Casual Friday: Darwin’s Game Ep. 3 and Kabukicho Sherlock Ep. 14

Let’s go with Darwin’s Game first…

— When we last left off, Kaname got pulled into a battle royale where the objective is to collect at least three rings to survive?

— So what does this episode accomplish? Well, Kaname manages to bump into Rein, the somewhat NEET-ish girl that we’ve been seeing in the past two episodes. Functionally, she’s like a walking, breathing exposition device, which is so much fun. And since Kaname is feeling down about losing his ring, she also has to give him a pep talk in her slow, monotone voice.

— Outside of the hotel that these two are trapped in, we see Shuka racking up rings left and right. Unlike Kaname, she has no qualms about killing people. I don’t care so much that she’s undefeated or whatever. Who gives a shit? I am slightly curious, however, about her feelings for the protagonist. He’s a goody-two-shoes through and through. He should be disgusted with someone who takes other people’s lives like it’s a game, right? But… what if she’s cute?!

— Besides, Kaname’s going to have to dirty his hands at some point, right? Somewhere down the line, someone important to him is going to die, and that’s when we’ll see if he can stick to his principles.

— Outside of the game, we see a bunch of rich people at a fancy party watching the battle royale unfold on a big screen. Some thick girl talks about how humans just can’t tolerate peace and equality. The show’s cynical outlook on humanity is that we feel this strange compulsion to look down on others. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still super fucking bored with this anime. So let’s do a little exercise…

— We have to remember Banda-kun’s words back in the first episode. As he was dying, he told Kaname that he was only playing this game because his normal was too boring. In other words, he was an alienated worker. He’s one of the proletariat. Banda-kun couldn’t find meaning in what he did in life. But instead of rising up and eating the rich, the proletariat have turned on each other instead. They think that by acquiring points and victories in this game, they can raise their own social class. It’s all a farce, though. They’re just killing each other for the amusement of the rich.

— Alright, that’s enough of that. So uh… Kaname and Rein has to survive against some dude known simply as The Florist. Great stuff. I’m sure he’ll die in next week’s episode.


Kabukicho Sherlock Ep. 14

— A major story arc wrapped itself up a few episode ago, so this week’s offering gives a rather inconsequential side story. Well, that’s mean of me. It’s not completely inconsequential. The episode gives Fuyuto a reason to pick himself up and get his head in the game, and that’s not a bad thing, right?

— A kid escapes from the hospital to enlist the services of our great detectives. His friend disappeared in the middle of the night, and all of the adults are lying to him. Somehow, this is all related to Fuyuto’s past. Sherlock even lends a hand because he’s a bit of a tsundere. The end result (which I won’t get into) is a happy ending for everyone…

— …everyone except for Moriarty, that is. Yes, the true story can only be found after the ending credits. Up until now, his abusers were content to just rough him up, but it seems as though his life is now in imminent danger.

— As you can tell, I don’t really care about Fuyuto. I’m much more interested in seeing how Moriarty’s character arc will take shape. To put it another way, what is the anime’s thesis? If this hellish experience in prison turns Moriarty into the iconic Sherlock Holmes villain that we all know and love, then it implies that our environment plays a heavy role in determining our moral character. But doesn’t this rob us of our agency?

— Could the good guys somehow manage to rescue Moriarty? I don’t know. It would give us the cheesy happy ending, but this also seems like a cop-out.

— In general, I like this series. I do. I think Sherlock is a fun character to follow, and for the most part, the world around him is quite interesting. I also really like Irene Adler, and I hope she returns at some point in the second cour. Finally, considering everything that Moriarty’s been through, I actually hope that he somehow stays strong and doesn’t follow in the footsteps of his former incarnations.

— My only problem with Kabukicho Sherlock is that its narrative structure is so similar to anime series like Blood Blockade Battlefront and Bungo Stray Dogs. And those aren’t bad shows either, but they do this thing where they’ll introduce a super interesting overarching plot only to then slow down and give us a bunch of side stories (usually involving the side characters). Then as we near the end of a cour, the overarching plot finally returns and delivers a triumphant conclusion. Fabulous, right? But you still got those side stories that just don’t feel substantive to me. I don’t dislike characters like Fuyuto or Mary or Lucy. They’re part of the colorful, flavorful world that Sherlock inhabits. But they can’t really carry the show by themselves either. Two months from now, when I’m done watching the series, I’m going to remember powerful scenes like Moriarty losing it on Jack the Ripper. What I’m not going to remember is this episode with Fuyuto. Essentially, I wish anime series like Kabukicho Sherlock would just jump from one major arc to another and spare me the side stories. Right now, I enjoy the anime for what it is. I think it’s a good show. But it could’ve been great.

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