Sasami-san@Ganbaranai – 07

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With Tsurugi trapped in the underworld, Tama tends to an injured Kagami. Back at the ruins of the Tsukuyomi complex, Sasami’s mother gives her drugged daughter one last chance to return to being a Tsukuyomi princess. Sasami refuses, so her mother drugs her further to make her little more than a tool to impregnate with a Tsukuyomi priest she’s procured, in order to bear a new princess to fulfill her duty. Kagami gains consciousness long enough to heave Tsurugi’s devine sword all the way to Kamiomi, who uses it to escape from the mother’s captivity and free Sasami. The mother confronts them, but Tama arrives and take several bites out of her. A portal to the underworld opens, and Tsurugi drags Sasami’s mom in with her.

Once again this episode does a superb job subverting all of our expectations. What were we expecting? For starters, we thought we’d see Tsurugi struggling through the underworld, as depicted in a psychedelic style Shaft is no stranger to. She’d come out stronger than ever, face off against Sasami’s mom, and send her back where she belongs. But Tsurugi hardly does anything this week, and we barely see her. Most of the gruntwork of saving Sasami is left to the grade schooler with the grown-up body, Tama. In the process, we get a bit of backstory about how Tsurugi wasn’t always the perfect older sister, and times were tough for both Tama and Kagami, as could be suspected of new and reformed gods.

The episode’s climax also involves Sasami herself performing a binding spell on her mother that was taught to her by that same mother long ago, as depicted in a flashback in the cold open. There, we see a little more of the mom she remembers, rarely smiling but always kind and curious and loving, like the mother she was pretending to be last week. And for all her twisted methods (drugging and promoting rape), she is utterly convinced all she does is for Sasami’s and the world’s own good. But she’s not Sasami’s mother anymore; she died, and the kindess died with her. The bloodstained plushie Tsurugi overnights to Sasami from the underworld is a symbol of that loss and a memento of that ordeal.


Rating: 9 (Superior)

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Black Rock Shooter – 06

Black Rock Shooter duels with Black Gold Saw as Strength drags Dead Master away. Yomi wakes up feeling much better, but when Mato doesn’t regain consciousness, Yuu panics and visits Saya for help. Saya tries to reach Mato through Black Gold Saw, but Black Rock Shooter only attacks her. Saya tells Yuu the story of a girl she was friends with (who looks just like Yuu) who first told her about the “other her” who took the brunt of the pain from her life. Strength saves Black Gold Saw and pummels Black Rock Shooter.

The two worlds cross over more than ever this week, with normal selves inhabiting their warriorlike counterparts to achieve various goals. Mato wants to save Yomi from despair, and it would seem she was successful, but she got lost in Black Rock Shooter as a result. Yuu, who put her up to this and used her power to send her to the other world, naturally feels guilty. As for Saya, her antagonistic, even sadist attitude from previous episodes fade away as she recounts her story of an outcast girl who had a really awful life, but whom she promised to protect at any cost.

Which brings us to this girl she knew in high school, whose name is Yuu. Like Mato’s friend Yuu. They look and sound alike. We can only surmise they’re the same Yuu. Is Mato fuzzy about her memories with Yuu because Yuu is something more or less than a regular girl? She appears to be the same age as the Yuu Saya befriended, so it’s likely she’s just different. Yomi seems more cheerful, which pisses off Kagari, and she even deletes all her messages to/from Mato. Perhaps Mato took Yuu’s place as a forgotten friend who took her pain away? We have to be honest: it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, and we kind of feel silly for obsess about it too much.


Rating: 3.5

Black Rock Shooter – 04

Kagari returns to school and instantly finds a clique of friends, further frustrating Yomi, who is now feeling ignored and unused by everyone – Mato because of Yuu, and Kagari because of all her new friends. In the dream world, Yomi becomes enveloped in a mass of metal chains. Kohata’s admiree stops by practice to apologize for the love letter incident and to reciprocate his feelings, but she has no memory of him. Yomi holes up in her house, and when she finally recieves her, Kagari tells her exactly everything she doesn’t need, and in the dream world Yomi’s chain nest explodes, revealing an immense boss for Black Rock Shooter.

Well, Kagari seems to be adjusting nicely to normal high school life, and all but discards Yomi by the episode’s end. This is troubling to Yomi, because as it turns out she was just as dependent on Kagari as she was on her; moreso, in fact. Kagari is not one to mince worlds and in fact seems to go out of the way to state things as nastily as she possibly can – and already teetering on the edge, Yomi seems to crack. It’s her turn to be saved, and it’s up to Black Rock Shooter to defeat her very nasty evolved form.

As for the whole deal with Saya, well, the woman is clearly a bit of a sadist, happily contributing to Yomi’s instability by saying the magic words: “Nobody really needs you.” She also really likes her coffee. It’s our experience that whenever an anime series with fantasy elements has a character who believes she is useles and the world wouldn’t even bat an eye if they never existed, that character goes on some kind of rampage, followed by a catharsis. It will be fun to watch Mato snap her out of it, if she can. As for Kotoha, we’re not sure what’s up with that yet.


Rating: 4