Suspended Animation Dreams

January 28, 2012, 8:52 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized


As A Kanokon Fan, That OVA Really Did Suck [Minor NSFW]
February 27, 2010, 10:39 pm
Filed under: Anime, Kanokon, Manatsu no Daishanikusai | Tags: , , ,

I know, UltraEternalBlackout did a post about it sucking on this site already, but the post comes with a massive grain of salt when you look at how seriously UEB takes Kanokon as a whole, and how hyper-active this post is. Well, I assure you that he’s very right. The Kanokon OVA is one of those rare additions to a series that doesn’t just suck, but actually tarnishes the source material in a way. I find it rather surprising that the same director and writer of the series produced the OVA, because I honestly feel like they didn’t even understand the core series.

What I love about Kanokon is that the series is very sexually ‘open’. The characters deal immediately with the fact that the way they behave is not accepted in their surroundings, but they are in love enough not to care. In the series, it’s rather obvious that Kouta really wants to bone Chizuru. When he tells her ‘no’, it’s in the ‘no means yes’ way that Japanese women always use in bed. He doesn’t really resist her (even in the first episode he explains to the class rep that ‘it’s not like I don’t enjoy it.’) That’s what makes Kouta fun – he’s trying his hardest to not be seen as a pervert, but he IS a pervert, as all men are, so he can’t help but be drawn in (to Chizuru’s tits).

The OVA is ignorant of this. In the OVA, Kouta outright denies Chizuru’s sexual advances. He acts like he doesn’t love her, like he isn’t a pervert, but some kind of prude. I have a hard time seeing this as the same character who is fun to watch in the series.

This, I admit, was awesome.

And the OVA utterly lacks substance. Now, I’m not trying to say that the series was a shining example of substance. I’m also not going to say that the fanservice wasn’t something that the series spent a lot of time on. I’ve made a case for Strike Witches before wherein I stated that while the fanservice is ever-present, it doesn’t get in the way of the show’s plot at all, so the fault of being distracted is more on the viewer (same can be said of Queen’s Blade.) This is not true for Kanokon – there really is time taken out of the episodes for fanservice. However, there is also plot, and comedy, and other things to keep things interesting. Some episodes had fights, some had warm messages of togetherness, and some had some genuinely hilarious comedy. This OVA has none of those. It’s like a cold and calculated attempt to throw out fanservice and cash in on the series’ success.

But we don’t NEED that. There was enough fanservice in the main Kanokon series, there’s no point to rehashing it for another hour in an OVA with no substance. It would be so much more fulfilling to just watch the series over again, and have just as much fap-worthy material along with your fun plot and characters.

I think I get what this OVA was supposed to be. I’ve seen plenty of these ‘slow summer day’ episodes of anime. Kyoto Animation is the master of them, having had ones in Haruhi and in the K-On! OVA (sans summer for winter), and even in those good ones, there are still people who will say that they are worthless, reasonably. I think it’s nice to be introspective sometimes, because it lets you really recognize the show at it’s barest level and perhaps come to appreciate exactly what it is that you like about the series… but Kanokon’s OVA is not successful as a ‘slow summer day’ episode because it just isn’t Kanokon. If it had instead captured the core elements of the series that made it fun to watch, it could have been a success, but instead it is a boring and trite failure.

Best Trap Ever: Saitou Ayumi
February 6, 2010, 8:22 pm
Filed under: Anime, Shion no Ou, Trap | Tags: , , ,

female ver.

I know that none of you fuckers have seen or probably even heard of Shion no Ou, a fall 2007 anime about shougi and murder that went superbly under-the-radar, because finding images of Saitou Ayumi is  harder than finding pictures of a trap character should ever be. Now, let me talk about why I think the blue-haired beauty is the best trap ever.

male ver.

I’ve always had one problem with traps and the people who love them, which is that traps are, for all intents and purposes, usually female. They tend to look like a (hot) girl, act like a girl, have a chirpy female seiyuu, and are completely gay. Now, how hard is it to fall into that trap, really? It’s not even a trap, because it’s easy to defend your sexuality when the character might as well be a female anyway. For instance, one of my favorite traps is Peppo from Gankutsou, but Peppo looks, sounds, and acts so much like a girl that I’m half-convinced she’s not even a real trap at all! The Animanachronism once made a great point that traps are only really ‘men’ insofar as the canon demands it, as if we just ignore that it’s a boy (or don’t even know) then it would be pretty hard to be called gay for finding it attractive.

female and male

Here’s where Saito Ayumi differs from the crowd. While Ayumi is believable as a girl, she is more believable as a guy. It is revealed to the viewer that Ayumi is a guy right in the middle of the first episode, even going so far as to show him with his shirt open to absolutely confirm this fact. And the truth is, while Ayumi is a pretty girl, it’s not hard to believe she’s a guy when you know it already. She isn’t very feminine, and she’s just a bit more sturdily built than most women – not to the point that you would doubt it was a woman, but just enough to not be surprised by the contrary. What’s more, Ayumi doesn’t sound like a girl. Sure, it’s a female seiyuu, but it’s Paku Fucking Romi! She’s played more young men than she has women! Paku Romi’s career is practically centered on the fact that she can convincingly play young men who actually sound male, but haven’t quite cracked their voice yet. Once again, Romi’s voice isn’t enough to make you go ‘that’s a guy’ on first site, but once you know it’s a guy, then she’s not doing a lot to convince you otherwise.

this image doesn't really do justice to his masculinity... or height.

The point is, if you still find Ayumi attractive, you have truly fallen into a trap. Ayumi is shown in male ‘form’ plenty of times, including shirtless, has a male voice, and is convincingly male even when dressed as a woman. But you know what? I’d still fall for the trap. Ayumi is a great character, which helps to give him another edge over most traps who tend to be side characters or gags. He is actually one of the most interesting characters in Shion no Ou and has a great personality that, while distinctly male, is also kind of cute in it’s own way. Ayumi would be like the ultimate ‘bridge’ trap. As I see it, most traps will convince you of your ability to ignore canon in your adoration of a character design. Ayumi is a trap that might convince you that you’re gay.

(For the record, Hideyoshi is a pretty good one for the same reasons, but he’s not as much of a solid character as Ayumi is.)

Otoyomegatari is ART and it is Spectacular
January 27, 2010, 3:11 am
Filed under: Kaoru Mori, Manga, Otoyomegatari | Tags: , , ,

back the fuck up, that's all hand-drawn?!

I learned of Otoyomegatari yesterday from 2-D Teleidoscope, who briefly riffed about it’s plot and astounding artwork, and particularly caught my interest with the note that the series starred a married couple of a 20 year-old woman married to a 12 year-old boy. No, this isn’t a shocker or smut rag, it’s a slice-of-life story from 18th century nomadic Persia, and it is wonderful.

But there’s not a lot to say about it – the story is a slow, sweet little slice-of-life tale about a bunch of extremely likable characters. The titular wife in question is consistently full of fun surprises such as her tomboyishness, extreme marksmanship, and general dere-dere attitude, and everyone else just teems with jollyness. The only time that a violent conflict occurs (the latest translated chapter, number 8) it is a bloodless one as the opposing sides don’t want to get into a long-standing battle. The manga desperately holds onto it’s light-hearted nature, which is good, because I’d really hate to see it go!

And the wife is fucking GAR

Anyway, the manga is in many ways less like a story the artist really wanted to tell, and more like one she really wanted to draw. Artwork is far more important to this series than the story (not that the story isn’t brilliant) and when you read it, you’ll definitely be awed. The amount of detail in every single image of this manga is unfathomable. Every shot is crisp, beautiful, incredible, and looks like it took a damn eternity to draw, what with all the detail! However, I was lucky enough to stumble upon a little something that helped me appreciate the art even more.

...and moe, too!

It so happens that there are a series of videos out there that chronicle artist Kaoru Mori‘s process as she creates one of the full-page illustrations. Watching it in action is un. fucking. believable. Even with the time-skips in the video, it is easy to see that the image as a whole takes Mori-sensei less than 2 hours from blank page to completed project. Her speed is ridiculous because she draws with such an utter sureness that could only come through years of perfecting her craft. Mori-sensei literally races down the page with her hand, etching in details faster than the eye can see and creating so assuredly that one would say her imagination goes straight into her hand without second thought. The ability to draw each and every line with such speed and without a single error is near-godlike. There is only even one instance in which she pulls out a ruler, and it is to create the string on the bow that goes behind the character’s back. Everything else just appears like magic onto the page.

OMG! I can has?!

Otoyomegatari is a great manga for a number of reasons – personally, it appeals to my strange love for any kind of off-cutler marriage/relationship that actually works well, and is so much fun that it’s hard to fault with anything. However, the true reason to read it is that the artwork is like none you’ll ever see from another manga. Mori-sensei is really in a league of her own.

Massugu Go! TO WAR

1340 AD. The Kingdom of Seioh.

‘Twas early one morning on the vast plains of Seioh when Amamiya Manami, dubbed ‘Manabi the Great‘ by her warriors, stood atop her horse in surveillance of the vast army standing strong before her. Ten thousand men and women, ready, willing, prepared to fight. Every face was full of vigor as they looked up at their commander, who was standing perfectly straight atop her mount with arms crossed and an expression that told any opponent how she would not be moved. On her front line were four of her best soldiers on horseback. Odori Momoha, also known as ‘Momo the Lightning‘, the archer who fought in close quarters and could load an opponent full of holes before they’d have time to draw their blade. Uehara Mutsuki, also known as ‘Mucchi the Brave‘, a soldier whose resilience and speed were equally unequaled. Etoh Mei, also known as ‘Mei the Sage‘, the greatest tactician in Manabi’s army. And finally, Manabi’s closest friend, Inamori Mika, also known as ‘Mikan the Unstoppable‘, whose kill count was said to account for 30% of the army’s success in battle. All four warriors smiled up at their wise leader, who smiled in return with a nod before summoning her breath for a speech to her soldiers.

“Soldiers of Seioh! On this day, we face the greatest battle in the history of our people. In recent years, our numbers have grown fewer, and the new generations fear the battlefields, turning instead to more simple careers. While I am saddened by the slow death of the soldier, I am also happy to see that our people are moving away from the battlefield and towards a period of peace. It is our duty to our countrymen to protect that peace! As soldiers, we are the ones tasked with the responsibility of ending this war, and we WILL live up to that responsibility! We are strong! We are brave! We do not back down from our duty, and we fulfill it with passion! If you stand here still today, it is because you have a dream to follow. A dream of battle! A dream of victory! And you will not be satisfied until you grasp that victory or die trying with all of your strength! Never give up! Never stop moving forward! Every one of us has a dream to fulfill on this day, and every one of us will live that dream! We are the warriors of Seioh! Our souls are filled with a hunger that can only be fed with the blood of our enemies! HEAR ME NOW! WE WILL BE VICTORIOUS!”

“HAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!” Manabi’s army roared. Their energy consumed the morning air and was thick until palpable. Every man and woman was ready to explode with fury and carnage upon their foes. It was as if they could not wait for the order to go into battle – every fiber of their beings was vibrating until it resembled physical movement. Even the horses on which they rode were brimming with excitement. Manabi punched her fist into the air and roared with all of her might.

“MASSUGU GOOOOOOO!!!!!!!” With a call so loud and vicious that enemies would cower for miles at it’s sound, Manabi’s army erupted forth and charged down the field in pursuit of the opposing army who was just visible in the distance. Their might quaked the very earth as ten thousand horses beat across the field, and at the head of the pack, Manabi the Great remained standing, arms crossed, atop her horse, her skirt and hair whipping in the breeze. She had no weapon. She had no armor. She had no need for either. They closed in on the enemy with unbelievable speed.

“Just how many approach?!” a terrified enemy soldier begged of those around him. “That must be the sound of one hundred thousand men! I’ve never heard such a roar of battle!!!” Many of the enemy soldiers were terrified to their bones. At the very sight of Manabi the Great coming into focus, some of the soldiers turned to run. Their commander, an older, bearded man, called out over the crowd, barely audible beneath the enormity of sound from Manabi’s army.

“Stand your ground, men! They are only ten-thousand men to our fifty-thousand! CHARGE!!!” The men who weren’t cowards charged into battle, turning the runners around with them. The gap between armies was closed in mere moments – and within those moments, the battle had already begun. The instant the enemies were in-range, Momo the Lightning had opened a volley of arrows whose rate of fire was beyond comprehension. Her arrows were several feet longer and several inches thicker than any normal ones and could easily pierce any enemy’s armor, tearing opponents to shreds. Further at the back of Manabi’s group, another fleet of archers on horseback had launched their volley and rained death from the sky. Before the armies ever met, the enemy had lost a hundred men and most of their front line. Not one of the enemy’s arrows had taken a Seioh soldier’s life. The few who were hit tore the arrows from their bodies and kept moving.

Finally, the front-lines of both armies smashed together with a thunderous clash and the sounds of grinding metal filled the air. Manabi, however, did not waste her time on the front-line, which she knew would be reduced to nothing before long. Instead, she rocketed herself from her horse, flipping gallantly into the air and landing right in the thick of enemy soldiers. No weapons. No armor. Just the five feet of her young female body and her two fists. The enemy was frightened, but also baffled. Thinking that this was their lucky break, several lancers on horseback thrust their weapons at the young commander.

It was their last mistake. Manabi caught the blades of four spears in-between the fingers of her hands. Before any of the men could react, she tightened her grip on the blades and yanked them all forward, dragging each man off of their horse and into the air. Her next move was faster than the human eye could realize. As they fell, Manabi punched one man in the chest, instantly shattering his armor and blasting his torso to smithereens, then spun around, delivering a high kick to the next man’s head that took it clean off and sent it flying a hundred feet into the crowd, then took one of the still-falling spears and rammed it through the next man’s gut, and with his body still stuck on the end, swung the spear like a baseball bat and pulverized the fourth soldier to an extent that his entire body exploded, leaving only chunks and blood. She thrust her spear downward to shake the dead body from it and took a stance, begging any enemy to approach her in the face of this massacre. The enemy soldiers couldn’t even tell what had happened – to them, it appeared to be some kind of magic, and a pocket immediately formed around Manabi, who no man dared approach.

“God damn it, you bunch of pussies! Get out of my way!” A deep and burly voice slurred and a lone rider emerged from the crowd of soldiers into what was now Manabi’s own arena. It was an enormous bear of a man with a long, braided beard and an axe on his back that was the breadth of Manabi’s entire body. “Little girl! You have shown that you are a powerful warrior, but you’ll have no chance against Bear Man Jack!”

Manabi smirked. “We’ll see.”

Meanwhile, on the front line, the enemy commander was calling out frenzied orders over the chaos that his army had become. “Attack them! Get into formation, men! We cannot loose our defense!” It was hopeless. His commands were literally falling on dead ears. Mucchi the brave was sailing alone through the crowd of his soldiers on a straight line, dodging spears and swords and decapitating masses of men who found themselves dead before their attacks ever came near their target. Elsewhere, Momo the Lightning had abandoned her own horse and was flipping and jumping through the air off of the backs of enemy’s horses, destroying their riders as she went. At point-blank range, one of her arrows could shoot through a man’s head, down through his and his horse’s body, and into the ground below.

However, the true terror of the battlefield was Mikan the Unstoppable. It was thanks to her that bodies and half-torsos were being propelled through the air left and right and wave after wave of enemies were decimated in the blink of an eye. She tore her way through opponents with her massive blade, the legendary Dragonslayer. It was truly less of a sword and more a slab of iron, but she handled it with such strength and speed that no enemy stood a chance or even knew what was coming.

The enemy commander had grown so baffled that he could no longer fight. “PULL BACK! PULL BACK!” He cried, but there was no one to hear him. As he turned once more to face the Seioh army, a lone soldier on horseback appeared before him, startling him so much that he nearly fell to the ground. It was a long-haired woman with a spear in hand, smiling triumphantly. The legendary tactician, Mei the Sage!

“You are this army’s commander, correct?” She beckoned. “Your head is mine!”

The commander sighed. “Don’t think I’ll go down without a fight!” He charged her with his spear in a long and powerful thrust, but Mei had perfect control of her mount and sidestepped the blow to put herself directly parallel to the enemy commander. Before he could turn to face her, she promptly drew the blade at her side and lopped his head clean off, catching it in mid-air with her off-hand as she sheathed her blade.

“Told you.” She turned her horse back towards her men, then stood atop it’s back, holding the severed head high in the sky for all of her soldiers to see. “HAAAHH!” She roared, and her army howled gleefully in reply as they continued their perilous charge into the fray of chaos. The battle was theirs – all that was left was to finish up.

Manabi jumped back in a rolling dodge as Bear Man Jack’s unbelievably large axe cleaved the earth at his feet. She dashed in for a punch, but Jack readied his axe to guard just in time and then crushed his massive fist into Manabi’s face, careening her body across the ground. Some of the men who’d stuck around to see the fight whooped and hollered at what appeared to be their ace in the hole. As Manabi began to rise to her feet, the axe came in low at a horizontal slash, which she barely ducked back down to dodge. Jack focused the momentum of his swing into another one, but this time Manabi jumped the blade and landed on it’s flat side, riding the swing. Immediately as Jack turned to face her, Manabi’s body spun with all of her force and brought her leg down on him like a hammer, smashing his skull so hard that his head exploded and her leg was lodged firmly in the hole where his neck would have been. Bear Man Jack’s massive body remained standing, axe still in hand, a symbol of his strength, but not of the skill that failed him. As Manabi wrenched her foot from the bloody hole left in Jack’s body, the few men who had stuck around promptly fled in absolute terror.

It was only a matter of time before the battle was won. Any enemy who did not flee was mercilessly slaughtered, and all survivors would be haunted by the nightmares of the Seioh army, whose legend they would pass down through every generation of their families. The land of Seioh stood proud and enjoyed hundreds of years of peace as no army dared near it’s border. On that final day of battle, Manabi lost only a twentieth of her army, and her soldiers were able to enjoy long lives of peace in their hometowns. As for her greatest men, Mucchi the Brave became the state chief of police, Momo the Lightning became the minister of defense, and Mikan the Unstoppable left Seioh to travel the world and find great warriors to do battle with. As for Mei the Sage, she became the chief adviser to Queen Manabi, the greatest ruler of Seioh, who brought her nation to prosperity and ruled for the rest of her life.

The End.

The Darkness of Hatsune Miku

Deep in the heart of the city at The End of the World at the darkest of the dark hours in the basement laundry room of the dankest of apartment buildings, Hatsune Miku waited. A fluorescent light hummed lightly and occasionally flickered as it’s dying strength struggled to illuminate the small room. Two sets of washer and dryer consumed the whole of the east wall, and opposite of it was a plank of wood posing as a bench the length of the west wall. It was on this bench that Miku sat, turning her eyes back and forth from the door atop a staircase to her left and a very tiny window slit at the top of the parallel wall where it just peeked above the street level.

Someone was late, and Miku hated for people to be late. And who’s idea was it to meet in a fucking basement, anyway?! She was fidgety. Her watch read 2:15 – she was getting fed up. The plan was for her to wait in this laundry room with the window open for someone to deliver a package to her through the hole. It seemed like a stupid plan altogether, but her boss, Dark Holy, insisted it was for the best since she didn’t know the person who delivered the job personally. “We’ll go along with it, and if shit gets fishy, I’ll station a sniper and one of my men around the area.”

Things were definitely officially fucking fishy. However, Miku was sure that if something went wrong then she’d either hear a gunshot or be approached by one of her teammates to tell her that the mission was compromised. She decided to give it a little more time, though her gut was against it.

12:30. Now she was fucking worried, and she wasn’t going to sit around a moment longer. Just as she got up to leave, though, something finally came through the window.

Something she didn’t want to see.

A human head.

“FUCK!” She screamed, recognizing the face of the sniper who she’d seen with Dark Holy at the briefing. She immediately drew her gun and turned to make a dash from the room when the door violently burst open and a man with a gun in his outstretched hand stepped forward. She recognized him instantly. She’d never met him before, but she’d heard the rumors – that blue hair, the white suit, and the long scarf – it was the legendary Phantom Killer Kaito! His face was full of sick glee as he aimed his gun right between Miku’s eyes.

“I only think it’s fair to send a warning to someone I’m about to kill. It wouldn’t be very sportsmanlike to just come in here, guns blazing, and fuck all your shit up before you even know what hits you.”

“What the fuck do you want?!” Miku bit back, showing no fear or hesitation in her tone.

“Ohoho? I came for a party. I heard a tip that the Shotgun Squad contracted a job with Dark Holy’s little gang, and boy did that ever sound suspicious! Sure enough, I found a man nearby walking around with a bomb and another couple of guys with big guns waiting to see what happened. But I just couldn’t wrap my head around such a big setup to kill one guy. I know the Shotgun boys are a bunch of idiots, but they must be after something! And look who it is! Hatsune God Damn Miku, one of the fiercest gunmen in Dark Holy’s little personal army! I couldn’t pass up the chance to-“

Miku opened fire – Kaito did too – their bullets collided in mid-air six times as they ran toward each-other mid-gunfire and emptied their clips, tossing their guns aside as they met and throwing simultaneous right hooks into each-other’s faces. Neither budget. Miku looked pissed. Kaito looked delighted. A few more punches flew, colliding in mid-air with force so strong that the air around the collisions pulsated. After several collisions, Miku twisted her body inward toward kaito and thrust her left elbow into his chest with unstoppable crushing force, the strength of which ripped his feet from the ground and blasted him back through the doorway and halfway down the dark hall of the apartment building above. Kaito, in flight, put all of his strength into his legs and slammed them down to screech to a halt. Just as he was stopping, though, Miku had already leaped the distance in one clear bound, fist clenched and raised, and proceeded to crunch a punch clear into Kaito’s face, rocketing him off once again, this time so fast and hard that he broke through the front door of the building as it splintered to pieces and continued across the street and into the front of the adjacent building with such force as to crater it’s cement wall on impact.

Kaito grinned wildly and wiped the blood from his lip with his thumb. Miku emerged from the doorway into the dark street where the sparse crowd of passerbys was either staring in disbelief or scrambling to escape from what was about to become a disaster area. Kaito and Miku faced off.

“You’re as good as they say!” Kaito laughed.

“And you’re as insane.”

“This fight goes to the death. It’s too late for walking away.”

“I figured as much.” Miku spat to the side and then assumed a fighting stance. Kaito smiled and did the same. There was a long silence as the two stared one-another down, analyzing their stances and waiting for the tension of the strike. Miku’s eyes narrowed. Kaitou’s widened. Then, without warning, both suddenly sprang into action and charged at one another, both landing vicious blows on vital areas immediately, but neither succumbing to the attack. It immediately became a barrage of blows from both sides. Their fists were unchained. Crunch after smash after crush could be heard as their bodies destroyed one another without pause. The pressure of their blows reverberated through the atmosphere and was audible. The sounds carried through the streets of the city and the pure force shattered the windows of nearby buildings and dented the pavement beneath their feet. Pure rage and madness radiated from Miku and Kaito respectively and the constant exchange of blows carried on for upward of an hour.

Finally, both warriors, now beaten and covered in bloody bruises, stepped back from one another for a moment. Their breaths were heavy, but the rage and madness in their faces had not subsided in the slightest. Kaito spoke first.

“This is getting us nowhere. Don’t you carry any weapons? Besides guns, of course.”

“Depends. What have you got?”

Kaito reached back and pulled something from a large holster on the back of his belt. It was a cluster of what could almost have been mistaken for dynamite were it not for the distinct wooden color. He grabbed one of the single wooden cylinders and threw his arm out – the rest flung out and then pulled together to form a seven-foot bo staff, which he twirled a few times and then took into a stance. “I’ve got this. You?”

“Heh. Lucky me, I’ve got a haldberd.” Miku stretched her arm skyward and snapped her fingers. A blue mist appeared in the air above her and from seemingly nowhere, a long shaft began to materialize. Moments later, a halberd had taken shape and promptly fell into Miku’s hand, where she gripped it, twirled it, and took her own stance. “You’re not gunna bitch about mine having a blade, are you?”

“No, but I do want to know how the fuck you just did that.”

“It’s a special halberd. It’s not any stronger than a normal one, but it can do stuff like this.” Miku struck the butt of her halberd against the ground and all of a sudden Kaito and Miku were standing in a void of white. Kaito blinked. It took a moment for things to register.

“I guess this is why you have such a fine reputation!” He practically sang, encompassed in the delight of this amazing fight.

“If you’re not ready to give up, can we get this thing over with now?”

“But of course!” Kaito sprang forward, thrusting his staff out in attack and then spinning as Miku side-stepped the blow so that he could crush into her with the other side. Miku blocked the attack to the right with both hands on her weapon and directed a spinning kick to Kaito’s unguarded side. The blow hurled Kaito away from her and the momentum of her spin allowed her to twirl into the air, bringing the blade of the halberd above her head and then soaring down at her opponent. Kaito regained his stance in time to guard his head with the staff, but the force of the blow knocked him off-balance and Miku lowered herself for a straight stab at his torso. Rather than try to regain footing and block, Kaito let himself fall to the ground, just slipping under the blade as it nearly caught his face, and kicked upward, pressing his foot into Miku’s exposed gut and propelling her with enough force to flip her over him and land her on her back against whatever invisible ground lay beneath.

Both fighters sprang to their feet in a huge motion, immediately spinning with their weapons in an arc at one another and clashing them together so hard that the force of both blows carried past the weapons and created cuts on the bodies of both warriors. Weapons still against one another, they both pressed forward with all their might, hoping to knock the other off-balance. Miku clenched her teeth at the sight of Kaito’s madly grinning face. It was time for this to end. Both warriors sprang back, and the very second that either met the ground, they then rocketed forward at the greatest speed that either could muster. To the untrained eye, it would have appeared that they’d passed right by each-other, missing completely. This was not the case. The decisive blow had been struck. Both warriors had made no effort to defend themselves, using the whole of their strength to unleash the most powerful imaginable blow and hope that their weapon would be the first to connect. Neither turned to face the other. Neither lowered their weapon. They stood silently in their post-attack stances.

“You’ve lived up to the rumors, Hatsune Miku.” As these words escaped Kaitou’s mouth, an explosion of blood erupted from his chest and back simultaneously. The top half of his torso slid to the ground, and after a cascade of crimson, his other half followed. Miku finally stood up straight, letting go of her halberd as it de-materialized and the world of white began to fade back into color.

“So have you, Kaito.” Miku was now standing again in the dark street of the darkest of dark hours. She brushed her hair from her face, spat some blood to the side, and started her long walk back to the Ryugane’s home base where she’d report this incident and the death of the legendary Phantom Killer to her boss, Dark Holy. As she walked and began to feel the sting of some of her particularly harsh bruises, she glanced up at the black, always-cloudy sky of The End of the World. She smiled.

“I love this job.”

Bleach Chapter 385 – The Lie of Justice
December 11, 2009, 4:47 pm
Filed under: Bleach, Kobu Tite, Manga | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Tousen and Komamura begin their fight, with plenty of Tousen being a haughty jackass. He finally gives his meaning of justice; whereas he had lead Komamura to believe that justice came from forgiving the shinigami for killing his friend and fighting with them because he felt they were right, the truth was that his justice was revenge, and as such he had always been working with Aizen. He clarifies that forgiveness would have been ‘right’, but it would not have been ‘justice’ in his eyes.

Komamura’s justice is righteousness and forgiveness. As such, he forgives Tousen for his injustice and seeks to defeat him in the name of his own justice. Although Tousen yells ‘do not play god! I didn’t ask for your forgiveness!’ he misses the whole idea of forgiveness – you don’t need them to ask for it. True forgiveness will of course forgive everyone for their perceived ‘sins’ and allow them the justice that the practitioner feels they should enjoy. Komamura definitely has a sort of god complex, and he might be aware of this, which is not necessarily a bad thing. I wonder how Komamura feels about the fact that evil people who become hollows are sent to hell. Is that considered forgiveness? We’d have to know exactly what happens in Bleach’s ‘hell’ to know.

We do know, though, that death of the spirit turns you into spiritual energy that is whole with the planet. In many ways, death could be a form of forgiveness, though it would ultimately be the death of the consciousness and therefor not a forgiveness that the receiver could do anything with…. it’s all really up to the practitioner of justice to decide what they consider to be the appropriation of forgiveness. A person who believes that the spirit becomes one with the consciousness will surely consider it forgiveness while others may not.

I love how Tousen’s mask opens up in such a creepy way for him to shout his views. Breaking apart the pure white with the creepiness of evil is a perfect representation of his revelation of his kind of justice. Well-played.

We learn some new things about the various powers in this chapter – Shinji explains that his sword also effects the senses as he goes up against his old vice-captain, Aizen, though we don’t get to see the sword in action yet. We also learn that damage to Komamura’s bankai effects his own body as well. This certainly gives a better perspective on his he might be mortally wounded.

Pretty nice chapter, though I wish Kubo wouldn’t have teased with Shinji’s sword before cutting away. Ah well, looking forward to it!