Not that many, actually, though some essential ones remain. And this episode continues the trend of being simply, well, different–totally different outcomes and plot points and a different focus altogether. In many ways this is a different show from the first season, though they’re intimately interconnected.
The bulk of this review, of course, contains spoilers. Read the spoilers at your own risk.
[spoiler]I have to echo some of the disappointment with the now slam-dunk confirmation that the curse is just a disease–and even Rika’s role in it is as an inhibitor also apparently purely natural. (Though I doubt in real life that mere pheremones can inhibit the spread of a disease.) As I explained in earlier posts, part of the appeal of the show is the mystery and power of the idea of the curse and its effects on the town’s inhabitants. Though I suppose it’s similar to the way epilepsy and other mental disorders were once invariably attributed to demonic possession; I guess the thing is that it’s also so much less remarkable to find out that behind all of it is yet another secret government plot to develop WMD. That’s just so typical for anime.
I am also getting a little weary of the whole “can we beat fate” business now. I think we get the point now, and it’s a testament to how slowly this arc is moving. I’m beginning to see the point of the long rescue of Satoko, however. The solid camaraderie that we see now in the main group of characters is now believable and strong, and I can see all that being a necessary precondition for what is, it seems, shaping up to be an actual battle or confrontation with the powers of “Tokyo”: this time around, at least, it seems that they will go down fighting rather than as helpless victims.
Some things that still require clearing up for me (spoilers):
- What exactly is Hanyuu’s role in all this? A previous commenter here implied that she, in fact, was the deity in charge here. Given the show is increasingly finding more and more naturalistic explanations for everything, perhaps she is simply an alter ego of sorts?
- Then again, given the cyclical reincarnations of this entire time period, there probably is something else going on.
- If killing Rika is sufficient to release the disease’s bad effects on the town population, why all the elaborate preparation, trucks, tower, etc.? If the goal is to create a bio weapon, wouldn’t it be sufficient to take a specimen of the disease and store it?
The show is now really a mystery rather than horror, and has been very busy explaining things left and right. I’m impressed therefore with the amount of detail and planning that went into it, and knowing the things I know now actually made me see the first arc of the first season (which I rewatched today with my next door neighbor) in a very new light. Particularly when they try to inject Keiichi with a needle. This is a show that actually paid a lot more attention to detail than I first suspected, given how haphazard so many of the arcs in season 1 seemed at times. The presence of a grand design is not always a sign of good storytelling and quality, but now that so many of the key questions have been solved, it’s time to shift gears to the things that made this show great: character exploration and digging through the murky motives that guide human beings in good and ill.
Finally, the posts that would have appeared last week were there not NICE BOATS in the way are now finished. Now we can move on. Fall season, ho!