Thanasis is a writer, professional geek, and assistant editor at MANGA.TOKYO. He started watching anime with the mecha shows of the 70s and hasn't stopped since. He loves JRPGs.
This episode was so fast-paced that I am still recovering from all the action.
At least, Monokuma uses the pre-opening theme time to half-break the fourth wall and address the viewers with a much needed recap of the events. I say half-break because we already know that the Hunter’s Game is broadcasted to the world as a reality show.
I needed this recap. There are so many characters in the series, and I have to admit that I have difficulties remembering all their names. Most of the times I am like, “Ah, here is the Ultimate Boxer, and she is The Ultimate Something That Turns into a Monster AKA as the Pharmacist, I think”.
The recap is just a normal review of the events with a small tidbit of humor. In the last scene of Episode 03, we saw Hagakure-kun outside the building. While Monokuma is reminding us of the rules of its Hunter Game, a scrolling text informs us that Hagakure-kun is stuck outside because “nobody likes him”.
After reminding us that there are only twelve players alive, Monokuma makes sure to stress the two most important questions that drive the suspense in this show:
Who is going to be last one standing and who will die next?
After the opening credits we jump straight into the action. Juzo is attacking the Kyoko, Ryota, Kazuo group since he is a nice little obedient puppy that serves Munakata to the word. It’s ironic, of course that the Super High School Level Boxer’s forbidden action is throwing a punch, but that’s how Monokuma rolls. You can count on our twisted villain to bring some sarcasm to the mix.
At the same time Kyosuke manages to capture Makoto and uses him as a bait to find the hunter. I must admit that even though the rules are pretty straightforward and most of the times I am looking for the implications behind the rules, Munakata’s reasoning completely escaped me: The attacker is able to finish the game any time he wants. All he has to do is kill the people Monokuma directed him to (probably the most important members that can stand in his way) and then spend one break without killing anyone. He can then blame someone that is already dead as being the killer, and then infiltrate the Future Foundation as a hero. It makes a lot of sense, but there is still the possibility that the hunter is accidentally killed in one of the skirmishes. Unless they are hiding.
At last, Kazuo helps Aoi and Miaya escape with Makoto and confronts Kyosuke with an amazing quote that rings true:
“Love drives men mad.”
After a fierce battle in which Kyosuke is as mad as raving dog and Kazuo is as wise as an aging Yoda, Kazuo employs a variation of the butterfly sword technique and stops Kyosuke’s sword with his hand (I think it’s called the butterfly technique. I remember an old Voltes V episode where they had done it properly). In the same scene, Kazuo offers an explanation on why the youth’s hot mindedness can only bring trouble:
“The young convince themselves that fanaticism is the only way to face reality”
I am sad to see Kazuo go, but someone had to. If only he got more votes. Oh wait, it’s not that kind of reality show. It could have been an interesting addition though: “Vote who dies next!”
I am still divided on whether to include spoilers or not. For those of you who are reading this review before seeing the episode, STOP NOW.
For the rest of you: HOW COOL IS MIAYA’S CHAIR? Well, now we know that it’s not actually Miaya, but just a robot controlled by the Super High School Level Homeroom Monaka Towa, but still… Missiles? That was so cool. I would have loved to see all seven secret weapons. Maybe next time.
Fourth Wall: The fourth wall is the imaginary division between the real world and the world of imagination. The concept is usually attributed to the philosopher, critic, and dramatist Denis Diderot. The term itself was first used by Molière. In contrast to soliloquies and inner monologues, where the actor may seem like addressing the audience but he is instead having a dialogue with himself, in breaking the fourth wall the imaginary character acknowledges the audience and admits that he is, in fact, unreal. Breaking the fourth wall is becoming exceedingly common lately. One of the latest examples is the recent Deadpool movie in which the titular character is aware of the audience and the fact he’s just a comic book hero.
I’ll be back: This is what Miaya Gekkogahara says to Makoto before she storms out to face Juzo. It is one of the most popular cinematic catchphrase associated with Arnold Schwarzenegger. He first used it in his role as the Terminator in the 1984 science fiction film of the same name. In 2005, it was chosen as #37 of the most popular 100 Movie Quotes.
I enjoyed the introduction recap. No need to go through awkward flashbacks or unnecessary dialogue when you have a disturbingly cute arch-enemy broadcasting his twisted game as a reality show. A well-placed device that took nothing out of the story pacing.
Like in Berserk, the flow of the narrative is linear, without interruptions for flashbacks or concurring events that are happening outside the building. Everything is connected and is happening in real time. I like this kind of narrative. It’s fast-paced, concrete, and it tends to spit out details that tend to become boring.
I really enjoyed this episode. It had everything from the necessary philosophical quotes to the awe-inspiring fighting scenes. I was sad to see Kazuo go. He was the only one that was talking some really deep words. I will miss his quotes.
P.S. Can somebody tell me anything about the weapon that Kazuo uses in the episode? Munakata-san call it chuusen, but I’ve never heard of it.
©Spike Chunsoft Co., Ltd./希望ヶ峰学園第 3 映像部 All Rights Reserved.