「Day In Day Out」
Four stories playing out on a night in Hellsalem’s Lot
Of the four stories playing out in this episode—Steven’s, Leo’s, Chain’s, and Zapp’s—the first two are the more complete ones, with the latter two serving as compliments to Leo’s, and a little to Steven’s, stories. To explain, I’ll illustrate with Steven’s
Steven’s vignette is about him throwing a party—or so it would first seem, but it’s really about realizing that your friends are fake, and, in typical Kekkai Sensen ridiculous-to-the-point-of-absurdity fashion, those friends are actually trying to capture or kill Steven. The theme is fairly clear, though the way it’s told is gentle and almost haunting. Steven himself says he was “having too much fun”—letting his guard down, and exposing himself to unnecessary risk and heartache—but he’s wise enough to protect and appreciate Veded, who cared for her employer enough to notice his moods better than Steven’s own coworkers did. The theme is to treasure those who truly care for you.
Leo’s story is about weakness, and helping others, and like Steven’s, it’s told with an air of loneliness that I found mesmerizing. The night scenery was well picked, because it lulls the viewer into mood where the loneliness and frustration don’t seem negative, because Steven has it handled, and because Leo is losing due to his own decisions. In Leo’s story, he confides in Sonic that he doesn’t like to use the special powers of his eyes for his own sake—but when Zapp asks for help to save his Freedom Magnum, Leo is instantly willing to render aid, even if it means using his eyes (though unfortunately he hadn’t seen the cat in question before, so that was a no go). His vignette had not so much a theme as an exploration of his character, showing what he wouldn’t do, and his fear of killing someone else.
Zapp and Chain’s stories mostly serve as accompaniment to Leo’s story, about friends looking out for one another; Zapp is the friend who Leo looks out for, while Chain is the friend who looks out for Leo. Or perhaps you could consider their parts more of vignettes in the classic sense, a brief evocative picture of who they are as people in a night filled with other, more mournful tales. Zapp is who Zapp has always been thinking with his dick and even then, not thinking all that much. Which is an insult to his character if I knew a dirtbag like him, but not an insult to him as a character in a story; Zapp’s as great as he is a shitty friend. And he badly needs the help to avoid becoming an eunuch, a subplot that gave me plenty of chuckles.
It was Chain’s tale that I enjoyed the most, and not just because I’m a huge Kobayashi Yuu fan. Chain is one of the characters we’ve spent the least amount of time with; we know she’s aloof, competent, and doesn’t much like Zapp, but past that, she’s very much been a supporting character. This episode, plus from the looks of it the next one, give us more of a peek into who she is. And that person is: still aloof (she didn’t help Leo when she could have), but still someone who looks out for her companions, even if that means indulging in an epic drinking contest. Which, as RandomC’s resident lush, tickled me to no end. New favorite character right here!
But man, Steven is a scary dude, isn’t he? He has his own private squad, a top secret one that only take orders from him. This episode taught us a lot about three members of Libra, and fleshed out their worlds as well as the setting as a whole. Plus we got to see a couple jerks get turned into body-less heads, and watch Chain sacrifice her liver for her coworker. D’aaawww! Everybody’s happy, except those head jar guys. Fuck them.
- It’s said that a weapon you don’t know how to use will just be taken away from you. Even so, how quickly Leo’s assailants ended up as circus freak-shows makes me respect Leo even more for surviving Hellsalem’s Lot for so long.
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