With the group having bonded fairly well and a couple of new people thrown into the mix, times are getting more interesting, albeit slowly.
What They Say
The Boundary Between Light and Despair
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The introduction of Hotsuma and Shusei in the previous episode felt like a little too much in bringing in more basic archetypes at this point rather than exploring more of what the series is going to focus on. It's taken four episodes just to get Yuki to the big city and he's presented with two new guardians right from the get go. The two new guys are all attitude in their own way and conflicts already seem to be brewing which while it makes for some drama, sometimes it can be too much drama in a show that's already thick in dramatic atmosphere.
A nice chunk of this episode focuses on the Duras as they make another attack at Yuki, who once again foolishly heads out into the world with any immediate protections. That just sets Hotsuma off when he catches up to him and Yuki says in far too girlish of a voice to him that the fact that he's upset about it means that he cares. Having Hotsuma look dumbfounded by this is a little boggling since it's the complete opposite of how the character should acting based off of what we know about him, but it's all to draw him further into Yuki's web of niceties. Even though he's starting to soften a little towards Yuki, he's still pretty standoffish and macho towards Luka when he arrives to point out that the things they're fighting are little more than controlled dolls from elsewhere.
Everything builds up to a fairly nice crescendo where Luka manages to steal the show again, both in style and substance. Style tends to win out between the two of them though as Luka always has a fairly calm and controlled look going on which adds to his cool factor. What becomes interesting is that we have an attack going on against Yuki where those attacking him have no compunction in using anything they can in order to take him down. Even involving children, which does naturally boost up the evil nature of it. But it also indicates just how far they'll go which at least helps to set some precedent and reminds Yuki that it's not a simple game with few people being involved. It's something where others that aren't even really involved with him can be drawn into it and caused to suffer because of him.
There's nothing inherently wrong with this episode but it comes across as a monster of the week kind of episode. The humanizing parts involve Hotsuma realizing that there may be something yet to this Yuki person and it's Yuki whose getting a better appreciation for what's involved with how far others will go to kill him. Everything here is fairly predictable and it's little more than a set piece to stabilize the relationship that Hotsuma and Yuki have while bringing Shusei in to the fore just toward the end of the episode. There are some decent action moments, though much of it is about style and atmosphere rather than actual battle. There's a touch of background material brought in as well that helps to explain more of what's coming after Yuki, but it's more of an afterthought. This episode sort of just sits there for the most part and left me fairly unenthused about it, though it wasn't one that was bad or off. It's just there.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70" LCoS 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.