Kokkoku Ep. 3: Wandering aimlessly

Near death, Juri somehow activates her ability to expel people’s “jellyfish.” There’s no real explanation for it. Her eyes just goes white, then next thing you know, her touch causes those bundles of strings to fly out of her attackers’ bodies. Majima has a different name for the “jellyfish:” Specters (ugh, do we really need two names for everything?). They are apparently spirits of the Stasis world, and without one, a person cannot move freely in this… what would you even call this? It’s not an alternate universe. I guess it’s kind of like a different plane of existence. In any case, when Juri expels her attackers’ Specters, they get a nosebleed and immediately freeze in place. If I have to guess, they’re probably not dead, but the nosebleed might suggest some pain once time in the normal world starts ticking again.

As Juri makes her escape with the family stone, Majima asks if the goons can capture our heroine without killing her. Later in the episode, all Majima can say is that she once had Juri’s powers. Juri has apparently met Majima before, but the memories remain murky. I really dislike selective amnesia as a plot device. It’s really lazy. It rarely adds anything interesting to the character and often only serves to withhold information from the audience until some designated time.

Elsewhere, Sagawa seems to be conducting an experiment. They tell an unlucky goon to execute one of their own, which triggers the appearance of The Herald. Naturally, the unlucky goon gets his head smashed in. Sagawa notes, however, that The Herald is even smaller this time around. He somehow deduces that the size is directly tied to the being’s energy levels. I find this kinda odd. There could be a lot of reasons why it’s smaller the second time around. Honestly, this just feels like a flimsy justification for why The Herald might not show up later in the story. In other words, if the being uses up too much energy, you might be able to kill someone in Stasis without incurring The Herald’s wrath.

You remember the unlucky goon that got his head smashed in, right? Well, his jellyfish or Specter flies off into the sky and goes on a magical trip. Actually, it heads straight for Makoto. Um, isn’t that convenient? Of all the people currently immobile in this world — oh, I dunno, all six billion of them — it chose one of the story’s main characters. There’s just something special about Juri’s family, but we probably won’t find out what for quite a few weeks. I just find it a bit hard to swallow at the moment. It’d be cool if someone completely unrelated to both the protagonists and antagonists was “awoken” instead, and they end up being pulled into the story as a result.

What’s interesting is how Tsubasa tries to protect the kid from the fact that they had been kidnapped, because he’s afraid the trauma will turn Makoto into, well, him. I wonder what happened to the uncle… Something weird is also happening to him, but we won’t find out what until later. As for the kid, he adapts very quickly to his strange, new world.

We also see Sagawa and his goons question Takafumi. He and his right hand man even play the good cop, bad cop routine on the sad sack of a patriarch. It sounds like Sagawa wants to earn Takafumi’s trust by offering a deal that he won’t stick to. The latter shouldn’t trust a cult leader who tried to kill him and his daughte. But considering how badly Takafumi wanted to call the shots back in the first episode, I fear he might say or do something stupid just to try and be the hero.

Anyways, a bunch of goons are dicking around in a convenience store. They even pull down a defenseless woman’s panties. I was hoping for The Herald to show up and crush their heads in, but nothing happens. Has it run out of energy already? Or does it only show up in cases of murder and sexual assault? Luckily, one of them spots Juri in the distance, so they don’t get to do anything further to that Stalled woman. Juri also runs into her grandpa, which sets off a chase scene. She and her grandpa think that they’ve eluded their attackers, but it turns out someone is just pretending to be Stalled. Unfortunately, the episode ends on this cliffhanger.

How do I feel about this week’s episode? Well… think about it this way: how exactly would I convince an anime loving friend to watch this show? I dunno if I can. “Dude, you totally gotta check Kokkoku out! These people are in a world where nobody moves but they can move and this cult is after them and…” Well, I just kinda have to stop there, don’t I? Mentioning The Herald wouldn’t be much help, because it doesn’t do anything right now outside of protecting the Stalled from being murdered. And I can’t really lean on the cult to sell the show either, because we still don’t really know what their true aims are. They’re just a bunch of evildoers with no personalities.

Kokkoku lacks a strong hook. After three weeks, it lacks a compelling reason for viewers to tune in week in and week out. Juri needs to save her family, but even this lacks urgency because time is frozen. As a result, she can afford to wander around aimlessly until she bumps into someone important. And y’know what? That’s exactly what she does in this week’s episode. Where would she have gone if she had not bumped into her grandpa? What exactly was her plan? It’d be nice to have a strong anime to cap off the weekend, but Kokkoku just doesn’t cut it.

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3 Replies to “Kokkoku Ep. 3: Wandering aimlessly”

  1. I really enjoyed the first episode, so I’m a bit sad about the show right now.

    Thinking about it, I think what drew me into the show in the first place wasn’t the time-freeze / fantasy stuff, but that family’s characters & their relationships with each other. I would totally watch a show focusing on them in a more realistic setting.

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