「ヤマ」 (Yama” no Keshiki)
“Views of The Peak”
Pet’s got my attention this season. It’s a little convoluted, explores crevices I didn’t expect, and opens up a door into the unknown.
I enjoyed last week’s episode, even though I had some concerns, but this week’s release really emphasized why Pet shouldn’t be underestimated. This second episode navigates the other side of the coin, the dark side, the side where crime and manipulation walk hand in hand. Our ‘crushers’ Hiroki, Tsukasa, and Satoru who were briefly introduced in last week’s premiere have now been given depth and range. Their mindsets and personalities are explored through the exact same events surrounding Kenji’s sudden ‘shift’ which concluded episode one.
Kenji is in a precarious situation. He absentmindedly forgets to leave the car key behind which is why he saw Satoru mind bend Yokota into driving off a cliff. With this information, he’s become a threat to Katsuragi’s and his organization which is why they decide to take immediate action.
Being aware of the end result didn’t make the journey any less eye-catching. The events taking place in this episode weren’t explored earlier, and separating the experience really gives the story a wholesome feel. Or at least it does in my perspective. I like this fragmented way of storytelling. We saw things from Kenji’s perspective, as a pawn in a larger scheme, but this episode really flipped a switch and showed us the work that goes into being a ‘crusher’. And, just to be clear, I assume ‘crusher’ is ‘synonymous with ‘pet’, but I’m giving the series time to explain the terms to me when it’s ready.
Katsuragi’s team, which we know includes the three younger guys Satoru, Tsukasa, and Hiroki, isn’t a harmonious one. There are four very distinct personalities at play here. The first is Katsuragi, the leader who feels like he’s losing grasp when it comes to controlling the new generation. He’s been the head, the person with the most agency, but he isn’t the strongest. Then we have Satoru, plucked from the darkness to evolve into someone whose sole purpose is to serve his master. Unlike Katsuragi, he has no will of his own, perhaps from previous threats, or the debt he owes to him and Hayashi. Third, we have the hotheaded Hiroshi. He’s unafraid of authority and seems to be the only one with a moral compass. Finally, we have Tsukasa. He’s a mentor to Hiroki, cares deeply for him, but he’s also a little bit of a mystery which makes up part of his charm.
With a range of characters like that, no matter how unoriginal, dynamics, conflicts, and story should build nicely. There’s a lot of potential for betrayal, friendship, loss, and much more. It’s clear already that this team doesn’t work with a united front. There are two pairs at play and they are currently pulling in opposite directions. How far apart will they grow apart though?
Now the team assessed, I really want to bring your attention to the memory game being played in this episode. Through this one job with Kenji, we learn a lot about how these crushers function. They access people’s minds through their images. Satoru uses his ‘door to everywhere’, Hiroki seems to be using a “diving” method morphing his consciousness into a fish, and Tsukasa… I can’t be 100% sure yet based on what I saw. To top it all off, connecting to another person’s consciousness and subconscious isn’t the only challenge. Altering someone’s memory is where things really get nefarious. You can’t simply alter a memory without considering the person as a whole. Cleaning up someone’s internal mess isn’t as easy as the 1-2-3 psychic trance performed on TV shows. It goes a little deeper. There’s only so much that can be explained in a series like this without leaving some gaping holes, especially with the 13-episode timeframe. Even though, I wouldn’t put it past Oomori Takahiro (director) to really dive deep into the nitty-gritty of the story. Hopefully, everything holds up.
It’s evident that playing with someone’s memories, their peaks, and their valleys will alter that person’s perception. And using the abilities in the wrong way leaves these crushers susceptible to failures and weaknesses of their own. Sometimes, with urban fantasies or innate abilities, there always seems to be a right way and a wrong way to use it. But with this show, the abilities are explored through the victim and the perpetrator, showing us that the human mind isn’t black and white. It’s a whole load of grey mush ready to be explored and controlled.
It’s also fascinating to watch these abilities at work in this vague manner because it allows me to get caught up in the ethical choices these crushers are taking rather than focusing on where their abilities come from. I’m OK with a slightly disjointed story. I’m OK with not knowing and just trusting this plot to lead the way. So far, Pet has told a great story and I’m happy to sit back and enjoy the ride.
ED: 「image _____」by (Memai Siren)