Taboo Tattoo Episode 7: A Trap and Blood Flows

In Storm, the seventh episode of Taboo Tattoo, Bluesy Fluesy has her perspective on her role forcibly adjusted; Princess Aryabahta tightens her grip on the fourth ancient site; Iltutmish gets an upgraded frame; Justice Akatsuka finds his back against the wall — and if it’s not in the worst possible way, it’s pretty close.

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What Happened (Spoiler Free)

Giving credit where credit's due: The battle maids are seriously cool. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.
Giving credit where credit’s due: The battle maids are seriously cool. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Bluesy Fluesy, Akatsuka, and several other United States Army Sealed launch an assault against Aryabahta and her people, who are trying to exploit the fourth tattoo ruins in Japan. Cal Shekhar and her battle maids are easily the match for Bluesy and her people, who can’t understand why they are getting beaten so easily.

The Princess, still underground making adjustments to the crystal, gives Iltutmish a surge of power to help in their defense. The young woman emerges at the surface and begins morphing into something terrifying to our heroes.

Cal Shekhar had sliced up his arms and legs, but Akatsuka healed himself and was about to rejoin the battle. The Princess arrives and gives him a demonstration of power that changes his view of the world.

The rest of this review may have spoilers, so please be careful!

What Happened (Spoilers!)

Akatsuka still struggles with the whole "war is hell" theme. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.
Akatsuka still struggles with the whole “war is hell” theme. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

The United States Army’s Sealed and Sealed Copies are riding in helicopters towards the fourth set of tattoo ruins. They plan is to stop Princess Aryabahta — whatever she’s doing. First, they pummel the hilltop entrance with missiles. Then they strafe it with mini-guns. Finally, they leap from the helicopters to begin the ground assault.

The first US Sealed to attack Cal Shekhar fell, sliced in two, before she decapitated him. He didn’t even get close to her. The battle went downhill from there. Cal Shekhar unleashed her battle maids, who were easily the match of Bluesy Fluesy and her teammates. Bluesy is barely able to save Tom Shredfield when they heard a strange growling sound.

Aryabahta had used her position within the glowing crystal, deep underground, to grant Iltutmish an overwhelming surge of power. The diminutive young woman struggled to contain it, but she eventually surrendered and turned into a giant cross between a lion and a dragon. It rips the helicopters from the air.

It was clear on her face: the moment Bluesy realized just how badly they had misjudged their opponent's tattoo skills. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.
It was clear on her face: the moment Bluesy realized just how badly they had misjudged their opponent’s tattoo skills. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Akatsuka was trying to find Cal Shekhar, but she finds him first. Using some kind of power that stopped him from moving, she slices up his arms and legs so that he’s not in mortal danger, but so he can’t move. She tells him attracting him here was part of the plan before moving on to other targets.

Aryabahta absorbs the crystal’s energy into her self. The act generates hundreds of new tattoos. She heads to the surface.

Sanders (who, though being a general, prefers to be called colonel) had been observing the battle from the air. He jumps to the ground, carrying Tōko Ichinose, after Iltutmish destroys it. He tosses her to another soldier for safe keeping before engaging Cal Shekhar. Moments later, Bluesy Fluesy joined him, and for a moment, they push her back. Then she rebounds, crushes Bluesy’s left arm, and slices off Sanders’ legs, one arm, and both eyes. She was about to kill Bluesy when Brad Blackstone (a.k.a. BB) arrives.

The Princess has a good grasp of philosophy -- almost as good as her sense of cruelty. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.
The Princess has a good grasp of philosophy — almost as good as her sense of cruelty. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Heartened by BB’s arrival, his self-healing almost complete, Akatsuka prepared to rush to BB’s side. Aryabahta arrives and pins him to an earthen slab with huge spikes. Not content with one or two, she stabs him with more than a dozen, all the while ridiculing his ideas of justice and telling him that all was going according to her plans.

BB faces off against Cal Shekhar as Bluesy rests against a tree. He forces the Princess’ Sealed to admit that she’s in love with him. He professes his love for Bluesy, which pushes Cal Shekhar into a rage. She lashes out with the same attack that destroyed Sanders. BB did it on purpose, though, to show that he was aware of their plan to draw him into the fight, and that he had taken precautions to be ready. He shrugs off her attack.

What I Liked

Cal Shekhar standing alone and waiting with flames in the background was probably the most dramatic shot in the whole episode.

I wonder why Cal Shekhar’s associates were dressed as maids? Not that I’m complaining. This show’s battle maids are probably second only to the Pleiades battle maids from Overlord. Still, things like that bother me…

A few of the battle maids actually looked like they were getting tired after the battle wore on. I liked that little bit of detail. It gave me hope that our heroes might make some headway — at least in the next episode.

So that's where baby tattoos come from! Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.
So that’s where baby tattoos come from! Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

We learned more about tattoos in this episode. We got to see part of their lifecycle: the Princess absorbed the crystal and its energy. She shattered the crystal’s “crust”, which turned into hundreds of new tattoos. So now we know where tattoos come from!

I have to admire the Aryabahta’s realism — but not her sadism. After listening to Akatsuka’s annoyingly naive views on justice (when he’s had a chance to talk about it, which hasn’t been often lately), it was almost refreshing to see the Princess put him philosophically in his place.

Karam (Mr. Genius) was blissfully absent from this episode. Whew!

The animation continues to be beautiful. The explosions were a little rushed relative their distance and size, but the fights continue to be exciting and the characters are fun to watch.

What I Liked Less

Sanders prefers to be called a colonel instead of a general — Colonel Sanders? Sigh… But what do I expect from a show where a main character’s named Fluesy?

"Yahoo!", huh? Well, at least he didn't channel Officer John McClane and say "Yippee ki-yay etc." Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.
“Yahoo!”, huh? Well, at least he didn’t channel Officer John McClane and say “Yippee ki-yay etc.” Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

The soldiers said “yeehaw!” and “yahoo!” while firing the mini-guns? That’s not cliche or anything…

Bluesy wondered how the Sealed Copies on the side of the princess could keep up with her — and I wondered, too! But we didn’t find out. I hope it gets revealed later — but the show has a habit of dropping ideas. I hope they don’t try to blame it on the Noise Canceler, because the maids were Sealed Copies, and they should have been affected, too — at least, I think so…

Why did Bluesy continue firing her pistol at Cal Shekhar after it became stunningly obvious that it was ineffective? She has more capabilities than that! She did eventually use a decompression attack, which was pretty effective. But I expected more variety from her.

Cal Shekhar is in love with BB? When could that have happened? She was in the Kingdom the whole time; he was all over the place. She doesn’t strike me as the type who would fall in love lightly. Well, at least they foreshadowed it in the last episode.

I think my wife heard me smack my forehead when Cal <> admitted she was in love with BB. At least they didn't discuss a white picket fence. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.
I think my wife heard me smack my forehead when Cal Shekhar admitted she was in love with BB. At least the two of them didn’t discuss a white picket fence. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Akatsuka didn’t use Void Maker even once? Was all of his training with BB for nothing? I have a hard time believing that his skills didn’t improve at all!

How did the United States Army not know more about what Aryabahta and her crew was capable of? Surely they had some of intelligence network?

Thoughts

By this point in the series, I expect the hero to make his move. In the beginning, I watched Akatsuka enjoy his beloved ordinary life. I saw the world of tattoos rip that life away from him; I’ve seen him try to find a way around tattoos until he accepted BB’s training. Now’s the time for him to show me what he’s learned!

At least, I thought Akatsuka was supposed to be the hero. By the end of his episode, he’s pegged to a slab of earth and his skills are not improving. The Princess not only easily bested him physically. She destroyed his entire world-view. So, is my expectation that the protagonist should show some heroism by now wrong? Is Akatsuka not the antagonist — is it BB? Someone else? Or is the series just not fulfilling expectations?

Not very heroic, Akatsuka! (I say, sitting in my comfy office chair and not being spiked to an earthen wall!). Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.
Not very heroic, Akatsuka! (I say, sitting in my comfy office chair and not being spiked to an earthen wall!). Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Putting that aside, I’m having a heck of a time accepting Aryabahta’s character. She slaughtered her own parents, so I can understand her using so many spikes to attach Akatsuka to the wall. But her constant fondling of all of the women around her? Her detours into political philosophy, only to veer right back into statements like happy endings bore her?

Just what does that mean, anyway?

So far, the show has demonstrated that all of the heroes (with the potential exception of BB) are not only weak, they’re stupid. The series has shown me that the antagonists are not only stupid, they’re strong.

And their strongest fighter fell in love with BB because reasons.

Am I just dense? Am I missing some subtle point this show’s making? If you think so, please speak up in the comments! I’d love a reason to embrace this show.

At least the animation’s pretty!

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Post Author: tcrow