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Bishi Bishi Bishi Bishi Can't You See, Sometimes Your Mic Just Hypnotize Me

Who is your running crew

  • The Buster Bros!!! (Tough Bois!)

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • The Mad Trigger Crew (Edge Bois!)

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Fling Posse (Non-Threatening Bois!)

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Matenrou (Mature Bois!)

    Votes: 2 100.0%
  • The Dirty Dawg (Defunct Bois!)

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    2

Johnny Unusual

(He/Him)
Note, this is just a review that I posted on the anime thread. After which, you will get funky fresh new Hypnosis Mic reviews

We live in dark times. There have been hard times before but I feel this kind of hardship is unprecedented and certainly effects everyone. There’s no doubt it has hit our collective psyche very hard. A show that acts as a balm or an escape is something I’m grateful for. But what I got… was a show with ANSWERS. The answers we need NOW! There are few shows that will change everything the way that the world will be changed by this show. There was the moon landing. There were national tragedies. But this time, we have something that will change our minds and souls on a fundamental level. Ladies. Gentlemen. Non-binaries. I present to you…





HYPNOSIS MIC: DIVISION RAP BATTLE!




I can’t give this a normal review. This needs a serious unpacking.

We begin with… the future. Everything is similar… but something has changed. A NEW PARTY HAS TAKEN OVER THE CHOU WARD GOVERNMENT! And they are bringing change. Is it the Liberal Democratic Party? The Constitutional Democratic Party? Reiwa Shinsengumi? The Party to Abolish the NHK? NO! THEY DON’T HAVE THE ANSWERS. The new ruling party is the Party of Words! Because they know words have power. Also, it is a women-only party. FINALLY! Their first act: abolish all weapons in ANY form from the Greater Tokyo Area. If you feel undefended, there is an answer. MICROPHONES!

The Mics are Hypnosis Mics. Police, army and any form of defense or law enforcement within Tokyo are now equipped with microphones. This is the first minute of the show. Welcome to the new world.


If you did NOT CRY in relief for the fate of the world when they sang “Hypnosis Action Ends Corruption”, knowing that we soon will live in a better world, I feel bad for you.

Cut to three years later.

Ikebukuro. Two tough (re: cute) boyz are following some thug into a warehouse. It turns out to be a trap. A gang known as the Tenderloins is trapped two members of another gang, the Buster Bros!!!, in an ambush. Both sides are wielding microphones. The leader of the Tenderloins, who we know is morally and spiritually weak because he isn’t dressed as fashionably as possible, claims that the BB!!!’s third member has recently fallen. After all, who could defeat thirty men with just a microphone?

The leader of the Buster Bros.!!! Ichiro Yamada can. And then the Buster Bros.!!! unleash their full fury. And no one is prepared.


Do you see all that shit? THAT’S NOT A METAPHOR! Hypnosis Mics transform and can summon giant amps to blow away your enemies with the sounds of your mad skillz. The Tenderloins are easily bested and the streets are safe again.

Yes, this is a world without weaponry, except now everyone wields the most powerful weaponry: the gift of music. Rattling in your enemies ears until they fall unconscious from headaches, based on their visceral reactions to the music. I mean, its possible they think the Buster Bros.!!! are just very bad rappers and have been defeated via psychological torture but this is a better world now.

But as we see, paradise doesn’t happen overnight. It needs constant vigilance.

Cut to a dock in Yokohama. A drug deal is going down. The specific drugs are never specified, but I’m going to assume its called Spank and it gives one a way to chemically enhance one’s ability for off-the-dome rhymes. But the criminals were not counting on the Mad Trigger Crew. The first we see of them are an army man on a roof watching the action. Will he snipe them with silent long distance hip hop? Now, he gets down with his bros to face the enemy face to face.


Via the art of comparing their prey to “scrawny hamsters” and summoning skeletons, a cluster of police sirens and rocket launchers, the Mad Trigger Crew reveals that they are a three way team of representatives of the yakuza, the police and the army, finally coming together for a greater good to bring the noise on drug!

Cut to Shibuya.

A smol cinnamon bun of a boy lives the most loudly coloured apartment ever. His friend comes in, a gambler, asking for money. So the two, along with a traditional looking poet, decide to head downtown and use their hypnosis mics to make money. Ladies and gentlemen… the FLING POSSE!


The Fling Posse is clearly the Hufflepuff of rap warriors. Also, either this is the first time rapping has gone unweaponized or this was a really upbeat mass mugging.

Lastly, we end our tour in Shinjuku. We meet the members of Matenro, whose members include a doctor, a host bar host and a bummed-out office worker who looks exactly like one of the main characters from Given. They pay a visit to the hospital and learn it is being threatened by an anti-Hypnosis Mic faction. They end up interceding in a hostage situation on a roof. The fact that they weren’t holding a microphone to the hostage’s neck is a missed opportunity as JBear pointed out but they do try to use an “illegal mic” (I… don’t know the difference) with a red aura (maybe just that) to take down our heroes. By Matenro beats them and you are never ever guess how they do it ever. They rap at them. Up until now, this is actually the first time one of the bad guys almost used their mic first, though even he doesn’t get a chance to rap. Another JBear observation: maybe you are just guaranteed to win if you just think to rap first.

This is the only group whose rap isn’t a video on youtube but here’s what happens. They rap and the bad guys lose. One guy’s microphone turns into a cell phone. So that’s neat.

We learn that the leader of each group was once a member of the megateam the Dirty Dawg, which is revealed with all the dramatic weight it deserves. A lot. And that they were disbanded because their science was TOO TIGHT! But we are promised that these once friends will now face each other in a division rap battle. The stakes?



We need SOME mystery, don’t we? Meanwhile, the buxom leaders of Tokyo look on.

Some notes: I’m not sure what it is trying to say with its all women government. It seems like they aren’t calling it a bad thing but also it seems weird that they are dressed like sexy fascists. You might say “yeah, but anime. You’ve seen it, right?” Yeah, but this series also has the vibe of a collect-the-boyz. There’s no reverse harem but all of the boys are super cute or super hawt and I feel like this is strongly trying to appeal towards a female audience with this aspect while a bit of a male audience with its action raps. This doesn’t look like Babylon-type misogyny but it does feel muddled in messaging, maybe intentionally.

Also… this thing is rated MA. There’s a big disclaimer at the beginning. I have NO idea why. The only other anime I remember having this disclaimer is Blade of the Immortal. Something to think about.

Anyway, this is mankinds greatest achievement. I usually don’t rank shows with a numbers system but I’ve created a special one for the best things ever.

Bananya.

This show gets one out of five Bananya. If this seems really cruel, most anything gets less than that. One Bananya is equivalent to being a 10 dan martial artist.

It goes like this

Five Bananya – Banayna and Bananya and the Curious Bunch

Four Bananya – Nothing

Three Bananya – Nothing

Two Bananya – The Creation of Written Languages

One Bananya – Hypnosis Mic

Half Bananya – Goku’s driving lesson

Note: This system is for general human achievement.

So I’m going to keep watching Hypnosis Mic. Unless I get bored of it in the middle of the next episode, them it’s a Mama’s Family rerun.

Hypnosis Mic reviews begin now.
 
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Johnny Unusual

(He/Him)
Hypnosis Mic

Chapter 2

“Speak of the Devil and He Shall Appear”

In which we learn more Mics means more power.

The second chapter in this epic tale begins. But first, I finally noticed that the TV-MA warning was for language. Not knowing Japanese, this feels weird since I feel like translations of shows aimed at thirteen year olds are constantly “Fuck you and your limp dick!” We start with another group of three. But these aren’t rappers, they are a gang of sexy, hip culture reporters.



Note that the only thing this show lets us know before changing scenes two of them love Takoyaki because its street food and it bring people together and somehow it feels like this comment already feels like from a bygone era in the corona-era.

Moving on to Ichiro of the Buster Bros!!!, who is sitting in a café writing in his notebook. I wonder what he is working on?





Meanwhile, the other two Bros!!! are waiting for their big brother and the middle brother realizes he gave Ichiro the wrong location. Even worse, the Tenderloinz, the pushover villains from episode one, have reappeared to cause more trouble and without their Big Bro!!!, they maybe overwhelmed. Luckily the youngest Bro!!! is a hacker and puts out a call to Irchiro and puts his face on a nearby screen. The bad guys should probably be attacking at this point before the ringer gets there but its hard not to be entertained/intimidated by a good rap.


The Culture Reporters spy him rapping down the street and follow him. When Ichiro finally shows up, the Tenderloinz ghost, for fear of a severe rapping of the knuckles. The Bros!!! say hi to their brother and… OH, ICH NI SAN! I just got that and why they did the “one two three” thing in the song.

Later, as the lesser Buster Bros are at home bickering Thing/Human Torch-style and arguing over who gets to polish Big Bros!!! mic, Ichiro is making a delivery as part of some “ne’er-do-well with a heart of gold” deal for a silly dude with a man-bun who buys him an entire meal of sweets as thank you. Just as Ichiro is sitting at his table, a criminal walks in and immediately takes a hostage.







This NEVER EVER gets tired for me. Its just a ridiculous visual. And if this was a regular shounen series where one guy has a mic power, fine, but this character is basically super generic despite being the villain for the episode (and the only villain so far who actually gets a rap. Spoiler.) And everyone acts like, while this is scary, that this isn’t the goofiest fucking thing. Its even stupider when you know how Hypnosis Mics work. Pointing them at people don’t actually do anything. He needs to hold it up to his own face. Holding it to your hostage is basically like saying “can you hold my gun, hostage? I need them to realize I am serious.”

SING HOSTAGE LADY! SING FOR YOUR LIFE!



I seriously don’t know what makes a mic illegal in this show. Is it simply possessing without a license (in which case I feel like the Mad Trigger Crew and Matenrou has illegal mics) or is it a kind of mic?

The criminal is cornered by he has an ace up his sleeve…



A suicide bomb vest full of mics. Show, I thought you had run out of angles. I was wrong.

“You know what will happen if they get struck by the vibes of all these mics.” Says the criminal of the hostages. I genuinely don’t. Do they go insane or do their heads explode like in Scanners?

Anyway, the other Buster Bros!!! and Matenrou eventually catch the situation on TV, though Matenrou’s leader tells his boys to stay out of it, confident Ichiro can get out of it. The other Buster Bros!!! rush to the scene and the littlest Bro!!! uses his hacking skills to watch the situation with security cameras.

Meanwhile, Ichiro confronts the criminal in order to divert attention from the other hostage and gets severely rapped at. I do have to wonder if it can ONLY be rap or if other singing skills can hurt people. I don’t think just yelling can work, for whatever reason. Anyway, Ichiro endures some rap attacks, which are amped up by multiple mics, I guess. Which are around his tummy, so I don’t know how effective they are but lets just roll with it. Anyway, Ichiro is knocked on his back but starts staring in one direction. Little Bro!!! correctly deduces that Ichiro is looking at an opening, which he figures out with a layout of the building and some WAY too enthusiastic arrows (which I don’t think I can get a gif of. Sorry).

They use this and the middle Bros!!!’s soccer skills to return Ichiro’s mic to him and then the trio begin their counterattack.


The rap summons a street cleaner, a cerberus and something I feel I would need to know more about Ikebukuro to get and clean the guy’s clock. Who expected that the faceless, nameless villain would lose?

The culture reporters get a pic of Buster Bros!!! triumphantly exiting the building and the two younger brothers have a brief squabble about who saved their big Bro!!! best but Ichiro settles it with “Hey, we are all great as a team!” A message we ALL need to take to heart.

In conclusion, threatening people with microphones is still funny. Will keep you updated if I get sick of it.
 
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Johnny Unusual

(He/Him)
Hypnosis Mic

Chapter 3

“Two Heads Are Better Than One”

In which the lesson is the value of one character is “remains to be seen”.

After the last episode, it should be no surprise that episodes 2-5 will be focusing on each group as a team before we finally see them have their Division Battle Rhyme Anima or whatever the full title of this show is. So next we move on to my favourite group; Matenrou. This decision is less a “hard choice” and more of a default for me. The Buster Bros!!! leader is generic shounen-ish guy, which is fine, but I find his brothers a little dull. I mean, in a world where everyone has transforming mics, they transform into “different colors”. The Mad Trigger Crew is just trying too hard to by tough for me. The Fling Posse’s leader is basically that rabbit from Fruits Basket and I don’t dislike him but I can only take so much. So its Matenrou. I like that the lead singer’s mic is an IV stand and the other two members, a goofy host club host and a put upon salaryman, make up for it for me.



I love that Doppo doesn’t even get the dignity of a cool title. He’s just Doppo. He looks kind of like an older, emo version of the co-lead of the BL romance series Given.



And our episode focuses on him.

But we start with the Shinjuku’s group’s leader, Dr. Jinguji, a handsome doctor who is popular with patients and co-workers. He seems to be a general practitioner and is called into two departments at once, making him wish that he had the cloning techniques a young patient had mentioned earlier. But it turns out he has a third appointment… with the police.

Oh, no problems, they are just doing their rounds but one of the two plainclothes detectives, after mentioning how impressed he was with how Matenrou dealt with the hostage situation in episode 1, promises to “expose him one of these days”. The younger partner decides to give us some very clear exposition, here.




I love how there’s barely any pretense of character-based dialogue to reveal this and he bluntly explains it like a town NPC from a 1989 JRPG. Its delightfully clunky and utilitarian. The cop then says “but there’s no reason to think that” despite the fact that he’s a crime fighting rapper means he is 100% not an ordinary doctor unless I need to pay much more attention to my family doctors after hours activities. Are you why the streets are safe Dr. Wood?

Anyway, the Cop also admits he’s a Matenro fan and makes this little raptor claw talon finger gesture, which is the band’s signature move. I don’t know what it means, though.



Juguji then waxes philosophical about Shinjuku, as the city promises new and sexy adventures every week on this station.

We then make a quick stop in with Hifumi the host, who is basking in his popularity as he promises Matenrou will protect Shinjuku.

Then we stop in with Doppo the salaryman. While his compatriots are being looked at as impressive heroes, he’s stuck in the office and co-workers are dumping work on his desk and citing prior appointments as to why they don’t have time to do it.

Well, except one guy.



Not going to lie, this legit made me laugh. It’s an easy joke, but a good one, even without giving this guy the weirdest fucking combover that makes him look like Gary Oldman in the 5th Element.



If that wasn’t enough, Doppo is walking home, hears some women gushing over the other men of Matenrou and asking “wait, wasn’t there another guy in the group” and then tell him off for accidentally walking into them.

Doppo’s had a bad day but it gets worse when he gets home and finds a corpse strangled with a necktie. Doppo understandably freaks the fuck out. He intends to call the police but then decides to call Hifumi first to make sure his roommate didn’t just up and fucking murder a guy in their apartment. It should be noted Doppo has no ounce of doubt of this being a possibility, that his friend, roommate and bandmate is a murderer. He even says “There’s a random dead guy in our apartment, so I just assumed…”

THAT’S what he jumps to first. In which case, I get you like your friend, but call the police first, my man.

Anyway, Hifumi initially thinks Doppo is joking but when he sees the body… well, he’s mildly interested. Just to show you how tough Shinjuku people are. Just as Hifumi is like “Are you sure YOU didn’t kill a guy and just forgot?”, the police show up and the two, realizing neither of THEM called the cops, decide to rabbit.

Meanwhile, the Culture Reporters expound on how awesome Shinjuku waffles are, maybe even better than Belgium’s. Come visit beautiful Shinjuku is the point, I think. When police sirens wail, one of the reporters twists the photographer’s arm to do some reporting, even though it isn’t technically culture related. Maybe its my lack of ambition, but I’m with the guy who wants to sit around eating waffles all night.

Back at the apartment, Dr. Jinguji arrives to rescue our heroes WITHOUT RAPPING. What the fuck, show, we are a third of the way through this thing and no rap fighting? Its almost as if there are things in this world you can’t rhyme your way out of. WHICH WE KNOW ISN’T TRUE!

Anyway, as they are making a stealthy getaway, Tom the photographer snags a pick of them.

After Doppo debriefs the doctor on what’s happening, they use the Mad Trigger Crew’s police connections to find out a possible suspect who is trying to frame Doppo: a former host at Hifumi’s club who was fired for general jerkery. It is unclear why he is trying to frame Doppo for murder rather than Hifumi so they go out to bust heads in the man-sexiest way possible: strutting!

The first stop is some vague upscale… place where a tough guy asks them to leave. When a bunch of goons arrive to assist in seeing the men out, the good doctor gets out his mic.



Finally, some hip hop violence!



Wait, new establishing shot? Mic feedback noise? Did this show just… skip a rap? Like, the main focus of the show? Don’t get me wrong, I get dramatically skipping fights where the conclusion is RIDICULOUSLY foregone. And that’s basically what this is. But the episode is half over and the only rap so far was the opening theme. Even if these guys where a bunch of mooks, don’t you want to sell more records? Wasn’t that the point of the entire endeavour?

Anyway, they move from club to club with mic feedback on establish shots implying that they’ve sung there way through a lot of men and presumably need to drink a lot of lemon and honey tea. They try to suss out the location of the prime suspect while threatening ball-on-ball violence.



Meanwhile the cops from earlier in the episode have been showing up late each time, cleaning up all the wanted criminals that Matenro has been beating up with phat beats.

Matenro, meanwhile, decides to set up a trap to catch the real culprit. But instead of the bad guy host showing up, we get a blushing woman named Mimimi. She is pretty quick to reveal she was behind the whole scheme because she’s has an obsession with Hifumi and felt Doppo was in her way. So even when someone is trying to do in Doppo, no one really cares about Doppo.

Mimimi also reveals that she used the evil host, who was dating Hifumi’s swimfan, to frame him, though the evil host thought he was framing Hifumi. Bad host arrives for this but is pretty undeterred by the reveal that his “GF” maaaaay have been using him and just wants to beat up Matenrou with his army of thugs. And yes, they all have microphones.

Mimimi also reveals the corpse in Hifumi/Doppo’s apartment is her husband. And then her and the host keep insulting Doppo in a way he insulted himself earlier in the episode. But this is the last straw for Doppo who goes incredible Hulk, except instead of crushing everyone, he raps. FINALLY.


Even in his rap, the thing that he’s supposed to be good at, Doppo is not hard to intimidate. But with his boiz getting his back, they give a hip hop blast to utterly destroy bad guys who we knew never fucking stood a chance against our heroes. Dr. Jinguji then gives a recording to the police that exonerates Doppo. The police, meanwhile, the corpse in the apartment was never actually dead, meaning the bad guy is so incompetent, our heroes probably didn’t have to do any of this stuff.

As Mimimi is dragged away, Hifumi and Doppo tell her that love is doing something for someone else and expecting nothing in return (I mean, it’s a little more complicated than that, I think. “Don’t kill people” or “just because you love someone doesn’t mean you are owed reciprocation” is probably a better message to leave her with) and Doppo explains even losers are just people trying to eke out a life.

The episode ends with the reveal that the culture reporters covered their beat down of the baddies and Doppo actually gets a nice big pic online. Unfortunately, his presence remains confusing to fans and even Hifume ends an episode with “One of these days, I’ll find out what’s good about you, Doppo.” Jeez, Hifume, he just contributed to a rap smackdown. So the episode ends not with the reveal of what Doppo’s virtues are (which is apparently being a doormat with low self-esteem) but that “you probably have some”.

So only ONE rap? Sadly, this means I can only give this episode a quarter Bananya. That’s still better than most shows. But more rapping, show! And more outrageous looking mics, if possible.
 

Johnny Unusual

(He/Him)
Chapter 4

“A Friend in Need is a Friend Indeed”

In which its pretty easy to figure out who the traitor is, you guys?

So we’ve done episodes focusing on The Buster Bros!!! (team Bros) and Matenrou (team Work Late) so that leaves us with the Fling Posse (team goofs) and The Mad Trigger Crew (team Crime) and I would be hesitant to tackle the Michaelangelo of Ninja Turtles of the rap groups that is Fling Posse, they decided to tackle their hotheaded Raphael with the Mad Trigger Crew.



We start with a food vendor being harassed by the Binzui-Gumi, a yakuza gang with generic designs so you know they are going to get taken out pretty quickly. Sure enough, the leader of the Mad Trigger Crew (and the Katen-Gumi yakuza gang) Samatoki Aohitsugi shows up immediately and immediately says “I’ll fuckin’ crush you.” So, the enemies draw their…





Whaaaaaaaaaaaat’s happening? Those aren’t microphones. Those aren’t microphones at all. My worldview has been rocked. Well, since the villains are using non-threatening, non-microphone weapons, Samatoki defeats his enemies with ease. Like in the last episode, we don’t even get a song because I guess the show can’t afford too many per episode.

Samatoki then gives some hardboiled narration about Yokohama’s seedy underbelly. Its weird that the last two episodes have songs about the city’s dark side but it still has some tossed off lines to remind you that there are also some nice spots for hanging out. Yes, it feels like a classic “this is a land of contrasts” narration but it also feels like “hey, lets not try too hard to suggest that the people of Yokohama, who may be in our audience, live in a peepee soaked heckhole.” It doesn’t feel quite the same as the romanticization of LA or New York which gets this kind of thing all the time because I feel like the images are a weird mix of generic crime and travel brochure photos.

Anyway, we move to Samatoki hanging out in his office with Rio, the army guy in the group, and Jyuto, an ambitious cop willing to work with criminals to achieve his ends. They have a debate about how Samatoki’s reaction to the current Binzui-Gumi incursion attempt. Jyuto thinks him fighting back is too public while Rio is more concerned about having a better-defined strategy beyond putting out fires as they come up.

Its then that Samatoki’s assistant Rentei steps in to warn Samatoki of the problem that Samatoki dealt with in the first scene. Samatoki lets him know that its been taken care of then gives Rentei some money, noting its Rentei’s little sister’s birthday and she deserves a nice gift.

Continuing their conversation, Jyuto reveals the Binzui-Gumi has a casino on Samatoki’s turf. Asking why the cops don’t do anything, Jyuto reveals he needs to use this: he wants the Mad Trigger Crew to take care of it so that it looks like its Jyuto’s singehanded achievement and he can rise in the ranks of the police to hit his end game: to rid the city of drugs. He’s… pretty vague about what kind of drugs. Just drugs. In general.

Anyway, though Samatoki doesn’t like being used, the three agree, with Rio agreeing since he thinks it would help keep the peace in the city. Wait, didn’t you rap some missile launchers in the first episode?

So the Mad Trigger crew infiltrate the casino in a perfect disguise…



As hot guys in glasses. Granted, they are dressed down a bit but I hesitate to call it a disguise. They end up calling attention to themselves anyway when waiting for a drug deal, Rio does some gambling to blend in and ends up winning big. If that wasn’t enough, that one Fling Posse member who likes gambling is around to and making a scene himself after losing everything. Rio shows up to pay him off so he’ll shut his mouth and immediately recognizes Rio, despite his amazing disguise. There is no part of this infiltration mission that feels successful.

Anyway, it makes sense the gambling guy recognizes him, as they are both established and prominent rappers whose lead men are friends and…



Huh, wow, wasn’t expecting this direction. The two rapmans just met each other in an unrelated adventure. Care to elaborate further on this event?





Oh, so you guys are fucking. Like you say come over for food and I have no doubt that is 100% literal because the dude is a fucking mooch but in addition, it is clear these men have sex. I have no idea if the relationship goes deeper than that. If it does, I’m kind of interested but I feel like these guys are terrible partner material but they also seem like the kind of guys who wouldn’t be bothered by the other partners HUGE personal flaws.

Anyway, the gambler, Dice, called the leader of the Fling Posse to cover his debt to the Mad Trigger Crew and says “OK, you owe me a favour”, which is clearly not how debt works. Oh, that boi.

Anyway, after setting up the Mad Trigger Crew’s cameo in the next episode, the trio then notices a drug deal going down and intercedes. They chase the dealers only to find out that the guys they are chasing have neither money nor drugs and are just spoilin’ for a fight. But Rio reveals he knows these men and they cryptically say Rio knows what they want. After a fight that Rio completely owns, the men escape via raft.

Jyuto suspects there’s a leak and sure enough gets some info there is a rat within the Katen-Gumi.

Anyway, cut to…



At first I was confused as to why this was censored until a similarly censored pile of meat made me realize it was the “gag” of gross looking food getting censored that Japan likes to do. But I don’t think it works when it isn’t a pile or soup of mixed up stuff. Anyway, its some wild animal based cooking that Rio wants to serve during their tete et tete but Jyuto doesn’t want to eat frogs. But how can you say no to a face like this.



After the meal, Rio reveals that the men they met were part of Rio’s unit’s Science Squad which is apparently thing army units have. It seems they are using military science to create a new super drug. Once again, the drug goes unnamed. Seriously, even the fictional drugs are going unnamed? Just make something up. Like… twang. That sounds like a made-up drug name.

And Rio believes they didn’t become criminals for simple profit, they more likely want to accomplish what Rio would also like to accomplish: use the money to rescue his former lieutenant commander. It seems he was imprisoned by the coup d’etat of the previous administration and OH YEAH, I totally forgot that the whole microphone thing is connected to the mythos of the show where the government is controlled by “The Party of Words”. I lost track how weird the very foundation of this show is.

So the guy is in the “Special Prison”, which is a pretty generic name for a special prison. Not, like “The Box!” or “The Panopticon” or “Hell+”. OK, Special Prison it is.



Anyway, Rio might be willing to work with the yakuza for his goals but ambiguous drugs is a step to ambiguously far. At this point, Jyuto reveals there is a rat in the Katen-Gumi. Who could it be?



Oh, right, literally the ONLY other character in the Katen-Gumi as far as we know. I mean, this wasn’t a “whodunnit” episode but why even have a reveal when there is only one possibility that could almost simulate the feeling of “satisfying”. It seems this guy betrayed his rap boss because his kid sister is a hostage of the Binzui-Gumi. Aware of this fact thanks to Jyuto’s information network, The Mad Trigger Crew brake into the Binzui-Gumi headquarters, prepared to wreck house. So the enemies draw their



As villains go, the Binzui-Gumi don’t leave much of an impression but at least they always keep me guessing with their choice of weapons.

Anyway, the leader says “do your worst” because very few bad guys in this show actually realize that these fights always go to the good guys and they usually go first. Feels like that’s a pattern to recognize. Anyway, rap happens.


Seriously, as soon as the guy brings out the giant amp that looks like a skeleton coffin, you know you are fucked. Our antiheroes summon skeletons, police tape and missile launchers with their rap and it ends with all of the enemies sinking into a pit of gems, like some sort of failed Scrooge McDuck. That was a powerful hypnotic mirage.



Wait, was… was that a non-metaphorical thing that happened? Like is that guy eternally sinking in jewels? Or do you mean he’s eternally trapped in that nightmare vision? Which feels even crueler than your badass persona dictates.



Oh. He seems fine. Like, if within his own brain he’s eternally pulled into a gem pit of endless depth, he carries it well.

Samatoki’s right hand man is expelled from the Katen-Gumi due to both his betrayal and also as a way of freeing him from the dangerous world of yakuza-ing and Samatoki thinks about his own kid sister, setting up some future subplot.

The episode ends with our heroes reflecting on today’s events, then saying it was good practice for the rap competition. OMG, I totally forgot that’s where the show was heading. It seems like relatively small beans to go from gang incursion to rap contest but I guess that’s the meat of the show. So next week I guess… I guess we are doing the Fling Posse.
 

Johnny Unusual

(He/Him)
Chapter 5

“Seeing is believing.”

In which an episode about the Fling Posse is pretty much what you expect it to be.

Finally, with episodes about all the other groups, the creators of the show looked at themselves and said… “We got to do a Fling Posse episode, I guess.”



The other groups are some sort of outsiders working outside the law to protect people. The Fling Posse is… a rich Bohemian candy eating fashion man-baby, an author who does old timey talk and a gambler who really feels like he belongs in one of the other gangs. While every other band walks the beautiful side of their community as well as their dark underbellies, Shibuya doesn’t seem to have one, which kinds of makes the Fling Posse narratively smaller stakes. And that is even more clear having respective heroes battle a hostage-taking robber, a would-be murderer and a yakuza gang.

Meanwhile, the Fling Posse’s adventure looks a little more like this…



But its appropriate, as this one dropped around Halloween. Rare to see a Japanese cartoon have a holiday episode that gets to air on that Holiday.

We start with group leader Ramuda on a mysterious phone call from the Party of Words. He acts bubbly saying he’ll do what is needed of him but gets pissed when he hangs up the phone, implying he’s under their thumb at the moment. This subplot is for a later episode, though.

After the theme song, we cut to the group hanging out and the group’s gambling addict, Dice, begging for food. No one wants to give him any but the discussion is halted when Ramuda freaks out about some urban legends about ghosts popping up on TV. The other guys tease him for being afraid of ghosts but it turns into a discussion about ghosts and a bet is made: do ghosts exist? If Ramuda proves they don’t, Dice has to model some cute fluffy clothes, damaging his tough guy image. But if Dice wins, Ramuda has to give him food for a week. THE STAKES COULD NOT BE LOWER!

Forgetting that its quite difficult to prove a negative, meaning its kind of either a win/tie for Dice on this one, the three goofballs wander the streets of Shibuya, looking for the ghosts. Ramuda claims not to believe in ghosts but he’s still jumpy, which causes his friends to laugh at his antics instead of be annoyed at them like a normal person. After being freaked out by a costume party, the gang takes a cab to a place where the ghosts were sighted. The Gentaro the novelist tells a spooky story that ends up scaring Dice and Ramuda, who dash out of the cab and find themselves in a spooky looking live music venue called Mahojin.



The show then gives us a quick Japanese language gag as the “maho”(magic) on the sign flashes to “aho” (idiot) after Ramuda and Dice act kind of childish. Like, Gentaro acts a long sign but their antics hardly seemed worth it in the circumstances.





They enter the club and find it empty save for its creepy owner who gives his name. Its probably a pun I don’t get but I’ll move on. He reveals business has been so bad lately that he had to light the club by candle and has been eating less, giving him a creepy visage.



That is pretty funny, guy. Anyway, the club owner pleads with the Fling Posse to help and offers him the venue and if they do all of marketing, they can keep the box office profits. So the gang goes full press with a seemingly gangbusters advertising bombardment on the streets of Shibuya. However, the only people to show up are those damned culture reporters.

They reveal the reason no one came is because Club Mahojin and a lot of the clubs in Shibuya are “haunted”. The only club that isn’t is Club Colony the location from earlier in the episode with a costume party. This seems like a largely self-solving mystery but none the less the Fling Posse are on the case. Well, they delegate to the Buster Bros!!! since that’s the formula in these episodes. And the Buster Bros learn Club Colony, founded by a former rap trio, has a bad rep for treating performers badly which they can get away with since they are the only venue around.

The team deduces that hypnosis mics are being used to—get this--- hypnotize people into seeing ghosts. Ramuda decides to call out Club Colony and at the show down, this is what shows up…



This is... underwhelming. Also, I wish I could be a clean version of this because instead of the Ghostbusters theme, the original had them chanting the word "ghost" over and over, so its even more ridiculous. I love that they felt they needed to do this shit anytime they wanted to scare somebody. The Fling Posse reveals this dumb-ass plan isn’t going to work on them because…



Wait, that was an option? Against the mics? WHY AREN’T PEOPLE ALWAYS CHOOSING THAT OPTION! Seriously, I gave the Fling Posse some shit over the course of this series but I may MAY switch to the Fling Posse as best group purely for this. Also… this feels like it shouldn’t work. I assumed the mics directly attack the mind or something. Even then, I don’t think ear plugs are THAT powerful, right? I don’t use them but can someone tell me if someone yelling “GHOST GHOST GHOST” can be blocked out by earplugs.

Anyway, the Fling Posse gets these really dumb villains to confess on a livestream and, of course, they finish them off with a rap about ghosts.


After shattering the minds of unscrupulous club owner with a cheerful rap about ghosts and playing a sold out show, our heroes pat themselves on the back only to find one of the photos of them on stage also had a ghost in it. WUH-OH!

The end.

So yeah, this is essentially what I assumed a Fling Posse episode would be. Also, I learned earplugs work on the mics, which seems like it SHOULD be important. Anyway, next episode the tournament saga starts… except it really feels like more of the same.
 

Johnny Unusual

(He/Him)
Chapter 6

“He who laughs last, laughs best.”

In which the tournament starts but does it though?

Finally, we finished our one off episodes for each group and now we can get to the semi-titular Division Rap Battle!

We begin with Prime Minister Tohoten, the leader of the Party of Words as she conspires to strengthen her power with a rap tournament… somehow. I guess it has something to do with the four teams formed by the former The Dirty Dawg members, whom she wants to pit against each other, hoping to cement the schism between the former team members. This she relates to her buxom… Deputy Prime Minister? Personal assistant? First lady? Whatever it is, she is also dressed in sexy and vaguely fascist gear.

\

Its weird because I feel like the target demographic for this show might be primarily (though not exclusively) female rap fans who want to hear cool rap and see pretty dudes. I’m not surprised that the villains are sexy women but I am weirded out that it is some sort of evil matriarchy that our heroes need to be wary of and have conquered the nation and replaced guns with microphones. I’m not even sure if the last thing is supposed to be considered a positive or negative in the universe of the show. Really seems like a lateral move.

Also, I’m going to come out and say this: I know this show is an ad for the four bands but I feel like they need to spend a little more time on the baddies, allowing them at least one half-decent song each and maybe song interesting character designs.

Also, I really hope that the Party of Words entire cabinet is revealed to be made up of a three-to-four-person rap group. I just want the Party of Words to rap. Someone who isn’t one of the four core groups, do a good rap.

Anyway, the Prime Minister makes the announcement of the Division Rap Battle with a dramatic hologram over the Tokyo.



That… that last one seems unnecessary for a rap contest. Dancing requirements within a division rap battle is on a case-by-case basis.

Also, here was some weird optics, Madam Prime Minister.



It looks like your are about to be artificially inseminated by your tower fortress’ antennae. Not to say I disapprove of such a life choice but the announcement of a rap battle doesn’t seem like the most appropriate time.

After the opening credits, we see the culture reporting gang as the leader gushes over the use of liquid nitrogen in the modern day sewer system. The lady of the group reveals the tournament brackets are announced and recaps the facts about who the characters are before the tournament begins. Then the lead reporter turns to the camera and says…



Yes, no turn is more interesting that the thing we knew was going to happen is still going to happen but its not actually happening yet. Especially with no knew information save that they will face other teams who remain completely anonymous. We cut to scenes of each team more or less saying “Oh, yeah, this is going to be fun.” The only key thing is a little more hinting that Ramuda of the Fling Posse may be playing a reluctant Judas role and is definitely responsible for breaking up The Dirty Dawg as he talks to a woman who can’t use Skype very well.



BACK UP, LADY! Like, if this is because you don’t want him to see your face, you can block the camera on your side.

Anyway, we get to see Ichiro of the Buster Bros!!! capture a crook who gives an ominous warning.



Oh, fuck, this guy is planning to blow up the venue or something with a bomb. Thank god he let the beans slip so you guys can take immediate action against a clear threat of terroris--



Oh, these guys are having a prolonged conversation about street photography. Seems like you should get on the terrorism, tho--



Oh, you guys are going out for street food. Wait, did neither of you pick up on the fact that someone VERY CLEARLY stated that a bomb was going to happen?

Anyway, Ichiro reveals to Tom (the photographer) that the Dirty Dawg break up was caused by meddling from the Party of Words but it doesn't kill a particular beef between him and Mad Trigger Crew's Samatoki, which needs to be dealt with. The rest of the Buster Bros!!! arrive and mention their battle is at risk of being cancelled due to a terrorist threat, of which the guy Ichiro caught was a member.


That's right, Ichiro. Think VERY VERY hard.


YEEEEEEEEEEEES.

They search the venue (which is surprisingly small) but despite the help of the now-reformed Tender Loinz (the leader of which does a joke I feel works better if I new the general geography of the area), they are unable to find hide nor hair of the bomb. Some earlier clue about the "Toyotama Line" comes up revealing what was thought to be a non-existent train line is in fact a reference to a power line, leading the group to believe that it is a power station that is going to be bombed. Sure enough, they get there and discover a goofy group of terrorist rappers called the Electric DynaMonks, which is a pretty great name. the Buster Bros!!! think it is corny, alluding to wordplay that didn't translate. Also, they are all bald and from Saitama. Am I on the verge of getting a pun that I missed out in One Punch Man. Maybe I could look it up, but I'm almost done writing, thank god.

Anyway, the rap finally happens.


However, while rapping can be used to fight terrorists, it can't stop bombs and while cutting power to the rap battle would be inconvenient, a power outage could be much more serious to nearby hospitals and such and our heroes need some help. Thankfully, Tom has a truck full of liquid nitrogen, which they use to defuse the bomb. So where did Tom get the truck?


Haha, Tom, you are going away for a LONG time.

The episode ends as our heroes are going to begin the battle and I think its safe to say the tournament is being pushed to the background while each group gets involved in more shenanigans. Sigh. Anyway, next episode is probably Matenro again. Stay tuned.
 

Johnny Unusual

(He/Him)
Chapter 7
"The darkest hour is just before the dawn."
In which it isn't firmly established that a character is canonically gay but this story was clearly a gay love story.


The tournament is technically underway in the series but since our heroes status is set in stone and only the main and key characters have notable character designs, we aren't actually going to see any of the rap battles, instead having our characters having pretty straightforward adventures as the tournament happens in the background. But at least this time the focus is on the best team, Matenro!



OK, so since the last time we focused on sexy sadsack Doppo and his worth. Who will the episode focus on this time? Dr. Jinguji and is impossible dual shade mane? Hifumi and the origin of his weird coat-based confidence? I mean, there's only 13 episodes and we are about half-way done, so we need a chance to give everyone to shine.

Nope, its another Doppo episode. Not that I mind, I guess.

We begin with Doppo being drowned in work by his boss while fretting over putting on a good show at the Division Battle. It is then he literally runs into co-worker Kazuha Rurikawa in classic meet-cute style. Kazuha says he's a fan and is pulling for Doppo in the rap battle.\

We get a quick glimpse of the Buster Bros!!! winning their battle and moving on. Can't find the scene online so here are some fans cosplaying as the Bros!!! and lipsyncing to the song.



Anyway, the culture reporters, who have note been arrested for stealing a truck full of liquid nitrogen, note that they have to split up here on and so as to cover each division as the contests continue. T-Rex, the big tall guy, is handed a camera and surprisingly doesn't just eat it. It seems like he would. He's tasked with covering Shibuya while the lady whose name I don't remember goes to Yokohama.

We get a quick shot of the Mad Trigger Crew noting that the Buster Bros!!! are moving on in the bracket. We also get a glance at two cops who briefly mentioning wanting to take down Jyuto last episode setting up a plot to frame him but its barely a thing. Moving on.

T-Rex is covering the Fling Posse and Ramuda decides (within a cynical and villainous inner monologue) to get close with him for PR purposes.

Tom visits Matenro and reveals he's got some back story to drop: he was a war correspondent whom Dr. Jinguji treated after taking serious injuries. More backstory is revealed as we learn Dr. Jinguji is determined to win the Division Battle because he's convinced it will lead him to learning why a former assistant is now in a coma. That's a very strange prize for a rap competition. I just assumed it might be a record deal.

Anyway, Matenro take the stage as Doppo notes he's feeling uncharacteristically good at the moment. Meanwhile, we see a burglary. Who could be behind it? Perhaps the one character we were actually introduced to this episode. Or perhaps..... um... T-Rex *shrug*? This is the second time where we had a mystery where the one suspect is also the only suspect. I know its not a whodunnit but it doesn't mean a lot to have a reveal where there was no other option for the audience save "complete rando".

Doppo gets some help from Kazuha with some work stuff and the two's relationship is going further. Hifumi shows up to embarrass Doppo and the three go out for a drink. I feel like Doppo doesn't quite get that he's getting into a romantic relationship but Hifumi does.


WOW, that's randy. Look, Hifumi, just let the cute boys figure their shit out, no need to get creepy about it. Anyway, Kazuha mentions he's actually an amateur rapper but his team didn't even pass the qualifiers of the tournament. Kazuha then mentions he envy's Doppo's ability to turn his own internal strife into creative fuel and Kazuha mentions he's found his own way to do the same. Or as he puts it.



"Why... why are you looking at me?"

Anyway, Kazuha states that he can't tell him about where that is yet because it isn't time for the good guys to realize he's the bad guy yet. The next day, Doppo's mean boss is met with an "accident" caused by Kazuha that seriously hurts him. Jinguji reveals this to the team but says he'll be fine in a few days. More worrying is the revelation that a series of robberies have been taken place at the exact same time as Matenro's rap battles. The criminals have also used medical equipment to commit their crimes, which would have made Doppo a suspect if the crimes happened at different times, since Doppo works for a medical equipment company. At work, Kazuha says "isn't it nice that the boss isn't here" and Doppo flashes back to other comments and begins to suspect Kazuha.

After their show, Doppo gets a message from Kazuha that says "I'm glad to have met you in the end." Man, I'm seeing double entendres everywhere. We cut to Kazuha and his gang about to make their getaway on a dock but the team manages to find him since Doppo remembered Kazuha mentioned a place he likes and I think there's some wordplay in there about "the end" (I'm not going to get into it). Anyway it all hinges on 1) the belief that Kazuha would use a place meaning for him as a getaway point and b) that would be absolutely correct. Doppo is hurt but Kazuha wants to see which one of them would win in a battle. Turns out, as always, its the one that actually gets a chance to rap.


Compared to most of the raps, its actually sad since its for a scene in which Doppo has to take down the man he loved. As the villain lies waiting for the police, he says "thanks for saving me," which is a nice thought but did he, though? Seems like he didn't. Still, maybe they'll work it out when he gets out of prison, assuming he doesn't go to the super prison. I seriously can't tell if we are supposed to remember there are "dystopian" elements to this show sometimes.

After a heartwarming discussion of the events of the episode, we flip over to the Mad Trigger Crew, where we see Jyuto heads out to do some police work and the rest worry that Jyuto might have a scheduling conflict for the upcoming next match. WILL HE! YOU MOTHERFUCKERS BETTER STAY TUNED!
 

Johnny Unusual

(He/Him)
Chapter 8
"Dead Men Tell No Tales"
In which they decided to make a split 7-inch episode and they should have done this sooner.

Look, I've been enjoying this stupid show but I feel like there's a not a lot of meat in the bones of the episodes. The plots are fairly basic stuff despite a theoretically wild premise. I kind of genuinely liked the romance of the last episode (and I feel like Doppo is the only character that might work for, though I want more of the implied FWB relationship between gambling guy and army guy). So I was a bit disappointed I had to sit through another episode of The Fling Posse and the Mad Trigger Crew. But thankfully, the show had a better idea: cram two half baked episodes into one. That equals fully baked, right? I think that's a culinary truth.



Our story begins with Jyuto and other officers being debriefed on a rash of burglaries. This was actually alluded to in the last episode where some crooked cop coworkers were getting the crook to do some unnamed crimes. Also, this guy might be a criminal, but at least he doesn't want to be a super spreader during his spree.



The Mad Trigger Crew decides to work together to figure this out so Jyuto can advance in his career and they can be free for the rap tournament. Meanwhile, the culture reporter lady whose name I didn't catch prevents the crooked cops from shaking down some innocent citizens. They threaten her but she has footage and threatens to send it if they don't back off. They do and she overhears them mentioning plans for Jyuto.

First off, guys, probably don't talk loudly about plans for a public figure around someone who threatened you with evidence of misdeeds. Also, lady, SEND THAT FUCKING VIDEO. You have no reason not to send that video right friggin' now. Like, its dumb on the face of it and seems even dumber considering the nature of filming inappropriate police behaviour. Doing that is great and sitting on it and not doing anything is nuts.

The Mad Trigger Crew comes up empty in their investigation but the pulp culture reporter appears and gives them valuable evidence pointing to the crooked cops. She gets some further evidence from an anonymous hacker friend who is secretly one of the Buster Bros!!! and is unknowingly helping the Mad Trigger Crew, with whom they have beef. Also, apparently hackers are constantly giving themselves fake backstories, with the BB!!! guy claiming to be a Saudi Arabian video game designer and the reporter claiming to be a ramen shop owner. I'm not sure this is necessary but I guess its fun if you like to role play.

Anyway, she is of the opinion that Most Cops Are Bastards but is willing to give a chance to the celebrity crime cop, figuring "There must be a few decent apples" among them. This feels like a very waffle-y take for the show to have. Like, I feel like its not anti-cop by any means but it clearly has its ear to the very loud ground to know that public perception of cops is on the wane and needs to give the softest of lip service to that.

Meanwhile, the crooked cops decide to tie up the criminal in their employ and kill him by tossing him into the water completely bound and...



I'm not 100% confident in my understanding of the physics of a body swimming. I'm sure with your hands bound, it is probably incredibly dangerous. But I feel like they should have bound the guy's feet. Heck, I can't even be sure that would guarantee he might not find a way to survive. Just kill that guy, then throw him in the water. Or at least knock him out or take him to get super drunk first. I'm not saying your method is ineffective, crooked cops, but it seems like a half-measure. If anyone thinks I'm wrong, I want to hear about it. In genuinely interested if I am wrong.

Anyway, the Mad Trigger crew arrive to save the day. The crooked cops are dumb enough to think they can outrap them. Maybe they can. But you are not good guys and the good guys ALWAYS rap first so... its a pretty foregone conclusion.

So the Mad Trigger Crew sing Bayside Suicide


No wait, its this.


Regardless, now you are twice disappointed that there's not a song about AC Slater ending his own life.

Instead is some of the most awkward use of random English phrases in a Japanese song I've heard in a while and I watch anime all the time. I also don't consider myself an expert but I think Jyuto might be a bad rapper. It feels stilted and yell-y to me. But "I'm a space cowboy, orbiting the suspect" is not a lyric I ever expected to hear anywhere for any reason so I think the show needs props for that. Instead of turning them in, Jyuto instead makes them into his personal agents so... I dunno, maybe that lady should have RELEASED THAT VIDEO TO THE PUBLIC!

We then see Jyuto telling his partner that the case is closed, which raises the question... how? Did they bring the burglar in? How did they convince him NOT to tattle on the guys so they could continue to be Jyuto's agents. I feel there's a lot to do in regards to covering up this--

Oh, and they just won the rap contest and got into the rap finals. YAY!

No if you are like, me, you are probably thinking this...


Well, that's because the show is only half over. The rest is a Fling Posse story and let's face it, 12 minutes is the maximum amount of time a Fling Posse story should have.

Our story begins with Ramuda being woken up to a call that Dice lost at gambling again. "I'm tired of hearing this." he says, as if confusing his lines with that of the audience. He initially plans to ignore it but then remembers T-Rex's comment that the group is kind of disjointed. In the name of team unity, Ramuda and Gentaro head to an underground casino where Dice is being held captive. They won't let Dice go until he pays his debt but Dice claims the guys must have cheated because he would "never lose like that." I mean, we've ONLY seen this guy lose except during rap battles (and even then, we've only seen him do one competitive one) so I have a hard time accepting this premise.

Ramuda says he'll pay it which, for some reason, Dice won't accept, but the guys running the casino have another idea: bet their voices. JBear was thinking a Little Mermaid scenario at this news, while I thought they must be planning to sever their vocal cords. We are not lockstep on everything, you see. Apparently they have a beef with the Fling Posse after betting against the best team in the area.


Anyway, if the Fling Posse win, the debt is forgotten but if they lose, the casino guys will stick blow dryers in the Fling Posse's throats and ruin their vocal cords. The Fling Posse agrees and bets it all on Dice because they forgot that all this guy does is lose money and bitch about it. Ramuda claims he has faith in Dice but also says "But twas a lie" (which is Gentaro's really weak catchphrase), then says "just kidding" and its like... I dunno, I can't follow what this guy is saying anymore.

Anyway, the game is dice and whoever rolls higher with two dice wins. In clarification of the rules, it is decided the "pips" that are facing up. But at you might expect, that bad guys use loaded dice to get 12 and give Dice dice that only turn up ones. Dice "rolls" the die by clutching them in his hand and pounding it on the table, which I feel confident isn't a legal roll. And this is what lands.


With thirteen dots facing up, the Fling Posse declares themselves the winner. The bad guys are like "you call that a roll?" and I got to agree with the cheaters here. It wasn't really a roll, it was pounding dice on the table. Unfortunately, more damning for the villains is Gentaro revealing the dice were loaded (which feels like it should have been Dice's deal, because of his gambling experience and because his name is Dice). The villains plan to rap at them before they can tell everyone but like EVERY bad guy on the show, they just let the heroes go first, which is polite but inefficient.


As they leave, T-Rex notes they finally look like a team.

After the Fling Posse wins next contest, the lady with a tattoo on her bosom announces the participants of the tournament which, big surprise, is all the teams we actually know about. At least we get the order of the matches...



Who will win it all? Not Fling Posse. Never Fling Posse.

Next time the finals begin. Will we actually see what a rap battle between two competent teams look like or will everyone fuck off to solve a crime? Next time: hopefully, we see an actual rap battle.
 

Johnny Unusual

(He/Him)
Chapter 9
"Life is what you make it."
In which we actually get a division rap battle.

Well, after 8 episodes of fighting stalkers, drug dealers, dirty cops and pretend ghost night club owners, the finals of the rap tournament we barely even got a glimpse of is underway. A nine episode build up for a tournament is actually modest if this were a shonen battler or sports anime. But for a show with only a 12 episode season, with no guaranteed plans for a second and the show has "division battle" in the title, this is upsetting. So based on what has happened before, I'm expecting all the teams to fight a gang of smugglers, then are told the results of the battles in an epilogue. So with that, let's check out the next episode!


We dive right into things, surprisingly enough. This time it isn't a bunch of people in their own divisions watching screens with announcements. No, we start right at the gates of the tourney venue, Chu-Oh-Ku, which I think is a government thing, but I don't feel like looking it up. Also, I imagine it doesn't look like this in real life.


Someone comments on how much money that is spent on security but this feels like a totalitarian strongman view of security. Which I think makes sense because the series takes place in such a state when it feels like it, except the show has never really dug into that story element at all.

The Buster Bros!!! show up first with Ramuda and the Fling Posse right behind. Ramuda clings onto Ichiro and Ichiro, rightly, is like "personal bubble, dude!" Actually, what he says is "you can't keep flinging yourself at people like that." Wait, is that why they are called the Fling Posse?

Matenro shows up next and there is instant animosity between Dr. Jinguji and Ramuda. Perhaps Jinguji suspects Ramuda's plotting? Matenro is relatively polite and seem to get along with Ichiro. The sparks really fly with the Mad Trigger Crew show up and Samatoki and Ichiro start getting in each other's grills. Ramuda interrupts to hug Samatoki and Dr. Jinguji pulls him off, saying "Its not right to disappear when someone is talking." I think the implication is that the two were in a conversation when the Mad Trigger Crew showed up but the way it is presented makes it feel like a complete non-sequitor.

Things escalate and it looks like a fight is about to break out between all four teams when they are interrupted by...


Its funny, I feel like the show is aimed at an older female demographic (not exclusively) but then this character shows up. There are only two prominent female characters on the show and they are military dictatorship chic with a not-subtle undertone of dominatrix.

Now part of it could be the women wish they could boss around the cute heroes like she does but it feels like the male gaze is on full blast when she shows up.

Her name is Ichijiku Kadenokoji and she's the Special Advisor to the Prime Minister, Superintendent General of the Metropolitan Police and Director of the Administrative Investigation Bureau. Impressive, but I'm not sure which of those job title she is using as "Rap Battle Host/Organizer", though I like the idea of people in high office spending the time on such things. Like, maybe the Secretary of the Interior can host pop n lock competitions.

She berates them for trying to start fights before the fight and gives Ramuda a glace to remind us about the subplot between them. Once we get into the venue, we see the audience is all women.


And I'm genuinely surprised that men don't want to see this. Despite the demographic, EVERYONE should want to see a mind breaking rap battle with magic and intrigue. Does this have something to do with the new government? Also, are their cool glow rings super tech or am I just THAT out of touch with what has replaced glowsticks?

Ichiro reflects on why he's pissed at Samatoki; apparently he tried to kill Ichiro's brothers. "Oh, you mean that time we were kidnapped by the government?" casually drops one of the brothers before performing rap for the government. We then flash back to Ichiro on a stage begging Samatoki not to push a big red button. So Ichiro really has it in for Samatoki. "I'll pitch in too." says Saburo, which sounds less like "I'll fight along side you." and more "I think we need more red solo cups, I'll go to the corner store and see if they have any left."
Meanwhile a similar conversation occurs in The Mad Trigger Crew's changing room, with Samatoki revealing his sister left him over something Ichiro said which, based on the vague flashback, is probably about the attempted murder.

We then move onto the opening ceremony. After a grand entrance from the four teams, Ichijiku then introduces the Prime Minister Otome Tohoten. Confusingly she calls it the "Final Tournament of the First Division Rap Battle". I think she means the tournament finals but I dunno, maybe she wants to wrap it up (so to speak) after this.

We are given the rules: each battle is a maximum of 30 minutes, which feels like a LONG time for a rap. I makes sense for an anime fighting tournament, where a minute lasts 30 minutes but this seems unnecessary. Also, if someone doesn't get up after a ten count or are knocked outside the ring for 30 seconds, they are done.

She then pulls a coin from her shirt where the boobs live. Which seems like a terrible place to keep a coin unless she has unnaturally sticky breasts.



She declares that the first battle is about to begin. But I'm not getting my hopes up. I fully expect them to flash forward to them trying to catch some microphone counterfeiters or something. I mean, this can't actually be happening, right?

A coin toss declares the Buster Bros!!! will go first. But this can't be happening, can it?



Surely there are some real estate plots they need to foil instead, right?



THIS! IS! HAPPENING!

Jiro steps forward. "I'm up first, you goddamned pig." Jiro says cheerfully. Jiro starts rapping at Jyuto and attacks him with police dogs. Like literally police dogs. With little police caps.


Jyuto counterattacks with magical police tape and also kind of a weak rap, furthering my belief he's the worst rapper on the show (maybe Dr. Jinguji, who has a great voice but I don't think its for rap.

Both take palpable hits and... each kind of walk off the stage. Basically, its like "OK, I guess its someone else's turn to rap." instead of a battle to the end. Next its Saburo, the hacker guy, vs. Rio, the army guy.

Saburo attacks Rio with giant exploding DNA helixes while Rio uses rocket launchers that fire machine gun bullets and the ghosts of fallen soldiers, which seems a little disrespectful. Once again, each concedes the other is good and then kind of wander away so the next confrontation can begin.

Its then Ichiro, who talks with a hospital bed, and Samatoki, who attacks with a zombie army. You'd think I'd have more to say on that. You'd be wrong. Then Ichiro uses a fire attack and Samatoki uses a wind attack (and a gangster grim reaper). Samatoki seems to have the edge and up in their sky box, Ichijiku and Otome discuss Samatoki's "rap ability". Isn't that just rhymes? Well, Samatoki also has the power to turn rage into power, meaning the more attacks he withstands, the more powerful he becomes. But they also note that Ichiro has his own rap ability which is incompatible with Samatoki.

The whole Buster Bros!!! crew use light and rap but the Mad Trigger Crew retaliate with platters full of grenades, a giant bottle of wine and then trap them in very stylish coffins.


The Buster Bros!!! retaliate but the Mad Trigger Crew uses a riot squad, an army and skeletons and also make a questionable slam on the Bros!!! being civilians (earlier there was a weird slam about one guy being a navy vet. What these guys decide to go after is very confusing to me.)

The two young Buster Bros!!! are dropped. Now they only have ten seconds to--


Hey, um, show, didn't you just establish a 10 count and ring out rules not 10 minutes ago? If that was a ring out, you did a shit job showing us the limits of the ring and you sure as fuck didn't give us a count to 10.

Anyway, Ichiro is the last man standing on the Buster Bros!!! side so things don't look good... but Ichiro with the power of brotherly love pulls out all the stops and pulls out a rap that completely KOs Rio and Jyuto. Samatoki raps back but Ichiro retaliates with a rap that ends with one of those connecting cheer things from Osu! Takatae! Ouendan! (or Elite Beat Agents if that helps). And everybody seems to think that Samatoki has been defeated.

But Samatoki managed to stay conscious by biting his lip and delivering one more rhyme, taking out Ichiro.

I'll be honest, the fight in spitting range of what I wanted. They rapped at each other. It was an actual battle. I just wish there was more overlap and lyrical cleverness than "hey, lets just take turns." But I will say if I was a betting man, I would have put my money on the Buster Bros!!!, as they are the more overtly heroic of the two groups and theoretically likable. Also, with the set up, it definitely made Ichiro's cause a little more righteous than Samatoki's, though I'm sure we are to learn about some backstage shenanigan's that Ramuda was party to. Like, I'm assuming the reveal is going to be all group's leaders realize they been manipulated by the bad guys for... seriously, I dunno. I can't imagine the show will be able to properly justify why they are so deeply concerned about a rap battle in three episodes time (plus with two more battles).

Next episode is Matenro Vs. The Fling Posse! Be there!
 

Johnny Unusual

(He/Him)
Chapter 10
"Today is a good day to die."
In which some sort of super-mic is introduced.

We pick up where we left off last time and Samatoki gloats over Ichiro, saying that any encounter will end the same way. Ichiro states he will never give up. Just as Samatoki says he was always going in, his knees buckle from the damage taken in combat. Just as he's falling, he catches site of his sister watching from the audience and she does not look happy as she exits.

Up in a skybox, the three culture reporters look on, with T-Rex stating that the match was like a "death match between two carnivorous dinosaurs", which is a thing I feel like it wasn't. Like, even metaphorically, I'm not buying that one. Instead, I will accept "a courtly duel between two urban wizards with hearts full of street.... and revenge." Why am I not a poet? I don't know.

Tom makes his own comment.


I feel like this isn't the starting point. so its weird to me that he used "here on out" but mildly debatable syntax feels like splitting the tiniest of hairs in the face of people being threatened with microphones.

Meanwhile, the girl on the team sounds pretty sarcastic.


OK, I was going to wait until the show gave us her name so I don't keep calling her "the girl". Maybe I spaced when it was mentioned. I'll just look it up in the Hypnosis Mic wiki.

Iris Innocent Traiter

Holy shit, even by anime standards this is a top tier amazing/wild name. I love that it has "traitor" spelled incorrectly. I love the whole thing together. This feels like the name of a main character in some sort of No More Heroes-type game. But it doesn't stop there. Tom's full name? Tom Whisper Weathercock! If I ever get a career as an explicit ASMR guy, this will be my name. Suddenly, T-Rex feels like a nickname that's compensating and coming up extremely short.

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister orders a secret weapon prepared for Ramuda of the Fling Posse. Will it be something that makes it so their logo doesn't look like its constantly farting?


Seriously, if they didn't want me to think that, don't put on a cat while an "O" has a cat but with some sort of puff coming out of it.

Back in their changing room, Ichiro's Bros!!! beat themselves up over their loss and argue about who is to blame (each Bro!!! wanting to take it) but Ichiro promises a rematch.

Meanwhile in the Matenro changing room, Doppo is freaking out as Dr. Jinguji flashes back to his assistant in a coma and some memories involving Ramuda. Ramuda, meanwhile is meeting with Ichijiku who presents him with an unusual gift... a "true" hypnosis mic. Its so impressive its kept in a high tech box with blinking lights and dry ice steam as the box is open. Its impressive. The box, that is. The microphone just looks like a silver mic. Seems this one can truly put people under their control and for some reason they want to control Jinguji. Ramuda puts on a happy face but even more than usual is not happy about it. He seems aware both that there are mysterious consequences to using the mic and that his usefulness to the Party of Words might be at an end.

Ramuda is feeling down and he can't hide this from his team mates so they try to cheer him up. Dice talks about having "luckies" which are a "unit of luck" he defines as...


So its basically like a better crypto-currency. He claims he won a lot of them mind-gambling on the last contest and now they can put them toward victory. Meanwhile Gentaro is writing a short story about the team's future after the game. This makes Ramuda feel worse. He comes to the conclusion if he can't save himself, he can go out in an explosion of sour grapes and hypnotize Jinguji into a coma before he dies so the Party of Words gets nothing. He also admits he also did this to Jinguji's assistant.

Meanwhile, Doppo mops up his anxiety sweat in the sexiest way posibble.


Hifumi seems REALLY into Doppo right now. He glares at him earlier in the episode with what are clearly "fuck me" eyes and earlier in this same scene as he's mopping his hands with sweat pads, we see him from this angle...

And with his arm movements, he looks very much like he is masturbating. This can't be an accident.

Both teams finally enter the stage and each character says a thing that reflects their theme, then Jinguji says he wants to ask Ramuda stuff during the battle, which seems like a hard time to do that. Unless there's an interrogation in song, which I WOULD LOVE TO SEE. Good cop, rap cop.

Ichijiku pulls that coin out of her tiddies again and determines Matenro gets the first term and presumable considers pockets not made of flesh for a moment. Doppo rushes in to get first and for the first time in the series, someone just totally eats it. Its actually kind of refreshing. Dice retaliates and puts the hurt on Doppo and Hifume.

Hifume and Gentaro battle, with Hifume using flowers and Gentaro using tattoos and, I shit you not, KING FUCKIN' LEAR as a weapon.




Next Jinguji indeed does try to interrogate Ramuda through the medium of rap. As Ramuda is pushed pretty far, he decides to make his move to take out Jinguji but Dice stops him. He and Gentaro see that Ramuda has been acting nasty and think it'll be a better battle if he acts like his true self... a hero. Ramuda is touched and indeed does that, forgoing the ace up his sleeve for his true power: the lost art of "happy rap".

Ramuda then attacks with an incredibly bouncy silly rap where he locks them in boxes with pictures of dogs on them and rhymes dope with poop.


In English. He says it "pope." This may be social commentary. With dog boxes.

Its a strong attack and Jinguji points out that while we've seen Ramuda being two-faced, the playful child is much more his real state than the bitter scheming jerk. But Jinguji does have one trick that none of the other rappers in the series have... heal spells! Jinguji raps a positive rap to heal Hifume, which it turns out is why the Party of Words wants to control him. But next the Fling Posse all rap together and with Matenro a man down, things aren't looking great for them.

The Fling Posse manages to take Hifume and Jinguji out with cakes to the face and bears popping balloons. Assuming their win is guaranteed, Ramuda gloats about Jinguji's less-than-stellar sidekicks. That's when Doppo finally snaps and delivers a self-deprecating rap so powerful that it blows the Fling Posse out of the ring and they are unable to re-enter with their strength sapped.


Doppo, meanwhile, can't figure out what happens. Jinguji hypothesizes that when Doppo's negativity reaches its peak, he enters some sort of invincible rap zone. It really is one of the better raps of the series simply because while I don't know Japanese rap, it requires some special linguistic agility (and feels far less stilted than Jinguji's. Seriously, as leader's go, he's clearly the weakest member.)

Meanwhile, while lying on the floor, Ramuda comments its a good day to die.

Will Ramuda die in the name of drama or will he be saved because it would make no sense to kill off this multimedia franchise character unless contract negotiations go badly. Tune in next time to find out.
 

Johnny Unusual

(He/Him)
Chapter 11
"No Pain, No Gain"
In which the show tries to convince me that Jinguji is the best rapper but its definitely Doppo.

We are in the home stretch and two episodes left. That can only mean one thing... this episode will slow down and the next one will be the final battle. Maybe we can finally learn what the deal with The Dirty Dawg was, why Ramuda broke up the team, how he did, what is up with Samatoki's sister and so forth. Or maybe they'll dump the whole thing on us now. After all, for a show that is as completely by the numbers as a show about literal rap battles in post- WWIII Japan, it has surprised me. I was convinced the last two battles would be between The Buster Bros!!!, who are the most overtly heroic characters and the Fling Posse, whose leader is a kind of secret traitor. Instead, we got Matenro and the Mad Trigger Crew. Matenro is less surprising as the show has been exclusively been building up Doppo, which seems like the best choice since I think he's the best rapper in the show. Mad Trigger Crew is a little more as from what little we've seen of Samatoki's past, I feel like after Fling Posse, Samatoki's justifications for his beef seem a little less justifiable. I'm sure there's "more than meets the eye" but "threatening to kill brothers" seems harsher than "talked to sister about you behind your back, likely about the murder you were willing to do." But here we are, the final battle of the first and, lets face it, almost certainly last season that will never explain its "dystopia" in a way that properly explains what looks weirdly gynophobic for a show that I'm pretty sure is aimed at 20-30 something office ladies.

So here it is.... The Mad Trigger Crew Vs. Matenro


We begin where we left off and the Fling Posse decides to leave the stage in good spirits to thunderous applause and some woman noting that while he lost, he's "still cute." While this seems like it might be a small comfort to a major loss, it means something to Ramuda who would rather lose as a cute hero than win as a two-faced cheat. Back in the dressing room, Ramuda is waiting for Ichijiku to come kill him or something but then comes up with a brilliant strategy: running away.

But looking at his team mates, Ramuda is afraid they will be tortured, though despite the TV MA rating on this show, I can only imagine it that said torture is maybe some singing and stern frowns. Ramuda considers leaving them behind but despite a weaselly inner monologue, he can't bring himself to do it after seeing Gentaro's book of writing is actually empty and remember that stupid thing about "luckies" that Dice was talking about. I'm kind of lost with why Gentaro's empty book is supposed to be some revelation except... maybe he's not actually a writer? Maybe he's just a con man? It would fit in with his dumb "Twas but a lie" catchphrase. Anyway, Ramuda tells them "let's hurry back home," with his usual cheery demeanor. Meanwhile, the Party of Words decides to enjoy the show, figuring Ramuda doesn't really have anywhere to hide, which is some classic bad guy arrogance.

Anyway, Matenro comes to the conclusion that Doppo's God Mode is incredibly taxing and they need to rest before the next match. Meanwhile, the Mad Trigger Crew discuss Samatoki spotting his sister in the crowd but Samatoki plays cool lone wolf and asks for no help in this. As he goes out for a smoke, he spots his sister wearing official government clothes and tries to chase her down, only to be stopped at an area only Party members can enter. Samatoki is about to upgrade a ruckus to a fracas when he is stopped by Jinguji. Compared to the other match ups, the leaders are actually on pretty good terms, even if they are planning on beating each other in a magic rap contest. As they start talking about their love of their own teams, Doppo and Hifumi walk in and are touched and it makes for an adorable picture.


D'Aw. The sweetness continues when Samatoki says his two team mates are the team's weak point but Jinguji counters that Matenro's members all accept each other's weaknesses and compensate for them and that's what makes them strong.

The battle is about to begin and the Buster Bros!!! watch on. They aren't the only ones, as we also see the culture reporting team, who are... mostly excited.


This is a fact. I cannot deny this. Iris Innocent Traiter is like the WORSE character to hype up this match. Its like having color commentary by the Neutrals from Futurama. "A fight is happening. It is continuing to happen. One person fell down. He got back up. He's rapping again. The lady in seat 36F went up to get concessions. It was Raisinettes and a bottle of Sprite."

Both teams appear on the battlefield to lightning, wind and, to a MUCH lesser extent, air horns. We are spared boob coin as The Mad Trigger Crew goes first. Despite what I've said about Jyuto in the past, he actually kicks things off with a pretty agile rap which leaves Doppo stunned. Doppo shakes it off with a killer rap himself but Jyuto is made of sterner stuff. A similar pattern follows the Rio/Hifumi match up, though Hifumi causes at least a few scratches. Rio notes that unlike the Mad Trigger Crew, Matenro's raps don't contain disses but rather self-affirmations. Which doesn't really track since Rio was just asked "do you even have a libido?" which I took as an Ace insensitive diss. Also, I feel like he does and he is in a no strings attached thing with Dice. This is a fact the show should take advantage off because they are the cutest couple aside from Doppo and pretty much anyone else.

The Buster Bros!!! note that Matenro's raps are a little on the mild side but Ichi notes that they are also the more touching to the audience. which is great, but not as effective in KOing an enemy in a musical battle tournament. The Mad Trigger Crew steps up with their second attack, and before that they say...


I need to work this into everyday conversation. Its the best line. Anyway, they do exactly that despite a valiant effort to fight back and Doppo and Hifumi stand defeated on their feet, still technically in the game but having lost the will to keep fighting.

Jinguji allows himself to be attacked while casting his healing rap and as the entire MTC goes in for the kill, Hifumi and Doppo revive at the last moment to keep the good doctor afloat and counter rap. Rio and Jyuto jump in to take the brunt of the attack, which leaves Samatoki with his pissed off-based power on full blast. As you might expect due to this show's love of last act symmetry, Doppo and Hifumi are taken out. Jinguji counter attacks with a giant fire wolf and wins the match.


Oh, shit, I just realized (via JBear) that Matenro's weird finger thing...


Are wolf fangs, cause their symbol is a wolf. Man, that was lost on me till now.

Matenro claims victory and... um, that's the episode. What will happen next? I'm predicting all the teams rapping against the government. Will all questions be answered or are they saving it for some other aspect of this multimedia project, like an escape room or a napkin holder. We'll find out next time and on the last installment of this thing.
 

Johnny Unusual

(He/Him)
Chapter 12
"You Can't Make An Omelet Without Breaking Eggs"
In which the History Channel is relevant.

Turns out there were actually TWO episodes left. So we have two episodes to wrap things up even though the story is mostly wrapped. Really, the last remaining threat is the party of words. And man, they do not waste time. Ichijiku basically says "Hey, boss, can I round up and brainwash all these people." and the Prime Minister is like "sure, go nuts." And thuse our episode opens. The Fling Posse is on the run but the others are still in their changing rooms. Matenro is congratulating themselves on their win when they are invited to see the Prime Minister.

Meanwhile, Samatoki is raging over his loss while Rio is making a flashbang because he's like "Oh, while I'm here, I guess I could free some political prisoners." Jyuto responds "WTF, dude." but Samatoki wants to see his sister so he's in, too. Just then, they are invited to meet the Prime Minister but Rio warns them against it. Meanwhile, with the Buster Bros!!!, they are also invited but Saburo reveals that he's been hacking the cameras and sees that they are surrounded by special forces in black uniforms with a bit of pink. Because they are girls.



Colors aside, should armed forces wear spandex that hugs their boobs? Seems like that's a good place for armor or, at the very least, sensible fabric.

While escaping, The Mad Trigger Crew and the Buster Bros!!! run into each other and call a temporary truce while they escape. Tom and his reporter friends gather up the team to help them escape. Meanwhile Dice and Gentaro are pressing Ramuda the real reason he wants to get to Shibuya in such a hurry an eventually is forced to come up with some of the truth, enough to make the other member cajole Ramuda into being a hero (which is a relationship I like, where Ramuda is the superior rapper but is cowardly without his friends firm hand).

Meanwhile, Tom and Co. seem to be helping the rappers escape, only to lead them into an ambush by Ichijiku. What's more, Tom and Co, are not what they appear. They reveal they are in fact...


Huh... wasn't expecting that. When I saw this, my body reacted before my mind and the clapping began. I think it was a mix of surprise and the fact that their title comes with little laser sounds.

But don't get too excited, they aren't literal aliens, they are a covert... rap group. These are an adjective and a noun that should not go together. Turns out the Secret Aliens were hired to scope out our heroes, which is the real reason why they showed up everywhere. The Secret Aliens explain that the four big groups are a threat to public peace, as their popularity could rival that of the Party of Words. Then he says in pretty good English "You can't make an omelet without breaking eggs." Then the characters spend a little bit translating the metaphor, explaining it, and then figuring out that they are eggs.

The Secret Aliens battle three teams to battle, feeling confident they can take them. They begin to rap and I'm kind of psyched because we actually get our first female rapper in the series Iris Innocent Traiter-- OH, SHE WAS A TRAITOR. But actually, she doesn't get to rap and instead is singing a pop ballad while the other two rap. Boo. Anyway, they rap a song about opening doors and of course T-Rex attacks with a T-Rex. But when our heroes decide to retaliate, it turns out the Party of Words has a device to neutralize hypnosis mics. Before the teams can get beaten down, the Fling Posse causes some chaos and Rio throws his flashbang, allowing everyone to escape.

The Secret Aliens are upset they can't have a fair fight. Ichijiku notes that the Aliens have ties to a refugee camp in the Republic of Moralia (formerly Ethicstan, I assume) which the Party of Words funds, which would be easy for them to pull. As the teams are on the run, Saburo remembers his old hacker friend, a ramen shop owner, unaware that it is actually Iris. Iris gets the message for assistance, easily figures out by context that her online friend is Saburo and seeing a huge tactical advantage, sends them a message.

Meanwhile, the Fling Posse takes out wave after wave of special agents. Desperate, Ramuda decides to his super mic... only to be defeated by the Hypnosis Canceller... TO BE CONTINUED, FOOL!

Got to say, despite the lack of actual rapping from Iris and the fact that their rap wasn't the series strongest, I really like the Secret Aliens. First, because they are Secret Aliens but also because they work pretty well as antagonists for our heroes, especially since most of the series they only fight each other and dorks who don't get to rap. And I'll wrap THIS up in the final installment.
 

Johnny Unusual

(He/Him)
Chapter 13
"Tomorrow is another day."
In which the show implies it wants more show.

This is the end, my friend. The finale to the show. Will are our questions be answered? Nope. Sorry. But at least we have a climax.


We begin where we left off, with the Fling Posse about to take a beatdown from an army of rap ladies. Before they can do the deed, the Secret Aliens stop them, telling Ichijiku that the Fling Posse can be used as bait (seemingly forgetting that no one but Rio seems to particularly like the Fling Posse).

Meanwhile, the other teams have gotten away seemingly scott free despite being given direction by the enemy. Turns out the reason is because they wanted to maneuver the bands into a fair fight where the Party of Words won't interrupt. The leaders of the remaining teams go while the other members are barely able to move from their previous fights and the blow from the Secret Aliens. Meanwhile, the Secret Aliens share their tragic backstory with the Fling Posse, with Tom rescuing Iris and T-Rex from street violence and showed them the world poverty and injustice they could work together to battle.

At the meeting place, Tom frees his hostage and allows Ramuda to team up with the rest. That's right, its the reunion of... THE DIRTY DAWG.


Rather than starting off with an attack, each side starts with a different kind of rap. First, Jinguji uses his healing rap then IRIS FINALLY RAPS, YOU GUYS!! GIRL RAPPER! IT HAPPENIN'! And she's pretty decent by the rubric of this show and her powers give the Secret Aliens... I dunno, +1 to off the dome or something. She buffs them, basically.

Samatoki attacks with some skeletons and T-Rex attacks with big dinos. Ramuda and Ichiro double team them with rainbows and amps. Frankly, these raps are a little limp, but I think it doesn't help that the background music is kind of languid. Tom states that now he can finally go all out and...


Oy. And note, his English, though clearly not his first language, is pretty good. But these lyrics, in English, are not so good (even as a Settlers of Catan fan rap) and there's something in his tone of voice that sounds like when Andy Samberg turns up his ironically dumb rapping a notch more sarcastically/cheesy than normal. This is enough to nearly defeat the Dirty Dawg... and that's when all the other rappers swoop in to help their friends, each saying one line to dialogue to point out their personality trait.

Then we get an actually pretty good rap, which is the intro with new lyrics.


Though I maintain rap is not Jinguji's chosen genre and Jyuto says his lyrics more than singing them. Anyway, they all rap so hard that they create a magical girl rainbow tornado of power which defeats the Secret Aliens. Ichiro then tells Tom that his team lost because they forgot the most important lesson... rapping is fun. Which really isn't my takeaway here. Like, it should be harmony despite everything. The Mad Trigger Crew do not look like they are having fun ever and I don't particularly see it with Matenro. But whatever, if that's what the show wants to go with as we go into the home stretch, fine.

Ichijiku arrives to arrest the four teams and it is revealed to the audience that the Secret Aliens employer wasn't the Party of Words but the inventor of the hypnosis mic. Before they can be taken away, Saburo reveals he's recorded the convo and will stream the video if they don't get let go. Ichijiku says she don't care, the Party above all else and also she talks like she's trying to eat the biggest hamburger.



Note that while angry and outside, she's basically speaking in a somewhat loud indoor voice but it looks like she's just given herself lockjaw. It looks like the end of Sleepaway Camp with the transphobia removed (so, you know, a pretty big improvement). Basically, she says that without the Party of Words, the world will go back to what it once was, an argument that would hold more water if we knew what it once was. Seriously, I think the show is too cagey about its backstory for its own good.

Anyway, the rap guys argument is "nope, because rapping and magic mics are great", like that's an answer and all the other rappers concur with vague platitudes. To this... OH, SHIT, ICHIJIKU'S GOT AN AURA. I THINK SHE'S GONNA RAP!


But considering we have only a few minutes left in the series, the Prime Minister calls her and says "yeah, back off, seasons over."

We then see the hypnosis mic inventor hanging out with the Prime Minister saying things like "its too early for a fight yet." and when the prime minister asks if he's on their side, he's like "maybe" and then he may as well just grab a megaphone and shout "I'm mysterious! Intrigued yet?"


The Prime Minister then calls in Nemu, Samatoki's missing sister to set up... another season, I assume? But not necessarily. This was developed as a "multi-media" franchise, so maybe the story is going to continue in a radio drama or a light novel or a beach towel. I know there's a manga. Or maybe even just an album. Whatever the case, more story is promised.

Anyway, the heroes take this as a win, despite the fact that they never got the direct message that the Party of Words won't be pulling funding on the refuge camps. They can still do that, technically. Seems you might want to hash out those details before you call it a day.

The episode ends with all the teams getting into a snit and threatening a four way battle royale that we never get to see.

And that's Hypnosis Mic, the show about Rap Boys battling the matriarchy. And how was it? Well, it dodges being problematic about their enemies by kind of not really addressing it. Its kind of weird to have that as a part of the show's mythology and not explain it. And its not building the mystery so much as implying their is one and ignoring it.

The music is mostly decent, though some performances are far better than others. Doppo for life.

I would say the characters don't rise much beyond the archetypical. Weirdly, the best stuff is briefly touched on, like the fact that Rio and Dice just happen to "share breakfast" sometimes. Pretty sure that means they bone. Ramuda is simultaneously the most irritating character but also the most interesting in that he's two-faced but he has good friends who's love and trust lead him into being a better person. But also, he says "you're a doody head, mr. poopface." and attacks people with teddy bears and winks, so there's a give and take. Would I watch it again? Yes. In a heart beat.

Is this a good show? No. Is this a bad show? No. This is a show. And its not a dull show. Its a weird beast and I hope there's another season to dive into it more.
 
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