D Gray Man Hallow – From Beginning To End – A Dramatic But Not Fulfilling Viewer’s Journey

D Gray Man Hallow - Episode Guide

The original D Gray Man anime came out in 2006 and ran for 103 episodes before just kind of abruptly ending more or less mid-battle and the series vanished from notice. Which is a shame because I absolutely loved it and it was a case where even tracking down the source material wouldn’t help because the manga kept going on hiatus as well and wasn’t finished.

So with the announcement in 2016 of a return for D Gray Man with Hallow, I was thrilled. Would it be a reboot and kick the series off again? Turns out no. It was a continuation but with new character designs and quite a few other new things thrown in as well. That said, D Gray Man Hallow ended up being an interesting enough watch even if it didn’t quite hit the spot I’d hoped for.

Anyway, the story is about Allen Walker who is an exorcist of sorts, but Hallow more or less kicks off with him being accused of siding with the Akuma and Hallow is not something you can jump into without having watched the original series. So for fans of D Gray Man, yay. For everyone else, there’s a lot of episodes to watch but even unfinished this series is kind of fun (dark but fun).

Below are my episodic thoughts of the series.

D Gray Man Hallow Episode 1

So D.Gray-Man Hallow (other than adding even more punctuation to the title than I remember) tossed us straight into the narrative. We get a brief fight sequence where we see our core exorcists fighting (just to remind us what their weapons are and that they are awesome) and then we are heading to the new exorcist headquarters (the old one was kind of destroyed – watch the previous episodes).

No time to breathe as we get into the usual Allen/Kanda bickering before Allen is hauled away to continue the ongoing plot where the Black Order suspect him of having ties to the Noah and the Millenium Earl. It works and doesn’t stop for any explanations or recaps so it isn’t friendly to the uninitiated but it gave me exactly what I wanted and that was the story to keep moving.

There’s also a great cliff-hanger ending and some more hints about what the Bookmen are up to. Yay!

Still not 100% sold on the new character designs but it isn’t as though they are ugly, just different.

Loved this episode and really looking forward to the next.

D Gray Man Hallow Episode 2

D Gray Man Hallow Episode 2

This episode is classic D Gray Man in everyway imaginable (good and bad). While we get a few moments and discussions around the greater battle and the exorcists plan as usual Allen and crew are mostly in the dark so let’s put aside the main plot and go investigate a random thief who may or may not have Innocence.

Well, there’s a reason the show already ran 103 episodes but has actually progressed the plot about as far as most anime do in 24. That isn’t to say that this episode is bad. As I said, it’s just the way D Gray Man has always been. And it flips the switch between random and ridiculous humour in a fight sequence to deadly serious (and hey, soon to be dead orphans) so quickly.

It makes you laugh, groan, roll your eyes, fill with curiosity about all the things you don’t know, support the exorcists (or at least the ones you like) and fear the enemy (which isn’t easy given their frequently clown like appearances). I know that this aspect of D Gray Man always rubbed some people the wrong way but for me, even though the tone is all over the place, it just feels right.

All the different elements come together and combine with overly dramatic music and fight sequences that just make you sit up and take notice. Besides, other than Kaneki (Tokyo Ghoul), I’ve yet to meet a protagonist other than Allen Walker who I genuinely feel is in peril on a regular basis.

Oh, and Kanda was awesome this episode.

D Gray Man is available on AnimeLab. If you haven’t watched the original, you really have to before you can watch this, but it is worth at least trying (this is one of the few series that hadn’t been given any kind of resolution that I still rewatched over and over). Of course, if you don’t like your anime dark than maybe give it a miss because this one has some real pain in store for its characters even if it isn’t as visually confrontational as some of the more contemporary anime.

D Gray Man Hallow Episode 3

Image from D Gray Man Hallow Episode 3

Spoilers abound if you haven’t watched the episode. Normally I avoid critical plot points in episode reviews, but this one kind of needs to be here.

I’ll cover the bad first. The animation and character designs took a serious dive in the second half of this episode. Which in a series where the original was way too dark and the animation was passable but worked with the atmosphere and now the reboot has taken extreme liberties with the colour and character designs seems risky. Change was fine after a long break but further reduction in quality isn’t.

From a plot point of view this episode nicely wraps up the orphanage story, introduces yet another type of Innocence and has someone who doesn’t possess Innocence defeat an Akuma (which if you haven’t watched a lot of D Gray Man won’t seem like such a big deal except that it is a major plot development). Now I want to know what the Crows are up to and how underhanded they’ve been to acquire that power and I’m positive it is going to have some really nasty consequences down the line.

And Allen… Okay, we knew right from the first episode of Hallow that there was some serious focus on what was going on with Allen and whether or not he is part of the Noah, but this was fantastic. When his sword stabbed him I kind of had an ‘oh no’ moment because I remembered what happened when he used it on a Noah in the previous series and yep, this was not good.

Though, in true D Gray Man style, rather than let this happen now, they give us just a taste of the disaster awaiting our characters and then Kanda swoops in and snaps Allen out of it. Though, I’m going to be honest, I felt like Allen was off for the remainder of the episode and I wonder if that is deliberate or just a by-product of the change in character design. Really wanting to know where this one is going.

So, still in love with this show but would really appreciate some consistency in the animation quality – not asking for amazing animation because that would be out of character for the series, but just stable performance. It is really rare for an action anime to get me this emotionally invested but D Gray Man succeeded in the original series and it has managed to maintain that feeling now.

D Gray Man Hallow Episode 4

Image from D Gray Man Hallow Episode 4

It may just have been me, but I felt all the characters were excessively chatty this episode. So many new bits of information dumped very quickly in fairly awkward lines of conversation, to the point where we jumped into a battle mid-way along and really don’t know where they are fighting or why because nobody bothered to tell us that. I’m thinking this is probably necessary when we’ve only got 13 episodes, but that doesn’t make for great story telling.

Don’t get me wrong, this was still good fun and there are so many looming catastrophes you just kind of feel like you’re waiting to see which one manages to hit them first, or whether they’ll all strike at once.

My main complaint would be the Millenium Earl. In the original series he was an amazing villain. Yeah, he laughed and did all the cliché villain things but there was a sense of genuine malice about him. Unlike most villains, I really believed he intended to destroy the world. New Millenium Earl is just kind of meh. It took a lot of thunder away from the episode.

Meanwhile, Allan is definitely having some identity issues and Kanda seems to be the next character to finally get some sort of details added into his back story. Given everyone else, I’m thinking this is going to be tragic.

Looking forward to whatever new tragic past and future disaster this show will bring us next week.

D Gray Man Hallow Episode 5

Image from D Gray Man Hallow Episode 5

Right, I’m back to fangirling.

This episode was amazing. From start to finish I loved it. I loved that the scientists had some focus time, and I really, really hope they don’t die tragically in the next episode or two, though given it’s D Gray Man, they actually might kill them off. It would be too much to hope that the directors of human experimentation (and I know that isn’t their title but it really should be) get killed off instead.

The Noah attack on the base, Allen coming to the rescue, the brief moment of comedy before the fourteenth tried an extreme hostile takeover on Allen, the scuffle that followed and ending with Allen seeing Alma and Yu’s memories… It was a near perfect episode. Okay, the pacing was all over the shop and the comedy, while very D Gray Man, probably interfered with what was otherwise a super tense moment, but I just loved watching this episode.

I think this show highlights what I enjoy about D Gray Man. Allen charges in to save a comrade and lands on the Millenium Earl and has to be first told that he has just landed on the main villain, meanwhile he’s looking around at all the other hostages and Noah thinking ‘what is going on?’.

The following exchange that goes from deadly serious to comedy to slapstick and back again might rub some people the wrong way but it is what I love about this show. And then it ends just when things are getting even more interesting meaning I now have to count the days down to the next episode.

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D Gray Man Hallow Episode 6

Image from D Gray man  Hallow Episode 6

It must be the week for flashback episodes because D Gray Man sees us spending almost the entire episode inside Kanda’s memories. This episode is particularly affective because the audience have always known the the dark order were not exactly the white knights of the world and that they have been up to some pretty despicable things, however seeing it from the viewpoint of 2 children, with Allen thrown into the mix, really hits home and makes you wonder who the villain of the story really is.

That said, I am going to criticise the constant over the top expressions this week. Seriously, at times you could have mistaken Allen Walker for Atsushi from Bungo Stray Dogs from the way his face was twisting around. While the comedy elements of D Gray Man usually hit home and make a nice relief from the otherwise overwhelming darkness, this week it just interfered with what was in all other respects a pretty compelling episode.

Kanda also suffered from some really ridiculous facial contortions this week which just felt out of character, even for a younger, test subject Kanda.

Alma is an interesting character and while we mostly see him from young Kanda’s viewpoint, seeing him toward the end from Allen’s point of view just adds to the many mysteries surrounding him. While at first he seems like the annoying little brother character found anywhere, he actually has surprising depth for a character we’ve only just met.

Road is back. She was always one of my favourite among the Noah and she doesn’t disappoint in her few moments of flirtation with Allen. While I’m not sold on this voice for Road, her playful tone undercut with a whole lot of malice is still well in effect and as always you just have to wonder whether she likes Allen or wants to kill him or both.

Lastly, Wisely gave us an excellent line early in the episode prior to getting buried in the flashback when one of the exorcists asked him to leave Alma alone. “We’re the Noah. We have no mercy to show you guys.” This kind of sums up why the Millenium Earl and the Noah are among my favourite villains ever.

Yeah, they are kind of trying to destroy the world which on the surface seems like a stupid goal, but unlike so many other self-proclaimed super villains on a mission to the destroy the world, you kind of believe that the Noah are actually committed to the goal and have the power to back it up. There’s an absolute callousness about their characters that tells you that they can and will cross any and all lines.

In the original 103 episodes, there are a lot of events with the Noah that back this up. They aren’t all talk. They aren’t the gloaty villains sending their minions out while they criticise their efforts. These guys bring pain with them.

So that’s my overblown thoughts on episode 6. Clearly I’m still very attached to this series and even with the idiotic facial animations this episode still dragged me into the story and didn’t let up until the credits rolled.

D Gray Man Hallow Episode 7

Image from D Gray Man Hallow Episode 7

When D Gray Man first came back, one of my biggest worries was that it wouldn’t be the dark and emotionally turbulent story I knew and loved. The last two episodes have really put that worry to rest. I am really thankful for previews of the next episode now because I was genuinely worried about the fate of one character this episode and got no closure before the credits on whether he was still alive.

On this episode, we continue our journey through Kanda and Alma’s memories until Allen decides he’s had enough and breaks out. However, as Road points out, it’s just a little bit too late and things in the real world are only getting worse. Still, that final shot of Kanda is all kinds of awesome so looking forward to next week.

D Gray Man Hallow Episode 8

Image from D Gray Man Hallow Episode 8

Is it possible to become darker and more tragic than child experimentation in the name of saving the Earth? D Gray Man makes a good attempt at answering that question this week when Allen is given a choice of ending the fight between Kanda and Alma by joining the Earl.

Obviously he refuses, but that’s more or less what the Earl had in mind and things only get worse from there. We do get a very classic Allen and Kanda moment mid-battle but it is a brief reprieve and by the end we realise that no matter what the outcome of this battle is going to be, Kanda is going to be even more emotionally damaged than he was going in, and that cannot possibly be a good thing.

Amazing episode. Still loving D Gray Man.

D Gray Man Hallow Episode 9

Image from D Gray Man Hallow Episode 9

Too much to say. Firstly, Alma and Kanda Yu’s saga decided to take things and make them just one step sadder and they were already pretty devastating.

I loved how Allen helped them this episode and feel that if anything ‘good'(?) was going to come out of it, Allen found the best possible solution to one of the worst situations for two characters to be in. And the brass’ reaction is pretty much expected at this point and time. Brand Allen a traitor. Because nothing inspires loyalty in your troops like doubting them, arresting them, performing medical experiments on them, etc.

Why does anyone even still work for the Order? It isn’t like they are doing such a great job in fighting this war. Maybe the exorcists would be better off forming their own order. One that isn’t crazy and sadistic.

Anyway, despite being told he’s committed an act of treason and that if he doesn’t retrieve Alma he won’t be an exorcist anymore, Allen continues to try to save one of the exorsists that has Alma’s cells inside of him going crazy. And you know, he was even kind of succeeding until Link shows up right at the end just in time to make things worse. Yeah, we know there’s a whole thing going on with Allen and the Fourteeth, but time and place Link.

On the other hand, Kanda actually thanked Allen. I couldn’t believe it. Over a 100 episodes and for once, Kanda is actually grateful for Allen’s well-intentioned soft-hearted intrusions. Admittedly, Kanda has been through a lot in the last three episodes, but that was unexpected and totally heart breaking simultaneously.

If I have to complain about something, it would be the fact that the Earl and the others seems to be sitting around having a tea party while the exorcists are doing all this in-fighting. Hello, Earl, are you actually serious about defeating anyone? Because this episode would have been the perfect time to do it.

And from the preview of next episode it looks like after this the bad guys are just packing up and leaving even though right now they really could crush the Order and there really isn’t anyone left to stop them.



D Gray Man Hallow Episode 10

Image from D Gray Man  Hallow Episode 10

Just what the show needed, more infighting on both sides and more complications (I’m being a little sarcastic).

This was a great episode. Characters reflected on the previous battle and began manoeuvring for the next rounds. There was a good balance between depression and feeling sorry for themselves and the desperate humour that the characters interject in order to stop the audience falling into a chasm of self-loathing. Allen and Link’s discussion in the prison was touching.

Lenalee and friends being force-fed to try to get over the losses in the battle and to think about the next fight was both funny and sweet as we once again realise the bonds these characters have built up throughout the series. And the leaders of the order continue to be completely arrogant and I really wanted the ceiling to fall in on them. Oh, and Lavi and Bookman look like they are in some serious trouble.

Plus Road showed up again. Even when she isn’t doing much, Road appearing is fantastic. A lot of emotions in a fairly low key episode when you consider that action-wise almost nothing happened.

D Gray Man Hallow Episode 11

Image from D Gray Man Hallow Episode 11

Does Link actually taking action for Allen this week redeem him for not trusting Allen in the first place? Probably not, but at least Link made a decision and didn’t blindly follow orders. While they didn’t show us his ultimate fate, it kind of seems like that’s more or less it for Link at this time.

We still didn’t find the heart but we now found a ‘special’ kind of innocence that exists to protect the heart and we now know who killed Cross but we don’t know why. That said, the Cardinal’s actions force Allen out of the Order and the thing is, it kind of felt like going with the Noah was the less horrible decision to make which given some of things they’ve done really makes you wonder what the Order is up to that the Noah are a better choice.

Of course, Tyki and Road are just kind of awesome so if Allen had to go with the Noah at least it was those two (cruel and twisted though they both are).

I just need to mention Lenalee. For most of Hallow she’s either been background or absent, which is a shame because in the early days of D Gray Man she was a very tough fighter and she helped Allen out a lot. Okay, she did go through that whole part where her innocence broke and she couldn’t fight but she finally overcame even that. Seeing her spring back into action at the end of this episode was definitely a great moment and I am looking forward to seeing some more next time (assuming they continue with this and don’t go off on some weird tangent).

D Gray Man Hallow Episode 12

Image from D Gray Man Hallow Episode 12

With only one episode to go this show is most definitely going to leave us hanging again (let’s just hope we don’t have to wait that many years for a continuation again). That said, the show is also determined to break our hearts. First we get a reminder that Allen has had his arm destroyed previously (thanks for that memory).

Then we have Road disappearing fairly dramatically after brining us a fresh reminder about Mana’s message to Allen about moving forward. And then we get Lenalee appearing right before Allen uses the gate to leave (possibly for good even if he did promise her that he would always be an exorcist no matter what happened).

Of the three events, that was the one that really got to me because Allen and Lenalee have always been two very broken characters that have used each other numerous times to find the strength to carry on. Inside I was begging Lenalee to get off the ground and dive through the gate after Allen (but we all know that Lenalee couldn’t leave the order or her brother at this point and time because she has no identity outside of that at this point).

While this episode was heart-wrenching for long time fans, was it a good episode? Objectively I’d have to say no. We simply pick up where we left off and essentially set up obstacles to stop anyone who isn’t supposed to get to Allen from getting there.

No new information is revealed and while it is dramatic to see so many sore points raised for a single character, this doesn’t lead to development (although there the preview for the next episode kind of tells us that we have reached a critical turning point for Allen so it will be interesting to see what they do next).

I know I’ve been fan-girling a lot over this series and that isn’t about to change but we’re getting close to the point where I’ll have to review the series as a whole and while there’s been a lot to like the essential problem remains the same: if you haven’t watched the original you are missing too much to really care about any of these touching moments.

If you have seen the original, a lot has changed that you are just having to accept or you are going to be frustrated. It’s going to make any kind of review really difficult.

D Gray Man Hallow Episode 13

Image from D Gray Man Hallow Episode 13

As a season end this was kind of lame (assuming 13 episodes is season end). Nothing is resolved and we have one character on the run, another one returning from being on the run but not really re-joining the team and two characters still in enemy hands but then again, I never expected anything to be resolved in 13 episodes. It’s been a long running series and nothing has ever happened that fast so the fact that the Kanda and Alma story was wrapped up as quickly as it was surprised me earlier in the season.

This episode as an episode was really enjoyable. Seeing Allen and Cross after they first met and getting some more hints about Cross’ involvement with Allen becoming the Fourteenth was interesting. Actually being reminded that Lavi and Bookman are still in the hands of the Noah and the Noah being their usual callous selves was entertaining (though, they hurt Lavi so now they have to die – sorry).

Lenalee being her usual overly emotional self before Kanda’s return felt really nostalgic and the crystallisation of Mugen (while downplayed within an already packed episode) was something I’d kind of been waiting for given the enemies just keep getting stronger so eventually our exorcists are going to have to catch up or die.

By the way, is Link actually dead? I know we saw his gravestone but it just seems really kind of anti-climatic for him to have died then.

Alright, whole season review of this is going to be tough to write but look out for it. If you are still deciding whether to watch Hallow, basically don’t bother unless you have watched the previous D Gray Man. While you might catch up on the storyline, without the emotional connections to the events, it is going to be pretty flat. That said, if you have watched the original, while there are definitely stylistic difference, from a story point of view this is a great continuation, we just need more.

D Gray Man Hallow - Episode Guide

Be sure to check out the full series review.


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Karandi James


In/Spectre Episode 12 Review

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Irina 2020 4

Another week, another seasonal show down! As much as I enjoy doing these episode reviews, and I do! I’m looking forward to the little between season break. Whatever else I might have to say about In/Spectre, it did renew my love of both mysteries and Yokai. I hope there’s another show like it coming up next season. And that’s actually saying a lot.

This particular episode wrapped things up exactly as anyone would expect. Kuro and Kotoko defeated the Steel Lady in the manner we saw last week. Rikka backed off, erased the wiki and disappeared for now. Saki and Kuro put their past behind them and he explained that he still loves Rikka and she’s trying to create a god that would bring her back to normal.

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Then we finally got a few scenes of Kuro and Kotoko together. It was mostly relationship fanservice where we got to see that Kuro does in fact care for Kotoko a lot. It was very sweet. Anyone who was hoping for a bit of romance should be happy with this.

The season did a great job ending on a note that felt final and warped up all the immediate points nicely so that if it never continues, we still get a proper sense of closure and it feels like a complete story. But it also left enough questions unanswered and doors opened for a second season to easily get made without feeling redundant.

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As a series, I must say I don’t think I’ve seen anything with this much exposition since A Certain Magical Index. The adaptation from novel to anime was rather minimal and it sometimes felt like I was playing a visual novel with no choice options. That sounds a bit harsh. You should know that I love visual novels and I can certainly enjoy one with minimal interaction. And I think a lot of viewers can enjoy In/Spectre. I just don’t think the production really took full advantage of the potential of the medium. Or any advantage really.

Also, for me personally, I think In/Spectre was one of the shows that suffered the most from me experiencing it once a week instead of in a continuous flow. It made more repetitive episodes particularly annoying to sit through and broke my connection with the characters too much. This is one of the shows I tended to put off watching the most.

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Yest in spite of all this, I consistently enjoyed it. The worst I could say was that some episodes got a bit boring. But when it worked it was great and it made me smile more than once. For a random little show I had no expectations of, I think it did great. I would watch a second season. I would also get a Kotoko figure!

What did you guys think of In/Spectre. Would you watch a second season? Was it your favourite show of the winter? Do you want a cute Pokemon yokai to follow you around?

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Thanks for Reading From
Irina and Karandi

Irina 2020

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In/Spectre Episode 11 Review

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Irina 2020 4

We are now at episode 11 of In/Spectre and you will never guess what happened. OK spoilers so go watch Kotoko and friends if you’re not caught up with episode 11 and I’ll be right here. You’re all good now? No fear of spoilers? I can lay it all out? Good! This week, Kotoko monologued in a car while Saki made a few comments and Kuro fought with Nanase getting killed in some gruesome ways. I know! Who would have seen that one comming?

Ok, so I’m being a smart arse. I once again didn’t in fact dislike this episode but I reiterate my stance that one of the most delightful aspects of In/Spectre is the chemistry between Kuro and Kotoko and to me, it’s a shame that we didn’t get to see it for the past month or so.

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Otherwise, the episode was pretty much a rinse repeat of the last two. Just like the last two, I’m going to say right now that I didn’t hate but I’m also going to spend the rest of the post nitpicking so it might not be obvious. I’ll try to go the compliment sandwich route… So let’s start with some nitpick bread.

A while ago, I read from a movie critic that I quite like, that there will never bee a good realistic movie about hackers. Because the act of hacking is interesting in concept, it’s quite exciting to learn about or read about, but it’s rather boring to watch. In essence it’s simply watching someone type with nothing much going on on the screen. The only way to properly adapt it to a visual medium such as movies, is to inject some magical realism and try to illustrate the act in some way. Unfortunately, that is easier said than done is is often disblief hindering. I have a similar comment to make about Kotoko’s creepy pasta creation. Not to mention that everything needs to be narrated in order for it to make sense to the audience so by the end of it all, I felt like I would have enjoyed it more as a Light Novel. These particular scenes, which are the bulk of the latest episodes, just seem unsuited for adaptation, to me.

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I do like a lot of elements of Kotoko’s 4th solution, and specifically the detail of the body double having a different face. The most salient bit of information about Nanase’s murder is that her face was bashed in beyond recognition or identification. It’s so important that the missing face is a prominent feature of the Steel Lady. Picking a solution that makes this gruesome detail a key factor is a great idea and makes it more likely to stick in people’s heads.

There seems to be a disconnect between my observation of how internet culture evolves and what these writer’s think. First the attention span that would be needed for people (let’s call them fans) to follow along 4 different permutations of the Nanase myth, the equivalent of hours of reading, without loosing interest seems really unlikely to me. And no third party has injected their own theories? No super popular fanfic with Lady Nanase kidnapping an innocent schoolgirl and ending up in a twisted love story? That doesn’t sound like the internet I know! From my observation, the quickest and easiest way to kill the Steel Lady myth would have been to come up with the next pasta. How about a handsome young man killer with a tutored soul. Young ladies are great for creating online fandoms! Heck, they could have just slightly modified Kuro’s story and there you go…

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On the other hand, going with the notion that a celebrity that supposed to be dead is actually still alive is a tested and true classic. People love to believe in some form of immortality and I bet a lot of fans would have latched on to any story that makes a young, beautiful idol alive and living a crazy twisted double life, rather than just sadly gone forever. As an aside, whether Nanase is alive or dead, Kotoko has just painted her as a cold blooded murderer, staining her memory forever. Stone cold!

I’m not sure how changing the ghost to a beautiful idol serial killer would make the monster disappear. Flesh and blood serial killers have been a staple of horror stories and creepy pastas just as much as ghosts have been. And this one is full of fanservice. I would have thought that Kotoko’s story would have made the Steel Lady even stronger or maybe created a second one with a face. That would have been funny.

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One thing I can’t deny, it’s that this episode obviously made me think about the story and what’s going on. That’s always a sign the there was something there. Did you guys like it?

Thanks for Reading From
Irina and Karandi

Irina 2020

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In/Spectre Episode 10 Review

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Irina 2020 4

You guys are going to have to bear with me a little bit longer. We’re all sending Karandi happy vibes and hope she gets well soon. I’m also playing catch up on my end so I might get closer to that 100 word mark in the upcoming reviews. Let’s see what we can do!

Last week I speculated that the following episodes of In/Spectre could turn out to be more or less repeats. That is, Kotoko has 4 stories to spin and she’s essentially doing so by speed writing creepy pasta in a parked car with Saki while Kuro fights Nanase.

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That’s all episode 9 was (there was a lot more talking than fighting), and Kotoko only managed to get through a single story so I wondered if we were just going to rinse repeat for the rest of the season.

And I still wonder that. This week really was more of the same, except that Kotoko managed to get through 2 stories…sort of. I’ll get back to it. Although I did like this week’s episode, I also sort of wandered away from the tv to get a snack without even really thinking about it. It became background noise at some point even though I wasn’t doing anything else. The characters and core premise are interesting and enjoyable enough to keep me coming back for more, and I would not hesitate to recommend In/Spectre to someone but I found the last two episodes less captivating and I think I know why.

First I think the universe of In/Spectre itself is far more interesting than the creepy pastas Kotoko is coming up with so I would rather they do an investigation or something. Second the episode really are getting repetitive. But mostly, for me at least. I think this specific format is wasting one of the series’ greatest strengths.

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What I mean is that in practice, Kuro is simply a background element. We cut to him a few times throughout the episodes to inject some movement as the other characters are completely stationary but they are really just transition scenes and he has no lines. Saki is staring at the scene and occasionally asks questions to drive the exposition just a bit more naturally but honestly it would make very little difference if she wasn’t there.

Kotoko for her part is sitting in the back seat and narrating her “solutions”. Sometimes we get a visual representation of her in the web but it’s a fairly flat visual without much variation or creativity so really what we’re meant to care about id the monologue. And that’s my issue, it’s a monologue. As in, it’s not a dialogue.

To me, one of the things In/Spectre does particularly well is creating chemistry between the characters. Particularly Kuro and Kotoko. As lovely as Kotoko is, and she is bestest girl, don’t get me wrong, she’s way more fun when she has someone else to play off of. I just miss the banter.

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Towards the end of the episode we did get something a bit different in the form of Rikka coming in to dispute Kotoko’s solutions. I get what they were going for here. A clash of titans. Two masterminds outwitting each other for an audience to marvel at their genius. The problem I have with this is that all of Kotoko’s stories immediately fall apart under scrutiny. The show itself admits this. So having someone poke holes at the theories really isn’t all that impressive or anything. It’s just sort of, well duh…

However, like I said, I didn’t dislike the episode so much as it didn’t grab my attention. It was a pleasant enough and I guess I could call it filler. I am still looking forward to the next episode but I am starting to get a touch impatient for the ladies to get out of that car already…

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Irina and Karandi

Irina 2020

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In/Spectre Episode 9 Review

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Irina 2020 4

I’m sure you’re all just as busy as we are but I hope you still have time to enjoy some anime. I’m always playing catch up with In/Spectre myself. I love the show but the Saturday afternoon air time is killing me and I usually end up catching it on Mondays which is not the best. Cause I’m tired and I have two other shows to watch.

Thankfully, I’m having a lot of fun with In/Spectre.

Here’s something I never talk about on my blog, I’m a huge fan of The Golden Compass (the book not the movie). The whole His Dark Materials series really. Hearing Kotoko explain how she is about to wield lies as both weapon and shield really reminded me of Lyra in the best way possible!

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This episode had a few highs and lows for me. Kotoko remains a delight and she was pretty much one maning this week. Don’t get me wrong, Saki and Kuro were there but they were mostly decorative and we only caught a glimpse of Rikka.

I really loved how Kotoko was essentially setting up Saki right under her nose and not even bothering to hide it. It was delightful and another little expression of Kotoko’s capricious and jealous nature.

I thought the alternative story Kotoko came up with for the captains murder was pretty reasonable and the inclusion of an unrequited lover storyline gives it some chance of surviving on the internet. People love shipping after all.

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For the lows, the alternative story (which took up most of the run time) was maybe a bit too believable. As in I wish it had been more outrageous or just a bit more fun. And the show itself mentioned that it was on the TL:DR side and then Kotoko went on to add another 20 minutes worth. Honestly, that was way too demanding for modern internet attention spans.

Throughout the episode I kept thinking that when they mentioned multiple rumours, I thought they would have different stories and not just keep adding or retconing the same story. By the end of the episode Kotoko does mention that this was in fact only story one of four. I’m not sure how to feel about that.

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Episode 9 of In/Spectre was more or less in real time. Kuro is fighting Nanase while Saki surveys the situation and Kotoko types out the spookypasta while narrating it for us viewers. I can believe that only a half hour passed in the reality of the show. I’m not sure if that means that the next three episodes are basically all going to be the same thing, with a different story from Kotoko.

That could in fact be pretty interesting but it could also get old. Of course there’s only one way to find out.

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For my part right now, I just really want to know why Rikka is doing this. We did have some vague story about her trying to find the limits of her power but I think there’s more to it than that. She has been presented as extremely gentle and kind. She doesn’t seem the type to murder a bunch of folks cause she’s curious…

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Irina and Karandi

Irina 2020

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In/Spectre Episodes 7 and 8 Review

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Episode 7

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Episode 8

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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.

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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.

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Kotoko is cute when she’s panicking.

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.

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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.

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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.

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Irina and Karandi

Irina 2020

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In/Spectre Episode 6 Review

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We’ve got a genuine magical girl appearance this week and I was smiling from ear to ear. While Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken is shaping up to be my anime of the season, Kotoko is definitely charging for my favourite character of the season. Then again, it is her exchanges with Kuro and Saki that make her so memorable, so maybe best cast? Anyway, how did you find the episode, Irina?

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FUN! Although when I looked over my screencaps I realized almost nothing happened. It says something when an episode can thoroughly entertain me while being essentially only one long conversation between 3 people. This said, I have to admit this wasn’t my favourite episode but I still enjoyed it quite a bit. As for Kotoko being best girl, I think we all know where I stand! Kuro is all wrong for you, he don’t appreciate you like I do!!!!

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Honestly, I just had so much fun this week as well. Beginning with the conclusion of the conversation Saki’s room, episode 6 of In/Spectre just hit the right notes. I loved Kotoko’s dive onto the bed to grab the file as well as the small signs of a more intimate relationship between Kuro and Kotoko as he nonchalantly put his hand on her leg. It is a small detail but I couldn’t help but wonder at how any other anime girl would have reacted to that gesture.

Kuro and Kotoko’s relationship is fascinating to me and I hope we get a chance to find out what happened between them during that time skip. And Kotoko is usually so exuberant with any attention Kuro gives her so the understated reaction is a bit odd. There’s a story there! I did enjoy the bedroom conversation but I thought the scene was just a smidge too long. Or maybe they could have spliced in some animation sequences just to break it up a little. However, the idea of fighting a monster of belief with gossip really thrilled me as a concept. There’s something darkly comedic about the idea and I love it. It also modernizes this story filled with traditiional Yokai and twisted takes on classic fables.

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Naturally my favourite moment goes to the construction site ghost summoning. I absolutely loved Kotoko’s delivery as she drew her magic circle though it was Kuro’s dead-pan reaction that really sold the scene. The two year time skip earlier in the show kind of confused me because it hadn’t seemed like there was any reason for it. Now though it is clear that Kuro and Kotoko have had any number of adventures together and built up quite a complex relationship and understanding and we’re slowly learning the new status quo between them through seeing these interactions. I kind of love it while at the same time am still not entirely convinced we needed it. I feel we could have started with this case and they could have later gone back to how Kuro and Kotoko met. Then again, that’s just me being nit-picky when I’m actually just enjoying the story as is.

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I’m not sure about the reordering. I don’t disagree but I think I would have to see it. Part of why I’m enjoying the current arc is that I got really attached to the characters in the beginning where nothing much was happening so they had time to build them up. I have been comparing Kotoko to Cardcaptor Sakura for a while so I also loved the magical girl moment. It was probably my favourite comedic moment but maybe not my favourite overall. I’m glad they worked the cane into the animation.

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Moving away from Saki we have a Kotoko and Kuro only moment as he escorts her to her hotel (pretty sure he doesn’t plan on staying with her even if she does pout). Again, it is a lovely sequence that gives us a lot to ponder about the two and the state of their relationship. Equally, it does give us a little bit of exposition about the nature of Kuro’s particular talent for ‘seeing’ the future. For an anime that is so dialogue heavy, they do manage to avoid expositioning us to death and leave a lot of things as implied rather than said. So when we get these explicit explanations of how something works they are far more effective because it isn’t buried under a million other explanations.

I have been watching a few anime with divination as an element and this is one of my favourite takes on it. It allows to have both absolute and accurate predictions while maintaining the prospect of an uncertain future with limitless possibilities. It does make Kuro seem terrifyingly powerful though. Almost godlike really. I’m starting to be a little afraid of the guy.

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I can’t let the review end without at least mentioning the post credits. I’m not getting into detail but despite my overall dislike of cliff-hangers, this is a great example where one feels earned and works. They spend the whole episode working toward Kotoko developing a plan for dealing with Nanase and just when they have the information they need to progress their plan something happens that alters the playing field and tips the balance very much against them. It was nicely done and the transition between Kotoko worrying about exactly the scenario that occurred and seeing it happen was timed more or less perfectly. I’m definitely waiting for the next episode now to see how this revelation changes things.

This was in fact my favourite scene. Favourite may not be the best way to put it. It evolved a character I liked a lot and was very effective. In any case, it got me hanging. I’m cautiously excited about the final implication of an actual flesh and blood antagonist. Although I do like the concept of a mindless evil, there is something to be said for a good villain. It can really bring a story together.

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Irina and Karandi

Irina 2020

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In/Spectre Episode 5 Review

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Irina and Karandi

Irina 2020

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In/Spectre Episode 4 Review

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I found myself really enjoying the episode of In/Spectre this week, though when I got to the end of it and started thinking through what had happened, I realised we weren’t a whole lot further ahead than when we started. Part of that is the nature of the show with its heavy use of dialogue but I’m finding it thoroughly enjoyable and don’t often feel like the episode is padding things out (though once or twice it may have lingered longer than needed in a scene). How did you feel about it Irina?

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The bulk of the episode was in fact an exposition dump to get us up to speed on the Steel Nanase legend. I didn’t mind it at all. It really gave it that spooky pasta feel and I think it fits the show. Moreover, I once again praise the chemistry between all three of the main characters that makes it fun to watch them simply interact in mundane circumstances. I really liked this episode and I wish I could have watched another.

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My favourite part of the episode had to be the opening exchange between Kotoko and Saki. I loved that Saki just called it straight away that Kotoko wasn’t Kuro’s girlfriend and I had to stop the episode because I was laughing too hard when Kotoko tried to justify their closeness through that reel of photos on her phone. It was just really funny and well delivered. Of course, it makes you wonder why Kuro is still hanging around at all two years on, particularly as he has now apparently gone AWOL for a week. That boy has a lot of secrets and I’m really curious to know the answers.

The pictures were just the best, weren’t they? And Saki and Kotoko make a fun odd couple as well. Both are pretty strong headed and capable which means they interact more or less as equals which is always interesting in my opinion. This said, I’m not sure this was my favourite part per see. I enjoyed the entire episode.

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The more serious side of the story though is that Saki is investigating the real idol Nanase’s death while Kotoko is also trying to get information together. In/Spectre once again used its tactic of telling us what happened to Nanase through Saki’s readings, but then Saki raised a question about the story making us doubt what we’d just been told. Of course, we don’t yet have an answer but this anime definitely seems to thrive on leaving the audience in a bit of limbo as to what the truth actually is.

To be fair, I have a feeling that unravelling the Nanase mystery is in fact what the core of the season will be. I’m only basing this on the OP visuals though so don’t put too much stock in that. Still it’s what my feeling is at the moment and as such I really can’t blame the series for not revealing everything right off the bat. I figure we won’t get that until episode 10 or maybe 12. Then again, I could be completely off here.

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Where I felt the episode was wasting time a little was in giving us an entire anime opening to a drama that Nanase apparently appeared in. Seriously, mid-episode we get this opening song to a TV series that doesn’t actually exist for a character that is already dead. It just felt kind of unnecessary, though the cheesy nature of that OP was enough to make me smile and some of the lyrics were amusing due to how terrible they were.

Really? I loved it. I wanted to watch it. It seemed so inane. And from the little we do see of the real Nanase (as unreliable as it may be) she seemed like the type of person that would have had no patience for such an inane series. I wonder how she took it.

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I also really liked Kotoko’s musings that Nanase the ghost may not be exactly as she appears. No malice, no sense of vengeance… I’m not entirely sure where they are going with this. Maybe it’s one of these stories where the gruesome circumstances of her death coupled with her idol status simply captured the imagination of the masses and it’s people’s collective, for lack of a better word: “belief” that created the Steel Lady. I sort of enjoy those stories even if they are a little cliché. I guess it’s less cliché than a vengeful ghost, although not by much.

Overall though I’m pretty happy with how this is going. I like the three characters of Kotoko, Kuro and Saki, even though they haven’t all been in a scene since episode 1, and I’m enjoying the way this story delivers dialogue. I’m also pretty curious as to what is going on with Nanase. They seemed to be alluding to the possibility that it was the estranged sister that might be dead and Nanase took her place, though I doubt the answer will be that obvious. Any theories before we wrap up Irina?

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Foiled again, why don’t I read ahead!! I’m hoping that the show won’t fall into melodrama again and that long lost family is a red herring. Internet manifestation is what I’m going with although to be honest, I don’t really believe it myself. I’m happy Kuro’s back!I hadn’t realized I missed him.

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Irina and Karandi

Irina 2020

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In/Spectre Episode 3 Review

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Alright, my prediction last week that the cliff-hanger would resolve within the first minutes this week proved slightly incorrect and yet not. The Guardian Snake story was finished at around the 8 minute mark and then we had a two year time skip. In/Spectre certainly makes predicting where it is going a little more difficult than other shows. That said, I had quite a bit of fun this week with it. How about you Irina?

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Well the conclusion of the Snake Saga got a bit melodramatic and contrived for my tastes. I did like that Kotoko had a semi explanation for her apparent omniscience though. This said, once I started watching it as a fun supernatural soap opera, I enjoyed it quite a bit. I also did like how things picked up after the time jump.

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I’m going to talk about the end of the Guardian Snake story first and then I’ll deal with the introduction to the new story because it makes sense to do these things in order. The snake story finished through dialogue but ultimately gave us a possible scenario for the facts as they were presented that the snake accepted. Kurou and Kotoko then leave the mountain and catch a ride home and discuss further with Kotoko somehow or another drawing the conclusion that she was now Kurou’s girlfriend.

It kind of sounds dull but I really find I enjoy the exchanges between the characters in this story. Dialogue here is rich and individual words end up having a lot of meaning, which probably means relying on subs isn’t the best option as we’re probably losing some of the nuance in translation. That said, I really just find the dialogue fun to listen to and it reveals a lot about the characters. I was pretty happy with how this story wrapped up.

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Personally, I think the scene works mostly (if not entirely) due to Kotoko and Kuro’s fantastic chemistry both as characters and actors. I’m not sure the exact same dialogue would have been as successful with any other two characters.

Kotoko is a character I enjoy a lot so far but she does run the risk of being one note and the car conversation was really just reinforcing the personification we have gotten so far rather than adding anything to it. I look forward to seeing these two get developed a bit more because I think there are some very solid foundations here.

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The two year time skip caught me off guard and it took me awhile to realise who the young police officer was, though it did click before the story actually revealed it. I will admit I very much enjoyed the introduction to this next story. A ghost who caused a traffic accident is fairly common in urban legends and with the dead idol twist this story got me immediately interested. What was less clear was how Kotoko was going to get involved however she arrives before the episode ends and we get another short action sequence. Like the first story there’s this mix of fun with an underlying darkness and I really just like the tone of this story.

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I recognized her right away and I really liked that they made her the main focus of the latter half of the episode. It’s a really interesting relationship that brings up conflicts we don’t explore quite as much. As for the steel lady Nanase story line, it played out like a creepy pasta and I mean that as a compliment. A slightly cheesy creepy story whispered between school kids that everyone laughs about but are secretly just a little scared of. I eat that stuff up. It adds back a bit of camp and lighthearted fun to the series and I think In/Spectre shines when it’s just a little goofy. A really strong start to what I am assuming is going to be the main arc (based on the visuals in the OP).

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Part of me is wondering if the two year time skip is going to be meaningful or whether they just wanted to fast track Kotoko and Kurou’s relationship. Of course, it is hard to say given Kurou didn’t reappear yet in the ghost story. However, Kotoko was pretty confident in her declaration that she was his girlfriend. Then again, she told the snake the same thing… I definitely love that we can’t exactly trust everything Kotoko says or take it at face value. It makes you look a little closer at things.

I was thinking the same thing..did they fast track the relationship or is Kotoko lying again. She mentioned having come “here” because of Nanase so I’m thinking this is a different city. Maybe Kuro is still back home, with his wife and children or something… I don’t actually think that but I might enjoy seeing the main relationship in the series being an unexpected shift from the obvious Kuro/Kotoko romance to a more complex Kotoko and Saki friendship. Or they could do both!

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Honestly, I really like In/Spectre so far. The characters are really fun, the story is engaging, and it leaves me wanting to know more about the underlying world and the characters. I could do without them splitting stories over episodes, but that isn’t a deal breaker and clearly is going to continue throughout the season so I’m just going to have to accept that episodes won’t necessarily end on a resolution for the current story.

I am having a lot of fun with the series as well. It’s sort of what I hoped BoogiePop would be.

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Irina and Karandi

Irina 2020

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