Alice & Zoroku
by Amy McNulty,
How would you rate episode 7 of
Alice & Zoroku ?
This week, Alice & Zoroku takes another stab at low-stakes slice-of-life fare. Although episode 6 largely shoved the show's more otherworldly elements to the side, the latest installment does a satisfying job of blending the two different sides of this series. (Of course, viewers who enjoyed the pulse-pounding action of the first arc are liable to disagree.) If the show is able to maintain such a delicate balance moving forward, the rest of the season should prove enjoyable.
While on a day trip, Sana, Zoroku, and Ichijo encounter Asahi and Yonaga Hinagiri, the ravenously hungry Dreams of Alice twins who played a prominent role in the first episode. Bothered by the girls' reluctance to interact with her, Sana quickly gives chase, which eventually results in all three girls using their powers in a crowded urban area. Sana chalks her behavior up to feeling “frazzled,” an emotion she's frequently experienced since beginning her new life. After Ichijo breaks out her Alice and apprehends the girls, Asahi and Yonaga reveal that they don't bear Sana any ill will—they simply didn't want her to leave the facility because they believed the outside world was too harsh a place for her. Having suffered under an abusive father, the twins viewed the research facility as a sanctuary of sorts, and when it closed down, they lost the safe haven they had grown so fond of. However, in the wake of the facility's closure, their lives have taken a turn for the positive. Not only are they attending an American school in Yokosuka, they're also taking part in clubs and enjoying dorm life. Although Sana's gladdened by this news, she's still unable to shake her frazzled feelings, likening them to being herself but also being a different person.
As is always the case when Sana hits the town, this episode features a number of funny fish-out-of-water moments. However, it sometimes feels as if the show never truly pushes the envelope in this department, with many of these jokes being mildly amusing instead of outright hilarious. Seeing as Sana had no interaction with the outside world prior to leaving the facility, I'd think a bustling metropolis like Tokyo would be an even more confounding place to her. In some respects, it seems like life is going a little too easy for Sana now—save, of course, for her intermittently unstable powers, which are a Chekhov's gun if ever there was one.
Yonaga and Asahi seemed apt to resurface at some point, and it's nice to see them fleshed out beyond their surface quirk of comical gluttony. It wasn't clear if they'd reappear as allies, adversaries, or something in between, so it was necessary to get some clarification on that front as well. (It remains to be seen if the same can be said for Cleo, the soft-spoken white-haired boy.) Although viewers are essentially given the Cliff's Notes version of their backstory, it's satisfactory enough for supporting players of their level.
As Alice & Zoroku continues to mix slice-of-life fluff with superpowered hijinks and light human drama, Sana begins to evolve as a person by starting to realize what it feels like to be conflicted or have unresolved feelings—even if she can't put that into words. Whether the gang is enjoying daily life or fighting a new enemy, Sana's emotional maturity is likely to remain the central focus, and we're bound to follow her continued growth in the coming weeks. Of course, it would be good to see a little more attention paid to the second name in the title as well.
Alice & Zoroku is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
Amy is an author who has loved anime for over two decades.
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