Episode 11

by Anne Lauenroth,

How would you rate episode 11 of
Chaos;Child ?

After already bordering on ridiculous over the phone last week, daddy dearest has now entered full comic book villain mode. Strapped to his evil delusion device, he makes his entrance on stage spewing lines about how guys who hit girls don't get dates, while dropping the young woman he just killed. I'm guessing this was supposed to be ironic. Luckily, the theater conveniently built on the site of the old planetarium is the perfect backdrop for his insufferable speeches. Apparently, Dr. Sakuma has gone rogue, trying to get the committee's attention (and his job back) by messing around with his gifted foster kids in the most spectacular way possible. Because the fun has to be equally distributed, protagonist Taku is long overdue for some of daddy's love and attention, resulting in more atrocious lines recited at the edge of a stage to an empty auditorium.

The whole display is so ridiculous and over-the-top that I'm beginning to question its authenticity. Might there be a silver lining? Let's recap. Taku has parental issues. His deceased birth parents were beyond negligent, and his foster dad is a psychotic comic book villain. Taku also figured out that Onoe's goal couldn't have been saving him or keeping him alive, so what did he really wish for when he real-booted her? Will realizing his true wish help him fight his daddy, and if so, what does that even mean?

If Taku wished for an interesting life, his current net celebrity status indicates success. Depending on who you ask, he's become either this NewGen Madness's hero or its ultimate villain. After no one took notice of him when he was little, this sure seems to be an upgrade in terms of having his existence acknowledged by people other than imaginary friends. Solving bizarre murders inspired by the involuntary adventures of his own hero, Chaos;Head's Takumi, an entourage of mostly female friends who each bring their own shocking twist to the table, and a showdown fighting against parental abuse – Taku's life has become a delusional thriller in which he finally gets to star – a far cry from his lonely, stimulation-free existence.

This is where Dr. Sakuma's name-dropping of Woodburn Heron comes in, who wrote about The Pathology of Boredom. Studying the effects of prolonged periods of monotony on aviators, he found that the subjects' ability to think was impaired, followed by childish emotional responses and hallucinations. In the 1950s, Heron locked college students into a room, depriving them of any outside stimulation. Audiovisual and even tactile visions ensued, providing valuable data on the dangers of extreme isolation and sensory deprivation.

While Taku's childhood might have been less than happy or particularly stimulating, his boredom and loneliness are still not quite the same as locking people up in isolation and turning off the lights. Still, the extremely childish behavior of daddy poking at the Gigalomaniac ant hill with a stick for the sake of evil has me thinking we might have another twist to go. Hopefully, it will be more rewarding than some all-just-a-delusion reset. On the other hand, if daddy is to be taken at face value, I'm not sure which option would be better.

While I'm glad we traded that boring office for a new venue (at least there are some seats to be thrown around in the theater), I'm not entirely sure how this setting would make for a good place for a public suicide. Onoe even goes so far as to point out how the theater will be empty at night, so no one will see anything. Too many things don't add up yet, and Taku has only so much time left before he gets brain-fried.

While Dr. Sakuma makes Taku overload on tragic memories, our remaining Gigalomaniacs are leaving Shibuya. Thanks to too many platitudes, from how Taku has to find the answers on his own to his younger siblings waiting for him until the end of time, the goodbyes dragged on a bit, but there were some genuine emotions hidden in the cracks, and as far as Chaos;Child is concerned, I'm holding onto what I can get of those.

Rating: C (which is optimistic enough to regret if next week doesn't come together like I'm hoping)

CHAOS;CHILD is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

Anne is a translator and fiction addict who writes about anime at Floating Words and on Twitter.

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