This Week: Kill La Kill, Nagi No Asukara, Space Dandy, Pupa, and Gundam Build Fighters
…I’m starting to see grass outside again? Spring season will be here before I know it. I should probably make plans.
Kill La Kill (episode nineteen)
If the prior week was a “Tick” where Many Things happened and pouring groundwork to be considered for how the final phase would go, this would be a “Tock” and the corresponding settling in and steamrolling of the hot sticky tar. We get a time skip of a few weeks, try to get ourselves back up to speed (and admittedly, that certainly has its downsides as well; I’d have liked to see this phase as larger and longer), and humanity being rather against the wall.
For that matter, so is Ryuuko.
What stuck me very clearly this episode was how human Senketsu was being compared to previous episodes or perceptions. While I would have loved and preferred to see an extended scene of him dragging Ryuuko from the stadium rubble and fires, we are shown this is something they did do and Aikurou witnessed it. Additionally, there was his time with Sukuyo Mankanshoku, where she can not understand the school sailor uniform but she speaks comforting words anyway and Senketsu sobs and hugs her, with the body language indicating that they can indeed see and feel him doing this.
Previously, it often felt as though Senketsu’s anthropomorphism’s were things only Ryuuko (and, well, us as viewers) could see, given how characters would react and view her as completely out of her mind. But now that Senketsu has been needing to most watch over the one who wears him, in a sense perhaps most truly covering her, in these moments he becomes an individual and better able to provide outward expression. I feel this is something thematically crucial as a piece of our ending puzzle.
Ryuuko, meanwhile, can not even be in a coma under her own terms. Her waking up due to the extravagant musical shenanigans of the COVERS forces I don’t feel was a side effect of them trying to call out a challenge to Nonon. I view it as the entire point of their being there; with all of Satsuki’s conquered academies and hold outs fallen, there are limited places where Ryuuko can be. Assimilating the Nudist Beach stronghold would certainly be nice insofar as Ragyou’s plans, but, I would view the more essential mission objective is to smoke Ryuuko out and get her moving again. Any of the lost business suit forces sent to wake her up would be expendable casualties. Now that Ragyou learned last episode that her life fiber daughter from years ago survived, there are Big Plans with the Alien Conspiracy that she can work her existence into.
So Ryuuko’s chain continues to be jerked around, and she is pissed.
I wouldn’t even view her having saved the people assimilated inside of the COVERS forces as a heroic action so much as she just wanted everything to shut up and leave her alone. Anything resembling saving humanity is, at best, a side effect.
I am probably most interested in seeing what Senketsu does next, oddly enough. He has been doing more that has asserted himself as an individual recognized by others but now has been soundly rejected by someone who lost all sense of being able to express themselves in any way and has gone completely off the deep end after the relative breather that this episode primarily was.
Nagi No Asukara (episode twenty)
Akari gets time off from Saya Mart to take care of Manaka? She has a pretty sweet workplace benefits package!
Meanwhile, the water temperature is dropping, and I think it might even be making the show itself kind of sluggish.
Something that really stood out to me is that Hikari is doing all of this searching for Uroko, but we don’t really see it. He’s missing school, making himself sick, running himself ragged… but we only see the results rather than the cause.
Just one scene where he is underwater desperately searching in an empty village, but unable to find who he is looking for before needing to come back up, would have been welcome. The show would then be able to gloss over the other searches, as we would have seen how that bit of his struggle goes. As it is, I feel like this episode was more focused on telling me he is having a hard time than showing me, as he comes back from several of these trips. Which is unfortunate and I feel like I’m playing bad cop or something, as I know a lot of people really like Mari Okada as an anime creator. I would like to be more invested in what is going on here. I understand why Hikari is sad and frustrated, but I just wanted to see more of the how.
Thank goodness the whole thing with Sayu reading Snow White and suggesting someone should kiss Manaka like a sleeping princess was not actually tested. Bringing it up that way was already pretty on the nose. Speaking of Sayu: she and Kaname taking notes together for those missing school is one of their few legitimate on screen interactions.
I assume this means they are now husband and wife. Or something to that effect. She has maintained a remarkably strong elementary school crush for half a decade with very little to work with, so I can only imagine what this will do.
Space Dandy (episode eight)
Episode Director: Hiroshi Shimizu, Animation Director: Hiroshi Shimizu, Storyboard: Hiroshi Shimizu, Script: Keiko Nobumoto
With many of the controls in the hands of Hiroshi Shimizu, this could have gone any number of directions. He has a wide array of projects under their belt, though is primarily a key animator kind of guy rather than episode director.
Combine that with Nobumoto for our wordsmithing (creator of Wolf’s Rain, multiple scripts of Cowboy Bebop, etc), and I think that played well into what we got this week. We have bouncy green space alien fleas, black holes, a Looney Tunes circular fade out, and a sad puppy on dumpster trash junkyard planet. While any kind of continuity is certainly debatable in this series, there were some good character moments here.
Dandy having the dog eventually come to him rather than the other way around and approaching himself I think is a subtle way of showing us the kind of guy he is. For all his posturing, he is rather standoffish and prone to how others may see him even when there is nobody around. When walking off to build the rocket coffin, he initially does so quietly and is unresponsive to Meow’s cries so as to not allow the emotions through so as to stay focused on the objective he has, only speaking again when he is in the robot suit alone and thus with more confidence.
Meow had a good show as well, where he is sassy over his name and being called a freeloader, and he took it out by punishing himself by not playing with Dandy and Pup. Then, the moment is gone. He really did want to play, and he liked being complimented on his hat, but did not take advantage of the opportunity to spend the time with others. As he spends lots of time on Space Twitter and the like in other episodes, certainly he tends to think he has way more time to do something than he may really recognize.
Compare this with the more uniforming serious episode five or the space race from last week, and this episode managed to blend the wackier elements of the series with the more heartfelt material well.
Pupa (episode seven)
I really hope the home video version of this series comes with a reverse Operation style board game for the episodes where you need to figure out how to reassemble the patient that is this show.
With this week being a Maria focused episode, and harvesting the sperm and egg cells of our monster siblings to then insert within herself as a surrogate mother, I’m oddly in the position where this episode almost seemed borderline grounded. At least I knew what we were doing: sticking incest babies inside the crazy scientist lady. We nearly have a semblance of plot, even.
Yume being in monster form and chained up to a wall in a giant underground hotspring Maria was bathing in is admittedly radically confusing compared to our previous episode quaint bedroom sexcapades, as I am still not sure how this whole dynamic between the research group and the siblings actually works. I’m assuming the siblings have some sort of visiting hours or conjugal visit rights, or… something? With Utsutsu dropping lines like “Yet for some reason, every time she feeds on me, she looks so sad,” I wouldn’t be shocked if he needs a padded cell.
That there is an illegal medical research organization targeting our siblings seems warranted, I guess, but that does leave me wondering what in the hell the legality of the current research facility they are in is. I had always figured it was illegal, but the phrasing Hotoki uses would seem to indicate otherwise?
Incidentally, I hope we all enjoyed Hotoki making out of left field boob jokes and getting munched on by a cat with numerous sound effects to boot, because I figure he is dead as nails due to the whole “never betray me” agreement Maria put him up to.
Gundam Build Fighters (episode twenty)
This whole “what is the secret of the Plavsky Particle?” thing better be good, because we are burning more and more episode time on that. Which, since the world tournament is going to be winding down anyway, they do need to set up; we only have five more episodes to start tying things up and/or lay the groundwork for an additional season. Let’s go find out this is all a multiverse simulation, or something!
Aila versus Ricardo is another case where the plot could do reasonably interesting things regardless of who happened to win the fight and we move into the top four. Admittedly, Ricardo already had a big showcase tournament showdown with Sei and Reiji where they pushed each others machines to the limit in a draw, so Aila was going to be the more likely one to actually win here to have that showdown with them next.
So, this was essentially a sendoff for the Gundam Fenice: have it ride around on a motorcylce in the snow and shoot from the hip, before having the Qubeley Papillon just dominate it. To that end, I was reminded of when I thought Aila’s whole background and setup mirrored that of Allenby Beardsley and the Beserker System, and lo and behold there it was. Likewise, I appriciated how Fellini sought to self destruct his unit rather than surrender, as this goes along with a plot point from Gundam Wing, the series the Fenice is modeled after. Additionally, self destruction being recognized as “not cool at all” was a nice shift.
I don’t really care much at all for the whole Nemesis sponsor chairman trying to win a trophy for his grandson thing though, as we probably already have enough chairmen villains. I kind of forgot this sponsor guy even existed, honestly, or who Nemesis are even supposed to be outside of Aila.
Hangers is a weekly series containing my passing thoughts on currently airing anime productions. Opinions, as always, are subject to change.