Weekly Digest 12/10/13 – Yozakura Quartet ~Hana no Uta~, Kingdom 2

Yozakura Quartet - 10 -1 Yozakura Quartet - 10 -19 Kingdom 2 - 27 -10 Kingdom 2 - 27 -22

That episode of Kingdom was one of those anime episodes that felt like it lasted about four minutes.

Yozakura Quartet ~Hana no Uta~ – 10

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This was an odd little episode of Yozakura Quartet, the series where even the eyecatches have panty shots.

We’re only two weeks away from the finale of this series, but Ryo-timo took the time to give us a slice-of-life episode with very little that was relevant to the future plot until the 30-second post ED sequence.  This seems to synch with the notion that the aim is to have the end of Hana no Uta synch up with the start of the Tsuki no Naku OVA series – which actually premiered in October.  Watching this series has never been less than a complicated undertaking.

If you like the whimsical, moe-driven side of Yozakura Quartet this episode was certainly right up your alley, not straying far from the basic formula we’ve seen utilized over and over.  The first half focused on Hime recovering from a cold with Ao watching over her and her trio of school friends rambunctiously making noise.  It was basically an opportunity for the five of them to vamp, flash the audience and the Vice-principal of the school to show up and say how wonderful Hime was despite the Elders wanting her to resign.  I must say being show over and over just how much everyone adores Hime is getting a little wearisome at this stage – we got the point a long time ago.

B-Part is the backstory of Juli, the doctor with the world’s shortest skirt (Ao probably finishes second, but she’s cuter).  Did I need to see it?  No, but it was modestly interesting (and the timing was relevant given the epilogue, though I won’t expound on that).  Juli, it happens, is a descendant of Dr. Frankenstein – yes, that one – who came to Sakura Newtown many generations earlier to open a clinic after being hounded out of Europe.  Of note here is seeing Yuhi and Yae in a sort of photo-negative of how we’re used to seeing them – the two of them never fail to entertain me, whichever body form (why do I suspect Yuhi switched because he figured he could get away with being more ecchi as a shota?) they happen to be choosing at the moment.

Kingdom 2 – 27

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I noted last week how epic war stories like Kingdom bear a certain narrative similarity to sports anime, and it’s no less apparent here.  We had our buildup episode, now we have the “game”, with the ultimate stakes – and as with a really gripping event ep of a sports anime, it’s torture when those closing credits start to roll and you know it’s seven long days of waiting ahead.

It’s hard not to conclude in watching this battle play out (no, the CGI isn’t especially horrible this week) that the army of Wei is simply better when it comes to tactics and strategy.  The issue, as I see it, is that the Lian Po army is stocked with brilliant minds at the peak of their powers – including the Supreme Commander himself – and the Qin army is ill-equipped to counter.  They’re fighting this war at a bad time – the last of their truly great Generals has died, and while the three young wolves have the potential, they’re just too young and lacking in experience to be able to match up with the likes of Lun Hu.  Meng Ao has his Vice-generals but they’re each deeply flawed in spite of their brilliance, and the White Elder himself just lacks that spark of brilliance that truly great military commanders have.  Ten years earlier or ten years later, and this would have been a much more formidable fighting force.

That said, they are the good guys here (though Kingdom does a good job of demonstrating that there isn’t really a moral difference between the sides in these conflicts, and soldiers are never more motivated than when fighting to defend their homes) and as such, one might reasonably expect them to win – or at least draw.  It doesn’t look good at the moment, as Meng Ao is caught between Scylla and Charybdis – Lun Hu is charging towards his headquarters with only the depleted Feixin Unit (left behind in reserve along with the Yufeng and Yueha Units, on the opposite flank, as punishment for their adventurism) in the way, and Lian Po himself has snuck up from behind – the less steep side of the hill on which Meng Ao has set up shop.  This was surely coordinated between he and Lun Hu, and even if the White Elder is smart enough not to take Lian Po’s bait and duel him one-on-one, it was he who surely intended all along to be the one to take that silver head.

It’s now that we truly see the damage Wang Jian’s cowardly retreat has done the Qin cause – Lian Po can comfortably execute his plan without Jian Lian, but with Wang Jian bottled up in his hilltop rat’s nest he’s useless to his commander.  Obviously the Xin-Lun Hu battle is going to be a resounding one, and the Feixin will sharply slow Lun Hu down at the very least.  But the other side of the hill looks bleak indeed.  There’s one wild card still out there, and that’s Huan Ji, the Thief-General who took Xuan Feng’s head.  He may still be tied up with Jie Zifang’s army – though we know Lun Hu had Jie send some of his men to replace the ones the young lions managed to take from him – but last we heard he’d disappeared into the woodwork as usual, presumably to pop up at an opportune time to thwart the enemy.  Hopefully he proves more reliable and useful to his commander than his fellow Vice-general, the aristocratic military scion content to guard his own ass rather than risk it in a battle he’s not sure to win.

In any event, the front-page story for now is still Lun Hu vs. Xin.  Lun Hu continues to earn his “magnificent bastard” stripes – though he gets a little help from a Wei commander whose troops he’s sold a little short.  He uses the very complex and difficult wheel manouver to slice through Meng Ao’s horizontal formation like a rotary saw through plywood, taking out the flatulent but courageous – and a bit dim – General Rong Bei in the process.  It’s only the resolution of the Feixin (and, one suspects, the absence of so many of Lun Hu’s best men) that halts his charge, leading to the resumption and presumably conclusion of Xin’s personal battle with Lun Hu.  But the Feixin are weakened from yesterday’s fierce fighting, and Xin has been ordered to leave 200 behind as a reserve of the reserve – and along with them his strongest fighter in Qian Lei, who he’s seen is seriously wounded and not at all at her best.  All in all things are looking pretty grim on what we’re promised is the last day of this battle, but that stormy day may be a long one – and I suspect we’re going to get a few more surprising twists and turns before it’s over.


Kingdom 2 - 27 -24 Kingdom 2 - 27 -25 Kingdom 2 - 27 -26


  1. J

    This episode of YQ just gave me a stupid ear-to-ear grin. Ao cuter? Must be her antennas.

  2. s

    Not to mention the subtle animations that went into her like when hime was caressing her face (to which there was quite a few caressing moments this ep)

  3. e

    'Meng Ao is caught between Scylla and Charybdis' and this is one of the reasons I follow this blog :,> .
    I think mr. Bandit General could manage to lend the old man a hand but still I agree this will be a long last battle day.

    Damn Lun Hu is one tough mofo, although if we go by the new (spoilerish) ED we see his sword alone planted on the ground with Xin still standing with his own sword. And unless they're cruelly teasing us with maybe third season events Xin is gonna get an armour and clothes upgrade and we kow what earning these entailed, so…
    Also thanks to the new ED it's the first time we glimpse Diao in months.

  4. t

    so kingdom has a new ED hah?the third by the Sketchbook. lovely.
    that aside, the final clash has started. as you said above – the episode lasts for only four minutes. sometimes they are just wasting time on "the silent before the storm" of battles, those times I am just wishing they'll be get into the pace already.
    nevermind that, it's still good.
    Xin VS Lun Hu (take #?? who's counting?)it's about time those two will finish what they started a long time ago.

    Meng Ao is in a pinch?sure, it's Lian Po (Renpa) we are talking about. but we all know it would come up to this between those two. and knowing Meng Ao's defensive style, he seemed ready (as possible as one can be ready for this monster :P)

    I get your point over the criticism about Wang Jian. but I think we should remember something important here. it was said in the very beginning that he and Kanki (the Bandit) are Meng Ao main force of attacking. so considering his dominance and the fact Renpa was fixated about him because Ouki or someone told him so, it's hard to maneuver like that when everyone guards you with 7 eyes.
    I mean..think about it that way. let's assume you are in a group of a sports team. say…soccer, basketball, whatever sports you like (that will fit the next scenario HaHa). and you're having a crucial game against a team which has 1-2 very very strong and dominant players, what would you do?obviously, you'll try to put guard on them as much as possible (even double guard like in basketball) so you'll negate their dominance as possible.
    that's what going on with Wang Jian. ever since the beginning, they had 7 eyes of what he is doing. sure, sometimes it didn't work. but they were well-prepared (mostly).

    enough wit Kingdom, YQ.
    it was like watching 2 different lovely mini-episodes.
    A part was combined with Hime, Ao and a bit of stuff. but mostly Ao, whom I really like, was somehow in the center without even tell us about it. she was…shining in this ep. even with all the stuff she is probably conflicted about her brother. but she is resolved to do her best and help Akina and town.
    Eh-oh-satellitoooooooooo (:

    B part was a very interesting flashback, showing us an old interaction between some of the "old" secondary cast – Juli, Yui, Yae and Hime's grandma. I wonder how much relevant is this gonna be.
    not much left for our lovely 1cour season. once again, with this ep, I feel like I am watching a collection of "YQ bests". seriously, if this was a bit more serious of 2cour season, that would be one hell of a show for me. yet, even with the way YQ is now, I simply love it.

  5. t

    since this was YQ last post I am posting here some news:
    unfortunately, Cthuko subs are disbanding. that's why there is no translated episode this week (and there won't be by Cthuko subs). at first I thought it was delayed..but someone told me the news. it's written in their site:

    so there won't be YQ ep11 until another group will do it.
    now that's really a shame since only 3 eps left and they are actually the core behind the name "hana no uta" of the arc (and the series..)
    I hope someone will sub this ;-;

  6. That does suck. I knew it was on delayed because of editor issues, but this is the first I've heard the group packed it in. Too bad.

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