgnhs86

Laughter aside, this scene reinforces my opinion that DgnHs is a show for girls and about girls in fandom, rather than a typical will he like me? slice of life romcom. We spend so much time with their perspectives, seeing how they see us and our wants and when we do actually see a guy and hear his feedback, it’s all affirmative: nerd girls are desirable for their nerdiness — for the sincerity of their part in fandom — as much if not more than for their looks.

I mean, Umio fell for Sensei over Hiotan (the girls with the biggest boobs) as soon as he learned that Sensei creates manga.

7_ogk

Danna ga Nani wo Itteiru ka Wakaranai Ken – 08

otaku81

I Don’t Understand What My Husband Is Saying continues to build up the pre-child positions for Husband and Wife this week. This time around, they are watching Ai-chan, the daughter of an unspecified relative to Wife.

Ai-chan is cute and loves golf, which makes sense, since her mom is a pro golfer and her dad is a caddy. So Husband and Wife go to a driving range and have fun all day.

otaku82

This week’s weirdest moment came early, with Ai wanting to talk all her clothes off because they were too stiff and Wife saying she couldn’t because there was a beast in the house.

However, as with previous weeks, there wasn’t much effort put into humor here. It was cute, pleasant and clearly sets up Husband and Wife’s emotional readiness for a child. Well, at least as much as any parent is ready for it.

otaku83

I don’t have much to say about DannaNani at this point. Compared to Ai Tenchi Muyo!, almost nothing happens per-episode and what does happen is fairly straightforward. That’s not a claim that ATM! is better. Far from it!

DannaNani’s shortcomings largely come from being generally pleasant but forgettable. But also not generic, even though it doesn’t stand out. “Comfortable” is probably the word I’m looking for and if you need that at the end of a long day, DannaNani has 180 seconds just for you.

7_ogk

13 Silver / White-Haired Ladies of Fall ’14

hachiko

1. Hachiko

Ai Tenchi Muyo! – The silver-haired muscle of the student council, Hachiko shares her name with a famously loyal Japanese dog, and is similarly devoted to President Momo-sama. She’s almost constantly armed with her trusty bokken, and when she’s not, she devolves into a fearful, mewling child…though she did overcome that very large weakness on one occasion.

najenda

2. Najenda

Akame ga Kill! – The unquestioned general and leader of Night Raid, Najenda’s silver hair belies her mid-twenties age. While she presently sports a pixie cut, she once had a substantial braid.

muse

3. Muse

Amagi Brilliant Park – A fairy of water and the leader of the fairies of Elementario. Muse has a very energetic and cheerful personality and she is often seen with a smile on her face. Despite the lack of popularity of the Elementario, she still works hard. (Source: Wikipedia)

maho

4. Mochizuki Maho

Daitoshokan no Hitsujikai – Shiomi Academy’s Student Council President, the ethereal-haired Maho pressed hard for Kyoutarou to join the council, to no avail; he joined the library club instead. She also seems to have a thing for him.

fumio

5. Murakami Fumio

Girl Friend BETA – The quiet, bookish, cautious Fumio is ironically best friends with the energetic, gregarious, impulsive Mochizuki Erena, who considers Fumio her photography muse. Erena’s attention, support and friendship has improved Fumio’s self-worth, and shows the whole school that Fumio is a lot warmer and more amiable than her cool exterior suggests.

rara

6. Raraiya Monday

Gundam: G no Reconguista – Raraiya’s white hair has an odd green tinge to it, but aside from her striking appearance and propensity to spout “Chuchumy” as she tosses a goldfish-ball around, there’s not much to Rara-chan; at least not yet. She’s missing memories and does not yet possess the faculties to tell Bell, Noredo and the others who she is and where she came from.

chaikat

7. Chaika Trabant

Hitsugi no Chaika: Avenging Battle – Like Raraiya, Chaika has a unique way of speaking that can put some people off, but while she started out with considerable holes in her memory, Chaika was clear about two things: she’s the daughter of the deposed Emperor Gaz, and her mission is to gather his remains so she can give him a proper funeral. Of course, those things she thought she knew with such certainty have gradually crumbled as the truth about Gaz’s plots has come to light.

vivi

8. Vivi Holopainen

Hitsugi no Chaika: Avenging Battle – An involuntary newcomer to the Whitehair Club, shortly after learning her commanding officer and love interest Alberic Gillette died, she transformed into a kind of demi-Chaika, and was visited by Guy like the other Chaikas. Unlike Trabant and Bohdan, she’s only interested in gathering Gaz’s remains so she can keep them out of the hands of those who would use them for nefarious purposes that would upset the piece of the Six Nations. To her, that’s anyone that’s not her.

chaikab

9. Chaika Bohdan

Hitsugi no Chaika: Avenging Battle – A slightly more athletic-looking version of Trabant with bloomers and short hair, Bohdan has the same mission as Trabant as well, and believes Trabant to be an impostor.

twins

10-11. Alina & Irina Hartgen

Hitsugi no Chaika: Avenging Battle – A pair of twin Chaikas we know very little about, Hartgen, one of the heroes who took out Gaz, seems to have adopted them as his daughters, and are as devoted to him as Trabant and Bohdan are devoted to collecting their “father’s” remains.

hatoko

12. Kushikawai Hatoko

Inou-Battle wa Nichijou-kei no Naka de – The bubbly airhead of the Lit Club, Hatoko’s silvery hair has a pinkish tinge, and her superpower is control over the five elements of fire, water, earth, air, and light. She’s also Jurai’s childhood friend and has feelings for him now that they’re in high school, but she’s long repressed the frustration of not ever knowing what the hell he’s talking about, as revealed in a recent (and very powerful) rant.

yui

13. Furukawa Yui

Ushinawareta Mirai wo Motomete – While many of these pale ladies have mysterious pasts, it’s more accurate to say Yui has a mysterious – and likely lost – future…if we’re properly interpreting the clues surrounding her appearance and apparent mission.

Ai Tenchi Muyo! – 27

atm271

The higher-pitched flute during the title card announced that this would be the first “period” episode of ATM! since the 13th, but it decided to go back even farther than that to show us the connection between Momo and Beni. Beni, AKA Kurenai, was appointed the guardian of a baby Momo and the Jurai Royal Family gave her a spaceship, which she proceeded to crash land on Earth.

atm272

Tenchi, it would seem, hasn’t been as clueless as we thought, and once his mission of finding both Momo and Beni is complete, he hits the Reset Button on his smartphone (God, I love it when literal reset buttons pop up in shows!). An error occurs (he probably forgot to update the OS), everything goes dark, and a tear in the sky appears, sucking Tenchi and Momo in.

You gettin’ all this? Good. I guess the show will pick this back up in episode 41.

6_ses