Day: And, here we have it, fourth week of the Weekly Trash Update. If you didn’t catch the third installation, you can check it out here at Cara’s blog.
K: Return of Kings – Episode 6
Day: I don’t know why it took me so long to notice it, but Homra’s blonde bartender has an absolutely ridiculous name – Izumo Kusanagi. Damn, dude may as well be named Excalibur Camelot! Do you know the story about Yamato-no-Orochi and Kushinada-hime? To keep it simple, Yamato-no-Orochi was an eight-headed serpent who terrorized a family in the ancient province of Izumo by demanding its daughters as sacrifice. Susano-o, a Japanese god, saved their final daughter, Kushinada, by tricking and then slayed the beast. Afterward, Susano-o found a sword in the fourth tail of Yamato-no-Orochi, which he gave to his sister, the goddess Amaterasu, as a make-up present since she’d been pissed at him. This sword was Kusanagi-no-Tsurugi, which is also, by the way, one of the three Imperial Regalia of Japan.
Anyway, it isn’t as if this is the only instance of K giving us an absurd name, and the dude’s been around for two seasons and a movie now, but, uh, yeah. I can only suggest I didn’t really notice before since I genuinely have trouble recalling the names of supporting characters like Izumo. (And, by the way, Maria’s surname? Kushina.)
K definitely suffers most when it’s doing these war committees. I suppose they had to eat up a decent bit of time since the Greens power through the lower-level Reds and Blues so quickly and easily that otherwise they couldn’t’ve managed to stall enough to leave the episode cliffhanger as Nagare powering up into his true form. Watching the Greens apparently blatantly ignore Nagare as they play video games, drink beer, and beautify themselves was mildly amusing, but the conference between the Silvers, Reds, and Blues was fairly dull stuff. We’ve already watched that process play out, do we really need to watch it re-play out? Sigh.
On the plus side, next episode should be fairly free of that particular aspect, since Nagare is entering the fray, and Yukari hasn’t been truly dealt with yet. It’s all setting up for something which, honestly, feels bit odd coming at the halfway point, as it has all the sense of a final battle scenario. Mildly curious to see how this all plays out.
Cara: Another episode mostly spent on talking this week, but at least the action kicked in in the later half. There wasn’t really any need for Shiro’s powerpoint presentation hosted in an empty lecture theatre – most of the stuff had been gone over already in previous episodes. We know who the main Green clan members are and we know that the other clans aren’t overly convinced by Shiro’s leadership abilities – there was really no point to going over this all again. The only real point of interest was Shiro’s claim that the Green king is strong enough to beat the other three kings on his own if he goes all out. I got more entertainment out of the Green clan’s planning session since it was mostly just Nagare talking at his clansmen while they ignored him!
The rest of the episode was taken up by the Green’s assault on Mihashira Tower in a bid to take control of the Slates – so plenty of posturing and flashy action scenes. One thing that K is consistently great at is flashy action scenes and posturing, so that was fun. Think I enjoyed Kuroh Vs Sukuna most, just for all the twirling. Next week should be interesting as we finally see Nagare in action. He appears to be able to turn himself into lightning, so the fight against the other three kings should be a sight.
High School Star Musical – Episode 5
Day: Not one of the stronger episodes in this show – it’s hard to get invested in Hoshitani’s feelings of doubt knowing that there’s no way the episode won’t resolve it by the time the credits roll. The musical interlude this time, too, was fairly boring, likely since it didn’t involve riding dolphins, or oil derricks, or spinning mirrors. Hoshitani didn’t even get his own ridiculous musical number to tell us exactly how he was feeling! And only people who’ve seen very little or no anime at all would be in any sort of suspense over who would be the team leader.
That being said, I did enjoy the cheesy way everything came together at the end for the boys to sing the new ED. None of them are particularly interesting on their own, but they’ve got decent chemistry as a group, and they’ve all become just engaging enough for me to want them to do well (although, yeah, we already know they will…).
Speaking of what works, we finally got some backstory for Shuu, hooray! Shuu ironically comes from the toughest background yet is the only one who doesn’t have any hang-ups. His father died when he was young, and his mother worked really hard to ensure Shuu could have a good life. As a result, Shuu started imitating the musicals he saw on TV to make his mother laugh, which is how he ended up on the path to stardom. It also turns out that Shuu has a part-time job – what do you bet this is connected with why he was running late in the first episode? I’ve always liked Shuu since from the beginning it was obvious that he was one of the best in terms of skills in the group, but he didn’t act like a jerk like Tengenji and Tsukigami did.
Oh, and, yes, Tengenji, like hundreds of overly aristocratic characters in shows set in modern Japan before him has never had a burger and is so unfamiliar with them that he is unsure of how to eat them or order them. Of course.
Cara: Well this episode just further confirms my idea that Otori & Hiragi are exes who still carry a torch for each other. Otori’s whole “I just want you to look like you’re having more fun” line, just screams tragic love story. Also the whole story about the King having to choose between his lover and his kingdom just seems to be about Otori’s relationship with Hiragi – Hiragi choose power and the restrictions of the Kao council, whereas Otori threw away the chance to be president and instead chose freedom to do as he pleases. I really want to see more of these two together!
We also finally get to see Hiragi’s Star Team in action this week in a surprisingly well choreographed & animated performance. Starmyu continues to pull really well put together set-pieces out of nowhere – it really is a fantastic show.
Anyway, back to the actual main characters this episode was all about Hoshitani overcoming a sudden bout of self-doubt and come out on the other side as the leader of Otori’s Star Team. Nothing about this came as any sort of surprise since Hoshitani is the emotional lynchpin of the group and the one thing holding the other, spikier personalities together – plus he’s in the centre of all the promo art & dance numbers. Still it was necessary for him to go through this little moment in order to get Kuga to share his back-story of growing up in a cash-strapped single-parent family. Kuga has had things the toughest of all the boys, but you’d never be able to tell since he chooses not to dwell on things and just continues to do his own thing, working hard to realise his dreams. Kuga is great.
However I still love Tengenji best and he was on top adorable tsundere form this week again! Loved the whole megane disguise to attempt to outwit his fans and the face he pulled when enjoying fast-food for the first time……so cute. Starmyu is definitely one of the shows I’m looking forward to most each week.
Cara’s current Starmyu character ranking: Tengenji > Nayuki > Otori > Kuga > Kaito > Hoshitani > Hiragi > Tsukigami-senpai > Purple’s Playboy friend > rest of Team Hiragi
Dance with Devils – Episode 5
Day: Great episode! Of course, I suppose I should acknowledge that I’ve become quite a fan of the proper manbun, so I was biased going in, but Mage, the resident manbun here, proved to be quite fun to watch. Mage is that guy who thinks he’s really cool and likes to swagger around a lot, only for the people around him to gaze at his antics with some dismay. And, when push comes to shove, what a shock! He isn’t really smooth with the ladies at all! And, not only that, he gets completely dorky and easily embarrassed when smitten with a girl. He instantly shot up in my rankings of the boys to the top, edging out Rem, who grows ever icier in this episode. Sure, Mage wants the Grimoire himself, but I appreciate that he doesn’t bother with any subterfuge… although, I suppose he doesn’t bother with it since he just expects Ritsuka to throw herself at his feet after he struts around looking attractive a few times. With this boy, what you see is pretty much what you get.
Ritsuka, for her part, isn’t swayed by Mage, for the most part. She does try to prevent her brother from harming him, but by the end of the episode her sentiment toward him seems to be mostly bemusement.
By the way, Mage has the best musical number so far, largely since the lyrics are so silly.
I’m a bit uneasy about next week, though, as we return to the more possessive, creepy, and overbearing portion of the cast, this time turning to Shiki. Shiki is the most obviously off-putting of the worse characters of the show, so he may be able to finish ahead of Lindo, at least. I’m not fond of Urie, either, but the way Lindo wraps his obsession with and desire to control Ritsuka in the persona of the caring older brother is way more disturbing than Shiki’s or Urie’s antics so far. Shiki also does get the single funniest moment in this episode, as he’s shown brushing the pomeranian, to the dog’s annoyance, and then using the fluff to stuff a bear.
….um, ok, look, I swear its funny in-context.
Cara: Oh gosh this was probably my favourite episode this week, it was so entertaining – Man-bun guy is best girl, he’s such a dork! I really enjoyed the randomness of this episode, from Mage showing up in Ritsuka’s classroom, slinging her over his shoulder & jumping out the window, to his attempts at a romantic trip to see the sunset via a truly amazing musical number – everything about this episode was enjoyable. Well, apart from Lindo being a creepy, overprotective prat as usual, but lets just forget about the siscon exorcist for a while.
I massively enjoyed Mage’s overconfident manner, with such winning lines as, “there’s not a soul who doesn’t fall for me hard once they see what I can do” and “everyone falls for my dynamic power and manliness”, coupled with his desire to show Ritsuka the sights of the world with his portal powers, Mage kind of comes across as an excitable, boastful kid – it’s really kind of adorable! I especially enjoyed when he got all flustered and dropped Ritsuka in the ocean – too cute.
So yeah, a really fun episode of Dance with Devils – it was sort of needed after an episode of Lindo being a horrible person. Think my DanDevi ranking is Mage > Rem > Urie > Shiki > Lindo, but we’ll have to see next week if Shiki is a worse character than Lindo.
Valkyrie Drive – Episode 4
Day: Damn, Mamori – the first “guy” comes along and you sell the fuck out. What is up with that? Also, pretty sure that the house-mother Torino’s probably already got him, so, yeah, great strategy there, abandon the one who has been putting her neck on the line constantly to keep you safe… So addicted to the damn fantasy society impressed upon you of there being princes out there for you that one is half-decent to you and you go all gaga.
Of course, a hell of a lot of folks go all uguu-uguu at the mere glance of Hiragi, which is interesting considering “he’s” the head of the organization that they’ve fled from in the first place. But what does it say about it all that the “man” they’re swooning about is really a woman? In a different show I’d say it was worth parsing, but here, I suppose, it’s one of those moments where anime can’t resist the urge to imply that women are only gay in the absence of access to men and will leap all over the place at the slightest sign of possible dick. Should it surprise me that Valkyrie Drive has opted for this? Probably not, given the sheer trash levels, but it’s still irritating nevertheless.
It isn’t all bad, though. I like the way Lady Lady turn out to be this autonomous force in and of themselves, and I also appreciate the way they’re willing to call out bullshit for what it is when Welter starts up about how they need to all behave well so society will accept them again. That both of them are able to be Arm and Liberator, and that they can do so without bothering with the porny lead-in is nice, too; I might snicker away at the absurd scenes involving folks getting their Arms all hot and bothered, but that’s gotten old pretty quickly. But it’s nice, too, that they themselves are so fully in control of their own selves that they don’t need to go through the nonsense the others have to bother with.
Could’ve done without the molestation illusion sequence, although was expecting a lot worse than what it turned out to be. Some folks have concluded from the way that went that Mirei’s got a rape backstory, but I’m not convinced (admittedly maybe since I really hope that isn’t the case). Watching Mamori squirm around the ground beforehand while she hallucinated that Hiragi was seducing her probably took some edge off the scene overall since she looked so silly. It is pretty amazing what UTX can get away with airing uncensored.
Anyway, Valkyrie Drive, still fucking classy.
Seraph of the End S2 – Episode 5
Cara: Well we’re finally getting to the fighting at long bloody last, but unfortunately this week’s vampire was just a disposable pawn to prove to Narumi’s team that our main characters are strong & capable of working together in a fight. We’ll not be getting to fight an actual named character until next week when Crowley shows up again. So a pretty dull episode overall since there was a lack of snark & Mika – at least it still looks pretty though!