OP: 「浅井健一」 (Motor City) by Kenichi Asai
「暴走拡張者」 (Bousou kakuchousha)
In a world populated by Extended, or soldiers enhanced with mechanical parts, Inui Juuzou (Suwabe Junichi) is something of a freelance agent. He helps out the locals by taking on small jobs such as throwing drug dealers out of clubs, sometimes forgoing pay entirely unless, of course, you count a grateful kiss on the firing cylinder. He’s a chainsmoking cyborg with a heart of gold and his entire head is a gun, which will never cease to be cool. Around town, he’s known as a Resolver, and since he’s in the business of solving problems, when a child goes missing and an Extended is suspected of the kidnapping, you can bet he’s going to get involved whether he wants to be or not.
So, in the interest of not beating around the bush, I’d like to make it clear from the get-go that I loved everything about this. The interplay of light and shadow on the character designs, the grungy atmosphere of the setting, the grumpy ex-soldier who is always illuminated by the light of his cigarettes in dark rooms – all of it. Karasuma Tasuku has done incredible work with creating a world with a distinct tone. There’s some obvious tension between wholly organic humans and the mechanically enhanced, suggesting that crimes committed by these ex-soldier cyborgs are rather common, and the disparity is shown visually by how much larger Juuzou looms over them. Of course, he’s one of the good ones.
The design of the Extended’s shell that Tetsurou (Yamashita Daiki) used was interesting enough to look at. It’s a shame that we’re likely not going to see it again. I have a bit of a soft spot for oni masks. From the beginning, one had the sense that something rotten was afoot when the Security Bureau showed up seconds after Juuzou returned to find the rogue Extended in his trashed apartment. Juuzou picked up on it quickly, though the phrase, “I’m not their tool,” seemed to have some significance, as well. He repeatedly showed himself to be sharp and a good judge of character, picking up on the frame-up, trusting an Extended he’d just met, and placing a tracker in Tetsurou’s ear when the “nun” forced him into a no-win situation. This led to another amusing exchange as the rogue Extended panicked at seeing Juuzou spin his waterlogged firing cylinder – it does admittedly raise quite a few questions – and Juuzou panicked at how he could possibly function with an empty head.
Shortly after one of the best reveals I’ve seen in anime, Juuzou set after the boy, and this was where the animation and music hit its apex. The final minutes of this episode with the OST swelling and Juuzou standing on the tracks, about to face off with a train and come out on top, were impeccable. Anyone who can punch a train and walk away from it without a scratch is someone you’ll be glad to have on your side. Tetsurou’s had a rough life, but he might’ve finally caught a lucky brake.
In short, everything about this was good, so give it a watch because you won’t regret it.
ED: 「GAME OVER」 by DATS