Dimension W – 06

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Despite their intimate level of involvement in the case, Kyouma and Mira felt like background tourists in the Lake Yasogami arc. This week finds the show back on track, largely because despite the fact there is another whole new set of characters, both Kyouma and Mira feel a lot more connected to the events.

One of those new faces is the “Wind of Africa” Prince Salva-Enna-Tibesti. Loved by the ladies but pissed by how obvious they are, Salva is both CEO of the world’s #1 Robot manufacturer, Islero, and COO of one of the Central coil stations; #60. His aide Lasithi is almost certainly a robot, as is his younger brother, Prince Lwai.

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We learn the former when Salva is able to “bind” Lasithi with a command, while we learn the latter when the precocious Lwai (or “Loo”), eager to experience Japan, latches onto Kyouma (who is just minding his own business) and ends up spending the day with him as he avoids being picked up by Salva’s men.

Kyouma takes a distinct “why me” stance towards Lwai’s continued following, but when he accidentally destroys a fish-catching kiosk at the market (revealing his superhuman strength), Kyouma decides to at least get the kid some less conspicuous clothes.

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That leads him to the clothing store of Azumaya Tsubaki, who has a past with Kyouma (she calls her his “big sister” but they’re the same age.) Tsubaki is also related to Miyabi, a girl Kyouma presumably once loved but lost, and since her death has been unable to visit her grave but struggled to move on. This would explain his hesitance to get closer to Mira (other than the fact he distrusts technology…and most everyone/thing else).

Basically, this episode finally lets us a little bit into Kyouma. We meet someone close to him whom he does trust, and we see the source of much of his present and lasting bitterness and depression. He even shows kindness towards Loo, though Tsubaki’s assistants dress him in a girl’s yukata because he’s so pretty. When Lesithi shows up wanting Lwai to come with him, no discussion, Kyouma lets him go, but wishes him well.

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Knowing at this point that Salva is concerned with Lwai because he’s his new secret weapon, it’s not surprising when Lwai – in a totally different state of mind (or “mode”, as it were) shows up at Mary’s simply to easily kick her bodyguard Four’s ass (after an earlier scene showed how tough Four is).

Meanwhile, somewhere remote, Loser continues his search for Numbers, needing only one more, while his daughter Elizabeth assists. It’s here when I finally realized Liz has been around since the first Loser episode and has simply had a different look each time we’ve seen her (I wrongly thought she was a boy at first, and so didn’t realize the same character was at Lake Yasogami).

Anyway, now I know. And now she and Loser know something’s up at Central 47 (in Tokyo).

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That something is an open challenge from Salva and Islero, announcing a grand battle royale or race for all worthy collectors, as he announces to Claire over a very old glass of wine. Mary, not taking Four’s destruction lying down, wants Kyouma to go.

The venue of this “war to avoid war” will be Easter Island, a “sealed off island of ruin.” It resembles the rocky place we see in flashes of Kyouma’s memory, and it’s likely sealed off due to something to do with Dimension W.

While Kyouma is headed for Easter Island, it doesn’t look like he intends to bring Mira with him. Part of that is obviously because he’s still used to working alone and wants her out of his hair. But perhaps he doesn’t want to involve Ponkatsu in anything that will get her exposed or worse. He already seems to bear the burden of losing someone under his care.

After shooing Mira away from the garage where he tinkers on a car, he starts to reminisce on how he met another pretty young lady, Miyabi, quite by chance. I’m looking forward to that tale.

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Dimension W – 05

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Part 2 of the Lake Yadogami Mystery was a little better than Part 1, with both fun and moving moments to be had, but to be honest it did not assuage my original concern that the mini-arc was simply too overstuffed and complex, making it hard to get properly invested.

One character I am invested in is Mira, who found a way out of her chain bondage by simply thinking it out and deciding even if she is a robot who can be repaired like nothing ever happened, she doesn’t think she’d be quite the same Mira that she is now, and she doesn’t want that.

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So she overrides the logic of the Numbers-maintained alternate world and frees herself. The show doesn’t miss out on another opportunity to show her nude when Ellie and the maid find her. As for Kyouma, he’s too quick to think she was doing nothing.

I don’t want to belabor this issue, but can’t say I approve of him punching her in the head. It only ended up hurting him, but it’s the principle: Mira is clearly more than just some robot, having just done something another robot wouldn’t have – not settle for being repaired and restarted. Can’t she also say something to the effect of “Please don’t hit me”?

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The show itself seemed to concur that it had too much going on at once, so it systematically started stripping characters and dilemmas out of the episode entirely, never to be bothered with again. Even if she becomes more important in later episodes, I just don’t see what Ellie was doing here. She leaves when her “papa” orders her to, since apparently Albert is there because of her. So if she wasn’t in the episode, Al wouldn’t have had to be either.

As for the trio of mercs who kidnapped the pixie-cut lady, they have so little presence except for that one action scene last week and are dispatched off-camera so easily, I also wonder why the episode bothered including them. I also thought eliminating all the flan-like ghosts attacking the mansion at once with a simple switch of the sprinklers was some weak sauce.

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Those were all instances of the episode doing some overdue pruning, only to replace them with yet more plot and characters. We’re taken back to 21 years ago where this business all began. The flashback introduces us to a cameraman who likes filming Sakai’s sister Enomori, only to try to assault/rape her in a shed not a minute later!

Many more unfortunate events occur, leading to a final act with so much multi-dimensional technobabble being thrown around it made me feel for Kyouma being stuck in the middle of such a convoluted mess, even though he smacks Mira again once they secure the Numbers. The denouement was so hard to follow I could only emotionally connect to it on the most basic level; that of a man relieved his sister didn’t die after all, but in the meantime still killed his alternate self to protect her.

When our two Collectors drove away in the Toyota all I could do was shrug and say “Well…at least they got the coil.” I respect this show’s ambition to tell an sprawling tragic tale that transcends dimensions. I’m not opposed to complexity, but I need more structure and focus and less stuffing in order to find a way in.

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Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun – 10

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Seo and Waka go on a movie date but Waka is blissfully unaware of his own feelings of love for Seo. 

The movie is laughably terrible, of course, and Seo semi-tortures Waka all the way through by stealing his arm wrest and eating his popcorn and not actually having payed attention during the movie and thus has nothing sane to say about it afterwards.

Nozaki benefits greatly from Waka’s retelling of the date, but shuts down Chiyo, who doesn’t realize which people he’s drawing character stories from, suggests the dates should continue and get deeper.

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Meanwhile, Kashima freaks out because she can not sing and Hori wants to do a musical theatre piece. With great effort, she convinces Seo to take her own and teach her to at least be a terrible singer. (as opposed to her black and white film drama inducingly terrible level of singing now)

By the end, she’s still terrible but, through a misunderstanding, Waka believes Seo is the bad singer and feels sorry for her.

Tragic Waka!

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On stage, Kashima and Hori have a great sword-fight show down but the theatre club doesn’t think they are a good fit for the dueling roles. First Nozaki (who wrote the play) tries to help out but he’s a useless actor and ultimately decides to wear a bear suit during the fight scene.

However silly and useless Nozaki turns out to be, Kashima picks up on Chiyo’s admiration for the big oaf and we can see things unfolding for Chiyo in the near future…

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Deciding Nozaki is no good, Mikorin is enlisted and does very well in the role. (Even Kashima knows how to manipulate him easily) 

However, Kashima is less happy when she realizes Hori is cheering Mikorin on more than he is her. For an instant she fears the two may be a couple she didn’t know about but quickly realizes Hori isn’t even saying Mikorin’s name correctly and as quickly banishes the thought.

Meanwhile, Hori has figured out Mikorin is Nozaki’s female protagonist, which he thinks is awesomely funny and everyone is only a few steps away from figuring out what everyone else wants and thinks and who they actually like. Maybe.

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GSN-k 10 is all about people starting to figuring things out, even if the things they figure out are about other people’s relationships and not their own. Kashima knows Chiyo likes Nozaki and that Nozaki doesn’t know it; Chiyo and Nozaki known Kashima has a thing for Hori; Nozaki knows Waka likes Seo but doesn’t know it, and Hori joins Chiyo as the only people who know Nozaki’s characters are gender flopped versions of people around school.

None of this helps their immediate relationships, certainly. However, it will only take one slip up — one verbalized observation — and the pieces could start falling into place…

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That said, we still have no idea what Nozaki wants or thinks, truly. (Nor Hori, honestly) Since he and Chiyo are the central cast, that’s a bit perplexing if you consider how few episodes are left in this season.

Could there be another season in the works? Sure… but I’m not sure I’d be up for it no matter how funny and much I’ve enjoyed the characters this time around. Other good shows that went know where in a season only to be terrible and not funny in their second seasons have my guard up on that front! (I’m looking at you season 2 of Working!!)

For now? Fingers crossed!

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