Taboo Tattoo Episode 3: Peel Off Tattoos and a Bad Liar
In Taboo Tattoo episode 3, Misery Loves Company, Bluesy Fluesy decides on a tactical retreat; Justice Akatsuka has to defend himself against a possessed friend; Lisa Lovelock grills Bluesy over her house guests; Iltutmish takes delivery of a really, really big sword!
If you like Taboo Tattoo, you might like these manga of the same series (plus another anime with great fight scenes):
What Happened (Spoiler Free)
Iltutmish, the girl we saw last week who wore chains under the dress, possesses Tōko Ichinose’s body and attacks Akatsuka. Tom Shredfield urges Akatsuka to run, but our hero feels reluctant to leave his friend in the enemy’s clutches.
At the high school, Bluesy launches herself at R. R. Lurker. Dodging his attack, she makes for a classroom on the floor below. What’s her plan? She better have one because R. R. Lurker is right behind her!
Akatsuka’s fight goes back and forth until he spills enough blood to activate his tattoo. But to his dismay, he’s still too inexperienced to control it well. Iltutmish takes advantage of his lack of experience and literally pins him to the wall with an umbrella though his shoulder. Tom’s trying to reach his cigarettes; Ichinose confronts Iltutmish’s mental specter. How will they survive against such a furious onslaught?
The rest of this review may have spoilers, so please be careful!
What Happened (Spoilers!)
Tōko Ichinose is trapped in a world where the colors are wrong and matter’s too fluid. She sees a child dressed in rags run into Princess Aryabahta. The princess tries to humiliate the girl, but instead finds that she, too, is exceedingly capable at combat. Calling the girl a “stray cat,” Aryabahta recruits her. The girl’s name is Iltutmish, she has possessed Ichinose’s body, and she’s pointing a blood umbrella at Akatsuka.
The wounded Tom Shredfield urges Akatsuka to flee, but he’s not about to leave his friend, possessed or not. Iltutmish lunges.
In the high school, Bluesy launches herself at R. R. Lurker, who had destroyed her supply of chalk (which activates her tattoo). But instead of trying to strike him, she dodges and launches herself outside, then back into the building one floor below. Chiding her for running away, he smashes the floor and goes after her. But it’s too late. She used the time to feed some blackboard chalk to her tattoo, and she expresses extreme displeasure that he ruined her brand new school uniform. She turns a piece of debris into a grenade and escapes while he’s blinded by the dust.
Akatsuka has his hands full fighting Iltutmish in Ichinose’s body. He manages to activate his tattoo, but he’s still too inexperienced controlling its capabilities. Tom reveals that he has a tattoo as well, and his activation is his cigarettes. Ichinose fights until Iltutmish shoves the umbrella through his shoulder. Using the distraction, Tom activates his tattoo to pull Iltutmish from Ichinose’s body.
Iltutmish’s not finished. Tom tries to stand up to her, but Akatsuka has to intervene. He’s furious that Iltutmish involved Ichinose, and he acts unwisely: he unleashes Void Maker, his tattoo’s ultimate power.
Two thirds of the house disappears.
Having barely escaped, Iltutmish prepares to attack again; but R. R. Lurker recalls her because Bluesy is almost there.
Akatsuka is not happy to see that Ichinose now has a tattoo on her forehead. It’s a remnant from her possession.
Bluesy takes time to spar with Akatsuka, and she still beats him easily. She’s giving him good tips, though, so he improves. Tom discloses that his tattoo is removable, and tattoos of that type are called “copies.” There’re not as powerful, but they aren’t permanent.
In an attempt to drive home why Akatsuka should stop using Void Maker, Bluesy shows him footage of what can happen when Void Maker goes out of control. Akatsuka had to cover his mouth and Ichinose’s eyes at the horrors he saw on the laptop screen. She extracts a promise from him to never use it without her permission.
Returning the mood to something more positive, Bluesy encourages him to go exercise after giving him and Ichinose a trigger activation detector.
After they leave, Tom recommends they take the two back to the United States for protection. Bluesy decides to take a shower instead of answering.
While Akatsuka jogs, Ichinose rides her bicycle. He feels remorseful about dragging her into the situation. In a moment of weakness, she nearly confesses her feelings for him, but rides off and almost runs over a mother cat. The cat gives them a murderous look and takes the dead fish to its babies in an alley. They see a sickly cat, barely alive, behind the mother, and Akatsuka interprets the scene as the strong mother protecting the weak. They continue their exercise.
R. R. Lurker and Iltutmish, standing nearby, deride Akatsuka for his attitude. The mother cat drags the sickly baby and drops it in front of Iltutmish. Remembering how Aryabahta called her a stray cat, Iltutmish brings it home with her.
Bluesy takes her friend Lisa Lovelock shopping with her. Lisa teases her friend about her diminutive frame, but her intent is serious. She’s suspicious that her friend’s doing something she knows would get her in trouble. She reminds Bluesy that she’s in the army, and she better come clean.
Iltutmish and R. R. Lurker share an apartment. She’s bandaged the cat and though she’s nursing it back to health, she threatens to wring its neck if it won’t behave. As they sit down to dinner, he tells her that their next target is Lisa Lovelock. Iltutmish’s new weapon also just arrived. It’s taller than she is.
What I Liked
The show’s trying to emulate a moving camera during the fight scenes. I don’t think it’s completely effective, because sometimes, the camera’s movement and the perspective on the model don’t change in sync. However, it’s still interesting to me because I haven’t seen this tried very often since the original Highlander movie. At the time, I really liked it; maybe it’s time for this technique to make a comeback.
In general, I liked the fight scenes again. The moves seem reasonable and within the capabilities of the characters.
While she’s trapped inside her own body, Ichinose tells Iltutmish that Akatsuka is her hero and her prince. It’s hokey, and it’s cheesy, and it’s probably cliche. For her character, though, it seemed real, and I bought it. What really sold it for me was her willingness to fight back and become the hero herself in that moment. Real heroes inspire others; Akatsuka must really be a hero to her.
I loved Bluesy’s reaction when she arrived home to find most of the house gone. So was her reaction to seeing Tom’s digestive system partially exposed, presumably because of Void Maker nearly killing him. Fortunately, he has a tattoo (even if it’s removable), so he could heal himself.
Ichinose was in awe of Bluesy’s fighting ability. She’d never seen anyone beat Akatsuka except his grandfather. I like how Ichinose’s trying to deal with the revelations and changes. She’s generally successful! She seems like a no-nonsense, sensible type.
A murder of crows on the power lines overhead drown out Ichinose’s confession to Akatsuka. The show has an interesting sense of humor — between this scene, Tom’s internal organs getting exposed, and the sub-titled cat (see next), this episode had some enjoyable levity.
Subtitles for the mother cat? I thought those were hilarious! When Ichinose got too close to the kittens, the subtitles showed the mother cat saying,”Get outta here! Imma mess you up, bitch!”
Bluesy’s friend Lisa has whimsical taste — asking Bluesy to try on outfits that qualified more as cosplay than street clothes.
What I Liked Less
Thematically, I understand the mother cat bringing out the sickly cat and dropping it at Iltutmish’s feet. It setup the comparison of Akatsuka’s interpretation (the strong must protect the weak) and R. R. Lurker’s (one must get rid of those one cannot provide for). However, it seemed unrealistic for a cat to do that. In fact, I’ve never seen a cat act like that (though, to be honest, I’ve not been everywhere at all times, so I may have missed one).
The Anime Character’s Database lists Iltutmish’s age as “teens.” I’d be a lot more comfortable if the series would keep her dressed. Anime has a bad enough reputation in some respects as it is…
Am I the only one who thought Iltutmish looked a lot like Taiga Aisaka from Toradora? A little meaner maybe (but only a little; less murderous might be a better way to say it). I wonder if something happened between her and Ryuuji Takasu. They seemed to be getting along so well, to…
A couple of things stood out for me in this episode. First, Tom introduced us to the idea of temporary tattoos. They’re less powerful, but they can be very effective as we saw when Tom un-possessed Ichinose. We also learned that powering up a tattoo is called “drive.”
Ichinose is evolving into something more than just the childhood friend who stands around and wags her finger at the main character. It’s not terribly original that she adores Akatsuka, but I really liked how she looked on this whole experience as an opportunity to share a secret with him. Despite her obvious fear, she also fought back against Iltutmish’s possession — effectively, too!
I mentioned earlier that I liked how this show’s experimenting with camera angles, especially during fights. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again (briefly!): I’d rather see a show try something interesting and fail than see it faithfully execute the same thing everyone else has done. Only time will tell if this experiment’s successful, but I give the staff credit for trying.
It looks like next week we’ll see fighting among the factions. Given Iltutmish’s new sword, the battles should be a lot of fun!
Shameless Plug for Toradora
Wait, what? You haven’t seen Toradora yet? How is this possible? Either head over to Crunchyroll to watch it or, better yet, but it from Amazon!
Reviews of Other Season 1 Episodes
- Episode 1: Tattoo
- Episode 2: Surprise Attack
- Episode 4: Distance
- Episode 5: Rescue
- Episode 6: Reunion
- Episode 7: Storm
- Episode 8: Creator
- Episode 9: The Past
- Episode 10: Letter of Challenge
- Episode 11: In the Palm of the Hand
- Episode 12: The Deciding Battle