「トンネルの闇」 (Tonneru no Yami)
“The Tunnel of Darkness”
Boy did this episode of Yakumo leave me confused – confused and lost. Let me start with what I did understand. This week’s episode features a haunted tunnel. A tunnel so haunted that the spirits of the dead come out just to scare you into crashing your car. I know I’ve been asking for a creepier vibe, but I think this is really pushing it. I mean, when the spirits look like this they don’t even look scary. And that face coming on this ghost? You have got to be kidding me. The only reason we even care about this tunnel is that once again Haruka is involved with it. After getting a ride from her assistant manager and driving through the tunnel, she’s afraid that one of them might be possessed by spirits. Really though, you wouldn’t have the convenience to ask those kinds of questions if you really were possessed. After the plot splits into three different directions, the chilling revelation is that Haruka’s assistant manager had run over and killed a small boy. That boy’s spirit manages to posses him, make him drive like a madman to the haunted tunnel, stop possessing him shortly after entering the tunnel, and then for reasons I don’t understand get his soul eaten by the other souls already in the tunnel.
From last week’s preview, I was really hoping for some good action this week. While I felt the first episode was slightly rushed, the second episode really impressed me with it not feeling rushed at all. Then this third episode manages to break all of my expectations and feel super rushed. With so many different ideas introduced this episode the main case felt very unimportant. For starters, Yakumo’s past is brought up so many times, but nothing is ever built on it. Sure, there was a super introducing flashback to when Gotou met Yakumo – but it ends before it can get interesting. Sure, Yakumo feels useless because he can only “see” spirits and can’t physically help them – so what? It feels like when a movie tries to cover lots of ideas to make a good story but then fails to deliver. I can see that Yakumo’s inner feelings clash with his personality, but I need to know more about him to really start sympathizing for him. I feel like this anime is trying to draw out this emotion from me and it gets really close. The problem is that there is a lack of some sort of buildup to the climax, and then having it climax before their goal is achieved. Things that would normally tug at my feelings are failing big time.
What made this episode bearable was Kazutoshi Gotou, the detective back from episode one. His carefree and sarcastic attitude really compliments Yakumo well – especially when he’s making fun of him. I think Gotou is a genius for using Yakumo’s eye to find concrete evidence when he’s stuck in his investigations. What a way to capitalize on Yakumo’s unique talent. Even better is how Gotou bashes on Yakumo for charging “innocent girls” for his services when he conveniently neglects to reward Yakumo for his. It’s such a charming vicious circle. On the relationship front, Haruka finally manages to admit that she wants to be with Yakumo. Albeit not to Yakumo himself, it’s still a step toward the right direction. Hopefully the next case won’t have anything to do with her. And don’t forget about the creepy duo with glasses either. The episode again ends with the focus on them. This time, at the location of a murder scene – one they probably committed too.
Next week’s preview looks somewhat interesting and I’m hoping it will bring back some of the charm that last week’s episode was full of.
* It just occurred to me, but I think the creepy guy with glasses might be Yakumo’s father. It makes sense if you think about it. If Yakumo’s father had two red eyes and his mom had none, then it logically makes sense that he could end up with one red eye!