5/25/2007

Shuffle! 15 - Saving Loli Rimu

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*dramatic hand pose*

Ready to be rocked like a - wait, what do you mean I already used that intro?

Alright, so Shuffle! episode 15 doesn't contain any revolutionary plot twists, but there has been a lot of buildup to it over the last 4 or 5 episodes. Primula's been taken hostage sent back to the demon realm due to her increasing sickness - which, speaking of, does bear a strange resemblance to the events in the arc of Kanon that is currently being blogged as well.

But, Rin and harem aren't going to take it anymore! They simply cannot live without the token loli and the fifth harem member - as quiet as she way, I suppose Rimu was always there, and without her the entire group is toppling over; since every one of the girls has some connection to Rimu.

Trust me. 6 degrees to Primula, or less.

Let's get this recap rolling however...the episode starts off with no intro. This episode is serious business. And not like the internet is serious business. Italics serious business.

After the jump, non-spoilery (unless you haven't watched this episode for some inane reason) recaps ensue. Showtime!


The first obstacle the group comes across are the parents of Sia and Nerine, with strange auras. Suprisingly for once they are serious and integral to the plot, as opposed to being smashed over the heads with chairs. They talk all ominous for a bit about 'making enemies of gods and demons', but they acquiesce pretty quickly when their daughters beg. Not so tough resistance after all.

Although, they do make the typical demands with Rin. They say they will invoke the last resort method if Rimu goes unstable again, etc etc. He complies with all the agreements pretty quickly; he's a believer. What we need here is the iconic Sakura line: it'll be all right for sure!

The title card is Things Regained. Looking good? So far, yes.

There's a bit more backstory as we check out the suprisingly high-tech (given the mundane surroundings) and well-defended fortress, and flash back to it still getting completely smashed by the disaster of the first clone-ish thing; the one before Lico. Don't forget that person...

And now for Rimu.

She's naked of course for extra fanservice - not even with any cover too. I can hear Rin now, mentally giving her bonus harem points. She's a loli, above 18 my ass. Come on.

They all call out Primula's name, which is extremely ineffectual as expected. However, with the state of desperation and hopelessness they are at, that's all they can do. And call, call, Rin and Kaede do. Over, and over, until you really don't want to hear that name anymore...

But, Rin has more of a spine for once, and is rather confident that his method is working; Rimu is still alive, and there is still hope of saving her, he says.


The rest of the group is perhaps a little less enthusiastic, as cracks in Rimu's test tube begin to form as her powers intensify. She mutters 'Rin' a few times; she is vaguely conscious and responding, but is that necessarily a good thing?


And then things get worse. All hell breaks out as Rimu nears meltdown status, her power quickly surpassing nine thousand. (not referenced in anime) People go flying like ragdolls, and only Rin can sit around, claw into the ground, and scream Rimu's name like in a cheesy action movie.


Demon and God-chan prepare the reset again - with Demon giving a line that as always, screams of other eroge anime that I'm afraid to mention in lieu of spoiling - and again Rin stays optimistic despite all the virtual warning bells going off in his head. He's going down to the bitter end; unfortunately, he might end up taking a bunch of other people with him.

But, at least, if they all go boom, the fanboy forces will be out of a job.

Things reach a climax and then...

The singing flashback! Who needs a resolution. Although, all signs point to 'no', as the musical montage is the number one death knell for any character. Luckily, that's just Lico singing as she approaches, in the full flashback of the scene where Lico gives her most precious cat to Rimu. Why? Lico says she "has to go" - you can connect the dots easily.


Even Lico knows that she's not going to come back in one piece, with the strangely mature and deep line, "Take care of yourself." Also, side note: what's with the Japanese and sunflower fields? They're everywhere.

Back to Rimu, who doesn't look like Rimu when floating in a test tube, who shows much more emotion after experiencing the flashback, who mumbles "Don't leave me!", who finally opens her eyes and-

"Rin."

Things get better! Rimu's awake! All is well!

Things get worse! Rimu's awake! Her emotions and thus her powers are cranked up to 11 with her first revisit with the rest of the group. More girls go flying, the reset seems all but inevitable. Rin even seems a bit hopeless, calls out one more time, and...

Stop. Hammer time

Luckily, the action did not stop because Rimu destroyed the current universe as it is and created a new one (Suzumiya who?), but rather...

Whoa. Floating magical Nerine.

INCORRECT!


It's Lico! Holy crap! She takes over Nerine's body (see, the two really are intertwined) and helps to comfort, calm, and free Rimu (she slices and dices too), leaving her in Rin's arms. Unfortunately though, this time it really is goodbye to Nerine's awesome (or more awesome, for the Nerine fanboys) side. But, what a way to go out; as Demon says, this is the second time Lico's saved him (i.e. Nerine).


Score one for the emotions!


The mood, as typical, goes light for the next few scenes as everybody recaps the events at the after-party, where God and Demon get typically wasted (and yaoi) as usual. Rimu tags back to the human world, as Rin turns down the scientists' request to keep her for the Yggradsislslkjfasklgfgsfds Project. This also has the side effect of forcing Rimu to stay by Rin, as he is the only one able to keep her stable. What a shame.

Beautiful Rimu smile to end this section. Don't ask for screenshots though (curses computer).


Rimu and Nerine share some quiet moments outside, reflecting about Lico and saying goodbye. Or rather, saying thanks, as well. A touching scene for two characters that have a surprising lot in common, despite their seeming differences especially in one area.

...so we still have 12 minutes left in the episode? Now what?

Answer: Asa.

Rin goes and thanks Asa for all the moral strength conferred by the ribbon, which causes her to blush a lot and whatnot. Also of importance is that I finally realize that Asa also refers to herself as 'boku' (the male first person), which I find mainly important because of another bokukko in Kanon...


Rin and Asa share some heartfelt, candid conversation as this scene really goes to show the great chemistry between the two. Speaking as one who's finished the series, the show really does begin to take a sharp turn towards Asa here, although it's your guess as to if it ends this way.


Even Nerine notices, and is a bit distraught to notice, how well Asa and Rin get along. As a fellow candidate for Rin's love she certainly isn't going to leave this alone. Asa also notices this and tries to play it off as a sibling relationship; the Shuffle! harem at this moment is very courteous of each other, and doesn't like stepping on each other's toes. How sweet of them.

Also, the topic of Asa and her dislike of magic is brought up. Listen to it a bit and then pass it off as not important at all. As it isn't.

Well, not until many episodes from now, anyway. That's not a spoiler, is it? I'll leave it to you to wonder why she hates magic.


Also, after Rin leaves, Nerine comes to talk to Asa about a lot of things. The main focus is the obvious plotbat of "Asa really, really likes Rin." However did Nerine come to this conclusion. Soon she might figure out that Kaede really likes Rin. And Sia. And Rimu. And herself. And that the sky is blue. Of note is that also that Nerine begins to say "and also..." while the screen fades out - it seems to me that she was about to say the opposite, but who knows how true that is and will be?

We head back to Rin and Rin in the park for the 3rd or 4th time. This, being the end of Rimu's arc, signals the end of Nerine's essentially as well, and so she's very keen to go out on a bang.

She finally reveals that the Nerine in the park that Yuuichi Rin met for the first time many years ago had blue eyes - that's right, it was actually Licorice. And it was actually Lico who fell in love with Rin (at the ripe age of what now?), with the cat that she gave Rimu possibly holding some significance between Lico and Rin.


But, of course, Lico is headed for a Bad End, and so the half of her that lived, Nerine, decided to take up the affection for Rin, to "become Licorice." (this is very reminding of a certain other identity change in Tsukihime)

So, Nerine has been chasing Rin all this time, for Lico, it seems. And now, since Lico is ultimately and completely gone, Nerine asks herself (and Rin, aloud): does she really have any feeling for Rin? Is this a fight worth continuing?

Unsuprisingly, given the nature of this anime, the answer is yes. In her pursuit of Rin for Lico, Nerine developed some feelings of her own, due to Rin's Harem Nice Guy pheromones. (not included in anime) Interestingly enough this is like the 4th confession for Nerine, who perhaps needs to reinforce and reiterate her love for Rin more often due to her shy demeanor.


She even repeats that line from the second episode, of loving Rin "more and more" - although, I still believe the question is akin to infinity plus one.


Nerine also shows great perception and depth in noticing Rin's affection for Asa (which he plays off, unsurprisingly). Like a true Shuffle! girl, she doesn't pay too much worry to this, saying that this means she will need more time to beat the other harem members. Fighto dayo!

Wait, wrong anime.

Now the whole thing is rather smacking of the famous Tomoyo Daidouji trap of "If my beloved is happy, then I am happy," but that is the way Nerine is going and she can't be blamed for that, especially with the odds she has of winning Rin at this point. But, because of that, she manages to do something simply stunning:


("First blood!!")

-CCY, who likes Nerine a lot more than when he begun this post

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