This sure was a surprise. People arriving at a mysterious bar to partake in a game with their lives at stake only to find out they’ve died and the game serves as the ruling of who ends up reincarnated or in the void. What the creators manage to do with this episode is add in romance. This was a great idea!
Shigeru enamored with the girl sitting next to him at the bar. They both don’t know how they got there and what makes things even more interesting is the girl doesn’t remember who she is. Shifting the focus away from a dark story to one that’s really refreshing. A sentimental episode with a supernatural horror side to it– two people gradually developing feelings for each other even though they are dead. Being able to feel their heartbeats within the balls. Interesting concept– I like how they capture a very creepy moment with Shigeru. Turned on when he could feel her heartbeat really establishes that he’s got something odd about him. A rather twisted perspective that soon dissolves here when the girl remembers that she is Chisato Miyazaki.
We’ve moved away from a game that affects them physically into one that recollects their own lives. This can be very good or very dangerous. Initially I had though Shigeru might be some serial killer and that’s why he had that strange behavior when he first realizes Chisato’s heartbeat was really moving in that bowling ball. Hajime no Ippo director Jun Shishido handled the story around this with such a light surprise at the end. I think what was very pivotal was that beginning segment of them when they were kids. Obviously it leaves the viewer somewhat confused at the get-go but after seeing this it clearly makes a lot sense to put it right at the beginning: Shigeru and the girl leaving are connected with the girl right in front of him at the bar in some way or another.
The big reveal erupts with some really interesting facts about this series as a whole and the idea that Nona described to Onna previously– bringing out their emotions under extreme conditions. Chisato remembers she’s had surgery to get noticed by the guy she likes AFTER she decides to go on the date with Shigeru. What foreshadows this is when this show moves back to the bathroom scene of QueenDecim where she touches her face. What a powerful scene there.
The reversal here is what I really enjoyed. She loves him but he was after the real Chisato before he died. Fantastic way to switch this at the end by utilizing death as the motive to establish Shigeru’s feelings about Mai. By and large its the ending credits of their date that emphasizes this too!
\What an awesome episode! As for the staff, I really like how Decim and Onna’s relationship is turning out. This could very well have been an episode much further along in the timeframe of the series, we really don’t know. Finally an episode that gets it right when making a stand alone episode. This is nice because this episode did skip Onna’s build up into the world of QueenDecim and I can see how some people might find that development lacking. We might learn how she gets accustomed to this later on. To me, I think that Onna has become a sort of guide for Decim in human emotions– especially love. I’m certain that if this episode had happened before Machiko and Takashi’s ordeal, than Decim would not have sent both Shigeru and Mai to be reincarnated.
In addition, the music did a wonderful job at doing that cut-off when Decim was cracking a joke about their date being only five minutes long. Loved Onna’s reaction– very funny!
OVERALL IMPRESSION: 10/10