Mako is definitely overthinking things with his obsessive calculations of adolescence. The points system he’s devised (or simply inferred from his experiences) makes sense, but when someone is constantly analyzing rating their experiences, one cannot truly enjoy them. Sure, his cousin is strange, and his aunt is an embarassing tease. But at least two girls in his class are interested in him, and will probably clash for his favor in the future, if how they interact while visiting him in the hospital is any indication.
Ryuushi and Maekawa are both quite strange too, but Mako can enjoy their weirdness because he isn’t related to them. His post-accident convalescence is a good opportunity for the characters to simply chat with one another. But back to that overanlyzing – perhaps it changes experiences, but I shouldn’t say it detracts from them. After all, we here at RABUJOI tend to analyze and rate an episode right after watching it. To our knowledge, our enjoyment of those episodes isn’t compromised by our almost compulsive desire to assign statistics to them and compare them to other works. End digression.
Most importantly, it seems like Erio is going to be okay. Mako certainly ripped the bandage off, but it did more good than harm. It seems like Erio will accept the fact she’s an ordinary earthling, just as Mako wonders whether aliens do exist, and they may have helped speed up the bike so they’d fly rather than fall straight down to more serious injury or worse. Maybe Ryuushi and Maekawa are aliens; they just aren’t going out of their way to announce it like Erio did. Or maybe they’re just eccentric kids. Rating: 3.5
Ah, so Mr. “Ssslice” isn’t the guy who tore up Ganta’s class; he’s “Crow”. Incidentally, Ganta’s alias is “Woodpecker.” Dunno why. Anyway, Crow didn’t slaughter Ganta’s class! He just likes fighting, especially those on equal footing with him…like Ganta. He won’t let anyone or anything get in the way of his battles. And despite being highly sensitive to provocatively dressed women, that “anyone” includes the hot doctor. When you have blades made of your blood like Crow, there are things you can get over.
So “Branches of Sin” isn’t just something Ganta and the class-killer (Wretched Egg) can do; Crow can do. Presumably, there are others. They’re known as “deadmen”. When Ganta realizes Crow isn’t the deadman, Crow assumes the kid is just confused, and that he killed his own friends. But Ganta and Crow are broken up and Ganta is sent to Tamaki. Confused as to why his former public defender runs Wonderland, Tamaki enlightens him: he manipulates the machine of justice to get deadmen into his prison. Ganta was the sole survivor by design, and Tamaki is responsible for his framing and conviction.
He wants deadmen in his prison so he can make them duel one another. And so Crow and Woodpecker will be fighting soon. Crow is so excited about it, he’s training hard despite a cracked sternum. Pecker is, well, less enthusiastic, despite the Clockwork Orange-style picture show. And poor Shiro won’t be consoled until she’s back in Ganta’s presence. We still don’t know her deal, aside from the fact she has no prisoner number. I’m wondering if Captain Makina will be a thorn in Tamaki’s side, or if Ganta will have any choice but to unleash his new powers, master them, and use them to beat Crow. It’s kill or be killed. Ganta got a lot of answers, but I still feel like we need more. Rating: 3.5
Just as the rest of the group more or less comes around to Jintan’s side, searching for the ghost of Menma in the forest, Yukiatsu’s hostility only intensifies. “This isn’t the old days where you played the leader,” he tells Jintan, and he “never acknowledged him anyway.” Whether or not this is true, it’s clear that Jintan’s Menma complex disgusts him, and what Jintan has become disgusts him too. But he also seems to be disgusted with himself. On the surface, he appears to be a very upstanding, good-looking kid who studies hard. But there’s definitely something off about him. Disguising himself as Menma, for one thing, is unorthodox at best.
Before I muse more on that revelation, a word on the other Peace Buster members. Tsuruko is perhaps the most enigmatic member, as she has agreed to go along with the others, but still maintaining cool emotional distance from the proceedings. Anaru, meanwhile, is just as jealous as Menma as she was as a child. She upsets Jintan when she slips and he has to catch her from a potentially fatal fall – the same fall Menma apparently suffered. However he feels about Menma, Jintan cannot bear another loss, especially Anaru. Poppo kind of fades into the background after his initial role of reuniting the group; his loyalty to Jintan is all but absolute.
Back to Yukiatsu: why is he dressing up like Menma and wearing a wig? To deceive Jintan, or everyone? To toy with the guy he called a “whipped dog”? He tells Jintan he thinks he’s getting carried away, but what Yukiatsu is doing here is clearly getting carried away. It’s disrespectful to his former friends, and disrespectful to the memory of Menma. Also, I don’t see how he thought he wouldn’t eventually get caught in the act, so did he want to get caught? Does he want to punish Jintan, or himself? And what of Tsuruko, who’s remained closer to him than anyone else (even if that isn’t that close): she has a lot of knowing looks in this episode, but did she know Yukiatsu was capable of this? Rating: 3.5