「死の谷II」 (Shi no Tani II)
“The Valley of Death II”

The characters are fleshed out as they talk more about death and god, and run away from an old, gun-wielding friend.

Less World, More Characters

I was a bit harsh on the first episode because I felt it spent too much time developing the world and not enough explaining why we should care about these main characters, and more specifically why they have any business being in the same breath as something of worldwide significance like no one dying or being born. As I mentioned then, I don’t feel this was the fault of the original author – in reading the novel, we would have been able to turn the page to the next chapter and get the character stuff immediately. With this anime though, at least when we’re watching it as it airs, we had to wait. Fortunately, we didn’t have to wait long.

This episode immediately tackled why this story is focused on Hampnie and Ai, starting with the fact that Ai actually is a Gravekeeper. I will say that I’m a bit conflicted about finding out that she’s a hybrid already. It seems so early, like they could have saved that for a bigger moment…but then again, it’s so obvious that it would have felt cheap to have saved it. Good on the balance, plus it definitely means that she’s unique enough to perhaps hold the key to this world – or at least, give us an interesting point of view through which to experience it.

As for good ‘ol Hampnie, let me get this straight – there’s a white-haired, red-eyed anime bishie who actually is albino!? Le gasp! Joking aside, his immortality definitely marks him as someone special. Those two things combined better establish why the hell we’re following these two. I appreciate that.

Less Myth, More Horror

All the above said, they did chew into the world a bit more, and what they brought up this episode was more interesting to me than what we heard in the first episode. First of all, the thing that didn’t entertain me quite as much – the Half-Dead Fever. Yes, this is now officially a full-blown zombie show. Not that it ever wasn’t, but now it’s giving me urges to play L4D2, so it just feels way more like it. Not exactly enthused with that, but whatever – it’s not like it wasn’t expected.

What I enjoyed was Hampnie musing on the motives of God. Back up – I liked that there wasn’t actually some voice from the heavens, but rather that just one day, without anyone realizing it at the time, death and birth just–stopped. That’s easier to imagine, and it grounds the story in reality. But back to Hampnie and God, I’ve always been interested when highly intelligent people start musing about the divine. Not because I subscribe to every harebrained theory they come up with, but because it’s fascinating to see what people think up when they leave logic behind and go into the realm of belief and stories.

For Hampnie, it reveals a lot about his worldview when he calls God an idiot. But more than that, imagine if he’s right. When he said that he thought God just got bored, I was reminded of a quote from God Emperor of Dune, and since it’s not plot vital I’ll go ahead and say it:

“Even to be thought of as a god … can become ultimately boring. It has occurred to me more than once that holy boredom is good and sufficient reason for the invention of free will.”

Here, it seems that either free will wasn’t an option, or it wasn’t enough. Instead, their world’s God did what no true leader should do – it gave people what they wanted, not what they needed. It will be interesting to see if Hampnie’s theory ends up being true, or if it’s something else, or, is as with most deities, we never find out one way or the other.

Looking Ahead – The Secret Of That Village

Now that caught my interest. There is a secret sealed within Ai’s little village, and one which necessitated the slaughter of everyone there…these are the kind of mysteries that make me think that maybe little Ai-chan and brutal old Hampnie really are the characters we need to be following, and it piques my interest. I wouldn’t bet on us finding out more about that secret anytime soon, though.

tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – The characters are fleshed out as they talk more about death and god, and run away from an old, gun-wielding friend #KamiNai

Random thoughts:

  • I didn’t talk about Yuri (Fujiwara Keiji), and that’s because he really didn’t have much of an effect this episode, other than to get owned by Hampnie for trying to commit suicide by cop. Which was funny to me, so that’s okay.
  • Speaking of…”Dammit, my clothes!” Those are some priorities right there, folks!
  • D…Did she just trip over flat ground? Oh Ai-chan, you are way too cute for this world. Seriously. Don’t die.
  • When Hampnie gives you a piggyback ride…don’t let Hampnie give you a piggyback ride. It won’t end well.
  • I really do like some of the camera angles in this show. And whoever they have on the lens flare? That guy is having a blast.

For more from yours truly, check out my blog on writing, art, and the book I’m working on at stiltsoutloud.com.

Full-length images: 18, 26, 29.




    1. I actually have hair that length, and you’d be surprised at how much space fine hair takes up (not a lot )

      So I imagine her hair is quite fine, that or anime physics.

      Skins Thunderbomb
    1. It’s not that this series has no narrator. Characters in this series are the narrator themselves, and given that this show is adapted from conversation-based LN, characters’ interactions and dialogues become the most integral part in telling us how the world building, plot, and setting actually work. And i myself see this as a smart decision on the author part. Because most, if not all, exciting surprises from this series come from explanations and revelations being told by characters, and the use of third peron narrative would simply ruin them.

      Having read the LN myself (the chinese translations already up to vol 6 as of now), i was utterly surprised at how well the studio adapting the whole scene when Hampnie confronted Julie at the edge of village, complete with panorama of sunset and its beautiful atmosphere. Because, honestly, Ai’s inner monologue in LN doesn’t really explain the details much aside from Hampnie and Julie throwing words at each other. Two thumbs up for Madhouse!

  1. @Stilts L4D2 is on sale on Steam for $4.99 if you haven’t owned it yet.


    I keep thinking that Ai’s voice is so mature that she’s like a older person in a 12 year old body.But the way that Humpnie Humbert treats her: Kicking her, smacking her, putting a gun to her head twice did made me realize that this story isn’t intending to treat her as a standard 12 year old loli like other stories (Ro-Kyu-Bu 🙂 ) probably would.

    Still wondering why our albino friend is so insistent in looking for this particular woman named Hana. And when Scar confirmed that all the dead has been given the proper burial he was surprised.

    So normal gravekeepers are:

    1) Not effected by emotion
    2) Nameless in the beginning. (I wonder how God sent them down to earth)

    I snickered a little when he called Ai’s mom “a messed-up gravekeeper”. There’s just seems to be one moment of comic relief in each episode that is good imo because it doesn’t take away from the story yet reducing it from becoming too serious.

    1) Humpnie Humbert, the genius of the show, deduces a lot of things really fast, like how Yuri did not come to seek revenge for him killing his wife.

    2) It’s is implied through that conversation between Ai and Humpnie that he’s probably her dad. I’m thinking that Humpnie knows it for sure but just isn’t admiting it cause he had never seen a human-gravekeeper hybrid before. I’m probably thinking that since Ai looks exactly like her mom (probably same too 12-15 years ago), it reminds him of a girl he “had a one night stand with” which happens to be the person he is looking for.

    3) Human-gravekeeper hybrids — more human than gravekeeper.

    Love the ending song which starts some time before the end of the episode. Still love the OP better cause of that atmosphere.

      1. Maybe we’ll get to see Hampnie trying to do the same thing later on. LOL

        On a side note, whenever I hear a witch in L4D I end up spraying bullets everywhere like a dumbass.

      2. Pffft, that’s not the way to keep living! You gotta use an auto-shottie, sneak up behind them, and BLAM BLAM BLAM–right in the spinal chord. Witch down >:D

        Sudden urge to play Hard Rain, rising…

  2. Spirituality, especially the omnipotent monotheistic version in Kaminai, are seldom innately logical or illogical. The metaphysical nature of most religions means that it is a nonsensical exercise to prove or disprove God(s). Perhaps Stilts had mistaken logicality with rationality, but even then it would be fairly easy to argue either way about the rationality of religion.

    1. My point was that when you begin to opine on the spiritual, something which by definition can neither be proven nor disproven (which is cheating, imo – where’s the fun in coaching the question so that it’s impossible to answer? HAX!), you’ve left the realm of logic or rational thought or anything that is observable by nature, and entered the realm of belief, faith, and stories. True stories possibly, though I wouldn’t argue that myself. It’s just interesting to see what people cook up when they effectively take leave of their rational minds and start frolicking in the nether.

      1. I think too many people have equated logic and reason with, I dunno, Spock. Logic is but a system of communication which allows true premises to always lead to true conclusions. Rationality is a model to predict behaviour. They are by no means mutually exclusive with ‘stories’, and neither is intelligence.

  3. In the manga adaption, Hampnie was extremely violent towards Ai – extremely emphasize. He beat the poor girl so hard that it could be called child abuse. I don’t know. I like this anime, I really do. But the manga is better in many ways which kind of left me fealing dissapointed.


    1. It is always the problem with anime adaptations that they remove more than they should. I can sympathize with how you feel about the violence, but I also do feel that such was too much and I feel it was a bit unnecessary.

    2. Even Hei from Darker Than Black is like “Be more respectful towards children”.

      Beside, the whole thing about “Hlf Dead” reminded me of the Hollow in Dark Souls: the more they die and live, the more they mind got lost.

  4. Yup, StiltsOutLoud sometimes you are too harsh with the first ep. You dropped Mushibugyo too, even thought its became such an enjoyable series.

    Well off aside it wastnt a bad episode and many thing makes much more sense now.

    1. Yeah, Enzo told me the same thing. It happens…when you watch 20+ series a season and you really only have time for MAYBE 15, you have to start being a little more judgmental, heh. Though Mushibugyou’s first ep was way more of a mess than this one, which was just a bit unsatisfying.

    1. I get the feeling that however brutal that was, it was Hampnie’s way of being kind (which doesn’t excuse his actions, but might explain them). He doesn’t think that she can survive as she is, and was probably trying to shock her with violence into behaving in a way where he believes she could survive. Maybe he was even serious this ep when he threatened her with the gun and said that if she wouldn’t change her mind, it would be better for her sake if she died right now. Which must mean that the world outside Ai’s village is INCREDIBLY messed up.

      Or at least, it means he thinks that somebody like Ai wouldn’t be able to survive as a Gravekeeper without undergoing excruciating suffering. What he seemed to want her to do is to forget about being a Gravekeeper, after all. Pursuing the Gravekeeper role probably means being exposed to danger and to the worst of the undead, and Ai is both a sweet, innocent kid and not strong in combat. He probably thinks she’s going to go through a hell that’s so bad that she might as well die right now and spare herself the pain.

  5. “Everything must have a purpose?” asked God.

    “Certainly,” said man.

    “Then I leave it to you to think of one for all this,” said God.

    And He went away.”

    and for Stilts

    “I’m not a drug salesman. I’m a writer.”

    “What makes you think a writer isn’t a drug salesman?”

    ― Kurt Vonnegut, Kurt Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle

    1. Drugs have killed millions of people over the course of human history, perhaps even billions, and ruined the lives of many more.

      But how many have died as a result of stories? Billions, easy. I could cite examples.

  6. The perpetual dusk reminds me of the ones in Crime Edge – although the similarities end there(okay fine,and one of the main characters being a loli).I think I’m getting addicted to them.

    So far,Ai’s character isn’t doing much for me but Hampnie more than makes up for that.It feels as if he could’ve been the only main character without affecting these 2 episodes too much,if at all.

  7. One thing I’m still curious about is how do they tell the living from the dead? All the people in Ai’s village were dead, but she couldn’t tell or did they die when she finished the last grave?

    On a sidenote that piggyback ride looked like so much fun and I found it interesting how Hampnie said he used to do that with his dad which makes me think that Hampnie is her dad.

    Another thing I noticed is that Yuri’s daughter died at 15 does that mean he had her right before god left the world or he had a grave keeper for a wife aka Ai’s mom. That picture really has me intrigued.

      1. But then she’d be 15 now: she’s 12.

        My guess is that gravekeepers aren’t human and female gravekeepers can actually breed with human males.

        Since they’re not human, they can get pregnant.

    1. Remember how that farmer looked in episode 1? Or how Ai commented that the perfume her step mom wears stink(can also be “strong, offensive”)? Well at the time everyone is dead and everyone is trying to hide it from Ai.

      Ai never knew the difference. Until HH came along.

  8. im happy that you love more the show stilts now , sorry about my post again too , that just im loving that when other people are happy and show get what they deserve , they are very few studio who dont just go echi/yuri/funny and randomness show , actual show with serious story are realy hard to pull off and that okay about the need to be more judgemental when you watch 20 show each season , im happy about your review from ep 2 !! realy love randomc.net and you usualy give great review 🙂

    having read the VN , im sure many people will love this one ( got a great story )
    the last one with a unique story like that was shin sekai yori from me 🙂 and of course this was good , but it still sell bad 🙁

    when they decide to release decent show with good story im alway trying to promote them , so maybe we can get more of them 🙂

  9. Was Hampnie’s gun actually loaded? The cylinder rotated but no bullet was shot. I feel like he has some deeper connection to Ai, and judging from the multiple occasions on which he didn’t, and the seeming ease of which he could, kill her leads me to think he does not have any intention of killing her.

  10. D…Did she just trip over flat ground? Oh Ai-chan, you are way too cute for this world. Seriously. Don’t die.

    Stilts, I think you might have just jinxed her. If Ai dies, I’m holding you personally responsible. =D

  11. Well this episode helped clear up a lot of things.

    -Years ago without anyone realizing it at the time, death and birth just–stopped.

    -The humans who can’t die eventually become mindless killer zombies.

    -Along comes humans known as Grave Keepers with the power to put the dead to rest.

    -These Grave Keepers seem to be worshiped by some yet vilified by others for taking their loved ones away.


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