PET episode 13 – Kissing Gourami

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Oh wow, I made it! This is not only my last Pet review but also my last episode review of the season. Over here at least! I know I may be alone on this, but I actually had a lot of fun! Yes, even with Pet…

So after a season of clumsy heavy handed melodrama and forced grimness how does it all end? I’ve been saying for a while now that Pet has been slowly getting better. Like it found it’s footing 5 episodes from the end or something. Of course it could still destroy absolutely any progress made with a horrible finale. A lot of way better shows failed to stick the landing.

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The last episode of Pet was surprisingly bitter sweet. I mean it wasn’t that surprising that it was bitter sweet but it was surprising just how much sweet was in there. Sure it wasn’t a happily ever after. I mean with the build up to this episode, that would have been pretty much impossible unless they reveal it was all a dream or something. But the show still managed to have some very sturdy redemption for a lot of the characters without retconing or destroying their characters. Even Tsukasa ended up having the best plausible ending.

Not only that but a lot of the episode was flashbacks, which is not unusual for this show, but these flashbacks were mostly happy. we got to see two rather touching and very different love stories. Sure we know that both end in tragedy but the episode decided to only concentrate on the happy moments. Which made the inevitable ending just that much more painful even if they didn’t show it. We know! Honestly, where was “this” show all season. This was an episode of a decent thriller. And that’s not what Pet has been. You got to stick to your brand dude!

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If anything I would say that Pet ended cautiously optimistic. Satoru found the inner strength to survive without Hiyashi and honour his memory. In a strange way, loosing his mentor, the most horrible thing that could happen to him, gave him a purpose. Hiroki is learning to stand on his own feet and live for himself, he has a long way to go but I’m hopeful he’ll make it.

Katsuragi managed to recapture the beloved family he has been missing all this time and maybe even a bit of himself, even if it was just for a few seconds. Lin finally found loving parents and Tsukasa got to start over in a way.

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I would never had imagined that all main characters would manage to make it out alive and relatively happy. The fact that Pet managed to do that without it seeming completely out of place is not something I would have thought this narrative capable of. I’m wondering why there was this progression late in the season. Maybe I just got used to it and it started to annoy me less. I’m sure that has a little to do with it….

Ok let’s bottom line it. You probably aren’t missing anything if you skip Pet the anime and I will not recommend it because there is way too much that just doesn’t work in this series. At the same time though, I really don’t regret watching it and I would have watched more. I can’t quite explain why. Something drew me in.

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If any of you made it to the end of Pet or to the end of my reviews, you are resilient and I’m impressed! Thank you so much for taking this questionable trip with me!

Contributed by Irina
from I Drink And Watch Anime!

PET episode 12 – Like A Worm on A Hook

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If you had told me I would say something like this a month ago, or maybe a month and a half, I wouldn’t have believed you. If you told me I would end an episode of Pet saying I can’t wait to find out what happens next week, that I would have been openly frustrated that I can’t continue the story, I would have figured you had mistaken me for someone else. I can’t wait to find out what happens next week..

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Last week ended in another fairly tense cliffhanger that had Hiroki cornered by Satoru and Tsukasa. Ultimately, Tsukasa’s plan was to crush Satoru and escape with Hiroki but he had to do that somehow without letting Satoru get suspicious. Normally this wouldn’t be too difficult. Hiroki is usually more than happy to just follow Tsukasa’s lead but he’s been feeling rather suspicious about Tsukasa since finding out the truth and he doesn’t quite know what to do with himself.

If you haven’t been following along with the series, this probably makes zero sense to you. I’m afraid it’s not about to get any better.

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So Tsukasa’s first plan goes down the dran when Hiroki refuses to cooperate and now Hiroki is being held captive by the company and likely to get crushed if Tusukasa doesn’t come up with a plan B.

But there was also that little time bomb we discovered last episode. It seems a long time ago Hiyashi left a hidden message for Satoru and the young man has finally discovered it. Although this message is fairly old and predates any of the events of the series, there’s already enough info in their to make Satoru just a little suspicious of Tsukasa.

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You know, I always thought Satoru may be one of those unexpectedly wise characters. He certainly seems the most reasonable in the cast. But that’s because he’s had someone to take care of him, nurture and shelter him. Being sheltered is great but it can also be a drawback. And for Satoru, it might have proved fatal.

We don’t know though. We didn’t see the aftermath. I wouldn’t put it beyond this movie to pull a bait and switch. Heck, all of it could be happening inside someone’s mind. This is the type of series it is. sneaky.

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So sneaky in fact that at some point I got invested and I don’t know when it happened. I’m not sure why. I like the three main characters but not enough to justify this renewed interest. The story gained a lot of focus but it’s pretty late in the game. I will say again, if this was the show from the beginning, Pet would have been a much better series. I fear that for most people it’s too little too late. For me though, I can’t wait to see what happens next.

Contributed by Irina
from I Drink And Watch Anime!

PET episode 11 – Bait

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Pet is very slowly becoming the show I thought it was going to be in the first place. Unfortunately, the road to get there was way too long and arduous for me to recommend the series to anyone. But I am kind of glad for me. The lone viewer standing. At least I get to have some “fun” with this. Yes the quotations are supposed to be there.

Basically, last week Hiroki found out that Tsukasa crushed his own mentor and not knowing how to deal with this information, he simply ran away. There’s a lot of deep and not completely explained feeeeelings between the main characters of Pet. A lot of the action feels more instinctive than logical. For instance I can’t tell you what Hiroki’s plan was and I don’t think he had one. He was just overwhelmed by the situation and removed himself from it.

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This said, now that the plot has started to circle around Tsukasa, Hiroki and Satoru, it’s markedly more interesting and focused. Since the three of them are more or less evenly matched and all slightly unstable, there’s really no way to know how it will play out. And that’s fairly unusual. Usually the show at least plays favourite with a character so you have an idea who you are supposed to root for. In Pet, it’s all up for debate.

This said, they do seem to be setting up Tsukasa as the big bad. This episode he is seemingly sacrificing Hiroki for his own ends and has made it clear that he won’t hesitate to crush his beloved pet if needed. But then again, it’s not like Tsukasa knows any other form of love. His childhood is by far the most tragic of them all. More importantly, Tsukasa is the character that stands in stark opposition to the shadowy “company”, which is the closest thing we have to a main antagonist. And he is the character we spend the most time with. As twisted as it may seem, the narrative has set him up as the protagonist.

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Right now we’re in an interesting place where we don,t actually know where anyone’s loyalty lies and what their end game is. Tsukasa has seemingly betrayed Hiroki by setting him up to take the fall for Hayashi’s murder, and therefore become the object of Satoru’s wrath. But we do know he still wants to somehow get revenge on Satoru and keep Hiroki safe and by his side as possible.

Satoru did go into a blind rage seeing what happened to his mentor and seemed fairly convinced by the set up Tsukasa had created. However, a very brief scene between him and Mei hinted that he may have additional information from Hayashi. Up until now Satoru and Hiroki were pretty good friends after all.

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Then there’s Hiroki himself. Lost and confused he probably doesn’t know what his next move is so how could we. But he’s strong and much smarter than he gets credit for so I wouldn’t count him out.

We now have three thugs playing a game of psychological cat and mouse. Although some of the heavy handed imagery remains it’s mostly background noise. The meat of the story has moved from the trauma and gross situations to the tension of a fight which is likely to end up with no winners.

Contributed by Irina
from I Drink And Watch Anime!

PET episode 10 – Broken Fish Tanks


I didn’t pick the title of this post. That’s the actual title of the episode. It’s like the writers of this show and I finally got in sync. I’m a little scared…

I really don’t hate where the story is taking us, namely towards an inevitable showdown between all the remaining image users. Well at least the ones that aren’t apparently brain dead. It’s really a pretty decent and logical progression of the story. The unfortunate thing is that in order to get us there, they are using Tsukasa’s mental unravelling as a catalyst and that’s really shaking foundation.

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Ultimately, we are lead to believe that everything that’s happened, all the events of the show, well at least of the main story arc, were set into motion simply because Tsukasa was jealous of Satoru and held a grudge against his old mentor. Except that just feels unearned.

It clashes with the Tsukasa we are presented with in all other situations and sort of goes against everything the show tells us about image users. It’s behaviour that’s much more suited to Hiroki’s character yet this episode went out of it’s way to establish the opposite.

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And there was an extremely easy way out of it. Have the company force Tsukasa to choose between Hiroki’s life or Hayashi. Tsukasa could still have dubious morality, choosing Hiroki because he is more useful to him but the decision would have been difficult and left him rattled to the point of PTSD. The plot could essentially have been in the exact same place now but the lead up would have been more logical in my opinion and everyone’s motivations would have been established.

It’s just easier for me to get invested when I understand why characters act the way they do.

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On the other hand I do quite like Hiroki and the story is setting him up for a rather drastic character moment in the last episodes. In fact, Pet had been rather protective of the ultimate Pet, showing him in a generous light throughout the series and making him and Satoru out to be rather heroic innocents despite their situations.

That’s why a confrontation between the two could have been interesting if set up properly. Otherwise it would just feel forced and rather sad.

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This said, Satoru is about to find out about Hyashi and it is quite possible that his reaction will be aggressive enough to force the turf war after all. And I can buy that. Satoru has been shown as something of a gentle giant up until now but he’s also always been nurtured by Hyashi. Even though they’ve been separated for a long time, his childhood was comparatively loving and he has never had to faced open betrayal before. That would make it more likely for him to snap.

Basically episode 10 was just more groundwork for a big final confrontation but since they started off on the wrong foot, I think they would have been better off glossing over it and just getting to the action.

Contributed by Irina
from I Drink And Watch Anime!

PET episode 9 – Pterois

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I actually had to look up that name for the title. I put some effort in this and for some reason I feel the need to tell people about it!

Last week Hiroki ended up at the hospital for malnutrition, as I suspected. I do like that it makes sense and was nicely foreshadowed. They even gave him a sensible emotional reason for not eating. It’s still a fantastic coincidence that he ended up at the same hospital as Hayashi but then again, they were in relative proximity. It’s one of those coincidences that’s very easy to accept and was very well set up. I got ahead of myself. uhm…Hiroki ended up in the same hospital as Hayashi…

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This is frankly better foreshadowing than we’ve had all season and in fact than a lot of shows have. So good job on that.

Hiroki’s hair dye turned out to be shoe polish so a simple rinse got him back to his original colour and whatever the hospital gave him was pure magic because it plumped him right back up. It makes no sense but I like Hiroki’s character design so I was happy enough to ignore that part to see him back to normal. Besides, it’s pretty immaterial to the story.

What was more unexpected is that Hiroki, sensing an image user close by, decides to investigate and manages to very effectively and easily get away from Katsuragi. To the point where you kind of wonder how the company could control this guy at all. I guess it’s really Tsukasa that controls him through emotional manipulation but still. This said, I enjoyed this scene a lot. It was a moment of growth and establishment for the character and once again the solution was simple and believable (in context). I’m impressed Hiroki managed this but it’s not actually out of character.

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Meanwhile, we see that Tsukasa’a grip on himself and the situation may be slipping as it becomes obvious that the company intends to use Hiroki to manipulate him and Satoru to threaten him. This was much weaker than Hiroki’s plot line. I get what they were doing but at the end of the day, Tsukasa is severely weakened in his current state and they could have simply pointed a gun at him instead of jumping through all these hoops. Especially as everything is still vague and there doesn’t seem to be a huge advantage in keeping him alive at all.

Long story short, Tsukasa is pretty much obsessed with getting rid of Satoru as he’s paranoid that the other will eventually want revenge for what happened with Hayashi and that seems to be the only thing on his mind. Ultimately, once the treath removed, I do beleive he wants to leave the company with Hiroki. Meanwhile, the company wants to separate him from everyone else most likely to avoid that exact outcome.

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As the episode wrapped up, Hiroki manage to find Hayashi just before the later seem to get irrevocably crushed, and get enough stray information to peice a few things together. For one that Tsukasa considers him a pet and that Tsukasa seems to have crushed the man who shared his peak with him. This is very unsettling information and now that Hiroki has proved himself much more capable than previously established, I’m curious to see what he will do with it.

Contributed by Irina
from I Drink And Watch Anime!

PET episode 8 – Fish Fry

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The French word for fish is “poisson”. Now that I think of it, it sounds a lot like poison. Anyways, there’s this expression used in Quebec (and I’m pretty sure nowhere else) when you call someone a “poisson” or a fish it means they’re gullible. Like they’ll gobble up anything. I really wanted this expression to exist in English as it would have been such a good fit for this week’s post title… Oh well.

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Look, I’m not going to sit here and pretend Pet is a good show. It really isn’t. There are too many obvious flaws and not enough strenghts to make up for it. Arguably very few if any strenghts. The only thing I can say for it is that I don’t hate it. I want to see where it goes. And for the life of me, I don’t know why.

Maybe it’s because of stray moments of brilliance. There was a scene this week. Hiroki having just left with Katsuragi on a mission for the company, Tsukasa finds himself alone in their apartment getting ready to go meet a company boss. It’s a meeting he’s kept secret from Hiroki and one where he plans to exercise some pressure on this boss. He mumbles happily to himself as he gets dressed. The camera switches angles frequently but only very slightly. The images are often off centred in an odd way, as if the camera wasn’t properly framed. Tsukasa’s speech is disorganized and he almost seems to talk over himself somehow. The actor is varying his pitch and Tsukasa sounds kind of manic yet he never raises his tone in any way. The sound track is jumpy a competes with the voice track. The effect is fantastically unsettling and tense. I was holding my breath without realizing it. It’s a small piece of actually wonderful movie making showing a high level of mastery from the director and it’s wasted on the material.

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I say wasted but that’s not even right. I still think the base premise is quite interesting and full of potential. The characters are sadly under-realized but they’re not particularly bad just sort of shallow. And even the plot does have a lot going for itself.

For instance, this week Tsukasa continues to plan his personal escape from the company and his attack on Satoru, keeping everyone else including Hiroki in the dark. Meanwhile an unsteady Hiroki and Satoru are doing their first job alone together, both a little lost without their respective mentors and on a high stakes and very difficult mission. There’s a lot of excitement and tons of cards up in the air. Every body is plotting and trying to come out on top. We’re not sure who’s gonna snap and who’s gonna end up betraying everyone. And we assume Hayashi’s gone but we don’t have any actual proof.

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If you haven’t been following the series, that sounds like a bunch of gibbersih but you might still be getting the idea that it’s one of those twisty crime dramas where you never know who to trust. And it is.

The problem is in execution. It goes off on these needlessly “dark” tagents that I assume are suppose to be disturbing but come off as immature. Kind of the opposite of the feel the series desperately want’s to acheive. And the pacing and exposition are so way off that half the time you’re not sure what’s going on or what everyone’s motivation is which is particularly bad in this type of show.

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In the end, I am still watching Pet and I will continue. I want to know if Hiroki is ok, he was ruched to the hospital at the last minute. Probably because he hasn’t been eating lately. I want to know who will come out on top, Tsukasa or Satoru. But frankly, I couldn’t care less about any of the other story threads. Heck, I barely even follow them. But what did pique my interest is enough to keep me going.

Contributed by Irina
from I Drink And Watch Anime!

PET episode 7 – Betta

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Hello fellow viewer, let’s talk about this weeks Pet. After being saved in extremis by Hiroki last week, Tsukasa is slowly recovering from his ordeal and trying to figure out a way to get himself back on track. Meanwhile, Ron uses “baby” Mei to eliminate the heads of a rival company.

This is what I figured out watching the show. I enjoy crime dramas. I mean I already knew that, I didn’t figure it out just now, but I confirmed it. I enjoy these types of stories more than most people do. And I like the criminal element in Pet but, it actually suffers from a lack of exposition which is a rather unusual problem.

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In order to properly follow the twisty story-line full of double crosses, you need to have a pretty solid grasp on the details. And Pet isn’t great at laying it all out for you. I don’t mind doing some work and filling in the holes but when you have a universe that doesn’t go by the same rules as ours, you have to tell me what those new rules are or else I’m going to get lost.

This said, I’m only slightly lost with Pet. I think I recognize the street names and there’s a house over there that looks familiar. I might need to whip out google maps soon though.

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As the show advances, it seems that a confrontation between the lead characters may become inevitable, and with Pet’s penchant for grimness, it’s probably not going to end well. In fact the last scene of this episode was some pretty on the nose foreshadowing.

You know what, that sort of bothers me. And it only bothers me because at some point I managed to get attached to Hiroki, Satoru and even Tsukasa enough to be worried about them. Don’t ask me when it happened. I’m actually really surprised about it as well. But it did and now I’m probably going to be sad.

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I’m going to keep watching though. Who knows, maybe it will be a surprisingly happy ending.

Contributed by Irina
from I Drink And Watch Anime!

PET episode 6 – Fish Flakes

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I’m still trying to properly grasps the basics of the Pet universe. I’m not sure if the show is presented in a purposefully obscure way, or I’m just dim or maybe Pet hasn’t established it’s own premise in that much detail and the writers themselves aren’t too sure what’s what. In any case, I was listening to Satoru explain how image users like him can’t make their own memories and I was like whhhhhaaaaaa???

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As a premise this is amazing! This notion that otherwise normal individuals would be unable to form long or even short term memories (à la Memento) but could somehow parry that by borrowing, sharing, stealing(?) other people’s memories. It’s really a fantastic idea. Since so much of our perceptions, understanding, learning…really so much of ourselves is formed through our experiences and therefore memories, a person like that would be an ever changing chameleon. How do you form a sense of self. Is something ineffable retained, a spirit if you will, that ties all those disparate memories into a single personality. Is that what the peak actually does?

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Honestly the potential is incredible. However, if that is part of the core premise of Pat, it was so badly explored that by episode 6 I had no inkling of this concept and it wouldn’t have occurred to me had Satoru not bluntly spelled it out. And even then, nothing in the episode would before or after would have lead me to suspect. That’s just a waste of a great premise.

What the episode was actually about is Tsukasa and Hayashi continuing down their path of assured mutual destruction, leaving them both seemingly “crushed” while Satoru and Jun complete their conversation in a surprisingly cute way.

Satoru is in fact very intelligent even if he has been presented otherwise. That’s a nice subversion of his character. I like it. And in the last act, Hiroki also had the chance to prove himself not only unexpectedly level headed but quite resourceful.

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And yeah, I liked this episode too. I see where it failed. I wrote 3 paragraphs about it but I was honestly staring at my TV and interested in the next scene. This is something that has never really happened to me before, but I think this story would be much better in manga form. There’s something laboured and ungraceful about trying to fill in the space between panels. Not to mention that by far the weakest aspect of Pet is the tendency towards melodramatic acting which would be mitigated in still quiet images.

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I figure Satoru is going to learn about Hayashi and loose it which may put him at odds with Hiroki and Tsukasa. I would be a little sad to see that. Satoru and Hiroki made for an endearing odd couple. I also really hope they spell out what the limitations and full context of image users are for me, cause obviously I’m too slow to figure it out for myself. But otherwise, I’m still along for the ride.

Contributed by Irina
from I Drink And Watch Anime!

PET episode 5 – Daddy issues…fish

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Sometimes I wonder whether I’m really enjoying a series or whether I feel like I have to defend it because it’s such an underdog. At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter. That is unless, of course, I have to write a “review”…

Because I’m quite sure most people do not know what’s happening in Pet, last week long lost operative Hayashi came back to town to retrieve Satoru. This week, we finally got an explanation of what is going on in this universe. People who are born with the ability to go into other people’s minds and manipulate their memories, usually don’t fare too well. They end up unable to process all this extra information and go into semi vegetative states that medicine can’t help with.

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But if they learn how to compartmentalize their own minds, they can grow up to have fairly normal lives. And the best way to do that, is to have someone else in the same position show you by sharing how they did it. Apparently though, letting someone into your mind like that creates a deep and unique bond which strongly affects the latter all their lives. That is what Hayashi was doing for the company. Finding young people with these talents and “helping them”, in the process creating desperately loyal followers that are easy to manipulate. The company, a crime syndicate can then use these operatives as they see fit.

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However, having become disillusioned with the company and disgusted with his own role Hayashi is back to do the one small thing he can consider redemption, and that is try to help Satoru escape. Unfortunately, Tsukasa, one of his earlier pupils, stands in his way.

In the meantime, Satoru, how is more of a tool of the company than an actual member, is invited to join and become an official employee. Granting him some degree of power and freedom should he accept.

So here’s the bottom line. Pet is getting better. Sure Tsukasa had some DUH-ramatic moments but they were short and sort of funny. For the most part the episode was a tense back and forth splitting it’s time between Satoru and this mysterious woman who representing the company and Tsukasa and Hayashi.

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The former are playing a game of who can outwit who and it was genuinly interesting to watch even if it was really just a conversation while the latter yell their feelings at each other for a while then go into one of those groovy mindscapes.

Except Tsukasa’s mindscape isn’t a super grim high school art project like what we’ve been seeing so far. It’s actually a fairly realistic and rational series of vignettes with the two of them essentially going through a chase sequence through memory lane. It lacks in finesse but it’s no longer unpleasant. And there’s enough breadcrumbs to be interesting….to me… potentially only me.

Oh well. Once in a while it’s relaxing to just watch something by yourself.

Contributed by Irina
from I Drink And Watch Anime!

PET episode 4 – Catfish

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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.

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I’m really trying to make my title work

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.

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Also, fanservice!

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.

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They really make a much better couple!

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!