Short Synopsis: Kuro suddenly finds himself approached by a strange old man.
Highlights: Now this is psychological horror!
Overall Enjoyment Value: 8,5/10 (Awesome)
Best episode of the show so far since the first episode. It’s taken a while for this series to arrive at its real meat, but now it’s finally about time to work towards the series’ finale and this episode really showed the building up come together.
What especially made this episode work well were the bad guys. They were no longer strange caped dudes who kill lots of people, but instead had real personalities. I felt like they were people, rather than a bunch of literal killing machines, and it’s good to see this series spend some effort in its weakest area: the characterization.
I especially like that lizard man, who uses illusions to get rid of his enemies. This episode starts out at a point that doesn’t make any sense at all, where Kuro suddenly finds himself in the middle of a huge city, while in fact it turns out to be one huge illusion by this guy. It really increases the subtle paranoid level of this series: as long as the lizardman is around, you won’t know what’s real or not.
Ooh, and Kuromitsu showed herself, but she immediately leaves again after she saves Kuro. Her own agenda still remains a huge mystery at this point, but I think Kuro is somehow very much needed in it, so she wanted to make sure that he’d survive. How she knew where he was… the only explanation for that is that she’s been monitoring him from the beginning with the strange time stopping power of hers. It also turns out that she knows Sanniwa, suggesting that either Sanniwa was very old, or she and Kuro split ways more than just that time.
It’s also interesting that the story of the anime seems to diverge from the manga. I have no idea by how much this has happened since I’ve not read the manga, but it shouldn’t be too much of a problem as long as the creators know what they’re doing. This will of course only become clear in the final episodes, when everything in this series is supposed to come together. What the creators must make sure of is that they need to shed light on every mystery in that episode, and at the same time pull off a satisfying climax. Bringing back the godly animation of the first episode helps too.