“Death Suppressants” (鎮死制)
I feel like I should start off this review with a great big *yaaawwwwwnnn* because it just bored me, as usual, and it’s quite sad to have resigned myself to a dull show for the next nine weeks. Ugh. I do, however, feel like the art is getting a bit prettier and brighter and I do like the play on sunlight from dawn until dusk. It is quite lovely. On the other hand the characters are still flat, not a curve to be seen, but but but we have been introduced to a couple of new characters whom I’m quite interested in and saved this episode by 0.1%. The rest of it was kind of take it or leave it and my attention wandered more than once in 24 minutes so I guess I mostly left it?
But for the sake of a review and to rehash the plot, I shall persevere! Kuroha hasn’t been coming to school very often and when she finally turns up, she looks all too broken and bruised as if she’s just been in a car crash. It’s all kinds of dramatic but Kuroha’s her usual stoic self and so Ryouta takes it upon himself to find out what’s really going on. When he turns up at her house, Kana is hysterical and Kuroha is collapsed on the ground and seeping blood from everywhere and a panicked Ryouta has to help rummage around in the kitchen for a kind of pill that apparently keeps all witches alive. For some completely forced reason, Kuroha accidentally leaves the makeshift stove on and it ends up burning their house down, along with the pills. Ryouta, the only one who seems able to think, manages to save Kana but she’s due for a dose only moments later and is already starting to bleed. In case you haven’t guessed it, Ryouta and Kuroha make it their mission to break into the factory the pills are made in order to steal as many as they can for the both of them. WHY a factory would be selling pills that are intended to keep witches alive despite the whole world not exactly knowing of their existence is yet another plot hole but I’m willing to assume there’s some secret dealing going on between some witchy organisation and the manufacturers. I don’t know – that reasoning strikes even me as pretty thin, but whatever. The show hasn’t exactly been entirely forthcoming with plot explanations. Unfortunately for them, Ichijiku Chisato, the silver-haired director of the organisation set on capturing and killing all witches, finds out about their plan and sends a dangerously powerful A-rank witch, Saori to kill Kuroha and prevent her from stealing any more pills. Kuroha and Kana are B-rank witches or lower, meaning they’re hardly matched to fight someone like Saori. In more positive news, they have the help of a computer-savvy witch, Kazumi Schlierenzauer (Ichimichi Mao) who helps them hack into the factory’s security so they have clear entry, but demands half of the pills they steal. Kuroha goes in, having resigned herself to dying by Saori, but swears to herself that she’ll at least buy enough time for Ryouta to get the pills and get out. You can probably guess that didn’t go down well with Ryouta because of his hero complex.
Okay, storyline done and dusted, let’s get to the nitty gritty. EVERYTHING in this episode was absolute rubbish (in my opinion, of course) except for the appreciative snark and selfishness that is Kazumi. She’s mouthy and sharp-tongued but she’s also that much more realistic than the rest of them, not to mention the least irritating. Running out of time herself, she appears to begrudgingly help her fellow witches despite not being a risk-taker and secretly accepting her fate of death. I hope we get to see more of her and that she becomes a bigger player because she’s actually interesting and she and Ryouta are already clashing. The parts that I really didn’t like about this story, was the cheap and tacky fight scene at the end where Kuroha gets cut by Saori’s spell and it conveniently slices through the fabric on her chest, revealing her lacy bra beneath. I mean really? Stay classy, I guess. The fan-service, as subtle as they’re trying to make it, just seems so out of place in this show and is, to be honest, unnecessary. I’m all for artistic expression in anime shows, sexual or now, but not when it’s slap-dashed in for the sake of it. It was lame, tacky and the worst part was the reasoning behind it. Lo and behold, she has the same three moles on the side of her boob that the young Neko had and Ryouta realises that as she grew the moles moved. *sigh* I just…there are no words for how stupid that part was. *deep breath*
Please tell me I’m not the only one who’s irritated to hysterical laughter over this show. And does it get better? Because the odds aren’t really in our favour at this point and I feel like this series is going to fill the role of my rant of the week every week. And if it’s not a rant, it could very well be an essay in boredom. I can’t believe I’m saying this but as disturbing and ridiculous as Elfen Leid was, I’d rather sit through an episode of that every week (now that I’ve grown up, that is) than watch this. Oh well, crossing my fingers that this show does surprise me and end up being profound and thoughtful or just entertaining because it’s significantly lacking in that factor for me.