Hell Girl: Three Vessels Episode 18: Special Radio Review

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Plot: Chiriko is a big fan of a popular local radio show called The Midnight Silence. She sends in letters to the show frequently, which are sometimes read on air by the dreamy host Jotarou. She’s become one of the most featured fans under the nickname Chi-Chan, and she’s even become popular at school for her status on the show. However, the “truth” behind the show may not be to everyone’s liking.

Breakdown:

Don’t say it. Don’t say it. Don’t Say it. Don’t say it. Don’t say it. Don’t Say it.

This episode was stuuuuu—-

Stop! No!  ~Positive vibes~

This episode….rrrgh….was…….SO DUM–

Come on, you can do this. Deep breath.

This episode has a severe problem with being good.

In that it’s not.

Well…..baby steps, I guess.

I know I’ve brought this up before, but you know how, in the first season, it was difficult to sympathize with Hajime’s crusade to stop the use of Hell Correspondence because he kept finding cases where it either seemed incredibly justified or the person in question pulled the string at a moment where it saved their lives?

This case should have been in season one because it’s just the type of pointless abuse of the system that Hajime was looking for.

Okay, ‘abuse’ is a strong word, but to say the client today had a ridiculous reason for contacting Hell Girl is an understatement.

Before we cover that, though, I have a question – are radio shows still that popular? At least with teenagers. I feel like I’m watching an old school early 90s anime. Every person in Chiriko’s class (especially the girls) either currently are or quickly become huge fans of this radio show where it’s literally just some guy who sounds attractive saying really cheesy stuff to make the girls all swoon. He reads fanmail on the air, and Chiriko becomes very popular suddenly because she’s one of the most frequently read writers to the show under the pseudonym ‘Chi-Chan.’

Not only do all these girls own a boombox, but they’re all entranced every night listening to this dude and doing nothing else but staring at the stereo.

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This series was made in 2008-9, so it’s not that recent, but still. Maybe radio’s popularity has stayed stronger in Japan or maybe I’m out of the loop with anything popular. I dunno. Just seemed strange to me.

Anyhoo, as I said, Chiriko, or Chi-Chan, is a big fan of this radio show, hosted by the swoony Jotarou. Every time he reads a letter on air, he sends the writer a bell as a gift. Chiriko has collected several of these bells and lovingly wears them on a bracelet.

After she’s ousted and made popular as Chi-Chan, she meets another fan of the show, Kaname. She’s had more fan letters read by Jotarou than Chi-Chan has, going under the moniker of ‘Frog Princess.’ They become fast friends, and Kaname suggests that they both head down to the radio station to thank Jotarou for everything he’s done for them.

When they arrive, they manage to bump into Jotarou’s co-host, Yume. Turns out, Kaname is also a big fan of Yume because she’s such a great scriptwriter. (Yeah….One of the segments of the show had Yume asking what behaviors Jotarou likes in a girl. He was scripted to respond with “I like a girl who dries her hair after a shower and one that uses shampoo.” I get that, like boy band songs, when the intention is to woo a bunch of teenage girls you have to be vague and act like whomever is being addressed could possibly be any girl who is listening, but this is so bad I legit can’t tell if it’s a joke. High quality writing, Yume.) Kaname is an aspiring scenario writer, and she dreams of working on a radio show some day. Both Kaname and Yume enjoy a pleasant exchange, but Chiriko is in a state of shock……because she never realized the show was scripted.

That, my dear friends, is the motivation for the client this week.

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No, I’m not kidding. Chiriko contacts Hell Girl that very night and pulls the string the next day as she’s walking into school with Kaname. She sends Kaname to hell purely because she revealed that Jotarou’s show was scripted.

I am currently in the process of trying to be less harsh on the stuff I’m reviewing – try to be more positive – but COME. ON. What IS this?

Let me be clear – Kaname is completely innocent in this. She didn’t reveal that the show was scripted just to be an ass to Chiriko. She legitimately loved the writing on the show and thought Chiriko knew it was scripted. She never once appeared like she had malicious intent in her actions. Not even Yume was being condescending or cruel with her words. In fact, she gave a copy of the newest script to Kaname and encouraged her in regards to her dream of becoming a scenario writer. She was perfectly pleasant when she could’ve easily been a typical famous snob.

After Kaname is sent to hell, Chiriko enters a complete delusion that the show’s not scripted and essentially goes bananas. Her bracelet is now absolutely loaded with bells, and she loving hugs her radio when she’s listening to the program.

There was never, not once, ever any indication that this girl was this obsessed with Jotarou or this show. Not to the point of sending someone to hell over it, and not to the point of going coo-coo for Coco Puffs once she finds out it’s scripted. She was a big fan, sure, but nothing ever indicated that she was anything more than that. I wouldn’t even call her a super fan or anything of the like. She also definitely had a crush on Jotarou (whose face is never shown, by the way) as well, but, again, nothing ever indicated that she was obsessed with him or even in love with the guy.

Everything in this episode was so normal that most of the runtime didn’t even feel like a Hell Girl episode. In fact, if Ai and the others didn’t pop up a few times over the course of this episode, I’d probably forget it even was a Hell Girl episode until the very end.

Speaking of Ai and the others, they were acting strangely in this episode. Ai seemed like she was actually interested in the show and Kikuri was making Yamawaro write in a bunch of letters to the show so she could get featured.*shrug*

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Back to the topic at hand, I was thinking maybe Jotarou would turn out to be a jerk, or Chiriko would be superficial and Jotarou would turn out to be unattractive, or Kaname would send Chiriko to hell for impeding on her status as the most-read fan letter writer of the show, but no. Granted, those motivations are silly too, but they’re both better than this.

Chiriko’s a teenager. She has to be aware that most things in media are scripted and fake. How many shows go completely off the cuff? Even if she didn’t know, why does the show being fake have to impact her views on Jotarou? Maybe he actually is a really charming, handsome and romantic guy in real life. Just because he’s fed lines to say doesn’t mean he’s not still someone she can admire.

Why target Kaname, for that matter? Shouldn’t she be more upset with Yume for helping create this illusion or Jotarou himself for seemingly being a liar? Why target Kaname just for accidentally revealing the truth to her? She also pulled the string immediately after making sure Kaname didn’t tell any of the other girls about the fact that the show was scripted, like she’s protecting them or something. Chiriko, I doubt all of the girls in school are as naive as you. Heck, Kaname didn’t just know the show was scripted – she knew Yume was the writer. It’s not like they’re keeping it a secret.

Now Kaname’s in hell and Chiriko’s bound for hell all for what? Nothing. There have been some really silly and ridiculous reasons to send people to hell in this show, but this one might just top them all.

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Oh and Yuzuki? She’s here. She’s just watching from the background until the very end where she’s seen running up to Chiriko seconds after she had already pulled the string and then we later see her flopping over onto her desk in exasperation as she listens to a staticy radio with Ai looming behind her.

I kinda wanted to yell when she did this. She’s acting like she’s exhausted from all this Hell Girl business when she literally did nothing – again. She had a vision and jogged for a few seconds.

Sorry I kinda failed in my quest to be a little more positive today, but sometimes you can’t avoid biting into a bad apple.

Oh well, maybe next episode will be a bit better.


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Hell Girl: Three Vessels | Episode 17: Inside the Straw Review

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Plot: Yamawaro’s backstory unfolds and….I dunno. Fitting that he’s a mushroom spirit, because I feel like I just took a bunch.

Breakdown:

I don’t even know where to begin with this. When I saw the preview for this episode, I was uninterested because I don’t much care about Yamawaro’s origins, but now that I do know Yamawaro’s origins, I feel a strange cocktail of emotions beginning with an ounce of confused and topping off with ten gallons of “What is actually happening right now? I feel like my brain is trying to escape my skull.”

I’ll try to summarize best I can.

Yamawaro was a mountain spirit or a mushroom spirit who spent his time alone in the mountains. Sometimes, he would, for some reason, take the form of a naked boy. Other times, he would take the form of a bunch of mushrooms. And still other times he would take the form of a naked boy…..covered in mushrooms….Don’t ask. I don’t know.

Ai stumbled upon him and invited him to join her group, but he initially declined because he believed being alone was just how you were supposed to live.

Later, he found a happy family living in a house near the mountain – two loving parents, Fujiko and Risaburo Ashiya, and their young son who looked incredibly similar to Yamawaro’s human form. The son, Hikaru, tragically died shortly thereafter in an accident in the swamp. His parents were devastated.

Cut to several decades later, the mother, now an old woman, is bedridden and reaching the end of her life. She wishes to reunite with Hikaru and knows she will soon see him in the afterlife.

Yamawaro, for reasons beyond even his understanding, decides to appear to her (naked again) claiming he’s Hikaru so she can give the woman’s life some happiness before she passes. The father is wary of him and later we’ll find out that he knows Yamawaro’s not human, but he doesn’t want to break the illusion and hurt his wife.

The father also happens to be a…doctor…scientist….botanist…medicine man? Some combination of the three? He’s been trying to grow something called caterpillar fungus, which, he surmises, can somehow be used to make a medicine that will bolster a person’s health and grant them longevity. He wants, more than anything, to give his ailing wife more time on this earth. He requests Yamawaro to assist him in his research. Caterpillar fungus needs to grow on a living being, but every animal he’s tried to grow it on hasn’t produced adequate results. He knows Yamawaro is a supernatural being, so he hopes that the fungus will react better with his body. What a coinky dink that Yamawaro happens to be living mushrooms…..I think….right? Why is this Yamawaro’s backstory episode and I’m still confused as to what he actually is?

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This better not be some sort of weird-ass Mario crossover.

Next comes a….very, very uncomfortable scene where the father applies a special medicine to a fully naked (barring a towel) Yamawaro’s back while chanting something that supposedly makes the medicine work? This is bad enough, but Yamawaro starts moaning and develops a blush on his face…then he starts….panting and sweating….

Look, I get that he’s moaning in pain and the blush, panting and sweating are probably a result of a high fever, but this is still extremely disconcerting to watch.

Spores and mushrooms start growing very quickly all over Yamawaro’s body to the point where he’s basically entombed in them. Slicing off some pieces from the growth, Risaburo makes his concoction, that he calls Ambrosia, and gives it to his wife.

The potion actually works. A little too well, actually. Fujiko reverts back to her thirties somehow. The experiment was a massive success, but Fujiko couldn’t stand what her husband was doing to Yamawaro. The poor boy was wrapped up from head to toe in bandages, because he took so many of the spores I presume, even though the first sample seemed like enough, and she was concerned that Risaburo would continue to experiment on him. She secretly brought him back to the mountains and told him to run away, which he did. Eventually, he must have made his way to Ai to join her team.

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In present day, things only continue to get more confusing, if you can believe that.

Ai has a request from Fujiko, and Yamawaro insists that he be the one given the job. Ai agrees. He doesn’t plan on stopping the ferrying if she chooses to pull the string, but he hopes that he can convince her to not pull the string at all. Technically, they’re not supposed to interfere with cases, but they seem to have thrown that rule out the window at this point.

Kikuri later finds the straw-dolled Yamawaro lying in a bed in the Ashiya household while Fujiko falls back under the delusion that Yamawaro is Hikaru…..even though….ya know….he’s a straw doll now. Yamawaro also shows his doll’s insides to Kikuri, which, as shown before, is a bunch of fungus. The dialogue points at this being a result of the experiments, but wasn’t he a mushroom spirit before? Did he just turn into a bunch of mushrooms for funsies?

Fujiko has called Hell Girl to send her husband to hell for making Yamawaro suffer for his experiments. Fair enough, I suppose, but why did it take her so long to call her? And if she was considering doing that anyway, why not call her, pull the string and not send Yamawaro off into the woods? Then she could live the rest of her days happily with ‘Hikaru.’

Now…here’s another weird thing. Fujiko contacted Hell Correspondence…..via a newspaper. This isn’t a new thing – Ai used to get her clients from blank newspaper ads back before the Internet, but the scene where they show her doing this is in black and white and she’s young again. She’s still young in present time because of the potion, but the use of the newspaper and the scene being black and white makes me think this was way back when Hikaru died. I guess this is meant to be recently, because they never say she got a doll back then, but they made this shot look way too similar to a distant flashback for me to be certain about it.

Fujiko is suddenly old again now….??? She was in her thirties literally ten seconds ago. She aged fifty years between shots……Whatever. She finally confronts her husband with the doll, accusing him of also having something to do with Hikaru’s death, but he denies this and says it was just a sad accident.

The dialogue is really unclear for the rest of the scene. The best I can make of it is that Risaburo was actually more intent on just finding the secret to eternal life more than he was in helping his wife, I guess. He just said that to trick Yamawaro into helping him….I think. He knew he needed a non-human specimen for his research…somehow…and pure luck lead Yamawaro to them so he took advantage of that. But then he muses that it actually worked and that it saved him trouble? Why is he so confused about why it worked?

Fujiko pulls the string and Risaburo is sent to hell.

However, the weirdness doesn’t even end there. After the string is pulled and everything’s all said and done, Yamawaro rushes to the Ashiya mansion to witness it….sinking into the lake….for some reason. Also, Fujiko’s in there….young again….holding Hikaru…..Is she already dead? Why is the house sinking? There was never any indication that the house was at risk of sinking. Truth be told, I didn’t even fully realize it was situated on water. I knew they were near a swamp, but that’s about it.

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So, class, can one of you please enlighten me on what the hell I just watched?

I kinda feel like the Hell Girl stuff was unnecessary. Was the guy a terrible person? Yeah. Did he deserve to go hell? Probably. But the timing was really weird, and I honestly didn’t feel like I hated the guy enough to want him to be sent to hell. I don’t much care that he did, but I wasn’t rooting for it.

This is another one of those times where I feel worse for the client because now she really won’t ever be back together with Hikaru again, no matter what was shown in the window. Unless Hikaru’s in hell too for whatever reason.

She should have taken this into consideration when she called Hell Girl. She’s been so intent on reuniting with Hikaru one day. It’s been her one driving focus in her days after Hikaru died. Why would she sacrifice reuniting with her son in peace in Heaven just to send Risaburo to hell for kinda hurting someone who’s not even human? She could’ve just left him or stopped consuming the potion. She would eventually die a natural death, and Risaburo, without Yamawaro around, would die some years down the line and be sent to hell anyway. It’s rather pointless.

The story, boiled down, is fine. Yamawaro connected with some grieving parents in the twilight of their lives because he took pity on them after they lost their son and decided to fill the void for them. He eventually needed to leave, and, realizing the benefits of relationships to other people, he decided to join the Hell Team. But when everything else is added to the mix, it just becomes too confusing and weird to be worth any real value.

The only two things I gained from this episode are learning a little more about Yamawaro, kinda, I still don’t even have a good grip on what he actually is, and seeing Kikuri be *gasp* nice and tolerable for a change. She’s actually having a good discussion with Yamawaro and is defending him. It’s like she’s a completely different person in this episode (and she didn’t need to be wound once for some reason.)

…….Am I forgetting something?……….

……………………OH YEAH, Yuzuki! She exists! Right. She was here for literally one minute of screentime. She went to the Ashiya mansion to talk to Fujiko about Hell Girl. She thought the person would be in her eighties, but the only people living there were in their thirties, so she just….frickin’ left and never came back.

Protagonist of the year.

Didn’t investigate further. Didn’t ask for their names. Didn’t ask if she had contacted Hell Girl or anything. Just ‘Oh I must have the wrong house. Guess I’ll leave the episode now.’


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Battle Arena Toshinden (OVA) Review

Plot: Uhhh, there’s some tournament called the Toshin tournament, but that doesn’t matter because we never see the tournament over the course of the show. This anime is also based off of a video game of the same name that I’ve never played, but I hope to God at least the fans of the game find some meaning behind this show.

A man named Eiji was apparently the last tournament’s winnerm and his brother, Sho, has turned bad, apparently, and has betrayed his family so Eiji’s on a mission to find him…..apparently.

But there’s also some lady named Uranus who dresses like Lady Gaga’s lobotomized twin. She’s evil and runs some evil organization called….The Organization. Eiji along with a bunch of other characters who are never adequately explored fight The Organization.

Breakdown: THEM anime reviews has, at least at one point, labeled this the worst anime they’ve ever seen. Ouch. Now, I’ve disagreed with THEM before and at this point I’ve seen my fair share of crap. Do I share the same sentiment?

……Uhh, I wouldn’t say ‘worst’ but it’s pretty damn low on the list. It’s bottom 10 at least. This anime is confusing as hell to me. I really, truly hate when shows, anime or otherwise, expect that you should know the full backstory behind something, especially when the backstory is explained in an entirely different medium. I’ve never played Battle Arena Toshinden, yet this anime not only acts like you should know full well the backstory to this whole mess of an OVA, but it also assumes you know every character and what their story is too.

When they actually do bless you with some information, it’s just thrown at you like a rock of exposition. Characters are constantly showing up, especially at the ending where the big clusterfuck of cameos happens. I had no idea who 98% of those people were when they showed up and the ones I did recognize I still knew nothing about. Oh yeah, the old man with Wolverine claws, dominatrix love-interest chick. ♪ And the rest….are here on Gilligan’s Isssllllleeee!

Not like they even did anything either. They were simply meant to fight the lacky no-name no-face enemy characters to give the main guys a chance to go after the characters who actually somewhat matter. Eiji, one of the main characters, actually said “We don’t have time to deal with those pawns!” Yeah, great, thanks for telling me there’s no reason give a crap about what they’re doing.

I didn’t even really get to know the main character that well. He’s a master martial artist and a nice guy…..that’s…about…it.

Another character who literally shows up just to create a plot point is Ellis. She’s a cutesy knife thrower in the circus who was also a participant in the tournament that I’m told happened. She appears in the final minutes of episode one and is in a coma dying from poison five minutes into episode two.

I don’t care about this person. If anything, she annoys me. I don’t care about her dad (It was also an exposition rock that a fighter named Gaia was her dad) And oh she’s voiced by Lisa Ortiz….

Let’s address Uranus, hm? Well, first of all we don’t see her do anything. She’s one of those behind-the-scenes villains who talks big then runs off when she’s confronted face to face. Oh and…she grew wings out of nowhere.

By the way, can someone please explain to me what the hell this is?

It looks she fell in the shower, got wrapped up in the shower curtain, curtain rod and all, walked to the mirror and said, “….Hm…that’s fine. Time to go to work.”

And look at the front!

Her dress has no top! What was that listed as in the item description? “Side-Boob-Displaying Uncomfortable Dress from Hell”? That has got to be one of the dumbest clothing designs I’ve ever seen in anything.

Oh well, she has to look better when she’s prepared for battle, right?

Wow….more practical but still ugly as all hell. That does not look liked she’d be able to move, though, considering the way the shoulder guards are designed. Also, all that armor, looking clunky as a robot made of washing machines, and the two areas they don’t cover are the head and the boobs. Oh well, at least she has boob socks – the strongest of all female armor.

I am thoroughly unimpressed with everything. Thank you.

Our only two actual villains in this movie who do things are Sho and a man-machine (because ‘android’ or ‘cyborg’ are just too complicated) named Chaos. Sho’s obviously the big brother who joined the bad ranks for whatever reason but still wants to fight his brother in an honorable match. Chaos is just a crazy guy wielding a sickle. He has a grudge against Gaia for beating him a while back and that’s about it.

From what story I could piece together, there is nothing here. It’s filled with so many cliches and suffers from such a lack of originality that it’s just sad. Being cliché doesn’t have to be a dealbreaker. You just have to be creative with the cliches…and they’re not. I could not care about anything in this OVA. Not the story. Not the characters. Nothing.

This isn’t even really good for action. The action scenes, while not being particularly boring, weren’t particularly interesting either. Their moves are so uninspired that I honestly would never be able to tell them apart if they were done one after another.

They all have regular weapons from your traditional sword, to a buster-sword-thing, to whips (of course the dominatrix character gets a whip….a PINK whip.) to big billy clubs (wielded by a female character who seems to be roller-derby-ish…..and they’re, of course, pink….They also look like giant Nerf toys.) to the aforementioned Wolverine claws. They also have the never-explained ability to use energy-powers, but none of these moves are memorable either.

Oh and did I mention that the ending basically resolves nothing? They manage to get the antidote for Ellis by defeating Chaos. The reason they couldn’t defeat him before was because he was turned into a man-machine. Every time he fought one of the main guys, he’d get data on their fighting styles and predict their moves. How was he beaten? Eiji shrugged him off and said to just fight using each other’s moves so Chaos couldn’t predict it.

Eiji: “You’re a fool for thinking we’d just do the same moves over and over.” You know what? That is a great point and a gigantic flaw in this multi-billion dollar experiment to make man-machine fighters. Way to go, Uranus, you dumb stupidly dressed sack of idiot.

Uranus gets away, the real Sho shows up (don’t ask) yet disappears as soon as he came to just say “Yeah I blew up all the stuff you had. Just wanted to end this BS. Bye!” Uranus escapes due to her unexplained sudden growth of wings (even though I don’t see how she really did escape unless there was a series of holes leading straight up out of the building), the good guys survive the explosion complete with walking out of the flames without even attempting to walk at a brisk pace because bad-ass.

Oh and at the very end, some guy, I guess, according to the Youtube comments, his name is Vermillion, comes out, Eiji smiles, unsheathes his sword, slashes once and reveals the title screen before the end credits start.

Bite. Me.

Look, if you want to release an OVA that is purely meant as an advertisement for a game or a manga or whatever – be my guest. There are plenty of times when that can work, but you have to do it well. You can’t expect that your audience knows all of this crap that may or may not be explained in the video games, and it’s really bad practice to do that because chances are the video game will become dated and phased out due to people ditching their old consoles for new ones, but the OVA will stick around for future viewings and people will be like insanely confused.

I guess the Youtube commenters must’ve been fans of the game because I just kept seeing “this is a good anime” and the like. However, seeing as how many people were also bringing up how this OVA is such a blast from the past, I’m going to either believe they have nostalgia goggles glued on or this OVA really is a lot better when you know of the game. However, I believe even if I knew of all of that stuff that this would still be awful.

Art and Animation: The art is terrible. It’s exaggerated fighting anime style, but it’s still really bad. I don’t know if I’d say it’s some of the worst I’ve seen, but it’s still awful. I will commend them for actually animating the action instead of just resorting to still screens, but the animation as a whole is pretty damn bad.

Voice acting: English Dub. Ranges from ‘okay’ to ‘Wow, they really hired this guy?’ Most of the characters lean on the side of okay, but characters like the Duke were just laughably bad.

Music: The music wasn’t that bad but like everything else it wasn’t memorable.

Bottomline: Unless you’ve played the old Battle Arena Toshinden games and can find some value in this OVA, there’s no point whatsoever in watching this. It’s confusing, poorly paced, extremely poorly written in terms of both story and dialogue, gives you no reason to care about anything and there’s not even good mindless fight scenes to enjoy. And I do have to reiterate – there’s no ‘battle arena’ in Battle Arena Toshinden. There WAS one. You just missed it.

Additional Information and Notes: Battle Arena Toshinden is based on a series of video games for the Playstation (1-3 and Vita) Game Boy and Sega Saturn. There hasn’t been an incarnation of the series since 2009, and even then it was released under an entirely different name with no connection to the previous storyline.

The OVA was produced by Animate Film and JC Staff. It was directed by Masami Obari, who also directed pretty much every Fatal Fury anime, Voltage Fighter Gowcaizer and uh…*cough*….some hentai titles.

It was co-written by Masaharu Amiya (episode one) who also did minor work on Ai Yori Aoshi, Beyblade, Karin, Inuyasha and….Yosuga no Sora.

Episode two was written by Haruo Takayama, and either the dude is too ashamed of this work to display it anywhere he’s listed or the Wiki doesn’t have accurate information. The only Haruo Takayama I can find did the screenplay for both of the Turn A Gundam movies and wrote the script for Jungle do Ikou’s OAV. Nothing anywhere about Battle Arena Toshinden.

The OVA was originally licensed under the now defunct Central Park Media, then known as US Manga Corps. Their licenses were distributed to many other media companies, but it’s unclear who owns the license to Battle Arena Toshinden now, if anyone owns it at all.

Episodes: 2

Year: 1996

Recommended Audience: Plenty of violence, but nothing gets incredibly gory. One nude shot, of course of a woman, of course the dominatrix lady, some sexual-ish content, no swearing. 12+


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Yashahime: Princess Half-Demon | Episode 15: Farewell Under the Lunar Eclipse Review

Plot: Flashing back to 18 years ago, we learn what really happened when the half-demon princesses were born to separate them from their parents.

Breakdown: I realize I’m very far behind, and I even wanted to do another lightning round batch review to catch up, but I had way too much to say about this one so I opted against it.

So this is the episode we’ve all been waiting for. The big backstory episode explaining what the hell has been going on.

I’m already on my Word processor writing about how confused I am…..when I’m not even to the opening theme song. Come take a 20 minute walk with me. I feel the path is going to be rocky.

This episode, as I expected from the next episode preview, is fully a flashback. Hosenki II has finished creating a black pearl after being loaned the green rainbow pearl and Izayoi’s rouge by Riku. This allowed him to create a new black pearl in four years when it usually takes 100.

Also, this confirms that Riku’s definitely not human, but what exactly he is, I don’t know either.

Hosenki goes to Kaede’s village to give Inuyasha the black pearl, but not before asking him to demonstrate his father’s ability – the Adamant Barrage. The instant he asked Inuyasha to do this I knew Inuyasha would destroy something with it and Kagome would get pissed at him. Lo and behold, he did. He destroyed their house…..Ya know, Inuyasha may not be joining Mensa anytime soon, but I refuse to believe he’d be THAT reckless and stupid. Especially considering, from where I stand, there’s no reason that wouldn’t have hurt/killed Kagome. She was standing in their doorway.

Cue Sit Boy.

The double standard of domestic abuse sure never gets old.

Hosenki tells Inuyasha and Kagome that the black pearls are actually Izayoi’s tears? And that they were turned into pearls after her death? And one of them was the black pearl in Inuyasha’s eye – the one that houses his father’s grave? What? How does that make sense? Why was anyone keeping her tears or turning them into pearls? What purpose would that possibly have? She’s human. There can’t be any mystical powers behind her tears. Where did he get one of Izayoi’s tears four years ago? She’s been dead for 20 years.

Apparently, he needed Izayoi’s rouge because he needed her deep sorrow in order to complete the pearl…..Why is her sorrow held in her rouge and why her TEARS aren’t ample enough sources of her own sorrow – I dunno.

But hey let’s turn a page in the Big Book of How Not to Write Inuyasha.

This is post-series Inuyasha. He’s matured quite a bit. He’s loved. He’s lost. He’s grieved. He’s found love again. He’s saved the world numerous times. He’s found a new family. He’s ‘married’ now….I assume. Later, it’s confirmed that Kagome’s already pregnant at this point (which means he almost just hurt/killed his unborn child with that stunt too, nice. So much for the ol’ overprotective expecting father). He may still and always be the reckless hothead we’ve come to know and love, but he’s not an asshole.

So why, pray tell, when Kagome’s like ‘Isn’t it great Inuyasha? We have two keepsakes of your mother now.’ he’s all ‘Why the hell would I need those things anymore?’ That, by the way, is word-for-word what he said.

Even when Inuyasha trusted no one and pretty much hated humans he still kept his mother’s rouge near and dear to his heart, so much so that he gave it to Kikyo as a gift that she, in turn, treasured (we’ll get to that elephant in the room in a second.) Why would he act like such an ass about these keepsakes now?

And yes I get it, Inuyasha’s still not good at showing his feelings, Kagome even says as much, but being reserved about your feelings isn’t the same as basically saying these keepsakes of his mother are garbage to him and he finds no point in keeping them. He even scoffs at the idea of bringing the items to his father’s grave out of respect.

Instead, he shoves the new black pearl into his eye, which, as Hosenki points out, means he won’t be able to retrieve it except in times of great need. Can he just keep an infinite amount of black pearls in his eye or does he need to pay for an inventory upgrade at some point?

Kagome insists that they keep the rouge, though. Inuyasha told Hosenki that he was surprised he managed to ‘find’ it and we get a brief flashback to Inuyasha giving the rouge to Kikyo. Yeah. In case you missed the late edit I made to my review of episode five, I suddenly remembered that Inuyasha didn’t just give the rouge to Kikyo. Naraku broke the rouge into teeny pieces right in front of Kikyo when he attacked her. So not only do we have to believe that the rouge was kept by….someone for the past 50 some-odd years for some reason, but also that it magically reassembled itself.

A little while later, Rin is giving birth to Towa and Setsuna. Judging from how old the twins and Hisui look right now, I’d say we’re only a few years out from the end of The Final Act, where Rin was 11, according to the Wiki. She’s 29 now….and her kids are 14……Meaning she’s 15 at this point.

Okay, we kinda can’t avoid this now….this is just squicky. Especially considering that it’s very possible she was 14 when she conceived…..

I figured she would’ve been at least a few years older, which still would’ve been squicky but not AS bad. As much as I suck at math I can determine that 14 year old + 200+ year old (at least) = eughgh.

I do have to be kind of fair and point out that this is still the Feudal Era – times were different. Like I said before, I really don’t want to research this too much because I’d prefer not having a bunch of questions of this nature in my search history, but it wasn’t terribly uncommon for adult men to have relationships with very young girls and boys back in those days. Hell, all across the world girls were getting married off when they were like nine to men who were 30+. The average marriage age back in feudal Japan was still 16, but from all I’ve read it wasn’t really viewed as a very official act back then (which might explain why there was no hoopdeedoo around Sango and Miroku and Inuyasha and Kagome getting married.) Feel free to correct me on any of this by the way.

So….on a social level, back then, this is probably viewed as being just fine.

…….HOW

EV

ER

I must point out that it’s not like Inuyasha is a series that strives for period realism. Sure, they have some historical figures pop up, and they’re probably fine in the realm of keeping the wardrobe, architecture and whatnot accurate, but that’s where the buck stops because our main character is part dog. He uses a sword that defies the laws of physics and has more forms than Frieza. He was in love with a clay zombie. His wife is a reincarnation of aforementioned clay zombie, and she can move freely between two set yet somehow simultaneously moving points in time via a well. She had a magic jewel stuck in her stomach because somehow the jewel burned with Kikyo’s body and somehow was lost to existence for 500 years before randomly reemerging. They were friends with a tiny transforming fox demon who used toys as weapons and could turn into a balloon. They flew around on a magic fire cat. One of them had a black hole in his hand. That same guy is friends with a giant tanuki. They spent a decade trying to track down and kill a half-spider demon who honestly should’ve been half-cockroach he was that difficult to kill. Said spider-dude split himself off into numerous other people with completely unrelated powers – one of which was a woman who controlled wind and flew from place to place on a giant feather, another was a small emotionless albino child who had a magic mirror and another was a creepy baby with a ball. They collected approximately 70 billion jewel shards to finally complete the world’s most annoying MacGuffin, and the grand finale to stop all of the fuss surrounding the thing was to have the jewel literally be wished away.

Sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo, I don’t think it’s entirely unreasonable to ask the writers, who live in modern times, to maybe tack on another few years to Rin’s age to make this not so icky, even if it’s, inevitably, going to be a little icky considering their circumstances.

Literally nothing else would have to change. Even if Towa and Setsuna ended up being a little younger than Moroha, it’d be fine. Hell, technically, you wouldn’t even have to do that. If it really is difficult for half-demons to reproduce, you can just say Kagome took a long time to get pregnant. That’s basically what they’re already saying anyway considering Kagome’s only now getting pregnant and she’s been married to Inuyasha for a few years. They don’t really have any reliable birth control in this era. Unless it took them THAT long to do the marriage dance, which, considering it took them until the very end of the series to kiss canonically……yeah, that might track.

Moving on, it’s the night of a lunar eclipse, and Riku comes to meet Kagome and tell her about the Grim Comet. Once every 500 years, the Grim Comet passes by earth. Fragments of the comet break off and threaten the lives of the people in its path. 500 years ago, Inutaisho and Kirinmaru worked together to destroy the fragments that were falling. Now the comet is a mere seven days out and Inutaisho is dead while Kirinmaru has fallen into a deep slumber for some reason.

Kagome proclaims that Inuyasha will definitely help in his father’s stead, but wonders how they can awaken Kirinmaru. Riku explains that awakening Kirinmaru is a bad idea. He hates humans and detests half-demons. If he awakens, chances are he’ll murder Inuyasha, Sesshomaru’s children and even Kagome’s unborn child. The only way to stop the comet fragments is by getting Inuyasha and Sesshomaru to do it together.

……..Wait, the comet comes by once every 500 years?…Modern era times are 500 years off…..which….means………Uhhh are we all dead now? Or is this another thing that just doesn’t exist in modern times because reasons?

Sesshomaru’s listening to his children being born from a couple miles away….why he’s not actually there providing Rin with support, I don’t know. Can’t lose that stoicism that made the fanbase swoon, I suppose.

Zero drops by and basically just taunts him, threatens him and his family vaguely concerning Kirinmaru and tells him about the comet. After she leaves, Sesshomaru goes to see Rin and his new twin children.

Consensus on whether it’s weird for Rin to still call Sesshomaru ‘Lord Sesshomaru.’? Zero even said they’re married now too.

Sesshomaru just comes in and swoops the twins away, not even commenting on Rin or their new children. So just to recap – the first instances we see of these two as a couple are him listening to her give birth from far away and not reacting and him snatching up his newborn kids and making off with them with barely a sentence in response as to what he’s doing with them and no words to Rin whatsoever.

You guys are definitely going to have to do better than that. I mean, anyone who’s watched the original series knows how much they care for each other, but that’s on a, and I hate to go here, but it has to be said, a father-daughter level. Romance is a different level. The levels should never connect, but here we are. Any emotion in this scene, what little there is, is quite shallow considering it’s not only void of any romantic or tender moments between Rin and Sesshomaru but also between the two of them and their daughters. Rin names them and that’s it.

Kagome asks what he’s doing, and he simply says it’s the rites of courage and cowardice. Kagome asks if it has anything to do with Kirinmaru, but he just leaves without saying anything more. Rin tearfully whispers that she has faith in Sesshomaru. Jaken hands Kagome a paper explaining when and where Sesshomaru will face the comet fragment. He can do it on his own, but he’s giving Inuyasha the information just in case.

As Sesshomaru heads off, he’s confronted by Joka. Remember her? The Ka demon that you stopped caring about almost immediately? Who was then killed off almost immediately? She’s been tasked by Zero to take/kill the half-demon twins, but Sesshomaru just swats her away and easily cuts her arms off, revealing that she was using two rainbow pearls in her arms – the silver and gold pearls.

He mentions that the rainbow pearls are Zero’s tears…….???????

Sesshomaru takes the pearls and flies off. He leaves the twins at the sacred tree, giving them each one of the rainbow pearls that are implanted into their eyes—wait, is that seriously the origin of their rainbow pearls? Just that Joka literally came the fuck out of nowhere, had them, Sesshomaru swiped them more easily than a credit card and then sticks them in the eyes of his daughters? Okie dokie. Guess it’s about as disappointing as the origin of Moroha’s red rainbow pearl.

Jaken tasks himself with caring for the twins until they can take care of themselves. He also explains that he’ll bring Rin there soon enough. Wait, what? He’s raising the kids in Rin’s stead….but he’s also going to bring Rin there?

In order to have a safe place to raise them, Jaken puts up a powerful barrier all around a half-mile-ish radius from the sacred tree. Neither Joka nor Zero can sense the twins now, so they’re kinda stuck.

Cut ahead to the set meeting time and place for Inuyasha and Sesshomaru to take down the fragment. It’s at Sesshomaru’s mother’s place for some reason (even though she isn’t there). They take care of the fragment, which was a demon….comet….fragment I guess?, in less than a minute, and then they just leave.

Phew.

Nail. Biter.

…..What purpose did that whole comet thing have to do with the plot, by the way? Feels like it was a big pointless waste of time. It affected nothing.

Cut to Kirinmaru’s….Pirate ship…house?…..Cool? He is awoken by Zero who shares the news of Sesshomaru and Inuyasha’s half/quarter demon children. It was prophesied by the Shikon jewel….somehow, that a being neither human nor demon who could transcend time would be Kirinmaru’s downfall, which, logically, even pointed out by Zero, would mean MOROHA’S the one he has to watch out for…..but apparently this series wants to focus on the twins.

I know the one who actually transcends time is Towa, but that’s not even her doing – it’s the power of the silver rainbow pearl.

Anyhoo, Sesshomaru comes in and acts as if he’s going to help Kirinmaru kill Inuyasha (and I guess the kids?) Also, we’ve time skipped a bit because now Moroha’s born. We’re at the exact scene where Moroha’s dreams were shown in an earlier episode. Kirinmaru and Sesshomaru face off against Kagome and Inuyasha, Kagome gives Moroha the rouge and sends her off with Hachi, why Hachi’s there I don’t know, but we now get more than we did then.

Kirinmaru and Sesshomaru attack Inuyasha. However, to Kirinmaru’s surprise, Sesshomaru rushes ahead and sticks his fingers in Inuyasha’s eye, grabbing the black pearl. He uses the pearl’s power to suck Inuyasha and Kagome into the world within the pearl. Kirinmaru is surprised Sesshomaru helped them….dude, you’re thick as a milkshake made of cement. Of course he helped Inuyasha and Kagome – he’s allied with them now. He has taken a human as a bride. He has two half-demon children he’s clearly protecting. If he really wanted Inuyasha dead, he’d have done it long ago, especially considering Miroku no longer has his wind tunnel and there are times where Inuyasha loses his demon powers entirely.

He’s definitely nowhere near as intelligent and conniving as Naraku if he fell for such an easy ploy as that. Combine that with how he seems to be manipulated by Zero and….I sense a lot of suckage on the horizon with this dude. I hope Zero’s the real villain because wow. Riku might be the villain, but I dunno. He’s been very morally gray.

Now you’d think Sesshomaru would be in deep shit for that. Afterall, he just betrayed and tricked the big bad Kirinmaru and kept him from killing those filthy half/quarter demons he hates so much.

….Nope.

Kirinmaru just kinda brushes it off. Jaken says they’ll need Inuyasha’s Meido Zangetsuha some day for whatever reasons and Kirinmaru’s all ‘Lol whatever.’ and then he walks off with Sesshomaru.

We see that Moroha was given to some new character in Koga’s wolf demon tribe to care for her, which is cool. I was wondering where Koga was and it makes sense that she would’ve been raised with them given how she acts. In hindsight, it’s kinda funny. One day, Inuyasha will have to deal with the fact that Koga, of all people, was one of the people who helped raised his daughter (I think?) I would pay to see his expression when that news drops on his head.

Using the dream-gazing thingy, Zero is able to see where Towa and Setsuna are, so she plots to burn down the forest where they reside. Sesshomaru, knowing he can’t refuse or else he’d show his hand, seemingly complies and walks off.

You know the rest.

Then we cut back to present/Feudal era time where Riku is breaking the fourth wall as he’s been the one telling us the story. That wasn’t really necessary, but okay.

And, uh, that was it.

I am thoroughly underwhelmed.

I really hate that I keep saying that about this series, but it’s true.

Like I said in the last episode’s review, I wasn’t really expecting much from this episode. They’ve dropped the ball with so much that I had little to no faith they’d pull off something impressive with this backstory – and they didn’t.

At least I didn’t get mad at it, but it also left me awash in a sea of ‘Meh.’ which, oftentimes, is quite worse.

It’s just a lot of…things….happening. But none of them are particularly interesting things. The things that SHOULD be interesting like Towa and Setsuna’s births as well as Moroha’s birth were flat and unemotional – we didn’t even get to see Moroha’s birth. She just appears. Sesshomaru being an ice queen about his kids I expected but I kinda wanted to see Inuyasha being sentimental about his kid. Instead we get him nearly murdering his pregnant wife just because he wants to show off and can’t aim in a reasonable direction and him being an ass about his mother’s heirlooms.

Considering the lack of emotional connection and caring between the girls and their parents is already an existing and glaring problem even before the girls have ever met their parents, the fact that there’s little shown on the opposite side of the fence is a really heavy blow. Inuyasha used to be nearly melodramatic. What happened to the emotion in this series?

In terms of action, that was even worse. The comet thing was poorly explained (why did no one mention it was filled with smoky demons. WHY is it filled with smoky demons? How did they get in there? Are there SPACE DEMONS!? That’s way more interesting than anything ever presented in this entire franchise.) and they did the job so easily I’m not convinced in the slightest that only Inutaisho or his kids could have destroyed it. There was no tension whatsoever in that scene. It was literally two shots – one to slice the rock and the other to defeat the smoky space demon. It’s always a little cool to see Sesshomaru and Inuyasha working together, but that’s about it. Like I said, the entire comet subplot seemed like a massive waste of time, especially in a backstory episode for god’s sake.

Looks cool, though.

The “battle” between Kirinmaru and Sesshomaru vs. Inuyasha wasn’t even a battle, hence the sarcastic quotation marks. Not only did no blows actually get traded, but I knew from the instant Sesshomaru walked into Kirinmaru’s lair that he was playing Kirinmaru. There’s no reason he’d go through all that trouble to protect his family just up and decide to kill Inuyasha for no reason.

It’s cool that Sesshomaru helped them out, as rough as his plan may have been, but the fact that Kirinmaru didn’t do anything to Sesshomaru after the fact is just lame. He didn’t attack him or threaten him, he didn’t even try to take the pearl– he just shrugged and they walked off together.

The one interesting hanging thread in this entire episode is where Inuyasha and Kagome actually are. Jaken acted like they were sent to Inutaisho’s grave, but there are two problems with that; 1) They spent way too much time focusing on the second black pearl at the start of the episode and making it a point that Inuyasha put it in his eye that I can’t imagine that wasn’t a setup for a switcheroo. 2) If they were in Inutaisho’s gravesite, then they should be able to leave whenever they please. They’ve done it before.

I wonder if Inuyasha and Kagome came up with a plan about this with Sesshomaru before he went to meet Kirinmaru. I can’t imagine they did because I’d assume they’d send Moroha off to safety before Kirinmaru and Sesshomaru faced off with them.

This episode also did clear up Sesshomaru’s intentions a bit, which is good. It’s tough love, really tough, but he means well. I still don’t entirely get what he’s doing, and I feel like, if he wanted to, he could kill Kirinmaru – especially if he teamed up with Inuyasha. We already know his Perils are jokes. He just doesn’t give off that impressive of a vibe. He’s a doof in a mask. Oh by the way, Naraku called, he wants his ‘using an animal head as a mask’ shtick back. Plus, he hasn’t even really done jack shit over the course of the series so far. In fact, the one thing he was actually shown doing was HEROIC. He helped Inutaisho destroy the comet fragment 500 years ago, saving countless lives.

Some things are obviously still missing from the backstory like how Rin became comatose within the Tree of Ages, what Sesshomaru’s grand plan is, what happened to Setsuna after the fire, how and when Setsuna came into contact with the Dream Butterfly, how she got her boa, how she ended up being trained by the demon slayers, why she said that thing about a rite of courage and cowardice when Sesshomaru said that mere moments after she was born, why Kirinmaru hasn’t just slaughtered these kids himself yet considering he now knows where they are, and, just for good measure, where the hell Shippo is. He is not here. Did the writers forget he existed? We saw him in episode one, right? Where did he go? I’m not letting this go. There’s no reason he hasn’t so much as made a brief cameo, especially in a flashback episode.

I dunno, guys. My interest in this series is tanking faster than a tank of gas in a tank as it drives around a tanker truck filled with tiny toy tanks. There’s a reason I haven’t gotten around to reviewing this in so long. Dread was a part of it, but I just found myself failing to care enough to press ‘play.’ It’s gotten to a point where it’s hard for me to care about what they wrote for the original Inuyasha crew because it’s just so boring and badly written, and that’s a big problem.

I am several episodes behind, though. Someone tell me they’ve already arrived at greener pastures.

Next time, we get Moroha’s backstory with her old master from the wolf demon tribe. I actually DO care about this, but, again, I’m not expecting much. The way they treat Moroha by default is crappy, despite her being the best new character, but at least it sounds like we’ll learn why Moroha’s in debt.


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Hell Girl: Three Vessels | Episode 14: The Street Corner of Bitterness Review

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Plot: Yuzuki now possesses the ability to sense people who are going to contact Hell Correspondence soon. The next client is a girl named Hidemi who accidentally garnered a bad reputation after being photographed with a delinquent in the city. She plans on sending the person who spread the photo of her to hell for ruining her life.

Breakdown: (Note: I somehow overlooked posting this episode’s review in the proper order, but it was just brought to my attention today, so better late than never. Sorry about that. Enjoy! :))

…..*lip smack* This is what we’re starting the second half of the season off with, eh?

Okie dokie.

First of all, Yuzuki is basically now all but cemented as being a less interesting fusion of Tsugumi and Hajime. At least she’s actively trying to stop people from using the service now, but she’s bad at it. She’s also bad at seeming like she’s emotionally invested in anything. At the end of the episode, she’s overwhelmed with the amount of people she’s sensing will contact Hell Girl and is clutching her head trying to get the bell sounds to stop, but I don’t really believe her response. She’s acting way too unemotional about it. Even when she was begging Ai to bring Akie back she was just barely emoting.

Also, side note, apparently Yuzuki’s friends haven’t been bothered all that much by Akie disappearing. I understand that because even I forgot for a little while.

Second of all, this story is a massive mess from start to finish.

Hidemi was in the city for a test, she spent too much time at her friends’ house and ended up missing the last train home. She also broke her cell phone. Unlike most people who would visit various shops, or even stop people on this busy street in this highly populated city, and ask if she can use their phone to call her parents or even the friends she was visiting, she decides the best course of action would be to spend some money at the arcade trying to get a stuffed cat, then sit on the sidewalk and fall asleep…

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It’s implied that she was worried about getting caught by the cops because she was young and out late at night, but is anyone really going to press charges against this kid for missing the train? Also, if she’s worried the cops might hassle her, why did she choose, of all places, the middle of the sidewalk to sit down and even fall asleep?

She’s awoken by aforementioned delinquent, Kinya, and he offers to take her back to the convenience store in which he works where the only other person there is a guy who looks just as skeevy if not moreso as Kinya does.

She finally has the opportunity to call home, though….and chooses not to….because she sees this as an adventure or something. Let me make it clear that Hidemi is very much a shy and proper young woman. Nothing about her even suggests that she has hidden desires to be any sort of rebel or anything. She comes off as the kind of girl who would find not putting the chip clip back on the reduced salt kettle chip bag as an act of rebellion. I’m not saying she can’t just be really good at concealing this part of her, but I am saying that it is strange. Not to mention the fact that it’s a dickish thing to do to stay out in a strange city all night and neglect to call your parents. Even if you want to have some neat little convenience store adventure, they’re still probably worried sick and it’s rude to not at least tell them that you’ll be okay on your own until the trains start back up.

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She spends the night there, and Kinya walks her to the train station in the morning, which is where she gets her picture taken by someone off-screen. It’s in the morning, not at night, and it’s not like there’s any implication that she’s romantically with him or that she’s a prostitute or anything. She’s literally just walking next to him and talking.

The photo spreads and ‘ruins’ her life, which I don’t get. Do people really have nothing better to do than gossip about a photo that looks about as incriminating as a picture of her jaywalking? And that’s all they’re doing by the way – gossiping. No one’s treating her differently outside of whispering around her. Yet that’s somehow enough for her to wish whoever spread the picture to be sent to hell.

The only way it gets worse is through more stupidity.

Kinya was a punk, but he was legitimately nice to Hidemi because some old guy in an alleyway was nice to him and told him that being nice was good or whatever.

It seemed like Kinya might actually be turning into a decent guy, but then, after the commercial break, Kinya’s suddenly viciously beating the old guy in the alleyway because he believes he’s secretly super rich. His reason for thinking this? The old guy wears a big coat when it’s really hot out….so he’s…hiding…money in it something, I dunno. Why he suddenly starting thinking this I also don’t know.

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He gets arrested for the assault, but he also acts like he’s proud of it. He wants to be a big shot and getting arrested by the police will only increase his prestige. He even plans on bragging to the cops about everything else he’s done….This guy is a major league moron.

Yuzuki had convinced Hidemi to go with her to see Kinya in order to help clear her name and improve her reputation, but they both witness his spectacle as he gets arrested. She flips out because he’ll probably be featured in the papers (doubt it) and people will connect him back to the photo. Fair enough in that respect, I guess. She immediately contacts Hell Correspondence on Kinya.

Kinya….Oh geez…*sigh*….Kinya escapes police custody, obtains a gun and takes Yuzuki hostage. No I’m not kidding. No, I also have no idea how those events transpired.

The point is, Hidemi sees him do this. Kinya doesn’t even recognize her until Yuzuki mentions her name, so she pulls the string.

The hell torture is okay. Everyone’s giant-ish and intimidating Kinya. Ai is massive, like kaiju-sized. It’s playing off of the fact that he said he wanted to be a big shot, but now he’s little. Haha.

As he’s ferried away, he laments being nice to Hidemi, but, uh, dude, do you really think letting some lost girl take shelter in a convenience store you don’t even own, feeding her stale bread and then walking her to a train station is properly weighted against beating a poor old homeless dude in an alley, escaping the police, popping off some shots and taking a teenage girl hostage?

Yuzuki waits for Hidemi and, here’s where I get REALLY confused. A girl with completely different hair both in style and color, a much more revealing sense of fashion, tons of jewelry, makeup and a tattoo suddenly bursts in and…that’s Hidemi. She has the little stuffed cat she wanted earlier and the curse mark on her chest, so that’s proof it’s her.

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Why does she suddenly look like this, especially since there’s no implied time skip of any kind after the hell torture? How do you go from “Oh dear, my life is ruined because I was photographed talking to a punk.” to “I’m going to change my appearance so drastically that the gossiping people from before will basically feel justified in believing I was a girl of loose morals, and more rumors will spread about me and ruin my life some more! Ya know, the reason I was miserable enough to call Hell Girl to begin with! I love being smart!” not just in general but in minutes/hours? I almost wanted to believe it was days later, but Yuzuki’s wearing the exact same clothes between when she’s taken hostage by Kinya and when we see the new Hidemi. I don’t get it.

Time issues aside, again, maybe she was just really, really good at concealing a desire to be a more rebellious girl, but they didn’t do a good job of making this connection with the audience outside of one line which could easily just imply a desire for a little more independence not that she suddenly wants to completely change herself both inside and out. Kinya’s character turn was a little more understandable because we knew he was a punk at the start, even though he was on the receiving end of the violence there, but even then he was nearly as bad in his car crash of a personality shift.

Finally, Ai’s back to being Ai fully, which is good, even if I feel bad she has to return to this job at all. They brought back the classic scene of her preparing to take someone to hell, including…her grandma….Yup. Grandma’s back. Where did she go and why is she back? No idea. She’s just here again. Somehow. I like Grandma and everything, but I never once understood her character.

Ai’s trying to teach Yuzuki about the futility of trying to save Hell Girl clients, which is more poking at Tsugumi and Hajime. I know this is for the sake of training her to be a new Hell Girl, but I am so far from caring about that plot element. She better have some gem of a backstory otherwise I’ll just feel like her entire story was a wash.

Overall, this episode was confusing and blah and I really hope things actually pick up soon, especially when it comes to Yuzuki.


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Hell Girl: Three Vessels | Episode 16: The Trap of Temptation Review

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Plot: Naowa is seen as a creepy man by his colleagues because he spends a lot of his free time playing with a local little girl named Kayo. He has no ill intentions, he just legitimately loves kids. Still, he has a shadow hanging over his head and a familiar curse mark emblazoned on his chest. He has already used Hell Correspondence, but who did he send to hell and why?

Breakdown: This episode left me feeling so conflicted.

The start is fairly unique because we’re focusing on someone who has already pulled the string. That doesn’t happen very often.

Even though this particular story is also pretty unique, I found that the events were somehow quite predictable. A new woman named Yuki joins the factory in which Naowa works and she becomes focused on him very quickly. My mind immediately shifted to ‘She has some relation to the person Naowa sent to hell and wants revenge.’ And lo and behold that’s exactly what happened.

What I didn’t expect was that Nakajima, the man Naowa sent to hell, was just like Naowa with one big difference – he actually was a pedophile. He didn’t do anything directly to Kayo, but he did take a bunch of pictures of her, clearly trying to get upskirt shots, and even kept them in an album. He told Naowa that he wouldn’t do anything to Kayo, though such a claim is obviously not to be trusted, and he blackmailed Naowa by saying, if he told anyone about what he was doing, he’d tell everyone that Naowa is just like him. Considering everyone already thinks he’s creepy, that threat definitely has weight to it.

Worried for Kayo’s safety, Naowa sent Nakajima to hell.

We learn all of this because Naowa is telling Yuki that they shouldn’t be together in a romantic sense because he’s bound for hell and won’t be able to find any happiness in the end. He also shows proof that Nakajima was a pedo by showing her the album of pictures he found at Nakajima’s apartment, which gave me quite a bit of pause.

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Why….did he keep that? Why didn’t he burn it or something? Even if he took it for the sake of evidence, which is dumb because there’s no way to prove it was Nakajima’s, he didn’t intend on having Nakajima arrested, and, at this point, has already sent him to hell. If anyone found that album, he’d be buried in so much shit he’d drown in it. Anyone finding it is bad enough, but he’s willingly showing this album to Yuki. While I know why she believes it’s Nakajima’s in hindsight, she has no reason to believe Naowa that the album was Nakajima’s.

He had absolutely no reason to keep that unless it was for his own sick purposes.

Onto Yuki, she is the proper client today. She was high school sweethearts with Nakajima (called it) and knew about his “other interests” but loved him anyway. When he suddenly went missing, she decided to investigate his disappearance for herself since the police wouldn’t help. She got hired at the factory in which Nakajima and Naowa both worked, and, knowing Naowa was close with Nakajima, decided to get close to him for information. When Naowa told her what he did, she called Hell Girl and pulled the string.

And now it’s time for a….

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Okay, technically it was a premonition Yuzuki was having the whole time as she watched Naowa pull the string, but same difference. I guess Ai was trying to convince her that cycles of revenge are constant and inevitable, which is weird because I thought she had learned that wasn’t true at the end of the second season, but whatever. Yuzuki still wants to try to stop all that from happening, though, so Ai releases her from being frozen in place or whatever was happening there and allows her to chase after Naowa after witnessing him pull the string. The episode ends with Yuzuki trying to find Naowa.

I thought this would be a clever ending because it would be ambiguous on whether or not she succeeded in stopping it, but they ruin it by having Yuki’s candle appear at the end, confirming that Yuzuki didn’t stop it and Naowa was sent to hell anyway. So…..that twist was more pointless than a circle.

Obviously, we have to discuss the uncomfortable aspect of this entire episode. Now, I understand that there’s a stigma about single adults having pretty much any contact with children unless it’s their job or something, and this is especially true of single adult men. Some adults do genuinely like kids and want to spend time with them even if they’re not related to them or don’t have a job in childcare or anything. And that’s perfectly fine. Naowa has proven….besides the ‘keeping the album’ thing…..that he doesn’t have any harmful thoughts or intentions towards Kayo or any other child. Naowa is a perfectly fine main character that you can connect with…..Again, barring the album thing.

That being said, it’s also completely understandable why so many people find him to be creepy. Naowa keeps to himself a lot, doesn’t have really any interests, seems uninterested in dating, and spends an inordinate amount of time playing with Kayo. Every day after work he spends hours playing with her and no other kids. Her parents are never around (except once at the start of the episode I think her mom appears and apologizes to Naowa for something. Maybe him spending time with Kayo because she works a lot or something? She seems perfectly cool with him spending so much time with Kayo.) and she’s never with other children.

The way the Hell Team addresses this, albeit briefly, is strange. Hone Onna points out that it’s obviously weird for a grown man to be playing with little girls, and Wanyuudou responds “Even though, in the past, looking with such eyes was weirder.” What does that mean? Are his eyes strange or is he saying watching little girls was seen as weirder than playing with them back in his time? I don’t even know if there’s an argument to be had there. Then Yamawaro says “That’s called ‘eras’, right?”

I dunno. Maybe? Things do drastically change between eras, even when it comes to perceptions of social appropriateness. Even just a few decades can make behaviors that weren’t initially unacceptable in acceptable and vice versa.

Plus, it makes the situation and stigma even worse when you introduce a character who, on the surface, is basically identical to Naowa…..only he IS a pedo. I was starting to feel a tiny bit bad for side-eyeing Naowa so much when he legitimately cared for Kayo, but then justification for those feelings entered the mix when they basically confirmed that the not-innocent version of this type of person is very much valid and probably more common.

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And then there’s Yuki…….*sigh* I usually feel compassion for clients, but this time, no. Her boyfriend was a pedophile, she knew this and didn’t care. Join him in hell. Just go. You’re just as guilty as he is.

In the end, I still don’t know how I feel about this episode. I guess it’s simply middle-of-the-road. It doesn’t do anything outlandish or terrible enough to make me angry at it, which, considering the subject matter, you’d think it would, nor does it do anything particularly noteworthy or interesting to make it actually good – we don’t even get Nakajima’s hell torture. It’s just okay.


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Yashahime: Princess Half-Demon | Episode 14: The One Behind the Forest Fire Review

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Plot: Moroha, Setsuna and Towa are tasked by Jyubei to help a beautiful village girl named Tamano. When she was 13, she found herself constantly pursued by men who were in awe of her beauty. Everyone wanted to marry her, but she didn’t want to leave the village or her grandparents, so she denied every offer.

One night, she was whisked away by the fiery mountain god, Homura, who was also awed by her beauty, and takes her as his bride. They live together in an odd mansion atop a frigid snowy mountain. The mansion is unaffected by the tundra surrounding it. In fact, it seems like it’s perpetual spring there.

Tamano had no choice but to accept her new role. At first, it didn’t seem to bad because he was surprisingly sweet and caring, but she quickly realized how horrible he was. If a man so much as met her eyes, Homura would burn him alive on the spot. His jealousy was so intense that he eventually started blaming Tamano for seducing men even when she wasn’t doing anything of the sort. To keep her all to himself, he locked her up in a jail cell.

Tamano was able to pick the lock using her hair sticks, and she quickly made her escape down the mountain. However, the snow and cold were too much for her and she collapsed. Luckily, Riku was wandering by and managed to save her. Realizing Riku is now a threat in Homura’s eyes, the girls are tasked by him and Jyubei to hunt down Homura and kill him. His head is worth a mighty bounty, so Moroha gladly heads off to face the challenge with Towa and Setsuna joining her.

They reach the mansion and confront an enraged Homura who has just discovered Tamano is missing. He blasts Moroha away with a huge fire attack, though she’s kept safe by her robe of the fire rat. Towa and Setsuna face off against him next, but he halts the battle when he notices the rainbow pearls in their eyes. He’s shocked that they’re alive because he swore he killed them when they were young.

It turns out that Homura was the one who set the massive forest fire that separated Towa and Setsuna. He did so on the orders of a mysterious demon named Zero. She wanted to kill them, and Sesshomaru appeared to be compliant with the plan.

Hearing this, Towa explodes in rage. They both take on Homura together, with Moroha rejoining in the middle of the battle. Even together, the girls have great difficulty getting their attacks through to Homura whose flames are so intense and massive that they can’t seem to fend them off.

Suddenly, Tamano and Riku arrive on Takechiyo. Tamano wants to take responsibility for Homura and face off against him herself. Seeing Riku by her side and hearing her declarations that she will never, ever be with him again, Homura becomes even angrier and starts setting his entire mansion on fire. She and Riku egg him on so much that he burns himself up and eventually reduces himself to ash.

Tamano heads back to her village to once again live happily with her grandparents, but Moroha is without a bounty once more. As for Towa and Setsuna, Setsuna doesn’t remember the fire so she’s fine. Towa, on the other hand, has to let go of the past now that Homura’s gone.

Breakdown: This series makes me sad. So very sad. And frustrated. Especially when it does shit like this where it fools you into thinking things are getting better and then it just stops being good all of a sudden, farts and leaves.

Here’s a play by play of my experience watching this episode.

– After first few minutes of episode – Hmm, seems like we’re setting up a pretty good episode today. Nice new OP, too.

– Midway point – Yeaaaahhhh, lookin’ good! I like this one-off character’s story. It’s a bit cliché, but I like it. I’m excited!

– Five minutes from the end – Wow, it’s like an entirely different show! It’s well-paced. It’s exciting. Good action. Original and threatening villain. Some good comedic moments too. Didn’t leave Moroha out – they even adorably made her into a snowball. Mentioned her robe of the fire rat, though I’m still confused as to how she has that. An interesting splash of Sesshomaru and Towa and Setsuna’s backstory. We’re making progress in their story. Wow. I guess with a new OP comes a refreshing new level of quality. This is grea–

– After conclusion – Oh fuck you, Yashahime! Does your stupidity know no bounds? Why would you do that? You were doing so well! Why?! At least buy me a drink if you’re going to screw me over again.

Alright, before we get to the nitty-gritty of the mess that is the ending, let me talk about some small things first. Setsuna picked up Towa’s smartphone and freaked out about it, nearly cutting it up and threatening it because she didn’t understand what it was.

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Does. This. Series. Ever. Pay. Attention. To. Itself?

I already asked episodes ago why it was that Moroha and Setsuna didn’t seem to be the slightest bit intrigued or weirded out by modern day stuff, especially technology, but here Setsuna is acting like Inuyasha vs. The photo booth from the second movie…..Moroha used an iPod a few episodes ago and no one batted an eye, but a smartphone? DIE VILE DEMON!

And, again, they lived in the modern era for a few days, so considering Towa is, by her own admission, addicted to her smartphone, I sincerely doubt they never saw her use one (Towa brings this up and Moroha says she doesn’t remember………) They must’ve seen Sota, Mei or Moe use one too.

This scene could’ve been pretty funny if they hadn’t already established all of that stuff regarding modern day items near the beginning of the series.

Oh well, at least they explained that Towa doesn’t get any Internet or cell service in this era so she can’t use it anyway, but considering they haven’t established a way for her to generate electricity I have to wonder how it has a full battery after being in the Feudal era for several weeks.

There’s also this stupid comparison they made between Towa’s attachment to her smartphone and Homura’s attachment to Tamano, as well as Towa’s connection to the past or something. It’s silly and not worth thinking about.

We have a new OP and ED now. I like the new OP just fine, but I prefer the previous ED over the new one. Beautiful new visuals for it, though. Absolutely gorgeous.

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Onto the more important stuff, the story with Tamano and Homura is actually quite good. It feels like a story that’s been more or less done in this show before, not that it’s all that original anyway, but I was drawn into it. Was a bit squicked out that all of this was over a 13 year old, but I guess I have to remember what era this is taking place it. They never establish if she’s still 13 (they just said she started being hounded by men when she was 13) nor how long she was Homura’s captive.

Homura is a great enemy, for the most part. He has intense fire powers, he’s insane, cold-blooded and he has a pretty good design and color scheme.

I like how they tied him into the overarching plot as being the one who caused the forest fire that separated Towa and Setsuna. The fact that he burned down the entire forest in one fell swoop (how did Setsuna survive that?) was also awesome. Not sure why Sesshomaru was there nor why he consented to this. His actions might have something to do with the trials or whatever Setsuna was talking about, but I’m not sure…..

The battle between the girls and Homura was also awesome. It had actual tension, cool shots, Towa was completely PISSED for a change, Moroha wasn’t left out, in fact she saved the sisters, and it looked like the episode was going to be awesome.

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Everything was going great.

I had a smile on my face.

Hope in my heart.

What the hell happened?

That’s all I have to ask.

What the hell happened?

It’s like an entirely new team took over the episode for 95% of the runtime and then the idiots from the rest of the series came back for the last 5%.

Let me get this out of the way, Tamano standing up for herself to someone like Homura? Aces. Awesome. I am unironically saying ‘You go, girl!’

That being said….Homura, the guy who would burn men alive instantly for making eye contact with Tamano, ended up burning himself to ashes because he got dumped too hard. He never tried burning her or Riku or even really Takechiyo. He just had such a temper tantrum at being rejected that his wittle broken heart couldn’t take it and he self-immolated.

This fiery mountain GOD….Not demon – GOD – killed himself….on accident…..because he got so upset over a break-up that he couldn’t control his powers anymore.

Tamano, by the way, isn’t some supernatural being who has otherworldly beauty or charms. She’s not cursed with beauty or anything either. She’s just a pretty girl.

Riku plays this off like this is mirroring Sesshomaru being in love with a human (and even mentions Sesshomaru by name) and that he can’t understand such human feelings……but uh, yeah, it kinda falls flat considering Homura kidnapped Tamano because she was purty and killed anyone who looked at her before locking her up in a jail cell and Sesshomaru legitimately loves Rin (at least I assume. I’m pretty sure most of what he’s doing is for Rin’s sake) because she was kind and loved him despite him being a demon and encouraged her to live her own life away from him until she could make the decision for herself whether she wanted to stay with him or go off on her own. Guess Riku really doesn’t understand if he can’t see that they’re completely opposite circumstances….Ya know…besides the squicky age differences.

Even if their situation did mirror that of Sesshomaru and Rin, it’d still be really stupid to have Homura kill himself on accident with his own powers because he couldn’t stand being dumped.

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It’d be a little better if he accidentally killed Tamano (or they tricked him into thinking he did) in a fit of rage and he was so grief-stricken that he accidentally killed himself.

But even then it’d be disappointing because this is the guy who set the fire that separated Towa and Setsuna for around ten years. You’d think they’d let him stick around for a while or at least have Towa kill him. What a ridiculously stupid and lackluster ending for such a seemingly important character.

Top that all off with the still-not-funny-and-still-stupid running joke of Moroha not getting her bounty? Give me a break.

I lost all hope for the next episode during that ending. The next episode is one seemingly focusing entirely on the Inuyasha crew and spilling all the beans on the origins of the girls and where the old characters are now. Yup, after spending 14 episodes spastically running between 10MPH and 120MPH and still somehow managing to go nowhere, we’re about to have an episode where they just say ‘screw it’ and blow their plot load. I’ve been waiting for this since the very first episode, and I just don’t have any faith that it’ll be worth a crap. I also haven’t heard any word of mouth about it, which worries me deeply.

It’s just so frustrating. I can see the potential with this series, but they can’t resist screwing it up at every turn.

Next time, can Inuyasha and pals actually deliver something positive to this story? Or will I continue to get bonus points on my ‘frequent frowner’ card? It’s make it or break it time, Yashahime.


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Yashahime: Princess Half-Demon LIGHTNING ROUND CATCHUP! Episodes 10, 11, 12 and 13 Reviews

Episode 10 | The Gold and Silver Rainbow Pearls

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Plot: Set out on another bounty, the girls face the conjoined demon brothers, Ginka and Kinka. Their kind, Ka Demons, are born two at a time, with each sibling sharing a body. They can only separate when one or the other dies, so they hatch from their eggs fighting each other until one of them dies.

Seeing that Towa and Setsuna carry Rainbow Pearls in their eyes, the brothers decide to team up temporarily so they can possess the siblings and fight using the pearls’ powers. Setsuna is able to regain enough control over her body to use special demon slayer poison to drive them out, but they still make off with the Rainbow Pearls.

Towa and Setsuna head off in pursuit, leaving Moroha behind on accident.

Ginka and Kinka meet with Joka, their clan’s leader, to deliver the Rainbow Pearls to her. She proclaims that she’ll finally get her revenge on Sesshomaru now, but the hitch is that the brothers won’t be praised for their efforts – they’ll be absorbed into her body.

Ginka is taken first, and the brothers who had once been viciously at each other’s throats, to the point where they were leaving deep scars in each other’s bodies and were destroying the neighboring lands, suddenly reach out for each other. Kinka desperately wants to save Ginka and even teams up with Setsuna and Towa and agrees to give up the Rainbow Pearls to do so. Setsuna, who has regained some of her memories from watching the brothers in their familiar situation, receives a fiery but temporary upgrade to her naginata to allow her to cause more damage to Joka.

They make a valiant effort to take down Joka. Setsuna even deals the final blow with a fiery Scourge of Swallows.

However, it wasn’t enough to save Kinka and Ginka, who are finally separated but too wounded to survive. Ginka passes first, leaving Kinka to lament their tumultuous relationship. He believes siblings connected by blood are always destined to die together no matter what and that, even though they hated each other, they were each other’s reasons for living. Kinka finally passes, and the brothers disappear in a sparkling cloud of ash.

The pearls return to Setsuna and Towa’s eyes, and an angry Moroha finally catches up with them, devastated that Kinka and Ginka are nothing but ash with nothing to bring back to Jyubei.

Breakdown: Well, at least Towa didn’t get another power this time, and Setsuna got a pretty good time to shine, but why exactly wasn’t Towa allowed to participate at all in the final battle? Why did it have to exclusively be Setsuna and Kinka? I know Setsuna wanted to try and understand these siblings, but wouldn’t she be able to do that more easily if Towa was participating too?

Also, I love how they keep highlighting that siblinghood means so much to Towa…..and then they leave their cousin behind and don’t even notice let alone care.

They were getting ready to chase after the brothers on Takechiyo. Moroha asked them to wait a second so she could get her weapons. She’s gone for about four seconds, tops, and Setsuna and Towa just hop on Takechiyo and leave. They don’t even acknowledge that she was talking, they don’t acknowledge her chasing them and yelling for them to wait (and, remember, they’re dog demons. They have super hearing. There’s no excuse.) nor do they even point out that Moroha’s not with them when they arrive. But Towa’s still all about how important siblings are and their bonds and pbbbttt. Look, I do get that siblings are closer than cousins, and Moroha’s technically their half-cousin, but they all have so little in terms of blood relatives that you’d think they’d at least not act like Moroha’s not even there half the time.

It’s starting to resemble their attitudes towards their parents and I don’t like it. Remember, the opposite of love is not hate – it’s apathy.

The story between the brothers is alright on paper, but there are a few issues that need bringing up.

First, these two characters are recycled from The Final Act, and they both died in that series. Unless it’s a massive coincidence that these two look and are named identical to those characters, this just seems really lazy. This is also the second time in a row they’ve recycled an enemy from The Final Act. What exactly is going on? Creativity kinda dry in the design and writing department, guys?

Second, Joka has a massive vendetta against Sesshomaru. Why?

Did they just mention him for the sake of mentioning him? Is this one of those Naraku moments where just mentioning him means they expect brownie points for making it part of the overall plot? Come on.

And for those drawing a blank on The Final Act stuff, no, she wasn’t there. So, pbbbbt.

Third, it seems so convoluted for these two to suddenly start acting like they give a shit about each other after engaging in a fight to the death since birth. Their battle has given them deep scars and has left the surrounding areas in ruins. They themselves admit that they hate each other, but apparently not wanting someone else to absorb their brother and their fight being their reason to live is enough for this sudden shift in their eyes. I am aware that this circles back around to what I mentioned earlier about how hate is not the opposite of love, but, considering the circumstances, it’s hard to draw a positive emotional connection between these two.

Once Ginka is captured, they’re constantly calling out for each other and calling the other ‘brother’ they’re reaching for each other and holding each other. And we’re supposed to feel bad that they died in the end. Who knows how many people died in the wake of their battle, but they were siblings so this is sad I guess.

Good thing they weren’t cousins, because then no one would give a shit.

Fourth, it really seems like the Rainbow Pearls did absolutely nothing to power them up, like….even a little. Even with two in their possession, they were both felled by Joka incredibly. They didn’t seem different at all.

Setsuna has recovered bits and pieces of her memory….but she’s also a complete idiot. She sees little parts of the fire from when she and Towa were kids, and she kept asking who that girl was who was trying to save her……

Golly, what a mystery.

Let me make a wild guess, though. Let’s see. White hair. Red streak. Red eyes. Calling you “sister.” About the same age.

Seriously, how can she even ask this question? Even if she doesn’t recognize/respect Towa as a sister, she can’t deny that, biologically, she is. They must have the same scent, Moroha pointed out as much, and they both know they’re Sesshoumaru’s kids. Unless she thinks she has a triplet who also has white hair, this is ridiculous. Oh well, at least she got some cool attacks this episode, even if, I assume, it was purely a one-off considering she can’t get fire from Kinka anymore.

Episode 11 | Curse of the Man-Eating Pond

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Plot: Moroha witnesses a murky pond eat a bird, but Towa and Setsuna don’t believe her. After the sisters part ways with Moroha, they meet a pair of young siblings, Hikomaru and Chiyo, who have recently lost their parents to the pond.

Towa and Setsuna, with Moroha meeting them later, resolve to kill the Venom Snake demon supposedly living within the pond to avenge the parents of these siblings.

When they confront the demon, Moroha and Setsuna become weakened by the poisonous gas, but Towa, somehow, is immune from its effects. The Venom Snake is revealed to be joined with Drifting Pond – a demon that consumes ponds and becomes the water itself while also protecting its resident, in this case, Venom Snake.

Towa gets drenched in poisonous pond water by Drifting Pond, which makes her fall ill, but Setsuna is not affected by it. Myoga surmises that Towa and Setsuna have different types of immunity to poison. Setsuna is immune to venom/poison liquid but not gas and Towa is the opposite. Moroha has no such immunity to any poison, so she can’t help.

Realizing their affinities, Setsuna decides to tackle Drifting Pond while she leaves Venom Snake to Towa.

Setsuna learned earlier that, many years ago, a wandering sage planted medicinal herbs around the pond for the sake of purifying it, but the herbs were in a patch a good distance away from it. She uses her Cyclone Burst to attack the herb patch and direct them to Drifting Pond, purifying the demon and killing it.

Towa lands the killing blow to Venom Snake, and once the battle is over the pond is once again crystal clear and beautiful.

Breakdown: Worst animation of the series so far, hands down, which makes sense because this is pretty goshdarn fillery.

So, one more Towa power for good measure, but at least it came alongside a new Setsuna power. And Moroha gets screwed over again because of course she does. Towa and Setsuna don’t even go get her when they realize she actually did see the demon in the pond, which could be valuable information for their battle. Nope. Moroha got worried about THEM when they didn’t come home so she went looking for THEM. Then when she was actually engaged in the battle, she gets insta-poisoned, sidelined and attacked by Setsuna.

At the very least, Setsuna muttered to herself that Moroha better dodge her attack, but….Moroha was poisoned and kinda paralyzed……..And she….didn’t dodge it. I mean she didn’t die or anything, but she clearly got hit by it. Oh well, at least Moroha got to do other stuff this episode…..like choke on pancakes and be forced to clean Jyubei’s shop…..*huff*

Also, while it actually kinda weird to see Towa try to sleep on Setsuna, Setsuna’s roll dodge was awesome. Slick girl.

Episode 12 | Night of the New Moon and the Black-Haired Towa

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Plot: Konton sends out the poisonous apparition, Nikosen, to attack the half-demon princesses. Timing is on his side, because Towa falls under the spell of the new moon, which drains half-demons of their demon powers until sunrise. In addition to that, she’s unable to withstand Nikosen’s poison as she normally would be able to, so she becomes ill and needs to be protected by Moroha and Setsuna for the time being.

Moroha manages to separate Nikosen’s head from his body, but both can act independently from each other. Setsuna hunts down the head while Moroha finds a safe place for Towa to rest. Nikosen’s body finds them and regrows his head – the one Setsuna is chasing is nothing but an illusion, so she rushes to return. Kohaku and the others meet with Setsuna and begin an assault on the mountain that Nikosen has been inhabiting and destroying.

Meanwhile, Towa, now with longer, black hair and brown eyes, has reverted to a fully human state. Towa is concerned that the same thing is happening to Setsuna and tries to go off to save her, but Moroha knocks her out to stop her from getting herself hurt.

Moroha and Myoga hole up in a cave that is protected with a barrier made from sutras and Moroha’s spiritual power, but it soon starts weakening due to the firebomb assault that the demon slayers are unleashing on the mountain.

Nikosen is able to sense and find them again, and he coats them in a substance that hardens over their bodies, essentially turning them into statues. Sensing her sister is in danger, Setsuna rushes toward them and attacks Nikosen, freeing them from their stony prisons.

The sun rises, and Towa regains her demon powers, allowing her defeat Nikosen.

Breakdown: Oh so now we’re stealing episode titles from Inuyasha, too? Neat.

This show is so goddamn confusing sometimes. I thought it was a known fact of all half-demons, even ones like Naraku, that they experience temporary periods where they lose their demon powers. (Technically, Myoga said it was a once a month deal that was different for all half-demons and Inuyasha’s just happened on the new moon, but they’re saying the new moon is the norm for all now. Jinenji was noted to transform during the day, though, so pbbbttdunno.) Now it seems like this group of half/quarter-demons simply don’t know this happens at all.

Here’s how it’s explained away for each of them.

Towa: This has never happened to Towa before coming to the Feudal era. Myoga explains that the reason it’s happening to her now is because she was originally from the Feudal era.

He legit says that no half-demon can escape the laws of the new moon, except Naraku as he was able to choose when he’d lose his powers, but then says the reason she never experienced this in the modern era is because….what? She didn’t belong there?

I will never understand exactly what this Feudal era even is. They always say it’s a different world, but it’s not. It’s the same world just 500 years in the past. Hojo’s ancestor is there, so it has to just be the past. So….like…where did all the demons go in 500 years? Why is there no evidence of real demons even existing in Japan? Why is there nothing supernatural in the modern era? And why would a modern era new moon not effect Towa? Did something happen to the moon in 500 years?

Also, oddly, besides Towa having her white hair turn black, her hair also grows to shoulder length…………..for……..reasons?

The reason for the hair color change is because the whiteness was caused by her demon half. With the demon half gone, it turns into her natural hair color. Both Inuyasha and Towa’s mothers have black hair, so their hair turns black.

Hair length has nothing to do with it, though. How would that even make sense? Sesshomaru has gloriously long locks. And even if he had short hair, they’re not Saiyans. Their hair isn’t bound by some genetic rules. There’s absolutely no reason why Towa’s hair should be long because of her losing her demon powers.

And, what, when the sun rises again does her hair spontaneously cut itself or suck itself back into her scalp?

You want to know what’s even more baffling? Her hair turns black and long because she lost her demon side, right? So why does she still have that red streak in her hair? Surely that’s a product of her demon nature. Rin sure as hell didn’t give that to her.

Moroha: Now, you’d think, being quarter-demon, Moroha would have it worse, right?

Nope.

Myoga just says that maybe quarter-demons never lose their demon powers.

I would think a better explanation would be that the purifying/spiritual abilities that she inherited from Kagome might…I dunno, somehow make it so her demon powers could never be unbound from her?

No, that doesn’t make much sense either, but it’s a little better than just saying that, for some reason, quarter-demons don’t suffer from this massive weakness half-demons have. You’d think, if anything, they’d lose their powers more often.

Oh well, I guess we can chalk this up as Moroha finally getting a benefit the others don’t have…..

Or does she!?

Setsuna: Setsuna isn’t bound by the laws of the new moon. She doesn’t lose her demon powers once a month. It’s clear she’s never even seen this happen before.

Why?

Moroha theorizes that, in addition to her dreams, memories and ability to sleep, the Dream Butterfly also stole her weakness to the new moon.

…………

Come on, really? The Dream Butterfly made her immune to the new moon? HOW? JUST. HOW!? Did it alter her blood? What the hell is going on?

What are the limits of the Dream Butterfly’s damage?

“Gee, Setsuna, you used to like apples when you were a kid.”

“Oh no, guess the Dream Butterfly took her ability to enjoy apples.”

Oh and hey just for good measure, Nikosen is ANOTHER recycled dead enemy from the original series. I can give it some leeway because Nikosen was originally only in the manga, but he’s still another enemy that Inuyasha and the others have fought and killed before. Some creativity is all I ask.

In the end, Towa saves the day……easily….by herself. Nikosen is an apparition that all of the demon slayers, Setsuna and Moroha have been having a bitch of a time trying to defeat, yet the instant Towa gets her powers back she downs him with two shots.

*lip smack*

And, uh oh, Konton now knows of the half-demon weakness…..which is kinda not as impacting as it should be because I was under the impression most demon-savvy people knew that.

Overall, the concept is fine and it did get the girls a little closer together – definitely a positive development for their group cohesion – but I was left beyond confused about the mechanics of everything going on with the new moon that I didn’t even much care about what was going on with the enemy. The writing in this episode was stretchier than taffy.

Episode 13 | The Delicious Feudal Monks

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Plot: The monk-eating demon, and one of the Four Perils, Totetsu, roams the countryside looking for monks to consume. The more virtuous the monk, the better. His appetite leads him to Miroku, who is currently undergoing 1000 days of training in order to achieve enlightenment.

Hisui, Setsuna and Towa are sent to protect him, much to Hisui’s annoyance. He believes his father is nothing but a coward who ran away from his family to do pointless training.

Totetsu arrives, attempting to suck in his target with his wind-tunnel-like mouth. With Miroku and Hisui’s attempt to get Totetsu to consume demon slayer poison, they discover that his weakness is poison, so Setsuna asks Miroku to remove a seal he put on her years ago.

She then lunges at Totetsu, who bites her arm, but she reveals that she has poison flowing through her veins. As the others catch a look at her face, it’s revealed that she’s become more demon-like.

Totetsu despises the taste of the poison and decides to flee.

Miroku replaces the seal on Setsuna and she returns to normal.

Later, Setsuna reveals to Towa that Miroku told her years ago that she had inherited poison in her veins. When her demon side takes over, it’s hard to control it. She surmises that Towa probably has something inherited from their demon roots too that has yet to be revealed.

Meanwhile, Hisui visits his mother, Sango, who is happily tending to their home while Miroku is away.

Breakdown: MIROKU AND SANGO!

YAY!! WHOO!! ALRIGHT!

……Is what I wish I felt. But this whole episode was underwhelming as fuck.

First of all, it is very bittersweet to return to Miroku so soon after Kirby Morrow’s death. I’m not watching the dub, yet, and this episode isn’t even dubbed yet, but it stings to see Miroku again knowing that Kirby Morrow’s gone…

Second of all, Moroha’s just straight up not here. She appears twice because she’s guarding some other temple, but she only gets a handful of lines and isn’t seen anymore than that.

Third, while Miroku looks a TINY bit older, with lines on his face and his hair down, Sango looks absolutely no different than she did in the original series, down to her clothing.

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For the love of god, art department, 20 YEARS HAS GONE BY. You can’t say nearly 40 year old Sango looks identical to 18 year old Sango. And the fact that they hide her face until the very end of the episode….what is the point of that? Fanbaiting? For no reveal? Or is the reveal subtly hinting that she’s a vampire or has found the fountain of youth? She must’ve had a group bath in there with literally every other original character who was an adult in the previous series.

Fourth, Totetsu’s our final Peril, which is disappointing. He’s a fine filler episode enemy, but he’s seriously the last Peril? This goofy son of a bitch? Give me a break….

Fifth, the conflict between Hisui and Miroku was just dumb. Completely dumb. I was perfectly fine with the idea of Hisui and Miroku being at odds with each other, but not if the reasoning is ridiculous.

As we know, after Miroku’s wind tunnel vanished, he and Inuyasha (though he doesn’t mention Inuyasha) still went about with killing demons for cash. This was perfectly understandable. I mean, they’re good at it and Miroku did need cash for his growing family. However, after a run-in with some unnamed demon that I think defeated him or something, it’s never made clear, he realized that he needed to get much stronger. Thus, he started his 1000 days of training deep in the mountains, which supposedly leads those who partake in it to enlightenment and some form of divine power. He’s already gone through two years worth of training and needs roughly 200 more days to complete it.

Hisui is mad……because he views his father as a coward who ran away. Hisui believes this training is pointless and that Miroku’s just a coward who left his family to pick up the slack at home.

…..Keep in mind, Hisui’s the youngest of Miroku and Sango’s children, and he’s still probably 18, meaning he was likely 16 when Miroku left. Considering it seems like demon slayers start actively going on missions at around 11 (that’s the age Kohaku was when he went out) I can’t imagine Hisui was even still being cared for at home much when he left, meaning Sango was at home by herself….and….she seems to be just fine with this. She’s smiling, she’s making equipment for the demon slayers, she still has her daughters visiting her all the time – she’s fine.

I really don’t understand Hisui’s deal. Miroku felt he was too weak to fight demons, so he went to train. They even point out that, no matter if he gets some divine power after his 1000 days is up or not, he’s still training his ass off. No training is pointless. That’s one of the most obvious things ever. He’s getting more powerful with every day he puts in effort, which he’s clearly doing. Hisui is a damn demon slayer – he should know how valuable even the tiniest bit of training is.

Does he not know a single damn thing about his father? The demons he’s fought? The amount of times he’s nearly died to protect his friends and Sango? The fact that he went toe-to-toe with Naraku many times? He believes that Miroku is a coward just because he didn’t recklessly go back into demon slaying/exorcism after a tough fight even after realizing he’s not nearly as powerful as he once was and decided he needed rigorous training to even get close to his previous level of power? Hisui’s either ridiculously ill-informed, an idiot or both.

“But, Twix, Miroku’s probably hundreds of miles away from Sango and his children. He abandoned his family, and even if you can excuse him abandoning his kids since they’re adults, he still abandoned Sango!”

Thank you for pointing that out, Straw Man, but this is also just not true. Miroku lives so close to home that his daughter, Gyokuto, can walk from home to his temple in less time than it took Hisui and the others to fly there on Kirara from Kaede’s village. Sango can see Miroku whenever she wants and vice versa. Gyokuto also sends messages between the two whenever they can’t see each other. Miroku’s away, sure, but he’s still within arm’s reach.

You want to know how this two year old conflict resolves? Hisui just witnesses Miroku partaking in the battle and unsealing/resealing Setsuna and he’s all cool again.

Neat.

I can finally wipe the sweat from my brow.

What an emotional roller coaster.

Finally, I have no clue about anything that was revealed about Setsuna in this episode. I can’t make heads or tails of it. She inherited poison from Sesshomaru – specifically in just her arm, I guess. Makes sense. He had poisonous claws.

….I have no idea what the rest even is. What is the seal, really? Is it meant to seal her poison arm or her demon side? The seal is specifically in her poisoned arm. I guess she would need something to seal her demon side. Inuyasha had Tetsusaiga to seal his, but there are numerous other half-demons who don’t have anything special to keep their demon sides at bay.

If it is meant to seal her poison arm, why? Must really suck to inherit such a useful power only to have it be so strong that you need to seal it, or else you’ll trigger your demon side coming out…or something? Is that how it works?

If it’s meant to seal her demon side…..why did Miroku unseal it? Why did it need sealing in the first place? She didn’t have a seal before he met her and we know she was perfectly fine back then. Did the Dream Butterfly steal her ability to keep her demon half under wraps too? Her arm is still poison even if she’s just half-demon, right? Totetsu wanted to eat her. Just, like, cut your arm and let him taste some blood. Why does she need to become demon-y and let him bite her arm? Can she not utilize the poison claws ability? Can’t she scratch his tongue or something? Is it literally just a poison arm? What a pointless ability if it’s just poison in her arm that she can’t utilize unless something specifically drinks her blood or eats her flesh from that arm.

Inuyasha typically only became a demon under the worst circumstances – when Tetsusaiga wasn’t with him and he was near death. The first time he transforms, he’s nearly singing Christmas carols outside death’s door and was still trudging on. Here? Nothing nearly that bad has happened. Hisui got a taste of his own poison, but they have the antidote. No one’s even been injured outside of that. Is this really the battle they thought was worth unveiling her demon form?

And is that REALLY her FULL demon form? Because not only does she keep her personality in line basically perfectly, unlike Inuyasha who had an insane bloodlust, but all that changes is that she gets lines on her face and bigger claws/fangs. Her eyes don’t even change, which is the bare minimum with stuff like that.

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Inuyasha’s full demon reveal was kick-ass and terrifying. Setsuna’s is so boring I honestly don’t know why it’s here.

She doesn’t even kill Totetsu, which is the cherry on this disappointment cake. That goofy idiot drank her poison blood and still managed to get away. Inuyasha tore Goshinki apart with his bare hands when he became a demon the first time.

And after all of that…..We get no new information on anything at all involving the old Inuyasha crew. Nothing in the slightest. At least now I know Miroku and Sango are alive and well, but other than that we learned absolutely nothing about anyone else. Miroku could have at least mentioned Inuyasha. Like “Things were easier when Inuyasha was helping me fight the demons, but when he disappeared….” or implying something happened to Inuyasha and Kagome and he couldn’t save them so he trains to be powerful enough to help or something of the like. Anything. Nope.

This whole episode was pointless. It just dumped some things we wanted to see together and did nothing interesting with them. Like, golly, wonder who the last Peril is. Oh…..it’s uh…this doofus. Oh I wonder where Sango and Miroku are and what they’re doing now….Oh….nothing that interesting….Errr, well……Wonder what Setsuna’s demon form looks like and how it’ll be—oh….it’s just that….

They also act like there was no other way to defeat Totetsu besides poisoning him……How about attacking him from behind? His vacuum only works via his mouth. If you attack him from behind, it should be no real problem. He can’t even defend with his sword back there. It’s 4v1, it shouldn’t be that difficult.

Again, remember when Inuyasha first turned full-demon? Goshinki was a huge threat because he was super fast, super strong and he could read minds, meaning he knew their weaknesses and what they were going to do. He could predict and prepare for everything they were throwing his way. Inuyasha’s demon form was so consumed by blood lust that Goshinki couldn’t read his mind in that state, which is how he was defeated.

Totetsu not only doesn’t get killed, but it’s literally a matter of ‘Ew this tastes awful! I’m leaving!’ Not kidding. His last words as he runs away are proclaiming he’ll never eat half-demons again.

A final note about this episode was that it showed us the final Rainbow Pearl – the orange one…You wouldn’t even know the dude had it, as, other than leading Totetsu to Miroku, it did absolutely nothing for him. He didn’t even actually use it, I don’t think? They’re doing an awful job at making the Rainbow Pearls seem like anything worth coveting.

Oh and I guess Moroha not getting her bounty is just a running joke at this point now.

————————————-

And now I’m all caught up on Yashahime. We had some…….times.

I was going to say “We had some good times and some bad times” but……no….mostly just….times. There were some okay spots, but nothing impressive or memorable. In general, we had a lot of confusing times above all else, but this series is really turning out to be a mess.

Its pacing issues continue to be a huge problem (Wasn’t Towa trying to go to the foot of some mountain to find the Dream Butterfly? Did she just forget that? Because now she’s not even considering asking a Peril about the butterfly. She’s just like ‘We’re gonna slay you!’ And whenever they do actual, ya know, things, it’s usually too much too quickly.) Moroha continues to get ignored, things make less and less sense, and they keep doing everything in their power to not give us any information about Inuyasha and the others – even when they’re in the goddamn episode.

Does Hisui not even know that Miroku and Sango knew Sesshomaru, Rin, Inuyasha and Kagome? Do they not ever talk about their pasts? Is it not even slightly beneficial in some capacity to talk about them? We don’t even learn the actual circumstances of Setsuna and Miroku meeting or even when it happened. It must’ve happened before she became a demon slayer because Miroku’s surprised she’s with them. Why isn’t Miroku even curious about Towa? Or Moroha? Does he even know who Moroha is? He’d have to, right? Because he still knows Hachi and he was the one tasked with protecting her. You’d think Miroku would be the most invested in her since she’s the daughter of two beloved and possibly deceased friends.

I honestly don’t know where we go from here. I’m just kinda sad. Maybe my expectations are a bit too high, especially since, honestly, the original series was also plagued with a myriad of problems that still bother me a lot to this day, but this is just trying my patience and insulting my intelligence.

In addition to either copying many things Inuyasha did and doing it worse, they don’t even have the romance hook. That is the lowest hanging fruit you could have. Get some shippers on your train to keep people invested. They seem to be replacing that aspect with Towa and Setsuna’s sisterhood, which is perfectly fine conceptually, but the relationship has to be equally compelling, and it’s not.

At this point, their relationship amounts to Towa continuously trying to get close to Setsuna, emotionally and physically, and Setsuna continuing to shut her down. The physical aspect is a little cringey, to be honest. Towa hasn’t known Setsuna since they were little, and Setsuna doesn’t remember Towa at all yet she insists on trying to touch her, hug her and sleep on her all the time. Also, they just don’t have very good chemistry as siblings either. Ed and Al they are not. Admittedly. Setsuna is starting to show some caring for Towa, but I just don’t care much.

Remind me of all the migraines I had because of the perpetual “Inuyashhaaaaaaa!!” “Kagomeeeeeeeee!” yells all you want. Keep cutting my hands on the sharp edges of that annoying love triangle all you want too. Hey, just for fun, show me that shot of Kikyo pinning Inuyasha to the tree one more time. At least we were invested in all that. At least chemistry was involved.

Their cohesion as a three-person team is getting better, but only slightly, and their progress keeps getting hindered by the fact that Towa and Setsuna don’t seem to care as much about Moroha and they constantly leave her behind. I actually think Moroha and Setsuna have pretty good chemistry, but they don’t take advantage of it, and it keeps suffering because of the sidelining issue.

This last episode, Moroha was left doing absolutely nothing. She sat around waiting at a monk’s temple while Towa and Setsuna fought a Peril. Granted, it’s also getting VERY old that Setsuna and Towa keep getting assignments that coincide precisely with what Moroha’s currently doing, but if you’re going to do that shtick maybe actually let her partake in the events that are transpiring instead of just literally having her sit out.

With Inuyasha you can tell a good amount of effort was put in, even if it did have a ridiculous amount of hiccups. Yashahime? It’s hard for me to even say much effort is being invested – even in stuff as superfluous as updated characters designs. Kohaku looks awesome, Rin’s pretty, but barely any of the adult characters got an actual update after a 20 year time skip. Come on, guys. You can do better. Please do better.

Next time, we find the demon who started the fire that separated Towa and Setsuna. Will I care? Find out next time!


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Hell Girl: Three Vessels | Episode 15 – The Tortoise and the Hare Review

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Plot: Usagi is known by many people as a ‘tortoise’ because she’s mentally slow. In contrast, her brother seems to be quite successful as a DJ. What could possibly lead either of these two to contacting Hell Girl?

Breakdown: I’m gonna need you to bear with me because, dear god, this episode requires so much unpacking.

It is, for the most part, certainly one of the best and most thought-provoking episodes we’ve had in Three Vessels so far. However, with that comes a lot of horribleness and questions I never thought to ask about this series before.

First of all, I never thought this series would touch upon anyone with special needs. I am actually quite baffled they went there. They never outright say Usagi has special needs, but there’s no dancing around it – she does. She can’t make a decision on what to get out of a drink vending machine without a line of 20 people forming behind her, when she always gets the same drink every time. She can’t figure out how to open her drink, which is basically a juice box, or cut a pizza. She takes a very long time to organize her thoughts and schoolwork, it even takes her a very long time to pack her school bag. She doesn’t react verbally immediately when approached. I’m not going to diagnose her with anything specific, I’m definitely not the person to do that, but it’s obvious that she has some form of special needs.

Everyone acknowledges this, it seems, but she doesn’t receive any actual help from anyone. It’s one of those situations where people acknowledge it and they make adjustments but no one’s trying to actually provide her with true care of any kind. Again, I can’t diagnose her with anything so, for all I know, she doesn’t absolutely need any sort of professional care, but I feel like someone should be doing something for her.

Second of all, the kinda obvious play on words. Usagi’s called a ‘tortoise’ implying she’s slow, but her name is ‘Usagi’ which means rabbit, implying she may actually be faster, so to speak, than people might think. Which kinda makes sense considering the ending, but we’ll get there when we get there.

Third, back on the special needs thing……I am extremely, extremely, extremely uncomfortable at the confirmation that people with special needs can not only be clients of Hell Girl, but they can also be targets. Usagi’s not terribly impaired. She makes her way through school relatively fine, I think, and her parents apparently think she’s capable of becoming a nurse because they come to her with a plan for making that her career path. But there’s no getting around the fact that she is impaired in some fashion.

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The fact that people with mental disabilities can be clients and targets of Hell Girl is horrifying and horrible. I guess if kids can be clients and targets too then Hell Correspondence really has no limits. That’s rather frightening and upsetting.

Then there’s point four, which is how badly Usagi is treated by others. In general, people tend to treat Usagi poorly because she’s viewed as annoying and hopeless, but she gets the worst of it from the people who are closest to her.

There are her three friends, who constantly express how annoyed they are that they have to take care Usagi. They talk about her like she isn’t literally inches away from them, and they directly tell her that she should show more gratefulness for them being so caring when she’s such a bother to them.

When Usagi gets a boyfriend, meaning she won’t be relying on her friends quite so much, they get mocked by some bitches who point out that someone like Usagi got a boyfriend before them – IE the tortoise managed to pass them all, which makes them all very upset so they start making fun of her even worse behind her back, calling her a perverted tortoise grabbing at men.

Then you have Usagi’s parents, who do seem to care about her and love her, but not enough to actually get her any real help or even properly acknowledge her struggles. They ask her to make a decision about a career path, and while she has been reading up on culinary school, she can’t bring herself to say anything about it. When she fails to bring up her decision, they say, somewhat kindly, that they figured as much, so they proposed making her a nurse since she’s so nice, which Usagi accepts even though it doesn’t seem to be something she wants to do.

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Usagi later expresses that she knows her parents have given up on her and that her friends make fun of her. She works hard, but she can’t make progress because she’s ‘a tortoise.’ She smiles through everything they do either to or for her to help bear the pain, which is one of the saddest things I’ve ever heard in this show.

Finally, we have her brother, Michito, who is seen as the reliable and successful sibling. He has a seemingly good career as a DJ and was even featured in a magazine (full page article and everything) and has his own CD. Her friends even fawn over him and ask Usagi for his autograph the next time he’s in town.

Michito, however, is also an asshole to Usagi. Like her friends, Michito outwardly expresses frustration with having to deal with Usagi, even/especially when they were young kids, and also partakes in calling her a tortoise. However, there is some part of him that cares about her. When he realized that Usagi had actually chosen something to do as a career but couldn’t bring herself to say it and just accepted what her parents had chosen, he confronted her about it, seemingly upset that she wasn’t confident enough to assert her own desires over those of her parents, who didn’t even think she’d be able to choose anything.

Their relationship as a whole is rather warped, though.

Yes, people, we’re touching upon incest….again.

Usagi has an admirer named Endo who appears to legitimately have feelings for Usagi. He asks her out, and they start dating. When Michito hears the news, he is enraged. Soon after, Usagi finds photos in her mailbox of Endo dating other women. On their next date, Endo explains that Michito invited him out the other night to some music event. Without explaining exactly what happened, he apologizes to her and says he has no right to be with her.

Later, Usagi meets up with Michito and it’s revealed that they’re both the clients and they’re both the targets.

Usagi is targeting Michito because he was the reason Endo broke up with her (the Wiki says Michito forced Endo to hang out with those other girls so he could frame him and force him to break up with Usagi. I guess that can be inferred by the available information, but it’s unclear. Endo did seem to legitimately have feelings for her, and he was actually upset that he had to break up with her, so I’ll believe that.)

In turn, Michito is targeting Usagi because he is jealous of the fact that he perceived her as the fortunate one. He believes she never tries hard yet always has people doing stuff for her, making life easy for her and giving her attention. He resented the fact that he was seen as the reliable and stable one, so everyone just expected great things of him and didn’t give him as much attention as Usagi.

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Yeah, I don’t much get it either. To make matters more confusing, he claims he’s quitting music because it’s not working out for him, which is directly in contradiction to everything we’ve learned of him to this point. Michito responded to that point by saying their parents misunderstood……Misunderstood what? We saw the article and the CD seems legit too. What is being misunderstood here? He is working at a convenience store, but I just thought that music still can’t pay the bills even with his success, which, considering the fickle nature of the music business, is entirely understandable. Really don’t understand his situation, but the bottomline is that he’s jealous of Usagi.

They agree to drop their dolls into the river and forget the whole thing. Michito tells her that, even as a ‘tortoise’ she can work hard and find one of many good men out there to find love with, which gives her pause because, well, he was the one who orchestrated Endo ‘cheating’ on her and their break-up in the first place.

He returns home, and SURPRISE, he’s now locked in a hell torture. Usagi went into the river after Michito left, retrieved her doll and pulled the string. Why? Flashback to a time when they were kids. Usagi declared that she wanted to someday be Michito’s bride. Michito, however, scoffed at this idea, stating no one would ever want to marry such a tortoise. We only saw that part of the flashback earlier in the episode, but now we get a continuation where Michito returns and says he’ll agree to let her be his bride IF she becomes beautiful.

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Basically, Usagi was in love with her brother since they were kids, but he always manipulated her and treated her badly. I feel like he does have feelings for her too, slightly, but he’s more invested in just keeping her down than he is interested in anything romantic with her. Control over affection, basically. Usagi got sick of Michito manipulating her like that and using her love for him against her while not reciprocating it, so she decided to pull the string.

The last shot of Usagi is her laughing maniacally while still standing in the river proclaiming that she really can do her best despite being a tortoise, which I suppose is in pride of her making the decision to pull the string when she’s had such difficulty making decisions on her own.

God. Damn. That poor kid.

Of course, the sadness of this situation is cut by the hell torture. Michito is placed within a tortoise shell in a wild west setting and the hell team, dressed as cowpokes, shoots at him with a bunch of guns, so he retreats into his shell, which gets spun around. He doesn’t believe Usagi would pull the string after they decided to get along, and he’s thrust into hell by a missile explosion.

Not the goofiest hell torture we’ve seen, but more than enough to kinda wreck the tone of what was happening here.

Overall, though, this was truly a ride to say the least. A really uncomfortable and terrible ride, but a ride nonetheless. I certainly sympathized with the client and pretty much hated the target, but I don’t feel any real catharsis at him being sent to hell, and I feel worse than normal for the client in question. It’s just a terrible situation…..

Oh yeah, Yuzuki came up. She asked Usagi to not use Hell Correspondence when Usagi didn’t even know of such a thing at the time, meaning she may have very well put the idea in her mind.


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Yashahime: Princess Half-Demon | Episode 9: Meifuku the Meioju Review (Spoilers!)

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Plot: Moroha is sent on another bounty mission to kill the Peril, Konton. However, Towa and Setsuna refuse to go with her because…*shrug* they don’t have to.

Once Moroha leaves, Jyubei reveals that he still has no information for Towa on the Dream Butterfly because he only gets results when someone issues a bounty. Consequently, the amount to set the bounty for information on the Dream Butterfly is the same as the reward amount on the bounty Moroha has, so they decide to catch up and join her.

When they arrive, they have a brief scrap with Konton, but find that his armor is impenetrable. They’re saved by a child Meioju, or turtle demon, named Meifuku. He has been trying to kill Konton for ten years, ever since his father died at Konton’s hands. Konton turned a piece of his incredibly hard shell into powerful armor, and Meifuku’s father can’t rest until it’s retrieved and reunited with the rest of his corpse. However, Meifuku, despite being 50 years old now, isn’t powerful enough to defeat Konton on his own.

The girls decide to help him out since it’s in line with their mission anyway. Meifuku uses his shell to become armor for Towa and the girls start the battle. Setsuna and Moroha are tossed aside rather easily, but Towa lasts longer due to Meifuku’s shell. It’s mostly a stalemate because Towa can’t pierce Konton’s armor and Konton can’t pierce Meifuku’s either.

In addition, the shell no longer has demon energy, so Towa can’t absorb it to give herself an opening to attack.

This fact gives Towa an idea, however. Using her blade, she transfers her demon energy into Meifuku’s father’s shell, awakening his latent spirit. He tells Meifuku to use his dark lightning cannon to attack the armor while he spiritually holds Konton in place. Despite being a weak shot, it’s enough to give Towa an opening to break the armor off of Konton.

Towa is too exhausted to continue, which is a problem because Konton isn’t defeated yet. Moroha and Setsuna come in for the assist to kill Konton, but he vanishes.

Without a kill, Moroha doesn’t get her bounty, but they’re still able to lay Meifuku’s father to rest.

Breakdown: Another day, another Towa power.

She’s really wracking them up, isn’t she? And isn’t it so convenient that it’s always a power that would be super helpful in that specific situation. I don’t even really understand what happened. She transferred her demon energy into the shell and it….brought back Meifuku’s father’s ghost to that one piece so he could possess it and give them an opening to defeat him?

It’s starting to get depressing how Moroha and Setsuna are frequently sidelined in the big battles so Towa can be the star. For God’s sake, Setsuna is a demon slayer and Moroha’s a renowned bounty hunter. Towa is a high school girl who hasn’t known actual battle since before two weeks ago.

You can say it’s because Towa is Sesshomaru’s kid, but, uh, so is Setsuna. The power imbalance isn’t terrible, yet anyway, but I’m starting to get concerned.

As for the episode itself, it was pretty decent for what it was aiming for. It reminded me a bit too much of Shippo’s debut episode, though. Like, it was nearing plagiarism. (Self-plagiarism?) Little child demon has father die of the main baddie of the episode who wears their pelt (or in this case, shell) and the main characters have to defeat the main baddie to avenge the father. In the end, the father’s spirit helps save his child and one of the main characters before departing to the afterlife…..I can’t be the only one who made that connection. It was really blatant.

I did like Meifuku. Kinda wish he’d stick around since he has a pretty unique support ability and he was pretty cute and entertaining.

Speaking of entertaining, despite Konton’s design being kinda boring, he had a decent personality at least. And, yay, he Naraku’d us! Wait, that’s not a yay. Dude seriously ran off in a puff of purple smoke right as he was about to be defeated. He couldn’t have Naraku’d any harder if he gave an evil laugh and prattled on about Sacred Jewel shards.

The team cohesion continues to be both good but also rocky. The other girls refuse to go with Moroha just because eh why should we? Moroha is legitimately upset about it because she’s lonely and wanted to be family with her cousins. Awww. I felt really bad for her because this is the first time Moroha has shown any sense of longing involving her past. She talks about how quarter-demons have it particularly rough in life, which is understandable, but how many quarter-demons could there be?

I was a bit annoyed that the only reason Setsuna and Towa wanted to go with Moroha is so they could mooch off of her bounty. It doesn’t even make much sense because the amount to set the Dream Butterfly’s bounty was the same as Konton’s bounty, but if they all went on the mission, they’d have to share the money, meaning Towa wouldn’t have enough to pay Jyubei.

Why is Setsuna even going if she’s sick of Towa’s Dream Butterfly nonsense?

The battles were pretty alright, and I’m glad we finally got a battle with a Peril without defeating it, even if he did Naraku them.

Next time, conjoined twin demons possess Towa and Setsuna and steal their rainbow pearls so they can fight each other to the death.


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