Oh no! When we last left our heroes, Akiko and an unconscious Philip were being carried off in the Revolgarry. What will become of them?
The first episode of W is terrific, don't get me wrong. Shoutarou is especially brilliant in it. But it was the second episode, with its twist and the way it established the dynamic between W's two halfs that really sold me on the show.
Spoilers, screencaps, and loads of gifs under the cut!
Shou's bond with Marina really feels authentic, even when you know the truth about her. The scene with the hat is so simple, but demonstrates so much of his fundamental character. He's very much about over the top gestures and phrases, yes, but he genuinely means these things he says. As much as he wants to be hardboiled, he's a very sentimental person who cares deeply about his town and the people in it. Shou came across as a bit of a goofball from the very start, but it's the sincerity behind that goofiness that makes him so great.
This episode also introduces Watcherman, the first of many Fuuto residents who would become an important part of the show and really help the town feel alive. Now that I've seen Kuuga, I can appreciate how very Kuuga-esque this is. There aren't too many toku series that devoted this kind of time to background characters, which is a real shame. Characters like Watcherman, Santa-Chan, Queen and Elizabeth didn't play a vital part in too many storylines, but I still can't imagine the show without them.
Kirihiko! Episode 2 is really pulling out all the stops. Even before they started to tease at Nasca later in the episode, there was something about him that was so intriguing to me. A big part of it is definitely the performance of the talented Yuki Kimisawa, but there's also something very captivating about this little scene.
The look on Shou's face when he gives Philip the last keyword is fantastic. It's like he didn't have to admit his suspicions until he said it out loud. He looks so guilty here too, even though I think he's pretty certain his hunch is right by this point.
I also like that, while the Gaia Library was used, Shou basically solved the mystery on his own and only had Philip confirm he was correct. So often on the show, Shou's contributions are undervalued, and I like that right from the start, they show that he can be a pretty great detective.
I adore Philip. I don't want to see him punched by anyone, not even Shoutarou. But in spite of that, I love this bit too, because of how much this sets up for the characters. It's not just Shou getting called on his halfboiled nature, or the way Philip can read Shou so well without understanding the heart of what he's feeling. It's the way it shows the two conflicting sides of W and (later on) how they come together.
I love the little shot of Akiko here too. It's her first glimmer of respect for Shou. In retrospect, I wonder if this why I shipped the two of them for so long.
Meibi Yamanouchi, who plays Marina, does such a terrific job here. She transitions from sympathetic to REALLY FREAKING CREEPY effortlessly. She's in two shows I'd like to watch eventually- Cho Ninja Tai Inazuma and Magiranger- and being reminded of how great she is here is good motivation to download them.
And while I am making a laundry list of things I loved about this episode, I'll add some appreciation for the simplicity with which Philip and Shou's argument is resolved. They could've easily gone the route of some big speech or apology that touched on they way they balance each other out, but I think those things are better left unsaid, at least at this point in the game. Both of them have great expressions here too.
And suddenly, T-Rex is awesome!
It makes the punch that much more satisfying.
A lot of the chase scene looks ridiculously fake, but it's still a pretty entertaining watch. Both the Hardboiler and the Revolgarry are put to good use, and that's something I will never complain about. Also, the way Philip's body is thrown always cracks me up.
It would've been nice to see Shou talk with Marina somehow at the end, but Philip's reminder to use the word "We" more than makes up for that. Shou's horrified reaction to Akiko's sign and his cries of HARDBOILED are a pretty perfect episode ender.
My apologies for taking longer to get this up then I'm intended. Hopefully this post made your heart boil anyways~ Next post should be up soon.