Macross Delta – 11

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Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance: the Five Stages of Grief. Macross Delta wsn’t going to cheapen Messer’s apparent death by bringing him back, so no one is really in denial.

Hayate, Freyja and Mirage are angry that they didn’t do everything they thought they could to prevent his death. Others still have more or less moved to acceptance, or at least the veneer of it, in the case of Kaname and Arad; keeping busy so the veneer doesn’t crack.

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Heck, even Lord Keith is angry about to loss of his wind-dancing rival, putting a blade to Bogue’s throat when he mocks the dead. It’s an interesting moment for Keith, who shares a moment on the balcony with Roid, reminding him of their promise to make their world strong again.

Clearly Keith is pretty miffed Messer had to die for that end, but will get over it, while Roid worries for Heinz because no one else (including Heinz) will. Hayate has to storm off when Arad brings up the necessary matter of re-filling Messer’s cockpit, while Freyja keeps getting up and running no matter how many times she faceplants in the mud.

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As everyone processes, the tech boffins sort out why Windermere is annexing planets with ruins: annexing them all (and they only have two to go) will allow them to exert mind control on all 8 billion inhabitants of the Globular Cluster (AKA Starwind Sector), bending everyone to their will.

To show he means business, the ailing king gets out of bed (possibly inspired by Hundred’s Karen) and leads the attack himself, overseeing the launch of the positively gargantuan, Final Fantasy-esque baroque flagship called the Sigur Valens, which was being hidden under a retractable mountain range.

It seems to me, if you have this much power, you’re probably set. But this is also about revenge. Revenge for that mysterious scar in Windermere; and perhaps also due to a powerful collective envy at the other races of the sector for their longevity. Windermere is committed to burning brightest, even if briefly.

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A fire burns on the beach, with the whole gang assembled, when Hayate arrives. They have a kind of wake for Messer there, during which they eat, drink, sing, and be merry. A model plane is constructed as a symbol of Messer, which in a Ragnian ceremony will be committed to the sea to become one of the endless jellyfish beneath the waves.

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The music during this scene is top notch – soulful, moving; especially when Mikumo finally shows up and starts singing, and the rest of Walkure joins in. They also read from Messer’s log, which is full of detailed critiques of his kohais.

Even though we didn’t see all that much of Messer, the outpouring of emotion here makes it clear that he was loved and appreciated, and will be hard to replace. That being said, I’m not sure Hayate is being very sensible when he assures Arad no replacement pilot is necessary.

The beach wake also kinda contradicts Arad’s comment about their being no time to mourn, as they had an entire evening to do so. However, that’s all they get, because not long after the sun rises on Ragna, the huge Windermere fleet arrives at Al Shahal—and they’re not their for R&R.

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Macross Delta – 10

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Walkure/Delta earned themselves a little respite, and so their mission pivots this week to cultural interaction on Ragna in the form of participating in the Jellyfish Festival, which is a big draw for lovers, which of course makes the likes of Mirage very nervous, but also brings to the forefront a potential Kaname/Messer pairing.

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Maki and Reina aren’t trying to be matchmakers per se; they just want Messer to have at least one more happy memory with Kaname, since who knows what tomorrow will bring. Well, we can kinda guess it will bring hard times and tragedy, since Messer is surrounded by death flags before his sendoff, after being reassigned from Delta following his escapades last week.

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Perhaps to the disappointment of the colleagues who brought them together, Messer only manages a heartfelt thank you to Kaname—no confessions and no kiss, just gratitude—and the next morning, he’s off to his new assignment. While he’ll probably never be allowed to fly combat missions, he’s being allowed to keep his plane. Hmmmmm.

Meanwhile in Windermere, Roid tries to stop Keith from using his little brother’s song when he needs rest. An ally of Keith’s has come up with a way to amplify the power of the song, at the cost of more strain on the little prince. But after Keith beats Roid in a duel (for the first time), Heinz insists both but their swords down: he’s made his decision: he’ll sing, and die, for his people.

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The song that follows resonates in the ruins across several planets, including one where it wasn’t known there were ruins. Walkure and Delta quickly scramble, and Mikumo sings like a songstress possessed in order to counter Heinz. What results is an unprecedented “clashing of winds”, which puts both Mikumo and Freyja out of commission at a crucial time.

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The Aerial Knights also harass Delta, who immediately miss Messer…only for Messer to show up in the nick of time to protect Kaname from a direct attack from the Knights. He’s Var-ing again, and begs Kaname to sing. With two of her girls down and seeing the protruding veins on Messer’s face, Kaname does the only thing she can do: belt out “Axia.”

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With Kaname’s song, Messer is able to not only stay in control, but ride the wind, garnering impressed comments from both Keith and the older Windermereans. But then all those foreboding lines about living the life you have to the fullest (since you never know how long that life will be) come home to roost, Keith looses a single shot that goes straight through Messer’s canopy, filling the cockpit with blood.

In short: shit’s in a bad way for Walkure and Delta. Offing Messer was all but inevitable, but the death still stings, as this episode let him be less hardass training officer and more nice guy with bad luck and a special place in his heart for a certain someone. Kaname’s crestfallen look to close the episode had real impact. She sang as hard as she could; he fought as hard as he could; yet it just wasn’t enough.

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Shinryaku!? Ika Musume 2 – 01

After watching an action movie, Squid Girl starts believeing mortal threats and bombs are everywhere, and it starts to feel to her like she’s an invader again. Chizuru quickly puts her in her place. When Kiyomi and her friends pay a visit, Sanae gets jealous and spies on her. Squid Girl is picking jellyfish off the beach, leading to a beachwide competition that the scientists win by cheating.

Let’s get this out of the way: RABUJOI won’t be reviewing this series, it’s just here because it’s a slow week. Last fall, Ika was a charming, often witty diversion with a colorful cast and an extremely odd angle: a squid with human form plans to invade – but only ends up assimilating into human society. It ranked 9th of 15 Fall Series, with a respectable 3.375 mean rating. But part of what made the series so enjoyable was its freshness and novelty. From this initial episode, I fear the proverbial squid’s been out of the sea a little too long, and it’s starting to smell.

Nothing we saw this week was new. Ika still has an inflated sense of superiority over all humans that isn’t really deserved. She still resents Eiko’s scolds, is scared of Chizuru, and is annoyed by Senou, et cetera. It’s clear this series is going to run with the same formula as its first season, and while there’s nothing wrong with that, I think I’ve had my fill. It might have been interesting if a sequel took place years later, say when Squid Girl has grown older and more (or less) mature. Living with humans so long would surely change her personality. Alas, that’s not what this series is about.


Rating: 2.5

Kuragehime 11 and Wrap-up

Last week’s episode closed with Amamizu-kan covered with tarps and scaffolding. Game Over? Well, obviously, no. If Yakumo managed to end so happily, what chance did Kuragehime have to end in tragedy and defeat? None. The sight of Kuronosuke in essentially the very Jellyfish dress of her dreams flips a switch in Tsukini, and she’s all gung-ho about making more. Priorities change when she sees the tarps: panic sets in; cash is needed to buy the place, fast.

Tsukimi and the sisterhood go with what worked before: Jellyfish dolls. I like how Kuronosuke actually has to actively correct their course by informing them that clothes can cost more than $5.00, thanks to hype, fashion, and branding. It also makes sense that the sisterhood is surprised by the fact that clothes can sell for much more than dolls. With his tentacles all over the fashion industry, Kuronosuke arranged for Tsukimi’s work to be shown at a competition.

The combination of his looks and Tsukimi’s designs result in a sweep. Their designs are a hit; they’re in business. Of course, when they return home and Chieko’s mother shows up, all their frantic efforts were unnecessary; she’s decided not to sell. Of course, it isn’t all for naught; Tsukimi has found a way to make a living, and she and Kuronosuke have grown a little closer.

Don’t get me wrong: Kuragehime was a pleasant diversion, and Kana Hanazawa was on top of her game voicing the nervous and timid yet hopeful Tsukimi. But with only eleven episodes to work with, Tsukimi, Kuronosuke and Shu’s storylines weren’t explored to their full potential. The conflict was too easily resolved, and the villaness is too easily neutralized. Then again, 11 more episodes of those static otaku side characters wouldn’t have improved matters. Never mind: what happened in Kuragehime happened, and couldn’t have happened any other way. And I enjoyed it just fine. Rating: 3.5

Series Mean Ranking: 3.545 (Ranked 4th out of 15 Fall 2010 Series)

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Just when Kuronosuke is about to properly distract Tsukini from her troubles with a jellyfish apparel powwow, Shoko shows her “proof positive” that she slept with Shu. Am I wrong, or is that just a picture of her in bed with him, and not necessarily having sex at all? Regardless, everyone assumes it’s true, except Shu’s little half-brother, who knows better. Shoko is a lying landshark who has Shu wrapped around her little finger.

Tsukini, meanwhile, can’t get the imagery out of her head, and tries to drown her sorrows in sweet sake. Having never drunk before, she exhibits her status as a hopeless lightweight and passes out instantly, and who should carry her to her bed but Kuronosuke, who cross-dressed less and less enthusiastically throughout the episode. Now that Tsukini believes Shu to be even more of an impossibility than ever, has Kuronosuke found his opening? Even if he has, does he want to take it, or is the shame of having the hots for her too much to bear? Rating: 3.5

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Kuronosuke is gone for five minutes and the sisterhood lets the Buyout Vixen – their most lethal enemy – waltz right into their castle. After he arrives, she retreats in a cloud of Hakana salt, but not before Tsukini notices she has Shuu’s glasses and fears the worst. She wants a shoulder to cry on, and it’s Kuronosuke’s. Meanwhile, the fact remains, she’s mistaken about Shuu and the vixen.

We continue to see Kuronosuke’s inexplicable and ridiculous (from his perspective) attraction to Tsukini. Case in point: the moment he sets foot on campus (not cross-dressing), he’s surrounded by a quartet of swooning models. But he doesn’t even notice them. He even tries to kiss Tsukini in her room, an impulse that only fails because Mayaya opens the door at the wrong time, sending the two flying.

Meanwhile, Kuronosuke also wants to get rid of Tsukini’s future habitation problems by buying the whole apartment building so it won’t be razed. Blackmailing his dad backfires (Shuu only saw him get to second base with Kuro’s mom) but he discovers that the otakus’ hoarding impulses could net them millions of yen in flea market bounty. He definitely seems to have made this group, and especially Tsukini, his own personal project. Rating: 3.5