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In/Spectre // Episode 1 Review

Episode 1: One Eye, One Leg

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Episode one of In/Spectre starts off solid. There is a good mix of comedy, action, and mystery surrounding the young Iwanaga Kotoko and her older crush, Sakuragawa Kuro.

Kotoko is an endearing character. She is missing both her right eye and left leg. She lost both when she was abducted by a group of yokai looking for a human arbitrator of their world. The series starts quite some time after the abduction, but she seems quite at peace with the missing bits. She is accepting of the role given to her by the yokai. There is no regret in the role she plays, at least so far in the story.

Sakuragawa Kuro is almost more interesting than the one-eyed, one-legged girl. He is a male protagonist that isn’t a shut-in, or never kissed a girl. In fact the show kicks off because he breaks up with his long-time girlfriend, and Kotoko goes to make the moves on him. It feels like a nice change of pace for a character that probably looks like he can star in any generic isekai show.

Light-Hearted Supernatural Fun

In/Spectre does a decent job of balancing the more fun and silly aspects of a girl talking to ghosts with the tension monsters trying eat her. For the first episode at least, I am pleased with the duality of the anime.

While I am not always a fan of comedy in anime, the comic relief is served well in the first episode. The tension between Kotoko and Kuro is pretty high after their meeting. Dropping in from above, the fallen soldier bit is very welcome. It doesn’t feel at all like the show is pulling back and forth between being series and funny. The comedy isn’t sight gags interspersed with action. The action on its own is pretty comical though.

For a girl missing a leg, Kotoko is pretty nimble. First she is carried into the library late in the episode, only to charge up the stairs with abandon a short while later. Its funny seeing her play the damsel in distress to get closer to Kuro only to play the knight as well.

The Mystery of Sakuragawa Kuro

For most of In/Spectre episode one, I thought Kotoko was pulling all of the strings. She is the one spying on Kuro hoping one day he will break up with his girlfriend. Kotoko feeds Kuro with just enough information to get him at the library right when she needs him. Then he comes out of nowhere with this bizarre revelation. He once ate yokai.

The turn to the camera and hard cut after is fantastic. It leaves me in the perfect place of needing to know more. I am enthralled by the mystery surrounding this young man. Throughout the first episode he appears to be no more than an unwilling pawn in Kotoko’s machinations. Yes, some of the yokai are apprehensive about his presence. Its a red flag that doesn’t go off until the final moment when his missing arm regrows in a grotesque fashion.

Final Thoughts on In/Spectre

This is a series I was iffy on before actually seeing. They characters don’t appear to be wild caricatures, and the mystery of the series looks to be so far well founded.

Did you notice the pun in the English title? In/Spectre.

[Source and Further Reading]
[Image via Official Site]
[Other Supernatural Anime]