Taimadou Gakuen 35 Shiken Shoutai – 08

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Despite how improbable it looked at the end of last week, Takeru (and Ikaruga’s) chastity survives this episode, as her sister is early to pick her up. Before she says “bye-bye” (never a good thing for her) once more, she injects him with a muscle relaxant, telling him not to follow her because she loves him.

She may claim to know nothing about love or romance, but the fact she’s making this deal to protect Takeru and the others is a clear sign she’s evolved beyond the limitations of the design Alchemist intended. She’s gone from making weapons to sacrificing herself to save her new family.

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Naturally, as soon as Takeru gets the use of his legs back, and the girls get their freedom (and clothes) back, he immediately sets about defying Suginami’s wishes not to follow her. The 35th aren’t going to heed her desire to handle things herself, not if there’s a possibility they could lose her.

There’s a lot of great stuff here: Ootori and Mari, usually at each other’s throats, are still able to fight together when push comes to shove. As for Usagi, she convinces Ootori that it doesn’t matter how dark or dastardly Suginami’s past was, or what she intends to do. All Usagi wants is to bring the Suginami the loves back. 

And while yes, Takeru finally makes Lapis blush by praising her, Lapis quickly changes the subject as the platoon heroically deploys to rescue Ikaruga, all to a thumping techno track that really got me fired up for the battle.

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At Alchemist, Ikaruga reveals to Isuka her true intentions: to ensure the Elves are never resurrected, and to do what she should have done four years ago: get her sister the hell out of there. Isuka says she doesn’t want to leave, but she’s had modifications made to her that causes pain whenever she expresses emotions, so she’s not in a condition to think clearly.

She also shoots Ikaruga in the leg, which convinces her sister to use the nanomachines she’s implanted in herself to transform into some kind of Demon-Ikaruga who can wield antimatter. That’s a lot to swallow all at once, but then again Ikaruga is a pretty smart cookie, so fine.

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At any rate, she gradually wears Isuka down into admitting she feels something for her sister. Unfortunately, that’s just when Haunted decides to break up the sisterly chat and bury his arm into Isuka, a blow that turns out to be fatal. All along, Isuka had only been his pawn, and now that she’s of no further use to him, he wants to recruit Ikaruga. Her response is very appropriate: a hearty Go To Hell and a bullet to the head.

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Haunted exits stage right, but leaves a cyberdragon to deal with the platoon. He should have summoned a pair, because with Usagi at the controls of a railgun, Ootori watching Takeru’s back, and Mari replenishing Takeru’s mana when he runs out of his own, the gang is just able to take the dragon out and save Suginami.

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I say just, because Takeru risks everything on the hope one big final blow using all of the mana Mari gave him would be enough to defeat the one dragon. I like that despite the clear skills and teamwork the platoon possesses, they only win by the skin of their teeth. Of course, they were fighting one comrade short.

When the battle is over, the gang can relax, to the pont Mari gloats about saving everyone with her last minute mana infusion, to which Ootori calls her a “fuel tank”…which is a pretty creative insult. As usual, Suginami and Takeru stay above the fray, though she’s glad to be among them once more witnessing said fray.

And despite her earlier assertion she would not fall for Takeru’s smooth words, Sugi does succomb to a comforting head pat and a request that she talk to her friends in the future when she has a problem. She points out that not all girls like having their head patted, but tells him to keep doing it anyway. It’s not intercourse, but right then and there, it’s plenty.

As next week’s episode is titled “Crazy Summer Time”, I’ll be supremely shocked if the girls aren’t in swimsuits for at good part of it.

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Taimadou Gakuen 35 Shiken Shoutai – 07

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This week (and next) is dedicated to Suginami Ikaruga’s personal crisis. But she tells Kusanagi she won’t be “going gaga” over him like the other girls when he tries his noble “I’ll carry half your burden” line on her. He has no idea what she’s talking about, but he has noticed she’s acted different from usual lately, and he would know: the 35th Test Platoon started with just the two of them.

Back then, Kusanagi was beaten by her because he wouldn’t draw his sword on an unarmed opponent. That endeared him to Suginami, who above all seeks and love things that “stick out;” things that are unusual and beg for further study. And Suginami herself is very unusual compared to her fellow platoon-mates; this week we find out just how different.

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Director Ootori calls her a “designer child” created by the lab Alchemist with which Inquisition has always had tense relations. He also suspects Suginami knows of the whereabouts of something called a “Lost Matrix” which could theoretically be used to resurrect the elves, which is apparently a big deal in this world.

Her twin sister Isuka wants to do just that, so now is the time that Ikaruga finally seeks a deal : Isuka gets the matrix, but she gets to watch what becomes of it. Isuka, by the way, is no longer with Alchemist either, having thrown her lot in with Haunted and Valhalla.

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Takeru and the other girls end up following Suginami, but only he and Suginami get away from Isuka’s mercenaries; Ootori, Mari, and Usagi are taken into custody, stripped, poked and prodded by Isuka, who can find nothing exceptional about any of them. She wonders why her sister has become “friends” with such “normal” people (We know they’re not really normal, but Isuka is ignorant to their stories).

As for Ikaruga and Isuka’s story, the two were engineered to be the ultimate scientists; “weapons” with an uncontrollable “impulse for inquiry”. But it was clear in their younger years that Ikaruga got more and more curious about normal humans and their social structures, even “adopting” a wood elf she created (breaking the rules), which was later destroyed.

All this is to say that despite her antiseptic, inhuman upbringing and pre-programmed calling, Ikaruga does have human emotions, or at least more than her sister. She also has a grasp of right and wrong, as she shows despair at the horrors of the lab and, much later, showing affection for her friends by not involving them in her affairs, thus protecting them.

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Knowing her off-limits curiosity would eventually get her labeled as a “defective” Suginami, Young Ikaruga stole the Lost Matrix and broke out of Alchemist, leaving behind Isuka—who had no idea why she couldn’t just stay and keep doing research with her. But as we know from Ikaruga, she and her sister clearly define “things that stick out” in different ways.

She read about a bird who lost her mother, became a human, and had her own child, becoming a mother, and couldn’t help seeing herself in the fairy tale. She befriended Takeru, who thought and acted differently from almost everyone else. Even Usagi’s boobs “stick out”, so to speak, though they’re obviously not the only reason they became friends.

Now, holed up in her safe house with a bandaged Takeru, and little hope of living past the next day or so, Ikaruga wants to go out performing one more experiment of human behavior she wants to try before it’s all over: sex, specifically with Takeru; leading to one hell of a killer smash cut to credits.

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Coppelion – 03

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Taeko’s tamed wolf finds a set of car keys that leads Coppelion to a prison, where they find the owners of the keys, two men in hazmat suits. One is Shiba Denjiro, a brilliant scientist who built the power plant that caused the accident that destroyed Tokyo. He now spends his days delivering supplies to the survivors, which include an elderly woman, one of many left behind when her family evacuated. Ibara has to wrench the woman out of the arms of mysterious men who landed in a B-2 Stealth Bomber. With the woman safe, Coppelion goes after the bomber.

Now that they’re aware that not everyone in the Old Capital will welcome their presence with open arms, Coppelion is a lot more cautious in approaching people. They end up hitting the jackpot, stumbling across the architect of the catastrophe that not only ruined millions of lives, but led to the creation of three: the three Coppelion girls. A continuing theme of the series is their unique perspective on the calamity: they’re only on this earth because it happened, so to wish for it to not have happened is a wish to have never existed.

Similarly, Miku was born after the accident; it’s even possible she wouldn’t have been born either had her parents not escaped from prison thanks to the meltdown. This is all very interesting, but it doesn’t change the fact the lead girls aren’t that compelling so far. Ibara is shouldering the guilt of losing two survivors last week, but that’s the extent of her development. Taeko is capable and full of useful skills, but there’s not much else to her, to say nothing of Aoi, who doesn’t seem to have a special power (though it’s possible she’ll reveal it later).


Rating: 6 (Good)

Stray Observation:

We had some problems with the Stealth Bomber. It’s strange how it’s first referred to as a “monster crow” when it’s clearly a jet-powered man-made object; and it also takes off way too quickly and in way too short a distance. And what’s this about shooting it down (to “talk” to them) with a bazooka when it’s already long gone? It felt like it was just thrown into the episode because they had a cool B-2 CGI model and wanted to use it.

Coppelion – 02

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The Coppelion meet Kawabata Mitsuo and his wife Yukiko, ex-convicts living in the radioactive zone after escaping from prison in the meltdown chaos; Mitsuo is searching for Miku, his daughter from his late first wife. The girls determine that Mitsuo and Yukiko argued about sending an SOS, and Yukiko took Miku hostage. Ibara enters a condemned hotel and finds Yukiko and Miku on an upper floor, but the hotel collapses and Yukiko falls to her death. Mitsuo dies from radiation before the girls can reunite him with Miku, but she still thanks them anyway for their efforts.

After the first week established that birds, wolves, and the like still thrive in the region rendered uninhabitable to humans, this week revealed that some humans have tried to do the same, and not all of them want to leave, despite the radiation. The first such people we meet are in a complicated, unenviable position; rescue would mean breaking up the family because Yukiko and Mitsuo are criminals who still owe debts to society. They were able to somehow scrape together a living, but then the supply trucks ceased. Yet however pure Mitsuo’s love for Miku, or good his intentions, subjecting her to a bleak, shortened life in that radioactive hellhole simply wasn’t fair to her.

Mitsuo ultimately came to realize that, but Yukiko simply couldn’t bear to lose another child, and was even messed up enough to threaten to shoot Miku if Ibara tried to take her; such were the twisting, traumatizing effects of their desperate way of life. Faced with human tragedy more complex than they’d ever perceived, the Coppelion girls reflect on their existence as test tube-grown “dolls” or “puppets” whose edict is to go where ordinary humans can’t and save people. They learn that not everyone they encounter can – or wants to – be saved. But they also learn that they’re not just automatons; this encounter affected them, stay with them, and inform their actions on future missions.

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Rating:7 (Very Good)

Ginga Kikoutai Majestic Prince – 10

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The Wulgaru defector, Theoria, tells Team Rabbits that humanity was one of many species that evolved as a result of the Wulgaru spreading their genes across the galaxy to combat death. They then engage in “hunts”, the latest of which is against Earth. Simon and GDF intend to use the Rabbits as decoys and trump cards, knowing the Wulgaru will consider them prized prey. Theoria also tells Izuru they were once close friends, which explains his familiar feeling he has around her. Back at Wulgaru HQ, Jiart declares the earthling he encountered to be his personal prey, and that his compatriots should also each choose one of the other four earthlings who put up a fight during the Battle of Ceres. Simon informs the Rabbits that a Wulgaru vessel has been found on Mars.

Like the queerats of New World and the Hideauze of Gargantia, the Wulgaru share genetic commonality with humans, who now find themselves locked in combat with them. But if it weren’t for the Wulgaru, the human race wouldn’t exist; the reverse of those other two scenarios. Humans are one of many genetic “crops” the Wulgaru have spread across the galaxy in hopes of keeping their civilization alive. We wish the show would let us in on exactly how killing off large numbers of humans extends the Wulgaru lifespan (???) but there it is. Theoria and her missing mother are Wulgaru noblewomen who oppose such “hunts” and she’s worked with the GDF to devise defenses against Wulgaru belligerence.

There’s a lot of Majestic Prince yet to watch, so this was a good time to reveal these truths. It speaks to a larger theme of honesty always having a positive impact on things. Now that the Rabbits know the score, they can psychologically prepare. Izuru, Tamaki, and Suruga are synching better to their AHSMBs because they’re open and honest with their feelings, while Asagi and Kei struggle because they’re more introspective and self-conscious. Every time Izuru and Theoria talk to each other, Kei has this subtle look of irritation on her face, but if she has something to say, she hasn’t expressed it strongly enough for Izuru to notice. We’ll see if either she or Asagi open up a little more. Their lives may depend on it.


Rating: 6 (Good)

Stray Observations:

  • Both Izuru and Tamaki are excited to meet Theoria and Daneel, respectively, but they go about expressing their attraction in very different ways.
  • For Theoria’s part, she seems game about one day reconnecting with Izuru.
  • Jiart: Kinda a dick. His brother’s king, but gives him a lot of leeway.
  • Can’t get on board with the other Wulgaru generals. Aside from the fact they all look ridiculous, they’re little more than sniveling thugs.
  • We didn’t realize just how ENORMOUS Tamaki’s AHSMB was until they showed them all to scale.