Mahoutsukai no Yome – 19

We jump from a cold open in which Cartiphilus’ smirks while one of the poached dragons is being dissected as they cry “please stop” and “I want to go home”, to a scene at the college where it’s revealed Renfred is a weepy drunk.

Methinks the composer is a bit too proud of his slide whistle “comedy” theme. The tonal shift is clunky to say the least. Things swing back from jocular to dark when Chise has a very disturbing dream involving an amnesiac Cartaphilus in London.

She awakens to find Alice, Renfred, the Selkie, as well as several members of the “College” she knows nothing about (nor do we) hanging out with Elias in the sitting rom. The College members range from tolerable (Adolf) to embarrassingly awful (Tory). They inform Chise that two dragons have been poached and they’ve come seeking help from her and Elias.

Elias refuses, properly citing Chise’s fragility, but Chise overrules him, and before you know it, we’re back at the underworld auction house where Chise gave herself up to be sold to the highest bidder; one of the dragons is on the block. The man who arranged for Chise’s sale, Seth, gives Chise a checkbook and card tied to a account containing half of the value of her sale, since she was technically her own seller.

It’s strange that she didn’t have access to this cash until now, when she may have to spend it all bidding on the dragon. At least Seth seems pleased that since last they met Chise has become someone who actually, you know, wants to live.

Buying the dragon’s freedom in the auction seems like the College and Chise’s play, and the two combined would seem to have enough to do so, but things (predictably) go pear-shaped when the dragon goes berserk, breaks free from its physical and magical binds, and starts breathing fire.

Chise can sense the dragon’s emotions—its scared and wants to go home—but it might be too late to reason with it. Who the woman is who whispered in Chise’s ear, and what Cartaphilus’ convoluted plan is this time (if he even has one) remain unclear. I just hope this doesn’t all end with Chise yet again coughing up a couple liters of blood…followed by more slide whistle.

 

Advertisements

Mahoutsukai no Yome – 18

The day after Christmas, Stella shows up with sweet treats to hang out with Chise, as promised. Chise is so unaccustomed to friends as we know them that not only did she not expect Stella to come, she doesn’t quite know what to do.

Stella, who we learn is just ten but very mature for her age, tells her not to sweat it; being friends is nothing more complicated than being with someone, talking and listening to them. It shows how far Chise still has to go, and how little Elias can help her.

In fact, having Stella around is apparently too much for Elias, who isolates himself in his study then storms out of the house without any warning. Worried, Chise ditches Stella to go after him, transforming into a wolf to keep up. Elias traps her in the shadows and binds her with tentacles.

Elias doesn’t say much, but he does say that Stella’s presence made him want to leave the house,. He felt better when Chise chased him, but couldn’t stop running, and now he can’t seem to let her go.

Meanwhile, back in London, Stella and her family seem to be being watched/stalked by Cartiphilus and Ashen Eye. What the heck to they have planned?

Chise manages to fire off a flare with her wand, and Ruth manages to find her when a Fae daughter of Titania reveals the shadow where he’s holding her (she helps because they gave her a proper Yule offering).

Chise puts a knife to her throat, which causes Elias to immediately release her. He’s rightfully ashamed and contrite, but Chise forgives him and suggests they go home and get some sleep.

Elias, as we know, is even more emotionally stunted than Chise, lashing out when he doesn’t get his way like a small child. Here’s hoping Elias eventually learns how to control his wilder instincts whenever faced with a perceived slight.

However, Chise accidentally puts Elias into a deep sleep when she sings him a lullaby, and she heads to London to seek the aid of Angelica, meeting her non-magical husband David in the process.

David lends Chise some perspective as someone who knows he doesn’t have all the time on Earth with his wife and daughter he might like, but that he intends to make the most of that time, and so should Chise.

Chise returns home with a recipe for a potion that will wake up Elias, and it works like a charm…but she’s so exhausted from her ordeal that she immediately passes out beside him, leaving Ruth to explain.

Meanwhile in Dragonland, some poachers apparently hired by Cartiphilus(?) try to capture two of the young dragons, but they’re thwarted by a pissed Lindel. Is there a connection to what Carty was doing with Stella in London and the attempted dragon theft here? To be continued.

Zero kara Hajimeru Mahou no Sho – 03

This week the party of Mercenary, Zero and Albus arrive in the bustling trading town of Formicum. Zero reports to the guards at the gate that she and Albus are Merc’s sex slaves, and they’re allowed to pass at half cost…though it could be argued you can’t put a price on Merc’s reputation.

Once there, Zero shows Merc some gems, and he tells her she only needs one small one to buy a fine set of new threads, which she does. I like the look, even if the clothes are a bit baggy on her. Zero also shows off her utter lack of modesty by trying to change in front of men and women alike. That’s so Zero!

Once they’re settled in…at an inn, Merc tries to sneak out but Zero spots him and they go out drinking, only to re-encounter another Beastfallen who has three captive girls who Zero knows are not witches. So Merc enters and wins a duel with the wolf-man and the girls are freed.

The sprightly dialogue between Merc and Zero continues to entertain, and it’s always fun to watch Merc take down a baddie. But as Merc’s defeat is never remotely in doubt, the whole episode lacks any kind of serious stakes. Still, it’s a pleasant enough watch for an overcast Monday afternoon.

Blood Lad – 06

bloodlad6

As Bell, Fuyumi, and Mamejirou watch from a safe place, Wolf transforms and fights Akim, but tearing him to shreds has no effect, as Akim is able to reconstruct his body with magic. Staz arrives before Wolf runs out of magic, and easily defeats Akim with a variety of finishing moves. Braz and Liz arrive to take Franken and Akim into custody. Wolf demands a rematch with Staz, but loses again. Bra and Liz then use Bell to transport them to Staz’s location, in order to help resurrect Fuyumi.

Both Braz and Bell expect big things of Staz now that he’s regained his full noble vampire powers (which include some particularly un-vampiry moves), but where Akim sees beauty in strength, Staz just sees it as a burden. He’d rather be back in his territory goofing off, or visiting Japan. But with Fuyumi in danger, he makes the deal with his brother that will give him the best change of saving her, even if it means more responsibilities, because, among other reasons, he likes her.

To that end, Staz deals with Akim – built up as a terrifying boss and a major threat to the demon world – almost comically easily, after Wolf’s attacks prove futile. He does it in front of a big audience too (though Bell switches the “TV” off right when he’s about to ice Akim). Bell is touched that Staz has come to keep his promise, but she has to semi-betray him again by bringing his siblings to him. As usual, with more power come more problems, and the Ghibli Museum tour will have to wait until Fuyumi is all fixed up.

7_very_good
Rating:7 (Very Good)

Blood Lad – 05

bloodlad5

Staz is quickly beaten down by Liz’s zombies, but he keeps hitting the challenge button. The zombies report to Liz, who is with her older brother Braz, who learns she’s holding Staz. Braz agrees to teach Staz the secret to human resurrection if Staz lets him remove the bullet that sealed his power, which he shot into his heart to keep him from destroying himself. He wants Staz to dispose of Papladon Akim.

Akim is a creation of Franken Stein, who possesses numerous different demon magics, escaped his creator, and is now running amok in North Demon World. Stein agrees to keep Fuyumi alive if Wolf takes care of Akim. Meanwhile, Staz refuses to play ball, so Braz ends negotiations and sics the zombies on him, using Staz’s opening to remove the bullet. Staz easily dispatches the zombies with his newly awakened power.

bloodlad5t2

This week we finally meet the infamous Braz T. Blood (not Vlad), and the family reunion is complete. When we hear his side of the story, we learn that he doesn’t actually hate Staz after all, nor does Liz. Liz is simply jealous of the preferential treatment she deems Braz has always bestowed upon Staz while ignoring her, even after Staz left. She also threw him in jail because she misinterpreted his weakness at the time as proof he wasn’t really a true noble demon, unaware of the sealing bullet in his heart.

Braz, meanwhile, is a trickier story: he had no problem poking, prodding and experimenting on his little brother, but once he had done so, he, like Stein with Akim, got more than he bargained for. He released a power within Staz so strong his young body couldn’t take it. Sealing his power with that bullet was an act of mercy, not malice, but now he believes Staz’s return just days after Akim appeared on the scene to be destiny, and he’s not going to pass up the opportunity to finally see the fruits of his labor.

7_very_good
Rating:7 (Very Good)

Stray Observations:

  • Considering his attempt to decieve Wolf (which would have succeeded had Bell not been there), we wouldn’t be surprised that if he were able to regain control of Akim (the way Braz controls Staz), he’d use Akim to gain power and become a bad guy. 
  • Or maybe he just made Akim simply because he could, with no ulterior motives in mind.
  • Wolf has definitely taken a shine to Fuyumi, and won’t accept any route that doesn’t see her restored to the way she was. Staz had better come on home before his girl’s stolen away…though her dream indicates Staz still has pull with her.
  • On that note, since Akim has already confronted Wolf (and freaked him out by exploding the boarlike North boss), we imagine Wolf getting beaten up until Staz shows up to aid him.
  • As usual, all the serious stuff is lightened up nicely with little bits of comedy here and there: Staz not being impressed with Braz’s slight of hand; Liz almost losing the mini-boulder, etc.

Blood Lad – 04

bloodlad4

Bell agrees to open a portal to the Demon World Acropolis, but Wolf kicks Staz in before she’s finished, and Staz ends up in her apartment. After taking showers, Staz tells Bell the story of how his brother Braz T. Vlad performed endless deadly experiments on him as a child, culminating in shooting him in the heart with a magic bullet that sealed his powers. Bell, attracted to men more powerful than her, wants Staz to make his brother remove the seal.

Meanwhile, Wolf and Mamejirou look after Fuyumi, but when she exhibits acute leprosy and starts to turn transparent, Wolf speeds her to a demon physician Frankenstein. After Bell drops Staz off outside the base of the Acropolis, he’s promptly ambushed by his little sister Liz T. Vlad, who throws him into her jail. He presses the “Challenge” button in his cell, and he’s sent to a room where Liz presents him with two powerful zombies he must defeat to be released.

bloodlad42

You can’t say Blood Lad offers you great bang for the buck, as quite a bit goes on, some new foes are introduced, and everyone is given something to do in this episode. We also liked the seamless blending of casually hanging out with more serious themes. About those foes; they’re technically Staz’s family, but they no longer acknowledge him as blood. Hell, Staz can’t even get near the castle, as his sister is determined to destroy him. While that’s going on, Wolf is babysitting Fuyumi, unaware that she needs regular infusions of Staz’s blood to stay solid.

When Staz and Bell and Wolf and Fuyumi split off, you get the feeling they’re pairing up, too. After all, Bell is well aware Staz is more powerful and less stupid than he lets on, and gains a lot of sympathy for him after hearing his harrowing tale. Wolf also seems to be into Fuyumi, and you have to wonder that whatever Frankenstein cooks up to halt her vanishing will clash with the original purpose of Staz’s quest: find out from Braz how to resurrect her.

8_great
Rating: 8 
(Great)

Stray Observations:

  • As proponents of the inclusion of people of all shapes and sizes in anime, we’re pleased with the fact that the two female leads aren’t model-thin, but have some curves on them, which Bell is certainly not afraid to flaunt.
  • Even Bell is a little disappointed in herself for only falling for guy who can kick her ass, or in Staz’s case, have the potential to
  • Always go out for sushi before starting a quest to revive a human and unlock one’s latent powers.
  • When her mask is on, Liz makes the exact same Darth Vader breathing sound.
  • An assist to Staz’s prisonmates, who throw pretty much every prisonmate cliche at Staz before he peaces-out with the red button.
  • Google translates Liz and Braz’s last name as “Vlad” and Charlie’s as “Blood”, so we’re sticking with those for the time being. It makes sense he’d change his name when he ran away.

Blood Lad – 03

bloodlad3

Staz wants Bell to help him get to West Demon World. She refuses, but he goes anyway with Fuyumi and Mamejirou, hiring a carriage that is stopped when Wolf himself slices it in half. Both their underlings are surprsied when they greet each other as friends. Wolf agrees to help him find the Book of Human Resurrection if he loses a bowling match, which is changed to a boxing match at the last minute. Staz embeds a tooth in Wolf that drains his magic, but a tearful Fuyumi puts an end to the match. Bell declares them both losers, then transports everyone to an isolated area. She gives Staz the book she had on her all along. No one is able to decipher it, and Staz is perturbed to learn it was written by his older brother, Braz T. Blood.

Yanagi Fuyumi may have changed Charlie Staz Blood more than even he’s aware. Both his underlings and his childhood friend/rival Wolf are surprised to the point of being caught off guard by his sudden devotion to a random human girl. Despite her actual death being relatively quick and silly, Staz is dead serious about bringing her back to life. That resolve is tested when he has to enter a powerful rival boss’s territory and fight him, but even moreso going forward when he’ll have to interact with his older brother, something he’s most certainly not looking forward to.

Fuyumi, meanwhile, ends her passive streak by stopping Staz from killing Wolf in her name. She won’t have friends fighting over her, and likely wouldn’t want to be resurrected if it meant hurting others. As for Bell Hydra, she takes on the role of puppet master, pitting the water of Staz against the fire of Wolf, apparently in an effort to test his strength and resolve. We’re still not sure about her motivations, but while she still doesn’t quite trust him, it seems logical she’d want his plan to save Fuyumi (whom she seems to like) to succeed. The Oni-Qlo clerk could also have a point about her liking him, and testing his worthiness to be her mate.

7_very_good
Rating:7 (Very Good)

Blood Lad – 02

Yanagi Fuyumi, Charlie Staz Blood, Bell Hydra

Staz and Fuyumi use the black curtain and enter the human world through Fuyumi’s spartan room. Her father is upset about her absence, but Staz sprays him and all other humans they encounter with his saliva to make them think nothing of it. This upsets Fuyumi, but Staz wants to keep the world as normal as possible if he’s to bring her back to life. She starts to disappear, and he gives her some of his blood to restore her; it ends up overwhelming her.

Wanting to rest up for Akiba tomorrow, Staz returns to the curtain with Fuyumi and finds its owner there, the treasure hunter Bell Hydra, who specializes in spatial magic. She takes Fuyumi hostage and makes Staz run an errand for her involving taking underwear from an underground ONIQLO demon store, but it was just a test of his power. Learning of Fuyumi’s plight, Bell tells them about a book that could save her – but it’s in Staz’s rival Wolf‘s territory.

bloodlad22

Whatever Yanagi Fuyumi lacks in personality, initiative or resourcefulness, the plucky tricksteress Bell Hydra makes up for it. She’s an opportunistic, independent young lady making her own way in the world (well, between them) and not doing too bad for herself. While her might abilities smack of parlor tricks, we wouldn’t want her as opponent, as she can be quite dangerous when she wants to be (she also has a gun). Her spatial magic would likely drive us up the wall on the way to defeating us. We also dig her character design, massive backpack and all.

Turns out she’s neither good nor evil, but merely deems the route of helping Staz and Fuyumi to be ultimately more profitable than selling the knowledge that Staz has abandoned his post to his rivals. About those rivals: next week we’ll meet the first one who isn’t just some random interloper. Until then, Staz and Fuyumi have a lead in their quest to resurrect her, and even when being sent on a wild goose chase to fight a guy for underpants, Staz shows he’s not one to be messed with.

7_very_good
Rating:7 (Very Good)

Car Cameos: