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Anime

Fire Force Episode 23: Recap and Review

Episode 23 – “Firecat”

Fire Force episode 23 opens with Shinra debriefing Captain Obi, Captain Hibana, and Licht on what Dr. Giovanni said to him in episode 22. Shinra tells them about Leiutenent Konro and heads with Captain Hibana to the 7th. Captain Konro isn’t present, he is headed to a storage shed alone. When they arrive they witness Konro being attacked by a White Clad. Shinra is concerned as the White Clad assaults Konro with a series of fire swords. Due to his tephrosis, Leuitenent Konro is vulnerable. However, when he looks defeated, he K.O’s his enemy with a single sword slash. Konro recalls his encounter with the demon that appeared Asakusa. After he defeated the Infernal he was transported to another dimension. 

Later, Shinra and the others return to Company 7th where Captain Shinmon offers to train the Company 8th, Tamaki, Arthur, and Shinra. He sends Hikage and Hinata to “play” with Tamaki. She not at the same level as Shinra and Arthur so I think it was appropriate. I’m hoping that Tamaki becomes more than just a fanservice vehicle for this series, so I’m excited about the possibilities. While Hinata and Hikage chase Tamaki around, Shinmon ties Shinra and Arthur to pits over a flame. Tamaki flashbacks to her childhood, when she discovered her powers and joined the Fire Force. She’s motivated to “show everyone” especially after Juggernaut’s injuries.  

Tamaki’s breakthrough

Fire Force tries to make Tamaki’s “lucky Lecher Lure” more serious than I think it warrants. It’s a silly argument for fanservice, don’t try to make it into an actual complex. Anyway, Tamaki’s fire cloak adds a partial cat face, as she faces off against the fully cloaked Hinata and Hikage. The following case scene was more impressive than I thought it would be. When she reaches 45 sec. Tamaki has another flashback of her and Shinra. In it, he encourages her to have some self-respect. In her final ten minutes, Tamaki stops and charges the twins. The “unite” and turn into “mother fox.” Tamaki breaks through them with her Nekomata Fireball. Captain Shinmon stops the contest after a minute noting that Tamaki was “suppressing her power.” 


Anime

Jujutsu Kaisen Episode 9: Recap and Review

Mahito likes talking to Junpei  in episode 9 of Jujutsu Kaisen.
Mahito likes talking to Junpei

Episode 9 – “Young Fish and Reverse Punishment”

Junpei Yoshino is a young Satozakura High School that is often bullied by his classmates. They claim that he was sexually harassing a female student. Junpei is the boy we saw questioning Mahito at the end of Jujutsu Kaisen episode 8. He skips school to see Earthworm Man 3 his bullies also had the same idea. They make noise during the film making it impossible for Junpei to enjoy the film. Suddenly, Mahito kills them for being rude. Junpei witness this massacre from his seat and runs to chase Mahito. When he catches up to him he asks “if there was any way he could do the things that he does.” 

Yuji Itadori and Kento Nanami a Grade 1 Sorcerer arrive to investigate the deaths. Nanami is a dear friend of Gojo but he claims that he doesn’t respect him. He doesn’t like that Gojo breaks the rules and regulations of higher-ups. Nanami doesn’t consider Yuji a “full-fledged sorcerer” yet, something that Yuji aims to change. In the present, Nanami teaches Yuji to see the residual curse energy that gets left behind after a cursed technique is used. Yuji quickly uses it, seeing footprints from Mahito. The residual leads them to a nearby rooftop. As soon as they arrive they notice two cursed spirits. Nanami tells Yuji to fight the one peeking around the wall and he handles the other. 

Nanami’s Cursed Technique

Nanami explains his powers. He jujutsu is called Black Flash. It’s a technique that “creates spatial distortion when a user connects with an impact of Cursed Energy within 0.000001 seconds of a physical hit.” He takes out the creature with one strike of his sword. Yuji gets a chance to show off his new techniques. In a flashback, we see that Yuji has a “time lag” when drawing out cursed energy. This results in him turning “one strike into two impacts.” Yuji uses Divergent Fist, he punches a hole into the chest of the curse. It was a devastating attack. Before Nanami can finish off the creature he notices that it was wearing a watch. Stunned, he takes a picture of the creature. 

Shoko Ieiri confirms that the curses are humans that have been mutated by a curse technique. Shoko assures Yuji that he didn’t kill them but he becomes enraged. Nanami is surprised that Yuji can be genuinely sad for the victims. Later Nanami tells Yuji that he believes that Mahito has deliberately been leaving residuals to trap them. Elsewhere, Mahito teaches Junpei how curses manifest. According to Mahito, curses are created from “human’s collective fears.” Mahito claims that fear of natural disasters can manifest curses. So a curse like Jogo was likely born of people’s fear of volcanic eruptions. 

Can cursed spirits come from anything?

An interesting concept has been introduced in Jujutsu Kaisen episode 9. If the source of cursed spirits is simply anything a group of human fear then anything is on the table, spiders, dogs, water, and clowns. Considering that humans are never going to be cured of fear, I wonder if a curse like Jogo gets killed if he would come back? Or would another curse spirit be born from people’s fear of volcanic eruptions? I think it’s a clever source of spirits and it has an infinite number of possibilities.


Anime

Fire Force Episode 22: Recap and Review

Shinra looking demonic after Dr. Giovanni mentions Sho in episode 22 of Fire Force.
Shinra looking demonic after Dr. Giovanni mentions Sho

Episode 22 – “Plot for Extinction”

Fire Force episode 22 opens with Arthur and Shinra fighting the creepy Dr. Giovanni. Shinra strikes him with firey kicks, and Arthur uses Violet Flash. However, Dr. Giovanni avoids it by reading Arthur’s pheromones. He counters with Bombardier Beetle, spraying hot gas at the pair. Giovanni goes on to reveal the Evangelist’s plan. He claims that the Toyko Empire, Holy Sol Temple, and the Amaterasu were created for her plan. Dr. Giovanni triggers Shinra’s wrath when he tells him that Sho is waiting to be a sacrifice for the Great Cataclysm.

Shinra goes off, striking the doctor at high speeds. However, each hit doesn’t appear to have any effect. When Shinra tells him that he “sensed” Dr. Giovanni’s bloodlust, Giovanni becomes excited. This proves that they connected and he managed to use the Adolla. Shinra isn’t concerned that Dr. Giovanni can use Adolla, he is confused as it means that Lieutenant Konro has experience Adolla. 

Maki Oze absorbing the flames

Konro didn’t tell Shinra that he experienced an Adolla Burst. The question for the rest of the season is why. Regardless, Dr. Giovanni informs them that the Evangelist resides in the Adolla. He questions how they could stop her if she’s in another world. Elsewhere, Ritsu prepares to destroy Tokyo. Licht explains that she plans on using the Munroe-Neumann effect. It requires a cone-shaped explosion that results in a powerful jet that can blow a hole into anything.

To stop the explosion, the direction of the jet must change. A second generation pyrokinetic is necessary, specifically Maki. She arrives much to the disappointment of her brother. He reveals that his apprehension isn’t just rooted in concern for his sister, but due to casual sexism. He simply doesn’t think women should be in danger. Maki isn’t having any of it. She steps up to risk her life because that’s what her job is as a fire force member. 

Dr. Giovanni after Arthur cuts him in half

Maki proves her worth

Despite Maki’s help, the other fire force members must stop the flames that are produced. Otherwise, they will all get burned to death. Licht says that if both Oze siblings are “in sync” they could redirect the flames. As the Infernals blow up, Maki collects the surrounding flames. Along with her brother, they re-direct them into the Earth. Through Geometric dissipation, the flames are cooled. Elsewhere, Shinra and Arthur realize that the rest of the fire force has successfully avoided tragedy.

Arthur goes into some kind of mindless trance called “Non-self,” and he cuts Dr. Giovanni in half. This doesn’t kill Giovanni and he escapes after releasing a swarm of bugs. Juggernaut will survive but has lost his right hand, left leg, and has burns and cuts. Maki rejoins the 8th as her family learns to accept her decision. Finally, the military decides that it must join the Fire Force to combat the White Clad. After the last two arcs, the Fire Force has established alliances with the Haijima Industries and the Military. It seems like they will need all the help they can get. 

Anime

Haikyuu!! To the Top Episode 21: Recap and Review

Episode 21 – “Hero”

Haikyuu!! To the Top episode 21, “Hero,” depicts the start of the third and final set, between Karasuno and Inarizaki. Karasuno maintains its lead after Kageyama blocks Aran. Inarizaki’s Suna makes a quick attack, Tsukishima attempts to block but Suna twists his body to make the spike. However, Daichi receives the spike shocking Atsumu. Asahi slams the spike past Suna and Osamu, putting Karasuna up 4-2. The successful play is largely due to Tsukishima who takes the point brought up by Ukai that “it’s not just the spiker versus the blocker but rather the spiker versus six players.” Tsukki believes that “the belief of a kill block being the only type of block to scare a spiker is outdated.” Kuroo explains that if Karasuno attempted to “fully block Suna one-on-one, Suna would be able to manipulate things to his advantage.” Suna realizes that Tsukishima has been deliberately forcing him to hit crosscourt. 

The Hero

Kinoshita steps up to serve. He’s aware that the is his final chance to make an impact in the game. He’s focused and drowns out the crowd and his teammates. He serves and the ball heads toward Osamu, who then receives the ball allowing Aran to score. Kinoshita leaves the court for the last time disappointed that he couldn’t score. He still hoped that he could be “the hero.” Kinoshita originally struck me as a strange character to highlight. However, Haikyuu!! makes a point of reminding us that for the third year, a loss would be their last game. With the stakes so high the players all have tremendous pressure on their shoulders. Hinata scores with a quick attack, maintaining the two-point lead Karasuno earned. When Kageyama serves next the ball clips the net but tips over scoring. Sensing that they’re losing momentum, Coach Kurosu calls a time-out. 

Nishinoya’s fear

On the bench, Nishinoya finally admits that he’s afraid. He recalls how he was “terrified of many things when he was a child.” His grandfather helped him overcome those fears. He remembers that his grandfather told him “it was a waste of time to be scared.” With Atsumu next to serve, he once again targets Nishinoya. This time, however, Nishinoya uses an overhead receive instead of his usual underhanded ones. Karasuno performs a synchronized attack and Asahi lands a spike. Karasuno is up 10 -7. The next half of the episode focuses on the Miya twins. In a flashback, we see when they first meet Aran, how they come to admire setters, and why Atsumu became hated. The flashback is designed to explain what makes the twins so special. In the present, Karasuno can get the ball over but it’s intercepted by Akagi. The return is too low and Akagi is worried it won’t make it over. Suddenly, Atsumu bends low enough to get under the ball and makes an overhand set to Osamu. Karasuno may have gotten the lead but they still have to contend with the formidable Miya twins. 


Anime

Fire Force Episode 19 and 20: Recap and Review

The Nether Zone

Fire Force episode 19 begins a new arc focusing on the Nether. Maki takes center stage. Her father, General Danro Oze, receives a report from the Special Fire Force. He’s an intimidating figure. The Oze family get together for the first time in years. They mock Maki’s appearance for being too buff. Regardless, the dynamic of the Oze family is typical. Her brother heads down into the Nether to investigate the strange smells coming from the area. Along with his colleague, they investigate the strange smells coming from the equipment room. Inside they find Infernal insects and realize that it was a White Clad lab. Suddenly, a White Clad suicide bomber appears and kills himself. The lab is destroyed but Maki’s brother survived. General Oze upon hearing this, demands that the Military be involved in investigating the White Clad.

The 8th is asked to join a joint mission into the Nether. Maki receives orders from the military to return. She doesn’t want to go but when Hinawa tells her to go back she relents. After introductions, Special Fire Force Company 2 and Company 8 explore the Nether together. Fire Force episode 20 focuses on this exploration. This episode was strange. It felt like it had a horror element to it and it felt like it was more bloody than the series is generally. The companies encounter Infernals. The second company open fires and are quickly overwhelmed. I was shocked that they were so quickly defeat considering that they’re military and Maki is so skilled. The episode makes a weird decision. Several of the company 2 members get short flashbacks, one with his fiance, another with his pregnant wife, and the last one with his sneaker. 

Juggernaut verses Orochi

They all are killed by Infernals and reanimated by Ritsu. The scene may have been intended to be funny but it was awkwardly executed. Platoon Leader Hajiki is given more introduction than his company 2 comrades but he’s then decapitated by a White Clad, Orochi. Enraged, Juggernaut overcomes his cowardice and attacks Orochi. At first, he creates a machine gun, but its countered by Orochi’s Medusa Whip. She then begins to strike at Juggernaut’s inflated body, drawing blood. Juggernaut’s ability to regenerate his uniform is never explained but borders on the ridiculous. Regardless, he’s able to use this ability effectively. Juggernaut can hit Orochi with a massive bomb resulting in the obliteration of Orochi. It’s not clear that what happened to Juggernaut, but it appears that he may not survive.