Kokkoku – 08

Sagawa completes his merging with a Specter while able to maintain his own will. I just wish his various “experiments” he performs had a bit more bite. Now he’s essentially just a Hulk-like OP monster man, and he doesn’t even seem to take much if any joy out of his success. As he says, he’s a cautious man and always has been, but in this case a cautious villain is a dull villain.

Killing off his remaining followers didn’t really do much for me, since I never knew them anyway. It’s Sagawa’s apparent disinterest in quickly dispatching the Yukawas, Majima and Sako that confuses me.

More than once they butt right up against him, and he doesn’t put a lot of effort into taking them out, giving them ample chances to escape him, and even leaving Tubasa with them.

At this point in the story it feels like things have stalled, which shouldn’t be the case considering how the villain has powered up and become even more lethal. But it feels stalled because Sugawa is such a drab, boring dude who has slowed to a crawl right before the finish line.

It’s even more concerning that this is the eighth of what I presume to be 11-13 episodes. If things are this slow now, and the only remaining baddies remain as dull as they are, how in the heck are they going to fill the time?

Perhaps the family drama that results if Gramps really is expelled from Stasis, and Takafumi continues to oppose the rest of the family’s desire to be rid of Stasis, will inject some energy into the proceedings. All I know is the increased focus on the bad guys this week didn’t do the show any favors.

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RDG: Red Data Girl – 07

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Mayura tests Miyuki by sending ninja after him who are controlled by Masumi, and he must either find the true Masumi or break his barrier. He can do neither and is saved when Suzuhara tells him where Masumi is, and the test proves he’s a newbie just as he claimed. Manatsu gets a message that Tabi has fallen ill and heads to the stables to tend to him. Masumi fills in for him on the trip, but Mayura isnt happy Manatsu has gone alone. After Kisaragi performs a purifying dance, but Masumi is strong enough to resist it. The next morning Izumiko and Miyuki visit Manatsu, and learned he’s euthanized Tabi. Mayura confronts him, not wanting them to be apart, but Manatsu didn’t want her to “choose” him. The spectre of Tabi coalesces, and Manatsu mounts him and rides off.

This week we delve, along with Izumiko and Miyuki, intot the depths of the very unconventional Souda family. Mayura is one of the most powerful people in Houjou Academy, but draws much of her strength from the bond with her triplet brothers, one of whom has already passed away. She shows no mercy in testing Miyuki, and is only mildly apolgetic after she’s proven wrong. In her mind, she had to know one way or another, and it wasn’t something she was going to trust his word about until he knew he was who he said he was: a novice mountain monk. If she were serious and counted Miyuki as an enemy, it’s made pretty clear he wouldn’t stand a chance. This goes against expectations, in that we thought we’d see some new power of his awaken.

Still, we don’t mind that that didn’t happen, either; it means he’s been honest in his doubt these last few episodes. Instead of Miyuki, it’s Manatsu who undergoes a transition this week, after Tabi dies. He actively decides to put Tabi down, to let him rest and spare him further suffering. He does it because he’s exercising his powers as a human to bypass fate and end things on his own terms. He’s mindful he and Mayura and Masumi can’t always be together (even thought Mayura doesn’t want to think like that), so in the final twist of the episode he contemplates joining Masumi in the “in-between”, so that they can stay together. Which sounds an awful lot like suicide, something Mayura won’t abide.

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Rating:7 (Very Good)