Episode Synopsis (spoilers):
Ran recognizes the terrorist from the vision as Kunai, the hooded figure who led Kozue through shantytown. Flashbacks show that Ran and Kunai were childhood friends and that DoRed was originally just the two of them. Further revealed is that Kunai developed a therapeutic auditory phone app and sold it to Taki, who got it included as a default app on the popular cPhone but also had Drug D developed as a secret mod for it which abused the app’s ability to affect brain chemistry. By the time Kunai realized what happened, he felt that he was in too deep, and gave Taki the bomb, disguised as a hard drive containing an upgrade for the app, with the intent of killing both him and casino developer Howard Winner, who stand to benefit from the related rise in crime. Ran discovers this himself while he sends Koki on a fake lead and Shu tries to take an alternate path by removing the bomb from the ship. When Ran finds Kunai, though, he is unable to talk his friend down, and a SARG agent, with Koki’s assistance as back-up planner and spotter, takes the shot.
Another dark one already. This one’s a bit more straightforward, though, with plenty of flashbacks to contextualize the goings-on. I thought they did a good job of making Kunai a sympathetic character, whose most recent attempt to work his way out from Ran’s shadow ended up being twisted to destroy his community, such as it was. His journey towards revenge seems to be fueled by his own use of Drug D, though the mod being activated in the first place is pretty clearly the work of Carneades, who seems to wield influence at least comparable to “Asumi” (mostly going off of the patterned irises, here).
Ran being tempted to finish what Kunai started until the latter entreats him stay on the Artist side of Shantytown’s Artist/Criminal dichotomy was slightly cheesy, but should be a harbinger of deeper arguments to come between Ran and Koki, which I expect to be the most compelling aspect of the show (if it can get them to develop in between weirdness like Carneades and whatever KANAE is). Shu ends up feeling a little out of place in this one – I think that it was important to have him out on the boat trying to defy the choices given, but the nature of the episode’s climax means that he goes from dodging handgun fire straight to a scene the next day under the ending credits. Kozue joins him, and, while I also think her turnaround happened awfully quickly, I appreciate the juxtaposition of Kunai’s positive influence on her with his side project.
This seems like a solid setup for further idealogical exploration, though time will tell what the show will end up doing with it.
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