“Mekakushi Cōdo” (メカクシコード)
This was an incredible episode and possible the best episode amongst all my favourite shows this week! So much happened, the plot really started to kick off and we finally got to know about the ragtag group of colourful and interesting characters and why they’re being pulled together. But don’t let the actual presence of a plot fool you – this was every bit as delightfully abstract and disjointed as the previous episodes and so still keeps up with the theme of haphazard time fragments and patchy conversations.
We finally meet the silent, tomboyish girl who’s been appearing in almost every episode and she introduces herself very uniquely to Momo as Kido (Kaida Yuuko), and finally explains that pesky eye issue all our characters seem to have been showing signs of – well, all save for Ene and Shintaro, but perhaps they’ll reveal themselves later? Anyway, Kido questions Momo on how she feels about the state of her life so far and whether she’s ever just felt abnormal compared to those around her. The questions clearly resonates something a painful within Momo but like any other person who’s got to deal with a random stranger asking her the meaning of life, Momo gets a little nervous and laughingly passes Kido off as some weirdo and silently plans her escape out of this awkward situation. That’s of course when Kido vanishes right before her eyes and begins to explain that her ability is essentially the absolute opposite of Momo’s; rather than drawing people’s attention to her, she seems to repel them to the point where she’s practically invisible, even in a large crowd, (which was why it was kind of interesting to me that Shintaro acknowledged her in the first episode and led me to suspect that perhaps he’s got some cool eye ability too). As a result of Kido’s outstanding performance of her disappearing act, Momo faints, and that’s where the real fun begins.
In some mysterious room, we meet three other members of what Kido calls the Mekakushi Dan who go about recruiting others with eye conditions of the supernatural kind and help them control their powers. So far there’s Seto (Hoshi Soichiro), the ‘nice guy’ of the group and who appears really protective over Marry (Mari??). He possesses the “Stealing Eyes” ability, which gives him the power to read someone’s mind by looking into their eyes, but he almost never uses his ability, which suggests he’s either resentful of having such a ‘gift,’ or he’s got some moral qualms with using it. In any case, he’s a really cool and easygoing guy, and when he gets his fierce face on, he looks pretty darn badass. Next, we’ve got the delightfully cheeky and snarky Kano, voiced by Tachibana Shinnosuke (Sekai-Ichi Hatsukoi, Kuroshitsuji and Nyanpire), whose eye ability is the “Deceiving Eyes” ability, which allows him to manipulate the way other people see him in any given situation. He is such a funny character and seems a little bit like an instigator of trouble, teasing people and making them feel uncomfortable but not in a cruel or malicious way. He’s definitely one of my faves. Finally we’ve got Marry, the white-haired, cotton-candy klutz, voiced very appropriately by Hanazawa Kana, who just knows how to play those sugary sweet little girls so well. She’s got the “Eye Contact” ability, which freezes anyone in place for a few moments if they lock gazes with her. They really are a motley crew of odd individuals but they get along really well and everyone knows that I’m such a fan of group dynamics!
The highlight of this episode, though, is that it coincides with the first episode and we realise that everything that’s happening to all the characters are all occurring within a very short time frame. So when we find out that Momo and Shintaro are actually brother and sister, it happens at the same mall that Shintaro gets held hostage by that group of masked men. Who else do you call in a hostage situation but the Mekakushi Dan, right? I love that we got to see everyone’s powers in action, from Seto’s ability to read the group’s minds in order to communicate with him, to Kano’s ability to make it seem like he’s being held hostage along with Shintaro, to Kido’s invisibility and the awesome duo of Momo and Marry, who work together to distract the baddies and freeze them in place! That entire scene was exceptionally executed, from the insert song to the way each character had their own colour, to the abstract graphics. It was just really cool to watch. Not to mention the big part that this street/urban fashion plays in all of it; seriously, their clothes are pretty awesome and like something out of a futuristic-matrix-like-cyberpunk show. Very awesome.
Finally, I’ve gone long enough without mentioning the gloriously striking storyline going on at the end with the “Monster” who’s cast out of society and feared by all. It has the presumed notion of being an allegory for the entire population of people who don’t fit in because they might have a special eye ability, but dismissing that, it’s just beautiful to look at. The pop-art, animated-stop-motion way it’s drawn is so pretty and the colours and they way they’re all fragmented make it look almost like a stained-glass window. It really is very beautiful and a bit of a contrast in style to the rest of the show as it’s presented in a more fairy-tail kind of way. So yes, there are so many little gems to this series that can be appreciated for a whole lot of reasons and as the plot is starting to pick up and make sense, I think we’re in for an especially unique and exciting ride!