This week Echo and Mu head to Scene Freak High to solve the puzzle of a mystery drug in order to progress in their mission of finding more information about Jimi and the rest of the Players. After this week’s episode I can confirm my suspicious that this anime will be a “new plot” every week type show – we aren’t going to spend too much time in one area as to help with Mu and Echo’s long standing search. As I mentioned last week, it’s a bit unfortunate that the anime will only have 12 episodes with so much good content to cover. The characters we meet are complex and really interesting they’re narratives are just cut short because there is a lot of content that needs to be shoved into a shorter series. Though, I genuinely hope all these great characters that we’ve met will reappear later on, perhaps in one final battle with the Earless.
At this stop, we are introduced to two new characters, Nir, the downcast and ostracized Player, and Hole, her “partner in crime” the student council president. Like last week, Echo and Mu quickly become separated to go off on their own quests with each character respectively (personally, I’m not a big fan of this style. It definitely adds a chance for more exposition, but I don’t feel that Echo and Mu are a team, but rather two people who keep finding their way back to the same spot). Echo ends up befriending Nir after she stalks him around the school and they talk about their “destiny’s” and how Jimi, or rather the idea of Jimi has been able to help them move forward. Mu on the other hand teams up with Hole, to actually solve the mystery that the headmaster of the school gave to them. At first, I didn’t really like Hole, but he grew on me through the course of the episode. Their quest was pretty entertaining considering their first stop of “degenerates” was the math club followed shortly by a group literally Smashing Pumpkins. All in all and interesting investigation.
But what I liked the most in this episode was the small tidbits of world building that we were given, and I find it interesting that they say it in such a nonchalant way. For example, “Oh, most students here are orphans who lost their parents to the Earless,” it’s brought up so briefly that it just makes it seem natural, but as the viewer it gives us an even deeper view as to how dangerous the Earless can be. Even the drug that is the focus of the episode talks about the emotional and mental effects on the Players. I think it’s important to note that it’s not even a secret and bad drug, but that it’s something that is used frequently for frontline players going out to fight. Frequent use causes players to become unstable and compare that to Nir’s comment at the end of the episode that every Player is destined to go insane? Man, no matter how cool Echo and Mu makes being a player seem, it definitely seems like a pretty unfortunate destiny to have. And it goes even deeper! Hole is trying to get out of this fate which causes him to use Nir, but after hearing the tragedy that follows Players? I really can’t blame him.
Also, as a side note, I still can’t get over the drug being called Teen Spirit and it being something that you have to smell in order to feel it’s affects. I guess it really does Smell like Teen Spirit. (Badum Tsh).
I’ll admit that it’s frustrating to go in each week and have everything thrown at you in such a a quick pace in order to make sure everything is covered, but at least it’s consistent. Now that it’s been established, I think the coming episodes will feel a bit better if I expect this sort of pacing. I mean, the episode preview for next week has me really intrigued, so despite everything I’m looking forward to next week’s episode.