ZETMAN – 09
「形見の行方」 (Katami no Yukue)
“Where the Memento is”
First. World. Problems.
Barring the last five minutes, this was an enjoyable roller coaster ride. Lots of loops and dizzy drops. But whew… those last five minutes? Well. Sticking to my roller coaster analogy, the final portion of the episode would probably be that last unnecessarily crazy loop that causes most of its riders to vomit as soon as they stepped off the ride.
ZETMAN was on a warpath last week, bringing most of its characters up to speed on everything and forcing them to face the reality – and this week is no different, blitzing on ahead with the dramatic steam from its last episode. Really, the progression of the plot happens at a breakneck pace that the audience has to pay close attention to catch all the players involved. Jirou continues to play a large but obscure part in the grand stage, acting as a puppet master by orchestrating all of the unfortunate events that continue to befall Jin and Kouga. The non-stop action that results from his involvement is great, but I’m really hoping to see some sort of development from him; not as a convenient antagonist, but as a character. ZETMAN has such great, nuanced characters that it would be a shame to see such an omnipresent one like Jirou to get the shaft in favor of bubble-packing more material into the remaining episodes.
It’s clear Jirou has a beef with the Amagi Corporation, but beyond that is the great unknown. His fascination with Kouga is understandable from a sadist’s point of view since what sadist wouldn’t want to break those hopelessly optimistic ideals? But character-wise, it’s hard to understand that drive. I still have faith in the producers though and since it looks like Seiji and Jirou are shaping up to be the final bosses, I’m guessing we may be in for a big reveal to explain the latter’s motivations and why he’s targeting Amagi Corporation.
Looking at Amagi Seizou’s douchy attitude though, it’s not hard to imagine why anyone would have a grudge against the conglomerate. The family has issues, and it’s painfully clear how broken it is in all fronts. Aside from Konoha and Kouga and their mother’s relationships with each other, no one in the Amagi family has functional relationships with one another and it’s easier to view them as complete strangers than as one cohesive family. The problems feel real enough and although slightly overplayed sometimes, nothing about the family makes me question why Konoha and Kouga act the way they do. It doesn’t feel like they tacked on the dysfunctional family aspect just to make the two seem more tragic and it goes on to help explain some of their personalities, as backstories rightfully should.
Hanako on the other hand… dear God this girl. The brief flashback several episodes ago made me think she was just being a brat, but that short glimpse into her life really wasn’t enough to make any definite impressions so I’d held off on making any further judgment. Her upbeat attitude was also reminiscent of Akemi, who I dearly missed, so I was hopeful another strong, likeable character would be brought to the table. Unfortunately, Hanako is… difficult to sympathize with at the very least. Her parents seem like decent people and there’s nothing to suggest a justification for her deeming family unnecessary, unless wanting attention counts. The impression I get is that Hanako is the one shutting them out, which doesn’t help her establish any rapport with the viewers since it squirrels her into the role of a brat acting out against her parents. It all feels superficial and I have to say I’m a little disappointed at the one-dimensional feel of Hanako’s character amidst an entire ocean of solidly-developed, dynamic characters.
It seems like the producers are pushing on ahead with her and Jin though, as that lights-off scene has some pretty obvious implications. Maybe they’ll be able to salvage something out of the relationship after all.
Full-length images: Preview 01.