Mekakucity Actors

November 23, 2014

Sometimes being minimal has its good points. You don’t expose too much but yet it keeps you intrigue of what is happening or going to happen. That is why in the case of Mekakucity Actors, reading the main synopsis may not reveal much and thus the reason it got my attention and interest to go watch it. All that it is being said is that strange incidents occur between August 14th and 15th that brings a group of boys and girls together. Each of them has a secret power involving their eyes as they try to unravel the mystery and truth surrounding the strange incidents. Doesn’t that sound intriguing enough to take a peek? Well, I hope I’ll be able to stomach the truth because you know, they say some truths are better not known.

Episode 1
Shintaro Kisaragi must be real tired after hearing his computer avatar, Ene blab and complain about whatever. It’s like a never ending nag. He remembers downloading it from an unknown email and ever since she started living in his PC. She throws a tantrum to buy some stuff she wants but he doesn’t need. She continues to tease his otaku NEET status and this causes him to accidentally spill Coke on his keyboard. As the computer is the very essence of his life, he needs to find a replacement but all online stores are closed. Looks like he has to head out to the real store to buy one. Along the way, a grenade catches Ene’s eye and she wants him to buy it. No way! Accidentally he bumps into a hooded girl, Tsubomi Kido but she doesn’t mind. However she gives him a piercing stare. Suddenly the mall is being hijacked by terrorists in joker masks as they also seize the security and computer control. All the unfortunate shoppers become their hostage as the boss makes his demands for a ransom of billion yen to be transferred into his account in 30 minutes or else… Shintaro fears what will happen if the mall owner fails to pay. I mean, a billion yen is hell lot of money. Then there is this carefree guy, Shuuya Kano next to Shintaro who has time to joke around. But Shintaro assures if they can distract the guards and free his finger cuffs, the odds they can escape is 100%. Sounds good? He and his friend, Kousuke Seto find him interesting. Soon the boss beats up one of his henchman thinking he hit his head. Since Kano is laughing, Shintaro blows his top at him so the boss gets rough with him. He mocks Shintaro a shut-in so Shintaro tells this bastard off he should shut himself in forever. Then all the shelves and electronics start to tumble and fall. This is Shintaro’s big chance as he plugs his computer into some terminal to let Ene take control of everything and save the day.

Episode 2
Super idol Momo Kisaragi is running late. I suppose with the crowd in her way, she misses the bus. If that is not bad enough, she did very badly on her recent test. Scoring a mere 2 marks?! Even her teacher Kenjirou Tateyama doesn’t even know how this happened. Uh huh. She put manga-like answers in her test! Even worse, she tried eating her notes because she believed it was the fastest way to help memorize! He reminds her at this rate she will have to repeat another year and since she fears that, she will study for real. This means studying this stack of papers during the holidays… After Momo gets a call from her manager of the change in her schedule, she remembers her past. She thinks it was her fault that daddy isn’t coming back because she almost drowned. When she won first prize in some drawing contest, a talent scout came looking for her but mommy won’t have her daughter into this idol business as she is still young. There are others jealous about her achievements because she always raked in top awards, the rest feels sidelined and their efforts go unrewarded. They hate her for always being in the centre of attention. When her mother gets hospitalized, that’s when Momo decided to make the call to the idol agency. Back in real time, she catches glimpse of a store selling items on promotional offer. She bumps into a kid, Hibiya Amamiya who has the same intention. Because he keeps calling her a granny, she punches his gut! This attracts the attention of others. Recognizing she is the idol, they start chasing her and she drags the kid along. I don’t know how far she ran but eventually they got separated and Momo ends up in some strange place. She laments she can’t win. All she wanted was to be normal and relax but it turned into a mad house. Kido spots her and reports back that the target is spotted.

Episode 3
Kido confronts Momo and wants her to come with her since she is like them. She scares her a little by turning invisible. Momo faints and wakes up in the base of Mekakushi Dan (Blindfold Gang). The gang includes Kido the commander, Kano, Seto and Marry Kozakura. They explain each of them have special powers within their eyes like Kido who can turn invisible. They believe Momo also has because of her idol posters, they know she doesn’t wear contact lens to make them red. She admits she had them when she was young but couldn’t remember how or why. They want to help her control it so she won’t mess up like today. Marry’s clumsiness causes her to spill the drinks. Momo’s handphone is busted. Because Kano laughs his ass off over her clumsiness, Marry freezes him. That is her power. So here they are at the mall and Momo feels embarrassed to see spot big brother, Shintaro. Kano again laughs like mad as they note the resemblance. Thanks to Kido’s invisibility, Momo doesn’t attract attention. Suddenly the mall is hijacked and since Momo is worried about her brother, Seto and Kano will go see him and want the girls to stay put. Kido gives Seto permission to use his power. Kano sends a photo back that they and Shintaro are fine. Kano’s power is to deceive the eyes and allows him to alter how he is perceived by others. He made it look like they were being tied up by the terrorists. Kido explains Seto’s power to read people’s minds. He hates it and rarely uses it. The girls need to do something to help too. When Kano replies back about Shintaro’s 100% distraction success, Marry gets clumsy with a ‘weapon’. Kido grabs it in time but it hits the terrorist boss’ head (she is invisible). Momo gets an idea to create a distraction. By that time when the boss gets rough on Shintaro, Momo runs around the aisle and once the time is right, they shove the shelves and drop the electronics. Marry is natural with her clumsiness… That was how the day is saved. Marry freezes the terrorists. Momo sees her brother unconscious.

Episode 4
Hibiya thinks he has seen Momo somewhere before… He thinks she is a wanted fugitive trying to kidnap him! Look at the posters behind, will ‘ya? Hibiya thinks this dinosaur keychain will please his cousin whom he has a crush on, Hiyori Asahina. However she is a pure b*tch. She doesn’t care the least bit about him and runs her mouth. I wonder how he can take all of that. Hiyori instead prefers the sleepy blur head Konoha. Yeah. He doesn’t even remember her despite being introduced many times. Sad? Anyhow Hiyori still loves his cool mysterious dreamy side. What does she see in him? Now that he is awake, she forces Hibiya to go shopping for dinner. During dinner, Hibiya is surprised to see Momo on TV and for the first time realizes she is an idol. Because Hiyori is a big fan, she wonders if he got her autograph. Sorry, didn’t. Time for another round of scolding that he is useless, etc. Hibiya says it can’t be helped since it’s his first time in the big city. She is going to tell his dad he came here with her but he pleads not to. He lied to come here. Seems when Hiyori called him to go to the city to be her porter or something, Hibiya won’t let this chance slip but his father wouldn’t allow it. Each time he begged, he is thrown out of the house. The wild dogs look hungry… So he lied about some prominent Indian guy is coming and he could learn some Indian culture. Hibiya needs to tell Hiyori his feelings. He meets her at the park but she follows a black cat. However she gets run over by a truck. A dream? Next time, he takes her hand and run but she breaks free and runs away. The concrete beams fall on her as that cat is looking again… Uhm… Another dream? He is going to do it right this time. He takes her hand tight but when he gets on top the pedestrian bridge, there is that cat. She slips and falls off. This is getting annoying. Another chance? So once again at the park. He lets her go after the cat but before the truck can run over her, he pulls her back and gets hit instead. He gives that I-have-won-and-screw-you look to that cat.

Episode 5
Shintaro is in this dream with Ayano. She reminds him he can only see her and will wait till he remembers. He wakes up in a bedroom thinking he has been kidnapped by the terrorists. But the room feels so girly. Ene knows everything and is willing to tell him provided if he strips down to his underwear and begs. Marry just happen to come in and sees this unholy position… Tied up and explained the real situation, not only he is painted as a pervert and an otaku with no sex appeal, he realized he has become part of their gang because Ene agreed to join them. I don’t understand Ene and Kano’s challenge with each other. Ene throws Shintaro’s secret leg fetish collection photos while Kano exposes Marry’s embarrassing sunfish poems… As Shintaro leaves himself, he sees Konoha bugging everyone as he is looking for Hibiya and Hiyori. He looks like a retard asking questions. He doesn’t even know what the police is… The rest of Mekakushi Dan members are taking a walk. Kido is worried that Shintaro went out by himself and there is a danger he might expose their group. They explain their relationship with Seto and Kano growing up in the same orphanage and Seto recently found Marry and brought her into the group (the reason she sticks close to him). Kido might be the leader now but she was not the one who found it. The original founding leader died 2 years ago via suicide. She decides to bring them to her grave and ‘introduce’ the new members. Shintaro is just annoyed with Konoha. Really a retard… Giving vague descriptions of the kids do not help. Oh look. There they are right before their eyes. Just that they’re being kidnapped!!! Since that is a bad thing, Konoha springs into action and lifts up the truck before breaking open the door! Those kidnappers better run for their life. Suddenly a truck is going to smash into them from behind but it gets engulf in some void. When Kido and co reach the graveyard, Ene is shocked to see the founding leader is Ayano.

Episode 6
Before we knew Ene as Shintaro’s annoying email buddy, she was a moody high school girl named Takane Enomoto. I’m not sure what club is this but it seems Haruka Kokonose (before we know him as Konoha) is the only other classmate in Tateyama’s class. She isn’t thrilled that they need to do something for the cultural festival but until dreamy and positive Haruka suggested a shooting gallery. Takane beats a veteran pro in this Dead Bullet game and they think she is that awesome person although she tries to hide that fact. Kido and Kano come in to try. Although Kido looks meek, she is really good and despite the bugs suddenly showing up in the game, Takane wins by the skin of her teeth. Of course Kano knew Kido was cheating and wants her to apologize but she runs away. Word spreads that Takane is indeed that Dead Bullet genius and scores of players come to just play with her. She cowers in fear inside the room and explains several stuff like how Ene is her online nickname. Haruka is pretty impressed with it and this gives Takane the motivation to play and beat all those guys flat! 20th consecutive win! Till she met her match with Shintaro. He derides her sloppy style and weak in reading the situations. This riles her up and she makes a bet with him. However Takane lost and Shintaro scores a perfect game. Unbelievable. Making deals for winning isn’t his thing so he doesn’t want to go through what was betted. Later Ayano goes to apologize to Takane for Shintaro’s behaviour. Takane learns she is Tateyama’s daughter and will be enrolling in this school next year along with Shintaro. They become friends. Although Takane’s booth somewhat won first place for the cultural festival, the duo failed their exams and have to sit through summer vacation with supplementary classes.

Episode 7
On the day Haruka collapsed and is admitted into ICU, Takane couldn’t stop blaming herself and felt he would hate her. Ayano subsequently learns of this and lectures her to go be by his side because it feels like she is ignoring him. She encourages her to confess her true feelings and in worst case if she is rejected, she can offer her shoulder to cry on. So after much pondering and Takane wants to go see him, she suddenly collapses. Before her body disappears and became what we see her today, she last saw Tateyama before her. It would have been better if she said I love you to that person in front of his face. This is what Ene pretty much remembers and her memories were a little fuzzy and didn’t think about Ayano for a while. Kido realizes she is Takane and similarly, Ene realizes she is that girl who played Dead Bullet with her. What a small world. The gang considers Ayano their big sister. Kano deduces that they are all the same because of the big clue of what Ene said about collapsing and having a new body. That happened to them too. Suddenly Seto calls them to say that Shintaro and his ‘friends’ are in trouble. If it was a big shock to Momo that Ene was Shintaro’s senior, what more this otaku has got ‘friends’. So they leave to go see what is happening as Kano cleans up the grave. He ‘updates’ Ayano of the development but still laments her death. He realizes Ene is eavesdropping. Ene explains Shintaro was close to Ayano and she blames herself for not being able to save her. He shut himself in after Ayano’s death 2 years ago and he regrets it so much it gives him nightmares. She is worried he will fall to pieces if he is left alone. He doesn’t know she is Takane and if he does find out, she fears it might dig up other unpleasant memories. This is what she can do for him and doesn’t want to lose anybody anymore. Kano hints Ayano wasn’t the only person she lost that day. That other person who meant more than anybody else to her also died. It seems Ene had started to forget about Haruka, the same she is trying to do to make Shintaro forget about Ayano. Flashback to Haruka on that day when he collapsed. No thanks to the weak body he was born in. As Tateyama watches him, Haruka laments he hates this body of his because he wants to continue having fun with everyone. He is shown a strong body (Konoha) however he argues he just wants to be normal. In that case he will become a living husk that has lost all his memories. Haruka didn’t want it either but there is no turning back now. He disappears. He wants to see Takane.

Episode 8
Meeting Shintaro at the hospital, he is frantic trying to explain what happened especially with that void suddenly popping up and swallowing things before his eyes. Hibiya rushes out from his room to go save Hiyori. Shintaro wants to know about Konoha’s disappearance and Hibiya instantly knew he wasn’t dreaming. However he suddenly collapses and Kido understands what Shintaro saw. They bring Hibiya back to their base to rest. Kido explains his eyes were red and it’s a sign his ability is starting to manifest. Till they know what it is, they can’t let him walk free. Kido tells the Kisaragi siblings that she along with Kano and Seto come from the same orphanage and were very close. Ayano’s father took them in and it was mostly to get rid of them troublemakers. They also discuss that something must be happening to bind them all like this. Everyone had a little run in when they were young and almost died. Kano got attacked by a robber, Seto nearly drowned with his dog and Kido who lives with her sister and their house caught fire. Momo remembers she nearly drowned at the beach but her father saved her. Oddly, they resurrect with strange powers. However the void seems to swallow up other people too and unlike them they don’t return like Momo’s dad. They aren’t sure what it is but they haven’t given up hope yet and need to get all the information and partners they can get. That’s why Kido approached Momo. Kido tells Shintaro that Ene is Takane and he is pretty shocked to know the truth. They don’t want to tell all this to Hibiya because it might be confusing. However he heard everything and is adamant he can’t leave Hiyori in that crazy place. As the girls go after him, Shintaro stays back to watch the house. He goes to Marry’s room and sees her sleeping. He sees a group photo with Ayano in it and his eyes turn red…

Episode 9
Tateyama just adopted Kido, Kano and Seto and with Ayano they became well acquainted. It was a happy time where they felt they were like a real family. But tragedy struck when their parents got caught in a landslide and their mom went missing. Years later, Ayano accidentally entered her dad’s forbidden lab and saw a journal recorded by her mom. It details some fairytale about a monster that ends in tragedy as she is forced to leave her family and vanished into an isolated world. Her children gained abilities when they nearly died and felt like a bad dream as something swallowed them up. She needed to continue her research on this new world the monster created and why it swallows children and gives them power. She has also been trying to locate missing people but there is not enough information to locate them and the fear that the children’s bodies might undergo some change in the future. Also at that time, Ayano seems to have taken a liking for Shintaro. One stormy night she notices her father is acting strange so she consults the journal. It is believe the children’s power source come from the countless snakes on a serpent’s head. This serpent is also the one who suggested the monster to create a new world. Since Kano is around, Ayano felt the need to tell this secret and also help her out. While she goes through her dad’s lab, Kano had to impersonate as Ayano and attend her class! Seems Tateyama has an ability that only manifests itself during night. You can call it his split personality. He is possessed by that serpent and it has been using his body to raise money from various sources to gather all the snakes here. It is believed it is trying to create a new Medusa in this world by summoning snakes over to this side. That is why people like Haruka and Takane became sacrifices. Because the snakes cannot come here without physical bodies, that’s why they had empty husks that were devoid of life swallowed into the other world. The snakes that have their bodies will begin gathering around their queen. One of them is the vessel for the queen. Guess? Ene is surprised to see her body in a lab tube.

Episode 10
Azami and her daughter, Shion are waiting for husband and father, Tsukihiko to return. Little do they know that a group of people have gathered outside their house to kill the monster as they believe she has brainwashed Tsukihiko to attack the village eventually. They ambush the place and shoot her. As they are about to kill Shion, Azami revives and uses all her various Eye powers on them from creating fear to killing them and reading their minds where Tsukihiko is held. Then she realizes her family will only be hurt if she is around and decides to disappear so that they could be happy. She laments her selfish dream and hopes Shion won’t use those powers. Seasons passed and Shion has a daughter named Marry. They too are living a happy life till one day Marry is being tormented by a couple of guys. Shion uses her power to turn one of them into stone but it causes her to cough out blood. I think she got clobbered. In the other world, the snake mocks Azami that she dragged her children into this mess and she is the source of their tragedy. Try as she might, she cannot escape her binds. The snake says something about the order she gave to this world to swallow up those who die on August 15th, cannot be changed. When young Seto was lost in the forest, his mind reading starts to act up. He heard voices pleading for help as she is always alone. This leads him to a house where Marry lives alone. She fears him at first because looking into her eyes will turn him into stone. However it didn’t and he approaches her to give her some earphone. They became acquainted since. Back in present time, Marry wakes up but Shintaro isn’t around. She spots Konoha sleeping outside and brings him in. Seems he cannot remember things. The only thing he remembers is that he wants to make friends. Marry decides to introduce him to her friends after she sees a commotion on TV that a crowd is building up and chanting for Momo. At midnight.

Episode 11
Shintaro hears a voice who tells him the dreams he has seen are actually memories. Long ago, he and the queen made a vow to each other that this tragedy will never repeat again. Now that he knows the story, what is he going to do for the future? He takes a scissors and stabs through his throat! Momo and Kido finally catch Hibiya but they are captured by the same people who tried to kidnap Hibiya and Hiyori earlier. Kano remembers what happened. Ayano told him the snake is possessing dad and keeping him alive to grant his wish to see mom again. It is possible if the monster is created here and it is also believed anybody could be reunited with anyone sucked into the other world then. But to create that monster, they need to gather all the snakes that are acting as surrogate lives. In short, those kids must die. Remember, their power = snake. All snakes must fuse into one. Kano disagreed with this but Ayano thought he could talk her way through the snake. She tries to convince him that the kids don’t want to die and be together but the snake views humans and fools and all that matters is the human wish. Ayano has a theory. Since he needs all the snakes, what happens if she has a power and kills herself? What if she doesn’t return from the other world? That would foil his plan immediately. There would be no further need to kill all the other kids. Ayano gets swallowed much to Kano’s dismay. But it seems the snake doesn’t seem fazed. Kano cannot raise his hand against him or kill him because he keeps reminding that he is the one keeping his dad alive. But the snake isn’t going to abandon his plan despite Ayano sacrificing herself. All he needs to do now is restart everything and start from scratch. Shortly after Ayano’s death, Kido becomes sad but changes the way she talks to be strong. Kano suggests forming a group. Back in present time, Seto comes by the grave to pick up Kano. But Kano has become tired of everything. So sick of everything. So pissed of everything. Seto allows him to cry on his shoulder and knows he has been shouldering the burden by himself ever since. Hibiya, Momo and Kido are put in some cell. Since Hibiya is very desperate to save Hiyori (but short of calling her his girlfriend), Momo has an idea to send the message out to others that they are here. She is going to sing while Kido will hold back her power as much as possible. Her voice permeates throughout the city and this attracts everyone to their place. They are soon reunited with Konoha, Marry, Kano, Seto and Takane. They welcome Hibiya to the group.

Episode 12
The octet are making their way through the lab. They discuss the snake’s plan to remove their snakes which is in the form of their special powers. If that happens, they will die. Because Marry is the queen, the reason why the rest gathers around her. They encounter several guards who try to stop them. Nothing a little use of their super powers would fix things. The snake is expecting their arrival because as long as he can keep granting wishes, he will continue to exist in this world. Thanks to the complexity of the maze, they get lost. Kano suggests Hibiya to use his power of clairvoyance to see things far away (he knows about it since it was stated in their mom’s notebook). He manages to activate his power but how will they get to the room beneath them? Obviously the fastest way as Konoha does is break a big hole! Meanwhile Shintaro and Ayano see Haruka lying in his bed and are here to pick him up. The octet faces off with the snake who is in total possession of Tateyama’s body. Since there is time, he tells them the monster story. The monster who lived alone in the forest met a young boy who brought her away. She made many friends and for the first time knew what happiness was. One day they were all killed so the monster out of desperation prayed and wished to live those days again. In short, Marry is the one who is creating and wishing this world. If not for this wish of hers to see them, this tragedy wouldn’t be happening. Each of the tragedy occurred so she could see her friends again. This in return allows the snake to exist again and again. Despite this, Marry cannot let go of her wish. So what does she do? Wish again. Thus the never ending loop.

The snake then shoots Konoha’s body and takes over it since it is the strongest. He starts picking them off one by one and this causes Marry to activate her wish. But her friends assure her that they’ll be together forever and don’t have to say goodbye. Yeah, don’t listen to that jerk. The snake is surprised when Ayano and Shintaro enter the scene. He never expected this. Ayano mentions her power is the project what she feels into others. With Shintaro remembering everything now, Ayano gives Marry every last of her feelings. The snake tries to stop everything but it is too late. Now Marry has remembered everything and the wish the snake had granted for so long ends today. Tateyama is before the snake and thanks him for everything. His wish of being with his wife is already granted. So they’re going to the heavens together? Marry believes the future will no longer be some fantasy. It will be their reality. The snake desperately wants her to make a wish. Haruka has one. He wants to keep his word. Let’s say it wasn’t the kind of wish he was hoping for. With that, he disappears into the abyss. Shion appears before Marry and assures her everything is alright. Noting that she has made lots of friends, she asks if she is happy now. See that big smile on her face? That’s your answer. In the aftermath, Shintaro meets Ayano in the hot summer as they meet up with the rest of Mekakushi Dan. Marry narrates if she went back to that time, it is possible a future like that could have happened. Had she not met him, the world might be a dull place. She is sure Shintaro will still remember all of them tomorrow.

Slithery Deception…
Despite the slow and confusing pace of the series, once you are able to put the pieces of the puzzle together and see the bigger picture, everything starts to (almost) make sense. Everything seems to be happening and taking place in just a day as we are mostly thrown flashbacks and the past of the characters that led up to this day. I would say that the execution of the plot and revelation are nicely done (but not necessarily perfect) although as I have said it may be a little confusing at first. I may not understand the deeper aspects to everything but eventually even if dumb guys like me pay a little attention, I’ll ultimately figure out what is happening in general (if I don’t really b*tch about going into details, that is). It could have been worse if they executed it like that looping arc in that Haruhi series. Because from what I understand, they’ve been looping and resetting for who knows how many times. Until Shintaro remembers everything and they break the pattern. Something like that. I think.

Although I have to admit that I am still trying to figure out and put together the revelation that is revealed in the final episode. I’m going to take my time in digesting that. I hope I can understand. Without resorting to make some sort of wish that ends in tragedy… As usual, there are a few things that are left unanswered. The biggest one of them is what happened to Hiyori? Did she really die for good? I thought they were going to bring her back like the others who were swallowed? But Ayano came back, didn’t she? (As I found out later, Hiyori did die and this brought a lot of depression to Hibiya). And how did Takane exactly get her body back? Therefore reflecting back on how the series ended, sometimes I feel the ending is a little bit rushed.

I have mixed feelings for the character development part. There are 9 main characters (10 if you include Ayano who is the former member of Mekakushi Dan) and with only a dozen episodes, there isn’t any major development for them and sometimes it feels like how their destinies intertwine and their pasts are just convenience for the events that happened. We have a few episodes that give them some prominence but that is just about it. Take for instance, Momo. After her prominent second episode, she seems to have slipped into the shadows of Mekakushi Dan as though she is just some side character till the penultimate episode whereby she gets to use her power to attract everyone. Feels as though it is to remind us that she is still around and useful. Hibiya and Konoha feel like late bloomers since they only come into the scene and make their overall impact later in the series.

Same case with Marry. She’s supposed to be some big revelation, right? Instead she spends most of her time as a shy character and probably the group’s cutie mascot. So when her powers start awakening in the end, it ended so fast that it hardly made any impact at all. So much so I thought that her character’s story has been relegated to that play as an epilogue right after the ending credits in most episodes which depict the ‘full’ story of the monster right as an epilogue. As more episodes pass by, you’ll definitely put the pieces of the puzzle of this monster fairytale together. From how it all began due to her loneliness and time in darkness, her journey to the human world, her interaction with humans but only learnt the negative emotions of pain, fear and despair, till she met someone and they fell in love with each other and started a family, and the tragedy that starts pulling them apart when she created a new world thinking they could live happily ever after.

Instead of Marry being the heroine or turning point as I thought-cum-expected she would have been, we have an otaku NEET for who knows where the hell he has been and a girl who is long thought to be dead, to show up and save the day. Even the last minute revelation of their powers still feels confusing. Still trying to make sense out of that. The rest of the other characters stay mostly the same as they are (not counting their flashback before they died and got their special powers) like Konoha who feels like a robot thanks to his emotionless expressions, Kano the carefree one, Kido the serious leader, Seto’s kind-heartedness (which in a way makes him pretty boring since he doesn’t like using his power) and Ene’s cheeky personality as opposed to her grumpy one when she was human. Therefore trying to spread out the focus of each character may have done more harm than good in this case making it hard for them to be memorable individually.

I feel the supernatural powers they possess are somewhat lacking. I’m not sure if this is a good thing or not. Because it would be bad if they keep spamming the use of their individual eye powers and it would turn this series into some sort of super power show instead of trying to focus on the story, drama and the characters. However the scarce use of super powers means it doesn’t feel that they are connected to the series. Besides, you don’t really see the effects of the super powers like Kano’s visual deception, Seto’s mind reading or even Kido’s invisibility. Some only were used once like Hibiya and Shintaro (in which I realized much later that his ability is to remember everything he sees and that includes the different routes undertaken in the past – so how did he forget in the first place? Perhaps every reset or loop makes him lose his memories?).

The first thing that struck me was the very unique animation, art and drawing style. Instantly it brings to mind the SHAFT studio. The creative and unique angles and visuals definitely add to the intriguing watch. So much so I thought I was actually watching another Monogatari Series episode! Yup. There is that SHAFT trademark head tilt and face zooming in. All there. Sometimes the characters may look awkward and the animation a little off and even reusing some of them. So if you can’t really take all this ‘inconsistency’, you’ll find lots of faults in this department and be annoyed rather than impressed. Also, the colouring and hues may seem jarring and ‘inconsistent’ but this is all part and parcel of the unique style. It may give a feeling as though the producers didn’t feel like completing the colouring for this scene or simply put in colours they feel like according to their mood. So if you are the kind of person who prefers to watch consistent colours in every scene or character, you’d be pulling out your hairs till you are bald with this one. In addition, you not only get one end card illustration but two of them at the end of each episode. All are illustrated by different people. Mostly are good (but of course) while some have that comical effect and a handful feels a little abstract. Come to think of it, doesn’t Marry look a bit like Alice In Wonderland?

As I later found out, this anime was based on a Vocaloid song series called Kagerou Daze created by Jin. No wonder for every opening, ending and insert theme song has this guy featuring another singer singing it. Songs play an important in this show. Furthermore, I noticed that every insert song sung is like as though they are singing what is happening, the story so far, etc. What I mean is that instead of putting it in dialogue, they turn it into a song. That’s like partially making it a musical, right? So it was quite refreshing in a way to hear the story in the form of a song. Some of them sound really good especially episode 9’s opener, Ayano No Koufuku Riron featuring Aki Okui. The main opening theme is Daze featuring Maria from Garnidelia. Headphone Actor is the special opening for episode 6 featuring Lisa. The slow paced Days featuring Lia serves as the main ending theme. The other special ending themes are Yuukei Yesterday featuring Lisa (episode 6), Lost Time Memory featuring Kouta Matsuyama from Byee The Round (episode 8) and rock based Summertime Record featuring Takuro Sugawara (episode 12).

Voice acting is pretty good with Kana Asumi in her very identifiable lively trademark voice as Ene and Takane. Kana Hanazawa may be voicing Marry, another one of those retard character roles but she makes this one look cute. Heck, I think all her retard character roles sound cute. Other casts include Yuko Kaida as Kido (Ryoumou in Ikkitousen), Takuma Terashima as Shintaro (Stone River in Tantei Opera Milky Holmes), Shinnosuke Tachibana as Kano (Taito in Itsuka Tenma No Kurousagi), Souichirou Hoshi as Seto (Son Goku in Saiyuki series), Nanami Kashiyama as Momo (Utae in R-15), Misuzu Togashi as Hibiya (Origami in Date A Live), Mamoru Miyano as Konoha (Light in Death Note), Mai Nakahara as Ayano (Juvia in Fairy Tail), Keiji Fujiwara as Tateyama (Sven in Black Cat), Kotori Koiwai as Hiyori (Iwai in Dansai Bunri No Crime Edge), Satomi Arai as Azami (Shirai in To Aru Kagaku No Railgun), Akemi Okumura as Shion (Nami in One Piece) and Takehito Koyasu as Tsukihiko (Takasugi in Gintama).

Overall, this series just like any other animes, isn’t perfect and has its own flaws. Despite some of the setbacks and a handful of mixed reviews I read online (briefly browsing through Google, of course), this series is still interesting on its own. Those not familiar with SHAFT’s style of anime or into this kind of stories might find it a little difficult to digest and may take some time ‘deciphering’ what is going on. Not to say that I could really understand everything. But that’s the thing. The mystery was interesting enough for me to look forward to the next episode and what happens next. So I suppose that counts a lot, right? So give this series a chance and sit through a dozen episodes (it is a hell lot better than 3 digit animes that are still ongoing. Looking at yous, pirate and ninja…) instead giving up after the first or second. But I’m not going to rewatch it again and again like as though I’m going through some eternal loop only to break out once I understand everything. I think I’ll then lose my eye power for staring at the monitor for so long.