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Annotated Anime: Mekakucity Actors episode 6

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Before the apocalypse

This week's entry starts with a bang, passing on the usual OP and going straight into a action setpiece, where a black-haired Ene races down the metropolitan city blocks that seem to be collapsing all around her. The high tension beginning is followed by a trip to the past which lays down yet even more enticing circuits in this labyrinth of a chipboard that is Mekakucity Actors.

Here we get another self-contained story with some very clear ties to characters in the current storyline; this time focusing on Ene and Haruka, two characters who seemed completely unrelated. The past exposes that at one point they were functioning, normal (to an extent) students, albeit placed in a special class taught by none other than Tateyama, Momo's current tutor.

'Ene', as we know her as, is a internet handle she uses in video games; a name that is now infamous for reaching second place in the nation at a competitive game tournament. Unable to cope with the attention that brings, Ene surprisingly seems to lead a very closed lifestyle, not unlike Shintaro -- who, speaking of which, shows up later in this episode, implying that this was before his shut-in days. More surprising perhaps, is that he is accompanying Ayano: the girl who the Mekakushi-dan revere as their founder. We have surprise appearances by Tsubomi and Shuya as well, for some fun cameo antics.

The episode focuses on the high school cultural festival, where Ene and Haruka's classroom plays host to a competitive shooting game that Tateyama whips up practically overnight. Ene's idea for this backfires when people catch wind of her as a championship finalist, a fact that she desperately tries to hide from Haruka in fear of being judged.

Haruka bears resemblance to his more eccentrically designed counterpart, exhibiting a bottomless stomach, ultra-pale complexion, and his signature air-headed voice. But here he's also shown to be more lively and personable, compared to his white-haired self later on who seems much more lackadaisical and naive. When the cat's out of the bag and Haruka discovers Ene's infamous gaming career, he praises Ene for her great talent, to her surprise. The regular credits sequence is taken out and we're treated to an extended ending and extra song which purposefully ends with a cliffhanger tease that seems rather ominous.

We get a nice little story here with its own arc and a narrative that's easy to follow. With continuous layering of stand-alone narratives, the overlaps are becoming much clearer. We still have massive gaps to fill, but maybe this anthology-styled show doesn't need to tell us everything we want to know. As I look forward to more connections and revelations, it's been just as fun speculating on how these stories and characters connect.

[Catch this show on Crunchyroll!]

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