SUBWATCHER EPISODE 18 – ONE MAN WINS, ALL MEN LOSE

While every Subwatcher is successful in one way or another, this one came very close to complete failure. All because someone was dumb enough to throw off the timing halfway through Michiko to Hatchin. More on that catastrophe later. First, the successes.

LAST TIME ON SUBWATCHER, EXCITEMENT RAN RAMPANT THROUGHOUT THE BLOCK. SOME TREATED IT LIKE A PARTY, OTHERS AN EXCUSE TO DROWN THEIR SORROWS.

TO START THINGS OFF, GINTAMA FINALLY INTRODUCED ITS MAIN ANTAGONIST: SHINSUKE TAKASUGI, AN ANTI-AMANTO RADICAL WHOSE LOVE FOR CHAOS AND BLOODSHED EARNED HIM A SPOT ON JAPAN’S MOST WANTED LIST. TAKASUGI’S MOST RECENT TARGET, THE SHOGUN HIMSELF, WAS SLATED TO ATTEND A 20TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION COMMEMMORATING THE AMANTO’S ARRIVAL IN EDO, BUT KILLING HIM HIMSELF WOULD BE TOO OBVIOUS. TO DO THE DIRTY WORK IN HIS PLACE WAS EDO’S TOP INVENTOR, AN OLD ROBOT MANUFACTURER NAMED GENGAI HIRAGA, WHOSE EXPERTISE HAS BEEN CALLED UPON TO PUT ON A SHOW FOR THE SHOGUN DURING THE FESTIVAL, ALONGSIDE WHATEVER ASSISTANCE THE YOROZUYA PITCHED IN. THE DEATH OF HIS SON IN THE JOI WAR GAVE GENGAI A REASON TO BE AGAINST THE SHOGUNATE, AND WITH TAKASUGI’S ASSISTANCE, REVENGE WOULD BE ALL HIS. HOWEVER, WITH INTERFERENCE FROM BOTH THE YOROZUYA AND THE SHINSENGUMI, GENGAI SOON REALIZED IT WASN’T WORTH THE REVENGE IF HE WANTED A HAPPY LIFE, AND TAKASUGI DISCOVERED THAT AFTER ALL THESE YEARS, GINTOKI STILL MEANS BUSINESS.

THEN, ON SCI-FI HARRY, IN THE AFTERMATH OF HIS PSYCHOKINETIC SLAUGHTER AND THE EXPLOSION THAT FOLLOWED, HARRY WAS ABDUCTED FROM THE SCENE OF THE CRIME BY TWO MYSTERIOUS INDIVIDUALS WHO, ABOVE THEIR OBVIOUS SUSPICION, CLAIM TO BE ON HIS SIDE. WHILE MIKE SPENT THE POST-KIDNAPPING PERIOD WORRYING ABOUT THE POLICE’S LENIENCE TO THE CASE IN FAVOR OF HARRY’S DISAPPEARANCE, THE NOW-JOBLESS MYSCYLUS MICK LEARNED OF HIS LOCATION, AND JOHN DISCOVERED WHO MIGHT HAVE KIDNAPPED HIM. HIS ONLY CLUE: A PSYCHIC RESEARCH GROUP KNOWN AS THE ACCUSER. BUT DESPITE HER WORRIES ABOUT HARRY, THE MYSTERIES SURROUNDING HIS KIDNAPPING DON’T MEAN MUCH TO CATHERINE. THAT IS, WHEN THEY’VE TAKEN BACK SEAT TO HER BROTHER’S OWN PSYCHIC POWERS, AND THE MYSTERIOUS GIRL WHO WAS WITH HIM AT THE SCENE…

NEEDLESS FOLLOWED THINGS UP WHEN, AFTER LEARNING OF MOMIJI’S SITUATION INVOLVING ADAM ARCLIGHT AND NEEDLESS HUNTING, THE GROUP DECIDED TO GET MORE INFORMATION ON HIM THROUGH A MYSTERIOUS INFORMANT KNOWN AS DISC. BUT THE ONLY WAY TO GET THE INFORMATION THEY DESIRE IS TO TAKE A TRIP ACROSS THE BLACK SPOT TO THE DATA CONTROL CENTER KNOWN AS IRON MOUNTAIN. WITH PILES OF BODIES IN THEIR WAKE, AND A YOUNG GIRL TAGGING ALONG, THE GANG FINALLY MADE IT TO IRON MOUNTAIN. HOWEVER, WITH THE DESIRE OF OBTAINING BLADE’S BODY TO LIVE ANOTHER DAY, ARCLIGHT HAS SENT OUT A SPECIAL GIRL’S SQUADRON TO TRACK HIM DOWN. LOOKS LIKE THE DANGER THEY’VE FACED INSIDE THE MOUNTAIN IS ABOUT TO GET A LOT WORSE.

LASTLY, ON MICHIKO TO HATCHIN, THE RUCKUS MICHIKO CAUSED IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD OF FAVELA HAS NOT ONLY GIVEN HER A DEBT TO PAY TO THE RULERS OF THE DISTRICT, BUT ALSO A RIVALRY WITH THE LEADER’S GIRLFRIEND, A STRIPPER KNOWN AS PEPE LIMA. HAVING GONE THE WAY OF RICHES TO RAGS, PEPE HAS TAKEN TO THE STREETS WITH HER LITTLE SISTER LULU TO SCROUNGE UP ENOUGH MONEY TO GO BACK AND EXACT HER REVENGE AGAINST THOSE WHO THREW HER TO THE CURB. AS SOLID A PLAN AS IT WAS, WITH ONLY ENOUGH MONEY FOR ONE ID AND A LACK OF ANOTHER IN MICHIKO’S BAG, THINGS WERE TOUGH FOR PEPE AND HER SISTER. AND THEY ONLY GOT TOUGHER AS THEIR THEFT OF RICO’S OWN STASH LED TO A MANHUNT FOR HER BODY, AND LULU’S OWN TAKEDOWN. NOT EVEN BEGGING MICHIKO FOR ASSISTANCE AS A LAST RESORT COULD GET PEPE BACK ON TRACK, SO IN THE END, THE ONLY THING THAT WAS LEFT FOR HER TO DO WAS TO FACE HER DESTINY. HER INESCAPABLE DEAD END OF A DESTINY.

DESTINY CAN BE A FICKLE THING, REALLY. SOMETIMES, YOUR DESTINATION FAILS TO FOLLOW THE PATH CHOSEN FOR YOU. OTHER TIMES, OBSTACLES STAND IN THE WAY OF YOUR TARGET. AND THEN THERE ARE THE CASES WHERE YOUR DESTINY JUST BLOWS UP IN YOUR FACE, EVEN AFTER BREAKING FREE FROM ITS GRASP.

COMING UP NEXT:

EPISODE 18: ONE MAN WINS, ALL MEN LOSE

WATCH YOUR STEP.

As you may all know, Otae can’t cook. The only thing she can cook is eggs, and 10 times out of 10 she burns them to a crisp, to the point where people begin referring to them as poor, innocent, and abused. While most run away from her cooking, Shinpachi is the only one who wants Otae to get better at it. Cooking classes won’t mean crap since Otae sees no problem with them, so Shinpachi’s last hope is to just wish Otae’s bad cooking skills away. One day, while passing by some dance show on the street, he comes across a street vendor, a Rastafarian Amanto with a skeleton face, selling good luck charm dolls that can make any wishes come true. For whatever reason, they all look like various varieties of Elizabeth.

The pleasure of owning your own alien duckman can be all yours for just $19.99! Or 2000 yen, if you rather.

After walking off with the classic variety Elizabeth plushie, known as “Space Monster Stefan”, Shinpachi comes back home to give it to Otae after having supplied it the wish for her eggs to become better cooked. That plan goes to bust when out of nowhere, Otae stabs through Stefan with a naginata (one of those Japanese long spears) and scares the everloving crap out of her little brother.

“Your wish has been denied; Otae’s tamagoyaki will never get better in quality.”

After ripping apart Stefan in anger, Otae takes Shinpachi out to a restaurant to meet up with the rest of the Yorozuya to explain why she tried to stab him in anger. For a while, Shinpachi was staying at the Yorozuya’s main base during the night for a week or so, and in that time, something happened with Otae that made her pissed off and overprotective. This “something” is an attack by a panty thief which struck her place twice already.  Gintoki doesn’t really see the point of the thieving, and as random as he is, goes off on a tangent about how young women used to wear their kimonos without panties. Kagura follows this up by saying that she wears a really worn-out G-string (where only the strings are left) which, like thongs and other scanties, are an undergarment that Gintoki doesn’t like due to the lack of modesty.

I see no problem with them, even though I used to think Scanty was just a made-up name for that one demon sister from PSG.

But before Gintoki can go on a speech about how wild girls in kimonos really are due to their lack of panties, Otae punches him in the face and forces him to get back to the matter at hand. The panty thief is a serious matter due to the fact that it was her lucky panties that were stolen. One would initially assume they were to help her get lucky with the men, but she claims it’s for a night in Vegas. Eitherways, she’s going to break every bone in the thief’s body once she gets a hold of him and steals back her panties. Kagura agrees, and with a sisterhood formed, they celebrate with a drink.

That leaves Gintoki and Shinpachi alone at the table, where they automatically come to the conclusion of who this panty thief is.

It’s the only way he can spy on Otae without getting his ass beat, and yet it remains a tad too obvious.

Much to their surprise, Kondou isn’t the panty thief. As obsessive as he is towards Otae, he’s still a samurai and that means that not even stalking can give him an excuse to take a girl’s panties. What’s more is that this panty thief isn’t even targeting just Otae alone. This panty thief is actually a serial thief known as the “Masked Loincloth Bandit”, a perverted version of Robin Hood who takes high-quality panties from cute girls and gives them off as charity to nerds and loners who can’t get dates.

“It’s raining panties! Glorious, glorious panties!”

Gintoki and Kondou were amongst those who got charity panties from the MLB (not to be confused with Major League Baseball), but despite the generous gift from the MLB (or in Gintoki’s case, the Santa Claus from Kabukicho who works all year round) and the police’s failed attempts to capture him due to popularity amongst the public, they have every intention of bringing him down. Hijikata, who also got charity panties, is pissed about it as well, which explains why the Shinsengumi are helping them out on this one. Not to go off-topic, but because Gintama is a show that uses comedy to give characters extra dimensions, this episode not only reveals Hijikata to be mistaken for an undesirable by the MLB, but also the son of a crossdresser.

What was even more horrifying was what his mother had on when he walked in on the two that night.

Anyways, during a meeting covering “Operation Catch the Masked Loincloth” (which sounds like a Gedou Otome-tai title), Kondou explains that the Shinsengumi’s involvement, aside from Hijikata’s hatred of charity panties, is because they exist to keep the peace, even with their own internal insanity, and taking down the MLB will help achieve that peace through the happiness brought upon by each individual person supportive of his takedown (that gets him a smile from Otae, a rare sight). Their plan to take down the thief consists of leaving out a pair of Otae’s panties as a decoy, keeping guard over it, and when the MLB comes, down he goes.

The question is: which pair of panties to use as the decoy? Since the MLB prefers quality panties over any old normal pair of white cotton, Otae offers up both another lucky pair of panties and one with a bear on the back. Both prove to be too much when Kondou gets a nosebleed so hard it makes him fall to the ground in shock.

For a boxing move by Mickey Rourke ridiculed in Japan, the Cat Punch is not to be taken lightly.

After Shinpachi complains about having to see Otae’s panties every single day, and Gintoki assuming Hijikata’s reaction to the night he learned his parents crossdress, Otae gets everyone back on track with a swing of her naginata. And with that, they head to her place to train and set up traps to capture the MLB, with a pair of baby blue panties as the official decoy. Gintoki is the leader of the operation, and like everyone else, he has his white headband of leadership on. Well, almost everyone else. Yamazaki’s in a suit of armor from the medieval days, and Kagura’s dressed like Bruce Lee in Game of Death, or for those unfamiliar with the king of kung-fu, the Bride in Kill Bill. Kondou’s outfit is also weird, but it’s alright since he’s dressed like one of those olden-days samurai leaders.

It’s still more culturally appropriate than a suit of armor.

Most of the training they do is swinging around their sword, slicing straw dummies in half, chopping cement bricks in two (Kagura succeeds, but Kondou fails), and in Yamazaki’s case, practicing their badminton swings. Shinpachi views this training as way too psychotic for the handling of a panty thief. Okita isn’t exempt, although he has the perfect way to trap him if they aren’t successful in doing it themselves: land mines.

What separates it from a real land mine is the fact that it isn’t made to kill.

With these land mine wannabes in their possession Okita commands that they be buried and set up all around the property of the dojo to make it an invincible fortress. However, much like your standard game of Minesweeper, nobody remembers where they buried the mines. They realize that flaw later that night when, after hours of waiting, discussing the obviousness of their trap, suggesting nabbing someone random to turn in as the thief, fighting off the mosquitoes that are attracted to the sweet scent of Gintoki’s blood, and fighting amongst one another, Kondou goes to get cold food and drinks to stave off the night heat causing the latter of the five, only to get blown up by a stray land mine.

Instead of killing those who step on it, it just sends them into a state of shock.

Once they realize their folly, the MLB shows up to kick ass and take panties, and he’s all out of ass.

Whoops. I meant panties.

But before the MLB can take Otae’s panties and hand them out to the perverts, otakus, cherryboys, and delusional horny SOBs that oh so crave them, Yamazaki and the four Shinsengumi troops stationed to help out arrive to take down the MLB themselves. However, Yamazaki’s clumsiness causes him to roll down the roof and knock the Shinsengumi troops off, failing to take out the MLB and landing on another landmine. With them down, the MLB decides to do his work and take himself some panties. Guess where he lands.

So… I take it that’s “Mission Accomplished”, right?

Wrong. Despite falling victim to the not-so-landmine, the MLB survives, and grabs Otae’s panties as they float down from the explosion’s backlash. Also, the effect the blast had on him doesn’t affect  him as much as it did Kondou, explaining that the voices of the receivers of his charity panties calling out to him give him the power to do what he does best, and keep him doing it night by night. And that’s every receiver, from the otakus to the cosplay cafe-goers to the idol photographers to those fat guys who make and paint Figmas straight outta the Eikenverse.

As big of a fan of /d/-sized tits I am, those figures near the back have ones that are too weirdly shaped for even my tastes.

Despite those silent cries giving him the power to stand, the MLB is still stood up against by everyone else, starting with Kondou grabbing him by the leg and demanding that he drop the panties. He gets his ass kicked. Gintoki tries to do Kondou a favor and take out the MLB himself. Another stray landmine blows him up and sends him into a shocked state. In that last resort, Otae jumps in and takes her panties back, successfully defeating the MLB and proclaiming that if someone wants her panties, he should be naked, in heart and optionally in body. And also not Kondou.

Feminists these days should be less about banning porn and more about preventing those pornwatchers from doing law-breaking things, like what Otae just did.

With no panties in hand, the MLB drops dead for unknown reasons, presumably involving the red star below the tail of a seven-star constellation that looks an awful lot like one of the Dippers. With the MLB defeated, victory belongs to the Yorozuya, the Shinsengumi, and Otae. Sadly, they lose themselves due to more land mines going off during the victory run. Eventually, all the land mines in the area blow up the dojo. Not a good time for Okita to have told Hijikata that the charity panties were just a prank he pulled on him.

Especially if it’s bound to cause that big a domesplosion.

This episode was really hilarious. Had no point or semblance on the plot, save for some surprising cooperation between the Yorozuya and Shinsengumi, but still pretty damn funny. I can’t count how many times I laughed at gags in this episode, but they definitely included Stefan’s demise (and removal from the plot), Kondou’s nosebleeds, and the several landmine setoffs. Not only that, but Otae’s getting more likable now. Not that she wasn’t likable before (even though she had negative likability points back when she was first introduced), but now she may be one of my favorite female characters. Awesomely dangerous and quite the positively influenced feminist. Cooking still sucks, though, but it’s not like I’m gonna eat her eggs if I can make some myself.

…that kinda came out wrong. But if it didn’t, you know. LEGENDs and all that junk.

Last time on Sci-Fi Harry, Catherine discovered that her little brother Elliot has psychic powers like Harry (now to the point where he’s finally able to break the heads off of spoons), and he apparently got them from a mysterious girl who has varying facial expressions, some  as creepy as fuck…

“I AM HERE TO EAT YOUR SOUL.”

…and others… not so much.

“Is that a spoon in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?”

While the opening recap once again demonstrates her uncanny ability to disappear when no one is watching, it doesn’t explain her potential connections to the Accuser, or why she was in Harry’s room at the Accuser’s compound. Oh well.

Speaking of Harry, after a single day of being in a place he doesn’t know with people he doesn’t know, he tries to break out of the room in order to get back to civilization. Not even the assurance of safety from Kate or the strength and verbal warnings of Jamaican Terminator (his real name is Stanley, but just like how I called Masako from Mawaru Penguindrum “Penguinball Lady”, the nickname stays) can calm Harry down to just agree and lie in bed for a few more hours, so just like their first meet, Jamaican Terminator sedates him.

“Thankfully, this knockout serum I have right here is the perfect cure for cockiness, besides pure Jamaican weed.”

Meanwhile, at the police station, John heads to Mike’s office to get more information that can prove that Harry was the cause of the studio explosion two nights before. However, the case is completely out of Mike’s jurisdiction. Not only has the explosion case been transferred to the FBI, but Harry’s disappearance has been transferred itself over to the police’s Juvenile Division; not to mention that it’s classified as a runaway case instead of a kidnapping. John’s pretty mad at this turn of events, and the police’s handling of the explosion as just a terrorism case worthy of investigation by the Feds and Mike’s denial of Harry’s involvement don’t make the situation any better.

“Of course! In what universe would a bomb break the necks of several hundred people?”

With help from Mike in his investigation no longer an option, John decides to do his own investigating for proof of Harry’s psychic powers being the cause of the explosion. The only possible means of proof are VHS recordings of Harry’s TV performance, which for sure captured the moment things went horribly wrong. Catherine’s friend Nancy recorded the special herself, and is nice enough to let John into her house to watch the recording before disposing of it. As John watches it, there’s not much to write home about. There’s just the title, introduction, Harry holding his spoon,  and the audeince holding their spoons, all to the tune of corny yet dancealicious cable access showbiz music. And the moment Harry’s spoon breaks, the broadcast suddenly comes to a stop and the tape cuts out. After talking with Nancy for a bit about Catherine’s status (she’s fine, though still in shock) and the question as to what happened at the station (she apparently doesn’t believe it’s a bomb like the news says), John finally finds a clue to Harry’s involvement. Just before the recording stops, the approximate time Harry’s powers kick in, there’s a flash of white light…

Someone should’ve gotten Tyler Durden to splice in something a little more exciting than watching paint dry.

…and then a still image of Harry with what appears to be a glitchy grey shadow behind him.

If you turn it sideways, it looks like one of those sound wave charts.

Sadly, there’s no more information besides this startling piece of potential evidence, so John comes up with an idea. For every recording, there’s a master tape that has the original broadcast on it. If there’s a master tape at the TV studio, John could ask for it in order to find any evidence beyond the bright light and creepy shadow glitch, or at the very least tell what they are.

The next day, John drives over to the TV station, currently having the damaged parts rebuilt, to speak with Ryal about the possibility of getting a master tape. However, due to the presence of Feds keeping an eye on Ryal in the front of the building, the two decide to speak elsewhere.

“We’ve got a code Sierra Foxtrot Hotel. Our target’s moving to the south end of the building. Send some men down to see what’s up.”

Once seated down and talking, John asks Ryal for the master tape, ensuring him that he won’t cause any trouble in the midst of the explosion’s aftershock on the TV station. Dissapointingly, a dead end is reached when Ryal tells John that the master tape was destroyed in the explosion. In return, Ryal asks John his own question: where is Harry? John doesn’t know, which gets Ryal pretty mad.

John should be glad that Ryal didn’t burn him with his cigarette, or worse, throw the ashtray at him.

After calming down and apologizing for his burst of anger, Ryal lets John in on a little secret: despite the claim that there are no copies of the recording in the studio, Ryal managed to smuggle one out for himself. He promises to give John that tape, just so long as he gives him Harry’s whereabouts in return. He gives him his number to call if and when he finds it (if he wants to), mostly out of fear of the Feds listening in on their conversation.

Despite Ryal’s quick thinking, the FBI agents stationed outside the studio find their way to John and hold him at gunpoint just as he’s about to leave, warning him that if he sticks his nose in their investigation, he may go too deep and end up dying as a result.

Most likely by their hands.

By luck, Mike comes into the scene, notices the situation, and tells the Feds to back off, using his police connections (remember the case transfer?) and his own connections to John to prevent him from actually getting shot if he accidentally let his conversation with Ryal slip out. Anyways, John is thankful for Mike’s intervention, although he is a bit puzzled that he didn’t notice the gun being pointed at his back.

“Sorry, these new contacts I just got were prescribed by 4Kids. I’ve been meaning to switch brands for the last day or so.”

As it turns out, while Mike isn’t too keen on helping John with his investigation during work, he’s more than willing to lend a hand while off duty. Plus, he cares about protecting the innocent, and that includes John.

With Mike officially on his side, John drives him over to the school. It’s unknown whether or not it’s a school day or not, since the order of events in this series seem to be all out of order or something, but students are using the library, implying that John was skipping school to meet with Ryal, and the faculty didn’t care because jocks skip school all the time. Anyways, John brings Mike into the building to show him the Accuser website he recieved a few days prior. At a time like this in your standard teen drama with a supernatural twist, the site would be gone and Mike wouldn’t believe John. However, because Sci-Fi Harry is an anime, and anime loves breaking cliches while creating new ones in return, the Accuser site is still operational. It’s just that John can no longer go beyond the home page. All he’s met with are nostalgic 404 errors.

Ah, the age of computer warnings before different servers made everything custom.

Despite this newfound handicap, Mike still believes John’s claim that there was more to the Accuser site than just the home page. He blames it on the computer. Or should I say, computers in general.

The scary part is, that proved true during this post’s initial collective watch.

Just then, proof to fill in for the lack of information comes John’s way when a mysterious informant pops in and asks John about the TV station slaughter. John, unable to respond via text, replies through the conveniently placed microphone by the computer that yes, he does want to know. But not about the deaths; instead, about the Accuser. With that, the computer informant (presumably Disc’s American counterpart) tells all that shlee knows.

The Accuser is an organization established for the purpose of gathering individuals with supernatural powers – preferably those of a psychokinetic nature. That, we know. The new piece of information, however, is that their objective for collecting psychics and espers is so they can save humanity. How? That’s classified. What’s open for reveal, however, is that there will be another victim. And that’s all American Disc tells John (and Mike) before logging out and disappearing into the netherworld of the Interweb.

Not long after, Ryal calls John on his cell and tells him that he has the tape he wanted. It’s as if Ryal also has psychic powers, only they’re less like Harry’s and more like that of a clairvoyant, and used the Q&A John participated in to confirm that he has some idea of where Harry might be, and that was good enough for him. That sudden change of heart aside, Ryal also lets John in on another secret.

By they, I mean the Feds, of course.

With that, John drives off to Ryal’s place to collect the tape, with Mike in tow. On the way there, Mike assumes the tape hides the identity of the real culprit behind the psychic manslaughter – that is, considering that it wasn’t Harry’s psychic backlash that caused it – but John thinks that it should at the very least reveal a bit more about what happened. According to him, Harry’s psychic powers were definitely a cause, but since he has no control over them, it’s likely that someone else was pulling his psychic strings (like Myscylus Mick pre-power loss), and that that person might not only be behind the TV station murders, but every broken neck case prior to it. Explains why there were no reports of broken neck deaths after Elliot used his powers for the first time.

“Let’s just pray that the video didn’t pick up the psychic backlash like the TV screen did.”

Meanwhile, at Ryal’s house, Ryal is busy rewatching the tape from before in the time he has before John arrives to pick it up. Much like what John was doing, he’s been watching the tape and slowly fastforwarding through it with the power of the pause button, trying to figure out the mystery behind the white flash of light and the mysterious shadow. However, his endeavors are interrupted when the doorbell rings. Assuming it’s John, he goes to the door to deliver the tape. But until next episode, we won’t know.

“Yes, and I have a candygram with your name on it!”

Back at the Accuser’s main base, Kate and Jamaican Terminator have taken the unconscious and sedated Harry and, after letting him rest for a couple hours so he’s more asleep than he is drugged, start performing tests on his body. However, the tests are postponed when Kate realizes she has the wrong file on hand for the test (apparently, it’s one for their token psychic dog), and leaves the room to get the right file, leaving Harry in the Jamaican Terminator’s hands. Unlike Kate, Jamaican Terminator views Harry as less like a human and more like a monster/guinea pig, so he does what he thinks is best, goes behind Kate’s back like he usually does, and prepares to sedate him again. Only this time, he’s planning on inserting it between the eyes.

The only way to ensure that test subjects don’t wake up during the test is to sedate them in the most borderline lethal way possible.

But just before Jamaican Terminator can almost kill Harry with his native synthetic knockout drug, Harry wakes up. Jamaican Terminator tries to play it off as a joke, but that doesn’t stop Harry from being freaked out not just by the syringe, but by the fact that he’s being/about to be tested on. Just like any unstable psychic youth, Harry does the only logical thing: psychicsplode the room.

This series is lucky in that it knows how to properly animate a psychicspolsion.

Kate runs into the room after hearing the noise the psychicsplosion made and finds only three things: a wrecked hospital room, an injured Jamaican Terminator, and that Harry has disappeared.

Let’s also pray that he swam to the safety that is the Forest of Death.

Man, I never seem to lose interest in Sci-Fi Harry. For the average viewer, it has the potential to lose interest fast, with the faded color palette, the talkative nature, and the below-average quality animation outside of the OP. Even so, the plot is intriguing, and raises more and more questions each episode. The characters are showing quite an amount of depth, the soundtrack is perfect in relation to the series’s mood, and above all else, there’s plenty of mystery to keep those who aren’t turned off just waiting for more. My only problem with it, besides the occasional creepy facial expressions, is the timeline. Everything up to the beginning of episode 4 was straightforward in when it took place, but here, it’s getting a bit convoluted. Nothing too polarizing, since I came up with my belief.

Day 1: the rest of episode 4 and episode 5 up to John’s meeting with Ryal.
Day 2: the rest of episode 5.

Hey, it’s worth a shot for now. And hopefully, episode 6 either picks up on a new day, or continues the previous one. The perpetuality of clouds in the sky make it hard to tell the time of day, although it fits the mood as perfectly as the music.

But even with the hilarity of Gintama and the intrigue of Sci-Fi Harry proving great, I got the most enjoyment for this watch out of NEEDLESS. Not only because of action, no Cruz-beatings by Eve’s hand, and the twists and turns taken, but because I no longer have a need for YouTube. You know how they say Hulu is out to take over the world? Well, our future alien overlords have just saved me several clicks of the refresh button while screencapping this episode.

Pay no mind to the larger image size, smaller watermark size, and the different title font. All different tics of having NEEDLESS on Hulu.

Last episode, the gang (when are they gonna get a name like the Scoobies, the Gaang, or the Kikyuuren?) ventured across the Black Spot, and after easily defeating several outlaws, struggling against rebuilt Testaments, and picking up a little girl Blade fell in love with, they finally made it to the main control room of Iron Mountain, where they met Disc, the mysterious informant who they sought out to receive information on Adam Arclight from.

As revealed last episode, Disc was revealed to be a young girl with abnormally large hands. The former detail makes it hard to believe that she’s actually a survivor of WWIII, let alone over a century old. But that’s explained by the fact that she’s a Half: a fancy Black Spot term for cyborg which essentially boils down to “half-man, half-machine”.

Her cyberbrain hard drive should dispel any further doubts.

The hard drive brain Disc possesses has within it the records held within Iron Mountain before WWIII, data collected during and following WWIII, and of course, personal experiences that are best left in the corner of the cyberbrain where lost souls go to watch movies.

Anyways, last episode ended when Disc told Blade that he was one of the failures of the Adam Project, a governmental experiment carried out to recreate “The Second”. The only thing keeping this reveal from being surprising to Blade is that he has no idea who The Second is. Everyone – Cruz, Gido, Momiji, even Eve – FUCKING EVE – – is dumbfounded by Blade’s lack of knowledge of this important person.

Don’t feel so confused, Blade; we newcomers to the series don’t know who The Second is either.

Disc shoos away any further confusion by putting her information broker skills to work and revealing who The Second is, not just to Blade, but to the audience as well.

After WWIII, the Black Spot was (clearly) a deserted wasteland of a ground zero site. Much like Utah, or Mars before it became livable. One day, in an event that destroyed all VHS tapes on Earth, the second coming of Jesus happened. However, because he looked nothing like Jesus despite obviously being his second coming, he was known only as The Second. He is said to be the first and most powerful NEEDLESS, possessing more than one power and using them to help people striving to survive in the Black Spot, from ending starvation to curing disease. Much like the original Jesus, he too ended up dying, and as a result, his powers were distributed amongst those who were chosen at random, and because each power was a fragment of the myriad that The Second possessed, that’s why the powers NEEDLESSes possess are called “Fragments”.

I can only guess his hair was white, given that Arclight and Blade are both clones and possessors of The Second’s ripped abdominals.

With that pre-question out of the way, Disc prepares to enlighten the group with information on Adam Arclight and SIMEON: their main objective. However, that is interrupted when the Girl’s Squadron sent to Iron Mountain by SIMEON bursts in the front doors and starts nonchalantly walking to the main room to kidnap Blade as per their objective. Disc, thinking they’re just your standard trespassers, sends out her army of resurrected Testaments to take care of the problem. They all get destroyed in an instant.

Just to give you an idea of how extraordinary these trespassers really are.

Disc comes to the conclusion that the intruders are NEEDLESS, and activates her defense system so they won’t get into the main database, or out of Iron Mountain altogether. Because it’ll take a while for the system to activate, Disc sends Blade, Eve, and Momiji out to trap the intruders (who split up to cover more ground) and fight them; as they say, only a NEEDLESS can defeat a NEEDLESS. With transceivers to track down the enemies so it’ll be easier to find them and receive intel about the NEEDLESS’s powers from Disc, the group’s three NEEDLESSes move out while Cruz, Gido, and Mio stay within the confines of the main database.

Disc: “So… You guys like animated pornography?”

Eve takes up one end of the building and confronts the first of the two intruders, the breathy girl with blue hair named Setsuna. To start their fight off with a bang, Eve disguises herself as the wall and punches Setsuna right in the gut with her Eve Cannon. The fact that this particular scene (as in, the entire start to their fight) is animated by Hironori Tanaka just adds to the awesomeness.

Nothing screams intensity like a still shot drawn by a famous animator who’s uncredited for some reason.

After recognizing Eve’s abilities as that of the Doppleganger, Setsuna shows off her own NEEDLESS powers. Her Fragment is that of “Speed”, which means she can attack at any speed she desires. In a scene where the Hironori Tanaka sakuga is more obvious, she shows off her signature attack, Dean Drive Foxhound, by speeding up, turning into Ghost Hound (for those reading from the start, I rewatched it dubbed; not bad at all, though I’m afraid to reread my initial review on it), and slices open Eve’s shoulder without even having her feel the cut.

Who said the Invisible Black was just for Deadmen alone?

Setsuna also has the attack style “Dean Drive Blackbird”, which is less cutting and more punching, both of which make Eve’s Doppelganger abilities weak in comparison to Setsuna’s overwhelming advantage of screwing with the sound barrier.

Meanwhile, Blade corners his opponent, the cute mute Kuchinashi, and does so in a way that’s surprisingly in-character: creeping above her on a spider web made from the Tempest Thread, shooting her a creeper pedophile look, and then using the Tempest Thread to attack her from above.

Look out… cuz here comes the Spiderblade…

Despite Setsuna’s advice, Kuchinashi just had to run into Blade alone. Luckily, she has her own Fragment to use against Blade and his desire to have her lick his ass before giving up his body to his evil counterpart. Her Fragment is that of “Fragrance”, which gives her the ability to manipulate various odors with her “Maiden Restriction” attack and paralyze her opponent, making it easier to attack them melee style.

Then again, what’s the point in paralyzing one of their vital organs if the opponent’s already paralyzed enough?

Disc tells Blade about the Fragrance Fragment, and that resisting inhalation of the scents produced by the Maiden Restriction will be his only chance at defeating Kuchinashi. Blade’s attempt to use tissue meant for stopping up nosebleeds is foiled, thanks to the connections between the nose and mouth (which he has trouble comprehending thanks to Kuchinashi’s lexicon). Eventually, Blade uses his Zero Fragment to memorize the scent and immunize the effects it has on him. That smart move ends up failing too for two reasons.

Firstly, Kuchinashi can manipulate more than one scent, rendering Blade’s attempts to cancel her first one out pointless. And if he memorizes that? Just use another scent to paralyze him.

First the second coming of Jesus, now Ambergris. Is this episode trying to reference Futurama at every possible moment?

Secondly, her Fragrance Fragment isn’t her only weapon on hand. There’s also the Jet Coaster on her hand. She can use it to perform “Crown Marionette”, a synthesis-based attack which uses the Maiden Restriction to force Blade’s brain into sending the wrong signals to his body, which is convenient in that it forces him to punch himself. And then, there’s the more physical-based method of using the Jet Coaster to send a rocket punch at Blade.

The second of those two uses comes in an art shift scene from Kan Ogawa, which consists of Blade proposing to Kuchinashi, and then falling victim to the rocket punch.

Note how the fluidity of the animation, combined with the outlining akin to a child’s drawing, singles out Ogawa’s animation style from the several other sakuga artists in the industry.

Yeah. Blade’s definitely on the losing end of his battle, even with his God-like powers.

Eve, on the other hand, is faring better on her end. Both of Setsuna’s Dean Drives failed to make Eve actually feel pain, which she claims comes from Setsuna’s fists having no will behind their actions. Setsuna tries to prove Eve wrong by attacking her again, but Eve manages to block it. The fact that Setsuna’s attacks use only both of her fists, and Eve’s ability to grow extra limbs thanks to her Doppelganger abilities, gives Eve the upper hand.

“Damn! I knew I should’ve gotten a Fragment that’s easier to win with!”

Just before Eve can win and Blade can lose, the defense system activates, keeping Setsuna and Kuchinashi from advancing deeper into the heart of Iron Mountain. Disc also sends out what appears to be a knockout gas through the vents, which cause them to fall back. Success!

But what of the others? Well, Momiji got lost, and later trapped by one of the defense system’s walls, much to Blade’s shock.

“Uchidaaaaaaa! You can’t die now! We were just getting to know each other!”

As for the three group members left with Disc… remember last time when I told you that Mio was the missing third member of the Girl’s Squadron? Well, the following scene proves my theory.

After Disc activates all the walls for the defense system, Mio suddenly feels the need to go to the bathroom. Since we can’t have her wetting herself in the middle of a perfectly clean database, Disc opens up a pathway leading to the restrooms so Mio can do what she needs to do. And because it’s without a doubt scary for a litte girl to wander through the hallways of a potentially dangerous database building alone, Cruz accompanies her.

“Of course. Someone needs to protect you from Mr. Priest’s advances, after all.”

Once at the bathrooms, while Mio goes to pee, Cruz waits outside. After thinking about it, he realizes something is off with Mio. With the exception of Gido, nobody calls him Cruz. Most of the time it’s either “kid” or “Yamada”. Not to mention that he never even told her his name to begin with. The moment he brings it up to Mio… she crushes his arms with her teddy bear.

“Dammit! These were the arms I used for everyday tasks!”

This reveal shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone who at the very least watched the opening and ending themes by themselves. But since no normal anime fan but me does that sort of thing, it must’ve surprised a lot of people.

That aside, Mio reveals to Cruz that she is, in fact, a member of SIMEON’s Girl’s Squadron, and her Fragment is that of Power. That is, she has super strength, and can use it to carry heavy objects without breaking a sweat (while normals like Cruz get broken bones just from having it placed on top of them) and punch through walls. Like she does when she meets up with Setsuna and Kuchinashi.

No, it isn’t wrong at all for me to say that she’s still cute, even after her reveal to be evil.

Since kidnapping Blade straight-up is a no-go at this point, Mio decided to take Cruz hostage. That way, they have a lure to draw Blade in later, presumably at a point where they have a bigger chance at defeating him than they did here. And so the success transfers over to the bad guys.

Or so it seems. When Mio knocked out Cruz and took him away, Eve, the other person in the group to have suspicions about her, listened in on the whole thing. Reaching into the sane side of her, Eve follows Mio so she can save Cruz, and to make her rescue not so blatant, she disguises herself as Setsuna.

“I’m seeing double! Four Setsunas!”

After arguing with the real Setsuna to confuse Mio, Eve attacks her (the preview’s inclusion of this scene hiding Mio’s reveal cleverly) and creates a smokescreen of the knockout gas. With no time to stick around, the Girls’ Squadron takes Cruz and runs. With no time left for messing around and getting the information they need, especially with one of their members kidnapped, Gido leaves the main database to meet up with Blade and Momiji. Once the three reach the main entrance, they find a letter from Mio that pretty much reveals her evil nature to Blade.

Too many subtitles up in this bitch.

Blade, of course, fails to get the big picture and claims the message to be a love letter from Mio to him. But if the letter didn’t surprise them enough, the fact that Cruz is still in the building definitely did.

“Who is there? OH MY GOD CRUZ IS HERE HOW CAN THIS BE?”

Another trick by Eve. That’s how this be.

Using the same trick she did to fool Kafka back in episode one, Eve used the smokescreen to her advantage and disguised herself as Cruz, so the Girls’ Squadron would take her and not him. And because unlike Cruz, she has actual fighting ability, Eve proceeds to cement herself as an awesome character, no matter how many episodes continue to make her look like a dumbitch.

The first step, however, is not holding a little girl hostage.

Holding Mio hostage, Eve proceeds to take down Setsuna and Kuchinashi singlehandedly. She throws Mio’s teddy bear at Setsuna, and extends her arm to rotate Kuchinashi’s Jet Coaster in a direction that would set her hair on fire.

Oh, and before the fight, Eve calls Setsuna an “upstart knockoff”. For those of you who have no idea what that is… your S.O.L. cuz I don’t know either. Disc, playing the role of Miss Exposition, explains it as a character closely resembling one that already exists that becomes popular the moment the character they’re based off of loses screentime, but I failed to see how this connects to Setsuna in any way.

That aside, doesn’t Disc look kinda cute with those thick-rimmed glasses on?

However, before Eve can kill them like she did Uten, she gets knocked out by Mio’s teddy bear from above. The Girls’ Squadron decide that since they failed to get Blade’s body right away, and they failed to use Cruz as a lure, they’ll have to use Eve to draw in Blade. The fact that she’s unconscious makes their job all the more easier, but for Eve, it may be a matter of life or death.

When your ghost’s ghost has a ghost, you just know there’s a problem.

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I’m actually starting to like Eve more now. No, it’s not just the fact that she didn’t beat Cruz this episode like she did in the beginning. She’s actually gotten smarter (despite still referring to SIMEON as “Simian), more clever, and much more badass. She’s clearly taken over as the tsukkomi to Blade’s boke, even though they’re both bokes at heart. The fights were really well animated, with animations from Jun Arai, Kan Ogawa, and Hironori Tanaka (uncredited for various reasons) thrown in to exemplify it. There were still Meguca-worthy QUALITY shots, but no matter; the fight scenes made up for it. It’s a bit sad that we didn’t learn more about Arclight and SIMEON, but what else can you do when strong NEEDLESS fuck up your home? I’m also a little curious as to what Blade meant when he said “it’s gonna cost you” before heading out to fight. Maybe Disc had to give the group something in return for them volunteering their services? Oh well, I guess it’ll have to wait. I may not have liked this series much before, but I’m really starting to lighten up to it now.

PREVIEW
Kuchinashi: *scribbles on her board*
Mio: Kuchinashi, you’re supposed to narrate the preview! Say something!
Kuchinashi: I can’t, because of Standards and Practices.
Setsuna: Guys, you gotta help me! I think I’m bleeding rainbows!

But even if Eve did beat the shit out of Cruz for no reason this episode, NEEDLESS still would have beat out Michiko to Hatchin for this post’s best episode. It’s not that Michiko to Hatchin had a bad episode after a streak of good ones. Hell, this one finally opens up about the plot! It’s just… someone fucked up big time, and caused me major grief when I tried to watch it sensibly. You’ll find out what I mean soon enough. And to think that it started out so perfect…

The episode starts out twelve years before the main story, in Vermelha, which you may remember as the city where Michiko was arrested prior to her sentencing to Diamandra. An unknown amount of time before her arrest (somewhere between a few days and a few weeks for sure), a gang based in Vermelha known as “Fantasma” – the syndicate Michiko attacked later on that led to her arrest – is celebrating an upcoming film starring one of their members, who is acting out her scenes from the play for her fellow associates.

SPOILER ALERT: It’s a satire about how Nostradamus’s end of the world theory is bullshit.

While most of Fantasma is either eating or acting, the group’s leader Cyril Chapek and his assistant Vasili are busy in the kitchen making the dinner to go with the show. They’re soon called out to the main plaza when an uninvited guest walks in and demands to see Cyril. And who else would this mysterious stranger be but Michiko Malandro?

Anyone could easily recognize that expression only a hot-blooded Latina would wear.

Cyril makes light of Michiko’s appearance and even invites her to eat with them. Too bad for them Michiko isn’t here for their dinner theatre; she’s here to demand that Cyril set free the members of a rival gang that he kidnapped. This gang’s name? Petro Monstro; the gang Hiroshi was part of before his presumed death by bus crash. Cyril, wielding a knife used for cutting starfruit in case Michiko gets too hostile, presumes that Michiko’s presence and demands mean that she’s a Monstro herself, but Michiko says she isn’t, and that she’s just here to get their missing members back to where they belong. But according to Cyril, he hasn’t done what Michiko thinks he’s done, since he and Fantasma are following the ceasefire between them and the Monstros, after all.

“We do have some members from another faction, if you want them instead.”

The dispulsion of Michiko’s claims fail to make her mellow out, as she’s still hostile. When she decides to straight-up attack him, Cyril, who unlike Vasili puts “join us or leave” above brute force, sees no other choice than to counter her violence with his own, threatening to kill her just so he can appease his girlfriend Sascha, the Fantasma member who happens to be starring in the aforementioned film.

“Don’t think I won’t throw my bonnet at you, you impudent manwhore!”

Now what was the point of that flashback? Some of the character names and terms will pop up again in due time, but it also provides a brief glimpse into Michiko’s past, and also acts as justification for this week’s setting: Vermelha.

After nearly a week in São Cabai, Michiko and Hatchin took Pepe Lima’s demise as their signal to get the fuck outta dodge and move to their next locale, which happens to be the place where Michiko lived prior to her arrest. On their way to their hotel, Michiko stops by an old friend’s place, the name of the bar this friend owns being a mystery because it’s so damn hard to read it.

It’s not so much a complaint as it is an observation, but seriously; can anyone read this?

At first, it looks like the friend is some kind of beatnik, but once Michiko shows up, the beatnik goes inside, never to be seen again. He’s immediately replaced by the real friend, his brother, a homosexual with an afro and a penchant for androgynous crossdressing.

He also likes to shake the booty as his way of saying “scoot over”.

Now, don’t go thinking I’m saying he’s gay because he’s effeminate and wears short shorts. I’m way beyond that. I’m calling him gay because he has a pride flag hanging over his front door, and his affection for the matadores featured on ESPN8’s coverage of the Bullfighting World Series.

“For a man participating in such a cruel, pseudo-sport, he’s quite the looker~.”

After she brings up the presumption that Hatchin is Hiroshi’s daughter, Michiko and her gay best friend (who I’m calling Gaybro until I get a name; unlike him, Stanley the Jamaican Terminator is forever) go into the kitchen to discuss why Michiko is in Vermelha in the first place. She doesn’t bring up her primary goal of searching for Hiroshi (since Gaybro is under the belief that he’s still dead), but instead tells him that she’s looking for Satoshi, the acquaintance of Hiroshi’s she mentioned last episode. Gaybro understands Michiko’s intentions, but tells her that simply speaking to him won’t be easy, seeing how he’s now taken control of Petro Monstro and brought it up to the level of a big-time crime organization from its not-so-humble beginnings as one of the Vermelha Tribes.

And then Michiko finally brings up her search for Hiroshi after Gaybro questions the point in looking for Satoshi, and their conversation steers straight into full argument mode.

“Your Indian Burns may sting like hell, but there’s no point if they aren’t gonna leave marks!”

Michiko is still very adamant about Hiroshi being alive, but Gaybro thinks she’s crazy for thinking that. He follows it up by listing off the events leading up to Hiroshi’s death: after Michiko got arrested after the mysterious disappearance of Cyril, a body of a Monstro member (most likely the one Cyril denied hiding when Michiko barged in 12 years ago) was recovered and as a result, the ceasefire between Monstro and Fantasma came to an end and an all-out tribe war broke out on the streets of Vermelha. Several died, Monstro, Fantasma, and civilian alike, and Gaybro pins the blame on Michiko. Michiko, as usual, doesn’t give a fuck, even after Gaybro claims that with Cyril confronting her some time after her rude interruption of his dinner show, and his body being found several days later, she could be the only one responsible for his demise.

Nevertheless, according to Gaybro, the only people left in Vermelha are those who left Monstro and joined Fantasma, meaning that Satoshi Batista has left the city. With the conversation having taken a turn for the grave, Gaybro suggests that Michiko leave if she understands that due to the belief that she killed Cyril, she’ll wind up dead sooner or later. Also, he’s just her gay friend now.

“That means that when they finally invent the videophone, DON’T BUY ONE. I also suggest leaving your Facebook profile picture blank at all times.”

Michiko takes the part of Gaybro’s advice involving leaving his sight, but not the part about leaving the city. She and Hatchin take refuge in the former’s old place. Once there, Hatchin asks Michiko if she was born in Vermelha; Michiko doesn’t know, but confirms that she was definitely raised in Vermelha, and met Hiroshi there too. This brings on another flashback: the day they first met.

Over 12 years ago, when Michiko was in her early 20s, her house was raided by two members of Petro Monstro: Hiroshi Morenos and Satoshi Batista. Guised in their regular clothes and scarves to hide their faces, Hiroshi and Satoshi came in with the intention of cornering Sascha of the Fantasma faction, but ended up getting a shirtless Michiko instead.

Many pop art photography careers with tasteful nudity as the main focus were born on this day.

Hiroshi, uncomfortable with Michiko’s nudity, asks her to put a shirt on before they interrogate her, but she declines, as it isn’t dry yet. Even throwing his face-bandana at her as a cover-up won’t convince Michiko to put on some clothes, and as much convinces her that Hiroshi deserves a headbutt. Satoshi tries to shoot Michiko in retaliation, only to discover that not only is he out of ammo, but he forgot to bring ammo to begin with.

“Wait right here; I’ll be back with some ammo!”

With Satoshi having abandoned his partner in crime, Hiroshi is left alone with Michiko, a gun pointed at his head. Only instead of shooting him, Michiko lowers the gun and wipes off Hiroshi’s nosebleed, beginning a friendship that was to last until they parted ways.

Here’s his face, because it’s too early to let it go to waste.

For that first act, everything was perfectly fine. Technically, that is. Much to my surprise, anger, and bewilderment, it was all about to come crashing down. With that, allow me to tell you why this episode ending up being such a pain to complete.

Anyone who’s watched videos on a regular basis in their lifetime are aware of the instance where the audio comes either sooner or later than the visuals accompanying it, throwing off the timing immensely; a term I like to call “audio lag”. I’ve suffered it quite a number of times; Neon Genesis Evangelion 2, Berserk 14, 18, and 22, Charger Girl Juuden-Chan 10, Kaiji Hakairoku-hen 17, a couple of the early Steins;Gate episodes, and in a rare case of this happening on live television, MAR 9. This was not the intention of those who supplied the videos, and yet it happened anyways. Still, it was nothing an extra open video, a press of the mute button, and some impeccable timing skills couldn’t fix. However, not even those could fix Michiko to Hatchin 5’s unique problem. Not only was the audio mismatched with the visuals, but the subtitles were too.

THE FUCKING SUBTITLES WERE TOO.

While the audio-subtitle synchronicity allowed things to retain a lick of sense, the visuals coming several seconds after the audio and subtitles made things worse, nigh unwatchable. I had to open two videos; one for visuals, one for audio and subtitles. That’s way harder than it looks, you know, and it cost me precious time I could have spent eating lunch. Even though this problem ruined this particular Subwatcher for me (I’m sure it’s just a one-time thing, since most of the other mismatches were also one-time things), I don’t think it will detract from my blogging of it (save for subtitles coming earlier than they should), but don’t feel uncomfortable if I comment on it harshly.

Anyways… back to the show.

After Michiko explains away some of her past to Hatchin, she steps out for a while. Hatchin snoops around Michiko’s old room, and ends up finding a picture of Hiroshi and Satoshi from back when they were young.

Yes, Satoshi is black. No, it won’t be stereotypical. They’re in South America, dios mio.

Michiko comes back right when Hatchin was looking at the second picture (one of Hiroshi and Michiko together), and takes them away.

The next day, after the subtitles and audio finally found their unrightful place in this episode…

JUST WHAT ARE YOU SUBTITLING!?

…Michiko takes Hatchin to an orphanage in Vermelha called “House of the Loving Liliana”. They’re not there because it’s where Michiko was raised. No, it’s something much more heartbreaking than that. As it turns out, this is the place where Michiko and Hatchin are parting ways. Hatchin is going to live there from now on, the second of the two pictures she found in hand, while Michiko will, traveling on her own path, find Satoshi in the hopes of finally getting a lead on where Hiroshi is. Hatchin wants to come too, but Michiko refuses. It’s a reasonable refusal, since Satoshi is now the leader of the Petro Monstro, and since it’s now amongst the big boys of South American crime syndicates, it’d be best for Michiko to go in alone, since she’s dealt with gang activity before and Hatchin hasn’t, not to mention the risk it would have on Hatchin’s life. Even so, Hatchin refuses to stay behind at the orphanage, and starts accusing Michiko of being just as bad as the Belenbauza-Yamadas, only less in the cruelty sector and more in the field of deception. Under the belief that Michiko brought her along just to leave her behind, Hatchin starts beating on Michiko. Michiko’s attempts to calmly convince Hatchin that she has the wrong idea don’t work, so to snap her out of it, she just straight-up bitchslaps her.

If I wasn’t so mad at whoever mixed this video, this scene would have been quite the impactful moment.

After successfully calming Hatchin down but failing to convince her otherwise of the possibility of Hiroshi’s survival, Michiko decides that it’s best to part ways now rather than yell at each other about it for the next hour. Taking the picture back, Michiko drives off, leaving Hatchin behind to start her new life at the House of the Loving Liliana.

As it turns out, the House of the Loving Liliana is short on orphans. So many kids have been adopted into nice houses in the past several weeks, that one of the regulars, Joachim, is constantly wondering where everyone has gone. The old lady in charge, Zeria, just explains that they’ve gone to a better place than the orphanage. With so little orphans and so many time, having Hatchin around would most likely bring a good vibe back to the orphanage, hope for a higher influx of fresh orphans. However, Zeria denies her acceptance into the orphanage’s care. Why? Who knows? It could be for Joachim’s sake. It could be because she hates kids. Or it could be because Michiko has sloppy handwriting and poor spelling skills.

“Never before in my life have I seen such a letter on the verge of illiteracy! Denied!”

From her reaction to the letter alone, it’s all but confirmed that Zeria knows Michiko, meaning that the House of the Living Liliana actually was where Michiko was raised.

But all those three reasons, while reasonable, are not why Zeria refused to let Hatchin live at her orphanage. The reason is that she doesn’t have any money, and according to her, orphans who ask to live at an orphanage that don’t have cash up front are just plain selfish. Once Hatchin has the dough, she’ll reconsider. Though, considering her hate of kids, her reconsideration might still be just “no”. Also, that money? It’s not for the orphanage or anything like that. The money she gets from the new arrivals, plus the people who adopt the old arrivals, is all being saved up for her own selfish ends, mostly retirement splurging and surgery for her aching legs and hips.

That’s right. No one does care about you, friendly bartender person who shows up for only one episode.

All in all, Hatchin’s still pissed off, swearing her revenge against Michiko once they cross paths again.

You have to start somewhere, right?

Meanwhile, Michiko has taken a small break in her search for Satoshi, to think about the old days when she first met Hiroshi. As he explained to Michiko in her flashback, he came to her place because he wanted to take Sascha, Cyril’s girlfriend, hostage so he could have a better chance at rescuing his Monstro friends kidnapped by Fantasma. The interesting part of that was he was going to go in alone, no Satoshi or nothin’. Michiko claimed that he would die, but Hiroshi doesn’t care; as long as his sacrifice benefits Petro Monstro greatly, he’s perfectly fine with the odds being stacked against him. However, Michiko thought it would be better if she went in his place, or if they went together. Because having known Hiroshi for a long time, she knows that deep down, no matter how famous he wants to be post-mortem, he’s really just a coward.

Still, you have to admit, Michiko was quite the cute one back in the day.

As my suspicions confirmed, the second part of Michiko’s neverending search for Hiroshi is more dangerous than the first. Whether she knows about it or not doesn’t matter; all that matters now is that it is. And that danger is called Fantasma. Remember Cyril’s second-in-command Vasili?

Of course you don’t.

Well, after just like how (presumably) Satoshi took over Petro Monstro after Hiroshi’s supposed passing, once Cyril died, Vasili took his rightful place as head of Fantasma. Over the years, he’s gotten really fat, really fast, to the point of being a blonde, slightly less mobile, and much less rapey Buppa, down to spending his time lounging around in his elaborately designed bathroom.

“Dammit, Shirley, where are you!? It’s time for my 12:00 body massage!”

Through natural order, since Vasili’s the leader, the rest of Petro Monstro is under his command. As such, he’s made aware of Michiko’s presence in Vermelha. You see, 12 years ago, back when Cyril was still alive, Michiko was going around pestering everyone and their grandmother about the Monstros he supposedly kidnapped, to the point of shutting down production on 2013: The End of the Legacy of Nostradamus. It was agreed amongst the group that once the Michiko problem was solved, Cyril would step down as leader of Fantasma. (Which, in a way, he did after he died.)

Anyways, Michiko has danger following her, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t also following Hatchin. That night, Hatchin makes the not-too-bright decision to stay at Michiko’s old place, waiting for her to return so she can sock her for abandoning her. However, under the assumption that Michiko’s still there, some men from Fantasma raid the apartment and kidnap Hatchin, since she’s as good a hostage as any. A sure lure to draw out Michiko.

Just in case you didn’t realize it already, yes, Hatchin lied about not having the LBDD tattoo.

Before heading off with Hatchin in tow, one of the Fantasma members vandalizes the place with spray paint, to let Michiko know that they have her dead (or not) boyfriend’s daughter.

“”Fantasma… Wuz… Here…” Brilliant!”

To tell the truth, watching the episode the second time through wasn’t as bad as I’d anticipated; it’s not like it’s the actual watch or anything. The actual watch, on the other hand, buttfrustrated me to no end. I’d be sitting here, saying how nicely the plot’s opening up this early in, assuming Michiko and Hatchin will reunite, pondering the fates of the characters we met this episode in the next, but the video lag just ruined the SUBWATCHER. It was still a success, but not the great success I expected it to be. If one thing’s for sure, though, it’s that once FUNimation (many thanks to them for licensing this) puts this episode on either their Youtube or their Hulu account, I am rewatching this the way it was meant to be watched: free of rage related to someone’s lackidaisical screwup.

And because my Michiko to Hatchin watching experience was ruined by the video lag fiasco I just ventured into, it will remain out of the ranking for this entry. While Gintama was all-around hilarious and Sci-Fi Harry proved itself worthy with its grip and its unraveling plot, NEEDLESS just out and out won with a surprisingly legendary episode that I just flat-out loved from start to finish, even through Mio’s rather cruel reveal as a villain. Cute, but cruel.

ONE MAN WINS, ALL MEN LOSE
BUT WHAT DOES IT MEAN?

In Gintama, the team assembled to protect Shinpachi and Otae’s home against the Masked Loincloth Bandit came out on top, but their ineptitude when it came to where they placed the land mines they hid cost them the fight as well. Similarly on NEEDLESS, Eve managed to effortlessly pwn the Girl’s Squadron, but Mio’s teddy bear cost her the fight she won, and made her a hostage. Speaking of which, in a moment where I realized something else I could’ve done, Eve getting kidnapped as lure for Blade and Hatchin getting kidnapped as lure for Michiko may have gone good hand in hand.

Best Scene: Eve vs. Setsuna and Blade vs. Kuchinashi, back to back.
Worst Scene: Michiko to Hatchin‘s second half video entertainment screwup. In non-technical terms, probably Mike not realizing the men holding John at gunpoint, well… had guns on them.
Funniest Scene: For some reason, Kondou being knocked out by a nosebleed from looking at Otae’s panties made me crack up so hard.
Creepiest Scene: More Sci-Fi Harry faces. Sorry for being so unoriginal.
Sexiest Scene: Otae’s panties.
Cutest Scene: Mio (falsely) asking to go to the toilet was pretty damn adorable.
Awesomest Scene: Eve vs. Setsuna and Blade vs. Kuchinashi, back to back.
Saddest Scene: Technical problems aside, Michiko and Hatchin’s departure in front of the House of the Loving Liliana.
The Highlight: Eve vs. Setsuna, part 1.
Biggest Question: How can someone be so dumb as to throw off the timing of the audio (and subs) to the visuals halfway through a pivotal episode?

Welp, it took nearly three and a half months to churn this out, but I finally finished another SUBWATCHER. Hopefully, that Michiko to Hatchin flub was just a one-time fluke. Next week is the continuation of “The Fool’s Yearning”, where we’ll see what happens to Hatchin after her kidnapping and what Michiko will do about it. Most likely, it’ll end with them back together on their search for Hiroshi. In regards to the other shows, the Yorozuya plus Madao go to the beach, Harry runs away from the Accuser and meets up with the creepy/cute girl who gave Elliot psychic powers, Myscylus Mick kidnaps Catherine, and a brief glimpse into the adventures of the Beautiful Girl’s Squadron. Coming up soon (hopefully before December 21), these episodes will be documented for future reference. To close things out, in absence of any new “to be continued” card from Michiko to Hatchin, here’s American Disc signing out the only way he/she/milkshake knows how: via the Interweb.


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