These reviews are starting to show a very peculiar naming convention. I’m rather fond of it. Partly because I think I may be the only one still watching this show and as such it’s like a private joke. Anyways, this week on Pet, new domesticated animals were introduced.
Episode 4 of Pet is mostly concerned with the mysterious company, now personified by Tsukasa and Katsuragi trying to regain control of the wayward asset Hayashi. We don’t get a very detailed exposition on Hayashi (which I appreciate) but we can gather that Hayashi was a company agent and Satoru’s mentor that decided to pull a disappearing act a few years ago. This disappearance is a thorn in the company’s side and I would imagine a security issue, as such they have been searching for him since then and now he has been discovered.
You know, if the show had been this all along, I think it would have fared much better. It’s a lot more interesting to watch these evil but not unintelligent men with the very specific power of manipulating memories try to one up each other. When the victims are ordinary people (or gangsters) it’s completely one sided but this episode was more of a true game of cat and mouse… (cat and fish?…nah I don’t think I can make this one work) which, at least to me, was just that much more interesting.
It still tries a bit too hard to be grimmer or more poignant than is justified by the episodes narrative, namely in the mindscape scenes. I get that these are people who’s lives has led them to organized crime and therefore unlikely to have had very happy childhoods but there’s something in the presentations of these scenes. Like a goth teenager put them together and thinks they are way edgy! I’m not entirely sure if that’s a compliment or an insult. However, even this aspect was pared down this episode which is a definite win.
There were also no big gender nor sexuality issues although I do think the implication of one of them having been sexually abused as a kid was there. Not insisted upon though. For Pet, that a real show of discipline.
Half of the episode was concerned with Satoru being bored and trying to find out where Hiroki’s fish store is so he could visit and in the process we find out a lot of the company’s inner workings. The mechanisms in place to keep their esper agents in line and the little ways some have found to circumnavigate them. We also find out that Hiroki is in fact very clueless, naive and powerful. An incredibly dangerous combination, especially in the hands of such an unreliable mentor.
I actually really liked this sequence. Both Satoru and Hiroki are interesting characters with a bit of depth to their personalities and potential for development. Hiroki can be emotional but he’s not loud and both are fairly sensible folks with reactions that are easy to understand. Satoru’s unauthorized trip to the pet shop was ultimately very low stakes but felt more significant because of all the hoops he had to jump through. It was just a nice way to establish the reality in which these characters exist that was also entertaining to watch.
The Hayashi vs the company stuff was a bit more of that dark slightly nonsensical stuff we’ve been getting from Pet so far but because of the reasons I’ve already stated, I still think it was better in many ways.
All in all, I think this was my favourite episode so far. I’m not saying drop everything and start watching Pet again. If nothing else it may just be a blip and the show will double down on it’s weaker elements next week, but I can’t deny that I enjoyed it and if this had been the show I was watching from the start, I’m pretty sure I would be much more enthusiastic about Pet right now.
Contributed by Irina
from I Drink And Watch Anime!