Perhaps things are about to pick up.
The once-prominent Sasa family is attending a ceremony for the 7th anniversary of the death of the former house head. The current head dies in a bizzare immolation. Or so it seems…Cut to Rie tracking down Shinjurou and Inga in the ‘Restricted Zone’ to get their help to solve the case. The Professor seems keen to cut them off before they get involved, but even the Professor can’t weave a plausible enough lie this time. The episode ends with the revelation that the supposedly murdered son was actually a robot…and that the computer within the household holds the key to the truth of what’s going on.
There were some improvements this episode. As I suspected, Rie doesn’t approve of her father’s methods and prefers Shinjurou’s ways. Rie gets some much needed character development and now has potential to be a good character. Whoever picked her outfits deserves credit – Rie’s got style. The specific role Professor Kaishou plays within the system is now spelt out in more detail – this guy’s power and how casually he weaves his lies is chilling. A conflict between those two will happen sometime soon. What was best about this episode was it tried to break free from the formula of the first two episodes. Once the Professor wove his fabrication, evidence to counter it came to light and Shinjurou deduced the truth. That computer’s final line was priceless. In terms of world setting, the opening minutes with the slum, ruined nature of the ‘Restricted Zone’ were rather effective and a good device to promote Rie’s defiance.
Still…while the roles Shinjurou and Inga played in this episode were better…we still know next to nothing about them! And they’re the main characters! Honestly, I think this is what’s really hindering this show. If we knew at least something about what caused Shinjurou and Inga to pair up, the source of Inga’s powers or how Shinjurou cheated death, I think we as viewers would care a LOT more about them! I seriously hope that’s not something they only explain in the Episode 0 movie. That doesn’t get released until November 19 and to release that info that way could really backfire. Indeed, while the world setting and second tier of characters intrigues me, the primary characters don’t because we’re not allowed to know anything about them! This needs to change…The mystery quality isn’t an issue anymore, really. The lack of development of Shinjurou and Inga as characters has hurt this show. Even a 5 minute flash back explaining why it is Shinjurou and Inga pursue the truth like they do – SOMETHING to make us care about their plight – would really lift this series! A moment like that make so much difference. At present, Rie is probably the one character with motivations and a purpose that are clear thus far. I care about what she intends to do, but not the main protagonists as much, which shouldn’t be happening…
On a final note, Shinjurou seems rather keen to get the Professor to unlock the device he has at any price. Perhaps getting one up on the Professor this time will get him what he wants? Or will it take a bigger mystery for Shinjurou to outperform the Professor and cause him to cave in? Either way – develop Shinjurou and Inga as characters ASAP, please!