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.”