DanMachi II – 09 – Your Hero is Here

After stewing in self-hatred for a quick spell, Bell regains the nerve to rescue Haruhime despite the consequences. Mikoto is with him; they’ll get yelled at later together, but with Hestia, Lili and Welf stopped at the gates, the two are on their own. Mikoto will sneak her way to where Haruhime is being held, which will require a diversion.

Bell provides that diversion by rushing the front door and spamming Firebolt at the waves of Amazons who come at him. That only works for so long, especially once a dual-wielding Phryne enters the phray. At her Level, she can swat his Firebolts away like flies. He’s “saved” by Ishtar, who figures it’s time to deflower the Little Rookie, but to her dismay he’s immune to divine charms—even hers.

Freya, another goddess whose divine charms are wasted on Bell, gets a report about Isthar Familia’s movements and starts to move, while it looks like Hestia’s party will also get in, just not in time to help save Haruhime (I imagine they’ll serve as the cavalry later). Mikoto gets to Haruhime, who continues to believe herself unworthy of being saved by a hero due to her profession. Mikoto isn’t hearing it. She’s getting rescued.

That means Mikoto has to go up against Samira, who’s a Level higher and batters her with her bare hands and feet. With Haruhime’s execution imminent, Mikoto pulls out some ninja trickery, pulling Samira into a hug and releasing a huge magical discharge before falling over the side of the building.

The rest is up to Bell, who deflects the killing blow of the woman tasked with killing Haruhime, and shatters the Killing Stone, rendering the ritual impossible. It’s yet another thrilling episode from a show that has proven time and again it knows how to pull off epic action. Mikoto really shone this week; I hope she’s okay.

As for Bell, well…maybe he can quickly get leveled up by Haruhime and at least hold his own until the cavarly arrives? ‘Cause he ain’t charming those Amazons off that roof…not after he just torpedoed their chances of beating Freya.

My Hero Academia – 12

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This USJ battle has really slowed down to a crawl: the only thing of note that happens is that All Might defeats Nomu.

Granted, that’s a big deal, as Nomu was hailed as being at least as powerful as All Might—indeed, he was created for just that purpose—it’s just that the presentation of his duel with Nomu underscores the fact that this is merely a competently-executed shounen superhero show with little in the way of creativity to offer, at least at this stage in the game.

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I was, perhaps unfairly, hoping for more a little more innovation or comedy a la Flamenco or One Punch, but events remain steadfastly (and rather boringly) serious, intense, and slow.

All Might can’t beat everyone alone—brawlers like Bakugo, Todoroki and Kirishima swoop in to stop Kurogiri from slicing him in half with his warp clouds—but it’s not long before students and villains alike simply stand off to the side and gawk as All Might and Nomu go at it mano-a-mano.

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Shigaraki tries to add some philosophy into the battle about good and evil and violence, but it’s neither convincing or compelling; these are bad guys, pure and simple, and they need a good beating. All Might delivers an over-100% street brawl that manages to overwhelm and launch Nomu into the sky, and just like that an implacable foe is…neutralized.

My understanding coming into the episode was that this was going to possibly be All Might’s last moments: he was already at his limit when he arrived, and the “less than a minute” of power he had left was certainly stretched out over more like ten minutes. He’s also steaming by the end, as if he could revert to Heroin Might at any moment.

But Shigaraki and Kurogiri are still standing and ready to fight, even without Nomu, and unless other heroes/teachers show up, it will be up to the students to finish the last of the villains off in episode 13, if they can.

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Oreimo 2 – 16 (Fin)

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After Kyousuke and Kirino graduate from their respective schools, they are confronted by Manami, who has come to fight Kirino for Kyousuke. She comes right out and calls their romance disgusting and threatens to tell their parents,. After several blows are exchanged between her and Kirino, Manami confesses to Kyousuke, who turns her down, saying Kirino will always come first. She slaps him and leaves. Kyousuke and Kirino get married in a chapel and exchange a kiss, and then go back to being normal siblings, as they decided on Christmas Eve.

We knew Manami was going to be upset when she learned about her betrothed going out with his little sister, but we had no idea she was going to be such a badass in this final episode. She beats Kirino up and pours a big ‘ol glass of cold water all over the pair, telling them all the stuff no one else had up to that point. Her scolding falls on deaf ears, not just because Kyousuke had chosen Kirino, but because unbeknownst to Manami, their romance was always going to be a temporary one, and just wasn’t quite over yet. What Kirino whispered to Kyousuke was that once they graduated, they’d put their romance to an end and continue on as proper siblings.

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This begs the question: if that romance was temporary, what purpose was served by having Kyousuke burn his last bridge with another girl? Why break so many hearts to confirm to  Kirino that her brother would destroy his entire love live six times over if it meant just a few fleeting months as her “lover?” Was it really worth ruining so many of his friendships to have a pretend wedding and a chaste kiss, only to drop it all right afterward? The extensive fallout really doesn’t seem worth it, even if the conclusion (they didn’t actually become  lovers) was a foregone conclusion (this isn’t siscon eroge).

So the series ends on a logical, if somewhat awkward note, having backed Kyousuke and Kirino into a corner and callously discarded legitimate love interests for a fling that didn’t and wasn’t even supposed to last. But while Kyousuke’s unwavering devotion to fulfilling his little sister’s selfish whims often frustrated and even maddened us, we won’t deny we were also greatly entertained and at times downright moved by his many exploits over the last two seasons.

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Rating:7 (Very Good)