I… am so confused. At the end of the last episode we were left with the idea that the world was their oyster and anything could happen and the anime could go in any direction. Personally, I thought it was going to be a grand, explore and save the world, type direction, but so far we’re still laying down the foundations of Mu’s mystery. So, we could very well get to travel all over the world to learn more about the Players and the Earless, but for now, we’re stuck in a forest with some interesting characters.
The episode starts off with a flashback to young Echo hearing stories from some older individuals regarding the Earless and Merle Forest just outside of his hometown. Here we get to see that Echo has always been a rather frightened type character, he’s easily impressed upon by others, which quite frankly makes everything a lot more impactful for him. The tale he is told is meant as a scary story primarily to scare him out of his wits, but even if their main goal is fear, there does appear to be truth behind the stories. The forest itself is vast and full of tricks and illusions and is essentially a death trap for anyone who walks in. It’s also filled with Earless, which from my understanding is the thing society is most afraid of. What I found very interesting about this story is that they don’t just tell Echo that the Earless will kill him, but instead that the people who wander into the forest will become Earless, lose their memories, and can’t die. Since this was laid out in the beginning of the episode, I definitely thought it was just a way to scare him off, but pairing it with the story given to Mu at the end, it seems that there are more to Earless than just being horrendous monsters.
From the flash back, we join Echo and Mu riding in a car on top of a train, which, if you ask me, is the only way to travel. However, their trip is quickly cut short as they run into some problems with a surprise group of Earless. With all the confidence of their victory in Liverchester, this battle is much less spectacular as Mu can’t actually perform her all powerful attack at will, so they are quickly defeated and we’re introduced to the Neubauten sisters. If I were to summarize my feelings for these sisters it’s that “I think they’re super cool, but also I’m very confused.” Quite frankly, I have very little knowledge of them aside from that they appear in Echo’s player almanac. And straight up, I really can’t tell if they’re the ones causing the illusions, or if that’s a by product of their location. I think, later on in the episode, it becomes a little bit more clear that they are behind the illusions as they are trying to awake Mu? But the speech patterns of the characters are just off enough where I can’t actually tell if it’s their actions or if they are just really eccentric. Either way, I really like them.
The sisters also provide Mu with another version of the story from the beginning of the episode, and quite frankly this version may be more true than a campfire horror story. In short, while trying to get Mu to awaken (awaken from what? well, we don’t know), it’s revealed that the Earless are actually unsuccessful players. And so they enter into this weird state of becoming an Earless that can’t die, but is a constant state of agony over what they’ve become. And according to the sisters their salvation comes from the Players. I haven’t quite figured out what they mean by Salvation though…. Is salvation becoming human again? Or is it the sweet release of death? Do they appear because they sense a Player and deliberately reach out to find death? I hope they’ll be able to clarify that throughout the anime. Throughout this whole moment Mu is consistently being told to awaken by the sisters, which ultimately throws her into a rage as she claims that they don’t get to decide who she is. But after a certain, traumatic blow, the last thing we hear is “Welcome to the world of the Players”. So what exactly does it mean to be a Player? It’s certainly not as simple as just protecting the world from the Earless, and man I’m interested to see just what kind of world this is.
Since it’s the second episode there is still quite a bit of exposition happening, as we build up the plot, so despite my confusion about a lot of things, I have a feeling this anime will be a “answers will come to those who wait” kind of situation. So instead, I’ll just come up with my own theories as each episode comes out hehe. And since it’s the second episode we finally get a full opening and ending. I do enjoy the opening and think that Jin’s style comes across very well and it also seems to set a good vibe for the anime as a whole. The clips shared in the opening give us a glimpse of what we can expect to see in the coming episodes and I’m just really excited to meet some of the characters from the opening. As far as the ending goes, I think I’m really into it from a rhythmic and visual perspective. It honestly feels like a really well put together AMV for the episode that we have just watched and the transitions matching with the musical embellishments? That’s my favorite part!
Even though I’m really confused, I still have some high hopes for this anime and at the very least, I hope that it’ll just be a good time.