Sunday, August 6, 2017

Vatican Kiseki Chousakan 3

Due to Fr. Joseph's final words, Roberto and Josef break into Fr. Michael Brown's room to get some answers. There, they find that the priests of Santo Rosario Church have preserved Fr. Michael's corpse and were apparently venerating it as a saint. Along with Fr. Michael's perfectly preserved corpse, the two also find an ancient relic: a piece of a lance that looked exactly like the Holy Lance relic stolen from the British Museum; as well as a copy of the Devil's book. Roberto goes through Fr. Michael's book collection and finds one that is written in runes -- the same ones he found at the murder scene of Fr. Klaus. Just then, Josef discovers a hidden compartment in a cabinet containing the other half of the tally counter given to Roberto earlier by the Vatican. Paired together, the tally counter reads as "Heinrich."


Josef gets Lauren di Luca, his hacker partner, to find out about "Heinrich" from the Vatican Bank's client list. Meanwhile, the hospital finds out that Sister Anna Dolores has disappeared from her room. The incident leads Fr. Johannes to introduce Roberto and Joseph to Fr. McGee. Fr. Johannes apologizes for the late introduction, saying that Fr. McGee has been locked up doing genetic research for the hospital. But introductions are interrupted when they are alerted to a demonic possession of student, Carlos Diego, prompting Roberto and Josef to prepare for exorcism. During the ritual, Josef deduces that Carlos Diego is not possessed but suffering from a psychotic break due to drug overdose. After Carlos recovers, he tearfully reveals that Fr. Klaus had been sexually abusing him and giving him drugs to keep him contained.

Because everything that happened, Roberto and Josef decide to cover up the sexual abuse and instead say that the exorcism was a success. Meanwhile, Roberto deduced something himself: the guard apparently has vision problems, which leads Roberto to conclude that Mario Lotte was not levitating but was actually strangled and held up in mid-air by his attacker. The stigmata was just a physical manifestation of extreme pain and fear from being attacked. Since Fr. Johannes confirmed the guard's account, they both deduce that Fr. Johannes is lying and is probably working with the killer. Roberto reads from the Devil's book where it is prophesied that in the battle between God and Satan, Satan will plant his seed in a pure woman and his son will save the world. Josef deduces that Sister Anna Dolores' immaculate conception will fulfill that prophesy.

The next day, Roberto and Josef encounter a strange woman in the church grounds. The woman is out of her mind and shows them her baby: a two-headed ragdoll. She recounts to them how she conceived the child in a ritual involving an upside down pentagram and candles as well as the presence of Fr. Josef, Fr. Klaus, Leon and Fr. Johannes. She reveals that her father, Michael Brown, came down to earth onboard an ark and that he was very happy when she conceived the baby whom he declares is Lord Janus' child. A priest from the hospital soon arrives and calls her "Mary." Two orderlies escort her back to the hospital while the priest explains that Mary has schizophrenia and is Michael Brown's adopted daughter. The priest reveals that Mary had given birth to a child with severe deformities that died shortly after but her other baby appeared to have survived.


Later, Josef reveals to Roberto what he has figured out from Mary's story: that Michael Brown may have been one of the Nazi members who escaped to South America after the war. With this, they surmise that Sto. Rosario Church may be helping Nazi members hide. This is later confirmed by Lauren who connects Heinrich with the Heinrich Social Welfare Organization which ostensibly gives aid to refugees in war-torn areas but in reality deals in insider trading, using the Vatican Bank as a front. Roberto then states that the Nazis love to use runes but that he cannot read the runes in the murder room because they are written in code. So Josef brings him to spy on some students holding a seance, surmising that they can figure out the runes from the students' ouija board. But the guard breaks up the seance and Josef and Roberto find themselves being attacked by a man in a skull mask.

Love how blase these Vatican priests are at covering up Carlos Deigo's sexual abuse.
And it's the Nazis. It's always the Nazis.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Ballroom e Youkoso 2

Sengoku assigns 2 instructors to teach Fujita the basic dance moves: Karen Banba and Tomochika Jinbo. Sengoku commissions them because as trainees they don't get paid but Fujita proves to be a bad student. Fujita however takes heart when Shizuku wishes him luck.

Meanwhile, it's revealed that Shizuku is competing at the Semi-Finals Amateur Dance Competition and Sengoku announces that he's going to see it. Naturally, Fujita goes too, along with Karen and Jinbo. There, Sengoku gets fawned over by some girls who recognize him as the Latin Dance Champion. Fujita sees Shizuku's dance partner, Kiyoharu Hyodo for the first time and feels intimidated by the boy's aura. It turns out however that Kiyoharu is the same age as Fujita. Kiyoharo and Shizuku wins the Semi-Finals round, but Sengoku is annoyed at how bored Kiyoharu looks after accepting his award.

The next day, Fujita is still reeling from the previous night's exciting competition and mooning over Shizuku when he encounters Kiyoharu, who looks quite different out of costume. Kiyoharu is tehre at Shizuku's behest to give Fujita Kiyoharu's last year's dance pants. The pants however need some hemming. After a demonstration of what Fujita learned over the past week under Karen and Jinbo's tutelage, Sengoku decides to let Fujita observe and follow Kiyoharu's moves. It turns out that Fujita is better at imitating moves than at taking actual dance instructions. He is even able to follow Kiyoharu's excellent footwork and Sengoku wastes no time rubbing this in Kiyoharu's face. Kiyoharu, however, remains unfazed.

In school, Fujita is thrilled to find that Shizuku is waiting for him at the locker room, but she's only there to tell him that they are finished hemming his pants. The two of them go to Kiyoharu's place and along the way Shizuku explains that she and Kiyoharu have been dance partners since they were 5 years old. Shizuku also says that on the night of the semi-final round, Kiyoharu had a fever and yet he still danced at an excellent level. Shizuku reveals her plans to go abroad to train but that Kiyoharu is not interested in that. While Shizuku goes to get the dance pants, Fujita secretly observes Kiyoharu rehearsing. To his surprise, he sees an image of Shizuku dancing with Kiyoharu. Shizuku explains that some dancers are so attuned to their partners that even when they are dancing by themselves, it still seems like they're dancing with their partner. At the studio the next day, Fujita rehearses the basic waltz and Sengoku is surprised to see that he is dancing with Shizuku in mind as his partner.

In this episode, we see some hilarious faces made by the characters. Fujita especially but Kiyoharu got the most laugh from me when he made the "scary yawn" at Fujita.
I'm still enjoying the show. The style can be quite extreme (distorted faces, contorted bodies to the point that they are almost grotesque) but most of the time the images are tame and when it's tame it can be beautiful. Especially the close ups. Long shots are a bit touchy though because you can see how little they pay attention to the character details. Characters and proportion look weird in long shots.
I think it could use a little more movement in the dance sequences but I guess that would take too much from the budget. The production value is quite high already.
Anyway, in this episode, we see Kiyoharu established as the genius. Like if Fujita is Sakuragi then Kiyoharu is Roukawa. I get that vibe between them. Or, if you wanna refer to more recent anime, then Fujita is Naruto and Kiyoharu is Sasuke. I think it's a common trope in anime and always, always, there's the girl in between. But that's not necessarily a bad thing.
I hope this show does not fall into a box.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Vatican Kiseki Chousokan 2

The scene opens with a man running while a distended voice asks why they have not repented. The man kneels in front of a fiery creature with three heads and three eyes with the symbol 666 and claims "they" are coming back to him. But the creature declares that they will bathed in blood.

Roberto and Josef are testing "Mary's tears" and find that it's only water. They conclude that the "tears" are simply condensation. But when they present their conclusion to Fr. Joseph Conotri, they insist that it is a miracle. In the course of their investigation, the two are introduced to Leon Russell, the layman Head of the Secretariat of Santo Rosario Church. Leon Russel tells them that the recently deceased Fr. Klaus Beck, Fr. Joseph, Leon Russel and his wife lost their parents in World War II. As orphans, they were taken in by Fr. Michael Brown, the church founder. Out of gratitude for the man, the priests have preserved Fr. Michael's room since he died and Fr. Joseph becomes incensed when Roberto suggests looking at Fr. Michael's collection of rare books.

Meanwhile, two students, Mario Lotte and Sebastian Franklin, discuss a classmate, Carlos Diego, who seems to have reacted badly to the strange occurrences in Santo Rosario, including the gruesome murder of Fr. Klaus. It is revealed that the priests have not told the student body the truth about Fr. Klaus' passing. But the students are clearly involved in the satanic symbols found on the floors and hold seances as well. Later that night, Fr. Franceso secretly meets with Sister Dorothea in her room. Soon after, Roberto and Josef are called to an emergency: Fr. Francesco and Sister Dorothea have become the latest victims of the Santo Rosario murderer. At the sight of both bodies, Roberto and Josef figure out that the victims have all been killed in the same manner as the martyrs depicted on Santo Rosario's stained-glass windows.

This latest event leads the priests to gather the students where Mario Lotte makes a spectacle of himself by displaying stigmata. The priests call the police but heavy rains keep them from crossing the bridge to Santo Rosario, forcing them to wait until morning. Meanwhile, Roberto and Josef interview the guard, which leads the two to investigate the room where the first miracle occurred. They find a cross formed by ruins written in blood as well as bloodied footprints, suggesting that the murderer was in the room when Fr. Klaus died. Josef deduces that Fr. Klaus was killed by the murderer pushing the Virgin Mary statue, crushing Fr. Klaus, which also explains the "crying Mary" miracle: the murderer cleaned the murder weapon with the ice cold water from the fountain and returned it to its pedestal. The freezing statue then reacted to the air, thus, creating condensation or "tears." During dinner, the priests discover that Fr. Joseph is absent. They quickly hurry to his room where they find him tied upside down on an X-shaped cross like St. Andrew.

Well, that was not a boring episode. Seems like the show has no qualms about killing off random characters. In this episode alone, 3 people died. Granted, they had no personalities but still. That was almost Game of Thrones-like. I'm still not bought on the show. The mysteries are okay I guess but so. much. talking. The visuals aren't great either. Needs more panache to keep me sticking to it.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Katsugeki / Touken Ranbu

Two sword warriors, Kane and Kunihiro, are chasing after a fast-moving carriage, guarded by flying wraiths and a sword-wielding warrior. They succeed in killing all of them and retrieve the cargo -- chests full of gold coins. It is then revealed that they are warriors sent from the future by a sage called Saniwa in order to stop the Retrograde Army from changing history.

At that moment, a cat-like figure announces to them their new mission from Saniwa: they are to stop the Retrograde Army from changing the course of history on March 6 during the reign of the 14th Shogun. The two travel to Tokyo and there they are able to narrow down the area where the Retrograde Army will appear and their possible target.

On their first night in the city, they encounter elements of the Retrograde Army. Kane dispatches of his assailants while Kunihiro holds his own against a lone attacker. However, he lets his guard down, prompting Kane to save him in the nick of time. Later that evening, Kunihiro is awakened by fire consuming the city. Kunihiro wants to save the residents but Kane stops him, saying they cannot interfere and risk changing history. However later Kane saves a child who is trapped in the fire.

More members of the Retrograde Army appear, heavily outnumbering Kane and Kunihiro. But Saniwa arrives just in time, bringing with him some reinforcements in the form of additional sword warriors: Tonbokiri, Mutsunokami and Yagen.

Production values look high and the art style is pretty. Kane, especially, has such a pretty design. So apparently, most of the characters are not actual people but swords -- legendary swords from Japan's history. About the only real person in the show so far is Saniwa and he's a mage or summoner.
Anyway, not sure about the villain's target right now. I'm sure it's one of those three guys that the cat character named and our heroes are going to try to stop them.
Will I stick around and watch the other episodes? Not sure. If nothing better comes along, I'll probably blog about this.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Fate/Aprocrypha 1

The series opens with a monologue. A man with his arms wrapped around a glowing orb, sleeping, when a woman with blonde hair walks up to him and tells him to "wake." The man opens his eyes and it turns out he's a dragon. The scene shifts to a battle scene between a monster army and disciplined human forces with the ability to use magic. The battle becomes that between two swordsmen with magical powers.

In yet another scene shift, the mage Sisigou is summoned to the office of Rocco Belfeban. Rocco wants to hire Sisigou as a master of Red in the Great Holy Grail War orchestrated by Darnic Prestone Yggdmillennia, the leader of the Yggdmillenia group who took the Holy Grail during the recent Holy Grail War. The Great Holy Grail War is apparently a battle between the two factions, Red and Black, and requires each faction to have 7 masters -- or 14 masters all in all, each with their own heroic servant. Rocco bestows Sisigou a relic of the Arthurian Round Table in order to allow him to summon a hero from the Arthurian Legend.

Meanwhile, the ruthless Darnic swiftly dispatches of the mages sent by Rocco. He kills all of them except whom he uses to send a message to Rocco. Darnic is revealed to have fused his soul with a baby's in order to retain eternal youth. He is likewise using live humans to power his homunculi experiments. Later, Darnic assembles his masters in order to summon heroic servants.

Rocco informs Sisigou who the other masters of Red are: Jean Rum, Rottweil Berzinsky, Feend vor Sembren, the Pentel brothers and a priest known only as Shirou. After mulling over Rocco's offer, Sisigou takes the relic as well as a jar of preserved snakes from Rocco and agrees to be a master. Sisigou later summons the servant, Mordred, the one true heir of Arturia Pendragon.

Somewhere nearby, a blonde woman prays to God when she suddenly grows quiet -- and then, she reveals her name as Jeanne d'Arc.

I honestly have no idea what's going on. Wtf was that naked dude with the glowing orb doing? Why is he suddenly a dragon? Wtf is the Holy Grail War and Master and Servant? I've no idea. 
The art looks good. The history is convoluted. I don't think this show is for me.