I can’t believe I’m going to say this, but this week’s episode of Kokkoku (Moment by Moment) was actually good! Someone pinch me! This was a compelling resolution to Shoko’s story arc introduced in the last two episodes, and I kid you not, it was so well done, it almost excuses the mess that was the first five episodes! Almost.
Japanese Original Episode Title: 㐧陸刻
Grandpa and Juri rescue Takifumi from the Genuine Love Society, but he’s not exactly grateful for it, berating Grandpa Yukawa for keeping everyone in the dark about their powers. Meanwhile, Shoko enlists the help of Juri and Co. to free her family from the Stasis world.
Survival Mode: In a rather exciting turn of events, we see a bit of action from Tsubasa of all people. After he and Makoto are attacked by one of the GLS grunts, he leaps into action, straight up choking the guy to death. It’s probably the most action we’ve seen in this series since…ever! Unfortunately, he is visibly shaken by the incident, to the point that he begins to give up on his will to live… and we all know what that means in the Stasis world.
OP Ability: Up until this point, Juri has only been using her powers on the GLS grunts, expelling their jellyfish and turning them into Stalled. But, for the first time, we see Juri using her powers as a means of protection rather than as an attack… Looks like Shoko was right to assume Juri could help her save her family…
Not so tough after all: In order to summon one of the Heralds, a person must attempt to harm one of the Stalled, which requires some serious killing intent, something Shoko apparently doesn’t have. No matter how many times she attempts to ‘kill’ an innocent Stalled, she just can’t bring herself to go through with it… much to her frustration.
Surprisingly Evil: Oddly enough, the character I dismissed as useless, is surprisingly the most cutthroat. Juri’s dad, Takifumi, manages to summon a Herald at will after just barely touching one of the Stalled and remarking that it might be interesting to kill someone, and seeing a Herald. Mind you, Shoko had a fucking knife to the Stalled’s neck and couldn’t summon a single Herald. But, ol’ Tubs McGee muses about killing the same guy and BAM the biggest Herald suddenly appears….
Themes & Trivia
Miyazaki origins? When a jellyfish starts to emerge from the body of a person or a Herald, it looks similar to the tentacles of the Ohm in Hayao Miyazaki’s 1984 classic animated film Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind.
Meaningful Ending Theme: I know I complained about the ending theme before, but after this week’s episode, I found that the theme song (not the ending sequence itself) is much more fitting to the tone of the anime than I originally gave it credit for. It’s about the bittersweet feelings of losing a loved one (in this case a lover), but given the emotional and tragic reunion between Shoko and her family… the lyrics manage to perfectly sum up the emotions conveyed during that scene.
Suspenseful Music: During the scene where Tsubasa kills one of the GLS grunts in self-defense, the music takes on a much more sinister tone with loud erratic violins that rise and build until reaching a fever pitch as Tsubasa’s victim slowly succumbs to death, at which point the music stops completely. This is a technique used in many films to evoke a sense of foreboding and suspense, most notably in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 film Psycho.
Well, I’ll be damned. It only took six weeks, but FINALLY we had a decent episode with proper pacing, plot, and, oh shit, is that character development?! For the first time, I actually enjoyed watching an episode of Kokkoku, hell, I was invested! Rather than bouncing around between the various characters and their ‘story arcs’, we spend the majority of the episode with arguably the most compelling character in the entire show, Shoko. The last two episodes introduced Shoko’s motivations for joining the Genuine Love Society and entering the Stasis world, and this episode provides a fitting resolution to her conflict while also advancing the plot and offering some much needed world building. The ‘main characters’, while prominent in the episode, take a backseat to Shoko and her narrative, and honestly, this is the best use of Juri and Co. to date, because despite what the promotional material would have you believe, they just aren’t capable of carrying an entire episode on their own.
Ticking away the moments…
This episode renewed my hope in the series! Everything was on point this episode. THIS is what I expected when I signed up to review Kokkoku, not whatever the hell those first 5 episodes were… It was emotional, with a compelling story, and a whole hell of a lot of heart. One can only hope that they keep this up in the subsequent episodes.
What did you think of this week’s episode of Kokkoku? Are you hopeful that they can keep the momentum going? Or do you think they’ll fall back into the same old same old? Let us know in the comment section! And don’t forget to check the rest of the Winter 2018 anime reviews on MANGA.TOKYO!