“Embraced by the Reaper” (死神二カレ）
This was such a confusing episode for me, but there was one saving grace in the very sadistic, very cruel and very mentally tortured character of Isaku Heito, played very astonishingly by the adorable, baby-faced Murase Ayumu. Apart from him, this episode failed to deliver somewhat, but I’m hoping that it’ll pick up sooner rather than later, much like a lot of shows recently seem to do.
The basic plot for this episode is relatively simple; everyone’s reeling from their first fight against the Admonitions and worrying themselves over the Corpse’s song that they all heard and wondering whether they’re going to die. Pretty standard. We also delve a little deeper into the characters’ personalities, namely Emiru and Maamu, who, as expected from their personalities, have to go through things claws out before there’s going to be chance of any form of friendship between them. Emiru’s the kind of character you love to hate because, well, she’s selfish, irritating and, let’s be honest, fake. BUT, for me, that’s kind of what makes her an interesting character; there’s so much cruelty about her and she’s very obviously unkind and mean, but there’s also a twisted honesty about her that I can appreciate. She’s also brave – braver than Maamu, who you’d think would be a little more excited about sneaking into an abandoned hospital to look for a Shinigami (Reaper), but on this particular mission Emiru has all the guts and ease, which was kind of surprising. Their trek was instigated by the death of their horrendous teacher, after which Emiru blackmails Maamu into going with her to seek out the Shinigami after reading Maamu’s creepy diary entry premeditating the death of their instructor and then Emiru herself. Of course, who beats them to the abandoned hospital but Heito, who then proceeds to threaten to kill the girls if they don’t lead him to the Shinigami.
Up until then I’d no clue what the Shinigami was supposed to be; I thought it was meant to be some sort of deadly Admonition, but it turns out to be an actual mecha that seems to have a mind of its own and actually gets into the minds of anyone piloting it, which is of course how Heito ends up passed out while the Shinigami goes bonkers. Of course, of course, it’s Akashi to the rescue as he and Raika manage to stun the mecha just long enough for Akashi to get an unconscious Heito out, only to end up in the pilot’s seat himself. It turns out, though, that he’s partially immune to being taken over by the Shinigami and is able to pilot it despite being in a whole lot of pain. Well done, kid. Cue Raika’s jealousy-not-jealousy at not being able to pilot such a powerful mecha despite having been in the Admonition-fighting scene far longer than the rest of them. It’s completely understandable, a little bit annoying, but also expected, I guess. The star of the show for me, though, despite being knocked out for the vast majority of it, was, of course, Heito. I mean, can you believe that his voice actor is the same Murase Ayumu who voices Hinata, i.e. Chihuahua-san from Haikyuu?? What a change – it was incredible. The magnitude of Heito’s craziness can be described within the first two minutes when he attacks one of the guards of the mental institute he’s in and digs his eyeballs out with his own hands. Gross, yes, but also kind of awesome in a violently voyeuristic way. He’s clearly got some issues, though, if the flashback he had while inside the Shinigami was any indication. As a child, when the Lightless Realm first came to be, he was devoured by an Admonition. Now I’m not sure whether this actually happened, or whether this was some twisted scene the Shinigami forced him to see, but if it was real, then it’s not wonder he went a tad bit crazy.
We’re only a few episodes in but I’ve got to say that this show is, as Akatsuki-chan said, dark both literally and figuratively. The graphics aren’t stellar by any count, but I don’t mind them in the least. Yet again, though, the colours after often too dark, especially at night, that it makes being able to gauge anything really difficult – not to mention the colour adjusting I need to do when getting my screencaps. It is a 24-episode long series, so as far as plot I guess we’ve barely scratched the surface but, well, it’s all been kind of meh so far. I’ll be waiting for things to really kick off once we’ve got our whole group of Admonition-fighting kids. Until then…I’m still rating it a 7/10.