Alright, so the twist wasn’t what I was expecting but ended up being a fairly common explanation for modern stories revolving around ghosts. I don’t know if I’m disappointed or not with that reveal, but I do know I really enjoyed the episode as a whole because it just had so many great moments. Did you enjoy it, Irina?
Considering that I said last week that it sounded like one of those monsters born out of belief and I mentioned I like that trope, I can’t deny I enjoyed it. As far as the reveal goes, it was pretty much exactly as I figured and it brings me back to good old Japanese technophobia in horror media which I like. However, the most interesting part of the episode for me, was the flashback.
Minor diversion before I actually get into reviewing the episode: how much attention are you paying to the OP, Irina? I actually really like the OP to In/Spectre and so I haven’t yet skipped it and one thing caught my eye last week and again this week and now has me asking a few questions. It’s right at the end of the OP where we see Kotoko approaching Kuro, we get a close up of Kuro and then we cut back to the whole scene and we realise that Kuro’s vanished. I’m wondering what that implies about where the series is going? If anything.
I quite like the OP as well. I particularly like when Kotoko bangs her cane on the ground and it seems to have some magical effect. It’s too bad they aren’t using that mechanic in the show. I think it’s a nice alteration of the magical girl wand. As for Kuro disappearing, I’m not sure but it would make sense. After all, they keep insisting that his immortality has cost him some measure of his humanity and it’s framed as a bad thing so they may be getting the audience prepared for the reversal. Maybe? I hope not, I like Kuro.
Okay, back to thinking about the current episode, and it opens with Kuro continuing his fight with Nanase. Kotoko is watching, and for whatever reason ducks behind a vending machine, and while she’s watching Saki shows up. They briefly comment on Kuro’s fight, mostly dissing his fighting style, and then we finally get some exposition about Kuro and Kuro’s family and just how he came to have eaten two different kind of yokai. This also wasn’t what I expected nor how I anticipated we would learn Kuro’s secret, but honestly, it worked really well and I found myself actually enjoying this flash back despite it being placed in the middle of a fight sequence (probably because nobody seemed to be taking that fight seriously anyway).
I really enjoyed the flashback a lot. And I loved the explanation for how Kuro became as he is. It was both way more horrific yet oddly logical than I had imagined. I imagine some pretty harebrained things. The black and white with red blood aesthetic was a bit on the nose but not enough to take me out of it.
As for the fight, no one took it seriously. It was a physical altercation between two creatures that cannot get injured or even really hurt. It was a formality. But something struck me about it. It was animated so oddly and just to make sure we don’t miss it, Saki and Kotoko comment on it several times. Saki’s line about how it looks like they’re acting out a play stuck with me. There is something here that can’t be explained by the fact that Nanase is not the idol at all. I really hope they get back to it.
After the flashback and the fight wrap we see the three characters return to Saki’s apartment and we finally have all three characters together. The interactions here are a little odd because they seem to always be either between Kotoko and Kuro, Kuro and Saki, or Saki and Kotoko, and never really have all three engaged in a single conversation at once. It’s both incredibly awkward and yet perfect given these are the currently existing relationships within the group and they aren’t a cohesive unit at this point. More than that, there’s a lot of baggage underlying each of the relationships that seems to seep into their words and actions.
From that point of view, Kotoko is the only character whose internal thoughts the audience is privy to and she’s still trying to scare Saki off. I’m not sure she’s going to have a great deal of success there but how do you see it Irina?
Romance tropes aren’t my area of expertise. Actually I just want to know how Kuro and Kotoko even ended up dating in the first place. It’s clearly some type of relationship of convenience but I would love to know the nature of their relationship. I do like how different everyone’s personalities and motivations are. They are a cohesive group with the same goal in mind and yet they couldn’t be more different which is creating some really nice dynamics.
I’m continuing to really enjoy In/Spectre. I find the characters interesting, I’m interested in its premise, the dialogue is always fun to listen to and try to dissect, and they are doing a really good job of balancing the more comedic moments with some of its darker ones. That said, given we’re just short of half-way, I kind of have to wonder where things will go in the second half of the season.
I’m enjoying the series as well. I think this latest reveal is going to allow us to avoid some of the potential melodrama I was seeing in Nanase’s story (although I do think she might show up in the flesh sooner or later – mostly based on how present she is in the credits and promotion of the series). However the real story for me remains the respective natures of Kotoko and Kuro and how they fit together.
Thanks for Reading From
Irina and Karandi
Let’s follow along with Kotoko and Kurou. All episode reviews of In/Spectre.
Images from: In/Spectre. Dir. Keiji Gotou. Brain’s Base. 2020.