「幻界病棟ライゼズ」 (Maboroshi Kai Byoutou Raizezu)
“A Phantom Hospital Ward Rises”

Flashing back to the present.

You have to give it to Kekkai Sensen: it knows how to get us into the story fast. Explanations are for squares, man, just have Zapp gets injured off-screen and BAM! Ghost hospital. Some stories get into trouble because they try to sprint too quickly to the action, but Kekkai Sensen is a master class in getting there quickly without screwing it all up. There are two reasons here. First, the hooks, baby, the hooks. Give us two juicy hooks—what’s with this hospital, and what’s with their chibi doctor?—and you buy yourself time. Second, they went into the slower, character-based stuff immediately afterwards.

I guess the point is to say interesting things. A story full of interesting moments buys itself time to deploy more interesting moments, and how long those moments require to develop really only matters in the order you deploy them. And in plot coherence, I guess, but Kekkai Sensen proves that those rules are made to be bent as well.

Getting to go back to the Great Collapse and see what was going on was fascinating, because, as I said last episode, this is one of those rare series where the world itself is of considerable interest. Better, though, was introducing an adversary that was so clearly taxing for Klaus and Steven to contend with. Either one of these characters can steamroll so many villains that to have them struggle is noteworthy—I found myself remarking with a kind of awe that an enemy they fought during the Great Collapse was more powerful than many they’ve fought since, a sign that they could have been snuffed out before the story even started. It also set up a great ending, showing how much they’ve grown (with the help of their friends) without minimizing the enemy’s power; Klaus only gained 33 seconds, for a total of two minutes and thirteen seconds, after three years of hard fighting. Also, they almost got killed by a building back then too. So this whole story very nearly didn’t happen.

That falling building was an especially good moment, because while we logically know that Klaus and Steven have to survive to the present, it’s dramatic and sudden enough to make us gasp all the same. It’s the action equivalent of a jump scare, not to be overused, but devastatingly effective once in a while.

The star, though, is Luciana Estevez (Sakamoto Maaya). I have a fondness for characters like her, and no, I don’t mean multi-body lolis. Luciana is a worker. She works until she falls asleep on her feet, until she’s on death’s door, and past it, even becoming inhuman for the sake of saving others. I’m lazy, which is a more useful trait than many realize, as I discussed in my latest Yuuki Yuuna post. But I respect the workers, for they can do more than I ever can, if only their bodies can hold up. Luciana’s can, now. Gotta respect that.

Also, there’s the thing where she lured her enemy into a trap and then sliced it up, leaving it strewn into tiny pieces on the ground. Gotta respect her taking the long view, and being ruthless when her enemy was in sight. Getting to hear multiple flavors of Sakamoto Maaya ain’t bad either. It’s very good, actually. That’s the opposite of bad! It’s the best.

Random thoughts:

My SECOND novel, Freelance Heroics, is available now! (Now in print!) (Also available: Firesign #1 Wage Slave Rebellion.) Sign up for my email list for updates. At stephenwgee.com, I’ve begun blogging again! The latest post: Help Houston.


ED2 Sequence

ED2: 「ステップアップLOVE」 (Step Up LOVE) by DAOKO x Okamura Yasuyuki



      1. that’s an interesting statement because when the first season was airing, i dropped it midway first episode because it was dull, nothing was happening and it was giving vibes of discount D.Gray-man with a slice of life spin

  1. Hooray for shawarma! And for Sakamoto Maaya 🙂

    Gotta question though, how that villain was hellbent on ruining that hospital even in the present. My guess is he just happened to stumble upon it once more (Kekkai Sensen is about that too), and this time, he really shouldn’t have.

    And for all the relative mindfuckery in this episode, gotta say it’s only appropriate it’s aired right after the release of the mindfuck known as The Evil Within 2.

    Hope Luciana gets to show up more. I liked her.

    1. Wait, I never questioned why he was there? He was there because his “dog” was stealing sustenance from the people it planted its seeds in, and when Luciana sliced up his dog, he zoomed in. That part made perfect sense.

    2. She’s more of a background character, but she does appear every now and then in the manga whenever there is medical emergency, so I expect her to make a few cameos in anime too.

    1. Haha…that’s me as well….I just roll with it. My only issue and this is just for me is that the dialog is so fast and so much going on in the background that I keep having to pause to read and then rewind and read again and pause somewhere else. Wish I spoke Japanese!

  2. Did anyone notice that the blonde bloodbreed seiyuu is Maaya Sakamoto’s husband Kenichi Suzumura? Glad to have this couple on screen together on my favourite kekkai sensen series.
    The flashy ed sequences topped with Daoko’s catchy song are nearly perfect and greatly done too. =D

  3. I think that one of the reasons cold opening like that works so well for Kekkai Sensen is a lot of characterization groundwork laid earlier. We never question Zapp being hurt because he is established as completely reckless and hot-blooded character – “Femur smashed in collision with a semi? Yeah, that’s Zapp alright.” And we never question paramedics dropping patient on weird hospital that appeared overnight because with what we know about Hellsalem Lot weird hospitals appearing from nowhere ranks maybe 6 on ten point daily occurrence weirdness scale. Different setting – with less over-the-top characters and lower baseline adrenaline level would have spent screentime explaining things and building tension or risk leaving viewers flabbergasted. Kekkai Sensen can get away without it, because it’s what comes as “normal” in its world.

    1. Totally agree. The setting & character work was done early on, so they can get away with it—though that doesn’t take away from how ingenious the characters and setting area. Good ideas well executed, that’s the ticket! (As if that’s easy to do, lol)

  4. The best part of characterization is how nobody needs to explain to us how Steven and Kraus are honorable gentlemen. That they remembered the incident years ago and possibly weighs heavy on their minds, and their relief and apologies for not making it so long ago, is simply elegant storytelling.

    There is that sense of urgency and the sense of guilt.

  5. The end of this episode reminded me that Klaus and co cannot seal the Blood Breeds without Leo telling him their names.

    Now I realized the situation 3 years ago was even more dire. It could have ended really badly.

    1. That, plus it’s a reminder of how powerful Leo is. Situationally, to be sure—Klaus or Steven are more of all-purpose powerful—but he can help them do indefinitely what they could only do for 133 seconds. He deserves his place on the team, in hard work and sensibility as well as power.

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