Friday, November 30, 2007

Elfen Lied: Episode 8

Nyuu is thrown back into some decorative stuff they keep around at Hotel Runaway for fight scenes. Yuka runs to Nyuu's aid (people run to her aid a lot in this episode), even though Nyuu cries out for Kouta. Nana yells at Nyuu to stop playing, "'Cause things won't go like last time!" Mayu joins Yuka, and Nana just doesn't understand how bursting into someone's home and throwing them across the room could be considered offensive. As she ponders, Kouta spins Nana around and smacks her hard. He's a little protective of his hos. Nobody understands why anybody is doing anything, and no one's talking about it. Except for Mayu who starts apologizing for everything that's ever happened. Nana insists that "Lucy" is the bad person here and can't understand why everyone's helping her. Nana's just trying to be a good girl. If I didn't make jokes, I'd just cry into my keyboard. Off-screen, Nyuu is unconscious and Kouta goes over to help Yuka. Nana runs off in a cloud of title screens:

Nana cries and talks to herself outside, on the steps. She turns when she hears Mayu running after her. She's brought Nana her purse. Nana tries to run off again, insisting that she hates them all because they're trying to make her the bad guy. When she tries to storm off further, Mayu grabs one of Nana's arms, which promptly pops. The dog watches on in... nothing, really. It's a fucking dog.

Some time later, somewhere else, Nana and Mayu sit to be in denial about stuff together. Mayu asks if Nana isn't the bad one, "suddenly doing that to Nyuu." Nana goes, "Nuh-uh!" Then -- it's a helicopter! That's how scene transitions tend to work in this show.

The helicopter lands outside Diclonius HQ and Kak Jr.'s assistant steps off in a re-introduction that lasts far too long. She's lead down a hallway by Nana's father's assistant. I'm great with names. In short: she was border-line kidnapped and hasn't showered in a few days. She's carrying a bag, which we soon find out, is holding her former boss' severed head, and she's there to deliver it to his father. See? He even has his tongue sticking out in typical, comedic fashion so you know he's dead:
The assistant more-or-less asks Kak Sr., "Yeah, I can go now, right?" She's very nonchalant about delivering severed heads to family members. I'm surprised she doesn't ask for a tip. Kak pulls out a gun. So, no, you can't go. Since Assistant Nonchalant has seen Kak Jr.'s horns, Kak Sr. can't allow her to go around blabbing about it. She gets the shaky, anime eye, then tries to run away, but were hear a shot and --

Back with Mayu and Nana, Nana has apparently told Mayu about all the cool stuff that Lucy did in episode one. But Mayu has only been formally introduced to Nyuu; she doesn't believe Nyuu could've done anything that awesome. To prove that her arms and legs don't exist anymore, Nana jumps up and pops off an arm. She goes in to try and explain the vectors by floating two of them out around Mayu's head, but since only the audience can see them, it doesn't really do anything. Mayu's eyes are big and what-the-fucky, I'd guess from the arm popping off. Which makes her stupid considering that's now the third time she's seen Nana remove an appendage that night. Mayu makes clear her confusion and worry to Nana, asking, "What?" Nana explains that she'll show Mayu 'what' and gets a dead look in her eyes as she pulls back a vector. Mayu stares in... stupidness, and Wanta the dog barks at the writers for making such an obvious fake-out. Mayu'll be fine. Just --

Assistant Nonchalant (AN) is shocked, SHOCKED, that the man holding a gun and standing over his dead son's severed head actually shot her. Director Kak tells her that he'll stop shooting her if she tells him who else saw his son's horns. She says that there was someone else there, but she was in shock and can't even remember his face. He lets AN fall to the floor saying, "That's too bad." Laying in her own blood, NA ads that the person who was there was looking for a girl the professor took in. This piques Kak's interest. NA gasps and gives off a good death-stare. But, it's just another bad fake-out, as the director orders a medical team to his office. NA looks up, hopeful and perky, "Does this mean... you're going to save me?" He is. However, only so she can take his son's place. He turns his son's head around to face NA and the audience.

The head of a statue slides to the ground, in an actual attempt at juxtaposition between scenes. Nana, I'm sure at the last second, decided to mutilate the statue instead of Mayu. It finally clicks for Mayu that what Nana and Bando have been saying are true; it wasn't just a coincidence that these two people had the same exact story about Nyuu/Lucy. After bearing her soul, Nana freaks out a little, remembering that Papa told her to keep that all a secret. Mayu interrupts Nana to say that there's nothing bad about Nyuu. In fact, she's stupid innocent. Nana reluctantly agrees that 'Nyuu' isn't the violently cool person she knows, but that she's clearly Lucy. She's horribly confused.

At Hotel Runaway, Kouta and Yuka have put Nyuu to bed and are watching over her. Nyuu's suddenly come down with a fever for reasons that aren't all that apparent. As they talk about what to do, Lucy wakes up. For the moment, she looks at Kouta and fights back the tears.

Back at Elsewhere, Nana feels that something bad has just happened. "She woke up..."

Diclonius HQ. The director and Papa recap the audience about stuff we don't care about for a few seconds. Then, the director drops a few bombshells: First, he was using his son's research to get a hand on the virus that causes Diclonius-ism, and not the cure. Second, he knows Papa let Nana escape. Third, the director is, "God's proxy!" God could always more proxies. So, to get Lucy back and terminate 'Number 7,' the director authorizes use of Number 35. No doubt another Diclonius. Fun stuff.

At the hotel, Lucy stands up and stumbles out of the room, against Kouta's sort of protest. Lucy mumbles to herself that she 'blacked out' again, which I take to mean she doesn't remember what happens when she's Nyuu. Out in the hallway, Lucy says, "I'm going to kill that stupid girl," and promptly falls over. Kouta runs to her rescue saying, "You're the stupid one here." Completely ignoring her murderous intent. Lucy looks at Kouta with her blushing face.

The cousins have put Lucy back in bed and Yuka goes off to her place for some medicine. Kouta watches over Lucy, neither all too sure what to say. As Lucy starts to pass out again, she dreams/hallucinates of her backstory.

Wavy lines, wavy lines...

Li'l Lucy is in a bunk bed with a woman standing over her. The woman walks out of the room and off-screen to tell whoever's out there that, "That kid has a fever again. I wish she'd stop doing that. I had a date tonight..." Total love. As Mother of the Year bad-mouths 'that kid' some more, Li'l Lucy decides to go for a walk. Out on a forest path, she falls face-down in the dirt, where a puppy comes to help. She tells the puppy that she's okay, really. She's not lonely or nothin'! Then she cries.

At school, Li'l Lucy is called out by three boys. They've poured milk all over her bag, and when she doesn't respond with violence, they push her over. I guess this is the Future Violent Criminals Club. As she's on the floor, they taunt her more and start dancing like special ed students just before the pizza party. A random girl comes to help Li'l Lucy, but Lucy isn't really looking for help. "All the children here are miserable," Li'l Lucy says. "Because, when you're miserable... You need something that's even more miserable than yourself." I like Li'l Lucy. If she had a newsletter I'd sign up in a second. Random Girl helps Li'l Lucy clean off her bag and extends a hand of friendship. Being that this is a flashback and there are only a few minutes left in the episode, Random Girl is probably a bitch.

That night, Li'l Lucy sneaks out again, this time to feed Puppy a loaf of bread. As Puppy of Imminent Doom eats, she tells him that if he weren't around, she wouldn't be able to take it. After dinner, she tells the puppy to never go towards the school, because people suck. But does the puppy listen? No, he's a dog.

We cut to a dream Li'l Lucy is having. She's alone in darkness cursing humanity - not unlike most of my dreams - and starts to reach her arms out towards a bright light. As she does, vectors shoot up from the ground. She wakes up in fear or pain and looks around to see handprints covering the walls of her room.

Then, feeling like maybe Random Girl could be a friend, Li'l Lucy tells her about Puppy, and even brings her out to the path to feed him. Random Girl promises to never tell anyone about the puppy. So, of course, the very next scene has the bullies showing up in class, just the four kids in the room for some reason, with Puppy in tow. For the first time, Li'l Lucy is visibly pissed. The first thing that ever showed her any compassion is in danger. The bullies get excited that she's finally fighting back and demand she cry. Lucy kicks a bully, who turns to another and tells him to beat up the dog. Without missing a beat, the other kid kicks the puppy into a wall. It's pretty horrific. I mean, yeah, Lucy exploded a few hearts out of guys, but this was a puppy! The lead bully pontificates that it's much more effective to indirectly attack Li'l Lucy. Oh, the things you learn in school. He then picks up a vase and beats the dog to death with it. ... yeah. Li'l Lucy looks on in horror as Random Girl runs in to say the bullies are going too far. In an instant, Li'l Lucy lost both of her friends. The bully starts to get up, noting that the puppy sure seemed to die quickly. Li'l Lucy voice-overs her previous thoughts: "Because, when you're miserable... You need something that's even more miserable than yourself." Then the bully holding her back explodes, painting the room a nice shade of red. This is quickly followed by the exploding of the other kids, including Random Girl.

Li'l Lucy buries Puppy out by the path and cries. She grabs her horns as if she's trying to pry them off, just as she hears someone behind her drop a music box. She looks back to see Li'l Kouta standing behind her...

So, the moral of the story is that it's better to live alone and afraid, because if you try to make friends, someone will kill your puppy.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Bleach 140 and 141

Has it been that long? Perhaps we will review not one, but two episodes in this one entry. So as to spare you the pain of watching them for yourselves. Because we know you don’t.

Bleach 140

So if you’ve been reading you know that the shinigami are busy fighting some Espada, and it’s not going so well. Urahara just manages to avoid the energy blast from the spaced-out Wonderwice. The kid stares at his hand, and so would I if my hand could fire purple bolts at my friends and enemies. Urahara asks what it is, but doesn’t get an answer because everything goes all red behind him and he falls to the earth in pain. Yami appears behind him and explains (naturally) that Wonderwice just fired some super fast Cero thing. Not quite as powerful as the full version, but twenty (gasp!) times faster. I’m glad they tell me that’s twenty times faster. It makes me gasp in awe. Anyway, Yami starts laughing and firing off his little blasts in rapid succession at Urahara and calls him a “sandal wearing bastard.”

Luppi looks on in disgust. He turns back toward Rangiku, who he’s managed to catch again. She notes that he talks too much, and that grosses her out. Luppi looks like he’s about to abuse her, but, suddenly, half of his big white tentacle things become icy and frozen. He turns around and sees Captain Hitsugaya! The little shinigami tells the Espada that his zanpaktou is the most powerful ice-based sword, and that as long as there’s water around it was reform itself again and again. That seems pretty bad for Luppi, because the Earth’s atmosphere is filled with water! A bunch of giant ice columns appear around Luppi and come crashing in on him. He screams like a little girl Espada.

Yami scoffs some and prepares to keep firing at Urahara, but that wily shop owner appears behind him! Yami asks how he’s still alive and fires another bolt at him. It’s a direct hit! But, no! Urahara appears right behind him (again) and delivers a powerful blast of his own. Urahara explains (people like explaining on this show) by inflating some weird balloon doll Urahara-shaped thing. It’s a decoy, to confuse one’s enemy. Urahara switched places with the doll and let Yami fire away at it. Yami fires off another blast, but Urahara completely blocks it. Turns out the attack just isn’t effective against him anymore. He prepares to whup Yami’s ass.

Meanwhile, Ichigo is being kicked around by Grimmjaw. He’s on the ground, panting and sweating. His mask won’t hold together, so he’s completely useless. Grimmjaw does a flying kick and blows him away again. He impales Ichigo’s forearm with his sword and readies up a big Cero to fire at his brain. Just then, however, ice envelopes his hand. It’s Rukia! Commercial break!

We return from happy commercial hand, and there’s Rukia again. She fires off her White Ripple and freezes Grimmjaw in a big block of ice. She runs up to Ichigo and starts yanking on the sword stuck in his forearm. It’s a tender moment (almost), but Grimmjaw bursts out of his ice prison and grabs her head. He was clearly unimpressed. He’s going to Cero her brain now, but another energy blasts suddenly interrupts him. What could this be?!

It’s Shinji, the helpful Vizard. You remember him, right? He was helping to train Ichigo with his new powers? Turns out Shinji just can’t avoid a good rumble, even if he doesn’t want to get involved in shinigami matters. Weird clown music starts. Grimmjaw flies to attack, but Shinji avoids him completely. They fight for a few moments, until Shinji puts on his Hollow mask. Even weirder music starts up. Grimmjaw is surprised, and Shinji pushes him away before pressing the attack. Turns out he’s pretty good. He loads up a huge Cero and fires it at Grimmjaw. Grimmjaw deflects some of it by firing off his own little Cero quickly, but he’s still quite injured.

Shinji comes to look at him. Grimmjaw jumps up to attack, but he doesn’t complete the maneuver, for at that instant Ulquiorra appears. He announces that the mission is accomplished. Negation things appear all around the Espada and pull them back toward Hueco Mundo (cue Spanish guitar music). Even Luppi gets yanked back, because he survived Captain Hitsugaya’s attack. He vows to crush the little shinigami, and I don’t think that Espada’s so cool anymore. What an ass. Urahara is pissed that he didn’t get to kill Yami. Everyone is quite unhappy, to be honest.

Ulquiorra stares at Ichigo and notes that he’s at the limit of his power and makes some ominous statements about the future.

Bleach 141

I have to admit that I really like the present opening. Good song, good opening graphics. Just hits the right mood. I hope that the next opening doesn’t suck.

So into the episode. Orihime is in her home writing out practical advice, such as where to find the towels and when to put out the garbage. She looks at a weird bracelet on her wrist and starts remembering things, namely Ulquiorra giving her said bracelet. The bracelet hides her from everyone and everything, lets the Espada track her, and she can pass through physical objects with it. Ulquiorra gives Orihime twelve hours to say goodbye to one person, and one person only. End flashback. Orihime looks sad and stands up and walks away. We zoom in on the notebook in which she’s been writing; it’s empty. Guess even her penmanship is hidden whilst she wears the bracelet.

We cut away to a filler scene. The shinigami from the last episode are being bandaged and tended to by Urahara’s crew. There’s much yelling and running around. Captain Hitsugaya watches Urahara fume about something. The captain realizes that Soul Society better step up its preparations for the upcoming battle royale with Aizen’s folks.

Back to Orihime. She’s walking down the street and her big breasts bump into someone. She starts apologizing, but the guy doesn’t hear her, or even see her. “I walked into some breasts,” he says, “but where are they? WHERE?!” Orihime is confused and wanders over to a store window. She has no reflection. No one can detect her, and she puts her hand through the glass to see if she can indeed pass through physical objects. Next we see her at her school, where she’s staring at Ichigo’s desk. She hears some people in the hallway and starts to run, because she’s apparently forgotten that no one can see her, but nonetheless manages to knock over a desk before hiding under the teacher’s big desk. Two of her classmates, Asano and that other guy, come into the room. They note the overturned desk and muse on how so many of their classmates are missing from school.

Orihime wanders outside and sits under a tree and thinks about her best friend, Tatsuki. She runs to find her in line for karate practice. Some irresponsible kids behind Orihime suddenly kick a ball through her. The ball lands near Tatsuki, and she stares at it, and in Orihime’s direction, but she of course can’t see her. Tatsuki runs off and Orhime looks very sad, but she doesn’t say goodbye to her. She goes to stand on a pier and looks at the moonlit water rippling below her.

We next find Rukia sitting on the floor of a room. She can’t reach Orihime on her special shinigami phone. How many minutes does that plan have? Rukia closes the phone and turns to look at Ichigo on a bed next to her. She thinks back (flashback!) to a bunch of Vizard, one of whom, Hacchi, the big guy with pink hair, has just healed Ichigo’s injuries. The boy needs to rest now, he says, and Rukia stares the ground. Back in the house, Rukia stares at Ichigo some more. She decides to go find Orihime, but Ichigo’s little sisters suddenly appear. They convince her stay and eat with them. Yuzu has drawn Rukia’s face on the rice, or macaroni and cheese, whatever it is. Aren’t kids cute?

Later, we find Rukia washing the dishes. She runs into Ichigo’s father and apologizes again for getting Ichigo involved with delinquents and ruffians (she must have told him that a bunch of bullies beat Ichigo up). She leaves the house, but not before Ichigo’s dad offers some fatherly advice. This scene doesn't really add anything to the show.

Back with Ichigo, all the food is eaten, and his little sisters are asleep on the floor next to him. The curtain rustles in the wind, and Orihime walks through the fabric to join them. She’s come to say goodbye to Ichigo, but stops to notice Yuzu and Karin asleep nearby. Orihime suddenly realizes that she’s in Ichigo’s room and starts blushing. She thinks to herself that the room smells like him. She reaches down to take his hand. The show is veering into uncomfortable emotional territory here, and I’m not quite sure what to think.

She leans over Ichigo, moving in for that kiss she wants to give him. But she can’t do it. She starts crying and pulls away. Orihime waxes poetic, wishing that she’d had five lives to live, so that she could have eaten five lifetime’s worth of food, and had five careers. And so that she could have fallen in love with the same person five time. That person, of course, being Ichigo. She doesn’t say this, of course. We have to realize it for ourselves, but I’m sure that some of you won’t get it, so that’s why I’m telling you.

So now things make a little bit of sense, with the overall series, particularly Orihime's insane desire to help Ichigo and fight alongside him when she’s obviously weak and undertrained. Orihime is crazy, but, from what I’ve determined through research and observation, love makes people crazy. She just wants to be with Ichigo. I feel a twinge of regret for having mocked Orihime so much these past few years (years?!), but the twinge turns out to be indigestion and I’m okay again.

We look back at Orihime’s notebook. We can see that she’s written “Goodbye halcyon days.”

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Bleach 139

In this very special episode, our intrepid cast of humans and shinigami face off against the squad of Espada who have invaded the real world. Ichigo puts on his Hollow mask, and Grimmjaw raises his eyebrows quite simply because it’s an awesome-looking mask and Grimmjaw is upset that he doesn’t have one. Ichigo immediately attacks, Grimmjaw blocks, but Ichigo fires off his black Getsuga Tenshou at point-blank range. It’s the end for Grimmjaw, I’m sure!

Meanwhile, Captain Hitsugaya has turned Yammy into a Yammy-sicle, but the Espada just breaks out of the ice hunk. Yumichika is fighting Lupi, but getting thrown about with great vigor. Lupi states that he can’t fight him one-on-one, and tells Ikkaku to come help his buddy. Ikkaku, being macho, has no intention whatsoever of helping. Lupi merely tells Yammy to let him fight Hitsugaya as well, because he’s going to take on all four shinigami at once, and he begins to pull out his sword. Egads! What does this mean?

Hitsugaya knows, and he flies at Lupi and releases his bankai at the same time, hoping to finish Lupi off quickly, but Lupi releases his zanpaktou anyway. A blast of wind blows Hitsugaya away, and then a huge white tentacle comes out of nowhere and pushes the shinigami into the distance. The captain does manage to block the big tentacle and scoffs a bit at Lupi. Some more dust blows away, and we all can see that Lupi has not just one, not just two, but eight tentacles, and they all attack Hitsugaya at once and he falls to the earth, at the same time cursing his fate to be hit by eight huge pasty white tentacles: a fate worse than death. Lupi looks at the rest of the shinigami with some malice in his eyes.

While all this is transpiring, Rukia arrives back in the real world (recall that she was “training” with Orihime back in Soul Society). She runs into the Urahara shop and we all talk happily with Renji for a few minutes. This is just to remind us that Urahara promised to go out and fight, too.

Back to Ichigo, and we see his initial attack dissipating. Grimmjaw is left winded and bloody in its wake, but still standing. Ichigo stands there looking at him for a few seconds (doesn’t he only has eleven seconds in which to use his mask?) and fires off another Getsuga Tenshou. Grimmjaw blocks this one, as well, but Ichigo appears right behind him and fires off one more. Grimmjaw is caught between the two in a nice black explosion of spirit power. He’s falling toward the earth and Ichigo flies off after him; Grimmjaw wakes up and fires off a massive red cero and then we get a nice commercial break. Time to heat up some noodles and trade some commodities.

Ichigo cuts through the cero and he and Grimmjaw trade sword blows for a bit, yelling and grunting all the while. Ichigo gets cocky and tells Grimmjaw that’s he’s finished and prepares for the killing blow, when, you know, his mask breaks. Grimmjaw is taken aback, but then smiles (he has a a really nice smile), and proceeds to kick Ichigo’s ass.

In the park, or the forest, whatever, Lupi is twirling his tentacles about like a pinwheel and beating up the three shinigami (Ikkaku, Yumichika, and Rangiku, remember). Yammy, bored, is watching, and Wonderwice is trying to catch a dragonfly. He’s pretty cool. Lupi catches the three shinigami in his tentacles and brings Rangiku in close, noting that she’s pretty sexy. Now, this is exactly what I would do, because her breasts are pressed up over the tentacles and glistening with sweat. Fortunately, this isn’t hentai (you know, with tentacles and stuff), and Lupi merely pops some spikes out of another tentacle and threatens to skewer Rangiku but good. That’s when a red bolt shoots along the ground and up and slices the offending tentacles right off of Lupi’s body. Urahara approaches in his own particular style, which is pretty casually.

Finally, we return to Orihime. She’s finally running back toward the real world. Two nameless shinigami are escorting her, and she’s thinking about how she’ll really be able to help everyone fight this time. (No, she won’t!) An ominous voice cuts through the darkness and the air opens. Ulquiorra appears.

Meanwhile, as Urahara is introducing himself in the proper anime manner, Wonderwice suddenly grabs for him from behind. Now, I’m not sure if this is an actual attack, or if the kid just likes Urahara’s hat, but Urahara really reacts badly, firing off another red bolt at Wonderwice. Urahara notes that he’s a strange one, and Wonderwice suddenly holds up his hand, crackling with raw spirit energy (much like my own hand), and everything suddenly blows up. Again.

In the dark tunnel with Orihime, Ulquiorra blasts his guards to pieces. She begins to heal them and Ulquiorra watches, impressed. He tells Orihime to come with him. Aizen wants her power. I want some ice cream.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Genocyber: Stage 1: A New Lifeform: Part 1

Okay, here goes. I snagged this OVA after hearing it was a 'cult' favorite and had gore compared to Elfen Lied. I'm honestly not sure I can recap what goes on in this show, because, well... there are scenes in this series that I'd have to compare to being in a car wreck: it's not until you're outside of the car and the ambulance is pulling up that you realize something has just happened, but holy shit did something just happen. You blacked out for a second when the airbag hit you, your shoulder hurts for some reason, someone in the distance is crying, that might be blood in your mouth, but when asked about what happened, you just stare blankly until someone helps you back up. Of course, there are also scene comparable to driving from Toledo, Ohio to Chicago, Illinois in one, uneventful stretch. So, don't get your hopes up just yet.

We start off with an old video being recorded in a lab. A doctor explains that they've hooked up a human subject to a PSI-scanner. The scanner shows that there are 'images' and 'shadows' displayed. "This is known as the 'mind shadow'. Within this shadow, lies a still unexplored universe." He says that what we call 'life force' blows like a wind through these shadows. He calls this wind, "Vajura." He's built this big device that'll amplify the Vajura to 'near infinity.' Tanya, some girl, is inside it now, about to get her Vajura blown up. Yeah, I thought I'd come up with a decent joke for that, too. Mr. Doctor Man explains that increasing the Vajura will give birth to, "a hitherto hidden power of unbelievable proportions," sounding a lot like someone about to do something stupid for their own selfish reasons. "From that inner cosmos of creation and annihilation will come the child." A Hilton sister? "My child... Genocyber!" Oh. So, not as bad?

Credits: Hong Kong in still-frame glory. Little bit in, we hear a reporter announce that the "Council of Advanced Nations" has ended individual national armies. Evidently, the armies of the advanced nations pooled their armies together into the United Nations' Troops. Which sounds more like a football team. "Ladies and gentlemen... here are your United Nations' Troops!" If 'council of advanced nations' didn't tip you off, this show takes place in the future. Well, future relative to 1993. It's the 'early 21st century.'

In a... fenced in pile of ruble, a young boy is being pushed around by a rowdy teen while three others watch on. The boys are part of some underworldly nogoodnik association, and the youngest member didn't pull in enough money. So, he gets the shit knocked out of him and kicked out of the UNA. He lies in the rubble, unconscious, with visions of a girl who appears to be in the video for Take On Me by Ah-Ha. He wakes up to find himself elsewhere, near the girl from his vision who's standing over what looks like a severed arm holding a pipe. A friendship is born.

As a car holding two new characters drive down an empty road (Future Hong Kong has zero traffic, apparently), the news reporter comes back to tell us that the Council president wants to base the Troops in orbit. 'Cause that's where you want your army personnel incase they need to be sent out right away on some relief mission: in space. Her colleague and/or guest, exposits that not all armies have been drafted into the Troops. He starts to tell us about certain 'corporations' that hold weaponry, when we're taken to a crime scene where a man lies face down on the ground, missing one arm. I'm sure completely unrelated to the last scene.

The dead guy worked at the Kyuryu Science Institute, which angers our new, yet-to-be-named policeman character. So, he's on his way to the KSI to try and get some answers from an 'old friend' he has working there. On his way, the reporter's colleague/guest continues his talk from the day before, right where he left off. The corporation he was about to name just so happens to be the Kyuryu Group, a company that specializes in weapon development. Not really an army, just well stocked incase of zombie uprisings. But, hey, the plot needs thickening.

Inside KSI, a boy reads characters off a note being covered by a research assistant. The guy in charge, Kenneth Reed, tells a worker bee to move the boy to 'level-three' (Water World) just as he gets a call from the lobby. Davey, our policeman friend, is waiting to see him. As he goes to meet him, we're thrown to a scene in a hallway. A man screams before bursting out of a room and falling to his knees. A girl follows, produces a tennis ball she was holding behind her back, levitates it, then starts to go into the air herself. KSI studies that fun kind of science that doesn't need to be bogged down by facts or reality. A woman wearing a red cape walks in from nowhere and stares the kid down, who's looking quite smug for whatever she just did to that guy. With just a rise of the eyelids, Red makes the girl coil in disgust. The tennis ball bursts open revealing red tendrils, then we share the girl's nightmarish vision that's being pumped into her head:
And the video is all wavy and dreamy like that. Sort of like too many frames of animation were squeezed in and ran slightly out of sequence. We come out of the vision to see the tennis ball is just fine, the tendrils being part of the vision, but the girl has gone into some sort of catatonic state and collapses to the floor. Red calmly walks by her and out of the shot. I use to be on hand for parent teacher conferences like that when I was little.

In Reed's office, we learn that it was 14 years ago that Dr. Morgan, presumably the man in the intro video, was lost during an 'accident,' presumably the whole Vajura thing. Davey insists that if Reed has started up Morgan's "insane" research, he'll find a way to shut it down. Reed claims ignorance, and as Davey starts to gear up the threats, Red (real name, Diana) throws open the door and gives Davey a waking nightmare of his own. Reed slaps her to the ground to make her stop, then orders the cops to leave and never come back.

Once alone, Diana explains to the audience and Reed, her father, that, "Elaine removed her Vajura restraint necklace," resulting in her escape. And without Elaine, Reed cannot complete his research which he knows nothing about. As they talk on, we dissolve to a new location. The ex-UNA boy is in an abandoned building with Elaine, the girl who found him earlier. As he eats unidentifiable foodstuffs from a bag, Elaine pounces the ground next to him like an animal and takes some food for herself. Diana and Reed's conversation continues in some lab, where Diana is getting some sort of treatment. Her stomach is cut open to reveal icky things that look more mechanical than biological. Reed says that no one can see the true power of Vajura and Diana hesitates before speaking - yes, stomach open, she's still awake. "Are you turning against me after I saved your life?!" Reed shouts, then grabs hold of something inside Diana's stomach. Squirm. She screams then says she's very grateful for everything the doctor's done for her. As they talk, you can hear metal or plastic parts being moved around inside her.

At a restaurant, three new people are going over their 'next target.' One of them looks at pictures of Elaine looking pretty pissed off. "The file they sent over says her power's pretty dangerous stuff," The One Guy says. The Busty Redhead counters, "Like we've never had to take down an esper before?" After The Fat One agrees that there shouldn't be any problems, Redhead adds, "She can be minus an arm or a leg, just as long as she's alive." I have a good feeling about these guys. I think they'll go far.

Elaine wakes up from a dream I'm not sure how to describe as Boy returns home with some food. They seem happy to see each other. On the roof, Elaine levitates and peels an orange with her mind, before flying the whole damned thing into Boy's mouth. Instead of choking and dying, Boy eats it and smiles big. At no point does he take the supernatural citrus peeling as a sign of weirdness. If you're ever going about your day and you meet an anime character who can flay fruit with her mind, freak out right away. No good will come of that.

We pull back slowly from the rooftop and hear Diana say, "Elaine's currently in a peaceful mindset. She hasn't been this stable since she escaped." She is now suited in a full mechanical outfit and is reporting to her father who's at a control panel in another room. Reed says that now is the best chance to go after her, prompting Diana to ask, "Do I exist just to control Elaine when she goes wild?" "That machine was built because only you can control Elaine's Vajura," he replies. Um... okay. Diana goes on to say that Elaine doesn't know how to control her power, making her dangerous, and it's pretty clear that she wants Elaine dead. Not so much because she'll kill everything and everyone, but because Diana wants to be Daddy's little girl. But just as she's getting to that, a tube connected to her neck injects her with something. "Start dealing with this!" Reed yells, not really wanting to deal with things himself. We're then treated to mecha legs being screwed onto a mecha hip, mecha arms being fastened to a mecha torso, and a mecha head being shiny. It's all very 80's Japanimationy. Even has the crosspatched, fake computer background.

Back to the thoroughly interesting detective storyline. Davey, somehow, managed to find some footage of Elaine in an outtake reel from a TV show that was being filmed the other day. I'll buy the girl who prepare food with her mind, I'll buy the woman who can put horrible visions into your head, I'll even buy Genocyber as a title... but a detective that dedicated to his job? I hereby suspend my belief. How did he even start looking for her in the first place? He was the case of the dead guy with no arm a second ago. Then there's an earthquake. I don't know why.

We join the underworldly nogoodnik association getting paid by their boss down on the street. No one's worried or talking about that whole 'ground shaking thing,' so I guess the earthquake was localized to police headquarters. The boss asks where 'the other kid' is, and the UNA leader admits that he had to downsize. To get the plot back on track, the boss says that he saw Boy the other day with 'an older woman.' Hard cut to the UNA confronting Boy and Elaine in the abandoned building, which they somehow immediately knew to go. The UNA leader pushes Boy to the ground, and tells Elaine she should go with them for some wholesome fun. Just as she's about to do some cool anime thing, there's a flash, and we do a CSI-zoom to her eye. A red outline of the city is reflected in her retina, looking a lot like a Virtual Boy game. She blanks out, focusing on her game of Vertical Force, and the UNA leader pokes her in the forehead with his finger. Boy gets thrown to the ground again as the UNA leader talks about how he wants to have some fun. Skee Ball? Probably Skee Ball. One of the others ask if he should do it in front of the little boy, and the third says, "Let's see how small he really is." And yes, they see. It's pretty disturbing. Leader starts feeling up Elaine, still watching the red lines, which we see in a second is the view-point of the mecha chick flying towards the building. Elaine lets off a primal scream, just as mecha chick crashes through the roof. Immediate pay-off as she puts a fist through Leader's head and throws him against a wall.

Diana's face shows through the mecha's helmet, and she tells Elaine to come home. She tells Elaine to constrain her Vajura, and instead the room explodes. That's Elaine's way of saying, 'No.' Elaine escapes with Boy in tow. Somewhere, Redhead looks on with a stupid looking eyepiece. "Okay, remember: it's the future. Look shiny and glue a bunch of crap to your head."

Elaine and Boy materialize in a subway station. And, for once, I mean it literally and not as a sarcastic way to point out bad editing. Elaine's in pain and Boy is scared. Neither of them have said a word so far, I should point out. In a subway car, Elaine lays down on a seat, and Boy stands in front of her, arms outstretched, protecting her from whoever. It's kind of sweet. That One Guy, who isn't The Fat One or the Busty Redhead, uses his future, robot ear to listen in on a police broadcast about Elaine. They plan to get officers on the subway at the next stop, but One Guy wants to get to her first. So, he starts stomping on the ground really fast, breaking a hole to the subway tunnel. You heard me. Further down the tunnel, the subway runs into One Guy, who has Dr. Octopus-like robot arms extending from his back, which stop the subway cold. Using various, unnecessary, Inspector Gadget-like tools, the three gore-fodder hunters board the train and take Elaine. Redhead and One guy walk off, leaving Fat One to carry Elaine away. Except he doesn't get very far. He starts having one of those waking nightmares, and drops Elaine to the ground. Thinking there are bugs in his head, he rips his skull open and drops brain on the floor. Elaine gets away, but That One Guy still has Boy.

Now, we're only half-way through this first episode, but I've burned through four pages already. To keep save this from being a huge entry, and a touch of my sanity, I'm going to break this recap into two parts. Will Elaine get away? Will Diana get the love she feels she deserves? Will Boy ever get a name? Tune in... later.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Bleach 138

Now that my summer hiatus has ended, I will return to reviewing the various and sundry anime shows that our dear readers enjoy. Naturally, this starts with Bleach, and over the summer we were treated a long series of fantastically dull filler episodes. “Filler?” you ask. “Yes,” I reply. You shout something like, “Sacre bleu!”—which is pretty surprising, given that you don’t know French.

Needless to say, I won’t be reviewing the many filler episodes. They were pretty dull. And bad. First we had a four part story with Matsumoto and some dead kids and a weird arrancar. The best parts were when bosomy Matsumoto tried on some new outfits and posed in them for a good long while, and also at the end when one of the dead kids realized, you know, that he and everyone he loved were dead and he started blubbering about the pain. Emotional money shot; I almost felt something.

Then they ruined it with a bunch of stupidity. Karin (Ichigo’s kid sister) had trouble with some soccer team filled with bullies, so she got Captain Hitsugaya to come play with her team. Then some kendo team was having trouble with another kendo team filled with bullies, so they got Ikkaku to come help them. Then some little shinigami were having trouble baking a cake, so they got Yumichiki to help them. Then there was this Hollow that was actually a dog, and some arrancar got stupid and tried to betray Aizen, and then something else I’m pretty sure I forgot. Finally, we’ve returned to the real story, and I stopped cursing this show for wasting my summer. I could have been at the beach, but I was at home watching crap instead.

Episode 138 opens with Ulquiorra and Yammy walking down a long hallway to join Aizen and a few other creepy arrancar. We don’t know who the new guys are yet, but I’m sure they’re all bad people. Aizen has someone wrapped up in bandages in a glass box, and he drops the Hougyoku inside. Aizen explains that the Hougy-thingie is still asleep, but that someone with twice the reiatsu of a shinigami captain—namely, him—can awaken it for brief moments to utilize its power. The bandages fall off the guy, Aizen asks him his name, and he answers, slowly, “Wonderwice Margera.” Looks like a nice kid. I think he’ll do well.

Aizen turns to Ulquiorra and tells him to carry out the secret order that he gave him earlier. Ulquiorra can take whomever he wants, but as Aizen walks away he looks at one-armed Grimmjaw and tells him to go, too. Grimmjaw glowers a bit, but the effect is kind of lessened because of the bright green mascara around his eyes.

Cut to Hiyori (the l’il vizard) beating up Ichigo. This is what passes for “training” in the world of Bleach. Some other vizard are talking about a manga book. Someone rings the dinner bell, and we assume they have a huge meal because the next thing we see is Ichigo washing a big pile of dishes. Lisa, the super sexy vizard who wears the schoolgirl uniform and glasses, teases Ichigo. Then follows a long discussion about Lisa’s porno books, which various vizard borrow at regular intervals. Lisa herself reads two porno books a day. She’s not a pervert, she merely has a “healthy interest.” Shinji, off by himself, probably because he hates porn, ruminates on how they need to train faster, more efficiently, and with a larger budget, if they hope to be ready by December (when the big battle is supposed to take place).

Cut to Soul Society, where Captain Ukitake and Hisagi (the guy with “69” tattooed on his face) are watching Rukia and Orihime training. This involves shooting little fireballs at each other, and also jumping around a bit. There’s a flashback involved, and some anime stupidity, and the entire scene is kind of boring, so there isn’t much to say.

Back in the real world, Yumichika is trying to break his sword (Fujikujaku) on a piece of rock. Turns out the sword is arrogant and vain and won’t materialize for Yumichika. Matsumoto doesn’t care, and notes that her own sword is lazy and selfish. They start arguing, and Captain Hitsugaya tells them to shut their pie-holes, because they need to be calm to talk to their swords. I suppose Yumichiki and Matsumoto are trying to release their bankai, but they won’t have time for that, for Ikkaku looks up into the air. Violent string music starts (always an ominous sign), and the sky unzips to reveal, not one, not two, but four arrancar! Yammy, Grimmjaw, Wonderwice, and some new kid all smile, look away petulantly, or just sort of stand there.

Yammy notices the shinigami looking up at them. The new guy taunts Grimmjaw a little big, and Grimmjaw flies away because it’s obvious he wants to fight Ichigo. As he’s leaving we can see that he has a big scar where his “6” tattoo used to be, and the new guy says that Grimmjaw is pretty useless now. Turns out Wonderwice is useless too. He just stares into space and moans a bit.

Things start to happen pretty quickly now. Hitsugaya attacks Yammy, Ikkaku and Yumichika gang up on the new guy (Luppi, who shows off the “6” tattoo on his hip, which makes me kind of uncomfortable), and Matsumoto holds up her sword toward Wonderwice, but he’s staring at some birds. I like him already.

Ichigo runs out of the vizard house, and Rukia heads off from Soul Society to join her friends in the real world. Orihime will have to follow after her. Orihime looks kind of down because she can’t go get killed right away (because, you know, her two hours of training have made her suddenly qualified to fight an Espada).

Ichigo runs into Grimmjaw floating in the air. He pulls out his bankai, and Grimmjaw yawns. He says that he could beat Ichigo with one arm cut off. We hear a rimshot. Ichigo gets ready to put on his Hollow mask, and I’m sure something very special will happen in the next episode.

Finally, in Kisuke’s vast underground training ground, Renji and Sado are both trying to go join the fight, Kisuke tells them that they’re both pretty tired. He’ll go instead.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Eureka 7: Episode 2

At the end of last episode, Renton fell to his death. Without the main character, the show quickly changes direction and now centers around a talking rhino named, Turtle Dream, who travels the countryside solving crimes with a team of spunky and determined minors who'll all make wonderful toys and identify well with the 8-14 demographic. What? He's alive? Fuck. I was looking forward to Turtle Dream: Rhines and Misdemeanors.

Before we get to Renton's not dying, we're presented with a flashback. Li'l Renton, his sister, and their grandfather stand in the rain over their father's grave or memorial eyesore. Grandpa is going on about how he didn't mean to raise his son to die a hero and people forget what's true and important. "This is what awaits at the end of a dream," he tells the orphans. Grandpa believes that his son was 'used by others for their own happiness...' He's the embodiment of that oval from the Zoloft ads. Renton's sister pipes up only after Grandpa has walked off, telling Li'l Renton that, before their father left, he told her, "Don't ask for it; go win it on your own. Do that and you'll succeed." Don't ask to join a bowling league, buy a trophy and display it proudly.

Renton's pulled out of his flashback as missiles explode somewhere above. He repeats the lines his sister told him as he falls really, really far. As he goes further down, his board starts to glow green and Renton's eyes get really big. The glowing increases and leaves a trail as Renton's fall is obstructed by rocks, so that we can think he failed for just a moment. More prespense. With his eyes tightly closed, Renton hovers above the jagged rocks I believe are below, surrounded by these flying, green, sting-ray creatures, the show calls, Sky Fish. Fish. In the sky. What'd you call 'em? His eyes open, he sees the fighting above, and flies up on his board.

The Gekko State guys aren't fairing too well. The Trappa (the bullshit thing that allows the airboarding to happen) there is too thin for them to get good enough lift to maneuver. Holland plans to break through using 'Compact Feed Back' which I guess is bad, but damned if he's going to loose 'her' (Eureka) in a place like where ever the hell they are. Just as he's about to initiate the stupid thing, Renton flies up next to him. Renton monologues to his sister some more, which he does A LOT, about how he's going to 'win it for [himself].' One of the military LFOs drops down in front of him, and Renton pulls off that cut-back drop-turn thing, much to Holland's surprise. Renton gets past the military - because in TV and movies, any kid can get past any military - and makes it to the Nirvash. But the wind displaced by a giant robot is much greater than the wind displaced by a little kid, so, Renton is knocked off his board to not fall to his death, again. Why actual physics kicked in there for a moment, I'm not sure. Eureka tells the Nirvash to hurry, and the two fly down to save Renton. Eureka opens her cockpit (giggle) and Renton falls into her lap. Renton immediately admits an undying love for Eureka, saying he was able to defy all those physics because of her. After an uncomfortable hug, he pulls out the Amita Drive and says he'll protect Eureka with it. He then plugs it into the compact drive, without even asking, and after a sparkly light show, the word 'Eureka' appears on the drive, and she and the Nirvash pass right the fuck out. Good job, wonder boy. Holland whips down to try and save them as Renton grabs the controls, which have frozen. Renton, rightly so, freaks out right before we zoom into his eyeball. Not in a CSI way, but in a scene transitiony way.

Some time later, the two pilots of the other Gekko State LFO, Stoner and Mathew, stand inside a huge crater made of pillars of salt. Holland is knelt beside Eureka, who is just waking up in her cockpit. Holland tells her, "I didn't think that the awakening program inside the Amita Drive would release that much of your Nirvash's power." Eureka corrects him, though, saying that the one who released all that power was Renton. Who is sleeping in her lap. I get tired after I wake up, too.

A man swerves his truck/golf cart thing into Renton's grandfather's place, which is now mostly rubble. He freaks out when he sees this and screams out like he just lost the love of his life. Grandpa is seated nearby, however, and simply asks the man for a light. As they awkwardly pad out the scene, the Nirvash lands a few feet away. Grandpa runs up and, in a panic, asks Eureka where Renton is.

On a military... giant, plane thing, Dominique, an information officer, is demanding they return to headquarters at once. The guy in charge says that there's no way they can go back empty-handed, but Dominique is sure that it'll be okay as long as they report the 'Seven Swell Phenomenon.' The guy in charge verbally bitch slaps him, and Dominique attempts to take command of the vessel. Fake *gasp*

Renton's sleeping on a couch out in the rubble with a goofy smile on his face. Being not a dick for a moment, Grandpa tells Eureka that he's actually kind of happy. "... other than me, who's going to praise this boy for what he's done?" You mean, assisting in the death of military personal, escape of wanted fugitives, and causing a huge-ass crater big enough that I have to assume a few hundred people were killed in the blast? I don't know. Holland airboards in and tells Grandpa that he never thought they'd have to meet again, in a somber, polite tone. Grandpa's none to pleased with Holland. "Every time you do something like this, you screw up my life," Grandpa tells Holland. There's some foreshadowing talk that, frankly, I don't get and feel bogs down the scene. As they talk, we're shown that Renton is within earshot, but still asleep, even though Eureka is poking his face with her finger. The grownups talk about responsibility and decisions that were made in the past. Holland asks why Grandpa hid the Amita Drive and why he made Renton deliver it. Grandpa grabs Holland by his fruity neckerchief and yells, "Because it was my son who invented it! In reality, you have no right to hold it! The only one who can hold besides me is..." We see Renton is now awake. Drum roll. "... Renton." But because Grandpa only said nice things about Renton while he was asleep, he has to say this: "But now, there's no one else I can entrust that thing to other than you." Grandpa starts to cry, and bids Holland good day. Renton bitches out loud to Eureka about his life, finally asking her what he should do. Before she can say anything, Holland bellows, "That's something you have to decide." He recites something I'm sure he read in a book somewhere about making your own fate, and we cut away.

Back on the military thing, Dominique has been thrown into coach seating, as the dude in charge finds out that Gekko State is nearby. He orders an attack right away.

At the rubble, Holland finds Renton hiding behind a sign. He wants to know if Renton will be joining Gekko State when they leave. He seems to think Renton won't be completely useless because of the cut-back drop-turn thing. It means he trusted himself and the planet and not at all in reality. He says that quitting would be okay, but his teacher used to tell him, "Don't ask for it; go win it on your own. Do that and you'll succeed." Hey! That's just what Renton's sister said their father said! Holland asks what Renton believed in back when the Nirvash passed out. Wavy lines, wavy lines...

Back in the cockpit right after everything went to Hell, Renton's freaking out again, but instead of zooming into his eye, the screen goes black and 'Eureka' runs across it. She wakes up, and tells Renton to believe in her. He flashesback some more, and does so. In return, the Nirvash falls to the ground. Everyone is wondering what just happened except for Holland. He orders the other LFO back, and as his hand starts to shake, says that the "Seven Swell" is coming. Back where the Nirvash crashed, there's a neat little light show, that's turning the surrounding area to salt. A military guy tells us, "The Trappa flow is expanding rapidly." Which would mean something if anyone took the time to properly explain what the fuck any of this is. Grandpa watches the light show from the rubble, telling no one, "You disrespect your parents, leaving behind something that could cause this... This light will ruin us all and guide us to our deaths... how beautiful it is." The Nirvash wakes up, glows, flies into the air, and destroys a few military LFOs. I don't see anyone bail out. Renton's first kill. Holland asks a picture of Renton's family, the sister scribbled out, if it's really okay for this to be happening. It doesn't respond.

Renton tells Holland that his only thought at the time was of saving Eureka, and the Nirvash told him to believe in that. He thought that the belief would be proof of something. Holland scoffs and says that if he really wants to prove something, he should come with them. And, because Eureka wants Renton to come. Just as Renton is about to wet himself, the military arrives. Eureka grabs Renton's hand and says they should go. Renton monologues to his sister about crap and we fade out.

All in all, I must say the series isn't all that awful up front. The poorly-to-not-at-all explained science frustrates me and I always hate the emo boi main character, but it's actually decent storytelling, so far. I admit bias because I know it all starts to suck badly real soon. So, be ready.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Elfen Lied: Episode 7

Bando and Nana stand-off at the beach. Bando demands to know what's up with Nana's horns. Nana shrugs that off and says, "Even if you had a hundred people, you couldn't beat me," adding, "You're lucky, Papa told me to be a good girl, so you don't have to die." Bando, forgetting that the last be-horned chick he ran into tore off his arm with an invisible hand, laughs. Nana starts walking away, but Bando fires off a .50 caliber tungsten bullet, knocking Nana to the sand. He's certain that it's too heavy a round for Nana to deflect, and that at a close enough range it will kill her. Nana gasps so hard we cut to the next scene.

Kouta comes out of the Inn to feed Wanta to find Nyuu coming back from taking said dog for a walk. Mayu and Yuka are busy preparing dinner, and as Yuka hears Nyuu and Kouta laughing, she starts to shake with rage. She stops when she notices Mayu blankly staring at the wall. She offers to take over for Mayu and let her relax, but Mayu wants to be helpful to her new family... of runaways, kidnappers, and killers. After a few seconds of silence, Yuka decides it's enough off-screen fun for Nyuu and Kouta, and demand they at least come in and set the table. As she's off doing that, Mayu flashbacks to Bando and wonders if she should tell everyone else about almost being murdered.

Back to real-time Bando, as he demands to where Lucy is. While Nana doesn't know and can't feel Lucy's presence, Bando doesn't believe her. He shoots Nana in the arm, which is plastic or something so doesn't really hurt, but knocks Nana down nonetheless. Nana starts to cry and mentions that she was really going to be good like Papa Glasses wanted. Really she was! Bando closes in to kick Nana, then quickly jumps back two meters. He berates her a little saying the only reason she's still alive is that she was a test subject, which Nana refuses to believe until she remembers Papa saying he was ordered to kill her. She decides that if people like her aren't meant to exist in this world, it'd be better for her to 'erase' it.

Back at Runaway Inn, the family sits down to dinner. Mayu watches Nyuu attempt to navigate her chopsticks in awe. Have to break up your action sometimes, I guess. Even if you do that by inserting scenes that have nothing to do with anything.

At the beach, suddenly at night, Nana walks slowly towards Bando as he fires shots into her plastic limbs. He notices that even though he's hitting, there's no blood, and runs back. He lures Nana into a spot of beach with nothing around for Nana to pick up and throw through his person. He threatens her, saying that at five meters he can hit her heart, but being the slow bad guy he is, lets Nana to take a few more steps before attempting to fire off the killing blow. Nana raises her right arm, and fires it off like a missile. Bando is knocked back a few feet, dropping his gun. Nana is now on top of him, like Lucy was in episode two. This time, however, Bando has a second gun prepared. He fires off a single shot, grazing Nana's head, and destroying his new robo-arm. Piece of crap arm. Nana freaks out a little at the sight of blood and cries for Papa some more. Bando lies back, apparently enjoying the moment. Nana asks why his arm is all Terminatory, and Bando says how Nana's 'companion' tore it off. Nana goes 'nuh-uh' and tells Bando how her body was 'cut up' by Lucy, too. The two bond over their missing limbs, and Nana insists that it'd be easier to kill Lucy if they team up, but Bando is a lone wolf. With a busted robot arm, a lot of guns, and sunglasses. Bando does offer Nana the note with his phone number he got back from Mayu, though. Saying if she sees Lucy, she should call him. However, Nana's new to the outside world, and doesn't know what a cell phone is. So, instead Nana picks up her arm and clicks it back in place. She offers to help Bando up, but pulls the old 'fake limb' trick, and lets it slip off just as he's getting up. Oh, hilarity. For whatever reason, Bando doesn't pick up a gun and shoot the crap out of her.

Back in Kak's office. Diclonius bad. "Remember what happened last episode? That was great." Pointless scene? Nope, just had one.

Nana sits by the street in town, and wonders aloud what she's supposed to do. She's holding a bag full of money. A lot of money. But, again, Nana doesn't know what anything is, so she just stares at the paper. She gets up and walks past a little pastry shop. She asks the man working the shop for some cake, and he tells her it'll be 500 yen. She gets flustered and rifles through her pockets looking for 500 of these Earth moneys. As she's doing so, two girls come up and get some cake, paying for it in yen coins, just to make Nana feel more confused and hurt and lonely... poor Nana. All she wants to do is kill somebody. Nana walks away, noting that without 500 yen, she can't eat, ever.

Mayu is out walking Wanta as an excuse to call someone for help on Lucy maybe being crazy, when she sees light coming from the cemetery Lucy and Nana previously fought. She finds Nana huddled next to a small fire contained in a tin of some sort. Mayu starts to freak out, but notices Nana has all her legs and calms down, just as one of Nana's legs falls right off. Mayu passes right out. Comedy is all about timing. I'm not sure what that was. Let's just call it an act break and get on to the rest of the show.

Nyuu is playing with a clock, which she sometimes does, when Kouta walks in. He mentions that since the clock was already broken, it doesn't really matter that she's playing with it. Well, okay then. He tries to ask her how she escaped from Dr. Kak, as if she'd answer, but has another 'Nam flashback and kind of forgets what he was talking about. Pointless scenes are like water at a restaurant; you say you don't need more, but they just keep refilling the glass.

Back at the cemetery, Mayu is waking up. Nana and Wanta stayed over her to make sure she was okay. Mayu asks about Nana's leg, and she says that if she loses concentration for a second, they fall off. Not to scare off her could-be killer, Mayu changes the subject to Nana's horns. She thinks they're cute. Nana is so flattered, she starts to do a little dance as Mayu tries to mention that she knows another girl with horns. But, Nana interrupts her, asking if they could be friends. She says that she used to be in a 'temple sort of place' and doesn't really know the outside world, which is find and dandy, but being alone sucks. Mayu, feeling a sort of shared connection with Nana perhaps, quickly agrees. At the fire, Mayu sees that Nana is keeping the fire going with the money from her bag. She stops her, then there's another 'comedic' moment I won't bore anyone with. While collecting the money, which is strewn all over the cemetery for no real reason, Mayu blurts out that someone's after her buddy Nyuu, too. I guess during an edit, they two talked about how Bando tried to kill Nana. That or I blacked out in some comedy induced coma, but that seems unlikely.

At Runaway Inn, Kouta is about to go out and look for Mayu, since she's been gone for some time. As he starts out the door, Nyuu grabs Yuka's breasts with great glee. Again, I don't really know why. "Anime: They just do." Right outside is Mayu and Nana. Nana came to see if Lucy was really there, but doesn't sense her and starts to walk off. Kouta stops her and starts asking lots of questions in that freaked out way he does. Mayu stops her, and suggests that they take Nana in for a meal, at least. Kouta agrees, as he's always happy to oblige young girls... would be creepy if he weren't almost asexual. For some reason, Kouta struggles with the door, just long enough for Nyuu to get on the other side. When he finally gets it open, he falls back so Nana has a clear line of sight to Nyuu, who she thinks must still be Lucy. Glass breaks, doors go down, everything's a slow pull out from a still frame. End episode nana.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Romeo X Juliet 5

Alright, so, Juliet knows that Romeo is a Montague, and Romeo knows that 'Odin' is really Juliet, but doesn't know that Juliet is a Capulet or that she's the Crimson Whirlwind. The cold-open doesn't go much further than last episode's final scene before jumping into the intro. When we come back, Romeo's outside with his Ryouma, asking himself why Juliet was dressed as a dude. As he ponders, Juliet comes out dressed as Odin, and presents Romeo with her cloak to wear since his shirt is somewhat ashed. He tries to press Juliet for an answer to her cross-dressing, but she just tells him, "Don't ask..." Pfft, women... dressed as men. I understand that Juliet can't really get into it, especially with the Archduke's son, but the guy just gave her a flying horseback ride over Neo Verona and saved her from serious burns. He should get some sort of answer.

At the playhouse, Conrad's pissed, yet again. Nobody knows where Juliet is, and martial law has been ordered in the city in a further attempt to catch the Crimson Whirlwind. And that's it. I get that these little stops the playhouse are supposed to be important so we can get information Juliet isn't privy to, and it helps to break everything up, but... they're not only boring, they're too short to matter. Conrad is always pissed, so we don't need to see it; it adds no tension or comedy. We're about to learn about the martial law in a scene coming up, so dropping it in a throw away scene is pointless unless we didn't know where Juliet was either, and were worried she'd been captured. But she's off being awkward with Romeo, so we know she's okay. I accept padding out an episode to a certain degree, but this is an anime with flying horses and swords. A pointless action scene is still better than a pointless talking-about-shit-we-already-know scene. Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, I'm looking at you.

Back at the iris garden, Romeo asks if he shouldn't take Juliet home. She shakes her head and apologizes for burning Romeo's shirt before trying to run off. Romeo shouts out and asks if they'll ever meet again. Juliet just goes, 'hmm,' before running out of the scene.

Back in the Slums of Beverly Verona, a woman pleads with who I assume is a baker for more bread. She has way too many kids, and the little loaf she's been given isn't going to feed them all. The baker is sorry, but with the martial law, food is being rationed until the Whirlwind is captured. Lord Dipshit, one of the creepy dudes the priest was talking to last episode, walks the streets with two underlings. As he bangs a mace into his hand, he taunts the people of the city saying, "[The Crimson Whirlwind] dared involve all the virtuous citizens in his scheme! ... Anyone who provides us with information about the Crimson Whirlwind, or turns in the real Crimson Whirlwind, will receive extra rations. If you don not wish to starve to death, you will cooperate with us." Of course, Cordelia just so happens to be on hand for this.

Back at the playhouse, she fills in the rest of the Capulet Cast on what she saw. Adding, "Those accused of being the Crimson Whirlwind are randomly arrested and taken away somewhere." Conrad asks that neither Cordelia nor Antonio tell Juliet about what's happening in the city. 'Cause, it's not like she sneaks out into the city all the time and might notice the public beatings and starving citizens strewn about. Shh...

Juliet/Odin runs to the secret door in the playhouse that leads to Capulet HQ, when Willy pokes his head through a curtain. He inquires as to the date. 'Odin' denies such tawdry activities ever take place anywhere, ever, but Willy interrupts, "I can hear the heartbeat of someone who was basking in bliss." When 'Odin' blushes like a little girl, Willy sort of apologizes, then continues, "No one can stop the gears of love once they begin to turn." If such monkey wrenches didn't exist, the divorce rate would probably be lower.

Up inside, Juliet announces she's home, and everyone pretends like they weren't worried or nothin'. As Cordelia brushes Juliet's hair, as is her primary responsibility it seems, Juliet says she'd like to sew a shirt. Cordelia wonders if it's for 'that noble boy' up the street, and Juliet sort of nods. Cordelia agrees to give Juliet some pointers, but suggests that a shirt isn't the best first project for a trainee seamstress, and proposes a handkerchief would be better. Adding that she's sure he'd really like it if Juliet embroidered his name into it. Yeah. Us guys like anything with our name on it.

Romeo sits in his room, or someplace with a couch, thinking about irises and flashingback to images of Crimson, Odin, and Juliet, and thinking about how all three of them smell like irises and, oh yeah, look EXACTLY THE FUCKING SAME! It almost hits him, but '[he] can't image such a cute girl doing that.' "That" being "stabbin' guys and takin' names."

Slums. Random Guy is thrown to the ground a struck with the butt of a spear. A few feet back, Lord Dipshit rewards a man with bread and cheese for turning the random guy in as the Whirlwind. Dr. Glasses Man (I still don't know his real name, hmm...) stands by with his wife and watch the be-breaded one run off. Mrs. Dr. Glasses Man thinks it's horrible to turn someone into the police like that, but Mr. Dr. Glasses Man doesn't blame Bread Man. He blames the Archduke. It makes him stare at flags, he's so angry.

In her room, Juliet embroideries what's supposed to be an iris, but, being her first try, she smiles at the random yellowness and admits, "I guess it won't look exactly like the real thing." As this is going on, Cordelia tells Curio about the embroideriness which he immediately seems to distrust. Some sort of thimble accident in his past, I presume.

In a courtyard down in the slums, again, 'somewhere,' a Wickerman-like structure has been erected to hold all the men accused of being the Crimson Whirlwind. As they scream down to their loved ones, the loved ones scream back. Dr. Glasses appears again to distain all over the place, but this time, finds the priest who we were introduced to in episode three talking to Lord Dipshit. Turns out, Lord Dipshit's real name is, Sir Cerimon, and the priest is there to tell him that, "... it seems tonight will be a memorable spectacle." The doctor aghasts against the wall, and takes us to commercial.

Romeo and Benvolio fly above Neo Verona. Romeo senses a disturbance in the force, and Benny fills him in on declaration of martial law. Romeo attempts to fly into the city, but Benny stops him. He knows that Romeo wants to go protect Whirlwind and tells him, "The Crimson Whirlwind is a rebel who has defied your father!" Benny doesn't agree with martial law either, but knows if Romeo tries to stand up against his father, bad things would happen to Romeo. He asks that Romeo "bear with it" so that one day, "... [he'll] be able to create a new era."

The smarmy priest arrives at a dimly lit church to find Dr. Glasses standing in the shadows. The doctor tackles the priest into a pew and growls, "You're a clergyman, and yet you're plotting with the nobles to betray us all!" The priest starts to laugh that arrogant bad guy laugh they do right before they say, "You just don't get it, do you?" He explains, "... we are but part of the lowly masses... We must yield to the mighty... After all, the duty of the populace is to serve the rulers." After a good clench, the doctor releases the priest and walks out.

Back at the Wickerman effigy, the good doctor spots Antonio, Curio, and Francisco standing around not helping, either. Curio and the doctor see each other, and the doctor approaches the group. "I wish to meet with the person who has protected and raised the iris," he says to them. "Iris," being the ever so clever code for, "Juliet." We immediately cut to the doctor standing under a bridge at dusk. Conrad stands on the bridge above and, facing the opposite direction, says, "How can you be certain that the iris did not wither?" The doctor replies, "I have lived with the belief and hope that the iris would be reborn once more." So, born a third time? Wouldn't the reemergence of the princess only be the second 'birth'? Anyway, with the 'spotted eagle flies at midnight' crap out of the way, the doctor gets straight to the point: "Is the Crimson Whirlwind the surviving iris?" Conrad confirms this, and says that he knew he'd have to tell the doctor at some point. Why would he have to tell the doctor at some point? Who the hell knows? He then thanks the doctor as 'the representative of the Capulet family.' Curio, who must've been standing nearby the whole time just off screen, bows slightly to the doctor, who then smiles. As he starts to walk off, the doctor asks Curio to tell the Whirlwind to take care of herself. The doctor is about to do something brave and stupid, methinks.

In her room, Juliet has finished her handkerchief with something that doesn't really look like an iris on it, and she's really pleased. Just to make us feel worse about what's about to happen. Antonio knocks on the door to let her know Conrad went to speak with the doctor. They know something's about to happen. Conrad is tightlipped about what's going on, so Antonio and Juliet as Odin run out of the playhouse, with Cordelia in tow.

At home, the doctor sits on the foot of his daughters' bed and watches them sleep. He tells his wife that if they could move to a more peaceful city, their children could group up carefree. Taking his wife's hand, he insists that she get some sleep as well. "The world won't always be like this," he says reassuringly.

As Team Odin runs through town Juliet notices a strange glow from the courtyard. Cordelia tries to stop her, but Juliet changes course to investigate.

At the Wickerman statue, guards have already started to pour oil at its base. The three appear at a staircase nearby, and Antonio admits that everyone inside the statue have been captured as Whirlwind candidates. Realizing that innocent people are about to be burned alive for things she's done, Juliet starts to run off to find a phone booth, but is stopped by Curio and Francisco. Francisco asks that Juliet please, 'endure it.' "Even if you went, as we are greatly outnumbered, we would not stand a chance," says Francisco, mirroring the conversation between Benvolio and Romeo earlier. She still tries to go change into her red suit of courage, but Curio backhands Juliet to the ground. And just to make it sting a little more, says, "While you were focusing on that noble's son, you fled from reality and ignored the city. Will you only help these people when it strikes your fancy? I don't remember us protecting such a princess!" Curio can be bitchy. As Juliet ponders, a man from the effigy screams for help, bringing with him the screams from the crowd and men with him. Juliet gets the shaky anime eye, and attempts to go help them once more, but this time is stopped by the doctor. Seeing how much this all affects her, the doctor tells Juliet, "You are exactly the person I believed you would be. This is not the place for you to risk your life." Juliet gasps knowingly, and makes a grab for the doctor's shoulder as he runs off, but misses.

Running through a hallway, the doctor transforms into the Crimson Whirlwind, more and more of the costume appearing as he passes behind pillars as dramatic music swells. In his inner-monologue, we hear him say, "Father... you are mistaken!" Just before he jumps on to the top of the effigy and stares down Lord Dipshit who says, "You fell for it, Crimson Whirlwind." Dr. Whirlwind stands tall as we fade out to credits.

So... he just had a Crimson Whirlwind costume laying around? Was there a costume shop in Neo Verona that sold outfits of outlawed vigilantes? Did he start sewing it after his meeting with Conrad while his wife was out of the room? I guess it doesn't matter. I should be asking: Who the hell is this guy? We never learned his name, which points to it being important. And this battle cry of, "Fuck you, Dad!" seems telling. For the moment, I'll assume he's the priest's son. We never learned his name, either, and judging by how familiar they were when they were introduced to us, and how pissed off the doctor got in this episode, it looks like they have some sort of history. Not that it's a reviewer's job to predict this stuff...

Romeo X Juliet 4

As Juliet/Crimson regains their composure after learning Romeo is a Montague, footsteps are heard approaching. Her and the doctor turn to see Francisco and Curio appear from a tunnel. Above them all, a horse flies majestically through the air. Short and sweet cold-open. Intro incoming.

We come back to Romeo being cleared of all charges for the episode three rescue by two nameless guys. Where I assume is nearby, the priest from last episode is talking to creepy dudes who are conspiring to capture the Crimson Whirlwind 'at all costs.' The priest seems to know that Romeo helped Crimson out, but I'm not sure how he'd know that unless he was eavesdropping on the prior conversation. Nothing I saw during said conversation hinted at that, but I tend to phase out during boring conversations I don't care about.

At the playhouse, Juliet is getting yelled at by Conrad again for being the Red Knight. This time, he gets to play the Capulet card, though. Juliet questions the whole vengeance thing, saying it's not what she wants, and that reclaiming Neo Verona is nothing more than vengeance, and there'd be no point. Her feelings for Romeo are making her forget his dad's an asshat who's killed a bunch of people for maybe being one guy. Up in her room, Cordelia helps Juliet change. As she brushes her hair, Juliet says, "I wasn't supposed to become fond of irises." As soon as it's said, a petal falls off the iris on her desk. Cordelia seems to think that means something.

Romeo and Benvolio talk in the Ryouma stables about whether or not Crimson is a bad person. Benny figures out that Romeo saved Crimson on purpose, then checks around for spies or listening devices or something. Romeo believes that the Whirlwind is a source of justice for the people, but Benny counters saying, "You can't rule a kingdom with only a sense of justice." After adding a bit about how Romeo is all powerless and a little stupid, Romeo shuts up and looks pretty damned defeated.

Back at the playhouse, Juliet has been sleeping 'all day' which is pretty relative in this series. She could've been out for thirty minutes. Although, looking at her, she might've been in a heroin coma for quite some time. Vigilante dethroned princesses shouldn't hang out with Courtney Love. Or Brittney Spears, to be a little more current. She remarks to no one that the Moon looks like it's crying. Back in the stables, Romeo stares at the Moon and declares that the 'sad hours seem so long.' And somewhere in New York, Feivel Mousekewitz sings that, 'it helps to think we're sleeping underneath the same big sky.'

Back in the slums, another guy is being accused of being the Whirlwind. Dr. Glasses is about to step in to help, but his wife stops him from getting captured, again. Afterwards, in a corridor somewhere, Dr. Glasses tears down a flier and expresses more anger that they're offering money to anyone with information as to who the Whirlwind may be. The implication being that anyone can step forward and accuse anyone else of being the Whirlwind for a little money.

Juliet attempts to run outside in a cloak and wig, but is stopped by Willy, who doesn't know about the whole "Juliet thing," calling her Odin. He rightly assumes that 'Odin' has a love interest that 'he' just has to see. Being the romantic guy he is, Willy lets Juliet by him with little fanfare. She walks the streets alone, finding herself at the cemetery, which just so happens is full of those irises. She takes a moment to smell the irises and flashback about Romeo, wondering why it should matter that Romeo is a Montague. Then gives the slightly altered famed line, "An iris by any other name would smell as sweet." As she apologizes to her parents' grave for falling in love with a forbidden one, Romeo flies overhead. Commercial break.

She hides behind a grave as Romeo asks his Ryouma why it brought him to the cemetery. Suddenly, Juliet figures out that she can see Romeo now, because she's wearing a wig. It honestly took me a few minutes to figure that out, since Odin and Juliet look exactly the same. Cielo, the flying horse, walks up to Juliet and gives her a whiff before bowing down and offering her a ride. Romeo decides to extend the offer as well, being the way-too-trusting-prince-people-are-plotting-against he is. Juliet accepts, of course, and the two jump on the saddle and the two are soon in the air. Cielo flies up a little to fast for Romeo's taste, and apologizes, saying, "He usually does what I say." Juliet giggles and says, "I know." Romeo admits that he's never flown 'this high' before, and Juliet says, "I see," in a tone as if to say, "Do you even know how to fly this horse?" They talk and Juliet introduces herself as Odin. When Romeo offers his name, Juliet asks what his last name is. Juliet's inner-monologue calls her an idiot, "it's not like his name will change if I ask him again." To her surprise, Romeo says that he doesn't like the rest of his name. He must smell awesome right now. And the two fly off into the cloud-set.

After a quick stop to the playhouse to see Cordelia and Antonio worry about where Juliet has gotten off to, we go back to our pair flying through the rain, as a storm has suddenly broken out. Romeo offers to take 'Odin' home, but Juliet can't let Romeo take her to where she lives, and wants to spend more time with him. Instead, they stop by a little house somewhere so they can get dry. There are a lot of 'somewheres' in this show. No one place seems to be in direct relation to anywhere else. As Romeo takes his clothes off to dry by the fire, he asks 'Odin' do the same. Romeo figures 'Odin' is embarrassed to undress in front of other people 'even though [he's] a guy' and tries to leave it at that, but Cielo whinnies from outside that he needs to be dried off, too. As Romeo leaves, he says 'Odin' can undress now. It'd take a brain-dead monkey to not see what's about to happen. Just as Juliet is mostly undressed and taking off her wig, Romeo comes back in. Juliet steps back and knocks over Romeo's shirt, landing it in the fire. Romeo dashes in to pull Juliet out of a similar fate, landing himself right on top of her. And scene.

I'm starting to think this may be the beginning of a beautiful yet horribly unhealthy relationship resulting in the double suicide of two teenagers. Of course, I felt that way watching Good Burger, too.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Romeo X Juliet 3

We open in the cemetery with Juliet's eyes about three times too big. She was either taught a lesson about Christmas that went horribly awry, or we're starting where we left off last time. Juliet has just found out she's the rightful heir to Neo Verona; the daughter of the Capulet family. Conrad continues freaking the hell out of Juliet. Just about everyone who worked for the Capulets had been slaughtered, along with their families. Those who went slaughter-free, vowed to protect 'the last Capulet.' (Coming soon from Disney, "The Very Last Capulet") This is still all news to Antonio, who appears to have gone into some sort of fugue state. The mob's plan, as we're told, is to overthrow Montague. Specifics? Nah. But Juliet gets a cool sword. Then faints. She's had a busy day.

After the intro, Juliet's taking a bath and ruminatin'. Cordelia enters and Juliet barely notices, but does start to ruminate out-loud: "I remember that night when Mother and Father were killed. Why had I forgotten it until now?" Well, traumatic experiences can often cause the brain to block out the memories of the event to protect itself from emotional damage, and the rather sudden reveal of your past in a storm surrounded by people you'd never met can force those memories to the surface, resulting in your post-faint bath. Also, you're in a drama. Be glad you didn't wake up with amnesia and a baby and three boyfriends who don't know about each other. Cordelia puts a towel on Juliet's head and tells her to get some sleep. Fade out.

Fade in. A puddle. Wonderful. If you took all the dreary imagery from what we've seen so far in this series, put it up front, and followed it by all the happy, flower and horse imagery, it'd make the best anti-depressant/feminine hygiene product ad ever. A carriage runs through the puddle and stops so Old Hag can get out. I'm sure she'll get a real name in a moment. We're outside Willy's playhouse, where inside, Willy snores loudly. We quickly learn that Old Hag is Willy's mother. After berating Willy for a few seconds, she asks to see Conrad. Apparently, it's Mrs. Shakespeare's doing that Juliet and her adoptive family has been safe all these years. She put them up in the theater, using her son's love of the theater as cover. After that quick introduction, we whisk our new character away. On the street, Mrs. Shakespeare has a few lines about the Crimson Whirlwind. It's unclear if she's warning Conrad to keep Juliet from playing hero, or if it's idle chatter and she doesn't even know about Juliet's alter-ego. Well, other alter-ego. Or other-other alter-ego. I've lost track.

Of course, the next thing we're quick-cutted to is the Whirlwind's hat on a desk. Juliet sits up in her bed as Cordelia brings her some morning tea. Cordelia remarks that Juliet's fever has gone down. Yeah, I don't remember her having a fever, either. But she's better, anyway. Spotting the iris in Juliet's room, she asks if Juliet plans on meeting "him" again today. Well, she did promise. Cordelia offers to go tell "him" that the date is off, asking lots of questions. Juliet finally offers up that her crush is on the boy that saved them back in episode one. Cordelia raises her voice a little and tells Juliet that she can't see a noble. What with the plot that's been so heavily established and all. She tries to make Juliet promise to never see our Romeo again, but we cut away before she can sob and storm out of the room yelling, "Your not my real mother!"

At what I assume is dusk in this two hours of daylight world, Romeo sits by his Ryouma, Cielo, in the field of irises. "What's wrong, Cielo? You miss her, too?" That's one of the things this series has going for it, so far. The boy is much more the emotional, love-struck puppy than the girl; and the girl is much more the badass, stabby person than the boy. Not only is there the role reversal, but having been through most of high school English and knowing the story, it'll force the boy to rise to action, rather than being the one forced into action for no other reason than he's the main character. But as I blather on about story structure and reach for my copy of Joseph Campbell, I'm interrupted by nobles. Don Montague sits in his throne as his brother and Mercutio laugh about how they're better than everyone else. Montague picks up a grape and says, "The commoners are no different than grapes. To enrich them, or destroy them, is our freedom." Squish goes the grape, leaking grape juice through his fingers like blood. "We, the Montague family, are the ones who rule the vineyard. We will wring those who are useful to their utmost limits." Montague then purposes a toast. Everyone on screen raises their glass, but no one drinks. I guess the image of commoners being squeezed into wine put them off their drink.

Romeo enters and apologizes for being late. Daddy walks over and slaps him. The crowd is strangely shocked by this. The guy was just giving a Darth Vader speech. Is a single smack from His Evilness really so surprising? He quietly belittles Romeo, saying that if he's old enough to succeed the Archduke, he should think a little more before he acts. Then, to the crowd, he makes a joke about how his son must have been a little 'too involved' with his fiancée. Swell guy. Romeo gets the shaky, sad, anime eye. *sniff*

After the Funnest Party Ever, the Archduke asks Mercutio to keep an eye on Romeo and report any oddities immediately. Mercutio, evilly agrees. Montague then leaves to walk through what looks like a mix of Victorian England and Hell, finding himself in front of some big magic-looking tree with Christmas lights on it. Romeo and Juliet, sure, but this is still an anime, damn it. Calling it, Escalus, the Archduke exposits that, "As long as we possess the blessings of this tree, it is impossible to defy us!" Dun, dun, commercial breaaaaaak....

Back in the slums of Neo Verona, a man in glasses is passing out fruit with girls I assume are his daughters, and his wife. A priest comes in to praise the family for their hard work, ask where the food came from, and set himself up for goings-on later. Apparently, the food comes from the Crimson Whirlwind as way of 'thank you' for glasses man treating his/her wounds. I guess he's a doctor. The priest smiles and the editor gets bored, so we cut to a new scene.

Romeo flies over the iris garden on his horse and gets sad about Juliet. At the playhouse, Juliet holds her flower and gets sad about Romeo. Just to remind us they're in love, I guess. 'Cause right after, Romeo drops in on his mother who lives in a tower somewhere. I guess as one does in Neo Verona. Mrs. Romeo's Mother fled the castle a while back, and ever since people have been hatin' on Romeo. Why'd she leave and stick Romeo with some huge burden? Beats me. The two clearly have a much better relationship going than Romeo has with his father, though. Romeo hands his mother flowers and starts to blush. His mom takes the flowers and intuits that her son was thinking about some girl. Weekend Mom giggles, than walks away from us, the audience.

But on with the show. Dr. Glasses Man is on his knees in the slums, with a spear to his neck. A guard is accusing him of being affiliated with the Whirlwind. Where did he hear that, I wonder. He denies it as his kids cry nearby. The guard orders Dr. Glasses taken away, as the priest looks on from... elsewhere.

Cordelia and Conrad talk about crap we already know as Antonio runs in looking for Odin/Juliet/Crimson. He's learned that the doctor has been taken. Odin, Juliet, and Crimson are all very worried. With good reason, too. The good doctor is being questioned further, and looks pretty beaten up. But he doesn't give up a thing. Crimson runs out of the playhouse and is immediately at where ever the hell the doctor is. Crashing through the skylight, Crimson fights off three guards and absconds with the doctor. On their way out, the doctor pleads with Crimson to go on with out him, as is cliché protocol, adding, "You are this city's hope." Of course, Crimson blocks it all out and continues with the heroics. The two are cornered on the roof/guard tower of unnamed building by a number of guards, as Romeo flies on down to see what's going on, squelching the action for the moment. Juliet shines through just a little, as Crimson freezes. Romeo gets a whiff of irises, takes a guard's sword, and says that he'll capture the Whirlwind for the Archduke. During the quick fight, Romeo tells Crimson that there's an aqueduct below and they're going to jump in. With no explanation given to Crimson or us as to why this is a good idea, Romeo grabs him/her, she/he grabs the doctor, and they fall several stories to the aqueduct, leaving the cheese to stand alone.

The doctor blurts out that he never thought the Montague's son would save the Crimson Whirlwind. This time, Juliet gets the shaky, sad, anime eyes as she learns that her love isn't just any ol' royal, but a Montague. Romeo asks that they don't tell anyone he saved them, and as he walks away, Juliet falls to her knees.

Next time on Romeo X Juliet! Will Cordelia confess her love to Conrad? Will Romeo ever come out of his coma? Will Juliet win the spelling bee? ... okay, I don't watch the Next Time Ons. But I feel some woe finally coming on.