Kekkai Sensen – 09

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As Libra, joined by another one of Jugei’s pupils, the half-man, half-fish Zed O’Brien, contine battling the blood breed, Black & White’s story thankfully comes into better focus. We also see HSL’s tentacle defense system in action, knocking the cargo plane the blood breed hijacked out of the sky (This is the second show in a row I’ve watched with vampires operating military planes. Weird!).

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The cockpit of the plane crashes into a giant skyscraper, and Klaus, Zapp and Leo do a little BASE jumping, a sequence that really nicely captures the scale of the building and the drop into the big hole the plane made. Just another instance of the extraordinary made ordinary in HSL.

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While they’re battling, something glows and beats like a heart in an eerie city-sized GeoFront-like cavern.

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Black, or rather the guy possessing Black, seems to have something to do with this beating heart, but nothing seems to come of it, much to the disappointment of Femt and Aligura, fellow n’er-do-wells looking for excitement.

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The blood breed puts up a fight, but is ultimately defeated by the combined efforts of KK, Zapp, Zed, Steve, and Klaus, using the true name Leo discovered to seal him away. And that’s pretty much that. Zed joins Libra, and Jugei peaces out, possibly for another decade. All’s well that ends well.

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But all is not well with White, who also seems tied to that underground heartbeat, passes out, and wakes up in bed, where Black, or rather the entity possessing him, give her a device Aligura fashioned for him, which will allow White to take Leo’s eyes. As Leo is now a friend, White, or rather Mary, doesn’t want to do it, but the agreement was the eyes in exchange for releasing Black, or rather Will.

It’s an unenviable choice between her good friend and kind lad and her beloved twin brother, who sacrificed himself to save her. On the one hand, she feels a duty to her kin, but I wonder if Will would really want her to help a monster to save him. What with Klaus saying Leo’s eyes weren’t the only reason they let him join Libra, maybe Leo isn’t fated to have them forever.

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Kekkai Sensen – 08

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After a White and Black cold open that might confirm they’re the orphans of the “casters” who stopped the catastrophe that threatened the city, we get a lovely rapid fire sequence of Zapp’s daily hedonistic life. It takes on a familiar pattern:

  1. Wake up hungover in the bed of last night’s conquest
  2. Grab breakfast at a fast food joint
  3. Gamble at the horse races and lose
  4. Beat up would be thieves and take their money
  5. Gamble at the slots and lose
  6. Drink away his bad fortune at a hostess club
  7. Repeat!

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It’s either an honest life Zapp loves living, or the only life he knows how to live. It’s probably the latter, because when he meets the girl of his dreams in step 2, it’s as if a new path opens before him, and he’s majorly excited to go down it.

He’s so overzealous in pursuing her, he grows a huge gut from all the fast food he’s ordering, and creeps her out with stalkeresque obsessive behavior. But hey, the man knows what he wants, which we’re not quite sure of since we never see her face!

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This is an entertaining episode in that it doesn’t just very efficiently dive deep into Zapp’s personal life, of which we’ve only seen bits and pieces, but also teach us a bit about his roots. A lot of his present lifestyle may be a means of rebelling against a past of torturous training under the heel of his Big Dipper Style master, Raju Jugei Shizuyoshi.

Jugei’s a dude so powerful and badass that only a small piece of his body is able to take on and defeat a hi-class blood breed. He’s the latest in this show’s cavalcade of unique and intriguing non-human characters, this time it’s the super-arrogant alien who speaks a language too complex for lowly humans to comprehend.

Libra even mistakes him for a blood breed, even though he’s one of their greatest weapons against them. The problem is, he’s like smoke only showing up once every decade or so and doing what he wants. He’s like a hyper-distilled Zapp.

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To test his former pupil, Jugei places Zapp in a blood bubble and tasks him with sealing the final form of the blood breed, AKA zhen tai dan. He has no idea how he’s going to do it until Chain gets the idea to pretend Angelica’s calling him aching for Zapp’s masculine touch. In the blink of an eye the job is done. You gotta hand it to the guy, he’s got a system, and it works: make him think he’s going to get laid by his crush, and he can do anything. Naturally, Chain only called Time.

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Operating almost totally independently of the Zapp/Jugei/Libra A-plot is the B-plot of Black and White, in which we learn Black actually has two distinct personas, one of which is worried the other is manipulating their sister, but the other, nastier one assuring himself that White knows what she’s doing and is doing it willingly.

What is “it?” Being friends with Leo…to snatch his eyes? The show is keeping its cards close on this one. I’ve enjoyed Leo and White’s interactions so far, but I need more info to be fully emotionally invested.

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Glasslip – 07

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This week Glasslip really showed us something. It showed it could capitalize on built-up inertia to progress relationships along without making too big a deal about it. It showed it was just as ready and able to jeopardize those same budding relationships at the turn of a hat.

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It also notably delved further into the mixed-up, supernatural phenomena Kakeru and Touko are experiencing, as well as showing us Kakeru has two other Kakerus talking to him inside his head. Hell, it wouldn’t be the first time a couple met through mutual psychoses.

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The episode picks up right where it left off, with Touko and Kakeru having a moment, and the camera nicely reveals they’re holding hands. Touko wants to let it ride, and comes up with the idea to go to the beach with him as soon as possible. She’s also calling him by his first name without hesitation, another subtle but effective sign this is going somewhere.

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Speaking of not hesitating, Sachi is similarly forthright when her mom asks who Hiro is. Duh, he’s her boyfriend…just like that. My tear ducts activated at that. No beating around the bush…likely because there isn’t time. Watching their tender romance bloom in what is increasingly looking like the twilight of her life is a beautiful as it is heartbreaking.

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Even worse is how it all comes crashing to earth when Hiro discovers Sachi used him to try to undermine Kakeru, motivated purely by hate. Sachi isn’t wrong that Kakeru showing up has left the group scattered, but I think that was bound to happen anyway, seeing as how Yuki would still like Touko even if Kakeru weren’t around.

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Sachi looked ashamed as she confessed this to Hiro, but she also looked desperate; the opportunity presented itself, and she really didn’t know what else to do. Again, time seems to be a factor for her, which is what makes a disappointed Hiro abruptly leaving her hospital room all the more heartrending.

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Ah, but I haven’t even gotten to Yana and Yuki yet! This episode was packed with developments. Yana seems relatively happy that Touko and Kakeru are getting on so well, but the fact remains that Yuki is an emotional mess. He (probably wisely) puts his energy into rehabilitation, and that’s when we get an unexpected taste of Hina’s world.

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“Attractive” and “unattractive” are used in several different ways. Hina’s peers just think Yuki is the dreamiest. Touko concurs. But the part of him that’s become “unattractive” is the think both Yana and Sachi blame Kakeru for. Hina chases down Yuki on her bike, pleading with him to stay “attractive.” At first I thought that meant “wait for me to get older ‘cuz I like you”, but that might not be it.

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The fact she also roots for Yana complicates matters. On that storyline we’re eager for more info. Ditto Touko’s ability, which is showing her such strange things it may not be mere future flashes after all. She sees Kakeru fall…could that be one of the three of him? When Yana gives a back-handed compliment, crows pour out of her shadow. Crows! This is strange but very intriguing stuff.

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