「死者の魂が難破船をおしあげる」 (Shisha no Tamashii ga Nanpasen Oshiageru)
“The Souls of the Dead Raise a Shipwreck”
And so, the classic mystery format begins, with your token screaming girls, writings on the wall, people getting killed, and in the center of it all, an unfazed gothic loli. I think I’m hooked.
Perhaps having lowered my expectations from the first episode, even though I never had high expectations in the first place, this second episode surprisingly managed to completely turn my opinion of the show around. Thanks to the mystery shifting into focus straight away, I didn’t have to sit through any exposition drudge that I was expecting to show up. By setting up the premise as a paranormal one, things suddenly became ridiculously interesting, even though Victorique debunked some of it later. While I realize that’s one of the main personalities of mysteries, solving them so they seem less like a work of magic, my rather old infatuation with the supernatural quickly led me into immersion. There’s also a nice sense of believable realism, which is pretty important in my books regarding any plot, so I hope they keep that up.
Like any good whodunnit, a bunch of the fodder characters quickly die off. What we’re left with is five survivors, one of which we know goes psycho at the end, and the other two being our mains, leaving the last two as big question marks. You probably could have guessed they were going to survive, since they have much more unique designs, but that also tells me that they have something more to them. The token screamer, Julia Guile (Noda Junko), received a ton of screen time, and even made a connection with the protagonists! Detective flag raised, she must be evil. Despite having such an intriguing mystery, it’s not as clever as it seems, as when Victorique describes they were in the wrong room, I just facepalmed. The wallpaper being ripped to reveal the words I had guessed quite a while ago as well, but I don’t want to be nitpicky. A well told mystery is difficult to create, and is possibly the reason why there are so few of the genre in the first place.
However, throw in a little side development with fun characters to watch, and it’s not so much of an issue. Kujou is a little more developed in the beginning, leading to reasonable responses near the end, protecting Victorique in several occasions. Although driving the point home that Victorique is a girl that needs to be protected is a bit sexist, I’m just going to ignore that and see it as more of a caring intention on his part. Victorique on the other hand doesn’t get too much revealed, except a possible fear of water (though she was willing to step in it at first), but her actions are like a mixture of cuteness and hilarity. Besides the more typical blush responses, Victorique’s other interactions with Kujou are rather unexpected, but in a good way. It’s almost like watching a pet and experimenting with things to see its reactions, and I quickly found myself looking forward to her next antic. It’s quite the scene to see a little girl explaining things as three adults linger like they’re dumbfounded on her every word, a little pathetic even. Yuuki Aoi does a great job portraying her personality, and I’ve really grown attached to her voice (probably the kuudere-ness). I’d like to think that when she yelled and sounded like a more mature woman, it was a suggestion that she may be older than she looks (she does talk like an old woman after all), but it’s also possible that Aoi just doesn’t possess the skill to act in the same voice at higher decibels. A big part in the atypical duo is that for once, the male character has a mind of his own, and Victorique isn’t some two-faced bi-polar sadist. Plus, their outfits go together smashingly.
The cliffhanger was razor sharp, and after giving such a good performance, I am now a bit anxious for the next episode. I’m especially curious how the physical representations of the hares relate to the fortune teller. The preview shows a lot of promise, and Kujou’s even going to grab some brass knuckles and duke it out? Hell yeah. Keep it up BONES.