To be absolutely honest, I didn’t know what to write. And continuing in the same line of honesty, I even checked out what Scamp (and a few others) thought before sitting down and thinking again what I should write. In the end, I have very little to say about this episode, but nevertheless, I’ll do my best.
I’m going to try Brian’s format which is to give a(n objective) synopsis of the episode before going into any of my own thoughts. I know some people don’t like their episodes being recapped (so feel free to skip the summary), but this is more for those who aren’t sure if they want to watch it yet. And for a show like this, it wouldn’t hurt to know what’s happening before you commit twenty-five minutes to something you wish you hadn’t.
The episode opens with a glimpse of what I imagine to be sometime in the future. A girl named Isuzu is with this guy named Hiro(shi) and is blathering about love and falling in love and how much she loved Hiroshi. As her eyes begin to glow red, a pack of people clad in mysterious outfits and glowing eyes shining through masks that cover their faces appear, and a female voice challenges Isuzu, saying that she is wrong. Isuzu runs, pulling Hiroshi behind her, but the two are stopped by a single girl, suspended in the air, and wielding a very large scythe. …And then the opening sequence starts.
The actual story begins with Kuzumi Hiroshi moving to a new town (Jyouga) with his father and younger sister Mana. When they arrive at their new apartment, one of their neighbours – a young girl named Tsumuhana Isuzu – throws herself at Hiroshi and affectionately acquaints herself with him. Hiroshi’s father is a writer, and through some research he’s done for a story, we’re introduced to some village folklore centering on a wolf religion.
As Hiroshi and Mana head out to school we see how Mana wishes for her own independence despite being young and bound to a wheelchair. She even goes as far as getting upset with her brother for helping her down steps. Unlike in his previous school, Hiroshi is surprisingly popular with his classmates – all except one girl who introduces herself as Kushinada Nemuru and later goes on to tell him that his very existence is a nuisance. After school, Isuzu and her best friend Asagiri Kaname take Hiroshi on a tour around town. During this, Hiroshi learns about the Old Town and how the people who live in the Old Town don’t like the people who live in the New Town, making it a bad idea to visit that area. A few other important issues are brought up, like Hassaku, a local fruit that’s important for both the town’s economy and spirituality; nights start early in Jyouga, with most (if not all) stores closing at 7pm and nearly no one on the streets after 8pm – except for Ogasawara who was one of Hiroshi’s classmates, and had been reprimanded by Nemuru for being too overenthusiastic with Hiroshi, until his encounter with the scythe girl and her pack. The following day, when Ogasawara isn’t in class and his desk has been removed, Hiroshi wonders what happened. He is told by Nemuru that Ogasawara has moved.
I wasn’t impressed to say the least. The mystery of the town and its people could have been set up better; the wolf cult elaborated on a little more. A lot of mysterious aspects of the story have been presented, but not in a way that incites intrigue. The storyline itself has potential though a good storyline can be ruined with bad direction. I wasn’t a big fan of the “fuzzy focus” in the scenes involving the hunting pack. I wasn’t kidding when I said I didn’t have much to say about this episode – in fact, I wish I had more to say, but even after watching this episode over again more than once, I’m left with a little other than a weak impression. I can only hope the next one will be better.
(P.S. I’m sorry this is so late. My computer died on me and I was mildly depressed while it had to be reformatted. I lost everything – EVERYTHING; okay not everything. I’m a firm believer in backing things up on my external hard drive. Thank God for that and CURSE Microsoft!)