「クロちゃん, お願い」 (Kuro-chan, Onegai)
Ajin is kind of a difficult series to figure out in terms of plot progression. We have no idea if there will be a third season, and indeed it’s harder than normal to figure out whether the TV anime counts as “successful” or not. With so much (movies, manga) to cross-promote and its Netflix distribution model, it isn’t simply a matter of disc sales when looking at this show – and while Netflix is notoriously cagey about releasing results for its properties, there’s no indication that they’re in any way unhappy with Ajin’s performance at least.
The upshot of all that is that we may or may not be getting some sort of anime-original ending – and to at least some extent (though what extent it’s hard for a non-manga reader to know) we’re getting some original material now. What I can say for sure is that there’s been no dropoff in quality if indeed Polygon is branching off into original material – the plotting is still air-tight and the pacing is still insistent and seamless. Apart from the animation Ajin is a veritable model for how to present a sci-fi thriller.
We’re clearly heading for the mid-season mini-climax, with a lot of plotlines seemingly about to crash together. We did leave Kai’s story for now, but we’ll surely pick it up later – all the other threads are converging (we even got a look at Kei’s sister for the first time this season). Satou-san has blown through almost all the names on his list, leaving Tosaki in put up or shut up territory. He’s already been written off by the Minister, who seems remarkably cocky about his own safety given the weight of evidence he’s been forced to confront. The Americans, meanwhile, are closing in on Toaski as a key player in the Ogura “killing” (someone needs to let this series know that Americans don’t typically bow to each other, though).
There is a kind of “don’t blink or you’ll miss it” hint that Satou’s hold on the Ajin may have a few cracks in it – some of them do seem to realize that what Satou is doing is creating a state of perpetual enmity between the two species. That’s clearly what he wants, but just as clearly not what every Ajin wants – and that may be an increasingly important part of the story going forward. The question of loyalty is clearly going to be an important one, and it starts with Kei’s loyalty to Tosaki. Frankly I don’t think he should have a scrap of it, but he does have a decision to make.
Why? The Americans have abducted Toaski, the boss having become impatient with Japanese legal tangles – and in the process, it’s been revealed that like Tosaki, he keeps an Ajin as his assistant (or “dog”, as next week’s episode title suggests). Coming (probably coincidentally) on the very eve of the showdown with Satou, it forces Kei to choose whether to try and rescue Tosaki or to plow ahead with the original plan. If I were Kei, I’d be thinking very hard on just what Tosaki’s next actions towards me would be if Satou was somehow defeated…