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Old 05-12-2014, 05:52 PM   #42
Talon87's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Lafayette, Indiana
Posts: 20,548

Episode 05:

Spoiler: show
This week's episode had an annoying first third, an acceptable middle third, and a strong better final third. While I'm still optimistic that Mekakucity Actors will prove to be a wonderful experience, I haven't really felt it so far. At least, certainly not to the extent that several of you seem to have. Maybe it's one of those things where if you're a preexisting fan of the franchise then getting to see it animated is so much more kickass for you than it is for the rest of us. Maybe it's one of those things where teen identity (and all that that entails) has to really resonate with you for the show to be powerful. I dunno. It's not enough to throw a teen suicide here or a divorce there at me to make the show meaningful. The only thing keeping me engaged is the threadbare mystery side of things. If that weren't there and you guys weren't there either, then this is probably the point where I'd politely table the show for other pursuits.

Marry was pretty cute this week. Like, not in the "nauseatingly unnaturally cute" sense of Episode 03 but in the "charmingly cute" sense that I imagine Jin and Shaft have been aiming for since Day One. While the part with her throwing the tray of iced tea up into the air was a bit of an eye roll inducer, almost everything else with Marry this week was satisfying. I loved both her own sense of modesty and naivety about adult things (as depicted in such scenes as her reaction to the half-naked Shintarou) as well as other characters' reactions to her naive understanding of sexual concepts (as depicted in the scene, pictured above, where Marry asks Seto, "Being tied up makes you a pig? ^-^").

It still isn't clear what Marry's relation to Seto is. Is she his sister or half-sister? Is she his cousin? Is she his childhood sweetheart? Childhood best friend? Childhood stranger? No idea. It's made clear(er) this episode that Seto likely has feelings for Marry, but it's still not clear what the specifics of Marry's joining the Blindfold Brigade were. What is clear is that even if Marry is a member of Seto's biological family, the two did not remain together throughout their early years: Seto was placed in an orphanage at some point (where he met Kido and Kano) while Marry was either placed in a separate orphanage or else was adopted quickly. Who knows. We'll just have to wait and see.

This week's episode sees Konoha being the most interesting he's been yet. Summing it up succinctly:
  1. he instinctively seems to recognize something about Shintarou despite not remembering who Shintarou is
  2. he has superhuman strength when people he cares about are in danger
  3. Konoha's character design isn't just Shaft being Shaft -- he actually does look like a robot to people on the outside
First, the bit where he dashes over towards Shin. Shaft obscures whether Konoha subconsciously recognizes Shintarou himself, whether he recognizes something about Shin (like red eyes, maybe?), or whether he was just bolting over towards Shin because he would have done the same to anyone who was nearby. But I think it's implied that Konoha and Shintarou have met before -- and not just because Shintarou makes a small deal about remembering the name "Konoha" either. Konoha as a character seems to fast be evolving from "the amnesiac of the group" to, more socratically, "the only amnesiac of a group of amnesiacs who recognizes he has amnesia." Maybe I'm wrong about this, but I'm definitely starting to pick up some Endless Eight (Suzumiya Haruhi) vibes from this story.

Konoha's powers seem to throw a wrench into the works for my "everyone's powers tie in to vision in some way" theory. I mean, Seto's had already thrown a wrench into them too, but at least his I could try to weasel out of through wordplay. Konoha's just flat out seem to have nothing to do with vision unless we're going to be told "He only can have super strength against targets in his line of sight" ... which, if that is the case, is kind of a dumb way of trying to justify that the power still ties back in to vision. ^^; It's superhuman strength. Period. Let's not kid ourselves that it has anything to do with eyes. ^^;

That is -- assuming these even were his powers. It's still not clear whether Konoha is even human or not. He's been acting catatonic since the day we met him, behavior which we often see in textbook robots in fiction. Then you add in his electronic decals all over his face and the "headphones" over where his ears should be. Then you add in how his eyes look less natural than the others' eyes. Then you add in his displays of superhuman strength, so strong he can keep a minivan from moving an inch forward despite putting on the gas, so strong he can crunch the rear door with his bare hands. Is Konoha a human Hercules? Or is Konoha an android? It remains to be seen, but consider me officially advancing the android theory at this point.

The girl with the red scarf finally gets a name. Ayano. She's also revealed to be the founding member of the Blindfold Brigade. Someone whom Kido, Kano, and Seto all knew. Someone who likely knew Shintarou. And someone who ended her own life two years ago according to Kido. It'll be interesting to see what Ayano's relationship was, more specifically, to each of the characters in this series. It'll be interesting to learn why she killed herself. (Was it because her powers were driving her mad? Causing her pain? Was it because of torment from peers at school? Family at home? What?) I can't help but to want Ayano to not really be dead -- for her "suicide" to have been something she had to do to get herself from Dimension A to Dimension B and that once she assists Shintarou in completing some interdimensional mission she's going to reappear in Dimension A once again. Probably naive of me to hope for such things. We'll just have to wait and see then why she died and whether the circumstances of her suicide make us angry at her, feel sorry for her, or what.

Ene's recognition of Ayano seems to be soft confirmation that Shintarou knows Ayano outside of the dreams he's been having recently. Of course, it could also be the case that Shintarou doesn't know Ayano yet (if this series does weird things with time travel *shrug*) and that Ene does. For now, I'm assuming Ene recognized Ayano because Shintarou has pictures of her on his computer, thus signifying that Shintarou knew Ayano before she died.
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