Akuma no Riddle: Episode 2

I admit it, I’m on the fan wagon now.

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Last week I admitted that Akuma no Riddle had held my interest but hadn’t drawn out my enthusiasm.  Well this week that’s old news.

There was movement this week, the rest of the cast wisely held in reserve until today to avoid COMPLETE bombardment. And while we were given answers we were given new questions.  What more, really, can a show do?

We open with Tokaku receiving a text.  We can fill in the blanks. In desperation or nothing better to think of, Tokaku sent Haru’s answer to the Dice Man (I guess his name’s Kaiba).  Well he’s responded! “That’s correct!”

But we see him monologuing to himself over her text, and really when you run an assassin’s school and throw dice at the drop of a hat what else are you going to do in your spare time?  This riddle, of sorts, was indeed a test, but not the kind we were thinking of.

To say “the world is full of forgiveness” is so unlike Tokaku that this was the point. Kaiba can see from across the country that she didn’t naturally think that up on her own.  Haru could have answered the world is full of bugs, or kittens, or bondage dungeons, and it would STILL have been the correct answer. The point was to see when Tokaku opened up to someone, and Kaiba has his proof.

After credits (god I love that OP) we meet the rest of the cast, whom I’m too lazy to get into.  They don’t play much role this episode at all, the only thing that will be brought up later, I’m sure, is Kaminaga Kouko, who basically puts herself in charge as class rep, dorm rep, all the official capacities that the class will need.

The students are all doing…well…whatever they want, really. Only Haru is really attempting to behave like a high schooler, some of the kids are just ignoring their assignments.  Tokaku just feels weird.  She doesn’t see why they’re playing nice like this.

Interesting.  Wouldn’t Tokaku have had training by now to help her blend in when on assignment?  Damn, do I have to cite Final Fantasy 8 as an example of a school for mercenaries being taught ballroom dancing just in case it comes in handy on a mission?

Well she’s put off by the play acting and leaves, Haru in pursuit.

Our sharkdere announces to the remainder that the REAL orientation begins tonight at a special meeting.

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Tokaku is on the roof. She doesn’t give a flying fuck about the reward or her assessment, she just wants to get this over with.  Tokaku thinks about the target aspect of Haru. Her behavior seems so odd, after all.  She gets more flashback and face clutching.  As she leaves without saying a word, Haru says “I must keep smiling so Tokaku doesn’t get yelled at.”  Huh…

Isuke is making her move already, though.  She wants to go home even more than Tokaku, so she’s going to Haru’s room for a visit.  Tokaku leaves, not wanting to deal with forming bonds among the class.

Well surprise surprise, Isuke poisoned the tea.  She exposits a bit about her backstory, saying her mom and dad are both men and she’s adopted or, something.  Raised by ninjas, you know how it is, I shouldn’t even have to explain this, of course.

Haruki lets Tokaku in on the fact that Isuke is making her move, and Tokaku bolts back to the room.  Sharkdere arrives to exposit not about herself, but Haru.  Haru killed her entire family when she was younger.  Damn.

This seems to put Haruki at unease, family is apparently a little bit of a sore spot with her. So much so that when Sharkdere even mentions them, Haruki has her slammed against the lockers and on the floor before she can finish the sentence.

As Isuke is about to drown Haru, Haru whispers that she has a curse that prevents her death.  Tokaku breaks in on Haru half naked, Isuke is admiring the scars, and there are WAY more than just the legs.

Well the forecast calls for cloudy with a chance of mortal combat, and Tokaku rather easily pins Isuke down. But as she’s about to deliver the death blow, she has a flashback…uh…flash. The pause is just enough for Isuke to break free and turn it around. She supposes that Tokaku is a virgin killer, having never taken life and that’s why she hesitated.  In fact, it amuses her so much that she leaves, not even bothering to finish off Haru.

But we see the truth. Tokaku has been “bound”.  She cannot kill, a sort of brainwashing is paralyzing her like she were hypnotized into never killing again.   So it’s rather likely Tokaku has killed a LOT of people.  Either that or her mother has the weirdest idea of bonding trips.

Tokaku is awoken by a Haru on top of her.  If only it was that sexy.  Tokaku instinctively headbutts her.  Haru barely moves. In fact Tokaku notes she doesn’t even blink.  She doesn’t understand what is so special about Haru.  She lets slip that the Black Class is here to kill her. But Haru says she already knows.

Haru says she’s protected from death and won’t die.  In a very effective scene, Haru’s innocent voice recounts that as a member of a large (and presumably powerful) family, many people want her dead.  And she explains how her family members died protecting her.  All while we are treated to crime-scene like photos of blood all over walls, bodies slumped over, the works.

And the cap, the beautiful clincher of this scene, is Haru saying “When my Mom tried to protect me, I didn’t get to say goodbye,” while we see her bloody hands falling off the child-sized Haru.  It’s clear there’s some disconnect, perhaps a brainwashng like Tokaku’s, but I’m sure the answer to what that is will be revealed at a later time. Still, knew she wasn’t so innocent.

Tokaku says Haru’s desire to survive is pointless, because she’s normal.

Ehhh, other than all the shit you pointed out about how she’s abnormal, I guess, Tokaku.

We then cut to the special orientation.  We learn the rules of this game.

Rule 1: The Winner receives anything they want.  Anything. There are powerful organizations backing this exercise and their combined power can literally give anything the heart desires.

Rule 2: Non-Black Class students are off limits, including the teacher.

Rule 3: If you fail in your attempt to kill Haru, you will be expelled.  The girls are given little red notes they will present to Haru, and must strike in the next 48 hours or be disqualified.

Tokaku enters now, stylishly late.  She tears up her note.

Not twelve assassins. Eleven assassins. One protector.

My body is ready, guys. So ready.

There is but one weakness, but really it can be overlooked in the grand scheme….and that is…why does Tokaku turn so quickly? It feels rushed.

Now, we can take away that the fact Tokaku opened up to Haru and passed her first riddle entirely might be to blame.  Tokaku puts on a loner front, but she isn’t really anti-social, she just accepts that people are fickle and her life is ever changing.  I think.  Again I might be proven wrong.  But this would explain why Haru gets to her. Tokaku is a pessimist and presumes her life will be awful so she’s awful right back to it.  Haru KNOWS life is LITERALLY out to get her, and yet tries to enjoy it, even with twelve people she already knows are trying to kill her.  I think to be in the presence of such a thing has made Tokaku waver in this regard.

But it’s weak, honestly.  Really that’s a factor of just not having the information.

But, as I said over Sakura Trick, the premise of this series is one protector, eleven assassins, and we have to give some leeway for that premise.  We have to GET to it.  But I would have enjoyed the journey more.  Perhaps it will be explained more.  But right now it’s the weakest element of the show, in my opinion.  And it’s not like I’m saying this lightly, either. You saw the crap I pulled in Sakura Trick over character motivation.  But this is something that is just confounding me.

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3 thoughts on “Akuma no Riddle: Episode 2

  1. Having read all the source material released thus far and assuming the anime remains relatively faithful too it.

    Well, that “confoundation” may or may not last very long.

    • Hehe, I do have faith in the show! I only mentioned it as it’s bordering on distracting to the viewing experience. Still there’s so much good in the narrative so far I still have faith there’s a good reason for the speed. But reassurances, those help ^_~

      • DO NOT READ IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN EPISODE 3 YET!

        Well, now that the episode has passed (although I do not know if you have seen it yet), I will say they drastically altered the scene which would have alluded to the solution to the conundrum. The key phrase I want to toss at you is the use of (depending on translation) the cryptic reference to “another human shield”.

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