Shiro and Kuroh are surrounded by SCEPTRE 4, led by Lt. Awashima. Kuroh refuses to go quietly, so they draw their swords. Neko uses her illusory powers to transform their surroundings from a soccer pitch to a busy city center, but the illusion is broken by Munakawa. Kuroh holds him back while Shiro and Neko escape, but he’s no match for the Blue King. Neko conjures another elaborate illusion of Shiro awakening as a King, and the three escape to an alley. Shiro insists Neko lift the spell causing his amnesia. When she starts restoring memories from before she met him, Shiro remembers being pushed out of a plane.
As long as they were on the run from this group or that, Shiro and Kuroh could maintain the status quo, and Neko’s powers could facilitate that maintenance, extending it indefinitely. But whatever amnesiac husk of Isana Yashiro we’ve been watching so far has developed a sense of duty to his “friends” Neko and Kuroh, even if Neko regards him as master and Kuroh keeps lording the threat of slaying over him. The trio is up against the wall this week, and Kuroh is put in a situation where he could be seriously hurt or killed because of Shiro, and he wasn’t going to let that happen.
Whatever the hell an “unknown strain” is, they’re crafty sumbitches, and Neko is a particularly powerful one. Her offensive abilities amount to elaborate parlour tricks, but they work long enough to keep Team Shiro a step ahead, which is good because King Munakata means business. We particularly liked the illusion of Shiro admitting he’s lied the whole time and seeing his Sword of Damocles appear. We bought it just like Munakata, until he vanished to the sound of a meow. But Shiro doesn’t want Kuroh or Neko getting into any more danger on his behalf. It’s time he knew who he actually was, and take responsibility if it turns out he’s really evil.
Rating: 8 (Great)
Mikoto Suoh keeps having strange dreams where he reaches his Weissman limit and burns the city to the ground, and both he and Kusanagi reminisce about Totsuka Tatara, from first meeting him eight years ago to forming HOMRA together, right up to his death a week ago. Meanwhile, Shiro loses faith he is who he thought he was, as Kukuri doesn’t recognize him, his home number is out of service, and a stadium is where he thought his house was. Distraught, he asks Kuroh to slay him, but Kuroh stays his sword, not yet certain Shiro is a murderer.
This week, in a series of flashbacks that smoothly flow in between the present day narrative, we finally meet Totsuka Tatara, co-founder of HOMRA, self-proclaimed “king’s vassal” to Suoh, and ultimately the murder victim of someone who may or may not be Shiro. He’s a nice and instantly likable guy and clearly the emotional heart and soul of HOMRA; the glue that holds it together. He’s not a fighter (or a skateboarder) but everyone likes him, and everyone is hit hard by his sudden, inexplicable demise.
Heck, we didn’t even see a whole lot of him and we liked him. He’s just so bubbly and upbeat. The result of this efficiently told story of his rise and fall is that we can now assign a personality to the idea of Totsuka that had been floating around; he’s no longer just some anonymous guy. As for Suoh, if he’s literally a ticking time-bomb, we kinda have to wonder why SCEPTRE doesn’t just fly him to the middle of the desert somewhere, where he won’t “change the topography of Japan.”
Rating: 7 (Very Good)
P.S. Awashima likes her Martinis ginny and swimming in red bean paste. We now have to try that.
Shiro manages to slip away from Kuroh, but he now has a Y10 million bounty on his head thanks to the HOMRA corporation, which is also tracking him. Kuroh traces him to his school, where Yuki helpfully points him out. Meanwhile, Shiro’s cat has transformed into a naked magical woman, who protects him and covers his escape with a series of illusions cast against Kuroh. He chases them through the night, and in the morning, they cannot continue until they’ve all had breakfast.
There are a lot of names and orgs and motivations flying around at the periphery that if all unloaded at once could easily overwhelm, but this second episode wisely keeps them there and narrows its focus to one scenario: the crafty, slippery Shiro being pursued by Kuroh, who wants to kill him to satisfy his master’s honor. The kid’s straight as an arrow, and is disarmed and shamed by the sight of a naked cat-girl. Whoever she is, she seems committed to protecting Shiro, who even in private he claims to not remember the murderous bastard seen in that video footage.
The chase has a manic energy to it, and there’s the amusing notion that Kuroh is so formal, he can’t actually kill Shiro without first saying his whole honorable spiel, which of course gives Shiro and Neko ample time to distract, misdirect, or flee. This leads to the chase going on all night, rendering its participants winded and peckish by morning. But when Kuroh’s lovingly-prepared repast is gone and everyone’s energy has returned, there’s still the matter of him wanting Shiro’s life. What more will Shiro and Neko be able to do – aside from eternal evasion – to dissuade him? And that doesn’t even count the other parties who want him, like HOMRA.
Rating: 8 (Great)