In/Spectre Episode 2 Review

We’re back with the second episode of In/Spectre and I must say I was really enjoying it. Right up until we got a ‘to be continued’ shot and then the credits rolled right when things were getting really juicy. It is such a cheap plot particularly when it is clear that this story will be wrapped within a few minutes of the next episode and honestly, this anime didn’t need to deploy cheap tactics to make me keep watching. I was definitely going to watch the next episode. How did you find episode 2, Irina?

First I gotta say My Hero Academia sort of knocked me out yesterday so I decided to wait until the next day to watch In/Spectre on a fresh mind. I gotta say, I don’t really mind cliffhangers, I know I’m one of the few. To me, it’s a technique that’s really unique to serialized fiction and when used right can not only build up excitement for the next instalment but make the audience rethink the episode and consider it in a different light. As long as it’s not used at the end of a season with no next one announced, I’m all for cliffhangers and I am the one fan who didn’t mind it here. I saw Twitter, I know I’m alone on this…

This episode leans very heavily on its dialogue right from the start. Kotoko meets Kuro at the hospital and they discuss a few things (like the fact that he ate the flesh of a mermaid and one yet to be revealed yokai) before Kotoko reveals her plans for the evening and invites Kuro to accompany her. He declines – he has plans to eat soup for dinner and he isn’t giving that up for a trip up the mountain to talk to a giant snake – and then we see Kotoko greeting the serpent and the two engage in a ‘friendly’ chat about the motive of the woman who dumped a corpse into the swamp. It’s very odd how this anime manages to sound so laid back and relaxed while dropping some fairly heavy subject matter and yet I think that’s part of its charm. Still, those who do not like excessive dialogue are going to find this episode a bit more challenging to get through. How’d you find it?

Fun! To me, there’s enough chemistry and interplay between Kotoko and Kuro to make these conversational expositions a lot more entertaining than you would expect. In short I like these two together and I’m happy to watch them prattle on. Considering general anime narrative structures, I think most fans are pretty o.k. with heavy dialogue in anime. It’s fairly common. At least I hope so since so many of my favourite anime have quite a bit of talking in them.

One thing I really loved is how all the scenes are so deliberately dull but the yokai, like the snake guardian, are so vivid. It kind of reminded me of the general vibe in Natsume or even The Morose Mononokean where the yokai are almost always more colourful and vibrant than things in the human world. Admittedly, this anime isn’t as visually exciting as either of those and yet it feels like there’s a lot of attention to some of the smaller details.

The yokai seem to shine. I mean the Snake guardian was positively radiant but even the lesser yokai look like they’re glowing just a little.

This episode was a lot closer to what I thought the series was going to be (i.e. a crime procedural with a supernatural twist) and as such the drab lighting fits with the genre.

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The mystery of the woman dumping the body is kind of interesting and I do want to know what her motive ultimately was – but I do think it was really cheap of the episode to cut off the end of the story where it did. This definitely could have resolved this week and not felt rushed. It also sets a poor precedent for future episodes ending on a cliff-hanger just to add artificial tension and honestly with weekly viewing that gets old, fast.

I made my feelings known. It probably could have been resolved but I don’t necessarily think it needed to be resolved. And yes I realize most people disagree.

Overall though, this was a really pleasant episode to watch. I really do like Kotoko as a character and her interactions with Kuro have been interesting so far. They’ve made me want to know more about the specifics of the yokai in this story and I really want to know more about Kuro’s story and how he came to eat a mermaid and whatever else he ate. All and all, In/Spectre seems like it will be a fun but at times flawed viewing experience.

I was a bit surprised that Kotoko and Kuro just went back to their dynamic after last episode without any more conflict there. I mean Kuro looked pretty scary for a second. This said, I am enjoying their odd couple romance a lot so I’m going to overlook it. I also thought it was hilarious and inappropriate for Kotoko to just be introducing Kuro as her boyfriend when he’s not around…fun! Looking forward to next week.

Thanks for Reading From
Irina and Karandi

4 thoughts on “In/Spectre Episode 2 Review

  1. During the conversation with the snake I got very clear metafictional vibes. What the snake needs is peace of mind rather than truth, so all that’s necessary is that she come up with a story that satisfies the snake. Their back and forth felt much more like writing a story and checking for plotholes than a proper investigation. But the pretense of truth is necessary. There’s also this diplomatic talk by the snake: “I would never eat you!” etc. It’s probably true, but I still felt they sounded like diplomats talking to each other.

    The snake’s reaction to Kurou was also interesting: a healthy dose of respect, but not quite the fear that lesser youkai exhibit. There’s a low-key threat throughout the entire scene. And despite (or as a deliberate contrast?) that you get that really cute re-union scene with the black and white little ones.

    This is a show that has the potential to grow on me even more, as I start to notice more and more subtleties, and also the potential to start losing me a little, as I realise that all those subtleties I noticed were only in my head. Whatever the case, this is going to be a really enjoyable watch.

  2. What a stupid episode. was episode that was entirely talking, just rambling nonsense.

    She visits a snake to theorycraft about some woman who dumped a body. Not investigate the murder. Not solve the mystery. Not even try to do anything of the sort. To come up with an explanation that the goofy halfwit of a snake will decide is good enough. It could have been over 10 seconds into the conversation. It might be a three episode arc. Who knows! It’s up to whenever the snake stops arguing.

    But even that’s not the worst part. Maybe it could’ve wrapped things up with at least some kind of weak denouement about the nature of… I don’t even know, the truth, or what we believe in, or how much we care about people dumping bodies in our swamps. But it doesn’t. The episode just ends mid conversation, no point ever reached, no conclusion sought, nothing built to, nothing anythinged. How the hell is this a multi-episode arc? they should stop overanimating pouring out soup and invest a couple more yens to hire writers paid by something other than the word.

    1. It is a very dialogue heavy episode. I didn’t mind the conversation. The lack of resolution by the end of the episode wasn’t great and I’d prefer that they had wrapped things up, but I kind of enjoyed listening to the theories and the snake’s objections. I get it won’t be everyone’s cup of tea.

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