Juuni Taisen – 08

Juuni Taisen finds itself at the bottom of the Fall 2017 barrel, and while that’s due in part to an overall above-average season, it’s also due to the show’s own up-and-down, variable quality.

When there’s an interesting warrior’s story being told parallel to the present events of the battle, it’s a good watch. But when present events are halted in order to deliver even more backstory on the Tatsumi Brothers, who are boring…it’s a bit harder to get through.

In this interminable outing, there’s another “flashback-within-the-flashback” as the brothers are put on trial (in what looks like the Supreme Court) for acting far beyond their purview as warriors.

The defense (which Dragon provides himself, but seems to include two of the judges?) note that they’ve done a fair bit of Robin Hood-style stealing from the rich to give to the poor, and even sponsored a little kid by funding the procedure to restore his sight, only to kill his big brother on an evidence and witness-liquidation mission.

Neither the trial nor the events it covers really tell us anything new about the Tatsumi Brothers. Even when they’re doing good deeds, it’s basically for the same reason they pull off heists: to kill time. These guys don’t really seem to have any real motivation in life, except to stay occupied.

We only get about five minutes of time in the present, during which Ox’s saber sparks ignite Tiger’s alcoholic mouth-foam (no one has ever combined those eight words before), and Ox learns Zombie Snake can be killed with fire. The brief Ox-Tiger alliance proves successful, though Ox promises a proper duel with her at a later date.

Meanwhile, high above the fray, Dragon seems to be preparing to team up with his brother Snake one last time (despite dead Snake being loyal Usagi now), hoping he’ll destract the others while he prepares a “memorial” for him, which I assume will involve Dragon’s signature ice.

Unfortunately, most of this episode felt like filler.  I await the backstories of Ox and Tiger, which will hopefully be both more interesting and less long-winded.

Juuni Taisen – 07

We finally get a bit of story on Snake and Dragon, the only two warriors who came into the Juuni Taisen as a built-in pair of allies, at least until only the two of them were left. The older Dragon is more serious and into hacking, while the younger Snake has a little less caution and prefers to do the smash-and-grabbing.

When the two learn they’ll be in the Taisen, fighting in a battle where there is only one person left standing, they’re…mostly fine with it? I guess? I mean, neither seemed interested in going against the path laid out for them. Of course, we learn that being matched pair going into the battle meant absolutely nothing against the psychotic Usagi.

If Dragon can barely muster a shrug at the death of his younger brother, um…why should I? These two are probably the most boring of the twelve warriors.

Sharyu is more interesting even as the undead servant of a necromantist, as Usagi has her collect the expired Uuma from the bank vault, likely to make yet another servant. He’s really running the table here.

Tiger’s talents seem to include being able to consume an infinite amount of alcohol (though we don’t get her story this week) and striking how and when her opponent least expects it, owing to her drunken-fist style.

In this case, her opponent is the headless Snake. She easily snatches his fuel tanks from him, and then…starts drinking them. Why she just assumed it was potable alcohol (and not de-natured or, worse, gasoline) I don’t know, but perhaps she could smell the difference?

Ox drops in on the headless, tankless, and one armless Snake…and then takes his other arm, and threatens to take his legs too. Why the “genius of slaughter” is being so sporting with a corpse is a bit beyond me; all he does is make himself a sitting duck for the instance when Snake’s disembodied arms fly out from the darkness and put a choke hold on both Ox and Tiger.

Ox ignites Tiger’s flammable mouth foam, seemingly incapacitating the Snake but also seemingly burning Tiger. And above it all, watching closely, is Dragon, still alive, but not seen since the opening meeting.

At this point, I’m starting to wonder if anyone will be able to succeed against Usagi, his growing legion of corpse friends, and his bottomless bag of underhanded tricks.

Juuni Taisen – 06

It’s a pretty good bet that anyone who gets a backstory on this show will probably be the next one to die. The last two weeks we got the stories of Monkey and Sheep, and get Horse’s this week. By episode’s end all three have bought the farm, just when all three are confident they have things well in hand.

Sharyu, a master of martial arts, doesn’t see anything particularly challenging about Usagi’s way of fighting…until it’s too late, and he seemingly uses a master-level move for the first time. But Usagi doesn’t have eyes in the back of his head, he has the head of Snake up in a tree watching his back. Very slick. I’m sure we can expect Usagi to use Sharyu’s corpse to add to his zombie support group.

Like Sharyu, Hitsujii approaches Tora and thinks she’s weak and not a threat to him. After all, she’s just lounging around getting sloshed. Little does he know she’s a famous “drunken master”, despite her looks, and wastes no time killing him while his guard is down. With six warriors now dead, the bidding is open for the faceless rich people to choose who will win; an aspect of the show that remains the least interesting.

Then there’s Uuma, Warrior of the Horse. He survived Ox’s onslaught thanks to his life of making his body an impenetrable suit of armor, but has lost the will to fight and holes up in a super-secure bank vault.

Nezumi, being a rat, is still able to slip in, and hides there for a moment from the pursuing Zombie Snake. Nezumi warns Uuma that the vault is no longer safe, and simply surviving is the same as being dead, but Uuma pays him no mind.

Still, the Rat’s words irk Horse, who gets so lost in his thoughts by the time he realizes Snake is burning down the entire bank with him in it, it’s too late; his body can handle the heat, but there’s no oxygen to feed that body.

Assuming he doesn’t survive (though he’s a tough dude; who knows), that leaves five warriors: Rat, Tiger, Dragon, Rabbit…and Ox, with six episodes remaining. All in all, an efficient, focused, and satisfying outing to mark the halfway point.

 

Juuni Taisen – 05

Juuni Taisen has so far worked best when it’s focused—say on one character or one battle. This week gets off to an uninspiring start involving a big meeting room full of literally faceless VIPs and a unsolicited speech by Duo-whasisface.

He says the Zodiac War is a proxy for far costlier global conflict, but I’m not buying it; there’s clearly plenty of war in this world, both that which Monkey cannot prevent through negotiation and in which all of the other warriors fight when they’re not in a battle royale.

The “no betting until half the field is gone” rule made no sense to me either. In a a horse race, every horse is bet on, not just the half of the field that pulls ahead halfway in. This was just needless babbling that took me away from the actual battle, involving nobody I cared about.

Next up is the start of the much-anticipated duel between Usagi and Sharyu, which turns out to be a bit of a stalemate, as every blow or zombi bird Usagi sends Sharyu’s way is parried or otherwise countered, as Sharyu continues to ask Usagi to reconsider her offer of cooperation. I know she’s Monkey, but I fear she’s barking up the wrong tree.

Unfortunately, her fight with Usagi not only comes to any kind of resolution, but what we do see of it comes in fits and spurts, constantly interrupted by the episode’s A-plot involving Sheep, his backstory, and his plan for victory involving partnering with mid-level warriors (unaware of who has died besides Snake).

Bouncing between his admittedly impressive tale of his life as a warrior (including fighting a previous Juuni Taisen aboard a space station—why couldn’t we watch that?) and the Sharyu-Usagi duel serves neither storyline. I fail to see why they had to be intertwined in this way rather than have one flow into the other.

Much of Sheep’s time is spent looking at and sorting toy versions of the animals that represent the other warriors. Considering the thrust of the duel happening concurrently, it almost feels like stalling, especially when he’s working with less info than we have regarding the remaining players.

As if the episode weren’t packed enough, we have the subplots of Nezumi being chased by Zombie Snake (great band name, BTW) and Ox resuming his battle with Horse, which he presumably left temporarily to kill Niwatori, and can saunter right back and continue wailing on Horse because Ox is just badass like that.

It’s just another case of staggering the storylines for little to no narrative gain.

We’ve now gone two episodes without anyone else being killed, adding to a sense of stagnation throughout the episode. Nezumi and Sharyu may as well be running/fighting in circles. When Ox suddenly comes after Sheep, Sheep withdraws, and the first warrior he encounters turns out to be Tiger, ranked the weakest (and likely tied for the most scantily-clad with Usagi).

The way this episode ended—with everything just kind of pausing in the middle—was more frustrating than satisfying. I look forward to learning more about the next warrior next week, and I’m really not opposed to the show mixing things up or jumping from warrior to warrior within an episode…just not for its own sake.

There’s a right and wrong way to doing these things, and it wasn’t done quite right this week.

Gundam: G no Reconguista – 13

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She does? Well that’s good. What’s also good: I think kinda understand the situation too! Representatives of Capital Tower and Ameria find themselves at Sankt Porto, faced with a common enemy from the Moon. The two entities that have been warring all this time are better off forming a united front against this enemy.

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To that end, the grown-up have to talk it out and discuss the wherefores and particulars and whatnot…

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Hey Bell, this is boring, right? How ’bout we head back out into space and kick some mobile ass!

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RED RUM. RED RUM.

Rara may understand the situation, but it’s still tricky to understand her, or her sudden and cryptic reactions to things. And her vocabulary remains shockingly limited.

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Well, yeah. What are you fogeys going to do…talk the enemy to death? Actually, that might work.

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I like how Kerbes Yoh is the voice of reason in wondering why Bell is going into battle with two civilians stuffed into his cockpit. For their part, Neither Noredo nor Rara want to leave, and Bell is so used to being surrounded by girls in his cockpit that it would have never occured to him to drop them off somewhere safe.

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A tender moment between Mask and BARARA. Of course, he’s telling her they’ll only go so far in their cooperation with the Amerians. If the opportunity arises to get the upper hand on them, they’ll take it. Bara likes how he’s thinking.

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Bell and Aida board the Garanden under a flag of truce, and they’re surprised to find their old friend Manny there, she having followed Luin but lost track of him, probably because now he wears a mask, making all his other distinguishing features invisible to the eye (apparently).

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It’s actually a pretty cool sight to see the Capital Mack Knifes in a joint formation with the G-Self and other various suits, then meeting up with Klim and his sidekick. As the moon fleet sends negotiators to Sankt, Klim decides to use a false white flag to get closer to them.

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It doesn’t work at all, and I’m glad it doesn’t, because it means these Moonies are your typical idiotic tacticians. They launch a torrent of missles at the joint formation, but all are deflected or destroyed, and everyone retreats back to the port. The Moonies cease fire, not wanting to hit the port.

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This leads to maybe one of the best moments in the show, when everyone who had been battling each other all this time, for various purposes (or due to outright misunderstandings) all end up in the same elevator together. The line above really says it all.

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Alright…WHO FARTED? I’m lookin’ at you, Maskie.

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From the elevator, everyone eventually files into a large audience chamber where Aida’s Dad, Bell’s Mom, and His Holiness are already talking things over with the Moonies, and again you get the feeling the youths would rather be somewhere else shooting or punching something. In fact, a fistfight does almost break out between Klim and one of the Moon pilots, but Bell comes between them.

Oh, Klim also is the first to say “reconguista” in the show, because of course he is.

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Ultimately, Aida isn’t going to take the Moonies by their many many boring words. She wants to spring back into action, which means heading to the moon herself and seeing what she sees with eyes unclouded by the motives of other parties. So that’s where she and Bell and likely the rest of the gang are headed next week.

Entering it’s second half, Recon in G is finally starting to make some doggone sense! But the plot still didn’t interest me so much as all the lovely reluctant alliances and strange bedfellows created this week.

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Gundam: G no Reconguista – 12

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Raraiya Monday is upset about the G-Self being saddled with an Assault Pack, ostensibly because she doesn’t want the G used for battle…which begs the question, what should it be used for? Was was she up to in it? When will she remember? Maybe sooner than I think; maybe not.

In any case, hitting her with a slingshot-propelled sneeze bomb? I like how Noredo thinks! If only her character had a purpose beyond tagging along beside Bellri and Rara-sitting.

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Meanwhile, Klim, who everyone calls “Genius Klim” this week despite the fact he is not a genius (maybe it’s an inside joke?), has an audacious plan to occupy the Sankt Porto, the highest nut of Capital Tower, holiest site of CU Cordism, and the distribution center for all photon batteries. His reason is, for once, pretty simple: he, and by extension America, wants a piece of the action.

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No you won’t. They’re way, way ahead of you, strategically speaking. You’re just going to fight another pointless battle and retreat, like you always do, because you’re a dreadful disappointment of a nemesis, yes you are!

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Klim is talking rather insensitively about Aida here, and while I can’t say he’s wrong, he could say the same of Mask. Klim himself is not particularly capable either, but at least he’s good and loud and cocky!

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Ummm…not so sure about that, Bunny Lady: there is this thing called anti-aircraft warfare. I’m sure there is a SPACE version of it.

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But you have let them, and continue to let them! And why are you spinning around like that? Are you remotely serious about anything? 

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Okay. Now this was kind of out of left field. Sankt Porto is, I suppose, a holy religious site that many on Earth believe will curse you if you try to enter. But Bellri’s outrage seems so out of left field. I mean, didn’t he know there was going to be a battle around the very place where they were headed? There’s always a battle!

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Even more confusing is AIda’s reaction to Bell’s reaction. She acts as if she forgot he was super-sensitive about fighting near Sankt Porto. But she didn’t forget, because that was never a thing. Bell is just making up character traits as he goes along! And what’s with the persistent lack of romantic development?

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I like this guy. I’ll bet he has to refocus the captain’s attention all the time like this. The captain’s probably writing an anime blog or something. These guys are such amateurs!

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Huh…who know Bellri was into mobile bondage?

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Wait…does she know where she’s going?

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A WARNING.

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Oh wow look: another force of nincompoops! At least their fleet and gridlike moon development looks pretty cool. Here is the long-sought ‘threat from space’, which is really a threat from the moon. Maybe this is where Raraiya is from? Could they give her a pill or something so that she can be a cohesive person? Please?

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WHOA. (Kerbes) Yoh. Sloh your rolhl, Broh. That ain’t cool.

I’m probably being overoptimistic; these are the bad guys, and it’s likely both Ameria and Capital will team up to fight them. And by ‘fight’ I mean more engage-and-retreats of dubious effect using newly-developed, oddly-named mobile suits and accessories that come out of nowhere. Looking forward to it!

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Gundam: G no Reconguista – 11

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I held out hope that space would be a kind of clarifying salve for Recon in G; a fitting venue to restore some measure of structure and cohesion to the story after going astray or running into dead ends down on the surface. Something that would encourage me to do more than simply snark-watch.

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But that was only false hope, a fool’s hope; for all who watch this show are fools. But like Mask, I shall embrace my failures and continue to be handsomely rewarded for them!

This week, the G-Self applies SPACE LOTION to Megafauna. But because its pilot Bellri was Bred For Combat and not piddling manual labor, he struggles with even this relatively simple procedure and must be watched like a hawk lest he smash a hole in the ship.

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None of this has anything to do with anything, Bell’s Mom. This is the credo of Recon in G.

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Poor Deck Scruber Fifth Class Manny Ambassada. It’s clear from Mask/Luin’s interactions with Barara the Eureka Seven Reject that the two are sleeping together. Just look at that foot caress. I’ll bet she gives great mask.

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Aida’s Dad (Is it Aida’s Dad? I can’t keep track of all the olds) makes one hell of an entrance, crashing a ship-launching ceremony, and proceeds to have a very public argument about how to proceed with the man at the lectern, whose name is President Zucchini and is apparently Klim’s Dad. The crap these two spew wouldn’t be out of place in that horrible senate babble scene in Star Wars Episode I.

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Either this is an air show, or a very expensive music video is about to start. But no matter what anyone says, I think eleven members is just too many for a rock band!

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Pray, would that be experience as a BODACIOUS Space Pirate, or just a Regular one? Ya know what, forget it. Just stay in the ship and don’t do anything, Princess.

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That line was old in the sixties, man. Get new material.

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DON’T ENCOURAGE HIM! Whoever you are.

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Bellri is face-to-face with his nemesis for the first time, and this is his first observation. Never change, Bellri.

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NOW you’ve done it; he’s never going to shut up! He’s quite proud of that mask. If only it actually helped him win a battle, which he still has yet to do. Probably should have stayed in his cockpit. Why exactly was EVA necessary here? Seemed like a ridiculously unwarranted risk.

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I’m not the biggest fan of Mask’s weird Mack Knife mobile suit with its splaying legs. After getting kicked in the balls by G-Self, I’ll bet Mask isn’t either! How many times now has this state-of-the-art suit gotten its ass handed to it. Now it’ll have to sing “Mack the Knife” in soprano.

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I know that’s the name of his fairy-like comrade, but from the way Mask belts it out it seems like BARARA! is also a curse word.

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LOL YOU’RE JUST REALIZING THIS NOW? Go home you’re drunk Rara.

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