Random Curiosity

BEM – 03 »« BEM – 01

BEM – 02

「Liar」

The general format of these first three episodes seems to be a focus on each of our mains. The first served the purpose of introducing Bem, the second was Bela, and the third should be Belo. Since Bem is naturally so stoic and reticent, it makes sense that episode one had to focus on Sonia instead, thus preserving his mystery. This time around, the viewer followed Bela to school where she laughs and chats with her friends, teases a boy who likes her, and meets a woman named Elaine (Taichi You). She’s twenty-seven, a little too old to still be in high school, and upon seeing Bela’s face, called out the name of an old, dead friend.

Did you guess who the liar was? If you said any number of the characters, you’d be partially right. There was no one liar. Everyone was the liar. If the reference to the French Revolution and Reign of Terror was meant to evoke or foreshadow anything, I’m sure it was paranoia. That was a time when people turned on each other, when anyone would have done anything so long as the next aristocrat fed to the guillotine wasn’t themselves or someone they cared about, and sometimes for personal reasons, too. Like jealousy or greed. Shortly after our glimpse into Bela’s school life, Sonia was shown interviewing former classmates of Elaine’s friend, and their accounts conflict. Some of them seemed to be exaggerating their relationship to the murder victim for an extension on their fifteen minutes to fame, while others described the victim’s friends as cruel or odd, even warning the officers to be wary of Elaine if she ever says, “I wish we’d met sooner.” How on earth did that guy know that those words were a tip-off, though? Was he around if/when Elaine said those words to other classmates who conveniently ended up dead? Then, of course, you have Bem, Bela, and Belo, who are all living a lie in some shape or form, too.

There was only one significantly violent death this time around, and that was enough because what this show lacks in quantity it made up for in quality. If you go frame-by-frame during the rich woman’s final moments, you can see how that bowling ball the size of a boulder tore her body to shreds. And then exploded. It was just a nice reminder that for all that BEM can take advantage of a gloomy color palette, at its heart it’s still an adaptation with a sense of humor and a bit of camp. Probably my favorite part on that point was when Belo handed Bela his phone to reveal who hired the man sent to kill her, and she’s so enraged by what she sees that she crushes it with her bare hand, leading the segment to end on him staring at the wrecked device in horror.

So that leads me to my only critique of the episode, which is that this doesn’t feel like the natural follow-up to the previous episode. Last episode ended with Sonia blasting Bem full of holes, so why would she follow his lead to a crime-in-progress here? How did Bem manage to earn her trust? However he did it, I hope it’s not skipped over. Next time should be Belo’s time to shine, though, so it looks like we’re going to get an elaboration on why exactly Bela referred to him as a bodyguard. For instance, is he bodyguarding Bela, his friends, or both? Maybe we’ll even find out more about the person who wore his face. Judging by Belo’s musing, it’s even possible that they could still be alive. Highly doubtful, but almost certainly possible, so long as Bem, Bela, and Belo aren’t literally wearing human faces to blend in.

 

Preview

July 23, 2019 at 5:34 am
5 comments »
  • July 23, 2019 at 10:13 amMockman

    This story got me thinking of Rashomon, moreso after reading your commentary.

    I don’t mind not knowing why Sonia arrived when she did. I think that we’ll learn a bit more over the coming episodes, especially once the three introductory episodes are complete (assuming this is their approach).

    • July 24, 2019 at 6:12 pmStars

      I think I remember seeing that movie in college. Interesting comparison <3

  • July 23, 2019 at 8:03 pmChris hall

  • July 23, 2019 at 8:32 pmKryto

    I agree with the episode not quiet following the last, but I do like it overall. For me it was really fascinating to see how Bela’s thought process works. She might be a monster, but she’s still pretty innocent. I believe she wholeheartedly took in Elaine’s lies. She’s naive yes, but I bet it’s also because she has such a positive view of humanity. Then when she found out about Elaine’s betrayal she was hurt all the more because of her trust. My guess is Belo will show us an opposite side of the monsters. Bela seems to be the optimist that wholeheartedly likes humanity, Bem seems to be more pragmatic, and Belo is the skeptic. Where these views will lead our human-monsters has caught my interest.

    My main complaint is the friggen Bowler monster lol. Really took me out of the moment. I had to work hard to re-immerse myself hahaha. I know it’s probably a reference to older works, but damn!

  • July 24, 2019 at 4:58 pmPlayer

    I’d say the liar was pretty much just Elaine… Bela didn’t lie, since she really isn’t Mary, and Dominic was preparing to tell the truth to the cops.

    As soon as those thugs were scared off by Elaine, I figured it was her who hired them to try to deepen her relationship with Bela/Annabella. Although her doing that felt a bit random/overkill, I’ve seen that twist before and it came to mind… They tagged on the cops from episode 1 despite the fact they had zero significance other than explaining things, and let Sonia have another run-in with Bem pointlessly as if they’re trying to emulate Darker Than Black. I’m sure the bowling ball villain was someone from the older Bem anime who they brought back for a cameo. The dynamic with the male classmate was also a bit strange; it’s like the girls were teasing him for having a crush on Bela, but they didn’t really treat him harshly and he just continued doing it the next day. The whole episode felt to me like tropes strung together… The concept seemed to be “Bela getting righteously upset about murderous bullying between high school elites in the Upper” but the execution was weak and uninspired.

    I had hoped some interesting behavior from a “non-human” like Bela but in the end she was extremely human–smiling back at your classmates even when you’re not on the same emotional wavelength isn’t inhuman, it’s mandatory behavior for a JK–including the way she cutely agreed to pose for her male classmate, and was “saved” from becoming a murderer. Maybe the part of the episode I enjoyed most was the pose/outfit of Bela when she appeared on the sofa of Elaine’s home; it amused me, along with Elaine’s nonchalant reaction to he sudden appearance.

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