The Eminence in Shadow – 15 – Riding the Wave

One thing that keeps me coming back to Eminence is that it’s just plain fun as hell watching Cid having fun. And with the Sanctuary arc all wrapped up and the Bushin Festival gearing up, he’s having a ton of fun this week in particular.

It’s also fun watching his idea of fun, which isn’t just to sign up for the festival and obliterate everyone. Nah, there’s an order to this, and he wants to build up some mystique. Gamma gives him a new face and identity for this purpose: the on-the-nose “Mundane Mann”.

Between his weak look, wan complexion, poor posture, he becomes an immediate target for stronger fighters to warn him off the festival, starting with the very polite and to-the-point Annerose, one of the favorites to win it all. She tells Cid to back out now to avoid permanent harm.

Cid asks her to kindly not judge a book by its cover, but when a much larger Quinton picks a fight, Cid exercises discipline and doesn’t show his hand. He lets the guy wail on him, which is free marketing for how unlikely a champion this Mundane Mann guy is.

Annerose asks Quinton to stop lest she step in, and apologizes to “Mundane” for letting things get so out of hand. She says it’s better for him to get his ass beat now than enter the Bushin Festival and suffer even greater pain from certain defeat.

But when Cid simply hops back up and strolls away, Annerose is confused; even after being beaten on by that guy for that long, he doesn’t seem hurt at all! It’s a subtle but very effective strategy by Cid to get Annerose thinking maybe there is something to this weakling.

Since Bushin is held in Rose’s hometown, she and Cid end up bumping into each other at a fountain, after Cid has a thorough chat with Skel regarding betting over “Tuna King” burgers. Rose reports that she, Beta (in her alias as Natsume Kafka) and Alexia have become fast friends.

She also says she has a prior engagement: her father is going to introduce her to her fiancé Perv Asshat (what a name). She’s not looking forward to it. But she’s determined to live her live as a dark knight, something she’s always wanted to be since she watched a younger cid fighting those brigands years ago. That’s right: Rose met and fell for Cid far earlier than she realizes—and she wouldn’t be the knight she is without him!

The next day, the preliminary matches begin, and Cid tags along with Skel as the latter continues to bore him with his betting strategies. Skel does end up attracting another fighter, Goldy Gilded, the Ever-Victorious Golden Dragon (Skel murders the name many times.)

Goldy tells Skel that he assesses fighters and assigns a “power level” to each of them. Cid slips away to take a dump, and moments later Mundane Mann arrives. Goldy doesn’t think much of Mundane, giving him a scant 33 versus over 1,300 for his opponent.

And yet, in the blink of an eye, Mundane’s opponent is out cold on the ground and Mundane is the winner, which means he’ll be Goldy’s next opponent. Goldy is confident, and Annerose is intrigued by what she (and likely no one else) saw—Mundane delivering a devastating double punch to the loser’s chin. All of this is just what Cid wants to create more anti-hype with a tinge of mystique.

The next morning, however, Cid’s fun looks destined to be curbed, as Skel bursts in with a newspaper article alleging that Rose stabbed her fiancé and ran off. I don’t think that’s what Cid meant when he suggested that she “relax”! I know Cid is pretty indifferent towards most people, but maybe it’s different with Rose? Will he try to track Rose down in time to make his match with Goldy?

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Urusei Yatsura – 13 – Snack Wars

When the faculty arranges for a blanket crackdown on off-campus snacking, the students are ready to fight back, with Ataru and his boundless charisma leading the charge. Mendou joins the adults as part of the “Covert Civility Patrol”, but allows all the girls (and guys disguised as girls) to pass when they sweet-talk him.

A madcap game of guy in cat mascot costume-and-mouse around the nearby shopping district ensues, complete with dramatic music to punctuate the “snack wars”, with the store owners and employees helping out the students since they give them their business. Unfortunately for Ataru, he’s force-fed a chili-filled okonomiyaki by Lum when she sees him flirting with a server.

The battle ends in a stalemate, and the episode moves on to Lum, Shinobu, Sakura, and Ran at a café, taking turns feeding the adorable Ten while Ataru stews outside. When talk turns to Sakura’s fiance, Ten space mail-orders a “Lovey-Dovey Crystal Ball” which tells each of the girls who they’re destined to marry. A lot of bombshells drop: Ran with…Ataru? Lum with…Rei? Sakura with…Ataru and Mendou??

The kicker is when Shinobu reveals that she saw Sakura’s fiancé. Then the three guys come in and much relationship rancor ensues, as no one is happy with the prospective husband they saw in the crystal ball (except for Ataru and Mendou, of course). Ten learns that the ball actually shows you your worst match you should avoid at all costs, but gets the real Lovey-Dovey Crystal Ball too late to stem the chaos the first ball wrought.

DanMachi IV – 13 – Hello Despair

Bell runs into two spots of good luck: he’s able to cause a cave-in with his Fire Bolt before the Juggernaut can kill them, and Ryuu wakes up. Despite him urging her to heal herself, she uses the remainder of her magic to heal him instead, deeming herself too far gone.

Naturally, Bell rejects her insistence that he leave her behind. He doesn’t think he’ll last long in this place, but he’ll last a lot longer if he’s not alone. And even if Ryuu can’t walk, she has knowledge and senses Bell doesn’t. So they trudge on through the deep dark.

Tsubaki joins a growing group of adventurers who have heard about the trouble in the Dungeon and are headed down to lend aid to Hestia Familia. Unfortunately they might already be too late, as Amphibaena gets its second wind, leaps out of the water then crashes back in, causing a tsunami that throws what had been a well-oiled machine into chaos.

Tsubaki isn’t able to shield herself from a wall of water and ice that hits her head on, sending her sinking into the water while piranhas gnaw at her shoulder and legs. With one of their most powerful members out of commission, all the confidence the party had been building up is suddenly extinguished.

When Bell and Ryuu spot a pulsing light in the distance, he identifies it as the magic light stone from an adventurer’s lantern. Alas, the adventurers they find are nothing but skeletons, and the lantern soon burns out. Having been so buoyed by the prospect of salvation only to have it snatched away, Bell loses his nerve.

Ryuu calls it “Mind Down”, no doubt an effect of the Dungeon caused by intense hopelessness and despair. She manages to drag herself, broken, bloody leg and all, close enough to slap Bell back into coherence, and tells him all hope is not lost; they’ve managed to find an isolated room where they can rest, if only for five minutes each.

Ryuu volunteers to take the first watch, but the moment Bell nods off (he’s clearly exhausted) she starts to sweat profusely; clearly she’d been trying to appear less badly injured than she really is to Bell. This is what it’s come to: with Ryuu not entirely sure she’ll be able to stay conscious for five minutes.

That said, just the fact Bell and Ryuu can rest makes them better off than the rest of the familia. Once they all surface, Amphisbaena comes roaring back, more aggressive than ever. When it blue breath targets Lili and Cassandra, Haruhime shoves them out of the way and takes the breath head on.

Now the party could be without Mikoto and Haruhime, maybe food good, and the battle is far from over with reinforcements still punishingly far away. Things are not going well!

Rating: 4/5 Stars

%d bloggers like this: