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Kekkai Sensen & Beyond – 04 »« Kekkai Sensen & Beyond – 02

Kekkai Sensen & Beyond – 03

「Day In Day Out」

Four stories playing out on a night in Hellsalem’s Lot

Of the four stories playing out in this episode—Steven’s, Leo’s, Chain’s, and Zapp’s—the first two are the more complete ones, with the latter two serving as compliments to Leo’s, and a little to Steven’s, stories. To explain, I’ll illustrate with Steven’s

Steven’s vignette is about him throwing a party—or so it would first seem, but it’s really about realizing that your friends are fake, and, in typical Kekkai Sensen ridiculous-to-the-point-of-absurdity fashion, those friends are actually trying to capture or kill Steven. The theme is fairly clear, though the way it’s told is gentle and almost haunting. Steven himself says he was “having too much fun”—letting his guard down, and exposing himself to unnecessary risk and heartache—but he’s wise enough to protect and appreciate Veded, who cared for her employer enough to notice his moods better than Steven’s own coworkers did. The theme is to treasure those who truly care for you.

Leo’s story is about weakness, and helping others, and like Steven’s, it’s told with an air of loneliness that I found mesmerizing. The night scenery was well picked, because it lulls the viewer into mood where the loneliness and frustration don’t seem negative, because Steven has it handled, and because Leo is losing due to his own decisions. In Leo’s story, he confides in Sonic that he doesn’t like to use the special powers of his eyes for his own sake—but when Zapp asks for help to save his Freedom Magnum, Leo is instantly willing to render aid, even if it means using his eyes (though unfortunately he hadn’t seen the cat in question before, so that was a no go). His vignette had not so much a theme as an exploration of his character, showing what he wouldn’t do, and his fear of killing someone else.

Zapp and Chain’s stories mostly serve as accompaniment to Leo’s story, about friends looking out for one another; Zapp is the friend who Leo looks out for, while Chain is the friend who looks out for Leo. Or perhaps you could consider their parts more of vignettes in the classic sense, a brief evocative picture of who they are as people in a night filled with other, more mournful tales. Zapp is who Zapp has always been thinking with his dick and even then, not thinking all that much. Which is an insult to his character if I knew a dirtbag like him, but not an insult to him as a character in a story; Zapp’s as great as he is a shitty friend. And he badly needs the help to avoid becoming an eunuch, a subplot that gave me plenty of chuckles.

It was Chain’s tale that I enjoyed the most, and not just because I’m a huge Kobayashi Yuu fan. Chain is one of the characters we’ve spent the least amount of time with; we know she’s aloof, competent, and doesn’t much like Zapp, but past that, she’s very much been a supporting character. This episode, plus from the looks of it the next one, give us more of a peek into who she is. And that person is: still aloof (she didn’t help Leo when she could have), but still someone who looks out for her companions, even if that means indulging in an epic drinking contest. Which, as RandomC’s resident lush, tickled me to no end. New favorite character right here!

But man, Steven is a scary dude, isn’t he? He has his own private squad, a top secret one that only take orders from him. This episode taught us a lot about three members of Libra, and fleshed out their worlds as well as the setting as a whole. Plus we got to see a couple jerks get turned into body-less heads, and watch Chain sacrifice her liver for her coworker. D’aaawww! Everybody’s happy, except those head jar guys. Fuck them.

Random thoughts:

  • It’s said that a weapon you don’t know how to use will just be taken away from you. Even so, how quickly Leo’s assailants ended up as circus freak-shows makes me respect Leo even more for surviving Hellsalem’s Lot for so long.

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October 21, 2017 at 8:54 pm
  • October 21, 2017 at 9:36 pmDude

    Chain got free drinks out of it.

  • October 21, 2017 at 11:04 pmChris hall

    • October 22, 2017 at 4:43 pmBROOKLYN otaku

      I missed that end part….weird

  • October 21, 2017 at 11:42 pmWeird d

    … Except that Leo didn’t get his wallet back.

  • October 22, 2017 at 1:46 amzztop

    This episode’s format is more in line with the anthology format of the source manga.

    • October 22, 2017 at 2:25 amStilts

      It works quite well—for one episode. I’m uncertain it would have as much staying power as what the first season did, though. Episodes like this are better as an accent.

      (I realize you weren’t arguing one way or the other. I’m just riffing off your comment <3)

  • October 22, 2017 at 5:17 amSouma

  • October 22, 2017 at 8:58 pmKaleRylan

    Maybe I missed something, but did they give any reason Chain couldn’t have just helped Leo right away at the beginning? I liked the episode fine (it’s a good show, so that’s easy) but it seemed a bit strange to just let him get the crap kicked out of him in an alley and then sort of help himlater. What’s the point?

    • October 23, 2017 at 4:23 pmkay

      In terms of the manga, this story was actually in one of the first few volumes so Chain didn’t really have any interactions with Leo yet and was apathetic towards him. If you watch the preview for this episode in episode 2, Chain mentions her philosophy which is to not butt her head in things she doesn’t need to. The first season picks stories from all over the series so the gap between the first season season character interactions and this episode’s may be a bit jarring. (For example, this is an earlier story so Zed isn’t even mentioned because he was introduced in the second half of the manga)

      • October 24, 2017 at 9:03 pmKaleRylan

        Ah okay, that makes more sense. I’d heard the manga has a fairly limited throughline so stuff like this happens.

    • October 23, 2017 at 7:48 pmsealouse

      I just thought it was a bad trope. I actually thought this whole episode was full of bad tropes. I didn’t much care for this episode. It kind of reminded me of the one from last season where they were trying to find a place to eat.

      • October 24, 2017 at 9:05 pmKaleRylan

        What trope is ‘ignores ally in need?’

        I mean, if you don’t like it that much fine, but I don’t see how it’s a trope either way.

      • October 25, 2017 at 2:56 pmSherrisLok

  • October 22, 2017 at 11:09 pmYukishina

    Okay, so I think the second season is more focusing on each character story (?). I still couldn’t find anything that could be a plot… It’s just like the manga but I’m not sure if this series will be able to keep the success of season 1.

  • October 23, 2017 at 6:09 amKaleRylan

    Also have to say, I really liked the insert music. Sure, the power of rock is fun, but the almost biblical sense of faith that this music gave just added to Klaus’s awesomeness. It’s going to be okay.

    • October 23, 2017 at 6:10 amKaleRylan

      oops, watched them in a go when I was very tired, confused this with 2. Either way, the music in 2 was still great.

  • October 23, 2017 at 11:42 amSherrisLok

    So there isn’t going to be a continuing plot line in S2? A shame. I don’t care for any of those characters and the episodic formula definitely doesn’t help.

    • October 24, 2017 at 2:17 pmScruffy

      I haven’t read the manga but it’s pretty obvious that the overarching plot will revolve around the sister. Shes been referred to every episode so far both directly and by flashback. They’re just taking their time winding up to it.

  • October 23, 2017 at 3:03 pmOri

    I hope we will see some kind of plot developed by half way through the series instead of just a bunch of random stories.

  • October 24, 2017 at 3:41 pmDude

    I guess all Hellsalem will break loose when the sister shows up with those galaxy eyes.

  • October 25, 2017 at 4:09 amK