OP2: 「おねがい☆すにゃいばー」 (Onegai☆Snyaiper) by Sawashiro Miyuki
「誘導法《キリング・ジャイアント》」 (Yuudou-hou “Kiringu Jaianto”)
The best FPS’s have hearts and kawaii onnanoko, and the best plans are as fun as hell!
Is Reality Someone Else’s Fiction?
I think it fits this story the best that the “Tokyo” the game takes place in is actually a sci-fi level they made up. Fun Fact: Did you know we’re all characters in a cheap genre fiction novel? The idea that our reality is somebody else’s fantasy is wildly fascinating to me, even if, yes, the way they got all the details so close is a tad suspect. It gave us freaking out Sora and burnt out, ultra-shiro Shiro though, so NO ARGUMENTS IT IS GRAND!!
Living or Dead Series Side Story. Love or Loved 2: Hit Her With Your Bullet of Love!
The references abound once again! The chief one being Gal*Gun, the FPS which this episode’s game is flagrantly based on. Let’s put aside the silly game OP. Let’s ignore the hilariously badass flashbacks of ojii-san. Let’s talk about how Sora and Shiro methodically tested out how the game worked in order to exploit it–by shooting each other in the face!
The revelation that shooting an ally would temporarily make them your love slave was hilarious! Excellent execution abounds in how, as soon as this was revealed, Shiro instantly shot Sora and made him her love slave before we could even think of this happening, and then Jibril did the same. Love triangle! NTR! Jibril is not only an M but an S too! (She’s also incapable of love, which is an interesting thing to keep in mind. She simply does not possess that emotion.)
Steph also came in handy by letting them test out how shots bounce. Steph loves herself! Selfcest! No, wait–Stephcest! THREE CHEERS FOR STEPHCEST! Oh, and for getting her clothing shot off, though Sora tested that with before that. An All Ages game, damn!
Games Are Fun, No Matter The Stakes
Do you remember how Kuuhaku said they always win games before they even start? I think that’s what they were doing when Sora asked Izuna-tan when was the last time she had enjoyed a game was. Because while Izuna-tan was in super serious mode, Sora and crew were goofing around, and the cracks started to show early. Whether this was a plan to destabilize Izuna-tan or a way to bring her to their side after they’ve won, I do not know, but I think it’s more the latter. The game against Izuna-tan is important, but the game for Izuna-tan is equally so, because they need the Warbeasts if they’re ever going to challenge Tet. That’s the meta reason why Sora was having so much fun shooting panties off nekomimi girls, to get this message across to Izuna-tan. The rest was for him.
But more to the point, are Sora and Shiro right? Can we, and should we, enjoy the game no matter the stakes? Yes! All of life is a game, and it’s not one we’re going to make it out of alive. Why take it seriously all the way through? Sure, take it seriously to a point, but have fun too. This comes as much from Sora and Shiro’s neigh-overwhelming skill – they can “afford” to goof around, even in a game with these stakes – as from anything else, but that doesn’t mean it’s not true. Have some fun, Izuna-tan. Life is too short to be angry all the time.
Shiro takes center stage again! Sora has been overshadowing her a fair amount of the series, but that’s because of the nature of the games as much as anything else. Sora is the liar and the strategist, the trickster and the fool, and in the messy “real world” he most often gets to employ his advantages. Shiro, though, has the minutiae down to a science. She’s the computational master, able to digest every detail and arrive at the best tactics so quickly it borders on precognition. How she fought reminded me of Discworld’s Cohen the Barbarian – it’s not that she’s especially strong or fast, she just stands in the exact spot where the blows won’t strike her and uses the most efficient way possible to take down her enemies. If this were a fair game, it would have been over as soon as she found Izuna.
And that’s why Shiro frequently gets overshadowed by Sora. It’s not because she’s not as good, but because the way she’s good isn’t dramatic. When Shiro wins, she wins with overwhelming skill, making exactly the right moves and never making a misstep. Where’s the drama in that? Sora, though, is a master of the come-from-behind victory. His victories are just as overwhelming in the end – and his base abilities are damn good too, as we saw when he was sniping (with a pistol, no less) – but they’re far more dramatic, more “How the hell are they going to come back from this?” That makes for better storytelling, so I suspect Sora will continue to play a larger role. I like that the story is giving Shiro a larger part though, because Sora vs Shiro is a false choice – it’s all about Kuuhaku together.
As I said, if this were a fair game it would have already been over, but Izuna has three advantages: 1) She can block attacks with her clothing, 2) there’s some cheat code enabled that gives her precognition, and 3) her grandpa is talking to her. Oh, and her ridiculous reflexes. Oh, and her amazing senses, and how she can use them to make the bouncing shots do crazy things. I don’t know how #3 is working, and I can’t think of a technological reason that wouldn’t have been sniffed out, so I’m suspecting it was him moving his lips and Izuna picking up the vibrations or something like that.
More interesting to me is #2, because like the fiction that the Warbeasts can “read minds”, it’s a giant con on a race-wide scale. They’ve made people think they can read minds, have a sixth sense, and all of this other stuff in order to cover for their cheating. Without being able to rule out this fictional “sixth sense”, they can claim it as an explanation for their cheats. Their national discipline is amazing, and I can’t help but have respect for a con on this large of a scale. The
liar marketer within me is impressed.
All According To Plan
Foreshadowing is king, and they brought back everything we learned early on. The bouncing shots. Blocking shots with clothing. Being able to shoot clothing off. The love-love mode “love slaves” go into for a time. Shiro not running. Kuuhaku knowing each other’s minds better than anyone else, so they can arrive at the same plan separately without speaking a word (which would risk their plan being overheard and leaked.) Everything came back in time to corner Izuna-tan on the fall off the building.
I’m proud to say that I called how Shiro wasn’t turned when she was walking after Sora, and more importantly, missing. It’s possible that a mind controlled Shiro wouldn’t have access to her full computational abilities, but I doubt it. No, Shiro isn’t the type to take a shot (and potentially doom her team in the process) unless she had a plan up her sleeves.
If your enemy is cheating like Izuna-tan was, the way to victory is all about tricking them into a situation where they can’t dodge, and in coming up with this plan Shiro is plotting like Sora. Misdirection, subterfuge, shooting off pantsu…she’s growing up! Even Jibril being turned so that Shiro can shoot and spin the shot around was all according to plan. Once again, they nearly won–but there’s one problem.
Looking Ahead – Blood Destruction
One ability of the Warbeasts wasn’t a lie, and that was Blood Destruction. Izuna definitely has it, and she’s having fun now, which means she’s dangerous. But perhaps predictable? Now that she’s having fun she might throw caution to the wind and play for the love of the game, which could give Kuuhaku some serious trouble. But I still think they have something up their sleeve, and Steph might just be the key to their victory. You never know…until next week. One more episode, nooooo!
tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – A love-love FPS turns intense when Kuuhaku & co goes toe-to-toe w/ an unstoppable cheater & force her to pull out all the stops #nogenora 11
- I still sort of want to see Shiro actually become Izuna-tan’s love slave. Not that she hasn’t shown that she’s perfectly willing to take on the role voluntarily.
- Motorboating loli fantasy!
- I liked how ojii-san realized that Sora and Shiro know this game even better than they do. He’s a perceptive old bastard, and he better hope they lose. Too bad they won’t.
- This is Jibril in full Angel of Death mode. Well, minus the severed heads. So pretty close.
Check out my blog about storytelling and the novel I’m writing at stiltsoutloud.com. The last four posts: Make it worthwhile, Neil Gaiman’s Eight Rules of Writing, I don’t want you to succeed, and Movies are half credit.