Alice to Zouroku – 05

(In an attempt to balance our workloads, I’ve taken over Alice to Zouroku reviewing duties from Preston.)

In this episode apparently brought to you by SNICKERS® (You’re not you when you’re hungry. Eat a SNICKERS®.) Minnie C doesn’t easily give up her captives, so she and Ichijou Shizuku enter a long, sustained battle full of CGI effects that holds together reasonably well, considering the show itself has never striven for ufotable-level precision.

Minnie C puts on a good fight, but Shizuku eventually wears her down due to her superior power: the ability to summon any number of 666 weapons and 13 grimoires from a magical storeroom derived from an anime she used to watch.

That’s not as satisfying a powers-origin story as, say, Minnie C, but the major difference is that Shizuku is fighting for others, while Minnie is only fighting for herself, angry at the world for taking away her darling. When she runs out of energy and Shizuku stands triumphantly over her, I really feel for Minnie C when she apologizes to her husband for continuing to be alive, because she’s completely wrong: her husband wants her to live. That means finding another reason for living beyond being with him.

Meanwhile, the now-freed (and largely static during the battle) Alice celebrates and underscores her and Zouroku’s new freedom by floating with him high up into the sky, something he’s fine with after being cooped up on that container ship so long. He’s also fine that Alice is accepting of his and Sanae’s love and invitation to join their family, no matter what kind of being she truly is.

Minnie C is shipped back to the states, and the organization that employed her and the other ability-users and pursued is dismantled by the police. Alice takes to the granddaughter role with gusto, further charming her new big sister Sanae, who has no end of plans to use Alice’s newly-restored energy to have “fun”, a concept once foreign to Alice.

Shizuku and Ryuu rest easy, knowing all’s well that ends well. Ryuu almost seems to want to will the next crisis into being by wishing another “incident” would come along, but until then, it’s nice to see Alice, Zouroku, and Sanae simply having a normal dinner on a normal night, in the normal lives they hope to maintain even after all that’s come to light.

In fact, this could be the finale to a five-part miniseries, as it leaves me wondering what the show has lined up next.

Jormungand – 05

Koko and her team are aboard a container ship when word comes that her brother Kasper’s ship will be paying them a visit. Koko has Jonah hidden away, but he meets Kasper anyway in the head, tries to kill him, and is stopped by Kasper‘s bodyguard Chiquita. Flashback to three months ago, Jonah was being held on an army base in Western Asia when an associate of Kasper’s visited. The soldiers took away Jonah’s friend Marka and he never saw her again; he finally blew his top and shot up the entire baseto avenge her. Kasper arrives to assess his work, and stated he wanted the base wiped out all along. After imprisoning him in a container for several days, he lets him out and gives him to his sister, who promises to treat him better.

The Hekmatyars are not your typical family. For one thing, both Koko and Kasper were born and raised on container ships at sea, so they have no homeland, and no patriotism for any particular country. They’re nomads. Here we were thinking Kasper was going to make life miserable for Koko & Co, but it turns out they’re fairly nice and cordial to one another (he even lets her push him around). It turns out Jonah was a gift from Kasper, and this episode deals with his backstory, which, as we suspected, was quite traumatic.

Kasper didn’t mince words or hide behind riddles when he met Jonah: he was the one who arranged the sale of weapons to the people who destroyed Jonah’s village and killed his family. He gave Jonah time to find his place in the world and decide how he’d live it out. Considering all that shit happened just three months ago, Jonah has made great progress, and he has Koko and her warm, kind team to thank for it – we like the idea that they’re taking turns educating him. He’s in a good place now. Part of him probably wishes he could stay on that boat in the sea forever.

Rating: 7 (Very Good)