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Annotated Anime: Mekakucity Actors 8

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Walk through the door.

Right at the beginning the viewers are a witness to two unrecognizable characters: a woman and a girl, caught in a strange dimension of smoldering ash and fire, standing on a structure on verge of a collapse. The woman sends the girl through a strange warp gate of some sort, while electing to stay behind by choice. The regular OP begins to play after the scene; a sight for sore eyes, as we've had several unique intros displace the staple offering.

We are then teleported back to the Mekakushi-dan, visiting the hospital where a startled Shintaro recounts what happened with cyber-Haruka (Konoha) in episode 5. This is when Hibiya makes a miraculous appearance out of the blue, stumbling into Momo as they become reacquainted by surprise. Hibiya looks disoriented by the encounter, but carries with him a newfound weight of determination that was unseen in him before.

He tries to rush off to find his friend, but when Shintaro asks Hibiya to explain what he say, he suddenly collapses, leaving the viewer in the dark, not even letting use know if either he or Asahina Hiyori have successfully escaped the never-ending "Groundhog Day" loop they found themselves in. Kido then notices that Hibiya's eyes turned red, meaning he gained a power; one that is not dissimilar from the Mekakushi-dan's.

As per usual, the gang essentially kidnap Hibiya's unconscious body back to home base, where they will look over him and help him realize his new power. I'm beginning to see a pattern here; I'm sure you have as well. After seeing similar visuals over and over again, it's safe to say that these powers are endowed unto people, and not just a random "virus" of any kind. These are seemingly carefully curated individuals.

The visual of Shintaro getting eaten by a snake is now explained as a method of gaining a special power, as we saw with Haruka in the hospital bed. This theory is more or less confirmed when Shintaro is revealed to now have infamous red eyes as well, triggered when he sees a picture of his deceased friend Ayano; something he was unaware of until that moment.

More backstory is explained regarding the founding members of the Mekakushi-dan as well. Kido reveals that she, Kano and Seto were adopted by a man, who's daughter was Ayano. Ayano became the leader of the Mekakushi-dan, and founded it with her step brothers and sister. More promises are made to give them all the details they know about their red-eye powers and what it means. She gives a few important tidbits of information, the main one being that everyone afflicted with this condition obtained their power through a traumatic, life-threatening experience.

Not only that, but each event seems to have a sacrifice attached to it: Seto's dog, Kido's sister, Momo's father, and Kano's mother. The same might not be said about Shintaro and Haruka, but even Hibiya's newly awakened powers seemed to have come from his misadventure with Hiyori. Wait. Kido was in a house engulfed in fire with her sister? Did the mystery girl (called Tsubomi by the woman) who was in a burning building in the beginning of the episode have green hair? Connection made! I honestly couldn't recall if they said Kido's full name in the show before, but upon looking up character names, her name is indeed Kido Tsubomi; which then creates a whole host of new questions.

This was another dialogue-heavy episode, made interesting with a smorgasbord of cool visuals and much-needed information. I can appreciate how densely packed the stories of these individuals seem intertwined with each other, while being suspended in the air by strings which are still invisible to us.

The musical segment is back in this episode with the most impressive visuals yet. Meta scenes from the manga and flashbacks that recap previous events while also foreshadowing in not-so-subtle ways. It was a real treat to cap this episode with, leaving a powerful impression.

Being a twelve episode series, I'm left wondering what awaits in the four episode left to air; many people who are familiar with the source material seem to suggest that a second season would be necessary to cover all of it. Whether that's in the cards or not, I'm glad that this show introduced me to this internet phenomenon, as it's a fascinating world to explore.

[Watch this on Crunchyroll!]

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