Before we get to the grim business of this week’s episodes, some news: Site selection for the 2017 Worldcon is now fully operational, and regular readers may be interested in knowing that one of the sites in the running is Shizuoka, Japan.
With a small part of the current Hugo kerfuffle making its way into site selection, it’s worth mentioning that going to Shizuoka would put maximum distance between Worldcon and all principals in the war. But it’s also worth mentioning that any modifications to Hugo rules proposed in response would be voted on this year, ratified in 2016, and over and done with in 2017. So, seriously, just vote for Shizuoka because it would be a great place to have a Worldcon in its own right.
If you have dub-watching friends in the US or Canada, FUNimation has announced its “Broadcast Dub” lineup of spring season shows. This will include both The Heroic Legend of Arslan and Mikagura School Suite starting in late May or early June.
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders #43 – In case murdering Avdol and chopping his own head off to please Dio last week weren’t enough to persuade you that Vanilla Ice is both evil and insane, this week he kicks a dog nearly to death and maims the comedy-relief character until Polnareff is lashing out in uncontrolled anger. Convinced now?
No way around it, that was far and away the most brutal episode of JoJo to date. And with two more of our heroes nearly dead at best, Vanilla Ice has revealed very little in the way of useful weaknesses. You can see him coming if you fill the air with sand, and he’s vulnerable when he climbs out of the ball of negative energy, for definitions of “vulnerable” that include “able to keep fighting after taking a sword through the brain stem”.
After keeping everyone together and more or less in one piece for most of the series, JoJo seems to be rushing to stack up a few bodies toward the end. I’d bet on Joseph and Jōtarō surviving, and possibly no one else.
The Heroic Legend of Arslan #7 – The lesson of Arslan lately is that you shouldn’t attempt to abuse women in this world, because it will end badly for the abuser. If only. Last week it was the Queen’s decoy making a credible assassination attempt on the mysterious masked general; this week it’s Falangis sticking her attackers full of arrows, and a girl on the street turning out to be Elam in disguise.
Queen Tahamenay is not possessed of any fighting skills, but then again she doesn’t seem to need them. She’s able to change the Lusitanian king’s mind about her fate with a single look, which marks the second or third hint that magic may be sparse in this world but it does exist. (I’m still making up my mind about Gieve “sensing” soldiers watching him last week– lucky guess, good hearing, or was he literally detecting them with paranormal powers?) Rumor has it that she was the cause of a feud between Andragoras and his elder brother, and she may be at it again with Innocentis and his younger brother. Is it a power she has control over, or a curse of some sort?
Despite a few interesting points, this episode seemed to consist largely of expositionary dialogue. We’re halfway through the season now, but Arslan still has a ton of information to dump. You can tell this was adapted from a 12-book series. Thankfully, it looks like the prince and his companions are about to be let out of the cave to deal with the latest atrocities.
Mikagura School Suite #7 – Aimlessness is not working so well this week for Mikagura School Suite. There are a number of tidbits thrown in for the overall story, but it felt like nothing really happened. On the other hand, up against the grimness of the other two shows at the moment, there’s something to be said for a show which is unabashedly upbeat.
The main tidbit is that Otone Fujishiro suffers intense social anxiety to the point of displaying a dual personality. This sounds exactly like a situation that calls for Eruna’s intervention. Possibly she won’t get a chance yet, because the darker side has developed an unnerving interest in Seisa instead. To what end, who knows.
A little more of Seisa’s past has been filled in. Seems the person who defeated her so traumatically was someone she respected, maybe loved. And increasingly appears to be (or have been) part of the press club, the same people tearing down Asuhi this week. At this point I’m rooting for Eruna to form the Fight the Mainstream Media Club.