Saturday, February 18, 2006

Blood+ Episode 19

Episode title: 折れたココロ (Oreta Kokoro: Shattered Heart)

"Liza" works her way into causing doubt in Saya's resolve, Riku falls ill, and Liza shows her true color and a battle ensues. Pics (click to enlarge) and detailed summary below:
The show stars with cloaked yokushuu preying on a young woman. There are three of them and they talk about catching up soon to kill their prey, Saya. Then the opening song starts (you can see the same cloaked yokushuu in the opening animation... there are at least 9 of them). The episode continues with Saya and folks checking into their hotel and they take a bath. While Saya's taking a shower, she talks to herself about the dreams she's had. Liza's in the bathroom, saying she had forgotten something, and asks Saya about her dreams. Saya talks about her dreams of being with Haji before in Russia and her dark dreams about killing people in Vietnam. Liza says softly that her past is surfacing. Meanwhile, David & folks are driving back to the hotel. Julia comments that David is softening (talking about Kai). She said before he was like a robot, but now he's more like a cyborg or android ^_^. David comments it seems he's become weaker. Julia says she likes him better this way and that people can't live only by strength alone.Meanwhile, Saya & company are eating, but Liza doesn't eat; she uses the topic to associate humans to yokushuu; they both kill and consume other living creatures to survive. She also asks Saya if she's ever thought about what yokushuu are really or why they exists. Saya admits she knows nothing about them, but she has to kill them to protect others. Liza says it may be Saya's duty to defeat yokushuu, but is it something that she truly wants to do from the bottom of her heart? Liza implies that there instead of trying to mix her duty with what she wants to do, there is something else that she truly has to do. However, at that moment Riku collapses; he has a high fever. As Saya's breaking apart ice for Riku, Liza continues to bait and dig her claws into Saya's heart. Finally, by Riku's bedside, Saya finally asks her what she's trying to get at. Liza talks about how everyone is keeping secrets from her. Saya replies that she's been told that those are memories that she needs to remember herself. But Liza reminds her only of the battles and the blood. Saya collapses to the ground, in pain from the death of people at her hands. At that point, Haji blasts through the room, both attacking Liza and protecting Saya. They finally realize that Liza is not Liza and she admits to sucking out the real Liza's blood and killing her. She finally shows her fangs. Haji gets blasted from the room and falls several stories to the snow. Liza flies and lands/knees Haji, nearly breaking his spine in half. Saya jumps down with her sword. Liza points out that Saya is not human and that her "family" is not her true family. She said that it's stupid for her to fight on the behalf of humanity... after all, Saya's related to them... that she's a yokushuu herself. Saya reels from these words. Liza even accuses Haji of hiding these truths from her. Haji tries to attack her, but Liza easily evades his attacks and rips a hole through his chest.
Saya's eyes finally turn red and she attacks with her blood sword. However, Liza easily evades her attack as well, grabs her sword, then says, "playtime is over." She lets out a subsonic howl and the snow erupts around Saya and her sword breaks in half. Then Liza appears behind her and whispers even more terrible words: Saya has real family... her younger sister, Diva. Saya's been ordered to kill her own sister by Red Shield. And worse, everyone knows except Saya herself. Liza says if she wants to know even more, then to come to the zoo where it all started. Then Liza senses others; the three cowled mystery yokushuu are watching from the woods. "Aren't we going after her? Our enemy is before our eyes," says one. "Yes, but that chevalier is there." They retreat. Liza, in a male's voice, smirks and comments, "So, it's the Shifu (I think that's what he said... not sure). Interesting. The hidden world is leaping in blood (or something like that... my Japanese is not good enough to figure this out clearly)." Liza returns his/her attention to Saya and tells her farewell, that it was fun, then he/she disappears.Back at the hotel, Kai and Julia are by Riku's bedside. David and Lewis enter the room; David has Saya's broken sword and a note Saya has left in the next room. The note is simple: it reads, "Liar." Meanwhile, on a U.S. carrier we see the open container that was housing Diva. The doors are broken open and blood is dripping from within. We see a naked girl's foot begin to step out. End of episode.

Loved this episode. More of Saya's past is revealed and we see Diva emerging. Diva's chevalier (or whoever "Liza" really is) is really strong. And the cloaked dudes make their appearance too... I wonder what relation they have with Diva & her chevaliers.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Jigoku Shoujo Ep. 19

Episode title: 花嫁人形 (Hanayome Ningyou: Bride Doll)The client this week is Inori, an orphan girl married into the family of a famous doll maker supporting the community. At the wedding ceremony, her mother-in-law comments, "How wonderful, she looks almost like a doll..." Inori is in the garden in the evening, and she was thinking back to that time. "Why didn't I realize it then," she reflects, "the strange sparkle in her eyes as she looked at me..." Her ponderings are interrupted by her mother-in-law, who demands to know what she's doing. "I'm just feeding the koi (Japanese pond fish)," she answers. "That's the job of the servants, I told you. You don't have to do things like that," says the mother-in-law. "You look chilled; you should take a bath first then go to bed," she says. Inori then goes to the bath and as she's undressing, the mom-in-law steps in. "You've gained weight, haven't you?" she says. She rips open Inori's clothes and says, "You have! I won't forgive you for gaining weight!" She then proceeds to punish Inori in the bath (off camera).At that moment, they go to Jigoku Shoujo's house. "Looks like the wind is blowing," comments the grandma. "An ill wind," replies Ai. "Slightly warm and cold... in this kind of evening, a person weeps." The scene switches back to Inori, who is crying bitter tears.

She then goes to her husband and cries before him. She tells him she's scared. After she's calmed down, he apologizes for her. He says his mom's doesn't hate her. She probably just wants her to remain beautiful. The mom is in her workshop, carving her dolls, but she's frustrated. "How ugly!" she cries, and strikes the doll apart. Inori wants to do something for her husband, Yukio, such as a massage, but he refuses. She says she wants to do something, and he suggests that she make breakfast. She does so the next morning, quite happy. But when she brings the food, breakfast has already been prepared and everyone's at the table. The mom reminds her that she's not supposed to do anything. Yukio asks her to sit and eat, but the mom says she has different food prepared for Inori because she's gained weight. She reminds her again that she's to do nothing, just sit and remain beautfiful like a doll. These words fill Inori with despair.

Later, Inori's crying again and hugs her husband. She says she frightened out of her wits by her mother-in-law... especially her eyes. The mother-in-law is listening in the next room. Later, a servant makes her go to a small room. She says that she is to calm down and to empty her heart. Later, crying, Inori contacts Jigoku Shoujo. "Forgive me, forgive me!" she cries. She sees a partition door slightly open with a girl's face beyond. She opens the door and enters the world of Jigoku Shoujo. Tsugumi, meanwhile, receives the vision and tells Hajime.

Inori meets Ai, and is scared when Ai offers the straw doll and says, "doll." "What are you afraid of?" asks Ai. Inori thinks back to all the words the mother-in-law has said. She remembers back to when she was a child in the orphanage and the doll-maker visited, and from back then had her eye on her and commented that she was just like a doll. She eventually accepts the doll and hears the consequences.

Hajime and Tsugumi are staking out the doll-maker's house. Tsugumi asks if they have to keep doing this. He says a person is wishing unhappiness upon another person; he can't let it happen. "But it's that person's desire, right?" says Tsugumi. "But to show them the right path is the adult thing to do," says Hajime. "I'm not an adult, so I don't get it," retorts Tsugumi. But she suddenly sees Inori at a window at the second floor of their house, they make eye contact, and Inori comes down to talk.

She says she shouldn't be down there, but they talk. They go to the orphanage (funded by the dollmaker) where she grew up (and was happy) before marrying into the dollmaker's family. Tsugumi explains she sees Jigoku Shoujo visions. Hajime tries to persuade her from completing the contract with the Jigoku Shoujo. Inori talks about how they all depend on the dollmaker, which is why she has to just bear things... and that she can't talk to anyone else for help. Her only way was the Jigoku Shoujo. They are before an emergency exit. Inori says the Jigoku Shoujo is her emergency exit. Hajime says they'll do what they can to help her. She wants help, that's why she met them, right? She begins to see a little hope, but is interrupted by three servants, who have found her. They return to their mansion. Hajime thinks she'll be alright, but Tsugumi thinks she'll continue to suffer.

Back at the mansion, the mother-in-law has heard Inori's returned. In a darkened room, she interrogates Inori. Inori says she says she just took a stroll. "It can't be helped... because you have legs that can take you places, unlike a doll. It'd better if your legs couldn't move, just like a doll." (Here, I was scared, 'cause I thought she'd break her legs or something, but...) The mother-in-law gives Inori more hot water bath punishment. (Kinda ero-ero, if you ask me.) "You are my doll, aren't you?!" yells the mother-in-law. "Just do as I say! Like a doll, you don't need a heart!" Later, she strokes Inori's hair. "Those eyes, how beautiful. So young and beautiful." Ichimoku Ren and Hone Onna are watching. "Oh my, how frightful women are," comments Ren. "You've only realized that now?" retorts Hone Onna.

Later, Inori takes the straw hell doll. "I'm sorry, sister," she says, "I can't pray any more" (her name, btw, means "prayer"). She feels a presence, and Enma Ai is in the room. "Are you going to pull the string," she asks. "It's her fault" she yells, "she doesn't treat people like people. Even I get angry if I get hurt! I won't become her doll!" Jigoku Shoujo stares at her calmly (but it seems to me that she doesn't want her to pull the string)Her husband's in the next room and bangs on the door. "Who are you talking to in such a loud voice?" he asks, "I'm worried about you..." At that point, for some reason, Inori's face turns steely with determination and she makes her decision and pulls the string.It's time for the mother-in-law's punishment. She's making a doll and the doll starts talking to her (it's Hone Onna). She strikes the doll with a knife, but the face desolves and she's stabbed her own hand. Her hand turns into a wooden doll's hand. Then another doll (looks like Ichimoku Ren) and she strikes it with her other hand and that hand turns to wood also. She kicks another doll that looks like Wanyuudo and following the pattern, her foot turns into a doll's foot and she collapses to the floor. A bunch of dolls surround her, pick her up, Ai shows up, and she's sent to hell. Ai's eyes, however, look quite sad when she sends her.On the boat, the mother-in-law (crazed from her experience) looks dazed but brightens up when she sees Ai. "Oh my, you look just like a doll...I want to make a doll just like you..." etc.

Back in the dollmaker's house, Inori seems quite happy. She's hugging her husband and says, "I'll do everything I can for you, even in place of mother, with all my body and soul." "Soul?" says Yukio, "That's unnecessary. It's enough if you just keep looking up at me... just like a doll." Suddenly, Inori feels sudden despair once more and the camera pans to the hell mark on her chest. Outside, Ichimoku Ren, Hone Onna, and Ai are observing. "And in the end, she still ends up living like a doll," comments Ren. "A living hell," says Hone Onna. Ai seems to let out a soft sigh and looks on sadly as an ill-wind blows her hair about. Another candle gets added.

Next week's previews look really interesting. It's Jigoku Shoujo vs. Jigoku Shonen. His voiceover says he thinks he's stronger than her and has a bunch of questions for Ai, but she has none for him.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Blood+ Episode 18

Episode title: Ekatarinburg MoonThe show opens with an aged man visiting a sick colleague in a hospital. He says he got a letter from another colleague and that he'll go and visit his son Andre. Hyde's opening song/animation starts. The show properly starts with a frustrated Kai trying to force apart a metal puzzle. Julia watches with amusement, and advises that he try it gently. She takes the puzzle from him and says, "Look from the other person's view (the puzzle maker's). After you think about what the person's trying to do, follow his intentions in reverse, and you'll able to solve the problem. It's the same for love." David and Lewis enter at that point (poor Julia... will she and David ever hook up?) and they have news about Saya. Apparently, they were in a small town called Chumen, but they were on their way by train and that they were expected to arrive. In the meantime, they have a mission.

They take Kai along and they're after a man named Ted Adams, who's a blood researcher. He was doing research in Vietnam with a number of other researchers, and they defected to the USSR. They were involved with Delta 67. Kai sees David with his dad's gun, and he demands he give it back. David doesn't give him the gun. He says he still doesn't understand the weight of the gun.

They arrive at Ted's residence and make Kai watch the car. Kai spends the time remembering Julia's words and is surprised when he solves the puzzle. Lewis soon returns and says they've got a job for him.... Kai has to tape together a shredded letter and envelope. David and Lews find a photo of the researchers in front of a research facility. They also find clues to their next place: the hospital where Ted was at earlier. There they find Philip Rozenbaum, Ted's colleague, who's in poor health. David tries to force him to talk, but Philip just says, "I'm sorry Andre... it's all my fault... please let him see the moon..." But they also find an photo identical to the one found in Ted's residence, but this one clearly shows the name of the building. At the building, Ted has arrived; he turns on the lights and says, "Andre." There is a huge concrete block suspended in chains.

Ted lowers the block. There is a stony visage of a yokushuu half embedded in the block. David & co arrive at the building and find bombs throughout the building. David finally gives Kai's dad's gun to him. He tells him to remain at the top while he and Lewis go below. He says that if he and Lewis don't return after a certain time, he is to return and wait for Saya. What he does after is his own decision.

Down below, they see the yokushuu licking blood from his claws. Ted Adams is lying in a pool of blood nearby. They fire shots at the yokushuu and David tries to get Ted. However, the yokushuu rips into David's back. Lewis fires more rounds into it and he and David carry Ted to the elevator. Ted comes to, and asks who they are. David replies that they are Red Shield. David asks him if he created the yokushuu below. Ted replies that it is his son, and that he was changed into the monster during the Vietnam War as a Delta 67 experiment. He said they were blood researchers, and that their cover was that they were trying to research ways to preserve blood for the soldiers; however, they were actually doing research on special blood... blood carried in the children of the three researchers (I think). He also mentions an unforgettibly beautiful girl.

The yokushuu meanwhile, has caught up with them and David and Lewis fire shots at it. However, they soon run out of ammunition, and David has one shot left. But he hears shots; it's Kai. As the elevator reaches the top, the yokushuu heads toward Kai as he's firing the shots. Kai takes a cannister of gasoline and throws it at the yokushuu who catches it with its mouth, spilling the gas all over itself and on the ground. Kai tries to shoot it to ignite the gas, but he's out of bullets. Fortunately, David fires his last bullet and the yokushuu lights on fire. It looks up and sees the full moon through an opening in the roof of the building. It then falls to bottom.

Ted finishes his story. He was made to meet the originator of the special blood... an extremely beautiful young girl... but also someone extremely deadly to humanity. He asks to blow up the building; the detonator is in his car. They follow his request. Kai suggests they bury Ted so that he could be with his son. Suddenly, David collapses... he has finally succumbed to the wounds he'd received from the yokushuu. Kai is taken aback by the scars of other wounds. Lewis said David was the only survivor of his squad that got wiped out by yokushuu during a war. He had vowed to keep fighting them till his last breathe.

Meanwhile on the train to Ekatarinburg, Saya folks are having a pleasant time. Riku sneezes; he may have caught a cold. Saya thanks Liza for taking care of the transportation. Liza smiles and says she is glad to be of use.

In the next week's preview, we hear Liza's voiceover asking Saya why she fights... is it for her self, or is she just following orders? She will find out.

Pics (click to enlarge):
Julia shows how to solve the puzzle lockThe yokushuu in a cubeDavid finally gives Kai the gunReviving from blood of his dadFinger lickin' good?Kai tries to be of some useOn fireNot a supermanSaya's thankfulLiza's mysterious smile

Friday, February 10, 2006

Shakugan no Shana 18

Episode title: 砕ける願い (Kudakeru Negai; Broken Wish)
Lots of developments in this one: Keisaku and Eita wish to go wherever Margery goes and serve her (she plants the vampire sword Blautsauger to see if they can pull it out as a test... they can't). Thanks to Chigusa, Shana thinks Yuuji will be surprised and delighted to see her in a yukata and waits for him to come home from school but he doesn't. Kazumi wants to confess her feelings to Yuuji at the festival, but before that wants to see if he's a regular human or a torch. Margery, Eita and Keisaku go to the festival and is spotted by Ogata Matake, who has a thing for Eita. Shana and Chigusa go to the festival looking for Yuuji. And the tomogara Dantalion prepares his trap for the Flame Hazes and Yuuji, who has the reiji maigo inside him.

Dantalion unleashes his trap. Kazumi looks through the hougu jetatoura and finds out Yuuji is a torch, freaks out, and runs away. Shana spots Yuuji and tries to stop him from going after Kazumi to fight the tomogara threat, but his priorities seem to be in trying to comfort Kazumi. Shana, confused because she loves Yuuji and is jealous of Kazumi but doesn't realize it, tells Yuuji that Kazumi has nothing to do with them, that they should care less about her. Yuuji is taken aback by her words and yells her name harshly and says that he can't believe she'd said that. Shana's shocked by his tone of voice and let's go of his arm. Yuuji runs off, looking for Kazumi, and Shana stands in the middle of the festival grounds, head down. A little girl asks if she's hurting somewhere; it's obvious that Shana's crying. She finally runs off and encounters the Flame Haze Khamsim. He's begins to talk to her but stops, speechless, as he realizes she's crying.

Meanwhile, Eita and Keisaku decide to run to find Margery, but Eita gets stopped by Ogata. She pesters him to asking what his relationship is with Margery, he lies, she knows it, he asks why she's so concerned, and she blurts out her confession that she's in love with him. Margery, at that moment, form a fusetsu.

Shana rids herself of her tears, and Khamsim explains to Shana what he's doing. He tells her of his assistant, who happens to be Kazumi. Shana says she understands, and says she'll retrieve her for him. Alastor asks Shana if she's okay, and she says she's fine, and that she'll carry out her duties as a Flame Haze. But as she runs, she can feel her heart is heavy.

Eita tells the frozen Ogata that he'll properly respond to her confession later and runs off. Meanwhile, Dantalions energy birds fly around and some go after Kazumi, some go after Keisaku. Yuuji sees Keisaku, wonders how he's moving in a fusetsu, and runs to help him. Shana saves Kazumi from the energy attacks and an energy field builds around Yuuji, and he shields Keisaku from the bird energy attacks. Now Kazumi kinda knows about Shana and Yuuji and Keisaku are aware of their involvements too. Meanwhile, Dantalion is cackling with glee and he says the fun is just beginning.

Pics (click to enlarge):
Like Arthur trying to pull out Excalibur, Eita tries to pull out Blautsauger so that he can be worthy enough to always help Margery. Both Eita and Keisaku fail (and the sword will eventually fall into Yuuji's hands anyway).Shana is dressed in a yukata for the festivalMargery, wearing her yukata sure to shock everyone around her, arrives at the festival grounds with Eita and KeisakuMore of Margeryer... and one more...Kazumi, looking through the jetatoura, discovers that Yuuji is a torchThe truth is too much to bear for herShana tries to prevent Yuuji from going after KazumiShe sheds bitter tearsOgata screws her courage to tell Eita she loves himYuuji protects KeisakuShana protects KazumiDantalion laughs in glee

Well, all the secrets out of the bag. Yuuji is such a blockhead, but I guess many young people are not aware of the feelings of those around them.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Jigoku Shoujo Ep. 18

Episode title: 縛られた少女 (Shibarareta Shoujo: The Bound Girl)
This week's main character, MikiShimono Meiko uses Miki like her personal slaveMiki's dogs have been taken hostage
Ai looks up to Miki's condo after Miki's made contactTsugumi asks if Ai has to be stopped

This episode was a bit of a let down after last week's great episode, however, you felt satisfaction after the target gets sent to hell. The main character this episode is a girl named Miki who is being coerced into being basically a slave of a fat, ugly woman (both inside and out) who is keeping her two dogs hostage. Miki endures a great deal of abuse to keep her two dogs safe, but contacts the Jigoku Shoujo after one of her dogs is killed.

Tsugumi receives a Jigoku Shoujo vision, and Hajime decides to stop another person from being sent to hell. Tsugumi, however asks, "Do you really have to stop this from happening?" (as if she knows some cases deserve Enma Ai's action). Hajime is initially taken aback, but says strongly, "Of course!" He heads toward the neighborhood and begins investigating.

However, it's been 3 days since Miki has received the straw doll, but has taken no action. In addition, Hajime saw her running out of the fat bitch's house happily (her surviving dog had given birth to puppies). At the house of the Jigoku Shoujo, Ai's helpers complain that nothing's happened, and mention that Wanyuudo must be bored. "Not so," says Wanyuudo's voice. "She opens her bag every day and contemplates vengence." (One of the things Shimono says to coerce Miki is to say, "I can kill at any time!" and Miki thinks, looking at the straw doll, "But I can kill at any time too...")

Through a flashback, we see that this situation came about because one day as Miki was walking her dogs, they got away from her, entered the yard of Shimono and bit her. The bitch screamed at Miki that she'd trampled all over her flower beds and that her dogs had bit her, and that she'd have to take responsibility.

Tsugumi approaches Hajime with a bag containing a change of clothes. "You stink!" she complains to Hajime.... he hadn't taken a bath in 3 days as he had been staking out the case. Tsugumi asks him a good question: "Is what the Jigoku Shoujo is doing bad?" "Taking a human life, no matter what the reason, shouldn't be allowed," he answers. "But there are people who do more evil things in the middle of the night without batting an eye, right?" she says.
Ai patiently waits for things to happenHer helpers are not soNew pupsHajime hasn't taken a bath or changed his clothes in 3 days

At Shimino's house, a police officer and Miki's school teacher rings the bell of the house. Shimono screams that Miki had called the authorities and threatens to kill the puppies (forgot to mention that she had already killed the other dog). The officer and teacher can hear the crazy woman screaming about killing, and they try to get in the house. Hajime appears and shows them to the back of the house where her yard is. The officer and teacher struggle with Shimono, Shimono screams that she has to protect her fortune, and Miki is horrified when a clump of dirt from her flower bed is kicked up, revealing a decomposing human body.

Shimono gets taken away in a police car, and Miki is sitting, stunned, holding the straw doll. Hajime tells her she doesn't need the straw doll any more, when suddenly Miki remembers the puppies. She runs to the bathroom, and sees the pups drowned in the bathtub. In deep sadness and anger, she pulls the string, saying that she should've done it earlier.

Ai's helpers torment Shimono in the police squad car that takes them to hell. There, Shimono confesses without shame that she killed her own parents for the inheritage, along with her own child (I think; I'm not sure). When Ai says, "Ippen shinde miru?" the voice sounds a little more adultlike or deeper, and a little more emotional. In the boatride to hell, Shimono says she can't be going to hell; she needs to go back to protect her fortune. Ai comments, "You don't know what you look like, do you?" Shimono looks over her boat to see her reflection, and her face now looks like a dog (an improvement, I think). She screams.
Some buried "treasure"Being hounded to hellNo babying this one to hellShimono's so ugly, she looks like a dog... oh, wait, she is one.

Well, it was basically a "regular" episode, that is, someone gets sent to hell episode; however, Tsugumi asks some good questions, and I was certainly glad when this one got sent to hell... she was just a horrible person and her voice was damned annoying. On the other hand, there really was no need to send this one to hell, as she was already arrested by the police, and she'd get punished legally and eventually go to hell anyway. Kids... they have no patience or logic.