Alice & Zoroku
by Amy McNulty,
How would you rate episode 6 of
Alice & Zoroku ?
Hot off the heels of its action-packed fifth episode, Alice & Zoroku takes a turn for the mundane. In the wake of all the chaos caused by Minnie C., Koichi, and their mysterious organization, it's a relief to see our heroes get a full episode to catch their breath and return to daily life. Notably more relaxed and slower-paced than the episodes that preceded it, this latest installment is a nice little respite from all the super-powered battles and rampant world-building that have dominated most of the show's first half. While there's little doubt that a new foe will soon arrive to shake things up, the show might benefit from continuing in this vein for a few more weeks.
Episode 6 is essentially an extended look at the daily lives of two thirds of the Kashimura family. With the looming threat of capture no longer hanging overhead, Sana is making an earnest effort to adjust to her new life and honor Zoroku's request that she not over-rely on her powers. The first half of the episode finds Zoroku bringing his adoptive granddaughter to work. When Zoroku's crew tends to the floral arrangement for the engagement party of the yakuza boss from the first episode, Sana becomes intrigued by the concept of marriage, which she comes to define at an agreement to become family. The episode also randomly throws out that this middle-aged (?) yakuza boss has become engaged to a high school student, and hopefully some light will be shed on that in future installments. “It's a long story” simply doesn't suffice.
Tired of Sana's long hair getting in the way of her walking, Zoroku arranges for her to have her first haircut in the episode's latter half. When the old man is late to pick her up from the salon, Sana decides to go looking for him, quickly getting herself lost. After the two are reunited, Zoroku encourages Sana to use her powers the next time she finds herself in such a situation. It turns out Zoroku had been late because of a meeting with Naito, who provided him with official adoption papers for Sana. When asked if she wishes to officially join the Kashimura family, the excited girl is quick to answer yes.
With plenty of laughs, fun character interactions, and touching moments, this episode is an enjoyable exercise in slice-of-life. Sana demonstrates her fish-out-of-water awkwardness, the Kashimuras bond as a family (literally becoming a family unit by episode's end), and Sana learns that there are proper and improper times to rely on her power. The biggest conflict is Sana getting lost in the city, marking a notable change from last week's life-and-death stakes. Keeping the focus squarely on the Kashimuras helps this episode feel more intimate and less overloaded than what came before.
It's noteworthy that both Zoroku and Sana appear to have become less abrasive toward one another. Sana barely gives him any lip when he scolds her, and he doesn't seem particularly annoyed by her complaints or angered by her wandering off. For the most part, it seems like the titular characters have come to accept one another's foibles. For the sake of comedy, they're still likely to get on each other's nerves, but it's nice to see that they've both calmed down considerably.
Alice & Zoroku experiences a tonal shift this week, possibly confirming my theory that the first five episodes were a lengthy preamble to a more relaxed show. In a way, though, the high-stakes adventure the characters experienced lends greater meaning to the new easygoing atmosphere, as the Kashimuras have truly earned their respite. However, it's also understandable if the viewers who loved all the action and intrigue of the introductory arc are disappointed with the series' new direction.
Alice & Zoroku is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
Amy is an author who has loved anime for over two decades.
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