Some people just look sweet and trustable. Then there’s this guy.
|Gather round, whelps. Hyoubu is going to tell us the story of when he was young and had to walk uphill to school in blizzards every morning at 6am without any of the new-fangled technology us kids are spoiled with today. Err..not really though. Despite being an old man, he (thankfully) saves us the “when I was your age” version of the story and seamlessly explains his past piece by piece.|
Part 1 of Hyoubu’s flashback was fairly entertaining, albeit a bit slow. Even the OP was completely grey like an old-fashioned movie lest we forget that Hyoubu isn’t presently a little boy with shorts a few sizes too small. I was expecting a very brief summary told by Hyoubu, but I’m really getting into the way things are done without present-time Hyoubu narrating everything wearily to Andy. This is a much more thorough look at what made Hyoubu who he is today, and the reasons for why he despises normals with every fibre of his being.
There’s not a lot to say about this episode since it mostly just establishes things such as the military esper unit and the members within. Unlike Hyoubu’s current crew of colourful personalities, most of them seem either dull or irritating. Fujiko in particular is hard to take. Getting through scenes with her in them is like trying not to scream while shredding your ear off with a cheese grater. Stuck-up rich kids who want and expect the world to revolve around them piss me off to no end. Fujiko’s entire contribution in the episode consists of messing things up for people and being a little tyrant. It pains me to think that she will be sharing so much screentime in these flashbacks.
Little Hyoubu is much better than his “sister”. He doesn’t have the same presence as his present day self, but he’s sweet, good-natured, and not the least bit aggravating. You can already see some of his future strength present though. For one thing, his powers as an esper are already considerably above average. He also lost his father, yet he maintains a relatively cheery disposition. He dotes on his death by writing him letters and keeping an old memento of his, but it seems like a healthy amount of respect for the death. He’s not obsessing over his dad or cursing his misfortune all the time. He’s a good kid…but part of that is going to be irreparably broken when he’s betrayed. So although kiddie!Hyoubu shares a lot of resemblance with the current!Hyoubu, there is still a big difference in terms of their innocence.
The big moment will be when we see the payoff of getting to know the sweet, innocent Hyoubu go on a killing spree. Until then, everything mostly feels like a set-up. We’re made to care about the esper unit, but we know that it’s not exactly a happy ending for them. I hate when I’m watching an anime and they kill off a character I don’t know and expect me to care. Just because someone else in the show cares doesn’t mean I do. Building that initial viewer-character relationship is important! Unfortunately, it’s only working with Hyoubu right now because everyone except for Utsumi Seishiro (fabulous hair man) and maybe Saotome Eiji (megane dude) has no presence. Zilch. Nada. Part of what makes Utsumi so interesting is that we know Hyoubu uses his “ghost” later on, so I’ve got my eye on him and how they befriend each other.
All in all, it was a more mellow episode. The parts with Hyoubu I drink up like a sponge, but take him out of a scene or put the spotlight on someone else and I’m instantly bored. As a result, this post is shorter than usual. ZKC always delivers on the action front, so some high-flying esper hi-jinx in episode 8 should hit the spot.
Bonus Screenshots:Show ▼
Preview: The decisive battle to see if the esper unit will be disbanded or not. They have giant paper airplanes so something is wrong with you if you’re not excited.
Getting some real Yomiko Readman vibes here.