Episode 4 of ID:Invaded has finally managed to move me from being interested and finding it visually appealing to actually being fully engage in the story and wanting to invest emotionally in what is happening. It isn’t like this episode is grandly different from the previous ones; more that an accumulation of small details have finally pushed me to realise that this anime might actually end up being pretty great and even if it misses that mark it is going to be consistently entertaining.
One of the first things the episode did, and I really appreciated it, was that they show us clear consequences for Narihisago (Sakaido outside of the well) for his talking another prisoner into suicide last week. We learn later in the episode that this isn’t his first time doing just that which makes you wonder why they still let him talk to the other prisoners at all, but at least there’s some sense of reality as he is in solitary and off-duty. With a need for a replacement, they try the guy who drilled a hole in his head however it turns out surviving in the well long enough to be useful is actually harder than it sounds. When a time-sensitive case drops on them, Narihisago is taken back out of solitary and pushed to help solve the mystery.
It kind of helps that the story this week has been played out in a lot of other stories previously. The idea of a criminal who buries his victims alive and lets them suffocate to death is clearly rich fodder for those who write crime stories and I couldn’t help but remember the Bones episode that had a similar premise. That said, they do manage to give us a twist that’s more than a little bit cruel by the end of this episode that makes it feel like they aren’t just rehashing old plot lines. Still, there’s natural tension in the premise with the clock ticking and few clues to work with.
Also, with Sakaido benched at the beginning of the episode we get more minutes with the supporting cast and they are slowly starting to become more fleshed out as characters. It isn’t that they’ve been poorly written, but more we’ve had so little time with them it has been hard to pay attention to distinguishing characteristics or personality traits, but they are there and over four episodes they are starting to distinguish themselves in a natural manner. Hopefully we get to know them a bit more over the following episodes because I’m still struggling to remember anyone’s name outside of the brilliant detective’s and the corpse he keeps seeing in the well.
All and all, episode 4 of ID:Invaded presents a solid, stand-alone case while building on the characters and the world that has been established in the previous episodes. There’s little to complain about as the brisk pace moves us through the search for clues while maintaining a sense of tension and we’re given a resolution at the end of the immediate mystery but the greater character drama of Sakaido and his working relationship with the rest of the team is left open for further development. There’s even some side character drama developing for the rookie who was the victim of the drill guy. Very nice weekly viewing unless murder makes you squeamish.