Picking up where last week’s episode left off, the team brainstorm exactly how they’ll steal the cargo from the shinkansen. But the train isn’t their only problem, as they find the the station and platform defences just as formidable. The mysterious robo-cat divides the Akudama up. Teams A and B will work on the switches to get to the platform, whereas Courier will be waiting in the wings…or on the tracks, for when the package can be grabbed. Teamwork is key for the plan to succeed. But, for such an eccentric group, working together might be too big an ask.
Unlike last week’s episode, I did find this one a little more shaky. In terms of actual plot, the episode felt thin. Perhaps a bit too much time was given to the Akudama and robo-cat discussing their plans rather than actually doing them. On top of this, the episode failed to balance tension and humour in an effective way. Random jokes and gags broke up tense scenes, taking me out of them completely. Perhaps what got on my nerves the most was Cutthroat. His ‘gag’ of being obsessed with Swindler has gotten old in just two episodes. Whenever he’s in frame or scene I’m just anticipating for him to do something cringe. It’s such a shame cause design wise, he ticks all my boxes, but he’s just such an icky character.
For the other characters, I’m really hoping the next episode or two take the time to develop their backstories or actual personalities. On the positive side, the dynamic between Hoodlum and Brawler is by far my favourite in the series. I’ve also warmed up to the Swindler, she’s a lot of fun and really holding her own in the group. But, as it is, a majority of the cast still feel very one-dimensional to me. Worse yet, characters like Doctor feel like background characters who I forget are in scenes completely. I will say, there were some very small intriguing sparks of backstory from Courier and Hacker. But, just like an itch in a place you can’t reach – it was infuriating they didn’t dig deeper! Even just a sentence or two more could have been really satisfying. But I suppose they didn’t want to give too much away in just episode 3.
I think we can be fairly certain there’s a strong 90s theme going with the episode titles, I did a little bit of digging into it and watched an interview Funimation did with Kazutaka Kodaka about the series. In the interview, Kodaka talks about how he and Yoshihiko Tominaga are big fans of the crime-centred/violent films of the 90s (think Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction). They wanted this series to be a mesh of this influential age of cinema with a cyberpunk theme. I suppose each episode title acts as an obvious homage to these iconic 90s films that they’ve gained influence from, and also a way to show their passion for the films. This week, I didn’t spot too many direct film references like I did in last week’s episode, besides the executioner’s seal having a ‘license to kill’ – James Bond is calling!
Overall, this week’s episode did feel a bit unsatisfying! Perhaps I was wrong in setting my expectations too high after last week’s episode. But I really mean it when I say there’s a lot of potential in this series.I believe the series only has twelve episodes planned, so it’s still got a little bit time to get some solid footing. It’s usually around episode four or five I expect a series to settle and find direction. I suppose all I can do now is see how it goes next week. If anything, at least it’s a great visual experience.
Edit 30/10 : I previously had this episode title listed as ‘Speed’ but it’s actually ‘Mission Impossible’. Unfortunately AnimeLab had the wrong title listed so I went with that instead of checking Wikipedia!