「真打登場」 (Shinuchi Toujou)
“The Headliner Appears”
While this episode was largely expository, it kept my attention the whole time in part with the mental gymnastics of solving the mystery and in part because of the trippy graphics and angles that kept the same scene fresh and interesting through different perspectives. I will say, I was not expecting it to be Raoul- I thought maybe it was the whole family together or Lord Godard. I guess it follows with the old adage- go with the one you least suspect. Tired of not seeing eye to eye with his family about household matters (“father does whatever mother says”) and human-allyship, Raoul took teenage rebellion to the next step, murdering his mother. That was rather clever and roundabout of Raoul to twist the times and use a stake out of frozen holy water. It is very extreme, but we get the idea that he’s a man of action to the extremes with how he responded to Aya’s accusation.
Those were some fluid-looking action scenes. All his jokes aside, Shinuchi is not someone to be messed around with. I knew he was getting down to business once he started stripping the gloves off and boy, that strength from punching Raoul through layers of wall was menacing all right. We get a demonstration of the true nature of the oni’s strength and why Aya believes that he can kill the (nearly) unkillable. Shinuchi’s punches strip Raoul’s vampire regenerative abilities and his wounded arm remains wounded- a panic inducing moment I’m sure for a boy who thought he had it all planned out. If it can do that to a vampire, one can only imagine what it would do to a being like Aya. Shinuchi revels in the showmanship of gore and violence with his little speech and sumo stance and I like that- we’re ultimately watching the fight for entertainment (why else would we be tuning in week after week?) and his sideshow introduction reminds us of just that.
I loved Shinuchi’s “Everyone thinks their special so you’re just like everyone else” scolding. Raoul’s belief that he’s a special snowflake positions him as the normal teenager that he is- he may be anti-human but that’s one thing the has in common with them. Shinuchi’s response sounded like such a parent/older sibling- this whole bizarre, supernatural showdown is nothing more but a redress for a moody teenager- well a teenager who took his temper tantrums more than a little too far. This all had the air of a teenager getting a good dressing down- but taken to such extremes, it was both bombastically entertaining and believable. I feel like he has the easy part- he can do his thing, then just leave. Lord Godard has the hard part, cleaning up the shambles afterwards (and how do you even clean that one up?). Not only is his beloved wife, the linchpin of his beliefs gone, but even those beliefs themselves of harmony between humans and supernaturals is shattered with the betrayal of his son to try to prove just that. Shinuchi drives the nail in the coffin, pointing out that the two sides can’t live peacefully. Not a very happy way to end this on.
Annie’s bubbly energy is a stark contrast to what just went down. Shinuchi passing Aya off to her in the interests of fleeing Shizuku belatedly acting on Aya’s orders to strike him- with a trunk was hilarious. And he just had to throw that Godard pun in there.
We are taking the first steps towards intersecting with M, the sinister gentleman in question having visited the Godard household just prior. Curiously, it seems like Annie is looking for him too- I guess we now have a fourth member added to our dramedic investigation team. And with that, it looks like we’re moving on to a new mystery next week- namely that of the famous thief Arsene Lupin, with a few new characters entering the fray.