Working!!! 3 – 10

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Souta and Kozue both have dreams about unpleasant experiences with their infamous mother Shizuka this week. Souta remembers being dressed as a girl against his will (perhaps a reason he has a fetish for cute things) while Kozue laments that her mother never remembers her name (perhaps a reason she drinks so much). However, she has a couple of friends who care about her (even if they have trouble always dealing with her) in Mitsuki and Youhei.

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The reason both siblings dream of their mother is that she’s apparently on her way to visiting her children after an untold amount of time away working. She reminds me of Chitoge’s mother, only we find out a lot less about her other than the fact she’s extremely busy and powerful and she seems to have a unique way of messing with her kids, from laughing at Kazue’s marriage, divorce, and reconciliation, to making Izumi cook despite protests she’ll die, to persistently forgetting Kozue, the middle child, even exists.

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While there still may be a part of her that still wants Souta in women’s clothing (and indeed, he’s dressed in drag independently for various reasons throughout Working’s run), his primary concern is that she’s found out he likes a girl, and he worries she’ll put said girl (Inami) under undue scrutiny. He vows to protect Inami no matter what, but his mixed reactions to her (bouncing his head off a wall, then walking her home with their hands closer together) continue to confuse Inami. One of these days, these two are going to figure it out. But then again, maybe they never will. Still, any glimmer of progress is appreciated.

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GOD EATER – 07

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In a welcome surprise, Lindow doesn’t simply lead Lenka and Alisa back to Fenrir; they take a detour into a forest—the sight of which amazes the two new-types—within which lies something even more unthinkable: a civilian settlement for those who Fenrir turned away…including the little girl in pink Lenka saved. The show packed a punch when it sent her off, but I’m glad the show didn’t carelessly discard the character for good. She is, among other things, the embodiment of the future Fenrir is fighting for.

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The reason the village is able to survive and even thrive is that the trees of the forest are really Aragami the people have raised as a protective barrier. Even so, large Aragami like Vajra can still force their way through. When a Vajra does just that, Alisa is soaking in a bathtub to try to clam her nerves and steady her hands, and failing at both. She knocks over the tub and crawls into a closet to hide. I like that the show has the guts to keep one of its strongest characters out of commission for the entirety of the crisis, upping the difficulty level for those able to fight.

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Lindow also peaces out for what reason we don’t know (though testing Lenka by risking all the people he worked so hard to protect doesn’t sound like a logical one). He sends Lenka to deal with the Vajra and protect the people by himself. Lenka is not to let anyone die, especially himself, and Lindow urges him to trust in his God Arc, even though we saw how ineffective it was last time Lenka tried to use it.

During this crisis, GOD EATER once again exposes its difficulty with pacing in such situations. As soon as Lenka returns to the village, the Vajra has already done a ton of damage, and you’d think he’d already killed a good number of settlers, but time seems to grind to a very noticeable crawl to halt as Lenka slowly figures out who and what he has to work with and what the plan should be. Honestly, it’s like the show presses “pause” on the Vajra attack.

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Fortunately, despite of Alisa’s emotional incapacitation, the episode is not bereft of proper Girl Power, as the unlikeliest (or most predictable, depending on how you look at it) person volunteers to help grab some ampules from the warehouse for Lenka to draw the Vajra away: the little girl in pink. She puts the lion in civilion (if civilan were spelled that way, of course), acting with uncommon courage and determination, and not only comes through for Lenka, but saves his life in the process.

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Also fortunately, the screeching halt of the action picks up nicely during the entirety of Lenka’s final gambit, squaring off with the Vajra David & Goliath style with his crossbow of ampules. When the Vajra halts its retreat and prepares to skewer him, Lenka finally figures out what Lindow meant by trusting in his God Arc by pumping an ampule into it, brining it back to life so he can use it to push the Vajra into the river. The other civvies finish the job by opening the damn, and good ol’ mass and gravity finish the job.

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It’s a great moral-boosting side-victory for Lenka; a performance that inspires the girl in pink, impressed Lindow, who knew he had it in  him, and worries Alisa, who is not happy that she’s been so useless of late, but has no idea how to fix it. Sure, she could get drugged back up in Fenrir, but the drugs can’t fix her underlying crippling fear of the Aragami, and she can’t be sure the drugs will always be around.

Alisa’s continued struggles continue to make her the one of the more interesting characters, and while I realize that’s not saying much on this show, her retreat from heroism absent courage-endowing drugs nicely mirrors the girl in pink’s progress absent exceptional strength or ability. It’s a dynamic that keeps me emotionally invested, though I’m also hoping Alisa doesn’t remain a defenseless damsel for too long.

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Shimoneta – 10

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Negotiations between SOX and Gathered Fabric go nowhere as Kajou condemns the group as a mere front for satisfying its members’ fetish for dirty underwear. The next morning, the rival group flexes its superior logistical muscles by sabotaging the monorail and hijacking 42 buses.

That sheer number confirms SOX is way out of its league from scale, logistics, and technical perspectives, considering how hard SOX has worked just to collect enough warm bodies to distribute porn in order to make a dent in society’s forced decency. It’s to the shorthanded SOX’s advantage then, that the hijackers on three of the buses are neutralized by non-SOX members.

An unintentionally badass Fuwa notices her hijacker’s gun is fake; a frustrated Anna hoping to win righteousness brownie points with Tanukichi beats the shit out of her hijacker; Goriki strips down to reveal he wears women’s lingerie, forcing the entire bus into a fit of nausea.

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That last incident is also the most revealing character-wise, as Goriki has gone from StuCo stooge to a complex individual in his own right whom, like Anna, might be in SOX were it not for his ultra-conservative conditioning. It also seems more and more like he has feelings for Tanukichi, though those feelings continue to be treated with sophomoric frivolity.

But at the end of the day, GF is still in the driver’s seat, with 39 buses under their control. Heck, they even have the Decency Squad HQ openly discussing what color underwear their female colleagues wear, and in some cases whether they wear any at all. Kajou arranges to bait White Peak, AKA Ichinose Takuma, into a trap where they can capture him and proceed with clearing up the differences between GF and SOX to a confused world.

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The trap works, but only to a point: Tanukichi is able to occupy Peak long enough for Kajou to arrive and spout some pretty good monologue about the value of one’s own scent, but in an episode where so many non-SOX members help SOX, it’s an acutal member that ends up screwing them over, and not in a particularly surprising or creative way.

That’s right, after being hardly in the episode (aside from a somewhat unnecessary scene in Tanukichi’s apartment where she’s called upon to procure bait), Kosuri shows her true colors as predicted, literally throwing Kajou under the bus and pledging herself to Ichinose and GF, having lost her faith in SOX’s lighter touch.

It was bad enough when Kosuri was introduced as a little-sister figure and redundant harem member; it’s verging on unacceptable that she could now be the one to bring SOX down from the inside. Still, my money’s still on the group that’s more often than not helped, intentionally or not, by the likes of Anna, Fuwa, and Goriki. The fight to salvage this show from the bane that is Kosuri continues.

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