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The Great Serpent // In/Spectre Episode 2

The Great Guardian Serpent // In/Spectre Ep. 2 Review

Episode 2: What the Guardian Serpent Heard

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I get a really good sense of where the show is going from In/Spectre episode 2. Young Kotoko is like a mystery detective and therapist for the yokai. She solves the issues that the ayakashi have and soothes their mind at the same time.

The chemistry between Kotoko and Kuro is coming along nicely in the beginning of this episode. Now that we have the awkward introductions out of the way, we can see Kotoko’s not-so-futile attempts to peak Kuro’s interest. Her claim as Kuro’s girlfriend is quite the bold move for the young gal. I like the moxy she is shows. Must have to do with her unorthodox life.

Sherlock Holmes, Yokai Detective

A significant amount of this episode is dedicated to the serpent’s unwillingness to accept the murder of a man in his swamp. Someone has already admitted to the murder, and the police consider it an open and shut case. It isn’t even as if the serpent yokai believes the woman perpetrator is innocent. The motive for murder is what drives the serpent to call in Kotoko for answers. The way Kotoko weaves through the answer to the mystery is very Sherlock Holmes-esque in story telling fashion.

In the old Conan Doyle stories, Holmes hears the mystery as told by the client before musing over the details. Then he leaves to fill in the gaps not obvious by the story teller. Its at the end that he regails the client and Watson with the minute details he picks up that solves the mystery. While we only see the final third of this classic mystery telling arc, Kotoko’s presence acts accordingly.

Kotoko’s service works very similarly to Holmes. She doesn’t make assumptions that she can’t backup. She goes through the possibilities of the murderous woman’s intentions; filling in the gaps where the guardian serpent is relentlessly inquisitive. The episode leaves us on a cliffhanger as to the final motive, but I argue we are left wanting more. Overall it is a classic and serviceable style of mystery storytelling.

More Mystery Than Romance

In/Spectre episode 2 has a great story to it. There just isn’t enough story surrounding the two main characters for a second episode. A lot of the beats in this episode are around the mystery of the woman’s murderous motives. For a second episode, I spent a lot of time learning about a seemingly one-off character. Not to say that I didn’t enjoy the story. Just that it feels too early an episode spent not developing the characters more.

I admit I expected some more banter between Kotoko and Kuro. There is some fun back and forth at the beginning of the episode, but I want more interspersed throughout the murder mystery portion of the episode. The reasons for Kuro to join Kotoko at the swamp aren’t relevant to the moment. She is implying that she needs him for protection. Obviously thats not the case. She knows she is not in danger. The serpent may be aggressive, but he clearly isn’t about to eat little Kotoko.

She wants to spend more time with Kuro. Kotoko expects she can continue building that relationship with him. She can hopefully get to the point where calling him a boyfriend isn’t a bold faced lie.

Final Thoughts

Maybe I watched Harry Potter too many times as a kid, but I associate the cursed eternal life with consuming unicorn, not mermaid. I think I need to brush up on my Japanese yokai lore after these first two episodes.

[Sources and Further Reading]
[Image via Crunchyroll]
[In/Spectre Reviews]