Owari no Seraph 2 – 11

owa2_111

This episode runs somewhat concurrent with Yuu and Mika’s reunion and re-alliance, focusing on Teams Shinoa, Narumi, and Guren. Shinoa in particular provokes the deadly ire of Rika, who blames her and her team for the death of her comrades. Narumi relieves Rika, only to step in an threaten to kill Shinoa himself, and bristles when Shinya, in charge in Guren’s absense tries to stop him.

At that point this becomes about more than fallen comrades and who is to blame, but how had it Narumi is with the all-knowing, all-powerful Hiiragis ordering humanity around and deciding who lives and dies. He’ll ignore orders to “stand by” (i.e. die) and instead head back to try to rescue Guren.

What Narumi didn’t expect was that Shinya, Hiiragi Shinya, a general and a part of the cabal he hates so much, not only doesn’t try to stop him, but thinks they should all go together. Shinya’s fought and bled with these guys, and we’ve been able to see the gradual change from almost vampire-like nonchalance to a solemn, haunted determination. Screw his orders and his last name; Shinya’s going to fight for his comrades here and now.

owa2_112

Meanwhile, Guren is still alive, and still managing to be defiant in the face of the vampire nobles who take turns scooping him up. He’s going to give them false intel to lure them into a trap in Shinjuku, but needs the vamps to believe it’s because he’s been beated badly enough to not be able to go on keeping his silence.

Crowley, who saw through the machinations going on and correctly suspected Ferid, is bemused when Ferid admits he gave the Demon Army the locations of the nobles, including his old chum Crow. Ferid even has the audacity to tell Crowley to thank him, since he had a fun fight thanks to him.

Once Guren has been beaten enough, he goes into his Happy Place with his demon companion and dead ex-girlfriend Mahiru, who decides its time to awaken and fight back. I must say she show’s always done a good job portraying Mahiru as imminently mysterious, seductive (moreso even than the other demons) and ethereal, like a dark angel.

owa2_113

She is also the reason for Guren’s dual personalities: one dedicated to his family, the other thirsty for power. When Krul takes him down and gets in close, out of earshot of the others, Guren/Mahiru discuss the plan Krul had been a party to all along, betraying her people in the process, and how that plan hasn’t changed: she still needs the Seraph of the End.

On the other side, Kureto arrives at the airport (with Mitsu’s stern sister Aoi by his side) to relieve the teams assembled there, saying “they’ll take it from here.” It’s clear Kureto has a new toy he wants to try out; he even admits he’s in a good enough mood he won’t summarily execute Narumi & Co. for questioning his orders.

owa2_114

But what he does do is open the Big Box he flew in, out of which come hundreds of interconnected swing hangars with blades on the ends, many of which pierce through Kureto’s own soldiers, including Rika, who definitely looks like a goner. The blade go after Narumi when he lunges forward for revenge, but to his shock, he’s saved by Yoichi and Shiho, while Shinoa’s blind spot is covered in the nick of time by Yuu, who has arrived with Mika to help out.

owa2_115

Mika doesn’t waste any time saying it was a bad idea to come back, as he sees the humans fighting amongst one another. But that fight is tabled when hordes of vampires drop from the skies and it becomes a giant line battle. Amidst all the chaos, Yuu catches sight of Guren, safe and sound, and runs toward him, beaming with joy.

Only Guren isn’t quite himself anymore, drawing his sword and bringing it down, followed by a cut to black. With dual personalities, crazy experiments, and betrayal and intrigue on both sides, what probably won’t be black—or white—is the impending finale, which looks to be a good one.

9_mag

Owari no Seraph 2 – 10

owa2_101

Here we are at last: the long-awaited, extended reunion between Yuu and Mika, and I have to say…I was not disappointed. While other events took place on the margins, this is all about them, essentially a two-person play, with Yuu’s philosophy winning the day, at least for now.

Mika, absolutely feening for blood, takes the still-unconscious Yuu into a grocery store where little kids are hiding out. It’s all he can do to stop from popping one of their heads off and drinking the insides. But being called a “monster” by that kid is enough to stop him. He still has a measure of control, but it’s weakening.

owa2_102

After a brief chat with Asuramaru, Yuu wakes up, and Mika pounces on him as well. The difference is, Yuu doesn’t react the way the kid did. In fact, when Yuu figures out his blood will save Mika, he offers it willingly. It’s the least he can do for his family. Mika is appalled; he’s spent all this time resisting drinking human blood to avoid becoming a full, immortal vampire, and now Yuu is essentially telling him to toss aside the rest of his humanity to essentially scratch an itch that will never go away afterwards.

owa2_103

But you know what? Yuu doesn’t want to hear it. He’s not going to let Mika die, and even if Mika becomes a vampire, that won’t change the fact that he’s family and means everything to him. So Mika gives into Yuu’s kindness and practicality, and drinks deep. It’s an pointedly sensual scene. After drinking, Mika’s eyes turn red, but he remains essentially Mika. But he’s also still alive, which is all Yuu wanted. Mika thinks it’s not normal, but Yuu offers, who cares? What matters is they’re together again.

owa2_104

After being separated and being cared for by Guren, Yuu forced himself to survive (as the kids hiding in the store continue to do). He was driven by revenge but also lived in hope someone who needed him would one day come around. That someone was Mika, who wanted to save Yuu today but ends up being the one saved. He realizes Yuu has become much stronger than he was, and it gladdens him.

That doesn’t free Mika of his intense distrust and hatred of humans, but he can’t stop Yuu from returning to them, even at the edge of a sword. If Mika gets in the way of him and the rest of his family, he’ll push him aside. But he’ll also welcome assistance. Mika admits Shinoa and the others saved him, and agrees to help, but will only help save the four of them. That’s enough for Yuu; they can negotiate the details later.

owa2_105

As Shinoa & Co. arrive at an ominously empty airport with no vehicles to assist their retreat, Mika and Yuu drive to their location, and Mika takes the drive as an opportunity to tell Yuu what he’s been meaning to tell him all along, which he hopes will finally sway him to his line of thinking: they, the Hyakuka kids, were subjects of human experimentation furthered by the vampires and Demon Army. The humans who started the experiments ended up screwing up and killing off the world’s adults. Yuu knew he was a subject, but didn’t know about the apocalypse it caused.

See, says Mika, this is why you can’t trust humans. Instead, he wants to pull a U-turn and run away with Yuu to someplace far away; another paradise where they can be happy and free together. But again, Yuu shows how much he’s grown; even moreso than Mika. There is no paradise awaiting them out there. There never was. The last time they tried, their family was killed, and all they had to show for it was the present situation.

There’s no place else to run. And while some humans, like Kureto, experimenting on Shiho’s sister Mirai to produce the Seraph of the End, aren’t to be trusted or relied upon to not end the world (or what’s left of it), Yuu is still a human himself, and there are other humans he does trust and love who need his help. They, along with Mika, are why he’s survived this long, against all odds. So he won’t run away; he’ll run to them.

9_mag

Steins Gate – 24 (Fin)

sg241
Look at the void in this frame…it’s not really a void, but infinite possibility

I traveled more than three years into the past to watch Steins;Gate, eager to find out if it really was as great ad many had led on. I had no idea what I was getting into, but because I was told to expect greatness, it gave the show a greater burden to overcome than simply pulling something off the shelf and watching it with absolutely no knowledge of its standing in anime history.

I guess what I’m blathering about is that despite knowing so little and expecting so much, I entered Steins;Gate extremely confident it would meet and exceed any expectations I may have harbored. It also felt like an old friend, like something I had watched before and forgotten, as hard as that is to believe (the forgetting part, that is).

For all I know, in another universe, I have seen it, along with many other shows I’ve never watched in this one. And because memories can transcend the boundaries between universes (because I said so, okay?) I knew I was in good hands; that there’d be no way this show would disappoint. Maybe I have Watching Steiner; who knows. All I know is, I have a new favorite anime.

sg242

A show so earnest and confident and masterful in its layering and weaving of stories wasn’t going to mess up it’s ending. More to the point, it knew after twenty-three episodes, many of them putting us in the emotional spin cycle, that its audience would want a “Good Ending” after the “Bad Ending” of Okabe having to sacrifice Kurisu, and the “Worse Ending” of Okabe killing Kurisu.

It’s also great to see Okabe in high spirits again, even if he is partially putting up a brave front. Everyone’s stoked that the Okarin they know and love is back yukking it up and spouting nonsense. His high tide lifts all boats. And when Mayushii manages to get Okabe to admit he and Kurisu love each other, she gives him her full support in saving her no matter what.

sg243

The fact that Mayushii, like Feyris, is able to remember bits and pieces of other timelines, gives both Okabe and me optimism that if Kurisu is saved, she’ll remember the three weeks she spent with Okarin and the rest of the Future Gadget Lab. It’s not so much Reading Steiner as love crossing the boundaries of world lines, and the stronger the love, the more they can recall. Why else would Kurisu have believed Okabe so quickly so often while he was trying to save Mayushii?

Armed with the Cyalume Saber (powered by stuff that looks like fake blood) a stun gun (to knock out Kurisu and lay in said fake blood) and most importantly, the knowledge of who’s going to be where and when, Okabe goes back with Suzu. He buys the Metal Upa so when Mayushii buys one, it’s not metal and doesn’t end up on Nakabachi. Kinda awesome a 100-yen toy is the key to preventing a temporal arms race and Third World War, but that’s the infinite possibility of time for ya.

I want to point out, the music throughout this episode is fantastic. I has the perfect balance of urgency, occasion, an impending end (one way or another), and ambient casualness, making for a stirring “final dungeon” soundtrack.

sg244

Meanwhile, in his exuberance to get on with the mission, Okabe neglected to check if the liquid in the Saber was still liquid. If he’d discovered it had dried up before going back in time, he’d have had time to procure some fake blood from a nearby store (it IS Akiba). Alas, he only finds out he has no fake blood when he’s about to use it. Just as a little metal toy can lead to the decimation the human population, a little slip-up like this can place his last chance to save Kurisu in jeopardy.

sg245

No matter: I knew as soon as I saw that dried-up liquid, before he looked at his own hand, that the mission was still alive; he’d simply have to use real blood; his own. When he interrupts the pleasant father-daughter discussion, this time he has a cool head and even uses his usual theatricality to throw Nakabachi off.

Okabe is front and center, with Kurisu in a much better position in the room to avoid knife charges. Nakabachi has no choice but to pay attention to him and only him. Greatest of all about Okabe’s entrance is that this isn’t Chuunibyou or delusional behavior on display: Okabe really has come to save Kurisu and rearrange the world order.

sg246

He’s also a true hero, who literally takes a knife to the gut to complete his mission. Whatever questionable stuff one can accuse him of doing to get to where he is now, this act absolves him of most if not all of it. Getting stabbed fucking sucks. I’m not speaking from experience, mind you, but even in animated form it’s obvious that it does. And S;G’s sound effects make that even more clear.

sg247

Nakabachi gets Okabe pretty good, but Okabe is able to stay concious long enough to scare the shit of of Nakabachi, forcing him to flee, and then zapping Kurisu with the stun gun. You can see the fates conspiring with Okabe in the depths of Nakabachi’s eyes, willing him to GTFO. Nakabachi is no mastermind villain, just another variable that has to be manipulated at the right time and place, like a Metal Upa.

sg248

Okabe arranges Kurisu face down in his own blood, creating a scene identical to the one he himself saw those same three weeks ago. This scene overwrites the one in which he accidentally stabbed Kurisu, so the horrifying death scene Past Okabe and we witness/witnessed in the very first episode was really the other Okabe’s art project. We know that because we witness it again with Okabe, just before Suzu hauls helps him back into the time machine. MISSION COMPLETE…and it feels so good.

sg249

So what is the Steins Gate World Line like? Well, it’s everything you’d expect from jumping through every hoop, choosing the right dialogue for each character, and collecting every hidden secret crystal: the previously stated “Good Ending.” In it, Okabe recovers from his wound and proceeds to give every Lab Member he’d appointed in the previous world lines a pin, making their membership official in this one.

It’s a beautiful little gesture that reminds us that before it became all about saving people he loved from being killed off by time, and even during those times, this was a show about a bunch of strange, unique, interesting people coming together to collectively do great things. Okabe needed every single Lab Member to accomplish what he did, and his warmth and charisma and crazy ideas, made that coming together happen.

sg2410

He, and we, are finally rewarded by not only getting Kurisu back, but having them meet by chance on the (very!) busy streets of Akiba, home to the Culture of Cute as it should be. And not only do they meet; Kurisu remembers him, because they share a bond only Mayushii’s can compare to, one in which two people who love each other deeply don’t forget that love just because the world line has changed.

sg2411

There’s a lovely understated elegance to Okabe and Kurisu’s pre-curtain reunion. No big dramatic music calculated to rend the heart just so; no sudden change in the world’s palette; just two people suddenly realizing they just crossed paths with the one they love, and affirming it with a few simple, in-character words as the sound of the bustling city around them fades. Kurisu being alive may have been enough for Okabe, but not me. Her being alive and back in his life is a far better outcome.

10_brav2RABUJOI World Heritage List

P.S. Whew…now that was a good show, wasn’t it? But I know; these 24 episodes aren’t all there is. I’ll get to episode 25 soon enough, along with the film. Looking forward to both. Thanks for reading!

Sabagebu! – Special – 01

ss1

For those of you who plan to purchase a Blu-ray copy of Sabagebu!, know that… I’m about to spoil the bonus episode that comes on that disc!

For, indeed, I’m not sure if Sabagebu! Special 01 would have much impact if you knew exactly what you were getting into. So be warned! Look away if your disc is still in the mail, cause here we go!

ss0

Entitled “Now There Were 5,” Sabagebu! special is an 11-minute summer vacation escapade. The girls are going to the president’s summer home for some relaxation but no one is fooled: they know Miou will turn it into a survival challenge of some sort, some how.

ss4

And she does, except the obstacle course is not really important, nor all that challenging. Not till they get to the sharks, anyway.

ss6

No, really this episode is about fan service. Knowing, psudo-family-friendly, fan service.

The girl’s strip down when they get to the mansion. The girls wear school swim suits as they trek across the obstacle course. Kaya gives a history on swim suits and on mythology that involve stripping Momoka in her imagination. Maya’s clothes are ripped off and she’s molested by eels.

ss3

Urara gets especially frisky with Momoka’s anus, crotch, and under garments.

ss8

Then Urara gets kicked back into the shark-filled lake and is eaten quite quickly. As her blood begins to spread, Miou proudly says she’s happy they’ve all made it. Then, as the narrator brings us away, Urara’s skull bobs to the surface.

Then there were 5! (counting Platty)

ss5

Woo! That was some fan service! Knowing or not, it was more than a little eye-rolling.

Likewise, even if the girls were annoyed by it — Momoka even throws Platty AT THE SCREEN to get us to leave them alone — I’m not sure how I’d have taken this during the regular season?

ss7

Thank goodness it was still funny!

Sabagebu! has fantastic timing and, above all else, knows how to pull out a surprise just when you think you’ve seen it all. No! I’m not talking about the surprise reveal that the sharks were real: I’m talking about the possibility that they just KILLED OFF A CHARACTER FOR LAUGHS!

Bravo, Sabagebu! Bravo!

8_ogk

Sabagebu! – 12 (Fin!)

Picture 2

The girls of the survival game club throw one final, perfect outing in episode 12. As always, It’s charming, delightfully absurd and honestly funny but above all else, Sabagebu 12 delivers surprising character development and even bigger over the top antics without losing it’s characters and focus in the process.

Truly, Sabagebu 12 is the best finale I’ve seen since Teggen Toppa Gurran Laggan… Time for some synopsis!

Picture 6

A mysterious and untreatable disease is sweeping Japan and the government has unleashed the National Survival Game Club, an elite but rarely active survival club style imaginary military force to round up the infected post haste!

Unfortunately Momoka has all the illness’ symptoms: Fever, skin that is turning green and her voice sounds auto-tuned. Even more unfortunately, Sakura-sensei has already reported Momoka’s condition and the authorities are on their way.

Picture 12

Intermittent skirmishes and cameos lead the girls to an abandoned church, which is quickly surrounded by government troops. However, news of Momoka’s escape is broadcast all across the land and soon allies arrive to make a final stand.

Fried Chicken Lemon, Momoka’s Mom, The forgetful old woman and the old man with the cowboy hat, the Hentai Photographer trio, the Yammy fat idol and even the middle school girl are all there, quick roping from Platy and Crabbie’s chopper.

Picture 18

“Why protect me? I dont deserve it!” cries a voice modulated Momoka

“Youre right. Your vengeance is extreme. You are cruel to the weak and suck up to the strong. You casually crush others underfoot for your own desires. However, I’ve never been bored with you by my side,” replies a stead fast Miou. “That’s more than enough for me.”

Touched and finally coming to feel their friendship Momoka and rises and epic battle ensues.

Picture 15

What elevates episode 12 to genius is how in character it stays, despite upping the ante in every way: Momoka is as devious as ever, but unable to act due to being sick; Miou is there to lead and to tackle the thrilling challenge at hand; Maya is there because she’s overly nice… and needs to get shot first… in the boobs; Kaya is there because it’s an Otaku’s dream for such a battle, but she’s also pragmatic and the only club member to wear a gas mask to avoid Momoka’s infection and Urara is there because she truly loves Momoka with all her warped heart.

Picture 27

As each friend goes down, the newly caring — newly having fun for fun’s sake — Momoka actually feels loss for the first time. Platy’s chopper is even shot down with a SAM. Finally, Urara shields Momoka one last time, this time without being purposefully used as a human shield and the emotional damage is done. 

The Virgin Mary statue cries, a dove flies over head and in a swell of classical music, Momoka surrenders, tears in her eyes, at last in love with her friends.

Picture 28

Then the civil servants receive word that a cure has been found and that it’s simple, over the counter stuff and that they can all go home.

Everyone dusts off, a bit embarrassed about how emotional it all got and the episode ends.

Picture 32

Except the episode isn’t over! It’s Christmas now, inexplicably, and the club is trying to put together a surprise birthday party for Urara, who never gets to experience a special time of her own due to the date of her birth.

Preparations fail spectacularly: Sakura-sensei bleeds all over the birthday card, Miou decorates the cake before cooking it, Kaya makese paper cranes instead of streamers and the ‘bear’ they purchased for Urara turns out to be a real bear and goes off to terrorize the locals. 

Picture 35

So the club ties up Momoka and gives her as a present and we end with Urarara sharing a bath with Momoka, happy as a clam, and the narrator saying ‘see you in hell, baby!”

See you in hell, baby!

Picture 36

As a finale, this was picture perfect. Cheesy, packed and exploding with insanity, but charming and off all the shows this season, it even gave the protagonist some growth!

Who knew a show that’s already featured road-warrior style battles with the elderly and an homage to the alien/predator franchises had bigger sharks left to jump?

11_ogk

Sabagebu! – 11

Sab11_7

Sabagebu enters it’s final run without a care in the world and, truth be told, we couldn’t be happier! Sure, we appreciate the continuity of Girls Survival Club and enjoy seeing their world fleshed out, but Sabagebu has always placed wacky one-off humor over a season spanning narrative.

On with the synopsis!

Sab11_5

Episode 11 opens with Momoka making a gun-run to Joe’s for Miou. This is a total red herring though, as Momoka never makes it to Joe’s and, instead, is side tracked by a pastry shop. One thing leads to another and Miou’s gun gets plastered with decorative candy ornaments!

The dueling narratives — what Momoka means and what the shop keeper thinks Momoka means because she’s seen Miou’s gun and not Momoka’s cell phone — is fantastic and classic Sabagebu. Even better, it’s a rare case of Momoka not trying to take advantage of someone and being totally bewildered by the results.

Sab11_6

Momoka can’t hide the damage to Miou’s gun for long but her fear of reprisal (I assume Momoka has no capacity for sympathy) is short lived as the chocolate bar grip and weight make the gun more stable and comfortable in Miou’s hand and the cherry/teddy bear combo work as a fantastic site!

Sab11_11

Soon the entire club is back at the candy shop, getting their guns and gear outfitted in candy deco, to the embarrassed horror of Momoka. We can assume the candy shop clerk was none to happy either, still fearing the Momoka as a blood drinking Yakuza. (end act 1)

Sab11_10

Momoka, Kaya and Maya watch a news cast by an old man who’s witnessed the most graceful person walking in high heels ever and, in cinderella fashion, he’s offering a reward to see that person again. Momoka obviously goes all in but has no experience in heels.

Enter Friend Chicken Lemon to the rescue, sort of! Lemon gives Momoka (and we the viewers) a quick history lesson on high heels and culture then begins to train Momoka in their artful use. Unfortunately, this involves walking down a road covered in dog $%IT while balancing a glass of water on Momoka’s head…

Sab11_12

I loved the show’s ‘censored’ dog poop being strawberries. Not only did it tie back into to the previous act but softened the totally gross moment of Lemon sliding across it.

Momoka makes her debut in front of the wealthy man but is unable to be as graceful as he wants. Lemon comes to the rescue again, sort of, and reveals that he was the original walker all along. In a nice turn of events, Lemon is rewarded for his fetishism and act 2 comes to a close.

Sab11_2

Maya is hit first again!

Miou brings a giant, high value crab to share with her club, which has everyone drooling over it’s taste and or cash value. Unfortunately, the crab is still alive and gets into a fearsome fight with Platty. Then it attaches itself to Maya’s face and starts laying eggs!

Double unfortunately for the girls, when they finally over power the crab, Platty joins the frey on the crabs side. Apparently feeling a bond with the beast after locking claws with it, he takes it on a run and a battle ensues across the whole school and town.

Sab11_3

While this final act was not a direct parody of Gainax’s horrible girls with airsoft’s final episode, it gets pretty close. The entire school is drawn into the action, the weapon’s are over the top, and the bodies are piled knee high as the girls chase Platty across the campus. It’s a nice nod to the show we all think about when we think about why Sabagebu may have happened, without needing to homage directly.

The final battle is also nice and consistent with Sabagebu lore, as Maya is the first to get gunned down, followed by Kaya, and then Urara (who Momoka uses as a human shield again). If anything, I was surprised Momoka’s mom and/or sally didn’t end up in the fray by the end but I’m guessing Sabagebu is saving those characters for next week’s final horah!

Sab11_13

The episode comes to a close with the girls accepting the crab into the club, only to accidentally cook him in the hot springs. It’s a clever little end to a cute, mean spirited but often funny show.

I’m gonna miss you Sabagebu. I really will. xoxo

9_ogk

Sabagebu! – 10

a

Momoka discovers an old treasure map, while desperately searching for money in her room. Totally broke, she hatches a plan: spin the treasure map as a jumping off point for an adventure and maybe, just maybe, Miou will cover the travel expenses for what Momoka believes will only be a handful of childhood allowance yen.

The plan works and then they jump out of a plane!

a1_3

Team Survival dashes about Momoka’s old town behind a pair of dowsing rods. Unfortunately, the rods work too well and anything of value attracts their attention. Even wealthy women’s faces, which surely cost a fortunate to make!

Then the team bumps into the Yakuza!

a1

But it’s okay! The Yakuza give the girls a ride to Momoka’s old house where they discover the treasure is an old poem from a purer hearted Momoka, who asks her future self to cherish friendships above money.

Kaya is moved by the letter and shares her own childhood poem, which Momoka mocks horribly before being shot to death. (end act 1)

a2_2

The papers are a buzz with rumors a national idol has gone missing! However, she’s just hiding at the survival clubhouse and has gotten fat.

Then she learns self reliance from Momoka, through Momoka’s grande speech about brutal self centeredness. Then she loses her excess weight and crushes the boy who scorned her. (end act act 2)

a31

“Oh! Maya died first again!”

The girls crash land in the jungle on their way to a survival game but fins themselves hunted by a quirky-but-deadly adversary who appears to dress his victims in ‘little mouse girl suits’ after shooting them to death.

a34

In classic predator fashion, the attacker is invisible and has a shoulder mounted energy weapon. Fear not! Momoka betrays all her friends and ultimately takes down the alien, who appears to be a cute’ish cat creature. Then Momoka is congratulated by an alien elder for being so devious and cold hearted… which results in the elder’s short life.

Then Kaya, who we assumed was dead earlier, shoots Momoka and the girls regroup in a hotspring… only to be ambushed by ALIEN style aliens! (end act 3. end episode)

a1_2

As should be obvious by the lengthy synopsis, this week’s episode was was packed with content and I can not begin to do it justice. In simple terms, Sabagebu! number ten is totally bonkers, has three totally unrelated acts that are each completely all over the place and the whole thing was excruciatingly funny!

From Momoka’s regular penchant for betrayal to Miou’s new found understanding that Momoka is actually, entirely, an awful human being, to Kaya finally getting the upper hand against Momoka (twice!) the show balances expectation with satisfaction. Kaya’s revenge in particular feels great, considering how often Momoka has dodge the bullet earlier in the season.

a35

From None of the elderly residents at Momoka’s old house caring (or objecting) to the invasion of teen girls to the cat-predator silhoette looking enough like Sally-Sensei to fake me out, this week’s little details were spot on too.

That’s it! I can’t hold it back anymore! Well Done Sabagebu! This week you’re getting a…

9_ogk

Sabagebu! – 09

01

Josephine (aka Platty with paper ears taped to his head) is dragged to Dog Paradise by Momoka for some a french food and doggie nosh.

Unsurprisingly, Platty is not thrilled with this and soon he and Momoka are fighting, which draws the ire of Inugami-san, the starry eyed owner-hippy of the shop.

02

Soon Platty and Inugami’s dog are competing to see who’s the best, with Platty only accomplishing his tasks through Momoka’s brutality.

Things fall apart, Platty’s not-dog-ness is revealed, the shop is lit on fire and everyone saves face when Platty is willing to jump the fire (to bite Momoka’s face) and Inugami’s pup is not.

Then Miou shows up atop a lion. (end act 1)

03

Urara’s pleasant moment down the ocean (actually the school pool) is ruined when Kaya brings up rumors of a classmate drowning and subsequently haunting the pool.

Urara and Maya laugh this off as nonsense but things get serious after Sakura-sensei locks them in for the night.

04

Without windows, phones, or even clothes, the three girls rapidly descend into madness. Fear of hypothermia, needing to use the toilet and general survival club mania all come to a head and the group decides their only chance of survival is to experience brutal pain.

Then Miou shows up in a sexy combat bikini, drawn by the chance to fight a ghost, only to find her comrades in tatters. (end act 2)

05a

Miou finally starts an act showing up at the beginning! She’s taken the Survival Club to Australia and they will be fighting old people on a mixture of trucks and motor cycles and even a heli-plane!

Momoka suspects this whole act is the result of Miou watching a certain movie recently, but quickly gets into the fun when she discovers Fried Chicken Lemon will be driving a semi for her.

05b

Unfortunately, the other girls don’t warm to fighting the elderly in time and Maya, Kaya and Urara all find themselves gunned down. At least their deaths fuel Miou’s thirst for victory, as she rides past them on her motorcycle embroiled in a duel with a preachery-looking elderly gent.

06

Momoka remains entirely unaffected by shooting those who could be infirm, and slaughters her way from one end of the race to the other. In her grandest moment, she convinced Lemon to take out the heli-plane by driving off a cliff and into it, before she thanks him and bails to safety. 

Later, everyone celebrates with a happy soak in the hotel pool. The Sydney Opera House is behind them. Much much time later, the most senile of the geriatric survivalists is found in the outback. (end episode 9)

07

Sabagebu! number nine remains all about brutality and brutally defying our expectations — and the absurdity is still quite delightful!

Expect that old man who’s taken the entire act to lift his rifle will finally make a difference? Nope! Momoka shoots him in his moment of minuscule triumph.

Expect Momoka’s thoughts to linger on Lemon’s sacrifice as she holds his glasses? Nope! Momoka tosses them over her shoulder with a smile and trots off to victory.

09
You tell’em, Granny!

Episode nine also showed us that Lemon and Sakura’s returns over the past weeks were not simple hints at a greater world. Rather, that both characters exist fully in the world and will be around often, even if only as side characters. (Heck, Lemon was almost in this episode as much as Miou!)

Honestly, if it weren’t for the fact that i don’t get the sense Sabagebu! is going anywhere with anything, nor trying to make a point, nor especially pretty, this show would easily hit a 9+ each week. As is? It’s remarkably good at brightening my day with laughter, parody and violence.

…And that’s good enough for me!

8_ogk

Sabagebu! – 08

s8_2

Maya convinces Momoka to model for an amateur photo shoot. Unfortunately, Momoka runs into Fried Chicken Lemon, the light-gun champion she defeated a few weeks back, is in attendance. Worse, the Camera Men of Death show up and go all-out against Momoka to snap her panty shot.

Momoka wins at every turn, thanks to some help from FCL, but is ultimately undone by her own kindness. (end act 1)

S8_3

Maya shrugs off Momoka’s post panty-shot photo session fury with the words “there’s no such thing as a bad fan.” Little does Maya know how wrong she is about to be proved at their snowy-mountain top show down with the Immaculate and Pure Womans University Survival Game Circle.

Arriving in santa-costumes (Kaya!) complete with skimpy skirts and reindeer antlers, the girls find themselves out classed by the IaPWUSC. Even Momoka is gun downed quickly.

However, Serious fighting is not on LaPWUSC’s agenda and they proceed to chase Maya and gun off all of her clothing. By the end, she’s naked, in a barrel, floating down a river with the girl’s rabidly swimming after her, eating her own words. (episode end)

S8_1

Sabagebu! Eight brings us more than its share of fan service, but it does so in such a mocking, annoyed way that I just ate it up. Just think about it! What other show has the gal to pull out a ‘skin’ episode built around fandom being full of pervs and, regardless of their sympathetic reasons for falling into perv.dom, that they are jerks and pervs and hurting people?

I also appreciated the return of Friend Chicken Lemon. Not as a character per-see (he’s not much of a character, really) but I enjoyed that Sabagebu! has a world—a persistent world—to draw actors from and won’t just toss us a new disposable character every episode.

s8_6

“They have so much money to waste” – Momoka after the Camera Men of Death return with more cameras.

The first act really drives home how wasteful everyone is in all their endeavors. From the CMoD’s unending supply of expensive equipment just to score a meaningless panty shot on a girl they don’t know, to Momoka herself, he blasts an uncountable number of hairbands at them to protect herself from being photographed by some meaningless pervs. Again, everything was delivered with Sabagebu’s signature liveliness and humor but it was still social commentary.

Color me impressed!

s8_4

In many ways, this week’s second act was also poignant: be mindful of what other’s have experienced, lest you experience it yourself.

That said, this is a smaller message and much more of the arc was devoted to simple abuse of Maya, skimpy clothes and over-the-top things going wrong and, for that, it stood out as the funnier of the two segments!

The Survival Club’s ‘transformation sequence’ in particular was excellent this week, due to the addition of santa-garb. While I do not condone Santa and guns during the X-mas holidays, it sure does make for a humorous juxtaposition.

s8_7

Another week and another bubbly half hour of fun from Sabagebu! This show continues to surprise me with its depth and flexibility—and even more so that it doesn’t lose sight of why we are watching in the first place along the way.

Above all, Sabagebu is a funny show and it’s fun to watch. Many many thumbs up!

7_ogk

Sabagebu! – 07

Picture 2

While lost in the mountains, the Survival Club stumbles upon a village in distress. Vermin (raccoons, deer, etc) are devouring the village’s food supply — but the girls can’t bring themselves to shoot the cute little creatures. Then they meet an old hunter and learn about hunting culture in Japan and, ultimately, are incensed to become legal hunters. (end act 1)

Picture 6

The girls attempt to ‘feel like men’ by dressing up but Momoka can’t get it right. Enter Kaya’s cosplay skills and soon Momoka is transformed into a mega hottie prince. Being Momoka, she wanders off from the group and tests her skills as a lady-killer. It goes great until she goes to far and all the wolfishly boy-hungry girls of her girls-only-school chase her around. 

Picture 8

Trapped in a room with a tiny window, Momoka is forced to strip and smear herself in oil to escape. The clothes she left behind start the myth of a fairy boy living on campus and being naked in the bushes leads to some awkward photographs. Also, some leg-grindingly awkward molestation by Urara.

What am I watching? Love Stage?? (end act 2)

Picture 10

A stranger invades the school and the club sees their chance to shine…only to get completely destroyed. Uraura’s bangs are cut straight, Maya ends up in a track suit with french braids, Miou ends up in pig tails. Even with a minigun the attacker can not be stopped!

Turns out it’s Momoka’s mom, who wanted to slip onto campus undetected in order to give Momoka lunch without embarrassing her in front of her class mates. It’s weird. It’s funny. It’s another sign that Momoka’s mom is not what she appears!

Picture 4

There’s a great “im going off to die” warrior vibe to the old man hunter, musically and visually. it’s snot bubble funny too, since the last gunshot he fires off in the distance would usually signifying his death…but he’s fighting cute and physically harmless woodland creatures!

Picture 5

Additionally, the opening arc was very very very very talky about the decline of hunting in japan and the process to get a license and the law around it. I can’t verify how accurate the info was but it’s interesting to think that an bonkers crazy anime could actually be an effective marketing tool for a societal concern.

Picture 9

Act 2 was a little weaker than average. I guess it was funny but it was so short, like the Yakuza plot last week, it just didn’t grab me that much.

Picture 14

Act 3 was short too, and light on humor but, because it flashes back to Act 2, the segment felt like it was part of something larger. Besides, who doesn’t like Momoka’s weird ninja mom?!

I can’t wait for a Momoka’s Dad episode. Who knows what kind of weirdness that’ll cook up.

Picture 13

Another good week but a hair down from last week and certainly Sabagebu! is struggling to top the toilet incident two weeks ago. I can’t really complain though. The weirdness is just more specific and more personal than the other B-list comedy competitors this season.

Above all else, the Survival Club Girls are having FUN! And it’s fun to watch them have it.

7_ogk

Sabagebu! – 06

Picture 2

Miou and the Student Council President Isurugi Yayoi clash, except Miou is too dense to notice this and Yayoi’s revenge plots are utterly ineffective against the various members of the Survival Club. Yayoi’s plans are so crap that, without fail, she must be rescued by Miou each time she gets in over her head with another club member.

By the end, the evidence of these ‘saves’ convinces the whole school that Miou and Yayoi are an item, which serves as a finishing blow and, for the first time in her life, Yayoi is forced to skip a day of school. (end of act 1)

v

Act Two: Miou, Momoka, Kaya, Urara and Maya watch a B-rate Yakuza film. Momoka thinks it was stupid and shrugs off ‘the silly ending’ which involves everyone in the clan betraying each other and the winner being shot dead by a previously fallen, assumed to be dead ally.

Then Sakura rolls a fancy office chair into the club room (which she’s presumably earned by sleeping with the school principal) and everything goes sideways. Suddenly dressed as Yakuza, the girls launch into gunfight mode and everyone is gunned down predictably by Momoka. Momoka even manages to avoid the ‘last man standing gets shot at the end’ moment…

…Only to be killed when she sits in the office chair which suddenly falls over. (end of episode)

Picture 4

Sabagebu! mixes up its formula this week with an extra long opening arc dedicated to a new character in Yayoi and the decadent crazy that is Ootori Miou. From the opening scene in a Student Council meeting, where Miou responds to the Prez’s call for questions with “Why do our teeth squeak when we eat Spinach?” we see how difficult it is to be a sane person in this show. You either turn your brain off like Miou’s followers among the other club presidents (who consider her antics “pure”) or you get made like the Yayoi and Momoka.

Unfortunately for Yayoi, her veins contain none of the ice-fire-blood violence fuel that propels our dear Momoka.

Picture 3

“Remember viewers, there’s nothing a machosist hates more than a fake sadist.”

Starting with Urara, because beating on a masochist should be easy, Yayoi launches a string of plots to snipe away members of the Survival Club and ultimately ruin Miou’s happiness. Each plot is reasonably funny, though none match the final show down, where Yayoi discovers Miou’s weakness is the zen-like kindness of an elderly lunchlady and a hatred of cafeteria veggies.

Seriously! How could anything top a young woman’s decent into madness leading her to physically and mentally become an old woman obsessed with tea and kindness? Yayoi is so into her role that, by the end, she can’t even deliver a finishing blow and is only ‘saved’ by relentless gossip that she works in the cafeteria to be closer to Miou each day.

sPicture 3

The yakuza arc was smirk-worthy but predictable and, honestly, we’ve seen this set up before. Without the context for bad yakuza films, which I don’t have, there wasn’t much going for it.

dPicture 2

Over all, this was a great episode! It delivered tons of chuckles and character development (through the Prez’s dossiers on each girl) and Yayoi is a reasonable opponent to throw at the club. It even closes post credits with an unexpected zoom in on Yayoi taking a bath and being appalled that she’s being filmed!

Break that fourth wall baby! Break it good!

8_ogk

Danganronpa: The Animation – 02

dangan2

Just before Lights Out, a scared Maizono visits Naegi, who agrees to swap rooms with her for the night. In the morning, she doesn’t show up for breakfast, he finds her in his bathroom with a knife in her belly. Monobear summons them to the gym to announce the rule that in order to “graduate”, one must not only kill someone, but get away with it. To that end, there will be periodic “class trials” to determine who killed whom. Junko objects to this and steps on Monobear, but he punishes her by having her impaled by numerous spears. The class suspects Naegi killed Maizono, and as he’s investigating Maizono’s murder, the hour of the trial arrives.

And so we bid adieu to idol Maizono Sayaka and model Enoshima Junko; we hardly knew either of ye. Maizono died under mysterious circumstances, and many cryptic clues were presented before and after it happened, and we have at least five possible culprits in mind, (in no particular order):

  • Togami Byakuya (he was the last person to arrive for breakfast, and expressed a willingness to do what was necessary)
  • Naegi (he may have done it then repressed the memory)
  • Maizono herself (suicide after learning of the fate of her idol group and snapping)
  • Oogami Sakura (the brutal marks all over the dorm suggest immense brute strengt;, resemble her battke scars)
  • Kirigiri Kyouko (she wants to limit confrontations with Monobear, and so “obeys the rules”)

It may be none of the above, but at least we won’t be executed for being wrong, like the class. This is an odd choice for a villain who wants the spectacle to last as long as possible; it could all be over at the first trial. However, because this is just the second episode, we know they’ll either choose correctly, or something will come up and postpone the trial. Either way, while he may be thoroughly stupid looking and sounding, Monobear is deadly serious, as poor Junko found out.


Rating: 6 (Good)

Stray Observations:

  • The blood in this episode was violet rather than red, possibly to avoid blur censoring. Star Trek VI did the same thing, making Klingon blood a pinkish-violet in order to avoid an “R” rating from the MPAA. We don’t mind.
  • We have to imagine the supplemental rules about getting away with the murder and class trials weren’t in the handbook until Monobear announced them, which is why not even someone who read the whole thing (Kirigiri, Togami, and Ishimaru, for instance) knew about them.
  • Maizono and Junko are blacked out in the body count at the end of the episode, and their 8-bit sprites are x’d out in the credits.

Blood-C 11

Tsutsutori, Nono, Nene, and Tokizane reveal themselves as actors in a grand experiment with Saya as the star. She is a not-quite-human entity with superhuman powers. Fumito captured her and began fooling around with her memories. Whenever she attacks an elder bairn, she’s drunk its blood, making her remember some of her real memories of meeting with Fumito. The teacher, twins and Tokizane are tired of this, and want out, so they try to restore her memories permanently to stop the cycle. But they run into Amino and Itsuki, and eventually Fumito also shows up, likely to stop them…

When it was finally clear last week that the whole story to that point had been some kind of simulation, I immediately thought of the Truman Show. Like Truman, Saya is initially utterly convinced that the world she’s living in are real and her friends are really that. It’s pretty cruel for it to turn out to be a production. Even more amusing is how different the actors are from the characters they’ve played: Nono and Nene are immoral, conniving, vain bitches, Tokizane is a greedy, selfish coward, and the teacher is…well, she was always flirty with Saya, so she didn’t change much. Class Rep Itsuki is still a stickler for the rules, but without the friendliness of his character. One of the best lines of the series came from one of the evil twins: “How are these uniforms realistic in any way?”

It turns out they are: black and red hides the blood. Just like a tiny, isolated village makes it easier to keep Saya involved. I’m surprised the elder bairns are real, and in fact still a threat (though not to the main cast, who bear protective talismans), and seem to also be variables in Fumito’s experiment. This is why they kept asking her to “honor the contract” – she was killing them during Shrovetide, a period when it’s okay to eat humans. Throughout all of this explanation though, Saya is fairly inert. She just kneels there on all fours, breathing heavily, unable and/or unwilling to take it all in. But however much she knows, now we know why those school scenes were so tacky!


Rating: 4