You know, even though this show is a just huge teen-romance-drama thing, I can honestly say that I still like it. Even though it still has a lot of annoying elements in it, the overall package is enough to allow me to overlook those certain shortcomings. In this episode, we get more of everything; more Remon, more relationships, and even more characters.
Since the basic premise of this episode was a typical “We’re going to the beach” set-up, my expectations weren’t that high to begin with. Jesus, older sisters in this show are really irresponsible aren’t they? First, Kaito’s sister leaves him alone with a hot older girl in his house, and now Tetsuro’s sister pretty much says “You, Kaito, and all those hot girls go stay in a condo on the beach by yourself”. Besides, what could that possibly lead to? Although they do a lot of standard beach anime stuff, such being completely awestruck when they see girls in bikinis, and playing volleyball and such, Remon quickly gets everyone down to business of making their movie. Two new characters also join our already confusing love octagon: Kinoshita, Kaito’s freind from elementary school, and Arisawa, Kinoshita’s friend who takes an unhealthy attraction to Tetsuro. I’m not really sure, why this show felt the need to add anymore characters, especially since the show is now halfway through, but at the end they didn’t seem as forced as I first thought they would be. Even if Arisawa existed for the sole purpose of raping Tetsuro, Kinoshita kind of had a purpose. At least she gave something Kanna and Ichika to team up about. Apparently when girls encounter a new threat, they put aside their differences to weed out the new threat and then go back to dueling each other. Exactly why is Kaito being punished for simply knowing an attractive girl? Who knows, it’s anime, girls are crazy enough anyway.
Oddly enough, Mio, who’s pretty much sat in the background the first five episodes gets some development as well. And apparently, she likes Tetsuro… I guess. That really didn’t make too much sense to me; in all the time she’s spent with him, she’s never insinuated that she has feelings for him, and has always tried to help him deal with his relationship with Kanna, but when nympho girl comes into the picture, she gets all flustered and embarrassed. So, does that mean, she’d behave the same way if Kanna ever did anything with Tetsuro? It seems like she’s her relationship with Tetsuro is similar to his with Kanna, in that, they both sense that the object of their desire doesn’t like them, so they’re not pursuing it any further. Well, at least now we have two sensible people, or rather, a sensible guy and a sensible closet nudist. Thank GOD that was finally (kind of) explained, because her constant unexplained nudity was really irking me. Now, if that’s not a plot device for fan service, I don’t know what is. But just because you feel that you have to sleep naked does that mean you have to go commando too?
Kaito and Ichika continue to be idiots, and for the most part, boring. Is it just me, or does it seem that everyone else in this show is far more interesting than the obvious romantic interests? Kaito still suffers from bland harem MC syndrome, and it still confuses me why so many people are smitten with him, especially a girl that he hasn’t seen in years. He’s kind of an ass to Kinoshita too; he’s constantly telling her to leave him alone and to get away from him, though that may just be his survival instincts kicking in, because he can probably feel that Ichika and Kanna want to go yandere on his ass. Ichika’s retarded self later contemplates how to handle Kaito’s indecisiveness, and pretty much says “If I had sex with him, then I would win” but doesn’t for some undisclosed reason, or at least that’s what I got out of it. Maybe she meant some crazy alien technology, but judging by how she got embarrassed about it, I’ll assume the later.
The episode moved along fairly quickly, but that last minute or so, where Tetsuro’s getting raped, Mio’s exposing herself, Ichika and Kanna are running through the jungle, and Kaito is making a hot girl cry was pretty damn good. Everything was built up pretty good, even if Ichika and Kanna’s motives were to stop Kaito and Kinoshita from having sex. Really? Do you really think that indecisive little generic-ass MC would ever do something like that? Even if he did, it’s his own business, leave him alone and let him do what he wants. Who in the world would have sex in a jungle when you have a house on the beach near you anyway, why in God’s name would you stop there? Anyway, everyone is caught in extremely awkward situations, making thousands of gay babies, and Remon epically stands on a cliff.
Remon also returns in full force this episode to continue to push everything along and keep things in her life interesting. Even though she probably had every single thing that she wanted to happen planned out in her mind, as soon as Kinoshita came along, she decided that such an opportunity was too good to pass up, and instantly reworked her entire trollish scheme, God love her. Also, form the preview, it seems as if she’s going to get some people drunk again. She’s still ridiculously enigmatic and doesn’t show even a slight sign of her own motives, but that’s part of what makes her so awesome. Perhaps she’s deliberately spurring everyone’s relationship on so they don’t spend their youth wallowing in teenage angst and unrequited love. Or maybe she’s just doing it for the lulz.
This show is really starting to feel like a two-episode arc of Bakemonogatari being drawn out to eleven episodes. I think I should go ahead and give up on any delusions of this show moving faster than a crippled slug, then maybe I wouldn’t be as frustrated with it’s pacing. At this point, I’m also seeing almost no point to that three episode long character reintroduction, which slowed down the show’s progression even more. Neither of Hachikuji’s appearances have really had anything to do with the story, and Kanbaru and Sengoku’s appearances only provided very minute details to the plot. Sure, they’re all enjoyable, but if they aren’t going to serve a purpose then why include them in this series? Say, for instance, some random character was introduced in Sengoku’s arc during Bakemonogatari, served no purpose during that time and then disappeared as soon as it was over; what would the point of it be?
There is some plot progression, if you could call it that, in this episode, though it basically boils down to Karen being gone and Senjougahara wanting to go find Kaiki. We don’t even get to see the conclusion to the cliffhanger from last week; all we get is Araragi summarizing that he did indeed kiss his sister, but it only took some of the poison away. That’s such bullshit, what a giant middle finger to everybody. I mean, it’s not as if they’re rushed for time and they just had to skip over that to get to Araragi and Hachikuji walking around and talking. It’s not like it was due to censorship either; this show has already had a naked eight-year-old girl taking a bath with a teenage boy. Finally Senjougahara had a little more screen-time this episode, and thankfully didn’t occupy it by kidnapping Araragi. Though her motives are understandable, it seems like she’s being just as reckless as Karen. I don’t really understand exactly what she plans to do to Kaiki, or how she plans to stop him, seeing as how she has no supernatural powers of her own. She even admitted herself that, although he is a con man, he may be more powerful than what he’s supposed to be impersonating, so what does she plan to do without Araragi?
Karen’s motives are equally idiotic. Kaiki has already cursed her, yet she continues to go out after him even though she’s sick and may or may not know where he is? I know being reckless is in her character, but that’s pretty damn stupid. At least her being an idiot gave Shinobu a reason to come back out again and get back into the show. Though with her being as large a character as she has been, it seems as if Araragi will eventually have to explain to his sisters about his vampirism, and her as well (but it would probably be a good a good idea to not tell Tsukihi about her).
Though I’ve already said it, the progression of this series is getting very annoying. I know that Bakemonogatari never really had a straight linear story-line, but there was still always something happening in that series. Even conversations that didn’t really have any purpose were only fillers in between the separate arcs of the show. Seeing as how the novel only contains Karen and Tsukihi’s arcs, it’s understandable why this series is moving so slow, but I haven’t read enough of it to know if all of these other random seemingly pointless scenes actually serve as little purpose as I think they do. I really hope that the second half of the show picks up, because it’s actually more than halfway through right now, and almost nothing has happened at present. How about this, let’s look at the official generic copy-pasta plot summary of this series.
“The black swindler Kaiki Deishu, who once deceived Hitagi, returns to town and spreads the incantation which cursed Nadeko before. Koyomi’s sisters Karen and Tsukihi try to capture Deishu but…” (Plot summary from MAL)
You could literally add the line “… he curses Karen” to the end of that and it would be the summary for the entire show thus far. That’s what you call a slow-as-Christmas show if I’ve ever seen one. The show is halfway finished, it has five episodes left, step it up a little. What about Tsukihi? Please, God, don’t tell me we’re going to have to wait for months and months on end to see the end of her arc too. If we do, it better be ten thousand times as awesome as the end of Hanekawa’s arc, which is a pretty tall order to fill.
Would someone please tell me why every episode of this show has to end in some big dramatic action setpeice? It’s already really starting to feel forced. Not only that, but next to nothing plotwise happened in this episode, save for a small scene with Gai and Shu. And I refuse to believe that Gai survived that huge laser-canon-thing attack, no way in hell that happened.
This episode also used a really stupid way to bring about it’s thousandth action scene. Pretty much the only explanation that is given is that this thing that attacked Gai is going to destroy Japan if they don’t stop it. Man, remember the days when satellites drew animals on planets and just wanted friends? Also, as far as I can recall there isn’t even a reason given as to why it attacked. So how do they stop this thing? Obviously the most cliched way possible, destroy the reactor core! Only they can’t touch it because it’s fitted with some type of unexplained lockout system that shuts off it anything comes into contact with it, so Gai decides that Shu will use the Gantz gravity gun to hold it while it’s hacked or something.
However, Shu, being the ever normal person that he is, tells Gai that he doesn’t want part in his plan because he doesn’t want to mess up and kill everybody. I mean, his argument makes perfect sense; he’s a kid who just joined and Gai is placing the lives of everyone on his success? I think that kind of stress would get to anybody. But of course, everyone has to be an asshole to him and tell him how selfish he is for not taking responsibility for the safety of everyone there. Seriously, what the hell is wrong with these people? So after Shu leaves the meeting, Inori comes out to meet him an uses that fact that Shu wants to bone her to get him to try to show him that Gai isn’t as perfect as he thinks he is. But before that, we get to see our main villain… I guess?
This show is really going out on a limb to make sure that people hate this guy, and to prove that he’s evil. He’s almost laughable how horrible they try to make him with no explination other than that he’s just an asshole. We know absolutely nothing about this man, except that he’s bad, and apparently that’s all we need to know.
The scene with Gai and Shu was about the only thing good about this episode. Gai, thinking Shu is Inori, tells him about dealing with the stress of being considered so important by everyone and how hard it is to uphold their expectations. And just like that, finally, character development. Shu is almost exactly like Gai, only Gai has the strength to put on a front of bravery and leadership while Shu isn’t even willing to be relied on where he’s needed. They’re both put under a lot of expectations from everyone and must both find a way to bear it. This maybe three minuet scene has pretty much been the highlight of the series, that’s how little character development there has been. Then Gai tells Shu that he uses the member’s respect as a way to overcome his hardships, and Shu, in his most masculine action yet, finally punches Gai for being, what he considers to be, an asshole who’s having sex with his girl.
After that, the show decides that it’s had enough character development and goes back to it’s normal action self. Inori turns into a professional gunslinger and they attack the facility where the core is housed and Shu holds it in anti-gravity while the robot can hack it. But then Daryl and his giant mecha bust in the room and shoots everywhere, but still misses Gai and Shu. So instead of using his gaint machine gun to kill them, he talks to them for a while, then tries to attack Gai, who turns into Hei from Darker than Black.
And so, because the shell’s of mecha are connected to the drivers nervous system, Gai gets on top of it and shoots it in the neck until it dies. Please tell me why anyone would ever connect the nervous system of a person to the mecha their piloting, it makes absolutely no sense to me. I mean, it makes sense in Evangelion, but here they’re just robots, there’s no need to have the pilots, who aren’t even in the mechs themselves, feel pain.
After Gai kills Daryl’s mech, more cliched stuff happens and the Luecocyte falls out of the sky, and predictably heads straight for Tokyo. And because Gai apparently knew about Shu’s pen, which when pressed causes the other Luecocyte to fire on it’s position, he takes it and attempts to line himself up with the two satellites destroying it and himself together. But Kamina didn’t die until episode eight, so Inori “Deus ex Machina” Yuzuriha appears in some magical white vortex and gives Shu some huge-ass laser sword to shoot the Luecocytes down.
So Shu shoots down the satellites and saves Japan. Yay. Then we get some people who we dont’ know talking about stuff we dont’ understand, typical story arc closing stuff. Not much happened in this episode, other than the one scene with Shu and Gai, so I don’t really have much else to say about it. But hey, at least Shu punched someone, right?
Well, I guess if you’re locked in a castle for your whole life, you have to play a shit-ton of Gran Turismo, either that or watch a lot of Initial D. Or at least Irisviel did, because she drives like a damn Mario Cart character. I thought it was kind of a weird way to open the the episode too, because it never really explained if they were going somewhere or just driving around, but I assume that they were going to find and kill Lancer to get the curse removed from Saber’s arm. But it doesn’t matter, because finally Caster (and his crazy-ass voice actor) comes back into the show for the first time in forever and proclaims his love for Saber, or rather his love for Joan of Arc.
So somehow Caster is tied to Jan of Arc, or the French Army, or something. Apparently this guy didn’t get the memo that she was burned alive when she was only 19. And at least they didn’t start a fight and end it two seconds later. I’d rather see Caster save all the crazy shit I’m sure he can do for later. Lancer and his master had their somewhat exposition-y talk about honor and whatever, until a fire broke out on the bottom floor of the hotel, and Lancer is sent off to fight Saber, which is never seen or mention again (at least not in this episode). But that may just be because Kiritsugu blows the shit out of the hotel and pretty much levels the building. Seems people in anime have a lot of money to blow on destroying buildings these days. But yeah, I think we all know that neither Lancer nor his master Kayneth are dead, because that’d be a really lame way to die. And then Wolverine makes a guest appearance. So, yeah, I’m not entirely sure what he was doing with Wolverine claws but I don’t guess it’s that big a deal.
Caster and Ryuunosuke are back up to their crazy shit, murdering and raping children, you know, the usual. So because Saber doesn’t remember Caster, he decides they should kill more children to piss God off or something and they go and kidnap even more kids that they already have with them. I tell ya, I’m not sure I’d want to watch some of this stuff if they uncensor it on the blu-ray releases. Obviously, the Church isn’t just going to let some crazy ass murderers do whatever they want just because they’re in the Holy Grail War, so they propose to have a collaboration with all of the servants and masters to kill of Caster before he can kill any more people. Not so sure if people like Berserker would work so well in a group, but you never know.
The last scene in this episode was definitely one of the better ones, just because Gilgamesh is such a pompous bad-ass. He and Kirei talk about their motives for wanting the grail, and Archer calls bullshit when Kirei says that he doesn’t have any desire for it. Then they ramble on about joy, sin, and pleasure, and about how much of a hardcore Catholic Kirei is, even thinking that joy is sinful, because joy cannot be achieved through noble means. Archer then asks Kirei to observe the other servants and masters for him and he agrees, thinking that by doing so, he can discover why he subconsciously desires the Grail.
This episode really skipped around a lot, so at least they’re trying to work on giving all the characters equal exposure. Most of it was interactions between the servants and their masters, which I liked. Slowly but surely the characters are becoming more that just a bunch of pairs teamed up the fight each other, and are having more interplay in their relationships. I’m glad Caster is getting his time in the spotlight, even if it just to get himself killed for being an asshole, but still, he’s one of the most interesting (to watch at least) servants in the show.