Level E 4

After the introductory arc, Level E takes a brief detour, apparently delving into the lives of four high school dudes who witness a girl being eaten alive by a classmate. After being referred to an “eccentric” researcher by a drug-adled acquaintance, and after said researcher uses their fear of death to handsomely extort 1 million yen each from them, they learn the truth: their bogeyman is an alien; one of only three of his kind on earth, and back home, they eat the female to reproduce. Hence he wouldn’t attack males. It’s a bodily function, like hunger or thirst.

That’s wacky enough, but it’s played straight all the way through, and with a rougher, more hand-drawn animation style than we’re used to. Of course, that leads to the ultimate conceit of this episode (spoilers ahead!): it’s just a pitch by Prince for an anime intended to facilitate the revealing of aliens on earth to the human race. Oh, and the whole operation to organize this pitch takes place in Tsutsui’s flat, much to his chagrin!

This was yet another great story within a story, leading the audience on with a fairly compelling sci-fi mystery, then pulling the curtains to reveal that it was all going on in Prince’s imagination. The producer he meets with warns the premise is too dark. Looking at the lineup of shows this season, a dark premise requires lots of boobs (re Freezing)… fortunately Level E dives into dark places but always comes up for air, and is always good for significant laughs. Rating: 3.5