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Kekkai Sensen – 11 »« Kekkai Sensen – 09

Kekkai Sensen – 10

「ラン!ランチ!!ラン!!!」 (Ran! Ranchi!! Ran!!!/to the end)

“Run! Lunch!! Run!!!”

So all this years when anime fans have been saying “GOC”, is this who they meant?

If anything, Blood Blockade Battlefront seems to be getting weirder. I would have to say that on balance, this was one of the most befuddling episodes to date in terms of plot, but at the same time one of the most entertaining. That’s the paradox of this series that isn’t really a paradox at all, because it’s actually a pretty tried and true anime formula. It just happens to be one that hasn’t been used much in the last decade or so.

There’s a sort of disconnect between the characters and the plot in Kekkai Sensen, like it’s something that just happens to be going on as they’re doing weird and wonderfully funny stuff. If there’s one thing that keeps this show from quite rising to the level of Matsumoto Rie’s previous series, Kyousougiga, it’s that this one hasn’t quite closed the deal in forming an emotional bond with the characters. I think the characters themselves are fine – in comic terms spectacular, in fact. But the detachment in terms of the story is what’s keeping what’s happening to them from being fully emotionally engaging.

I think that’s why Matsumoto and Furuya Kazunao added the Black and White subplot, and it does help bridge the gap – but it itself is so disconnected from the main story that it doesn’t quite get things over the hump. This week’s ep was perhaps the most dramatic example of this – we didn’t even get a sniff of that storyline until about five minutes remained in the episode, and it really never intersected at all with the episode’s A-plot (if you can even call it that) apart from the thin string of Leonardo’s reason for being at the hospital (for a change he wasn’t the one being treated).

So, then, about 80% of this episode amounted to time-wasting – but such inspired, brilliant and hilarious time-wasting it was. Nightow and Matsumoto collide head-on with another thermonuclear explosion of imagination, the premise this time being Leo, Zapp and Zed’s quest for lunch. Everything is funny here, right down to the dialogue among the trio as Zapp generally acts like a douchebag and Zed passive-aggressively plays the wounded party. The first option is a sushi place – obviously chosen by Zapp as a way to haze Zedd, who turns out to be perfectly fine with “cannibalism”. As it turns out it’s Zapp who doesn’t especially want to eat sushi, which will prove ironic later on.

There is a bit of story going on apart from this – Steven, Klaus and Blitz T. Abrams are roped into helping out the cops in fighting an underground group made up of 1000 brothers (really) who’ve just bought 1000 cheap Chinese mobile suits. In this effort they join up with the L.H.O.S. (League of High Order Spirituals) the caster group that formed in the wake of the big bang. There’s some exposition here along with a bit of action, and it’s this battle which eventually causes the heroes to leave their next-to-last lunch stop, but it’s pretty clear this is kind of a throwaway premise to connect the dots with what the episode is really concerned with.

And that’s the aforementioned quest, which takes the holy trinity to a succession of bizarre restaurants, like a place where the chef regurgitates the food, a place where the chowder eats the customers as the other customers cheer, and a dive where the chef serves his enemies – literally. Eventually this all drives Leo completely bonkers, and he has a psychedelic meeting with the “God of Chow” (Yamada Hiroki) and starts speaking in tongues (including Engrish). Eventually they take him to Diane’s to try and calm him down, and it seems to be working until that battle in the C-plot intervenes rather forcefully. But whatever else this episode did, I would forever love it for the “Send a Salami to Your Boy in the Army” sign on Diane’s menu – something I can honestly say I never expected to see in an anime. That was a famous campaign by the legendary Katz’ Deli on the Lower East Side of Manhattan during World War II (later immortalized in song by Jerry Lewis), a fantastic American pop culture reference that earns Matsumoto (unless it was in the manga too, of course) tremendous cred and affection from me.

In the end, everyone ends up back at the sushi place – and ironically (and perhaps justly) Zapp gets sick from the tuna (it was his unlucky number that day, you know). And the episode finally takes its usual last act serious turn, as White finally shows her cards to Leo, demanding his eyes. In truth, you know, you could edit out everything that didn’t happen in the last 90 seconds of this ep and I honestly don’t think the overall narrative would be remotely different – but it’s the peculiar nature of Kekkai Sensei that it was the first 1230 seconds that makes this show the marvel that it is.

Note: Next week is a recap ep, so no post. See you on 6/21.

Preview

June 7, 2015 at 4:42 pm
20 comments »
  • June 7, 2015 at 5:02 pmZen

    Question: Does the anime actually tie into the manga, or does it depict a completely new and separate story- like a parallel universe of sorts?

    Or is it just the white and black subplot that’s anime-exclusive- if so, it’d be amusing if they suddenly get shoehorned into the manga as canon characters when the anime ends- don’t know if it’d be the best idea for plot integrity- but certainly a great implicit ad for anime blurays I would imagine- “Wanna know who she is? Buy the bluray!”

  • June 7, 2015 at 5:53 pmHunter-Wolf

    Brilliant madness, that’s really all i could say … well, maybe i do have something to say after all, but first i have to admit that i couldn’t stop laughing at the antics of our restaurant seeking trio and all the bizarre places they went to seeking food, i was literally slamming the arm of my chair when Leo started talking to the God of Chow/food … that was just so crazy and so brilliant, also the “Aha, so that’s why they were crying!!!” moment when the episode comes full circles and connects to the first flash-forward scene .. that was just tear jerkingly funny (Is “jerkingly” actually a word, not sure!!!).

    Also, i have to disagree about calling the first episode a waste of time, yeah it didn’t advance the main plot but just like Cowboy Bebop and Trigun it fleshed out the world and characters … by your logic at least 50% of Trigun would be a time waster while even more than 80% of Cowboy Bebop would also be considered the same because it doesn’t advance the main plot until the very last few episodes .. which is really a ludicrous notion, in all three series (BBB, Cowboy and Trigun) the world itself is a character of sorts .. just spending time with and within it is a joy to be had and entrenches us deeper into the mythos of the story and the daily lives of the characters that live in it .. so calling it a waste of time sounds really offensive to me, in fact you could say that the main plot in all those series is the B plot (sounds weird i know), just an excuse for use to spend time with the main characters and enjoy their crazy world .. but since a lot of people won’t like that they just add the pseudo main plot as a hook .. nothing more, think about it a little .. was the story between Spike, Vicious and their love interest that good or interesting .. not really .. it’s everything that happened throughout the series that made it the timeless classic it is (all the hijinks, side-stories, misadventures, old unfinished business .. etc etc), you know i’m right, admit it XD

    Anyways, i’m really not sure what they meant by special episode in the preview, just hope it ain’t just a recap episode specially with only few episodes left .. that would be very stupid … i also can’t believe there is no 2nd season announced so far (unless something changed and they made it a 2 cour series, any news guys about that ?)

    Also, it seems to me that that the last two episodes confirm that the White & Black story line is in fact not just a manga original side-story, but it is in fact the main story of the anime so far .. there is no other plot thread going on here .. all we have are the daily episodic adventures of our heroes and the White & Black story .. that’s all, wonder how the story works in the manga without White and Black !!?

    • June 7, 2015 at 5:55 pmHunter-Wolf

      *I meant to say the “first part of the episode” not the first episode XD

    • June 8, 2015 at 1:34 pmPetit Orenji

      tl;dr

      • June 8, 2015 at 6:13 pmHunter-Wolf

        If you didn’t bother reading what i wrote then why the heck did you even bother posting this pointless comment, trolling!!?

        And how do you even read the main post if you find mine too long to read, it seems the internet era has bred a generation of pseudo-illiterate internet monkeys who can’t stand reading more than a 100 letter tweet, good god.

  • June 7, 2015 at 5:54 pmPurple Bomber

    On the one hand, a thousand curses for a recap episode next week. On the other hand, it makes me feel ever slightly hopeful that a single season anime wouldn’t have a recap episode.

    • June 7, 2015 at 6:55 pmbassgs435

      KS is one cour. It’s timeslot in Japan will be taken over by the new season of Durarara! on summer

      • June 7, 2015 at 8:56 pmPurple Bomber

        … Yes, and that has absolutely nothing to do with a second season at a later date. Thanks for playing.

  • June 7, 2015 at 7:14 pmKF

    • June 8, 2015 at 6:17 pmHunter-Wolf

      I think he just takes great pleasure in bullying bullies, because they are usually so full of themselves and don’t see it coming .. i can totally understand why stomping them would be enjoyable to him.

  • June 7, 2015 at 10:58 pmBROOKLYN otaku

    probably……….on another note though…this show is EXCELLENT “blazing” material.

  • June 8, 2015 at 2:06 amP Ko

    I love the running gag about the hamburgers lol.

  • June 8, 2015 at 6:29 pmWhyY

    Love this anime… This manage to win me as my favorite anime of this season despite having Fate Stay Night & Kuroko no Basket in the same season!

  • June 8, 2015 at 7:05 pmsupercanon

    I hope the ending won’t be rushed.

    • June 9, 2015 at 4:30 amHunter-wolf

      “I hope it won’t be the ending and that a second season will be announced”… Here, i fixed it a little for you XD

  • June 8, 2015 at 10:23 pmYukie

    Still in denial that there are only two more episodes of this wonderful anime..heck I’m even going to tune in for the recap next week. In terms of emotional disconnect w/ the characters, I actually feel more connection w/ these characters than those in Trigun and Cowboy Bebop, esp. Leornado. I also find this series even funnier than the aforementioned two.

  • June 9, 2015 at 7:45 pmPetit Orenji

    @ Hunter-Wolf
    articles and comments are are of different values

  • June 10, 2015 at 8:44 pmKerensa

    I love the animation and I love the style, but I really don’t get the drive for this show. There doesn’t really seem to be a plot. I mean it was kind of there in the beginning, but now it’s just each episode is kind of it’s own little piece. I want to like this show because I love the mangaka. I even bought a bunch of the manga when I lived in Japan and tried to read it, but I just couldn’t get into it…

    Someone help me get into this. What is the story? What is the point? Halp.

    • June 21, 2015 at 1:47 pmgrayne

      there doesn’t appear to be any – unfortunately.

      i really like the world building, ambience, characters and setting. but the lack of overarching narrative severely hinders my enjoyment/satisfaction with it.

      just a glorified slice-of-life at the end of the day, it seems (thus far)…

  • June 11, 2015 at 12:53 amJHN

    Btw, I don’t think the other customers were cheering when the food ate people. They look pretty shocked to me.

    coughinSovietRussia,foodeatsyoucough