OP: 「答」 (Kotae) by Mao Abe
Spring may be in full force, but as we await the arrival of its heavy hitters (*looks at OPM*) there’s time to indulge in a few potential surprises like Shoumetsu Toshi here. As the ever reliable (and never ever wrong) RC Preview indicates this one has all the warning sirens blaring loud thanks to mobile game origins, but with the pieces powering it under the hood the chance of anime magic is pretty damn high.
Right off the bat it’s pretty clear just what Shoumetsu Toshi will be about. Ok, mostly. We have super important event of life changing circumstances which left one surviving girl Yuki (Hanazawa Kana) the centre of everyone’s attention, some random agency called—you guessed it—the Agency (capital letters are important, remember that) after her because of said event, and the totally not the Jason Statham Transporter guy riding a Kino no Tabi-worthy scooter Takuya (Sugita Tomokazu) who finds himself responsible for escorting Yuki to Ground Zero of this chaotic conundrum. Also cannot forget the always mandatory otaku fixer (minus Daru-level hacking), the good guy scientists obviously hiding something for later reveal, and the old friend turned traitor you just know is going to hurt Takuya later on (well, after his totally not predictable return of course), but right now, it’s all about our main duo, and so far at least there’s enough mystery and potential development between both to keep things chugging along.
What also helps Shoumetsu Toshi retain a good degree of curiosity and interest are the otherworldly aspects popping up. Whether labelled magic or (pseudo)science special abilities are clearly going to be important here, with both enemy and Yuki possessing them—and in different flavours to boot. The method they’re realized hints towards lots already—i.e. if Yuki materializes a gun lover out of thin air, you can reasonably guess what’s up with our neon purple Buddhist monk, not to mention the origins of both—and considering the eagerness the enemy has to acquire Yuki, you can bet the event central to this story has more to it than meets the eye. Frankly it’s up in the air just how well Shoumetsu Toshi can leverage these various pieces and turn them into a coherent story going forward (and this episode alone came dangerously close to flying off the rails at times), but considering how much it has to work with already and the staff powering this beast, some optimism is certainly warranted. Well, expect in regards to the pseudo-Shaft love of weird and funky camera shots. Side views of eyes every other scene? Darling my eyes can only take so much.
While the risk level remains high and the trainwreck potential easy to see, Shoumetsu Toshi which will need a couple more episodes to form a proper opinion on. I may have my doubts, but with a science-based mystery story like this and Hanazawa doing her thing, it would be wrong to pass this one over before it has a chance to show us what it’s made of.
ED: 「With Your Breath」by SPR5