I’m not inclined to blog either of these series in digest form going forward, but for this week I’ll need to make a few allowances. Certainly Kaminai is proving itself to be a very interesting series even post-Hampnie, offering up a genuinely thoughtful and original take on the by-now overplayed zombie template. And Ortus is proving a fascinating addition to the mythology.
We meet a new face – albeit behind a lion mask – played by Kimura Ryouhei. What his role in the story is we can’t say just yet, but he stops Ai on the street, tells her he made the mask she’s wearing and that she need to blow town ASAP. There’s also the interesting bombshell that Kiriko came into being when a witch made up a new person out of the parts of 5 friends who all wished that one of them might have a baby, post-abandonment by God – and that he popped up as a 14 year-old and hasn’t aged more than a year in the last 13 years. This explains the weird split-person we met last week, and we meet another this week – this one including a doctor who diagnoses Scar as going through a false pregnancy, an increasing phenomenon since women stopped having kids. But something is clearly different with Scar, who never thought about having a kid – and it’s obviously connected to the still unexplained voice in her head.
Ortus is a really interesting place. It’s a land that started as a refuge for the dead mistreated by the living, but developed an infrastructure (including brain surgery) not just to keep things organized, but to keep the dead from rotting and from turning into the “hungry ghosts” Hampnie described. In fact, the only living person in town seems to be Princess Ulla (Komatsu Mikako) who Kiriko is clearly in love with – and may not in fact know she’s alive. When a group of 105 living souls disenchanted with the world shows up wanting admittance to Ortus, a ritual begins to welcome them – by “putting them to rest”. And can anyone really say it’s wrong, when the dead of Ortus seem to have truly found a sort of peace? I very much like the direction Kaminai is headed – there are fascinating questions it’s asking, and it’s doing so in a subversively clever way.
Blood Lad – 05
This was definitely the least comedic episode of Blood Lad so far, but quite an entertaining one just the same. I had an inkling that Staz’ version of events from his childhood (it seems that Brains Base got an actual kid to play chibi-Staz) might not be wholly accurate. Of course we don’t know if Braz’ version is true, either, but he makes a pretty credible case that he sealed Staz’ powers for his own survival. That doesn’t cancel out the fact that he was the one who tried to “develop” them in the first place, of course. It’s a pretty dysfunctional family – little sister Liz is a brocon striving for the attention of Braz, who seems to spend all his time gazing at photo albums of little Staz longingly.
There are parallel events going on in West Demon World and Acropolis, more or less. Both Franken and Braz are worried about Papladon Akimu (the always creepy Yuusa Kouji), one of Franken’s creations who’s escaped and seems to represent a real threat to demon peace everywhere. Basically Franken is blackmailing Wolf to take on Akimu using Fuyumi’s life as the prize, and Braz blackmailing Staz to do the same thing with Staz’ own life as the pot. It’s interesting that Staz, even knowing that his powers could be unsealed, would choose to remain as he is – not that Braz gives him a choice. As for Fuyumi, Franken can apparently remove Staz’ demon essence from her – which is what’s causing her to disappear – but only Braz explaining the Book of Human Resurrection can provide a long-term fix.
Akimu’s arrival as a major plot point kind of came out of left field, but he does effectively seem to have created a scenario where Staz and Wolf are going to be fighting together at last. That should be fun – as will seeing how Staz chooses to deal with his brother after Akimu has been finished off, given that he’ll now seemingly be strong enough to take him on if he so chooses.