If anime has taught me anything, it’s that they mean business when they bring out the little girls.
|I have a lot to catch up on. While I’ve somehow managed to be relatively timely with ZKC posts, I have to get back in my posting rhythm for Psycho-Pass and an editorial post I was planning for January. There really isn’t enough time in a day to do everything I want! I wish I could just teleport from place to place to save time and energy like the ZKC espers. You have to admit that ESP is a totally sick power. Wouldn’t you like to fly around and shoot balls of fire at things? It may be nothing but a delusional thought, but at least we can live vicariously through Hyoubu and the *newly introduced* Children.|
Who needs a set-up when you can just have an entire episode dedicated to fighting? There is little to no pretense to the small-scale esper war that erupts on the two ships – just BABEL doing what I assume is their usual job and hounding down PANDRA. This time, their ambush just so happens to be at sea. Part of why they ignore starting slowly is probably because we already know about the friction between the two groups, and there’s not a lot else that needs to be explained at the moment. Even for someone who is a newbie to the ZKC franchise such as myself can understand what’s going on with only a minimal explanation. It seems that BABEL and PANDRA are in opposition, but they actually have some respect for each other. Hyoubu may badmouth Minamoto, but he still trusts the three girls to remain in his custody. Likewise, Minamoto mumbles something about not wanting Hyoubu to die, so I imagine he chases Hyoubu not just out of duty. For now, there is not a lot we need to know, so the rivalry remains extremely simple. Once the two groups are more fleshed out, I’m sure we’ll have another full-scale fight with more at stake than a vaguely-defined item hidden in the centre of the ship.
However, what happens with Minamoto and Hyoubu isn’t really what I want to focus on since we’ve already seen them quite a bit. The Children make their debut this week, and boy do they ever make an impact. They clean up PANDRA’s ship at an insane pace, teleporting rapidly to get the job done. I really like the elements teleporting lend to a fight scene. They don’t just use it to dodge attacks, but to move to blindspots and even teleport other objects away from them. Battles are just that much more fast-paced when your opponent can appear in front of your nose at any point of time without actually having to close in by running or flying. This saves a lot of time. Basically…espers fighting each other is really damn cool. I will repeat this as many times as I want per week!
Kaoru takes the cake as the most interesting one to watch. She’s the queen, so this is no surprise. The other two seem more like accessories. Take Shiho for example. I really don’t know why any esper would have to resort to a gun. I guess she specializes in psychometry and mind-reading, which isn’t a very good specialty for the battlefield. Still…LAME! They should cut her out and just keep Kaoru and the megane girl who throws up the devil horns every time she uses her powers. She’s pretty metal.
All in all, my impression of the girls is pretty positive (except for Shiho and her weapons). I can see why Hyoubu regards them so highly because of their power. They’re undoubtedly strong…but Hyoubu is still stronger. He beats all 3 of them in some sort of magical girl combination attack with his Unlimited mode without breaking a sweat. I thought they were equal in power, but he casually just cancels out their attack and flies out of there. Yes, he lifts the entire ship into the air and does some fancy teleportation trick that makes it look like he broke into another dimension. The Children mustering up enough strength to move an entire boat halfway across the ocean was already intense, but Hyoubu’s gravity-defying exit was the real show-stealer. I absolutely love when the espers use their powers on such a grand scale as this.
Not QUITE in the same league as those people who bend spoons
You see, normals vs esper battles are no fun. It’s only when Hyoubu finds a worthy plaything that the show heats up and gets to showcase these amazing abilities. Things still feel very episodic in nature at this point, but at least they’re delivering on the action. This week’s fight was really fun to watch, but I’m still lamenting the lack of an overarching storyline. I only have the vaguest of ideas what PANDRA and BABEL do for a living, and all of their goals so far have been limited to the scope of one episode.
With the new Sakaki and Minamoto themed ED song now in place, I’m lead to believe BABEL will be a continuing opposing force to Hyoubu. Therefore, leaving things as they are would be inadequate. I need one of them to launch a plan that spans over a few episodes instead of being resolved so quickly. There are only so many one-shots I can be pleased by before I get bored and start wondering what the point of all this fireball-flinging is. I don’t even know whose side I should be on!
Jormungand suffered from the same issues, and only managed to have very short arcs without any unifying direction until the very end. I can only hope that things start to roll towards an end goal soon. There’s a bit of promise there since Andy is getting closer and closer to finding the object on the ship he wants, so he shares some similar interests with BABEL. Then again, were BABEL really after the same thing as him or did they just want to capture Hyoubu? Andy may find that his organization is the most corrupt out of all of them, and if Hyoubu is hiding some sort of weapon, I bet you anything it’s going to be used for evil.
Whatever the case, Hyoubu doesn’t give a damn. He gives Andy the key even after catching him running off from the group and acting suspiciously, because he’s probably already planned about 10 steps ahead of Andy. I’d be shocked if he wasn’t baiting him at this point since the signs of betrayal are so blatant. Anyways, now that he has his access key, he might start making bolder moves. It’s only a matter of time before he’ll have to make a very important decision. So far, this is a better told story than The Children versus Hyoubu since we have a clearer picture of what each side wants.
Part of why I like Andy’s story so much is that it’s easy to see where it is progressing each week. First of all, Hyoubu trusts Andy more and more each week. He starts off giving him an important assassination job, gives him a Limiter, then eventually gives him an access pass to the centre of the ship. Secondly, the other members actually trust Andy less as the show progresses. In contrast to Hyoubu’s kindness towards Andy, the other members are almost always on pins and needles around him. They call him newbie and look scandalized when he receives the holy all-access pass from Hyoubu. Fujiura shows this the most, as he verbally abuses him as well as physically snubbing him with negative body language. This contrast in interests works so well because no matter how sketchy Andy seems to everyone else, Hyoubu’s decisions cannot be challenged. I think he knows this, so he is purposely trying to make everyone else uncomfortable as he becomes more and more familiar with Andy. Now, if only the story with BABEL could become just as coherent. Then we’ll have a winner!
Preview: It seems like we’ll get to learn more about the nurturing side of PANDRA since “Family” seems to describe their rag-tag gathering of espers. At the very least, Yugiri gets to go to an amusement park!
Is that non-fish shaped taiyaki? What a cop out!