Wow, we’re already at episode 7. More than half way through and most shows should be slowly making their way to the finale. The season sort of flew by. From the looks of it, InSpectre will be sticking to the steel lady Nanase storyline for the remainder of the current run and I’m pretty happy about that. A good suspense/mystery needs to build on itself. I was a bit afraid that they would be going on a “Yokai” of the week or two format but those fears proved unfounded.
I wouldn’t have minded a yokai of the week format as I quite enjoy that particular style of story. That said, In/Spectre is offering us something else and that is a look at the difficulty in overcoming rumour and speculation once it gets going and unlike other stories that have taken a similar path, there’s no simple solution here (sorry, I rewatched that episode of Supernatural where a ghost was created through rumours on a website). I’m going to say I’m really enjoying the story arc as a whole and hope it manages to stick the landing.
I’ll just come out and say it, this episode was not my favourite. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t dislike it but I think the very exposition/conversation heavy format is finally starting to wear on me a little. Let’s face it, it’s pretty amazing that it took 8 episodes of people just talking to each other in plain rooms for me to find it getting old. If anything, it’s a tribute to his good the show has been. But this week I was a little bored. Maybe it’s because they were going over information we already knew and not much more. What did you think Karandi?
Honestly, I didn’t mind it. Okay, in the grand scheme of things, as a single episode this one isn’t particularly exciting. however as another step in the process of dealing with Nanase it works and I’m invested enough in these characters and enjoy the dialogue enough that I’m happy enough to go along with it and wait for the next episode. I think what makes it work for me is that at no point did I feel like we had lost forward momentum or tension. We’re building up to this confrontation with Nanase and the story isn’t suddenly veering off that path or filling in time with a fetch quest for the sake of it. Everything here feels purposeful even if it is a slow build.
One thing I did really like was seeing Kotoko “disassembled”. Don’t get me wrong, her character design is great but when you add in the gaping void where an eye should be and the missing leg contrasting the highly cute outfit and features, it becomes incredibly interesting. It’s not Gorey or frightening, she manages to retain all her charm and yet it throws me off balance. I think it’s one of my favourite character designs in recent history.
About that, I thought it was great to given they hadn’t made a huge deal about her prosthetics other than her leg coming off in a fight. Yet, this sequence gave us a moment where she stood up on the bed and perfectly balanced on one foot and also moments where she was kneeling on the bed and there was no discernible difference in the shape of her skirt from the right side to the left even though there would be significantly less bulge on the left side due to the missing limb. I really liked the intent of this sequence and maybe it is just Eizouken’s influence, but at times it didn’t feel like her movements or the movements of her clothes were right. Still, I do love her character design.
In large the episode rehashed what Nanase is believed to be and spelled out the increased challenge of defeating her with a competing urban legend now that she has killed again and the rumours have intensified. I think most of us would have figured that part out and they went on about it a bit too much. It did however lead to Kuro’s suggestion of drowning her in dozens of competing stories instead of trying to craft a perfect one, which I thought was a very smart solution and really in line with the social media age. I hope we’ll at least get to hear some of the urban legends they come up with and they won’t all be boring fake police reports or something. The idea of escalating tall tales that could get out of control sounds very amusing!
Yes, surely fragmenting the legend is easier than simply competing with it. I didn’t mind that they belaboured the difficulty of the challenge here. Normally I would find it a bit tiresome and would want them to get on with it but here I feel they are really trying to build a case as to why this monster is much harder to deal with than others Kotoko may have had to encounter and deal with before. Basically, I didn’t mind it.
The other new bit of information was the first overt reference to Kuro’s cousin. She was the one in the hospital and we never learned much about her other than the fact that she seems to have passed. However, the closing scene hinted at a much deeper story. First Saki being mildly jealous of her ex’s new relationship brought up Rikka as if she had been a romantic rival. Which was a bit clumsy but whatever. More importantly (to me) the visuals and atmosphere of the scene were presenting her as a villain, and a particularly menacing one at that. It bring up so many questions. Why wasn’t she made to eat Yokai, or was she? Why was she always so protective of Kuro when he was young seeing as most people naturally shy away from him? How much did she know?
Like I said, this wasn’t my favourite episode but it did make future episodes sounds very promising and I’m looking forward to next week.
Episode 8 continues the build up to dealing with Nanase and presents us with a tangible nemesis for Kotoko to face off against on the internet (kind of necessary if the coming battle of words is to have any impact). That said, they’ve now dragged out the preparation phase over nearly three episodes and while I’ve enjoyed it enough, by the mid-point of this episode I was starting to want them to move along a little bit quicker. A sentiment I feel Irina had in episode 7 of In/Spectre.
Ironically I found this episode much better than the last. Possibly because we were seeing (or rather being told) things we didn’t know before. I think it confirms my issues with the last episode had more to do with the fact that is was almost a recap episode.
Episode 8 of In/Spectre spends a lot of time filling in events that occurred during the time skip including how Kotoko met Rikka (Kuro’s cousin) and even ended up living with her for a time. Not to mention, we learn just how Kotoko managed to get a key to Kuro’s apartment which was a question raised earlier by this arc. As usual it is difficult to tell how much of Kotoko’s account is genuine and how much is coloured through her own perception (such as the happy birthday parties with Rikka) but we now know the lead up to the current Nanase case and we know who Kuro and Kotoko are actually up against behind the scenes.
It was cute. And I guess Kotoko is an unreliable narrator but somehow I believe her on this one. One thing that I’ve noticed is that the relationships in this series are a little off. Like Kuro and Rikka are both deeply lovely yet frightening at the same time and you can’t quite relate to them as you would to anyone else. Same thing goes for Kotoko obviously. And somehow, I really got a sense for that oddness in the flashback. I also really really like the idea of Kotoko and Rikka having slumber parties and dishing about Kuro behind his back!
Kuro almost throwing up at the thought of domestic life with Kotoko was hilarious. They have a weird relationship.
While the back story was great to hear where the episode lost me a bit was in the extended exchange between Saki and Kotoko in the car. This definitely felt like they were padding the episode run time in order to end at a pre-determined point. Which, I’ll give the episode credit for, it ended at a pretty great point with the confrontation launching both online and in the real world. But that doesn’t take away the feeling that this episode lingered overly long at times on conversations that are feeling more and more like recap rather than forward movement. It’s the first time I’ve really felt In/Spectre was dragging its feet (though I know some viewers have felt previous conversations went too long).
I guess I see what you mean. Although it didn’t bother me as much it was the point in the episode where I thought to myself, this series really is tell don’t show. This said, I feel like Saki is suppose to be the straight man, maybe even the audience surrogate. These scenes with her are what grounds the series and gives it a more modern feel. Or at least I think that’s what it’s meant to be.
And the cliffhanger was really fantastic. I do like that they chose to make the Steel Lady hit much closer to home than all the early theories. This is a much more interesting monster and the very uncertain morality happening here is quite appealing.
Despite all that, I am pretty excited to see how this arc concludes and I’m curious as to whether this confrontation and clean up will take the remainder of the season, given that seems like it would stretch too long, or whether we’ll get another mini-arc to end the series after this. I’m not actually sure which I’d prefer but either way In/Spectre has been pretty entertaining this season.
Thanks for Reading From
Irina and Karandi