Shuumatsu no Izetta – 07

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After a dull and appallingly animated opening scene where a bunch of old white guys from all over Europe (plus “Atlanta” AKA alternate-America) contemplate what to do about a new German aircraft carrier, their host Lord Redford introduces them to Fine and Izetta, with all the requisite magical theatricality.

The two don’t just come hat-in-hand, asking for troops, but with something they can do for them: Izetta will destroy the carrier, giving them one less thing to worry about (and commit precious resources to).

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In what can probably be better described than as a “quasi-yuri” scene, after Fine teases and tickles Izetta they lie in bed together in their matching lilac negligees, gazing into each other’s eyes.

Fine repeats her guilt about asking so much about Izetta, but reiterates the importance of being useful to their allies; Izetta repeats her total commitment to Fine in all things. We get it, show: they’re very close. The two girls were, at least, far better drawn than all the stodgy men at the beginning.

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Also well-animated (and staged): Izetta’s operation. With two Lancaster bombers as her escort, she takes command of four 760-kg torpedoes and heads to the fjord base where the carrier lies. We get some simply stunning views of her streaking through the air with her four ballistic buddies.

Alas, to her horror, the carrier isn’t there when she arrives: it’s started out to sea, and an ambush awaits her, led by the grizzled ace Basler in a shiny new inverse gullwing plane. Between him, the other fighters, and a cloud of flak from other surface assets, Izetta’s complement of four torps quickly dwindles to two.

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Though Groman assured her she’d need all four to sink the carrier, she uses the last two in a clever way – sending one straight down, missle-style into the weak elevator area, and the other into the fuel supply. It’s mission accomplished for Izetta, but little does she know both Berkman and Ricelt accomplished their mission too.

The carrier was nothing more than bait, set to lure Izetta into an area with highly variable ley lines. Berkman observed sudden losses in Izetta’s magic as she flew through the invisible variations (she’s apparently unable to sense them).

Now the enemy knows (or is pretty darn sure) of her weakness. With that in mind, it looks like Germania came out on top on this one, since the carrier was essentially doomed anyway.

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Kill la Kill – 20

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Episode the Twentieth: Wherein Ryuko, crying bitter tears inside, abjures Senketsu, Mako, and the others to go alone to Honnouji to destroy Harime Nui and Ragyo; in which Satsuki finally engineers her daring, naked escape; in which Nudist Beach unveils its aircraft carrier courtesy of the Takarada Conglomerate; and in Nui reveals she’s a life fiber being as much as Ryuko, and thus understands her plight; and in which Ragyo forces Junketsu upon Ryuko. Thus Ryuko shifts from being the pawn of her father to that of her mother; and is brainwashed into doing her bidding. Thus do Ryuko and Satsuki officially switch roles, with Ryuko as the frighteningly-powerful and arrogant villain, and Satsuki and her Elite Four as the scrappy underdogs with their backs to the wall.

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What started out as a simple selfish tantrum of self-loathing and anger, leading to her running off on her own, turned into something far more potentially devastating, as Her Hot-headedness is perverted through Junketsu into an instrument that could potentially destroy what’s left of a free mankind. And better still, it’s a transition that makes perfect sense. That’s right: no unsightly leaps in logic or ridiculous contrivances are necessary to justify Ryuko’s inversion: she’s always been susceptible to manipulation, and much of her exploits thus far have taken place while she was unwittingly serving as a guinea pig or pawn to others. Every time she’s learned the truth about her involuntary roles in the schemes of others—many of whom have turned out to be her relatives—she’s grown more bitter and lost. Here she was, thinking she was living her own life, while all along others were truly driving her course.

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She’s not even sure who or what she is anymore, and it disgusts her, so she lashes out at everyone close to her and sets of on a nihilistic errand. Harime, who has the same life-fibrous heart as hers, even asks point-blank what Ryuko hopes to get out of killing her and Ragyo. Ryuko doesn’t have an answer, because she hasn’t thought that far ahead, and falls into yet another trap. The blissful montage she sees when Junketsu wears her is a life that never was, but it’s enough to overpower Ryuko’s already brittle grip on her identity, and thus reality itself. Koshimizu Ami changes up Ryuko’s voice accordingly, to something simultaneously more feminine and unhinged—in other words, a lot more like Ragyo’s!

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Fortunately for Ryuko, there are those less quick to rage and reckless action who are determined to get her back. Among them are Mako, the Mankanshokus, the Elite Four, Mikisugi and Nudist Beach…even Satsuki. She may have had her own problems to deal with this week—breaking out of prison with a sharpened false toenail in unfathomably badass fashion—but as contentious as her interactions have been, we don’t think Satsuki wants to lose Ryuko to darkness and evil. In this, she and Senketsu are of like mind, which is why in a sensational latest twist, Senketsu lets her wear him, thus giving her at least a chance against her sister. The two have been in quite a few scraps, but this one is gonna be something else.


Rating: 10 (Masterpiece)

RABUJOI World Heritage List

Vividred Operation – 02

Aoi transforms like Akane, only red, and they use their boomerang and hammer to attack the Alone and deflect its weapon blasts. The Navy assists them in taking out the Alone’s core, but Akane and Aoi can’t “dock” for somereason. A mysterious girl fires an arrow at the Alone, reviving and strengthening it. Aoi confesses what she was hiding – she’s always hated tomatoes – and she and Akane “dock” successfully, joining bodies and minds into one form – Vivid Blue – and destroy the Alone. The next morning they learn their school has also been destroyed, so they’ll have to transfer.

Vividred is keeping things nice and simple so far. There’s a monster; only the girls can prevent forest fires defeat it (by yelling a lot); so they’re given hip sci-fi outfits and told to go have at it. And they do! We’re clearly in maho shojo territory, with only a thin film of sci-fi trappings. (Neat-looking) systems, hardware and abilities are explained, but not in any kind of detail, and that’s a good decision in our opinion. Less technobabble dumps, more action,and Stuff Getting Blowed Up. And a lot of the action is pretty frikkin’ sweet. Lots of flying around in a perfect blue sky, and much firing and dodging of weapons.

Memorable images that flash past the screen include the sight of tiny, sickly Aoi in her cybersailor costume holding up an F-35 with her bare hands and gently setting it down on the flight deck of an aircraft carrier, or the two girls flying in formation with said joint strike fighters. There’s probably double the crotchshots from last week, but that’s okay, they’re quick and not that distracting. Also, Aoi’s Big Dark Secret holding back their docking was…teehee, she doesn’t like tomatoes! We kinda doubt the families of the dozens if not hundreds of people killed in the delay she caused could laugh about it like Aoi and Akane did…not a great moment, there.


Rating: 7 (Very Good)

Girls und Panzer – 01

Nishizumi Miho moves to Oarai and a new school, hoping to get away from tanks, because she has some bad memories of tanks. But the student council president insists she select Tankery as her mandatory elective, warning her she won’t be attending the Oarai school long if she doesn’t. Miho’s new friends Saori and Hana stand with her, but Miho ultimately caves and agrees to do Tankery after all.

When people tell you they won’t watch anime because it’s too kooky, this is kind of the stuff they’re talking about: for some reason, in the universe of this particular anime, operating tanks is a martial art for girls (and apparently only girls) with a long and storied history. You know, not rolling death machines that are easily taken out by A-10 Thunderbolt IIs. Also, the school, and the entire town of Oarai for that matter, occupy the flight deck of a gargantuan aircraft carrier.

If we asked the creators “Why?” they’d probably answer “Why not?”, not only because it’s the easy answer, but also because it happens  to be the best one. Why shouldn’t high school girls operate tanks, and why shouldn’t towns be on carriers? No reason, except that that’s not the way things are in our world. In an anime, you can do whatever you want, so you might as well have girls in tanks…and propaganda films about same.

But take away all the talk of tanks, and this is just another ordinary high school series in which the new girl makes new friends and faces conflicts from rivals. And in that regard, the creators didn’t go far enough with the bizarre factor. Everything’s so…conventional, with the tank and carrier thing seeming a bit tacked-on. And Miho caves far too easily, despite her apparent (and unexplained) past trauma with tanks. Still, it was an enjoyable outing, and the tank animations were decent.


Rating: 5 (Average)

Car Tank Cameos: Are you kidding? We don’t know anything about armor.