Well this week PET went from wannabe Scorsese to wannabe David Lynch. And yeah, I know the Naked Lunch is Cronenberg, I’m just all over the place today…
And wannabe might be a bit too mean. Let’s face it, not everything Lynch puts out is a masterpiece and not every aspect of PET is particularly bad. OK. So here’s the bottom line, after two episodes, I think I can say that PET is likely not a very good anime. The script is way too blunt for the type of story it’s trying to tackle and it lacks the confidence to just be unapologetic in its weirdness. And it went weird this episode.
I like weird so that’s not an issue for me. The majority of the episode was just pointedly proving me wrong by essentially flashing back to scenes that were skipped last episode in order to show us what happened to bring about dreadlocks’ (I still didn’t learn his name, I’m a bad reviewer) change of heart.
Most of the episode took place in a series of surreal mindscapes exploring this poor guy’s rather sad memories and how these were tweaked and manipulated. (Side note, this isn’t a commentary on PET or anything, but I swear if I ever see a piece of media that portrays the mechanism of memory correctly, I will celebrate it based on that alone. No one ever bothers to get memory right except maybe Steins;Gate Zero).
OK back to the subject at hand. In premise the episode wasn’t bad at all. In fact, I found it downright interesting although it still did try to be grimmer than necessary. However, it felt the need to feed us some type of concrete explanation for all the surreal imagery and that’s where everything fell apart. It’s like when a sci fi show tries too hard to be scientific and ends up destroying its own concept in the process. The psychobabble explanations about peaks and valleys is in fact more grounded than a lot of stuff I’ve seen but they take it too far and again lack the delicacy to properly sell the point. It ends up messy and confusing or simply lame.
Also, there’s a strong undercurrent of homoeroticism that I just don’t quite understand. It’s too implicit to count as representation, too odd and timid to be fanservice but just obvious enough to alienate anyone not comfortable with it. I don’t mind it at all, I just don’t quite get why the authors included it at this point in the story. It may develop into a romance later, but it’s included in so many unconnected scenes with different characters that unless this turns into a weird orgy/harem situation, some of those hints are going to end up not leading anywhere.
Wow, this review is nothing but tangents. It’s a bit how the episode felt as well so that’s fitting.
But here’s the kicker, the twist if you will. I kinda like it. There’s no hesitation for me to continue the series and if another episode was available, I would have watched it right away. Underneath the crude execution, I really do thing there’s the foundation of a solid psychological thriller with a mild supernatural twist. All the individual elements appeal to me and the attempt at not quite linear story telling is nice too. It’s just a shame that for now, the whole is far inferior to its parts.
I guess I’m a sucker, but I’m holding out hope guys. The characters are bland but have enough distinctive traits to be developed. I was pleasantly surprised that the kid from the beginning turned out to be the blond thug and seems to be fairly well adjusted and reasoned. His character was a surprise this episode and so far my favourite which gives me hope that they can in fact write more complex personalities.
So let’s see how it goes next week. Am I the only one enjoying this series? It’s o.k. if I am. I can see why someone else wouldn’t, I’m not going to try to convince you or anything. I guess I would be happy if I wasn’t the only one seeing something here though.
Contributed by Irina
from I Drink And Watch Anime!
Join Irina as she discusses Pet:
Images from: Pet. Geno Studeio. 2020. Oomori, Takahiro.