「ショウタイムだ」 (Shoutaimu da)
If there were any question that Satou-san is a crazy bastard, this episode should have pretty well cleared it up. The man in the hat is more and more becoming the driving force in this story, and one of the real intrigues playing out here is whether (or for how long) Kei is going to be able to sit on the sidelines while Satou escalates his war on humanity in Japan. And in the process, I suppose we’re going to find out just how jaded and amoral this new version of Kei really is.
The quest for humanity, and the definition of it, are very much major themes of Ajin. On the one hand you have Tosaki, who’s torturing scientists, blackmailing his ajin assistant and dreaming up new capture methods his attack dogs call “too inhumane”. His response – “Ajin aren’t human and thus by definition can’t be treated inhumanely” – is about what you’d expect, but he does raise an interesting spectre that hangs over this series. Are ajin human or aren’t they – and in the end, as long as they’re sentient and capable of conscientious behvior, does it matter?
There are signs Kei might just be wavering in his newfound isolationism in the face of impending tragedy. He’s made Kou’s living conditions marginally less inhumane (that word again), offering up a radio along with what looks like manga and fapping material. And more importantly, he asks Kou how they might go about fighting Satou, should he decide to. He’s not satisfied with the answer (it’s clear strategic thinking isn’t Kou’s specialty) but the mere asking of the question betrays a certain doubt creeping into Kei’s thinking.
There’s definitely something cooking with Kei – he asks Granny to buy him what looks to be a spyglass, some rope and a sumaho – which he promptly uses to look up what seems to be a detective agency (and my Hiragana is good enough to see it appears to share a family name with Shimomura, interestingly). Honestly I have no clue what Kei is up to here, but whatever it is, it would appear to be small potatoes compared to Satou’s plans. Kei might have designs on hiding out in the mountains, but it’s obvious trouble is going to find him whether he goes looking for it or not.
I can’t be the only one who saw what Satou did to skyscraper next to the Grant Pharmaceutical headquarters and thought of the World Trade Center attacks – while the methodology was different, the aftermath was eerily similar. It struck me that the sabotage was alarming easy (why did they have to make that damn fox so cute?), especially for a building in an area supposedly under such intense scrutiny. But the real headline here is what Satou did after the explosions – he rode the building to the ground like Major Kong on an A-bomb, then declared a battle for control of Japan on the police special antiterrorism forces, all the while webcasting. Satou certainly is a man who thinks big – playing every game on hard mode is his modus operandi. Until his enemies figure that out, Satou is going to continue to be several steps ahead of them in what’s fast becoming a war.