Another fairly forgettable episode of Haiyore this week, though it was just about saved with some more fireworks between Kuuko and Mahiro there at the end.
I think one issue with this series is that among all the cast, Nyaruko’s act has really worn thin, and she’s nominally the star – she’s the one who’s supposed to deliver the big laughs and get the best lines. But to be honest I’ve gotten more laughter out of Wakamoto-sama saying one word than anything she’s offered up this season – more than anything I just find her annoying. Not Kirino or Ayase “pray for the sweet release of death” annoying, but just sort of tiresome.
The other issue that raises is that it makes it very easy to see why Mahiro might find her just as tiring, and harder to accept that he might eventually end up choosing her. Frankly, there’s a thousand times more chemistry between he and Kuuko – and in a sense this ep was the best of both worlds. We barely had to endure any Kuune, but we still saw the results of her forcing those two to “pretend” to be in love.
One interesting element there – is it coincidence that the spot Kuuko chose to kiss – 19mm to the right of the mouth – happens to be the “love ritual” spot for Cthughans? Sure, maybe she just wanted to be convincing in front of Kuune – but I don’t think all those smiles and blushes lie. I’ve come full-circle on Kuuko just as she has with Mahiro – we’re both in love with someone we started out hating.
Mushibugyou – 10
Yeah, still not many watching I don’t think – but I’m glad I trusted my instincts with Mushibugyou when some were ripping the premiere to shreds. This has turned into a better shounen than I frankly expected, and I liked it from the beginning. Good visuals, great music, a sense of fun – yeah, those were apparent from the beginning. But it’s also proved itself to have a really good plot and to be capable of delivering terrific action sequences as well.
There was a moment during the pre-open when Han Megumi let Gon slip out for a few seconds, which made me laugh and wonder just for a moment if the Insect Magistrate was actually a boy (which a few sites initially reported she was). This ep was really all about the Mushibugyou – or perhaps I should say Kurogaeha (a real-life swallowtail butterfly), which appears to be her actual name. There’s still mystery here – we know she used to be human, but hasn’t been for a long time and “hates herself” because of that. Why a human should become a monster who emits deadly poison and can construct a virtually impenetrable shield around herself is unknown, as is why the Insect Hunters – revealed to be members of a clan known as Jingaitou – should have been carrying on what seems like a generations-long battle against her.
Also still a mystery of course is why Mugai switched sides, though the reveal that he didn’t kill Genjurou’s mother was no surprise (even Genjurou knew, it seems). It certainly seems that Mugai’s opposition to his old organization is genuine, as is his desire to protect Kuroageha. Genjurou does get his revenge (a bit too effortlessly in fact) and everyone gets a chance to pitch in and help, with Tenma showing that his skills are indeed invaluable for defense when he plucks Kuroageha and an unconscious Jinbei out of harms way with his shikigami (and appears to develop a crush on her when he sees her).
The development between Kuroageha and Jinbei has been excellent at every turn, and his being unconscious doesn’t even slow it down. Despite her initial reluctance to believe in any human (even convincing herself briefly that he was a spy) Jinbei’s relentless positivity has broken down her resistance, and she finds herself willing to sacrifice her own safety in the vain hope of carrying him to safety herself with her frail body (before Tenma saves the day). Ironically it seems that in sealing her power, the Insect Hunters may have done the Mushibugou a favor, because it’s clear she’d be much happier living as a human, But there’s a reason she was chosen for the fate she was, and her “mission to protect Japan” isn’t going to be forgotten so easily. I suspect she’s going to have to make the sacrifice of unsealing them again at some point. As for Jinbei himself, he’s undergone some sort of transformation – I assume as a result of extended contact with her power – and now has a sort of “Mothman Prophecies” look to him. Look for that to be a central topic next week.