Well wow, color me intrigued because I really enjoyed this episode. I didn’t think things would escalate that far at the end so it took me by surprise. I’m getting big Higurashi vibes from the small-town sickness and the whole weird and unsettling vibes underneath the sort of lighthearted scenes, and the death at the end. Who knows if it’ll reach the gruesome murders of Higurashi, but either way this was a great premiere.

We meet Shinpei as he heads over to his childhood home of Hitogashima after living in Tokyo for a few years. He returns home to attend the funeral of his childhood friend/sort of sister, Ushio. She had drowned in sea after jumping into the ocean to save a drowning girl, but in the end ended up losing her life. It is a shock to everyone and while our main characters Shinpei and Mio, Ushio’s little sister, try to make things light, they are hurting on the inside. And for a couple characters, namely Mio, she’s hiding uglier feelings on the inside when we find out certain information later in the episode. But that kind of gets pushed back when all these other strange happenings are going on in the town, like the doppelgangers, this shadow sickness, the implications that Ushio’s death was a murder instead of an accident by sea, and the entirety of that ending. I’ll admit there’s a lot going on already, but it’s not really overwhelming or confusing right now, just very weird in a good way.

I was sucked into the episode from the start so I had a great time with this episode, though I do think they could have done things a little differently. I do think that maybe the episode jumped around a bit, so they could have gone with slowing things down. Maybe there’s not enough to stretch the material but I think it would have been brilliant if the first episode ended with Mio’s doppelganger, and the second episode started from the cafe and shadow sickness talk to ending with the scene in the forest. I think in that way it would have really built up the mystery of Ushio’s death possibly being a murder and letting us as the audience to really digest that. The phone conversation between Shinpei and Sou could have been longer, and to pad out time we maybe could have just taken the time to get to know the characters more and learn more about who Ushio was. Ending on Mio’s comment of not forgiving whoever killed Ushio, and then with Mio’s doppelganger staring at the house would have been great. Then starting up with the cafe and just building the mystery up more, along with the weirdness of the town and its residents. It maybe would have built up the shooting in the forest even better, but that’s just me! I can see people saying that maybe this episode was a tad rushed with one thing after another happening and the story dropping more info, but even then I thought it was handled well. Maybe because I’m comparing this show with Higurashi I’m half expecting the same slow build up of the town mystery, the characters acting weird under an upbeat guise, and the death. I just miss Higurashi being good to be honest…but anyway.

I sure am wondering what the hell is going on. The “shadow sickness” seems to be real, but it looks like Shinpei is stuck in a time loop. The Higurashi comparison doesn’t stop, huh? But it can go either way. It can be like Higurashi where Shinpei will die and start from a certain point in time and repeat the same events with slight changes on the island all while trying to solve a mystery and avoid death, lest let the cycle repeat for a long time. Or maybe be like Re:zero with return by death and Shinpei will actually retain his memories while he tries to solve the mystery? Or maybe there’s some time travel shenanigans? Pretty much anything can happen and there’s so much going on, so who can say. It sounds like Shinpei has his own shadow based on what the officer said, and I have a feeling that Mio is maybe aware that she has one of her own. Time will tell~

So far the characters and the setting is great. I guess the characters don’t stand out too much right now, with Shinpei being the out-of-the-loop city boy learning about the strange happenings on the island, Sou just being a normal friend, and Mio being the sweet and bubbly girl who seems to be hiding darker feelings. No one character shines at the moment but they’re a good cast so far and I’m excited to see what they’ll bring to the table. And of course the character I’m most intrigued in is Ushio herself. She seemed like a well-loved girl who was probably also as bubbly as Mio, and the circumstances of her death are very creepy and strange. Of course we weren’t able to see the marks on her neck because of all the flowers around her head in the casket. The little girl and her family disappearing right after the funeral is also strange, and it makes you wonder if the shadow sickness has anything to do with it. Of course we’re just beginning so there’s loads of things that still need to be revealed, but I’m so excited to see what direction they’ll take with the new time loop and what new mysteries we’ll get.

I love a good mystery and so far this show has taken my interest. The animation is gorgeous as well so that makes things even better. I also didn’t realize we would also have to deal with Disney+ jail on top of Netflix jail. Fansubs will just have to be the way to go for this show, but a day wait isn’t so bad. With Disney+ joining the anime streaming game, I wonder how long it’ll take for Summer Time Render (and Black Rock Shooter) to appear on D+ internationally. Hopefully faster than Netflix. I also had no idea this would be a two cour, which is both exciting and a little disappointing. Disappointing in the sense that there’s a lot of shows that have caught my eye in the summer season so I was hoping to go in with a blank slate, but if this show ends up being really good there’s no way I’m gonna let it go. Anyway! This was a great premiere, I’m excited for more, so let’s go.

Possibility of watching: Guaranteed

Possibility of blogging: Guaranteed


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