So really this post could have waited but I get so hyped up after each episode (so much that I wait until the day before episode six to post this huh) and notice a bunch of really neat things about the show that I love. I’m glad they’re putting effort into the show even if there are some things I don’t like.
I guess some of this will be stuff I’ve said before and will undoubtedly repeat when I do my final impressions. Still, up to this point there’s been some really cool things happening that have been pretty subtle. So I’ll just go over some of the obvious ones now and when the next few episodes cause me to flip out, maybe they’ll get a post too.
That all being said: there are some big big big spoilers that could potentially ruin the rest of the series for you if you’re new to Kagepro in this post and it’s mostly intended a post for people who have prior knowledge of the series.
Let’s get one thing straight first. I’m really enjoying Mekakucity Actors and I look forward to it more than anything else that I’m watching (ok Soreseka is a close second) but I can admit it has some flaws.
Unaccesable for new viewers: as someone who followed the music series from start to finish and briefly read the manga series, I understand the gist of the series. Admittedly, I go off the music videos first since I’m more aquanited with those. So when something happens that relates to those, be it a callback or a specific event, I get pretty excited. And usually, that means I know what’s going on. However I’ve spoken with a ton of people who didn’t watch the music videos in order or at all and haven’t read the novel or manga. And they’re usually pretty confused.
graphic by tumblr user axelpows
And can you blame them? I had someone in real life I happened to be hanging out with ask me when Mekakucity Actors would start making sense. “Well,” said I, “episode seven is going to connect to episode four and will make episode four and five make sense.” Which isn’t really helpful, is it? Heck, when Hibiya and Hiyori showed up in episode five even I was confused. I still am. Who was taking them anyways? Would Kenjirou have needed to go such lengths when they were living in his dang house?
Not to mention the ending of three with Kagerou Days was confusing to those who didn’t realize it was a time loop. Which brings us to our next part…
Kagerou Days: Ok this is both a thing I had a problem with and something I think is REALLY cool. I felt like part one of episode four/Kagerou Days was kind of dragged on (though Hiyori and Hibiya were pretty cute) and the second part was rushed. And then furthermore, the person I was watching it with hadn’t even realized there was a timeloop. But I’m not counting that as a bad thing because it actually turned into something really cool when I thought about it! So let’s move on from there.
Hiyori’s deaths were a little underwhelming. In the pv and song you can feel the shock and urgency and direness of the situation. It just kind of felt like it happened here. There wasn’t enough spectacle or shock since everything already seemed so strange. HOWEVER I want to believe the choices they made for this episode were simply because they were in the Heat Haze and when Outer Science happens and the cast is murdered OUTSIDE the Heat Haze will feature more seriously done. More dire and grisly and shocking rather than alluding to with specific imagery. At least better than Hiyori’s falling death where she just falls into a void and it was RIDICULOUS. I almost kind of just want to chalk that one up to SHAFT being SHAFT and the BD will have that scene properly done.
Though the shadows of the cat alluding to Kano were pretty cool. At first I thought it was just a coincidence and they were half-assing the cats shadow but it happens in every scene so I guess not.
No amusement park: seriously I got so excited when they said they were going to the amusement park and then instead they go to Ayano’s grave like that’s the exact opposite of a fun time for me. That’s ripping my heart out and lighting it on fire and then spreading the ashes in some ocean.
Yes! The whole reason I sat down and wrote this unreadable post was because these things were just hella cool. I’m so happy SHAFT is putting effort and thought into this series rather than just getting it over with. There’s rewatch value in it just to notice all the things they hinted at and so subtly added. Things that seem inconsequential…
… while a bit obtuse in the context of narrative (and even that I’d be willing to write off as CR’s translation being especially terrible this time around), are leading up to important facts and reveals without making themselves too obvious.
And the Kagerou Days bit… I had thought it was super cool when I realized the reason they spent so much time on Hibiya asking his dad and showing the dogs appearing over and over was because the addition of each dog meant an attempt (to ask his dad) had been made.
Then when the crows appear after each time Hiyori dies we can return to the dogs and realize that each crow represents that an attempt (to save Hiyori) was made.
So yeah! That part was so cool, thought I. But then I happened to be rewatching episode one and around the time when you see each character at the place where they died, you see the crows for the first time. So, if the crows represent Hibiya’s attempts in the time loop, we can surmise that they represent the thing for Mary. That they’re a representation of her time travel attempts. The shot of the dan at the places they entered the Heat Haze seemed a bit awkward when I first saw it but that imagery really made me feel better about it.
Kido where she burned to death
Seto where he drowned
Kano where he was stabbed
Momo where she drowned
Hibiya at the playground by the intersection
Mary and the crows
I was really excited that Yuukei Yesterday was so close and in fact the very next episode! (Though dreading that Lost Time Memory was so close because it meant Ayano probably wouldn’t get her episode) I was thinking they might just show Headphone Actor itself and the rest be in the “present”. But really what would be the point of that? The end card DID show Haruka and Takane and since Konoha’s State of the World is the episode after, it’s not like Shintarou and Konoha will probably be up to much. So maybe they really will squeeze Yuukei Yesterday and Headphone Actor into one episode?
And Lost Time Memory is so soon? It’s kind of surprising and disappointing. If they do the Ayano scene at the end of the music video it’ll probably mean the end of her important and ugh no please. And without Toumei Answer beforehand, won’t it kinda lose some impact? Maybe they won’t do that scene and the one after will be Happiness Theory/Toumei Answer and then he’ll say goodbye to her? Or he’ll say goodbye/remember in 8 and then they’ll show what she did and why in the next one? The show has been hyping her up too much to just let her go like that. She deserves a good look into her wonderful song.
Although I still appreciate the visual pun of the first episode with Shintarou and Ayano and him having lost his memories of her while surrounded by time, the swirling innards of clocks. I was sure that it was the end scene of Lost Time Memory and that was actually Kano but hey maybe not.
I wonder if Mary wil get an episode for Imagination Forest? They could very well do that after Outer Science but man how sad would that be? Man what if they ended the series by showing the start of a new loop and nothing is resolved?
Like I’m real scared about the ending, guys. I heard hearsay that Jin had said something like the drama CD’s would reveal any last mysterious and sure OK that’s cool but will that include the mystery of what happens in the end? I know I’m hoping for a lot and it’s very, very unlikely for a 12 episode series where we’re almost half way through and we don’t know what our conflict is but I just want Ayano and Hiyori to live happily too. That nobody would have ever entered the Heat Haze, that they would have never had reason to.
Of course that means the Dan would have never met and formed but I think everybody would still have their individual friends and these pairs would lead one another to each other and man like I know that’s never gonna happen. Hiyori was just a kid, you know? You could remove the Heat Haze influence and just have Hiyori be a kid who got hit by a truck and Ayano a teenager who commit suicide but like I just want better for them, you know? And with that amazing Lia ED (oh my god I still can’t believe my farfetched dream of her doing some of the music came true) and the shot of them together, I don’t think that’ll happen at all.
Well ok but at least give a more conclusive ending that Summertime Record was so if I can’t have my precious Ayano, I can have some closure.