This one isn’t my full writeup format, so I was a little hesitant to put it up. Let me know if it’s worth it to include things like this:
Man! I think this episode definitely maintained the “developed by smart people who know how to tell stories” promise of the first episode. A whole lot of information was revealed, and the scale of the world is coming into a bit sharper focus.
I like the general creepy mood that the various elements establish. There was the physical presence of the shadow creatures, the way they played with technology and lighting to heighten the powerlessness of the protagonists, the general music and cinematography, and particularly that big reveal conceit – being held as a vessel for possession is just not a fun concept, and throws her relationship with everyone around her into an extremely uncomfortable light.
I like that while the various concepts of their world are becoming more clear, the actual motivations of the various characters certainly aren’t. Whether her family, her original caretakers, Yukimasa, or Wamiya are friends or enemies is all unclear at this point, though at least our main two wear their hearts on their sleeves.
Another thing I liked is the way they introduced so much of the fantastical stuff from Izumiko’s perspective. I like that we were introduced to this girl who lives in sheltered fear for some reason, and then slowly we are introduced to the world around her as she deals with it. This way it’s not an exposition dump of fantasy rules and ideas – it’s a person whose nature was crafted by that world, and every element of it is just an exhausting but accepted piece of her world already. The stuff at the end was much more direct, but the fact that we were given that much information makes me think there’s a great deal more left to explore.
This isn’t exactly my kind of show (it’s really heavy on mood and mystery, and character/theme has been downplayed), but I think it’s doing its thing quite well. It remains to be seen whether it can maintain intrigue while drawing us closer to the characters – I think the next couple episodes will show whether they can define these protagonists as unique people worth caring about, or merely devices in the story they wish to tell.