Shoumetsu Toshi Ep. 1: Can’t fill the gaping hole in my heart

The story is shrouded in mystery, but at the same time, it only has 23 minutes to work with. As a result, this opening episode is a mishmash of seemingly disparate elements that isn’t too satisfying to watch unless you like scratching your head in confusion. I’m sure it’ll all come together later down the line — well, that’s what you would hope for — but I wouldn’t say that I’m excited to keep following the series. It just feels like something that might be watchable if you could consume the story in one sitting. But instead, we get 23-minute chunks, and the execution isn’t good enough to leave me wanting. Instead, when confronted by the show’s mysteries, I just rather shrug and move on. But for the sake of this post, let’s humor ourselves and start from the beginning.

Three years ago, a city suddenly went poof and disappeared into thin air. No, really. The whole place disintegrated as if it got Thanos’d. There is, however, one lone survivor: our blue-haired heroine named Yuki. Since then, she has been experimented on by a mysterious organization referred to only as the Agency. What do they do? What are they after? Beats me, but they employ a bunch of edgy goons in black, hooded trench coats so you know they’re the bad guys. One day, Takuya breaks Yuki out of the research facility that she’s trapped in. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have much characterization at the moment. He simply plays the part of the out-for-himself mercenary. I’m only here to do mah job! She’s just a package! I always get the job done! Blah blah blah. As his character arc develops, he’ll probably come to care for the gir. Yawn. I also can’t say much about Yuki either. At the moment, she’s relegated to looking sad and forlorn. She has very few lines in this episode. She’s mostly here to inform the audience that she has nothing left in this world. Be that as it may, she sure seems to have no trouble trusting Takuya. She looked happy when he accepted the job to take back to Lost, i.e. the city that got Thanos’d. And even after he referred to her as just a package, which prompted her to initially run away from him, she didn’t hold it against him for too long. The girl seems easy to please.

But let’s talk about Lost. After the city disappeared, all that’s left behind is one big hole in the ground. Nevertheless, we’re told that the good guys — at least, I assume they’re the good guys — had received a message from said hole in the ground — a quantum-encrypted (lol) message from none other than Yuki’s father. The message says that he is waiting for his daughter… in Lost. Dun dun dun! So I guess have literally no other recourse than to travel to the big, gaping hole in the Earth? And then what? Just stare into the abyss and hope that otosan is staring back? Well, maybe there’s more to see once you get up close. Maybe the aerial shots of the big hole in the ground are all just illusions meant to trick us! Either way, Takuya intends to take Yuki safely back to her father (if he even still exists). Unfortunately, the Agency eventually catches up to Takuya when one of his contacts, a woman with red hair, appears to betray him. The episode then ends with a cliffhanger: it sounds as though the woman executed Takuya in cold blood, but then again, it happens offscreen. Plus, we wouldn’t have a show if he’s actually dead. But who knows? Maybe we’ll get some time-traveling shenanigans. Either way, the person who helps capture Yuki appears to be someone she used to cherish three years ago. As you can see, the mystery just continues to pile up on us.

For some reason, we keep seeing idols and references to them throughout the episode. Hell, it even opens with an idol concert. I have to assume that Yuki used to be one, but there has to be more to this than that, right? It’s almost as if idols are somehow important to this story. Moving along, in addition to the vaguely named Agency, we also have the Observer. He/she/they will ominously “decide the rest.” Ooooooh, how mysterious! Takuya and Yuki aren’t the only characters who are lazily portrayed. Dudes in lab coats keep referring to people as valuable specimens, because that’s what scientists are like. Their cold, logical brains can only see people as nothing more than bundles of data to harvest and process. Scientists don’t have hearts! As for the Agency, they have monks with psychic powers to do their bidding. But they’re not really alive per se. What I mean is that the characters talk about them as if they’re ghosts of some sort. More specifically, they’re victims of Lost that can somehow be summoned. Why they appear as monks, however, is yet to be explained. Not surprisingly, Yuki has special powers of her own. In order to protect Takuya from the evil ghost monk, she somehow manages to summon Akira, a dude who appears to be her former bodyguard. And somewhere in the middle of this episode, Yuki has an encounter with (yet again) a mysterious fortune teller who may or may not play an important role in latter episodes. Who knows? Maybe she’s just a red herring. Honestly, I can’t really approve of this sort of storytelling.

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