Shuffle! 14 - when arcs collide

What is eternity doing tonight? has become Mega Megane Moé. For the latest posts, please change your links accordingly. (bonus points if you thought Arcueid.)

The plot's in full gear for Shuffle!, as we get some interesting revelations about Nerine and her strange connection to Primula...

It seems that Nerine and Primula's arcs are connected and, with them moving things to conclusion pretty much next episode - rather quick, isn't it? - that we'll have plenty of time for the Kaede and Asa arcs, with a little bit of overlap.

But then again, hey, I've already finished the series, I should know. I think the pacing was OK overall for the arcs, although I felt that Nerine was a bit shafted in terms of screentime. But, this isn't Kanon 2002 by any means, where half the episodes were spent on the first girl.

Anyway, spoilers, recaps, whatevers, after the jump, but this recap is safe for those who have watched up to 14 (logically). Go!

We left off last episode with Rin and Rin in the park, on the verge of plot. And here it is:

Nerine can't sing! Her singing voice belongs to someone important to her. How many of you knew of Rin's secret profession as an idol? That explains a lot, hmm.

Oh, wait, someone else important to her. Such as...

Herself? Close, but not quite. (insert 'selfcest' joke)

That's more like it! Rimu wins the 'plot development' award yet again. Time for some exposition on Nerine and her fetish for Red Vines her oddly-named twin, Licorice.

Bonus points for spotting the difference between Nerine and Lico...got it? Nope? It's the eye color. Remember back when you saw "Nerine" giving Rimu her precious cat in a flashback? Wondered why they didn't show her eyes? Now you know...

I'll leave that as that until the anime actually explains it; don't consider it too much of a spoiler, you're bright enough to connect the dots.

Lico is a incredible character, in that she has lots of it. She's 1) extreme naive. Medical research to 'cure diseases'? Sign me up! Ha. If you say so, Lico, then you can believe that all you want.

Also, as advertised, she's a wicked awesome singer - can't quite explain why, given that she's supposed to be a carbon copy clone of Nerine, but maybe we can blame the same mutation that gave her blue eyes.

And when was the last time you saw a little girl who was so mature and selfless? Answer: Kanon, but that's not relevant. Lico offers her life for Nerine and any research needed to make her all better.

Side note: Magical power = easier to get sick, according to notes anyway. Interesting that, given the past (Nerine), present (Rimu), and future (wouldn't you like to know) developments...

So, cutting away from the flashback in which Nerine dresses Lico up to be superior to any other harem member (too bad loli Rin didn't get around as much as most eroge harem leads), we go back to the underworld, where God-chan discusses going on with the reset as planned (where's our deathclock timer a la any spy movie?). Rimu is noted to still be vaguely conscious, and still dreams, still shows human characteristics. Don't do it to her, scream the fanboys!

Will he? Find out next time on 24...

Side note #2: Rimu and Lico are strange contrasts despite their similarities in both being test subjects. One is very introverted, while the other is an extrovert. Wonder how Lico would've gotten on with control of her magic powers - if she had any...

Do you wonder why I talk of Lico in the past tense? You should know, but Rin's stupid - and smiling - and doesn't. Way to ask the wrong questions, O Harem Leader.

Euphemism for the win. And for the record, Lico isn't in any of the other worlds either. No, she bit it. Gave her life for Nerine, just as she said...

Well, sort of. Nerine decides to tie up this plot while they're here, and mentions how Lico and herself have sort of merged into one character - explaining why "Nerine" is such a good singer. She then proceeds to guilt herself for stealing Lico's abilities. There's one more thing of Lico's she stole, however...

Rin eventually heads back home, with the Vaguely Important to The Plot In That It's Always Shown But Never Explained boat in his room. He makes a valiant harem lead attempt to out-guilt Nerine, but fails. The tide will turn soon enough as, while the rest of the harem sit around in the green room (aka Fuyou household), Asa passes out.

Asa plot? In MY Nerine/Rimu arc? It's more likely than you think.

Asa gets carried away back to home base, and we get a shot of her mom Ama with a strange headgear that smacks of the ending of Kanon; y'know, the one where Ayu and Nayuki fight it out to the death over Yuuichi, who walks out and takes Mai with bonus Sayuri. Oh come on, I'm missing my requisite fake spoilers.

Or is it?

Meanwhile, we seem to get the romantic tide turning, as Sia officially counts herself out of the race for now. Nerine and Rimu can also be discounted as contenders (given that their arcs are relatively early in relation to the story), so it leaves Asa (passed out) and Kaede (depressed) to fight for Rin (emo). Right? An excellent question.

Oh, by the way, Kareha-senpai (makes you wonder if that's her last name at this rate, since she doesn't have one. The long lost sister of Ciel-senpai?) appears again in this episode and is completely insane and mymymy-free. I like this mature side of Kareha, makes her less of an insane side character.

Rin goes to visit Asa, and she does the typical plot-cover-up thing (even if that's a vague spoiler, you can't seriously believe her...) which Rin falls for like the pathetic harem lead he is.

The two of them have a nice play-fight scene, with the 'this is when you're supposed to tell me that' scene seeming like deja vu - it really does seem that Asa and Rin get along well, if only because Asa has a backbone and lots of energy. Even when she passes out. From, uh, a heat stroke.

Asa also gets a bonus edge in becoming Rin's confidant in regards to him seeking advice about Nerine and Rimu and whatnot, and her drawing some interesting parallels between herself and Rin. Asa gets double bonus incest (obligatory "Nayu ending!") points also for her use of 'onee-san'

But eventually things, unexpectedly, turn serious. Asa backstory ensues. Yes, Asa. Backstory. Plot. She has some too. Get in line.

Apparently she was a very different person back then, being overly unappreciative, shown by the token "knocking things over" scene above. Loli Asa blames her mother for her illness, which is more prominent in the past than in the present, so far anyway, and plays the "wish I was never born" card. Ouch.

Is Asa the new terminally ill girl? Dear God Haruhi running gag no, hopefully not. But, as always...wouldn't you like to know.

Rin gets triple bonus fourth wall points this episode for correctly noting that everybody he knows has sad depressing backstories.

Asa also shows some great character in being able to sanely look back to the past and analyze (or regret) her personality and decisions. Way to be level-headed. I came into this series hating Asa and her Engrish, but as with most eroge harem characters, she accumulates awesome fast.

But still not as much as Mayumi!

It's interesting to speculate about Asa's backstory at this point as well; is she smiling because of regret for the past? Is that a genuine smile? Or something more resembling...er, a certain Tsukihime girl? (hehehe.)

But those are the questions you should be asking me.

Also, more vague plot, with the transferring of Asa's hairband which is about as important as Rin's boat (if important at all); it's symbolic to Asa as a representation of her mom's courage, and Rin will carry it with him as a symbol of the Shigure (family?) courage as he adventures to the demon realm to take back Rimu...

Saving Loli Primula: next episode!

10 to go...