On Mikado’s first day of high school, a male student named Yagiri Seiji arrives late and declares that he won’t be coming anymore. Meanwhile, over in Masaomi’s class is the girl who had gotten kidnapped two days earlier, Kamichika Rio. It turns out that Rio is a girl who had lived a normal life until middle school when she found out her father was cheating on her mother. She had tried to let her mother find out, but even then nothing changed as far as she could tell, and the only person she had to turn to was an online friend named Nakura who claimed to be going through some similar family problems. Nakura had proposed that they die together in order to make their parents understand what they should have cherished. Her meeting with the person who called himself Nakura ended in her kidnapping, but before she lost consciousness, she decided that this was destiny. What she didn’t know was that the headless rider would be sent after her.
After Rio was saved, the headless rider took her to a specific building and directed her to the rooftop. There, Rio found the real Nakura, and he revealed that he was both the person who had her kidnapped and had her saved. He had been able to predict how she was going to accept the kidnapping as destiny and how she felt relieved after being saved, and he had wanted to see her speechless face when she realized that he’d seen through her. It’s all because he found humans interesting, and he led Rio to the edge of the rooftop and showed her the bloodstain on the ground below where someone else had killed themselves previously. He made it a point to emphasize how she’s not special and how people are all the same in the end, and he almost let her fall off the building. As he departed, he explained that he wasn’t interested in her worries but rather in the ecology of her who worried, and he knew that she didn’t really want to die.
Afterward, Rio decided to jump after all, but to her surprise, she’s saved by the headless rider’s shadows. When Rio questioned why, the headless rider explained through a cell phone message, that the world was not as cruel as Rio thought. All of this left Rio to reflect on her parents and how things might not have been as bad as she thought, and she decided to forgive them. Since then, the world felt changed for her, and she wonders now if she’ll someday be able to tell someone what the headless rider told her. Masaomi and Mikado meanwhile see a girl from Mikado’s class, Sonohara Anri, chasing after and trying to talk to Seiji. Unbeknownst to any of them, the headless rider is stopped later by Nakura, whose real identity is Orihara Izaya, and he emphasizes how her job was supposed to be just that of a courier. She in turn questions if he was responsible for the girl who jumped before, and while he denies it, he’s also not a good enough person to hold back someone who wants to die.
This was certainly an interesting second episode, with a bit of a different feel than the first one. Obviously it’s much less introductory, and it focused much more on a few of the characters in a story that was kind of self-contained. I say that in a good way though because I enjoyed it, particularly the way it concluded. Orihara Izaya is a fun, almost villain-like character who enjoys manipulating others, and Celty actually showed some personality in the messages on her cell phone. Rio, on the other hand, is a character that seemed to get her story resolved already, and it’ll be interesting to see if she plays a significant part later, perhaps in passing along Celty’s message.
It was also nice to see them go back to the events of the first episode from different perspective because, even though a lot of it is still mysterious (like the vending machine guy), you can see how the overarching story is starting to slowly coming together. It helped too that Sawashiro Miyuki did some wonderful narration to pace and explain what was going on. It made me curious if she’ll be voicing an actual character in the future, or if she’s Celty’s real voice or something. Either way, the story has me hooked, and I’m looking forward to seeing what happens from here.