Apologies, everyone! I AM reviewing this series, it’s just that my Internet was out for about two weeks and I wasn’t able to watch the episodes until now. I should get Episode 4 out in a day or two and then I’ll be on regular schedule.
Rin watches a news report where Unit 8 is once again criticized for causing collateral damage. Asami arrives at work, only to find she is the only one there. She immediately gets a job request and is told to suit up, only to find that it was a ruse by the mechanic Kyoukai…not to see her naked, as she originally thought, but to get a look at and start upgrading her Willwear.
Rin spends her morning apologizing to various bureaucrats for the damage. Unbeknownst to her, a criminal steals a Willwear and threatens the school where her younger sister, Hinata, is a student. The stolen Willwear is an illegal model which literally drugs the pilot to help them ignore harsh working conditions. While wreaking destructions on the campus, the criminal kidnaps Hinata and holds her hostage.
Rin and Asami argue about the best strategy to take down the man while also keeping Hinata safe. Eventually, Rin agrees to allow Asami to attempt the rescue, as her Willwear is the most advanced model the unit possesses. Amusingly, Asami’s brand-new suit is still in “startup mode,” hampering her ability to fight as her screen is clogged with updates and popups. While rescuing Hinata, Asami accidentally sets the Willwear’s kick power too high, and kicks through a building. Even after finding out that the building was empty, she experiences a mental crisis, as her actions were inconsistent with her image of herself as a police officer devoted to justice. Rin reassures her, explaining that being a police officer is about the law, not one’s personal sense of justice – but assures Asami she’ll discipline her for her actions regardless.
Let me just get it out of the way – I was majorly disappointed to see yet another cliche “girl is changing and guy misunderstands” scene. Yeah, Kyokai just wanted to upgrade her Willwear, but he could have done that without getting her to strip first. On the other hand, Asami’s hotheaded reaction was over the top, especially after Kyokai already explained his reasoning.
Other than that (and the brief but unnecessary changing scene featuring the high school aged Hinata) this was an overall decent episode. It was great to see Asami in action! Her Willwear’s design is neat and distinctive, and of course the “startup mode” full of updates , ads and other annoying popups had me laughing out loud. It’s not something I’ve seen before with mecha/power-armor type technology, and that whole moment worked very well. I’m also becoming oddly fond of Liko, the “app” character who navigates most technological devices, from computers to TVs to digital menus.
While most of the characters had few to no lines and remained fairly bland, episode 2’s increased focus on Rin seemed to imply that the show is going to give centric episodes to the various members of Unit 8. At least I hope so – it’s got a fairly large staff, and right now only Asami, Rin and to a lesser extent Kuroki have had any development. While I understand that the focus needed to be on Asami’s first combat, it was a bit disappointing to see Sena and Kuroki have to sit out this fight, as it led to them having almost no presence in this episode. And while the relationship between Rin and Hinata is cute, I hope Hinata’s school life or her interactions with the fairly dull ‘student council president’ male character (potential love interest?) don’t take up too much time. There’s no need to focus on high school stories when a squad of power-armored police exist in the same show.
A decent second showing, and enough to make me want to keep watching. Out of 5 Dios:
As punishment for the destruction she caused last episode, Asami is forced to sing karaoke in an embarrassing outfit. Kyoukai becomes interested in the idol Asami was cosplaying, but is surprised when he learns that “Amu-chan” is a crossdressing male. The next day, a news company gets an anonymous note that if they attend Amu-chan’s concert, they will get more footage of Unit 8’s disastrous actions. The source of the note is the mysterious group, Logos, which has been observing Unit 8.
Unit 8 receives notice of another stolen Willwear just as a man uses the Willwear and a giant doll to sneak into Amu-chan’s concert venue. He demands that Amu-chan sing for him, planning to use the Willwear to record private video footage. However, he is easily talked down by Amu-chan, who points out that an idol belongs to everyone and a song is something to be shared. Irritated at his easy defeat, the Logos hacker Mythos overrides the Willwear’s controls and begins damaging equipment in the concert hall.
Back at headquarters, Asami is mystified by the relationship between Sena and Kuroki, who make a great field team but cannot stand each other in person. The two are deployed to fight the Mythos-controlled Willwear, but it damages their audio and visual functions, weakening their already strained teamwork. When their own Willwears’ batteries are forcibly removed, Unit 8 must come up with a way to distract the perpetrator while Kyoukai performs repairs. Their solution is to use visual and audio projects/illusions to make the man think that Asami (in her Willwear) is Amu-chan confessing to and performing for him. His devotion to Amu-chan breaks the man out of Mythos’s control long enough for Sena and Kuroki to subdue him. Unfortunately, the news team summoned by Logos’s letter broadcasts Asami’s performance and uses it to further criticize Unit 8 for acting irresponsibly.
Sigh. Episodes 1 and 2 had a few cringe-worthy moments, but the good definitely outweighed the bad. In Episode 3, it felt like an even split down the middle. Hopefully, this isn’t a trend, because the uncomfortable stuff in this episode was….really darn uncomfortable.
Worst of all was Mythos, who got a bit more personality in this episode – and not in a good way. Not only is he accompanied by a silent girl in a minidress and diaper, he also has a group of either sisters or servants who refer to him as “big brother”. I think us writers here on Moeronpan have made our stance on this kind of thing quite clear, so I shouldn’t have to say any more – but I will. In a scene completely irrelevent to the rest of the episode, this ‘little sister’ character attempts to feed Mythos his lunch mouth-to-mouth, but is punished and called a “slut” by him. Ugh. Ick. No. I know we’re supposed to not like Mythos, but this is taking it too far.
I’m on the fence about the character of Amu-chan, who is biologically male but performs as a female idol. The fact was only brought up a few times, so I can’t really say if they handled it well or not. And while the man who attacked the concert hall appeared to be a fairly stereotypical fat, sweaty idol otaku, he was a surprisingly positive portrayal of one – he left Amu-chan alone when asked to, and didn’t want to hurt anyone.
The highlight of the episode was definitely the sight of Asami’s Willwear dancing in cutesy idol-like moves, while the lines are fed to her by one of the older, male members of Unit 8. (Though I did cringe a bit at how obviously uncomfortable Asami was during her ‘confession’ as Amu-chan) On top of that, we also got to see Sena and Kuroki in action, and at least a bit more development to their relationship. It’s interesting to see how they both acknowledge the other as “someone I work well with but can’t get along with”. Next episode preview seems to show them trying to work towards a more positive relationship, so I look forward to that.
Another strong point was getting to see yet again how the news will twist everything Unit 8 does to make it look bad, with Asami’s singing and dancing being called “using the scene of an attack as a karaoke room”. Mythos and the rest of Logos seem to be intentionally putting Unit 8 into situations that will make them look bad – but why? What is their ultimate goal? I hope we get to learn more about it soon, and maybe meet some other members who aren’t as….cringe-worthy…as Mythos.
The weakest episode so far, but not enough to make me give up on the series entirely. Out of 5 Dios: