March 04, 2010

Ga-Rei Zero, Episode 10

In the last episode, Yomi turned into the Schoolgirl in Black after being abandoned by everybody close to her.  Of course, this was after she was turned into a pincushion by the Big Bad, who then healed and implanted a piece of the Death Stone into her.  Hell's comin' to breakfast, and it's hungry... so let's get cracking on Episode 10.

Tonight on CSI: Tokyo, Noriyuki appears to have shaken off his lethargy and angst (not that it was unwarranted) and is actively investigating at the site of Yomi's attack.

Yup, the old "stick in the hole" trick, so as to discover what direction the projectiles came from.  

Of course, they all came from the same direction... a source other than Yomi herself.  In Mr Laser Weasel's mind, this pretty much proves that she was attacked.  Putting away his camera, he mutters to himself, "I suppose she... got the point."

Yeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!



Right about now, it works better if you imagine the Flaming Armadillo to have Roger Daltrey's voice.  Just sayin'.

Kagura stares at the wreckage of the Schoolgirl In Black's departure, knowing full well that she seriously screwed the pooch on this one.  If hesitating to kill a brain-sucked human earns her a scabbard across the back of her hands, just what will her father do after... this?  And speaking of brainsuckers...

Kagura has a vivid imagination.  She immediately freaks out at the very thought of Yomi being hagridden, and tries calling her cellphone.

No dice.  Yomi must be using AT&T.  Kagura calls The Agency, reports the news of the disappearance...

...which catches the Disposal Team in traffic.  Nice to see the HMMWV again, even if Iwamura is a little peeved at all the Toyotas and Hondas in his way.

See?  I told you it was CSI: Tokyo, but did you listen?  Noooooooooo!  Venkman, Stantz and Spengler here are from The Agency, and I guess they're trying to figure out just what possessed Yomi (nyuk, I made a funny!) to break out.  Though the guy on the left might just be trying to get better TV reception, I'm not sure.

An understandably distraught Kagura ends up back at school, where she tells her friends about what she did to Yomi.  Yacchin does what any good pal would do, and gives the Schoolgirl in White a box of Pocky, while the other girl gives a speech about how friends can often have little spats, and Kagura will just have to love Yomi even more when she comes back.  Of course, most friends aren't highly skilled swordswomen, nor do they have immense Spirit Beasts at their beck and call, but the thought was nice.

Meanwhile, Uncle has wasted no time at all in taking over YDad's office, though how he gets any work done with that nuclear-powered lamp on his desk is entirely beyond me.  Didn't we see a shot like this a few episodes ago?  All we need to make it complete is...

Ah, there we go.  At this point, I have to admit that I have little sympathy for Uncle and he deserves whatever is about to happen to him.

That's no way to treat a bookshelf, however. 

It's like staring into an arc welder, that lamp is.  And yes, all you fanservice people out there, I did try to clear the picture up as much as I could.  Wait, what does that make me?  The conversation between the Schoolgirl in Black (though at this particular moment she's not in anything at all) and Uncle goes something like this:
SiB: Beg for your life.
Uncle: W-w-w-what?
SiB: Not good enough.
Mercifully, Ga-Rei Zero draws a curtain over what's about to occur, and we cut to...

The Big Bad hisownself, perched high atop the downtown Burger King Tokyo Tower.  He's actually admiring his handiwork with the Flaming Armadillo downtown, when he hears the pitter-patter of little feets behind him.

It's KDad, having tracked down the thing that killed his wife and friend.  After denying that he's there for revenge, he tries to throw an enchanted dagger-dart-thingy through the Big Bad, who turns into a swarm of butterflies and flies away... and I've just discovered that in Japan, hordes of butterflies are viewed as bad omens.  Huh.  Guess the symbolism does make sense, then... just one of those cultural differences that pop up every so often when Americans watch anime.

Speaking of Flaming Armadillos, the Disposal Team has finally made it on-site... including Mr Laser Weasel.  Iwamura decides to distract the Cat B beastie with a headlong suicide charge in the HMMWV.  zOMGtankrushkekeke!  The Armadillo follows them, and is lead directly towards their secret weapon...

...a schoolgirl in a white seifuku, named Kagura.  We're doomed.

I'd just like to point out that with this shot, we've now come full circle and caught up to Episode 02.

Of course, the Schoolgirl in White is munching on every Exorcist's favorite chocolate-covered biscuit stick from Glico, Pocky!

Yes, this is the episode where I took the screencap I've used all series long from.  There just had to have been promotional considerations involved here.  (I just noticed that if you do a search for "ga-rei zero pocky", my Episode 02 post is on the second page of results.)

So Kagura faces down the Flaming Armadillo...

...and with one swing of the sword, splits her opponent in twain.  Just like before.

Afterwards, she's giving up hope on Yomi ever answering the phone again.  Damn that AT&T.

Mr Laser Weasel shows up, and they discuss the disappearance.  Kagura blames herself (as well she should!), Noriyuki points out that he has proof that Yomi was attacked and that "we all should have trusted her more."  He's sure that she'll be coming back, too.

Awwww... just what lil' emogirl needed, a pat on the head and a skritch behind the ears.  Then gunshots ring out, and screams.

The Grunts!  The grunts have returned!  We've missed you, guys... but you look a little... um... different?  It's a good look for you, though!  Guys?  Hey?  Why are you eating that civilian's arm?  A raging firefight breaks out.

Kazuki seems unconcerned.

Oh.  Never mind.  But then...

...a swift moving figure blurs through the ranks of The Agency.

A figure in black. 

Ew.  Let us spare a moment of thought for the city street cleaners.  They're going to come to work in the morning and find this carnage waiting for them... and there's no way just a little bit of windex is going to take care of it.  Still, this is Tokyo, well practiced in the art of cleaning up after kaiju attacks.  In comparison to Godzilla droppings, this would probably be a piece of cake.

But all is not well in Tokyo.  The Disposal Team feels a powerful, evil, energy wave.  They turn to face the enemy...

Uh-oh.  It's the Schoolgirl in Black, she's finished off a bunch of grunts, and suddenly Kagura's cellphone begins ringing... must not be AT&T then.

"Walgreens?  My prescription is ready?  But I haven't called it in yet!"

"'Allo, Kaa-goor-ah."  Really, it's impressive how much malice the seiyuu put into this bit of Engrish, while still keeping Yomi's voice somewhat lighthearted at the same time.

And then everybody's radio crackle to life.  It's The Boss, declaring Yomi a Category A supernatural beastie herself.

"Exorcise and eliminate it!"  Reactions of shock and surprise amongst the Disposal Team, with Mr Laser Weasel's "Yomi... why???" being the most poignant. 

The Schoolgirl in Black gives a small laugh and draws Shishiou, which means only one thing.

Houkoha!  Our heroes react the way you'd expect them to: "Oh shi---!"  They bug out just in time, but before they get turned into a fine paste, the Schoolgirl in Black grabs a hold of Ranguren and they leap off into the night.  As they do, the rumble of hundreds of feet on pavement begins to build.

Isayama has the best line of the bunch: "What a day."

"You think you've had a bad day?  This morning, my wife tells me that she's sleeping with my best friend, my son is a hikikomori, I haven't seen my dog, and now I'm a damn zombie.  THAT'S a bad day.  Oh, and brainnnnnnns!"  Our heroes prepare for battle, while Kagura and Noriyuki go after the Schoolgirl in Black.

Magnum?  Screw that... eat your heart out, Smith & Wesson!

"Believe in me that believes in you!  Mine is a drill that will... oh, never mind."

"I've got a strongly worded letter in my briefcase for you!"  Is that Abe Lincoln there on the right?

Wow, the potholes in Tokyo are almost as big as the ones around Duckford!  Kagura and Noriyuki head into the tunnels beneath the city, as they're sure the Schoolgirl in Black is down there.

Awesome weapon moment.  They're not just drill gauntlets...

...they're ROCKET drill gauntlets!  One would think that the exhaust would singe Iwahata somewhat, but that just points out how cool he is.

Heck, even Kazuki is having a few cool moments in this melee, clubbing zombies with his briefcases left and right.  Until...

...oh.   I really don't think that a briefcase is going to make much of a dent here.

Down in the tunnels, Mr Laser Weasel and Kagura are trying to figure out just what happened to Yomi when the Schoolgirl in White says what we're all thinking: "She's not coming back, is she?"  Noriyuki replies with "Don't... just don't."  Of course, they come to a T-intersection and split up, at which point every logical viewer starts screaming "NO!  DON'T DO IT!" at their screen, and every fan of slasher movies reaches for the popcorn and Sno-Caps.

Noriyuki runs, following a laser weasel that leads him right to the Schoolgirl in Black.

"So... you came after all.  You didn't visit me in the hospital, though.  Well, that's no surprise.  Nobody wants to go out with a murderer who can't speak or move properly for the rest of her life."

"I'm sorry."  Oh, good one, Mr Laser Weasel.  That'll convince her all right.  Sheesh.

The Schoolgirl in Black throws him a dagger-dart-thingy and says, quite calmly, "kill me.  It's your job, right?  Eliminate those that would bring the taint of death to the human world?  Well, right now, I'M the taint of death.  So kill me."  And yet, he can't do it.  He nearly breaks down under the constant pummeling of "kill me."

"If you don't kill me, I'll kill him."  So THAT'S what Ranguren was doing, eh?  I have a feeling that this is going to be the last we'll see of Kazuki.

"I'll be honest.  I always thought of him as a bother.  Always intruding on the time you and I had together."  Third wheels are never popular, are they?

Though this might be a little extreme.  Mr Laser Weasel begs her to stop it... and she agrees?  That, I did not expect.

"All you have to do is kill me."  Oh.  Kazuki, of course, has seen the light, and is (metaphorically) on his hands and knees, begging Noriyuki to kill her. 

Better say goodbye, Kazuki, because it's pretty clear that Noriyuki is suffering an epic BSOD.

So in an attempt to reboot his brain, the Schoolgirl in Black cuts off one of Kazuki's legs.

"Kill me.  Kill me!  KILL ME!!!" 

"KILL ME!!!"  And with that, the death stone starts glowing.  It appears that Yomi still is inside the Schoolgirl in Black somewhere, fighting it.  And losing, unfortunately for Kazuki.

*squelch* ...and then she begins to walk slowly towards Noriyuki...

Jumpcut to: the epic swordfight between the Schoolgirl in White and the Schoolgirl in Black.

"That guy won't be coming to save you, you know...

"...because he was a coward, in the end."

Oh dear. 

In a last-ditch effort to escape, Kagura throws her sword, severing a gas main.  Kaboom!  Crispy Schoolgirl Flambe!

Except she summons Ranguren, who simply blocks the explosion.  Barely musses her hime cut.

Exhausted, beaten, but alive, Kagura stumbles out of the tunnels, gasping for breath.

Oh, SHI-...

Ever have a bad day at work?  Well, that ain't nuthin' compared to the sort of day Kagura is having.  Her friends are either dead, about to die, or turned to the dark side, her hand has been bitten by a huge spirit beastie, and she's unarmed.  In comparison to that, spilling coffee on yourself and being chewed out by the boss because the quarterly report was late is a walk in the park!

You've got to hand it to the production studio and their attention to details.  Not only does the Schoolgirl in Black slowly cut open Kagura's seifuku, but they took the time to show that her bra was slashed as well.  Let's all give a round of applause to AIC, because they truly deserve it for all the sneaky fanservice they've slipped into this show.

Still, the Schoolgirl in Black makes it perfectly clear that Kagura is about to die.  Tears in her eyes, the Schoolgirl in White asks "Why... why," ending with an empassioned "why, Yomi-onii-chan?"

"DON'T CALL ME THAT!!!"  Sword slashing noise...

...and the Schoolgirl in Black cuts a dagger-dart-thingy that was aimed directly at her back in half.  Wha?

"My, oh my.  KDad." 

Fade to black, roll credits.

"My, oh my" indeed.  I've read reviews of this episode here and there that say that it was a throwaway, just a repaint of Episode 02.  To me, this "repaint" was important, as it fills in the gaps from that episode, not mentioning the fact that we've finally progressed beyond it now.  I was impressed with the way the scriptwriters took us "back in time" and worked us up to now, giving us all the backstory to understand just what happened before Episode 02.  And even though we knew what was going to happen, it's still been interesting.  That's good storytelling, and nothing but.

And with the first "new" episode coming up, what do we get to look forward to?  A Byakuei/Ranguren battle!  Now that should be epic.  See you then!

Posted by: Wonderduck at 12:20 AM | Comments (4) | Add Comment
Post contains 2341 words, total size 22 kb.

1 Whoa.  Doin' your best to turn me to the anime side....

Posted by: The Old Man at March 04, 2010 11:30 AM (+LRPE)

2 Is there any possibility of this ending well for anyone (except the main villain)?

This show strikes me as very depressing, as well as horrifying, and not just because of what that pretty-boy SOB did to Mei and Yomi.  There's a larger issue here; if I understand this correctly, the Agency is the only thing standing between humanity and the Cute Blue Butterflies of Doom.  And we're watching the Agency get defeated in detail.

Posted by: Peter the Not-so-Great at March 04, 2010 04:50 PM (c62wM)

3 Old Man, come join the Anime Side... we have cookies.

Peter, "ending well" is a rather vaporous concept.  The way it's going, if any member of The Agency survives, it'd have to be considered a win.  Horrifying, yes... considering that it's a horror show, that's appropriate.  But depressing?  Y'know, I've watched it all the way through once, then 10 episodes in exquisite detail to get screenshots, and "depressing" isn't a term I'd use for it, unless you consider movies like Saving Private Ryan or Otoko Tachi no Yamato depressing.

Because the more time I spend with it, the more I think of it as a war movie.  You've got the Disposal Team playing the part of the squad of soldiers.  The enemy doesn't have rifles and tanks, but screaming trees and flaming armadillos, but the concept is the same.

In a way, it's a sad show, but not depressing.  Yet. 

But you're right about the Butterflies of Doom... and while The Agency isn't the only battleline out there (the Ministry of Defense has their Grunts, after all), it's certainly the most effective.  And they're still getting beaten.  Dramatic, no?

Posted by: Wonderduck at March 04, 2010 07:12 PM (mfPs/)

4
Is there any possibility of this ending well for anyone (except the main villain)?
Don't forget that is anime was supposedly created as a "prequel" for a popular manga, so surely someone will survive.  Maybe it's the box of Pocky stix? 

Posted by: Siergen at March 04, 2010 09:39 PM (NDp0G)

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