I contemplated backdating this post to April 13 or whenever the episode came out and pretend like I’d been posting all along, but instead I figured I’d go for the sympathy play. It’s been a while since I’ve written a proper episodic post, so please be gentle with me.
So I’m going to be pretty brief with these posts until I catch up (which will probably take me about a week or two). I figure there’s no sense in going into a terrible amount of detail for an episode everyone’s watched nearly a month ago. But I still wanted to write individual posts for each episode instead of a combined catch-up post, because I like to go back and reference things occasionally. Plus, it’s that completionist tic in me. Hard to repress.
Essentially, the plot for episode 2 involves the gang heading into a nest of traps to replenish their weapons. But actually, the real point of the episode is to expand upon this strange between-deaths world, and also give a surprising amount of depth into Yuri’s character – who I’ve loved in episode 1, but have really fallen in love with after learning of her shockingly tragic past. Director Seiji Kishi’s fingerprints were all over this episode. Their world where "dying" is a just a joke (because they can’t – although they can feel the pain) provides a surprisingly good backdrop for Kishi’s slapstick gags. And for the most part I thought it was pretty funny, especially the head nods to everyone’s "sacrifices." But the episode takes a surprisingly powerful turn when Yuri laments her failures as a leader and reveals a horrific incident involving her family when she was alive. Although we don’t learn how Yuri herself dies, it’s a stark contrast to how much weight death still carries for her, even though they’re in a world where death no longer seems to matter. The flashback was really intense.
The other major revelation in the episode is that apparently, Yuri’s band of ragtag members aren’t the only ones fighting against Angel. You know how anime characters always do that predictable eye-popping thing, maybe when they see something they shouldn’t have, or hear something that hits them in the heart? Well, I echoed Otonashi’s eye pop with a "whoa" of my own when I saw the Guild. It was interesting them describe how they created things with dirt and imagination. Sort of like they were mini-Gods, no?
There’s got to be something special about Yuri right? I can’t imagine anyone else being able to match Angel in hand to hand combat until Angel went all haxxor on her. Is there anything supernatural to Yuri herself? Or has she gotten to her level just by the strength of her will? I don’t know if people are still making Haruhi comparisons, but there were a bunch of scenes where if Aya Hirano voiced Yuri, I could’ve closed my eyes and completely believed it was really Haruhi in another world.
All in all, I really liked this episode. Hopefully the quality continues.