Episode 14 – “Punishment and Confession”
DarliFra goes Full Soap Opera Mode as the amnesiac ex-lover (Hiro) reunites with our heroine and the romantic hopeful (Ichigo) desperately fortifies her side of the love triangle. Add in a fake pregnancy and we have our pilot for The Horny and the Restless. Either that or APE staged it all for The Truman Show: Papa Edition.
Our daytime serial kicks off with Nana and Hachi engaged in their fortnightly pondering session in which they babble on about “saurification” and “yellow blood cell counts” and “yep, Hiro’s gonna die” and “I really hope these little talks help manufacture drama.” Meanwhile, the unimportant characters berate Hellgirl for hitting and quitting their leader even though she explicitly told them that she only liked the boy for his unexceptional body.
The Immortal Jian wakes up smiling and caressing the strangle-hickey our beast-maiden left on his neck. Hiro remembers several things: he once licked the dinosaur blood out of his Darling’s oozing knee, he accidentally ruined Mitsuru’s life, and, finally, he would rather die a thousand deaths than miss out on his pink-haired mistress’s exotic conjugality.
Zero Two’s beastly outbursts earn her a firm spanking from Papa. Ichigo dashes in, inserting herself into the Horned One’s vacant waifu zone. To solidify her best girl status, the blue-haired boy-hunter suggestively peels apples, purposefully cutting herself so as to coerce Hiro into sucking the blood from her thumb. She settles for an erotically-applied band-aid.
The episode divides its focus between Zero Two’s pursuit of Hiro, the 13s’ pact to keep her from him, and Ichigo’s blind devotion to her boo. While the latter two elements frustrate more than satisfy, Zero Two’s fragile mental state, fueled by her unpleasant transition back into beast-mode, adds another layer to her character. To boot, her transfer to the 9s will surely lead to a pile of dead Stamen bodies and a redoubled effort by Ichigo to tie down that beau (perhaps literally).
As such, Ichigo’s plight continues to infuriate. Her obsession with Hiro remains unjustified–he named her then dumped her for a hornier woman. Ichigo’s dogged loyalty towards such an undeserving recipient cripples The AniMessenger’s face with cringes. Ichigo now only exists to add a layer of tension between Hiro and Zero Two’s relationship. While fans will surely squeal with delight over the episode-capping snog, the scene further deflates our glutton-for-punishment’s integrity. She submits her entire being to the Harem-lord as his eyes lustfully follow Zero Two’s departing ship.
The last two episodes sweep clean the first twelve’s narrative minefield. A foreboding aura once again thickens the air. The series’ first half fumbled its attempt to fatten the ensemble cast’s backstories, only managing to distract the viewers from the primary conflict. Yet A-1 and Trigger stabilize the show through its premier relationship alone. Zero Two and Hiro, the dystopian Romeo and Juliet, must reunite even if it kills them. Viewers will have difficulty averting their eyes from the ten-episode-long train-wreck no matter how nauseating the subplots.
And, please remember:
~ Don’t Shoot the Messenger