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Strike the Blood – 13

「蒼き魔女の迷宮篇I」 (Aoki Majo no Meikyu Hen I)
“Labyrinth of the Blue Witch I”

Phew* It feels like forever since the last episode! But yeah, Strike the Blood’s back and it doesn’t miss a beat. I’d go as far to say that it actually gained an extra beat or two, because this episode was fabulous in regards to the amount of trolling the cast receives throughout. Sayaka getting her cellphone favorites revealed, her and La Folia passing through an airport gate and ending up on the other side of the island… the list goes on. As usual though, Akatsuki gets the short end of the stick by far, and it wouldn’t be Strike the Blood if he didn’t. You can’t top how his bathroom door ends up opening to Himeragi’s bathroom (with both Astarte and Kanase in it no less!) instead. Nor can you top the fact that your childhood friend decided to kiss you out of no where… and steal your body while they were at it. I just can’t. There were a lot of priceless laughs this week, and it’s just a great way to start off the second half.

What makes this even better, is how they manage to tie in the Halloween Festa celebrations into all of this as well. Not only do we get to see our characters dressed up in ways they never would be otherwise, it also set up for the “being mistaken as a molester” moment Akatsuki had (even more trolling), gave us some priceless facial reactions, and set the stage for the next group of villains our cast needs to overcome. And true to usual Strike the Blood formula, they’re anything but normal and they’re people we haven’t seen much of.

Granted, we have seen Natsuki occasionally using magician/witch powers, but rarely on any grand scale. In some ways, it feels like part of that was intentionally done in order to save it for this arc, and Strike the Blood does a lot right in regards to introducing new elements of its grandiose universe. There’s a clear sequence of events here—especially in regards to Akatsuki slowly building up his harem group of familiars—and it shows that the people behind this series (and the original creator) clearly knew what they were doing here. In particular, both Nagisa’s homeroom teacher and Yuuma end up seamlessly integrating into the cast, and it’s as if they were always here in the first place. It goes without saying that both Kanase and La Folia have as well, and it takes a lot of skill to execute this properly—especially when the cast continues to grow with every arc.

It’s an impressive feat to say the least, but in the end, it does still pale in comparison to one thing: Natsuki’s ability to pull off that middle school look. That’s just borderline criminal! Jokes aside, what is impressive is how Natsuki seems to have seen this coming for a little while now. She’s got Astarte performing a specific set of instructions in the event of her absence, and her reminder to Akatsuki to be on time for class was loaded with extra meaning. She clearly knew he was going to get involved in this in one way or another, and she’s just awesome for turning a normal line teacher’s say to something that’s a reminder, warning, and snide comment.

Overall, we have a lot to look forward to—especially the misunderstandings Akatsuki is going to cause in Yuuma’s body—and Strike the Blood looks like it may just end up better than we expected. That’s not to say it hasn’t been good up until this point, but generally it’s been more solid/decent than anything, and I’m looking forward to the series potentially shedding this label and being more than just a series that has “generic elements but does its genre well.” Notably, there’s also a new OP/ED on the horizon too, but it looks like it’ll be held off until the next arc. Not that I mind though. The current OP/ED’s are pretty darn fitting for this series. They even have the series’ name in them!

Author’s Note: Just a heads up, depending on various circumstances, Strike the Blood posts may come out around this time more often than not for the remainder of this season.

 

Preview

January 11, 2014 at 9:22 am
55 comments »
  • January 11, 2014 at 9:25 amCybersteel

    The tomboyish childhood friend is cute and all but its more likely that Kujou might use Natsuki-chan’s blood to awaken his next familiar.

    • January 11, 2014 at 3:01 pmYou know, for kids!

      It was obvious she was going to turn out to be a girl.

      • January 12, 2014 at 7:43 amiTheShirt

        But was it obvious that she’d look like Noel from Blazblue? xD

    • January 12, 2014 at 4:54 amc2710

      I got a girl osanajimi and there are times that I wish her to be like those anime osanajimi. But alas, this is reality we’re talking about.

      She is however cute though bodering close to being full of justice

  • January 11, 2014 at 9:28 amkatsudon

    yeah, I had no idea why Kojou was questioning the fact that Natsuki was wearing a school uniform- JUST EMBRACE IT IN ALL OF ITS GLORY.

    And despite the fact that this show is fairly solid as far as show goes, it does everything quite well. The harem is diverse and interesting and Kojou is a pretty good male lead, the show is just a lot of fun, even though it’s nothing amazing.

    • January 11, 2014 at 10:30 amiTheShirt

      I forgot that this anime falls into the harem genre. Kujou is one of those male leads that I think is more realistic to what your average social guy would do. (Especially if he was walking around like he was the Prototype. lol)

  • January 11, 2014 at 10:10 amdaikama

    I can’t say exactly why, but I definitely thought this episode was a step up from the past few ones. Everything just seemed to flow naturally whereas in previous episodes, it felt like some scenes were truncated a bit (i.e some source material cut out due to time restrictions) – maybe “compressed” is a better description.

    Yep, really enjoyed this episode… until that last part. I get the impression I’m in a small minority on this, but to be honest – I’m not a fan of the cliche of cliche, generic of generic plot that is the ‘ol body swap. Oh, and it’s also a gender swap. 2 for the price of 1. yay. I haven’t read the LN, so kind of curious as to whether this is per source or anime only. Either way, I for one hope Akatsuki’s “out of body experience” doesn’t last more than an episode or two. IMO, this show’s good enough without having to resort to such a trite plot.

    • January 11, 2014 at 10:36 amKuntzy

      Normally I’d agree with you (because I personally find body-swapping to be rather face palm worthy), but this seems like it’s being used for serious plot more so than fanservice-y comedy.

      I’m sure we’ll still get some awkward situations going by that preview, but Kojou’s friend seems like she’ll be a bad guy and her whole goal was to get control of the Fourth Progenitor’s power by stealing his body (what with the whole “most powerful vampire” schtick he’s labelled with).

    • January 11, 2014 at 11:11 amjrj

      all I can say is that the body swap is definitely not an anime original, it was part of the plot in the LN, and rather important plot device at that… so I am sorry to say you may have to suffer a little longer on that front (though since the arc is longer and anime is cutting down the minor stuff, it might not be that long after all). But I promise that it will be a worthwhile experience xD

      • January 12, 2014 at 5:52 amdaikama

        Thanks for the reply. I have no doubt that the plot device is used for more than just a way for “hilarious hijinks and misunderstandings” (at least I hope so), but there are other ways to go about it. For example, albeit another common/generic plot, Yuuma could steal Akatsuki’s powers if that what’s needed to advance this story line. I’d rather have that than the ‘ol body/gender swap routine.

        It is what it is as the saying goes, so nothing I can do but deal with it in some fashion.

  • January 11, 2014 at 10:24 amVsAllGaming

    This is definitely one of my favorite episodes. La Folia is so cute xD
    Natsuki should wear the school uniform more often >.> Just saying lol
    I love the relationship between Kojour and Yukina, when she gets jealous its so cute.
    The Meyer sisters definitely caught my attention and I can’t wait to see more of them.
    I don’t know what Yuma is exactly but I hope she sticks around and wont be a character that dies or get written off ><
    I swear Kojou has the worst best luck even when it doesnt seem like it at times xD
    His face when he walked in on Kanon and Astarte was priceless.

    • January 11, 2014 at 3:50 pmzztop

      Does Kojou’s body swap count as the best worst luck or the worst best luck, in your opinion?:D

      • January 12, 2014 at 4:57 amc2710

        Unless he’s Kaminou Touma….

        Beyond that, with a hot body like that, me want

  • January 11, 2014 at 10:29 amWanderer

    I really actively dislike body-swap stories (+1, daikama!), but I also really want to know what happens next. That puts me in a somewhat difficult position, because I generally stop watching anything that’s undergoing a body-swap storyline, at least until that storyline is resolved. I don’t know what I’m going to do here. At least this show seems less likely to use the extremely trite “and after they’d spent some time in each other’s bodies they both understood each other better and could become even better friends” cliche, just based on the nature of the setup, but still…

    Aside from that I actually really liked the episode. Really I did. I found the whole thing pretty fascinating. Yuuma is cute and sexy, the situation going on on the island is very intruiging, the sudden disappearance of Natsuki is alarming especially as she’s one of the few people who COULD be involved in spacial distortion on the scale of these events, Lafolia and Sayaka ending up stuck on the island some more (and thus having a legitimate reason to be involved in this story) worked well, and…. hey, who (besides the idiot Kojou) could object to Natsuki-chan in a schoolgirl uniform?

  • January 11, 2014 at 11:04 amjrj

    it’s a good episode I agree, I had a lot of fun watching it. Another good thing about this arc, from a LN reader’s perspective, is that it once again break the familiar formula a little bit — namely, the whole arc lasted 2 volumes instead of just 1! So what that means for all of us is that there will be a lot more character to be introduced in this arc, and the story will be on a bigger scale (with more battles and explosions). Of course, with a bigger story, more details are cut (mostly jokes and fan services), and when typically each episode covers about 1/4 of an volume, this episode seemed to cover about 1/2 of the labyrinth volume. I am not complaining since the faster the set up goes, the earlier we will get to see the fights and all the glorious stuff, right? And thanks for the coverage as always!

    • January 11, 2014 at 3:32 pmzztop

      @jrj:It’s good that can enjoy the anime version as an LN reader.
      I know there’s a LN reader on another forum who always complains about all the things they cut from the anime(most are small, extra things, I think.). But they say this inspires them to start translating vol 7-8 into English.
      This week they were complaining about how the anime left out
      Show Spoiler ▼

      • January 11, 2014 at 5:56 pmjrj

        well, I think all LN readers tend to complain when the small things that they love got cut… I feel sad some of the better jokes being cut too. But given the time constraint, it can’t be helped, and there are plenty of jokes remained. So I think overall it was done well.

        as to the spoiler, as far as I remembered, I don’t think it has any big importance. Hope they get translation done, vol.7-8 are pretty interesting for sure.

  • January 11, 2014 at 11:07 amfrubam

    The more I see Strike the Blood, the more I think its a better version of Index.
    MC bite count = 5(?); kiss count = 4(?) whereas Touma =….1?, if any? I’m actually impressed at how Akatsuki handles his harem. Somehow it “feels” like he divides his attention to them in a balanced way as to not make one seem out of the group.

    On a completely unrelated sidenote, I have to say Yoshimasa Hosoya(?; Akatsuki’s VA) does a wonderful job projecting such a masculine voice. Far too many MCs have this light-hearted, nice tone, but Yoshimasa has a deep voice that can really match the image Akatsuki tends to give off.

    As for this episode, it was as entertaining as the most, with the first episode of an arc always being fun, just as the arc’s problem starts to rear its head near the end. Yuuma is as charming as the other girls in one way or another, and I really like her…boyish charm =03. I can’t say I’m too fond of gender body swaps(I tend to remember Gokudo and how main MC guy/girl were bodyswapped until the END of the series >=01), but hopefully that’ll be resolved in the next episode.

    • January 11, 2014 at 11:17 amjrj

      Asagi in the LN made this comment: the reason Kojo is so dense is precisely because of Yuma. Yuma is so awesome but given she blend with him so nicely, Kojo treat girls just like the way he treats Yuma — in a very dense and “hang out with your normal friend” sort of way. So I guess that is the reason why he balance his “harem” so well haha

      • January 11, 2014 at 2:15 pmAggron

        Thanks for that it really explains everything, they should of made her say that in the anime.

        Now if only there was a reason for Ichka’s denseness in Infinite Stratos…

      • January 12, 2014 at 5:03 amc2710

        Ze awesomeness of Chifuyu-nee

    • January 11, 2014 at 3:47 pmzztop

      I like his delivery of the ‘What the Hell?!’ line in the end.

    • January 12, 2014 at 9:32 amMgMaster

      Highly debatable and probably an entirely subjective matter. Index wins by a long shot with a more interesting,better fleshed out world whereas Strike the Blood wins slightly with it’s characters(at least I like StB’s characters more).

      However,that world had PLENTY of time to be presented to us in the course of 2 seasons of 2-cours each of both Index AND Railgun so a comparison isn’t really fair,heh.

  • January 11, 2014 at 11:24 amlol

    time for some loli teacher blood sucking scene! lol

    • January 12, 2014 at 3:52 pmGinobi47

      I approve

  • January 11, 2014 at 1:10 pmYanDaMan

    Even loli teacher is starting to show interest in Akatsuki. When she mentioned about the Halloween Festival there were clear implications that she wanted him to invite her :3

    Dat middle school look though.

    Welp, now we know where the next 2 familiars will come from. Yuuma and Natsuki.

  • January 11, 2014 at 1:11 pmechykr

    The look on Yukina and Asagi’s faces when Yuuma is revealed to be a girl:
    HERE COMES A NEW CHALLENGER

    Says it all really. :D

    http://randomc.net/image/Strike%20the%20Blood/Strike%20the%20Blood%20-%2013%20-%20Large%2011.jpg
    No full body shot of Natsuki-chan in school uniform? This makes me sad. :(
    Nagisa’s homeroom teacher Sasasaki Misaki, has an equally quirky choice of clothes to her quirky name. Is she even allowed to wear those at school? Or is she wearing them just to lure out the perverts to aid Natsuki’s sting operation?

    I get the feeling Yuuma has somehow become a vampire. The way she licks Kojou’s blood and is seen with a familiar behind her upon kissing Kojou. Here’s hoping nothing bad befalls her.

    • January 11, 2014 at 1:26 pmWanderer

      No full body shot of Natsuki-chan in school uniform? This makes me sad. :(

      I second that. That was totally deserving of a full-length shot.

      • January 11, 2014 at 4:32 pmYanDaMan

        Thirded.

    • January 11, 2014 at 1:41 pmjrj

      Well, its similar to the LN. that homeroom teacher’s clothing is not THAT strange considering Natsuki always wear that hot gothic loli cloth anyway… Plus it also sort of reveals her affiliation (something to do with Chinese I guess, being a Chinese dress, haha)

      As to the thing behind Yuma, Show Spoiler ▼

    • January 11, 2014 at 7:59 pmbelatkuro

      Just grabbed this off the internet.

      Extra animation error fun.

      • January 11, 2014 at 9:32 pmWanderer

        Much thanks to you. :)

      • January 12, 2014 at 12:43 amechykr

        Nice shot.

        For the socks, a plausible explanation/excuse could be that she’s wearing loose knee-high socks, and they constantly slid down her knees. :3

      • January 12, 2014 at 5:38 pmLinkark07

        There is another error in this episode with Yuuma at the end. Some scenes depict her using purple tights and in other scenes it appears she isn’t using them. More evident when Koujo as Yuuma is going to the bathroom.

  • January 11, 2014 at 1:14 pmechykr

    What does Kojou do upon finding out he’s swapped bodies with his female childhood friend?

    He does what every sensible guy would do:

    http://randomc.net/image/Strike%20the%20Blood/Strike%20the%20Blood%20-%2013%20-%20Large%2039.jpg
    He feels himself up. :D

    • January 12, 2014 at 5:35 amdaikama

      Your comment makes me wonder though… if this is what “every sensible guy would do”, what’s Yuuma doing right now with Akatsuki’s body? Is there perhaps another reason she stole his body apart from executing some “evil plan”?

  • January 11, 2014 at 2:01 pmConrad

    Listening to Astarte this episode made me vividly remember Chamber.

  • January 11, 2014 at 2:08 pmewok40k

    Dear God of Ecchi…
    X-change, anyone…
    Other than that, harem keeps on growing… Himeragi, Nagisa, both princesses, Asagi, Astarte… I would even count Natsuki-chan, even if she would never let it develop due to her responsibility as a teacher.

  • January 11, 2014 at 4:06 pmzztop

    The STB series is averagely received by Japan’s fandom.
    It’s not a super sucess, but it’s not a super failure also.:)

    • January 11, 2014 at 4:10 pmechykr

      Really? Hmm, the responses I’ve seen on the NicoNico broadcast (about a week after the TV airing, available only in Japan) was rather lively and positive.

      • January 11, 2014 at 5:27 pmzztop

        This is what some people told me on the Animesuki forums. Not sure what they based it on though.

    • January 11, 2014 at 4:35 pmYanDaMan

      It kind of sucks, it seems like a lot of series that are popular in the west arent over there in Asia. Awesome mangas like Mx0 and Zippy Ziggy gets the axes cause they werent successful over there, but they are super popular among the western audience.

      • January 11, 2014 at 4:38 pmYanDaMan

        And by sucks I mean the situation, not STB, this show is awesome.

  • January 11, 2014 at 5:26 pmMagoiichi

    I knew the childhood friend was a girl, but I didn’t know it was Natsuki-chan getting molested, if she let that guy do it at all.

    The childhood friend just happening to show up when an event on the Itogami island is going on already made me suspicious, but dat body swap

    Assuming Yuuma knows that Akatsuki is the 4th progenitor, which I think she does, I see a lot of familiar spam coming soon. There’s also what I like to call the “Saki Trolling”, where just like the best girl Saki Rukino, Yuuma is going to go around causing hilarious misunderstandings using Akatsuki’s body.

  • January 11, 2014 at 6:16 pmRS456

    This makes 3 girls that kissed him on the lips. Top candidates are between his childhood friend and classmate.

    • January 11, 2014 at 6:29 pmpaulrenzo

      Considering that the childhood friend caused a body swap…err,no.

    • January 12, 2014 at 4:55 pmyahiko03

      Dont forget Kojo kissed Himeragi while he was unconscious on episode 12 and who knows what else he did while the camera looked away.

  • January 11, 2014 at 6:37 pmricz

    Go grab a video camera ASAP kujou lol

  • January 12, 2014 at 12:11 amVaans

    Kojou had touched boobs from two girls this episode, Himeragi, and Yuuma’s. He gets a
    kiss too. Lucky bastard!

  • January 12, 2014 at 5:08 amc2710

    As it is… I loose alot of blood every episode

  • January 12, 2014 at 7:42 amiTheShirt

    It’s all about the dubstep theme of those two Saint Row IV characters in the beginning. lol That cracked me up.

    Can’t wait for the next episode! Body swaps are always fun to see.

  • January 12, 2014 at 9:20 amMgMaster

    I missed this show more than I expected to. I’ll praise it for it’s consistency and while I don’t think it’ll be more than a series that has “generic elements but does its genre well.”,I’m satisfied with what we’re getting. I believe it’s that thing when you get attached to the characters enough so that you enjoy even some of their more mundane activities.

    Now,on this little matter: As usual though, Akatsuki gets the short end of the stick by far

    Short end of the stick huh?. Touma would probably give him a taste of his falcon punch if Akatsuki would dare say the words “such misfortune” to his face :P Well okay,in a way he has more misfortune but his rewards are also much better. Nothing topped this one yet though!

  • January 12, 2014 at 11:16 amJason Isenberg

    Kujou with all the girls! Now he IS one LOL

  • January 12, 2014 at 6:36 pmRukia

    Getting mad is all Himeragi is capable of apparently. Her behavior has gotten really old. I hope Akatsuki gives her something to be mad about one of these days. Their relationship is so unbalanced.

    I like the new girl. I think the cast is big enough though. No new girls.

  • January 16, 2014 at 5:56 amamado

    im disappointed no one noticed how <a href="http://randomc.net/image/Strike%20the%20Blood/Strike%20the%20Blood%20-%2013%20-%20Large%2002.jpg&quot; title="this} image looks like yuno’s…