It turns out that this whole POV approach from last episode’s post-credit scene is here to stay for this entire flashback scene. To be fair, I kind of get what the storytellers are going for. The identity original apartment owner doesn’t actually matter. He is just one of the many guys infatuated with Satou and to Satou, he is but a nobody whose feelings she’d never reciprocate. Him being an artist actually serves Satou’s character more than his own. The sketch of her captures what she was back in the day — aimless and yearning for something to feel “complete”. When Satou brings Shio and accidentally knocks it over, the action denotes her transformation into a woman who can love. Her covering the canvas up after killing the apartment owner also symbolizes that she is turning a new albeit creepy and violent leaf.
While I can appreciate the craft, as that rare member of humanity that is spoiled by the awkward hilarity of One Room, I really couldn’t help but find the flashback rather silly. It even has the same issues as One Room where not every shot is faithfully diegetic. Sometimes it’s from the owner’s eyes, sometimes it isn’t. I would even go as far as to say it’s a mistake to even show some semblance of what the owner looks like. It’d be much more haunting if the experience was entirely acted out in second person. Better yet, don’t even show how Satou murders the owner, leave it entirely to the viewer’s imagination instead.
There’s also a couple of effects that felt unnecessary to me. The static that plays in between cuts. Expressing the owner’s inner thoughts in graphics and text. The distorted, diluted filter on Shio’s body. It frankly makes the experience feel too campy and that’s especially damaging for an anime that, let’s face it, is clearly on the cheap side visually.
The transition back to the present proves to be much more fascinating as you see Satou enact her plan to make an ally out of Mitsuboshi. It’s a pretty clever plan on her part, empathizing with the latter’s feelings for Shio and make it as incentive for doing whatever she requests him to do. I buy it; I mean, Mitsuboshi is pretty pathetic so it probably isn’t that hard to coerce him by default. He tries giving up on rescuing Shio and instead rely only on her missing posters to keep him sane…only to then agree with Satou’s agenda because the latter threw one of Shio’s socks at him as bribery. That alone makes me get why Satou doesn’t bother killing him (for now…).
Frankly, I’m shocked that all Satou wants Mitsuboshi to do is simply mislead Asashi on Shio’s whereabouts through false information. It just seems tamed by her standards and as twisted as this sounds, if Satou killed Asashi, would anyone really notice the boy is gone? Maybe Shouko considering how close she is with him now (their chemistry is borderline romantic at this point) but that’s probably it. Then again, Satou has committed homicide pretty sparingly so far. Just look at who’s still alive in this anime.
I’m curious how well this plan will work. Asashi has apparently dealt with prank calls so how well he’ll believe the false information is 50-50 right now. Plus, he now has Shouko as a sort of conscience. And what about this new dynamic between Satou and Mitsuboshi? Will Satou actually let Mitsuboshi meet Shio? Will Mitsuboshi really go along with Satou’s schemes? …Actually, that last one is probably a given.
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