「メカクシコード」 (Mekakushi Koodo)
First, a brief overview of what’s happened, for anyone that’s confused.
Momo has met Kido, her polar opposite powerbuddy. After Kido demonstrates her powers, Momo faints. She wakes up in the midst of a group of people who call themselves Mekakushi Dan, or the Blindfold Gang. Here Momo meets Kousuke, Shuuya, and the clumsy Mary, the second of whom can read minds and the last of whom can freeze people in their tracks. It is here that the story merges with episode one as many of the events occurring in episode one are explained here. The insert song used here is called Mekakushi Code (not one of my personal favorites, but it matches the current episode).
With that cleared up, an approach to the actual episode.
Understandably, newcomers right now are going to have lots of questions. Where are these superpowers coming from? How did Mekakushi Dan form in the first place? How can Mary be such a klutz? Unfortunately, not many of these questions will be answered anytime soon, as the upcoming episodes will most likely bring even more questions to the table than answer them.
But as for the questions that do get answered this episode, they well…get answered. Episode three did a good job setting up enough of a backstory to allow viewers to start constructing a stabler framework to view the series through. This episode marks the most significant world-building dialogue of all the episodes thus far, with enough dialogue between relevant parties to actually start formulating the basis for a plot. A plot summed up as: a group of empowered people get together in order to control their powers and find solace in one another’s abnormalities.
However, the show seems to be hinting at something more at this entire power ordeal–that a person’s powers are intrinsically linked with one’s history and personality. Many instances of this have come about already, with both of the Kisaragi siblings (Momo through her traumatic experiences with attention, Shintaro with his isolationist and net-centered nature) and even Kido (who is hinted to have been a very ‘invisible’ person even before her powers became latent) having dropped major hints. This isn’t a new way to explain powers, but at least it provides an interesting backstory for each character to reveal to the audience. Speaking from a veteran’s perspective, we’ll most likely see Kousuke and Mary’s backstory sometime soon, as well as the story of the boy we briefly saw in episode two. For KagePros, it’ll be a guessing game to see which ‘song stories’ end up getting animated in a one cour section considering how many songs there are in total.
I won’t bother repeating the same gripes that I’ve had in the past two episodes here since I’ll sound like a broken record, but most of them still do stand. Production values are only average, the backgrounds are still boring, and the pacing still feels too slow during some segments. The show is picking up steam though–I am really hoping that things get better from here on out. I want to see the backstories of all these characters. I want to see how our omake girl eventually ties in with the powers of Mekakushi Dan. Above all else though, I do want to point out one important thing–the make or break for this series will most likely depend on how well the next episode, Kagerou Days fares.
As one of the most famous, most viewed, and emotionally charged chapters of the Kagerou Project, there is a lot riding on next episode. Given how the music video is able to deliver a significant amount of feelings and plot in just under four minutes, it should be very interesting to see how Jin has re-interpreted this part into an 18 minute segment. Without revealing spoilers, I can assure that anyone on the fence can safely make a judgment about whether this show is right for them or not after seeing episode four. If SHAFT and Jin manage to pull off the next episode with the same emotionally charged power that the original did, everything else before it was just fluff and everything after it is just icing on the cake. However, if they really do screw this one up, there pretty much is no hope for swaying the dissenters. It really is that important.
It will be a difficult task though, since the current pacing and directing style definitely is not matched for what Kagerou Days has to offer. There can’t be a overly lengthy and useless dialogue between the two core characters next episode. There can’t be an awkward attempt at a joke that loses its charm through the average animation and slow pace. It’s going to have to be pure drama, supercharged with meaningful and efficient scripting. It’s going to be a hard task, but I have one last hope in Jin that he has a trick up his sleeve that he hasn’t shown us yet.