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Monday, September 30, 2013

The Fight Against Bamboo, Corruption, and Social Awkwardness

This Monday, I'll be tackling the latest episodes of Digimon Fusion, Korra, and Soul Eater. They're all pretty plot-advancing episodes and righteous on their own. Spoilers for each series up to this point are within! And because I'm following the American broadcast for both anime series, try not to spoil me in the comments, pretty please? (And no, saying MORE DIGIMON FUSE TOGETHER AHAHAHA is not a legit spoiler.)
PS - Did anyone else catch that Nickelodeon apparently aired the wrong episode of Digimon Fusion on Saturday, in the same time slot usually reserved for new episodes? Hey, that's cool Nick, reair the first episode and still call it "new" and don't let any DVRs know the difference. Sigh. As I said on Twitter, someone please wrestle the broadcasting rights for the Digimon francise away from them and give 'em to someone more deserving. Even Disney XD would be better!

Digimon Fusion - "A Rival Appears"
Wait, a rival appears? This isn't going to be one of those anime, is it --- wait, no, it's shonen, I think we're safe. Anyway, after two episodes of showing that Taiki and friends aren't the only humans in the Digital World, we meet one of those humans. Surprise! He is a total, Digimon abusing douchebag, thus sealing Taiki's role as the noble hero of all digital monsters.
In "A Rival Appears", we see more evil Digimon skulk around in the darkness, plotting bad things against Taiki and his allies. Right now, none of them really jump out at me as interesting - but hey, we have a lot more episodes to burn through. We also see the formation of the Fusion Squad, the further abilities of Taiki's Fusion Loader, and that Zenjirou is the kendo master of the universe or something.
Also, we see a piece of Digital World mythology in action, prompted fictitiously by a drilling Digimon led by its master's agenda. It's not the most interesting story, though – the ground breaking apart and big shoots of bamboo coming up? It's certainly no fun for Zenjirou, who gets caught on one of them and whose rescue becomes argument fodder between the two opposing human Fusion Loader users. Zenjirou is quickly becoming the Sokka of this group, only he doesn't get the benefit of carrying a boomerang.
With the end of this episode, Digimon Fusion is clearly gearing up to start its actual main plot involving the humans and their Digimon partners. I don't know what Nene is up to, but she is about to really kick this show into gear and out of Digimon 101 territory. Although I have to admit, the in-group playful bickering of the Fusion Squad will always be amusing to me. Fight on, Angry Parakeets!
Legend of Korra - "Civil Wars Part 2"
Spoiler alert: Korra continues to solve problems with her fists. Double spoiler: it actually works! Thanks to some well-timed revelations about Unalaq, Korra can break her father and his friends out of prison with a clear conscience. Let's just say that any and all doubts you had about Unalaq being a good guy were well founded and then some. Thanks to some physical intimidation on the part of our female Avatar, the truth comes out and the good guys go on the run, again, in order to save the water tribes from an unjust war.
We also see more of Bolin's twisted romance with Eska, which does not end well for our favorite Fire Ferret. In between Korra's drama and Bolin's doomed courtship, Varrick adds some much needed comic relief from the mouth of a stuffed platypus bear. We also get some very sweet resolution to the 'Ikki's gone missing' sub-plot that givens emotional closure to both Ikki and Tenzin's family issues - although I'm sure this won't be the last time we discuss Avatar Aang's problematic parenting skills, or the lives Tenzin and his siblings lived as Aang's children.
The episode ends with Korra going to the United Republic for support in stopping Unalaq's plot. It's pretty surprising, considering that Korra can be pretty unilateral in her thinking for the most part. The fact that she appeals to a higher authority when things get tricky instead of tackling things on her own shows growth on the young Avatar's part. Hopefully, this is a trend that continues the maturation of Avatar Korra as a person and a leader. Book Two is looking so good right now.
Soul Eater - "Drying Happiness! Whose Tears Sparkle In The Moonlight?"
Meanwhile, in the world of DWMA, the resident black blood experiment Crona and his parasitic companion Ragnarok continue to try and fit into everyday life at the academy. Everyone is very accepting of Crona, especially his good friend Maka, and automatically treats him as a good friend. Too bad for Crona, his bad ol' mother has come back in a brand new body and has no intention of letting her favorite experiment go to waste while living in the heart of Lord Death's territory.
"Drying Happiness!" is very much a Crona-centric episode, and since I love Crona's character, that's fine by me. We see Crona at his highest and lowest points, from sharing a real bonding moment with Maka to being forced into doing bad things by Medusa, who manipulates Crona from Eruka's frog form. 
How ironic is it that Medusa can't take care of things in her own true form, but has to use various shades and other people's bodies to do her dirty work? DWMA's vault as well as Stein are the latest targets for poor Crona to infiltrate, all for mommy dearest.
While Crona fights between his friendship with Maka and his kinship with Medusa, Lord Death is sending Justin Long on a mission that involves a lot of walking. As much as Justin Long and his ever-present earbuds and reliance on lip reading amuses me, I can say that their subplot was not nearly as interesting as the main plot involving Crona and Ragnarok and Medusa - although I'll be interested to see what Justin manages to dig up during his travels.

Next episode of Soul Eater looks to be pretty awesome. Why? It's an Excalibur episode! I love Excalibur, song and all, so hopefully this is a sign that he'll be returning to the main series for more than a few episodes.