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I felt like this second episode walks back a bit on some of the goodwill I granted for the first episode. I liked the whimsical nature of the first episode, but this episode seems to switch straight into a more serious arc by introducing an antagonist. That being said, I don’t think it’s enough to turn me away. I think the premise could be interesting, but I mostly don’t know if I want to watch Arata face off against whoever this mystery Another is for the duration of the show.
There’s a certain lack of ceremony in the way that Arata’s power is explained in this episode. Sure, the other characters mention that it’s unique for his “Ears of Sand” to work with Anothers, but I’m not a big fan of how they just put a name to it. It almost sounds like they’re saying it’s just another quirk of their job, when it seems to have a clear benefit for what they do.
Along the same vein, it seems odd to me that Arata’s family has such a deep, mystical history. He’s set up as a rather unassuming guy who bites off more than he can chew by joining the Shinjuku Nocturnal Community Relations Department, but that gets immediately shifted. If I knew even half of the things that were revealed in this episode, his hiring in the first episode would have been no surprise at all. I guess it makes him harder to relate to as a protagonist.
As I mentioned before, I’m a bit apprehensive about the introduction of this antagonist at this point. The ending animation tends to show Arata and this Another on opposing sides, so it wouldn’t be surprising if they have some past struggle that ends up being the focus of the series. I suppose the two never really seem that hostile towards each other, so it’s possible that it’s intentionally set up as a misunderstanding, though.
It ultimately doesn’t seem much more than a character introduction, but I liked Suzu’s introduction. It does a good job of showing how much Arata helps with the relationship between humans and Anothers. Akane initially introduces Suzu as a guardian spirit, a goddess that protects the family. However, that immediately breaks down when Arata introduces her. I think it’s a pretty good scene.
So, I’m not sure what to make of the end. I guess they’re random zombies, huh? I guess we’ll have to see where it goes.