I do not understand why Bones tried to squeeze so much out of the last episode, and yet they will turn around and waste far too much time in this one. More after the jump.
— No OP this week. This usually indicates that the episode will have a lot to cover. Usually. But this very first scene is just one example of what I mean when I say that this week’s episode is wasting far too much time on irrelevant nonsense. Members of the agency — minus Dazai, Atsushi and Rampo — are going over the details of the case. Essentially, the episode is getting you up to speed in case you missed or forgot what happened in last week’s episode. What’s silly for me, however, is the way the President proceeds to state the obvious.
Our mission is to disarm the bomb, then stop the Azure Messenger!
Uh, no shit?
But remember, our priority is the bomb!
Again… no shit? Dude, what exactly do you do here?
— Man, they really went all Magneto on that kidnapper.
— There’s nothing particularly notable about the next scene. Well, sorta. Kunikida calls up Rokuzou to ask for the kid’s help once more. He also gives a short lecture about doing the right thing. The latter fires back that Kunikida is not his dad. This might be relevant later.
— The third scene of the episode is particularly maddening for me. On the one hand, it does provide us with a few handy clues regarding the Azure Messenger’s identity. After all, doesn’t Sasaki know a bit too much about the Azure King? We even get a glimpse of the former terrorist himself. But the rest of the scene really bugs me as Dazai teases Kunikida over his love life. Cue the silly faces. Cue the exaggerated performances from the VAs. What the hell, guys? I thought we had a bomb to diffuse. Kunikida claims he only dropped by because Dazai was absent for the meeting. As such, he needs to fill the guy in on the mission. But look, you can’t fool me anymore. You guys have the internet. Just send him a goddamn email.
— Eventually, Atsushi gets news that Rampo is free to assist them with the mission. Ah, that’s what they were waiting for. These guys can’t do anything without the master detective. I guess it only makes sense that we make silly faces at the audience until then.
— If you’re curious what the bomb looks like, then here you go.
— The bomb squad can’t diffuse the bomb in time, so our heroes will have to turn the it off remotely. By the way, there’s an over-the-top moment in which all three of our heroes are talking on their phones simultaneously. What does this add to the story? Nothing. It’s just more style over substance, which, quite frankly, is just par for the course with this adaptation.
— Dazai, Kunikida and Atsushi arrive at a former defense force facility, and they are immediately beset upon by a criminal organization. Kunikida finds himself fighting against a guy whose power is rather ridiculous. First, you get marked with a number, then he has the ability to telekinetically knock anyone with a number around. As he does this, the number counts down until it reaches zero. Once that happens, you die. Uh, okay… I mean, for an ability, that’s neither fun nor clever. It just sounds silly and overburdened with pointless steps. We all know what the problem is, of course. If everyone gets a unique ability, at some point, someone’s gonna draw the short straw and get a really lame one. Might as well be some throwaway bad guy we’ll never see again after this week’s episode.
— Meanwhile, Dazai and Atsushi find the bomb’s transmitter, but they don’t have the key to operate the machine! And also, there’s this big, black dude. He doesn’t have any powers. Shit, he doesn’t even talk. He’s just a big, black dude. Oh anime.
— Also, I just love how the transmitter also comes with a nice, big monitor to display the countdown not once, not twice, but multiple times for good measure! Neat!
— Kunikida can’t do anything against Mr. Numbers, and Dazai can’t do much in a physical brawl, so they literally just switch spots. Oh right, powers don’t work against Dazai, so he just walks up to Mr. Numbers and socks the guy in the stomach. Meanwhile, Kunikida beats the big, black dude… through his own physical strength? Whatever, man.
— Somehow, Atsushi, who is completely useless during this scene, is impressed by this so-called teamwork. I don’t even know what they did that could even be considered teamwork. Oh, I can’t beat this guy, and you can’t beat that guy. Let’s switch spots, and conveniently win! Naisu job!
— The good guys eventually deactivate the bomb, and the anime cuts to the bomb squad. This is the funniest part of the episode. With just three minutes on the clock, the bomb squad is doing…
…absolutely nothing. Wait, no, they have their tiny riot shields up. Yep, that’ll do the trick. Way to earn your paychecks. Still, all’s well that ends well, right?
— Hmm, there’s still six or seven minutes left in the episode. Okay, shit is really gonna go down now. We see Kunikida paying his respects to the dead at a cemetery. Sasaki kinda shows up out of nowhere — I mean, we don’t even see her enter the scene — and she confesses that she never broke up with her boyfriend. Rather, he died. Oh dear. There’s some brief talk about how time is of no use to the dead. Okay. I don’t think I need to elaborate on this point.
— Eventually, Kunikida meets up with Dazai, and the latter claims that he’s figured out the true culprit. He has sent this person an email — see, you can totally send emails in this universe — and he or she will arrive at any moment.
— It was you all along?! Nah, false alarm. And just for that, we should kill this punk:
Please don’t tell me that I’m the only one who groaned at this, right? Why did Rokuzou even show up? If he truly believes the Azure Messenger is tied to the Azure King — or is possibly the Azure King himself — then I can buy the argument that he came here to seek revenge. My problem, however, is with how the whole situation played out. Hi, I’m here! Then bam, bam, bam, I’m dead. It feels contrived, because the pacing is rushed. If Bones had just slowed things down a bit, this whole scene wouldn’t have felt so awkward.
— And now, the Azure Messenger emerges from the shadows! Surprise, it’s really Sasaki. Man, who woulda thought it! I wasn’t suspicious at all when she was imprisoned separately from the other kidnapped victims! Nor did I find it strange how she was completely lucid and calm about the situation! But gee, how did Dazai know it was her? Perhaps that video of the Azure King might contain a clue or two…
Hm, we better zoom in.
Wait, what’s that! Computer, enhance!
Aha! Case closed, boys.
— Defeated, Sasaki drops her gun. Dazai is thus unable to shoot her! That would be excessive force! So he drops his gun, aaaaaaand… Rokuzou catches it. Naturally, he has survived long enough to do the dirty work for our heroes, then he dies. What a nice kid. Too bad he had to die.
— Kunikida is understandably mad. Uh, why does Sasaki have to die? Couldn’t we have just arrested her? More importantly, why does Rokuzou, someone he helped mentor like his own son, have to die? Fucking Dazai only has one response: “This was the only possible outcome.” Really, fucker? Having realized the Azure Messenger’s true identity, you couldn’t lure her out in any other way that wouldn’t doom Rokuzou’s fate? He said it himself just minutes ago that he had undeniable proof. Why was any of this necessary?
— Dazai then has the gall to lecture Kunikida. Y’see, if our easily angered friend over here doesn’t stop fighting so hard for his ideals, he may very well turn into another Azure King! End episode. What a stupid ending.
— I guess next week’s episode will develop Akiko’s character. We’ll also see more of that girl from a while back. I’m just so excited.
No final word, ’cause I’m virtually speechless after what I just saw. Besides, Wednesday shows are usually throwaways.