I don’t even know what to say in this intro, because nothing else this week comes close to Aldnoah’s lunacy. Everything else was fine, good shows are good, yada yada. Let’s get to the show.
Oh wait, also, I’m apparently gonna be one of ANN’s staff reviewers now in addition to my streaming work. Meaning I’ll be doing regular full-show reviews there, along with participating in their completely insane Preview Guide. Meaning I’ll be watching the first episodes of basically every goddamn full-length show coming out this season, and writing some sort of reflection on every single one of them. Meaning my hands are probably going to be bloody stumps by the end of next week.
So that’ll be fun! Something to look forward to. Anyway, Aldnoah fuckin’ Zero.
Aldnoah.Zero 12: ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED? IS THIS NOT WHAT YOU’RE HERE FOR? HERE IS THE BLOOD YOU DESIRED.
Ahahahahahahaha my god this episode. What can you even say to that? TIME TO MURDER EVERYONE. SLAINE GETS ALL THE SUFFERING. NO SURVIVORS.
Wonderful. Most of this episode felt like a surreal riff on every silly thing the show has sort of leaned into before – Inaho’s “motivational” “hatred is not a useful emotion” speech, Saazbaum friggin’ transforming, the fact that his final robot is just all the previous robots put together, like the final boss is a tiger duct-taped to a shark or something…
And then that ending. My god that ending. “Being Slaine is suffering” has always been a running joke for this show, but actually having him be indirectly responsible for the princess’s death, and then go through like fifty heartbroken Slaine-faces… man, this show is mean. I actually really liked how they cut out all the music theatrics for that last scene, as well as the framing, but that didn’t make it any less “this is drama!” in the Code Geass school of crazy storytelling. I really didn’t think they’d kill both Inaho and Asseylum, but it kind of makes sense – it’d obviously be a much more powerful moment if I was strongly emotionally invested in either of them, but I can see how the cast might open up now that they’re not at the center of it. Unless they’re both actually still alive, of course.
Well done, Aldnoah. Your crazy shenanigans actually had me laughing all the way to the end. I’m not sure what you’re actually going to do now, but hey, at least you’re making some confident calls.
Sword Art Online II 12: SAO pulled its classic “half episode of hope, half episode of disappointment” this week, demonstrating once again its remarkably consistent inconsistency. But hey, at least the good half looked very expensive!
Barakamon 11: Handa went back to the city this episode, as Barakamon worked to pull its inspiration/art-instinct conflict into a satisfying conclusion. And it worked! Barakamon’s heavier elements have been consistent across the show, meaning nothing that happened this episode felt out of place. Plus the show managed to juggle its more serious questions with its humor, likely a byproduct of the characters just being naturally endearing people. Solid episode in general.
Shounen Hollywood 12: This episode featured an owl-based love triangle. I don’t know if that’s what you’re into, but nothing else has worked, so clearly Shounen Hollywood has nothing to lose. I wish you luck, Shounen Hollywood.
Zankyou no Terror 10: Twelve attempts to reveal his upbringing, local girl ruins everything. I really liked the nationalism-based reveal in the first half of this episode – it was an extremely graceful way to tie up Shibazaki’s half of the narrative while also making it reflect cleanly on the “youth in rebellion” and power structure themes of the Nine/Twelve/Lisa material. It’s looking like Zankyou’s really gonna pull this off.
Hunter x Hunter 148: And one more time, Hunter x Hunter reminds me of everything I love about it. Revisiting the old stories, checking in with all our friends, and reiterating the show’s fundamental values. From Gon realizing he’s connected with the life-cycle of the tree (echoing Chimera Ant’s thoughts on human nature), to Ging’s “the secret of the tomb was nothing compared to the relationships I built,” along with his last, perfect line. He wants what he can’t see in front of him, but the treasures you find are the people standing beside you, and that’s been true all through this series. Seeing Gon and Ging recount their adventures to each other for the first time put a tear in my eye, and then checking in with everyone else… way too much for me. They even cut back to Meruem and Komugi! That’s just not playing fair.
I’m going to deeply miss this show. Things this good just don’t last this long – you never get to spend this much time with a cast while maintaining focus, execution, emotional acuity… it’s been years now, and it still feels like this show could just be getting started. I want to go explore that continent! I want to know how Kurapika escapes his own demons! I want… and that’s a good thing. I feel like a kid again, watching this show end. It’s sad to say goodbye to friends.
I’m going to miss you, Hunter x Hunter, and I refuse to say this is goodbye. It’s been a wonderful journey, but there’s always another adventure waiting. I can’t wait to meet again.