Urusei Yatsura – 23 (Fin) – They’re All Winners

The season 1 finale of Urusei Yatsura is given over entirely to the Tomo-1 Queen Contest teased last week. Seemingly entirely arranged by Ataru, it’s a multi-faceted competition that draws upon the myriad skills and specialties of its five finalists: Lum, Shinobu, Ran, Sakura, and Ryuunosuke. None of them are especially enthusiastic about participating, but a 150,000 yen prize is nothing to sneeze at.

The challenges range from “guess what’s in the box” (Ten with a watermelon, guessed by Ryuu) to bottomless ramen bowls (won by noted glutton Sakura), culminating in a five-woman final battle in which everyone dons wrestling boots and swimsuits (though Ryuu eschews a bikini top for the traditional binding). Knowing she’s at a strength disadvantage, Ran kisses Ryuu, Shinobu, and Sakura, sapping their energy.

That backfires spectacularly, as the five women aren’t fighting each other per se, they have to go up against five wild beasts from the local zoo (Ataru ensured the event was heavily promoted and full of advertisements). For some reason, the beasts are anthropomorphic, otherwise they’d tear our girls to bits.

When Sakura gets ensnared in an Anaconda’s grip, Lum buys time with her electro-kicks for Ran to re-kiss everyone she kissed and give them back their superhuman strength. The battle finishes with all five women teaming up to K-O all five beasts.

Then, curioulsy, the judges determine that the result of the Queen Contest is a five-way-tie, due in part (or rather mostly) because they forgot to keep score as the battle royale got more chaotic. Ataru presents the consolation prize: 30,000 yen worth of takoyaki waffles, and then all the series’ characters come out of the woodwork to join the lunacy. Even Kurama, who hasn’t been seen in months, makes an appaearance.

At the end of the day, the one to profit the most is Ataru, thanks to all the kickbacks he got from the businesses he advertised throughout the contest. As he counts his money, Lum voices her frustration, and Ataru ends up tripping and almost falling straight into a kiss with Lum. Their lips are only inches apart before Ataru withdraws.

Before Lum can get her Darling to declare her the “Queen of his heart”, a still-furious Sakura and Shinobu track him down to beat the stuffing out of him for everything he made them go through. As they chase him into the sunset, with Lum taking flight to join the pursuit, the sun sets on Urusei Yatsura, but only for now.

After the credits, Ataru and Lum announce a Part 2 will air in 2024. As it’s been a great-looking diversion for these last twenty-three weeks, I see no reason not to tune back in!

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Urusei Yatsura – 22 – Darling, I Shrunk Myself

When Ten buys an innocuous glass bottle from a scarecrow inventor in the trippy “4D Forest” then points it towards Lum, it sucks her in and shrinks her to just a few inches tall. She decides to use this mishap as an excuse to get Ataru to pamper her, but Ataru suspects something is up. When he overhears her owning up to it, he stashes her in a birdcage so he can (fail to) pick up chicks.

Ten, who “rushed” off at his normal leisurely pace to purchase a “big bottle” to restore Lum to her normal size, learns that the scarecrow has become disillusioned and has started to destroy all his bottles, he “rushes” to grab his scooter so he can actually rush with Ataru and Lum back to the forest before the last big bottle is smashed.

They just make it in time to restore Lum, by which time a tearful Ataru is relieved. Lum, who had finally decided she couldn’t trust Ataru, isn’t sure how to react to his affection, except that it’s what she wanted all along, so I guess it worked out. She punishes him by making him wear the birdcage on his head while they walk to school arm in arm.

The next segment features an adorable little sentient fox who takes one look at Shinobu and falls desperately in love, only to find her walking with Ataru. Identifying his rival, the fox disguises himself as a diminutive Ataru and goes to school, convincing everyone that something has happened to Ataru until the real Moroboshi arrives with Lum.

The fox’s gig is up, and the boys go after him, worried he’s a fox demon trying to possess Shinobu. But it’s Shinobu herself who stops them, insisting he doesn’t mean any harm and was only paying her back for picking him up and taking him to the authorities when she thought he was a lost pet. The fox then transforms into a miniature version of their teacher, with which all the students are on board.

After the credits, a show-within-a-show called the Tomo-1 Queen Contest  begins, whittling down eight candidates for the title of Queen of the School down to Lum, Shinobu, Sakura, Ran, and Ryuu, to be picked up next week in at least part of next week’s finale. What Urusei Yatsura may have lacked in serialized development, it mostly makes up for with its vast variety of characters, entertaining situations, effective voice performances, and slick retro visuals.

To Your Eternity – S2 20 (Fin) – Peace Taking Root

Fushi, still borrowing Bon’s body until he gets all his vessels back, per Bon’s wishes, enjoys one final meal with his friends and comrades old and new. After everyone discusses their dreams going forward, he declares that Eko has died, and she soon joins Ghost Bon in ghost form. Fushi isn’t ready to bring her or others back until the world is free of Nokkers.

March is understandably upset to be losing her child once again, but Fushi cannot continue spreading his roots to every corner of the world and defeat all the Nokkers without ceasing to be an individual person during that time. March still won’t leave his side, and is ultimately euthanized, which seems damned extreme if you ask me!

That said, March was on borrowed time and was resurrected by accident in the first place. It’s also not goodbye if she passes here and now, because one day Fushi will be back and so will anyone or everyone he loved, if he so wishes.

Another who cannot live without the being he was literally bred to love is Kahaku, who manages to off himself by jumping into the Bennett equivalent of Mount Doom and kill the Nokker living within him, releasing the vessels it stole back to Fushi.

Some time passes, and Fushi’s roots continue to spread throughout the world, becoming an omnipresent part of everyday life. Then one day, without warning, Prince Bonchien Nikolai La Tasty Peach Uralis returns to his family, who immediately glom onto him and shower him with love. Then, one by one, the Beholder describes how all of Fushi’s immortal allies die, each of them for better or worse living the lives they wanted to live.

Time passes…a lot of time. The days of Prince Bon, Uralis, and Renril represented a high renaissance-like era. But when he finally awakens as the Boy (at his original age), he finds himself in a modern metroplolis of skyscrapers, cars, cafés…and his roots.

In this age, the Nokkers are (presumably) all gone, and Fushi is everywhere. His eyes turn from yellow to purple, likely for good. As for what he’ll do in this age, who (if anyone) he’ll bring back, and who he’ll meet, we’ll have to wait for a confirmed Season 3. Until then, mata ne, Pink Blood.

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Urusei Yatsura – 21 – Urusei Babies

This week we get a flashback to when Lum, Benten, Oyuki and Ran were being oppressed by their teacher when they were little tykes. Only their school is in space, their teacher is a robot, and they’re doing most of the oppressing with increasingly violent pranks. As a fan of Muppet Babies, it was great to see these characters as rugrats but still fundamentally themselves, and the all-star voice cast nails their younger versions, as you’d expect.

We also get a good idea about the group dynamics at this early stage in the four “friends'” lives: Benten is the aggressive ringleader, Lum enthusiastically goes along with her mischief, Oyuki doesn’t stop them but merely observes and keeps her hands clean, and Ran always tries and fails to stop them, and always faces the same consequences they do. We already see her fury-ridden alter-ego being forged.

In the present, the four girls are concerned when Oyuki reports that Planet Urchin is being redeveloped, because that’s where they left CAO-2-sensei—stuck and trapped alone on one of those spikes for the better part of a decade. Luckily for them, once he’s free all he desires to to clap them with chalk dust one last time before going on his way. That clapping does involve destroying the wall of their café, but this show rarely dwells on property damage.

The second segment is a little less inventive due to the return to earth (I love it when we’re out in space, and the alien and school designs are weirder), involving Ryouko deciding to make a voodoo doll of her brother …because she’s bored? When he realizes what she’s done he pulls his katana on her, which does him no favors.

Ryouko cannot resist the temptation to do horrible things to the Mendou doll (and thus Mendou himself), so she leaves it in the care of someone she believes she can trust to keep it safe: Ataru. Ataru wears it around his neck at all times because Ryouko asked him, but this is not great for Mendou, as Ataru takes a lot of punishment throughout an average day, and he feels everything Ataru feels.

Initially, Mendou acts to everyone like he’s suddenly being a stand-up guy dedicated to keeping his friends Ataru safe. But then he confirms that Ataru has the doll of him, and that makes Ataru aware of what the doll can do to Mendou. Mendou in turn, makes a doll of Ataru, and the two spar in the most pointless battle imaginable, in which they each dole out the exact same amount of harm to one another with every attack.

Rating: 4/5 Stars

To Your Eternity – S2 19 – Old Dog, New Tricks

When Bon stabs himself and his blood spills on the Fushi orb, Fushi wakes up as Bon, which means now he can see ghosts, including the ghost of Bon, along with his two ever-present ghost buddies. Bon then presents Fushi with Tonari and Ligard, Gugu, Oniguma and March, telling him he can resurrect them all like he’s done with Kai, Hylo, and Messar (who are also present).

Having Fushi (albeit in Bon form) finally be reunited with old friends thought long dead is the highlight of an episode that will have a lot more positive developments come. Fushi almost calling March “Mama”, Gugu’s big bear hug, Horse pushing Tonari into the group hug, Messar freaking out over the actual giant white bear…it’s all great stuff.

Needless to say, it’s also great to see these folks alive and in the flesh (and indeed, the ED has been previewing the return of this particular group). Because they’re all back with their various skills and also immortal like the three warriors, they start to turn the tide of a battle that was quickly going sideways. Forget a gamble; if Bon hadn’t passed his ghost-seeing ability to Fushi, Renril would have surely fallen to the Nokkers.

I was a little confused by what was going on last week, but the Nokker in Eko’s arm (formerly in Kahaku’s arm) saved her from jumping off the tower so it could save itself. Kahaku tracks it down, and it sprouts Nokker flesh zombies of all of the vessels it stole from Fushi. After a brief tussle, Kahaku convinces the Nokker to return to his body, and he’ll promise to keep it alive by continuing the Guardians’ breeding program…only in isolation.

That necessarily means that Kahaku must part ways with his beloved Fushi, regretting that he and his descendants couldn’t do more for him in the past two hundred years. I think he’s selling himself short, as if nothing else, had his arm Nokker not taken all of Fushi’s remaining vessels, the circumstances might not have coalesced to allow Fushi to not only ressurect a bunch of his old friends and allies, but Renril’s soldiers and citizens as well.

Further realization of Fushi’s powers results in an accelerated expansion of his body, and the more people he resurrects, the further back the Nokkers are pushed, until by the time dawn arrives, not a single Nokker remains in the city or within Fushi’s senses. With the great battle won thanks to Fushi reaching more of his possibly boundless potential, the final episode can be about both celebration of victory, and those he brought back deciding how they’ll all move forward.

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Urusei Yatsura – 20 – Never Break the Chain

UY spends a decent chunk offworld this week as we check in on Benten, who gets knocked out by mushroom gas and has the chain she wears like a sash stolen. After getting a bath at Lums (with Ataru nowhere in sight), the two head to Oyuki’s on Neptune, where she has a package for Oyuki.

It’s a VHS tape of all things, with what amounts to a diss track from three middle schoolers who aspire to be as cool and badass as Benten, Lum, and Oyuki. They are Ginger, Sugar, and Snake, and if nothing else they have decent video production and choreography skills. When Lum and Oyuki bristle at the idea they’re “punksters”, Benten reminds them they always followed her into trouble.

Benten races off (without the map to the duel), and is followed by Lum, who is there for her friend, and Oyuki, who wants to be compensated for the VCR and projector Benten smashed out of rage. They end up meeting the three little twerps in a popular cafe on Earth of all places. They produce Benten’s chain, run off, and basically tell their senpais to come and take it.

In the ensuing chase, we learn Sugar can turn invisible, Ginger can play dead, and Snake can shed her skin. But none of these things are enough against Lum’s flight and electricity, not to mention Benten’s brawn and Oyuki’s…well, Oyuki is just kind of along for the ride!

The chill’uns end up luring Benten, Lum, and Oyuki to a vacant lot where their “computer” SALT #1, a giant metal Big Boy mascot that computed their duel strategy, lands right on top of its targets, who are lucky to have been right below a pitfall. SALT #1 then runs out of juice, and when it is replenished with veggie oil, barfs up hundreds of seemingly identical chains and launches back into space.

But before it does, Benten, Lum, and Oyuki are stuck under its foot in very close quarters. In the heat of the battle, Lum melted Benten’s chain into ash, and while she’s guilty about it, she’s not about to own up to it, lest Benten in her fury take her most prized possession: Darling. So she electrocutes Benten, asking her what’s more important, her stupid chain, or her friends?

While Oyuki comes up with a beautiful and romantic theory about a fellow biker dude giving Benten the chain as a memento, the truth is far more mundane: the chain is the key to Benten’s house. This is why Benten was locked out of her home for ten days and had to bathe at Lum’s—she didn’t have a spare.

To add insult to injury, she unknowingly left her back door open, which allowed the brats to break in, produce another chain, and dare their senpais to give chase once more. But at this point Benten is home and happy, Lum is stewing in her underwhelm-ment, and Oyuki is sippin’ tea. Playtime’s over, punks! Go back to school!

Rating: 4/5 Stars

To Your Eternity – S2 18 – Bringing Out the Deathless

March is just a hair too late to reunite with her “child”, as all of Fushi’s vessels are stolen from the Nokker in Kahaku’s arm. When he chops that arm off, it escapes and runs off, leaving a distraught Kahaku, March…and Horse. So what now? March gets on Horsey and rides to find a doctor.

Her path takes her through swarms of Nokkers overruning the city and its defenses, which are now crippled because there’s no Fushi to repair structures or replenish ammo. The three immortal warriors are also out of commission. All hell is breaking loose. But March does manage to attract Bon’s attention. He comes to Booze Man’s house, and is soon follow by Eko, who recovers Fushi in orb form, still attacked to the city.

Bon believes the only way to bring Fushi back is to remind him of the sights, sounds, and smells of the ones he absorbed, since there’s still something of them within him in that orb. He achieves this by stabbing himself, dying, and becoming one of the ghosts that once haunted him. Then he, Gugu, and all the other dead vessels place their ghost hands on the orb, in hopes of bringing him back.

That resurrection can’t come soon enough, as Renril has been all but lost to the relentless Nokkers, who as we know are determined to “free” every person on earth from their physical bodies. A desperate fight outside the hospital ends with Kamu getting smashed by a Nokker ball, then Sera getting arrows in the back from what appear to be Nokker-controlled metal puppets.

Eko, who has a Nokker infecting her arm, spends a good deal of the final third of the episode preparing to leap off the tower (a scene foretold in the OP), but that arm stops her fall, and from it emerges Fushi’s head, this time with those purple eyes Bon bestowed upon him way back when. I am not entirely sure what is going on, but it definitely was a lot, and I can only hope that the fortunes of Fushi, his friends, allies, and the people of Renril will improve when all’s said and done.

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Urusei Yatsura – 19 – Pickled Pink

Ataru, Lum, Shinobu, Ryuu, and three dudes from class are invited to Mendou’s vast family compound to meet his horde of prized octopuses. We’d previously Ryouko walking them when Mendou was unable to, and now we see how important they are as a living symbol of the proud Mendou clan. Everyone else…tries to keep an open mind.

In a facility that spares no expense in recreating an Antarctic environment dwells the Matsuchiyo, Mendous’ most special octopus. But when he reveals himself, he’s identical to the other octopuses…only blue. Because nearly every character in this show is rude as hell, the insults about how underwhelming Matsuchiyo is compared to the build-up.

But octopuses are very emotional creatures, and Matsuchiyo gets distraught and flees the Antarctic environment for the adjacent rainforest environment. There, the kids encounter leaches and leopards, and learn that Matsuchiyo is “special” because he grows to enormous size in high temperatures. The girls are snatched in his tentacles, the guys hesitate and bumble, and Lum manages to save the day with her electricity.

Her and her cousin Ten’s alien physiology, while extremely resistant to intense spicy heat, appears to have a weakness: the famously sour pickled umeboshi plums. When Ataru feeds Ten one, the little rugrat gets completely sloshed and starts hiccuping flames. When Lum eats one, she gets drunk, rips off her uniform, and goes on a drunken rampage.

As she glides haphazardly through the halls, she shifts wildly from lovey-dovey to tearful to enraged, all of those emotions centered on Ataru, whom she blames for looking for Ten before her. That said, Ataru isn’t the only victim of her electricity (or Ten’s fire): anyone in her path gets zapped. Unlike Matsuchiyo being neutralized, this skit ends without resolution, leaving us without a hungover Lum.

That said, the episode ends with a collective threat from three aliens who appear to be the self-professed nemeses of Lum, Ran, and Benten. They’re planning to attack the other girls, starting with Benten. Will they pose a serious threat to the status quo on Earth…or will their personality flaws be their undoing, like basically everyone else in the show?

To Your Eternity – S2 17 – No Exit

When Fushi spots March’s tiny handprint on the wall, indicating that she’s alright, he recreates her body and disconnects it, just as he does for the three immortal warriors. The body doesn’t come to life because March is still alive somewhere in the city. Fushi just doesn’t know that. No one does.

Hylo faces a moral crisis of sorts when he encounters a thief breaking evac protocols. The old man doesn’t care about consequences, he was born and raised in prison and never had a roof of his own under his head. Hylo lets him go, but that same thief ends up killing a young boy when he robs a house. Is he damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t?

The biggest blow to the immortal allies, however, is Messar. He arrives at the palace to find Alme mourning the death of her father the king. Then she runs to the nearest balcony to jump off, and he catches her. He lifts her veil to reveal she’s become infected by Nokkers. He’s forced to kill her, then asks Fushi to bring her back to life. He produces a copy of Alme’s body, but there’s no sign of life.

Being asked to bring Alme back reinforces Fushi’s suspicion that Bon, who gathered the three allies, is keeping something from him (which is true!). That’s confirmed when Bon says he can’t discuss it until the battle is over and won. He won’t talk about it, just as he hasn’t brought it up ever, because he doesn’t want to shoulder Fushi with yet one more thing.

And yet, in the closing hours of this, just the fourth day of the Battle of Renril, the weight Fushi already carries threatens to crush him. His nose is almost always bleeding, forcing him to shift from one vessel to another constantly. Kahaku frees himself (by killing Kai), then accidentally kills the three when they resurrect at the Booze Man’s house for dinner.

Fushi initially says he wants “a breather”, but then confides in Kahaku that he wants this al to end. The constant death, pain, anxiety, and creeping  defeat as the Nokkers continue their relentless advance—it’s all too much. Kahaku says he’ll help Fushi, but then his left arm suddenly goes berserk, tearing and slashing at Fushi’s vessels one by one.

In the midst of this, the March he unknowingly resurrected bursts through the door, having been brought there by Horse. She scuffles with Kahaku and his arm, begging him not to kill Fu-chan. His mother, the one who named him two centuries ago, is finally here. Will she be able to save him not just from this assault, but his own feelings of despair and futility?

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Urusei Yatsura – 18 – Love Is Chemical War

Our episode starts with a needless mini-recap of who Ataru and Lum are, and then we’re off to a sequence where Lum very carefully prepares a very special lipstick in the onboard lab of an orbiting Oni spaceship. It’s special because it enables whoever wears it to be drawn to someone else wearing it like a magnet.

Lum is sick of her Darling never being kissy-kissy with her, but underestimates his speed and agility when he doesn’t want to be kissed. My question to him is, what is so wrong with Lum that he can’t accept her as a partner? I guess it really is about the having, not the getting.

To that end, Ataru pretends to throw the lipstick out the window, but secretly takes it to school to use on the cutest honey available. It’s kind of cruel to give her something she thinks is in good faith, but Ataru pays for it since her fists and feet get to his face before her lips do. With Mendou wanting to kiss Lum and all the girls wanting to kiss him, chaos ensues.

When the class votes to do yaminabe, a kind of potluck hot pot in which you’re allowed to put anything you want in the pot, Lum again breaks out the heavy equipment to make a bizarre complextion that resembles a bit konpeitou, but when both a dog and Ataru taste it, their mouths (and other orifices) become red and inflamed.

Turns out Lum, and likely all Oni, prefer incredibly spicy food (she guzzles habanero sauce with glee). One wonders, then, why she’d hate garlic of all things. I guess it’s less the heat and more the unique odor. Ataru stuffs himself with garlic, but by the time he gets to his room where Lum is, she has an air freshener spray at the ready to counteract his funk.

Lum really gets into the spirit of yaminabe by putting all the things she likes in the pot, including one of her special spicy candies. This renders most of the pot inedible to all, and only she, Atari, and Shinobu are still upright by the end of the first few minutes.

In a game where you have to eat what you take out of the pot with your chopsticks, Shinobu gets fish bones, Lum gets a wooden sandal, and Ataru actually gets the “chomchomp”, a vegetable Ten specifically got for him from a passing interplanetary grocery vender. True to its name, the chomchomp ends up trying to eat Ataru.

It’s a week with another pair of fairly diverting skits, but far from any serialized character development, if anything Ataru and Lum have gone backwards; at best, they’re standing still as a couple.

I know, I know; this resolutely isn’t the kind of show that cares about character development, in fact, its characters are meant to be awful jerks who never learn. But that makes the times it looks like Lum and Ataru have turned a corner sting all the more when they essentially reset in the next skit or episode.

The Eminence in Shadow – 20 (Fin) – Just Getting Started

Before she knew it, Princess Iris, who not only believed she was the strongest fighter in her kingdom, but needed to believe it, was beaten. Mundane Mann’s sword lingered at her throat. He could have taken her life ay any moment, and she knew it. Not taking her life, showing mercy, isn’t what enrages Iris.

It’s when Mann lowers his sword, without even asking if she yields, because something else has gotten his attention. He thinks so little of her as his opponent he can not only turn away, but leave the battlefield. Of course, it’s so Cid can stop Rose from getting herself killed, then face off against an even stronger opponent in Beatrix.

Cid and Beatrix cross blades so quickly as they guide through the rainy sky, they almost look like fireworks. But soon the two-person dance gains a third partner. Iris isn’t done with Shadow; not by a long shot. Unfortunately for her and Beatrix, he is simply in another league when it comes to speed, strength, and precision. He even fights them with his beloved crowbars!

Meanwhile, Rose is free, but asks herself in a dark alley, what now? Alpha appears to give her two options: try to save her kingdom by going it alone, which will almost surely end in failure and death…or join Shadow Garden and prove both she and Oriana are worth saving.

Of all the women Cid has dueled with, Annerose definitely gets off the easiest; she’s a picture of tranquility as Iris and Beatrix throw everything they have at Shadow in the background. Bon Voyage, Annerose!

It takes some sustained futility for Iris and Beatrix to finally agree to work together, which consists of Iris using one of her flashier fire attacks with her enchanted mithril sword—the use of which she earlier agreed is underhanded, but she has no choice.

She aims to stop Shadow even if it costs her her life, but even her best attack doesn’t even hit, nor does Beatrix’s, which she executes after charging up with a cool display of whirling geometric shapes. Iris ends up face down on the ground, and Beatrix soon joins her, Shadow stomping them both into submission.

When Iris tells Shadow that their attack has only been stalling for time, the entire Knight’s Order has mustered, and there’s nowhere for him to run, Cid breaks out his loudest, most drawn-out, supervillainous (excuse me: supereminancious) laugh yet. Run? Run where? Why?

No, Shadow is staying right where he is, because playtime is over. Cid really chews into the clichés here, and just generally has an absolute blast—literally, as he covers the capital in an eerie purple dome, then unleashes I AM ATOMIC as the ultimate battle-ending coup-de-grace.

But—and this is key—this I AM ATOMIC is totally benign; just a glorified puff of smoke that allows him to withdraw of his own accord. When Beatrix and Iris come to, the rain is gone, the sky is clear and blue, and a rainbow arches over them. Beatrix is her usual stoic self, but Iris starts blubbering like a child. I’ll say this for Shadow, she brings out a side of Iris no one else can!

Speaking of women he negatively affected, remember Sherry Barnett? I do! And she makes a quick cameo in the ending minutes of the episode that serve as an epilogue. She’s itching to fight and kill him, while Asshat get scolded by his Cult superior, trying to frame his failure as a positive since it resulted in the destabilization of Oriana.

As for Cid Kagenou, he continues to not be killed by his sister, and is back on the train to the temporary buildings where dark knight academy classes take place until Gamma’s conglomerate rebuilds the academy. The Seven Shades are hard at work both in the shadows and in broad daylight, doing what must be done.

Rose wisely decides to join Shadow Garden, but learns that it won’t be a picnic. After walking dozens of miles, she and Alpha reach the Garden’s secluded headquarters, ancient city of Alexandria, which gives off some serious Nazarick vibes.

There, Alpha hands Rose of to Lambda, who tells her her life and identity up to that point are over and meaningless. With one swipe, Rose’s clothes—and more distressingly, her beloved burger wrapper—are torn to shreds. But before long, “Number 666”, as she has been re-named, will likely have a sleek slime suit of her own—and renewed purpose.

The Eminence in Shadow appropriately and perfectly concludes with its namesake character, once again playing Moonlight Sonata in a dark, dramaticaly lit room filled with drifting feathers. It is only the latest of many carefully-orchestrated “set pieces” Cid is not only fond of, but lives for.

With his army and background influence growing and his enemies sharpening their swords, there’s a ton that could be done in a theoretical second season. If and when that season becomes a reality, I’ll be right there, parked in my comfy Ikea chair, ready to watch Cid act like a endearing goofball and a breathless badass simultaneously. But for now, Eminence goes out on the highest of notes.

To Your Eternity – S2 16 – Cheat Code

Fueled by rage and his hatred of Nokkers, Fushi punches it into overdrive, constantly transforming into different vessels once he gets exhausted, which happens at different intervals with different vessels. Then, when the Nokkers have Fushi cornered, he is rescued … by Kai, Hylo, and Messar, who have been resurrected.

We later learn Bon did so by disconnecting the bodies from Fushi by cutting the rope. It’s Bon’s way of easing Fushi into the realization that he is capable of resurrecting dead people; the three warriors are a trial run. Fushi puts them to good use, but in cases where he transports them from one distant location to another, the fastest way to do so is for them to die.

As the logistics of defending Renril continue to grow in complexity as the battle rages on, the cycle of death and rebirth, and recycling of material (both rubble and corpses) takes on a nightmarish scale and level of efficiency. Fushi can pretty much infinitely conjure crossbow bolts, gun bullets, and the bodies of his three deathless allies.

This is the kind of shit that gives Kahaku pause, because the more Fushi takes on and creates with his expanding powers, the more he risks losing his humanity. You can see it in his relatively blank expression when the warriors decide to kill themselves as a shortcut.

When Kamu and the other citizen soldiers restrain Kahaku, they fear he’s a Nokker (he also cuts off Yuiss’ arm because she got infected, so he really saved her life). Kahaku, perhaps given unique perpective by his left arm, still sees “the black demon” as the ultimate puppet master and not someone deserving of loyalty.

Kahaku is on Fushi’s side; the only one looking after his well-being as a person. Everyone else considers that a luxury they can’t afford, they, including Bon, need him operating at peak efficiency and, where the Nokkers are concerned, peak lethality.

So it’s heartening as Fushi continues to get swept up in a maelstrom of death and destruction with no end in sight, he happens to spot March’s unmistakable calling card: a handprint that indicates she’s “doing great”. I wish I could say the same of Fushi!

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Urusei Yatsura – 17 – If Wishes Were Bras

This week’s outing is evenly split between two stories, the first chronicling Ryuunosuke’s quest to obtain her first bra and cast away her chest binding. It all starts with Shinobu being stalked and photographed by three delinquents from a neighboring highschool whose boss is infatuated with her. Ryuunosuke is walking by, so Shinobu gloms onto her, and the hoodlums assume she’s Shinobu’s guy.

When Ryuunosuke informs them she’s a girl (with her fists), the delinquents work out a deal with her: a 5,000-yen gift certificate (enough to buy a bra) if they can snap a bunch of photos of her on a date with Shinobu so their boss will stop barking up the wrong tree.

Ryuunosuke, with just a scant 400 yen to her name and no concept of inflation, grudgingly agrees, even though she could simply borrow a bra for free from any of the girls in her class.

These photos must be convincing, so Ryuunosuke and Shinobu dress up for their date. When Ryuunosuke applies the same passion she has for fighting to date with Shinobu, she’s rewarded with a slap for being too forward and Shinobu’s concern she may actually have the hots for her.

Adding to the complexity of the situation is that Ataru is not okay with Ryuunosuke dating Shinobu, whom he is still pining after, and Lum keeping Ataru honest.

At the end of the day, we know Shinobu’s prime criterion for dating is good looks, so when the grotesque abomination of a bossman shows up in the mood for-a-smoochin’, we know he has zero chance. Ryuunosuke, torn between chasing after the airborne gift cert and protecting Shinobu, leaves her vulnerable to attack.

But Shinobu is ready to repel the bossman with her fist. He then contents himself with eating what he believes to be Shinobu’s bra, which is actually Ataru’s mom’s bra, with which he tried to bribe Ryuunosuke earlier.

From there, we move on to something completely different: The Moroboshi family settling in for a meager dinner of three shumai and one bowl of miso soup each. When Ataru predictably eats more than his fill and starts bickering with his parents, Lum ducks and covers, as she hears something descending from the sky with great speed. It turns out to be a sentient Wishing Star.

The star will grant the family three wishes—anything they want. Ataru’s folks are skeptical, but the first wish—cleaning up the room the star ruined with its arrival—they realize it’s the real deal. Sakuranbou (who shows up out of nowhere) uses the second wish for yakisoba.

Then Ataru, his parents, and Lum begin arguing ad nauseum about how to use the remaining wish. Ataru’s mom wants cash. His dad wants to “redo his life”. Ataru wants a harem, and Lum wants his cheating to be cured.

When the Wishing Star asks for something to drink and is directed to the fridge, it locates Ataru’s dad’s beer, and ends up passing out drunk. Since its wishes are only good until dawn, everyone tries in vain to wake it up. Sakuranbou ends up using the final wish to simply wake the Star up, at which time it says all three wishes have been fulfilled, and departs by flying through the kitchen window.

A shame; it would have been nice if one of the wishes could have been spent to put a little more cash in the Moroboshis’ pockets…or to cure Ataru of his lecherousness for Lum’s sake.

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