Akuma no Riddle: Episode 3

I sense a disturbance in the dorms…

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Akuma no Riddle moves into its “Ten Little Indians” style plot now.  Or, so I think.  Manga readers have been barking up a storm of late that the anime seems to be diverting from the source material, as assassination attempts are much slower in print, or something.

I don’t really mind in and of itself, but I hope the pace slows because otherwise we’re going to be running into some of the same problems as Danganronpa.

Opening on the BAD. ASS. cliffhanger, Sharkdere (okay okay, her name’s Nio) seems to celebrate the fact that Haru has a “new human shield”…

Really? Really? Sweet.

Is Haru infectious? Maybe. We see two instances of that (perhaps), so it seems like a possible direction to take this.  And it brings us to the part of the OP where Tokaku is smiling, covered in blood.  I am eager to see if Haru breaks through that brainwashing of hers by making her more crazy.

Nio calls up the bigshot lady, who cuts her off with her approval at this turn of events.  She’s the one who seemed to be treating the Black Class as a test for -Haru-, if you’ll recall episode 1.  More layers are added to this mystery, and everyone in authority here seems to be going along with Tokaku’s heel-face turn.

We come back from credits to two of our assassin roomies: Otoya, primary antagonist this episode, and Shiena, whom is like an assassin Mitsuki-kaichou.  So cute…  Otoya readies her invitation. She’s going to take the first shot at Haru.

It’s interesting to see Tokaku still contemplating she could take the first shot at Haru.  But it’s not something she seriously considers, mostly as a solution now that she finds herself not understanding “the plan”.

So…anyone who still thinks Akuma no Riddle doesn’t have a healthy self-awareness must take back those words as Hanabusa, the executive’s daughter (or something, enough for the principal here to call her “Hanabusa-sama”) has this huge, thousand dollar desk that looks like it was too big to fit through the doors installed for her comfort.

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Otoya makes a big point of buddying up to Haru. But it’s not because she’s changed her mind, Haru finds the note in her desk.  However, she’s intent on solving it on her own.

Time for Kaiba to appear and riddle our Tokaku this: What is red but not red?

The class is on a trip to the greenhouse, and there’s a lot of good interaction here.  Wisely, only a few characters take the spotlight this episode, keeping the cast manageable.  The big players this week are Shiena, Kouko, Isuke, and Haruki. Along with the trim girl with light blue hair…I don’t know her name yet, but she strikes me as the military brat for the series. Point being, there’s some good characterization without needing “character scene!” time sucking up time better spent on the plot.

Our focus, of course, is on Otoya and Haru’s bonding.  They seem to have too much in common, it strains credulity.

Tokaku is yelling at Haru later.  She knows the other students are out to get her, and she compromising herself by trying to be friends with these monsters.

But Haru bites back. Tokaku is ONE of those assassins.  And if Haru can destroy and assassin by making her a friend, who’s to say she can’t replicate the feat? Haru wants no one to die, and for the class to be friends.  She still sees life through the lens of “the power of friendship conquers all”.

And really what was Tokaku to expect? We’ve known that Haru has known about the Black Class the -entire time-.  That didn’t stop her from befriending Tokaku or making the phone-charms, though.  It is a fair point.

Of course, Tokaku’s point is also fair.  Otoya’s forwardness and coincidences of similarity strain her good will.  As well they should, getting close to a target is standard practice for any infiltration.

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We see Otoya in the greenhouse at night, placing a butterfly on a spiderweb.  Deep.

Nio appears and asks Otoya what her wish is, if she is to succeed in killing Haru. Otoya’s answer is simple. Serial killer insurance.  She wants carte blanche to commit murder for the rest of her life.  She already has detectives on her tail as it is.

The next day Otoya presents Haru with a present. Flowers! They’re so lovely…too bad they’re drugged.  I do like Otoya’s personality a lot. …what? Don’t give me that look. Just because my waifu may have compared me to Otoya as she was watching this episode over my shoulder…

Otoya, way too easily, tricks Tokaku into heading into the basement. Yes, IT’S A TRAP!  But she isn’t held for long, sneaking out through the vents.  Otoya’s brought Haru to the greenhouse, and while the girls were bathing earlier and talking about her, here we see the extent.  Otoya is a pure sadist. She only really feels sexual thrill when harming someone, and she yearns to be a spider, to have venom that corrodes her victim alive from the inside out.

But being that this isn’t THAT kind of series, she makes due with her scissoring….scissors! Tiny scissors that stab and cut people…*cough*

She answers the phone when Tokaku calls before she really can get started.  Haru manages to not only fight Otoya off, but uses the scissors to cut her feet binds and removes the ones on her hands by scratching against a tree.  Yeah, our little moe-moe isn’t so helpless.

Fortunately Tokaku arrives before Otoya can slice and dice her.  This is a pretty damn good fight, but sadly cut short when Haru uses the drugged flowers to put Otoya to sleep.

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By the time Otoya wakens, it’s past her time limit. Nio is there to send her off.  But Otoya protests.  She insists she will abstain the reward, she just wants to be allowed to kill Haru. She NEEDS to kill Haru.

…Almost, as if, like she were….obsessed? with Haru? Hmmmm. HMMMMM.

Nio refuses, and Otoya attacks her, but you don’t expect the Sharkdere to be anything other than an eldrich abomination, do you? Whatever Otoya sees, it terrifies her.

She’s dead. So dead.  We aren’t shown it. But no way she isn’t dead.

And, bookending her thought process this episode, Tokaku squeezes an unconscious Haru’s hand.  “This is how it’s supposed to be.”

And the credits are a nice montage of Otoya.

I don’t have a problem with Otoya being a serial killer or anything like that.  Not even that we had to make it sexual.  But…

I think she was used improperly.  There was no mystery or suspense to it since we saw what was going on from the get-go.

It would have made more sense, structurally, to play this card later, since it’s obvious the assassins are all wearing unique hats.  Tokaku is a trained killer, maybe, but there was no sense she was outfoxed by someone…well…by someone who just wants to watch the world burn. We should have brought out the irrational one after a little bit of status quo.  Build this friendship up a little, then turn it on its head.  I just feel Otoya was underutilized.  But for what we got, she made a pretty strong impression.

I think the most nagging part was how she “came between” Haru and Tokaku.  Like a relationship on fast forward (you mean ‘lesbian speed’?), Tokaku is barely even over deciding she WON’T kill Haru when we have a “oh you’re just possessive” fight.  It’s probably the strongest argument to have held this one behind a few episodes.

Though who knows. Maybe the status quo won’t be the status quo after all.  Perhaps we’ll get deeper into this business with Haru and her…strange qualities.

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