「新入生歓迎会」 (Shinnyuusei Kangeikai)
“The Freshmen Welcome Event”
This has to be the most cursed anime episode I’ve seen all year.
If you are sensitive to depictions of self-harm, this episode of Dark Gathering is not for the faint of heart. As bleak and intense as it was though, I’m impressed with how disturbing it got with Keitaro’s brush-in with a cursed college suicide club.
MAYBE I SHOULD’VE WATCHED THIS BEFORE BLEACH AND NOT AFTER
For as cute and quicky as the art style can get during comedic moments, I was genuinely shocked with this episode’s supernatural threat, and how it gradually builds up its intensity before hitting you with some of the most horrifying imagery yet. The distorted look on Nagayama’s face when Keitaro realizes that the very club he’s talking about is the one he got roped into joining was haunting. The spirit itself is also frightening because of its main goal of keeping the club going after each group of students it murders claims the student possessed by Nagayama.
Even worse is immediately seeing Keitaro’s new friends being strangled by nooses as soon as he wakes up from being drugged. It felt like I was watching something cursed when it showed all those students while Keitaro was struggling to make sense of what was happening. This feels like something a manga reader would be waiting for anime-only’s to discover to see just how they’d react to how twisted the entire scenario of Keitaro getting trapped in a suicide club is. I’ll have to dedicate the rest of Sunday to getting my mind off of how messed up this episode is. Maybe writing about Mask de Masculine will help (-公-；).
ALL EYES ON YOU
On a lighter note, it should be interesting to see how Keitaro fares as Yayoi teaches him ways to get himself out of dicey situations on the off-chance she can’t get to him in time. With all of the recent spirits being ones that Yayoi had to bail him out of, I’m hoping that things will get easier for Keitaro to take on ghosts without being at their mercy.
On the flipside, the show does have an issue with Eiko’s mindset. Where her efforts to stalk Keitaro and invade his privacy are depicted as something cute and quirky because the story loves making sure that Keitaro will never know peace. Yayoi sees her stalking him as some cool tech-wiz sorcery and gets roped into a faux radio show gag where Eiko and her spectate on Keitaro’s private life. I don’t know if Keitaro will ever find out the extent of Eiko’s stalking or obsessiveness, but it does leave an odd taste to see how mean-spirited the show can get about his well-being.