Episode 3

by Anne Lauenroth,

How would you rate episode 3 of
Chaos;Child ?

Episode 3 marks a step down for Chaos;Child. Kurusu isn't dead or even injured gravely enough that she would have to spend the night at the hospital. At least her being attacked provoked some emotional reactions from Takuru, so it's not a total waste of screen time, unlike the confrontation between him and Kawahara.

Kawahara is right to criticize Taku's carelessness. Even though it's hardly his fault that his foster sister got stabbed, he still bears responsibility for dragging his friends into a danger he clearly underestimated. Still, Kurusu's suitor loses all credibility as her shining knight when his response to her getting out of bed and collapsing from reopening her wound is to leave the room instead of rushing to her side or, much more sensibly, call a doctor.

Seeing Kurusu update Taku on all the major and minor events in their family's lives had a lot of heart-wrenching potential (and some nice music), even though there was no need to repeat everything we had already learned in such length and detail. Less might have been more here, and I'm particularly conflicted about giving the foster dad an implied drinking problem for additional drama. From what we've seen, Kurusu is already doubling as the big sister and mom for these younger kids. Forcing her to take care of the only adult in the family on top of that might push things too far into incredibility, muting the smaller and subtler dramas at stake. What moved me the most was Taku not remembering the girl who has a crush on his little brother after opting out of his family, especially since Yuuto and Yui kinda represent him and Kurusu before growing apart.

Thanks to Taku's temporary return, we also learn why he left home. Kurusu and his foster dad lied to protect his feelings, but trust was lost between them, while the discovery of his parents' murder probably also spiked his fascination with the NewGen crimes. That's a good enough explanation for his living situation, and seeing how his siblings kept his desk clean in the hopes of his eventual return was a lot more personal and immediate than the alcoholic dad situation. My favorite part of this family reunion was Yuuto falling asleep standing up and still managing to endorse his sister's complaints about Taku.

Back in the main plot, someone is killing off people who have psychic powers, with a new murder of a potentially gifted individual taking place conveniently at our protagonists' school (which is likely going to be home to many more super-powered teenagers, Taku's pink-haired friend Onoe possibly among them). This will all trace back to the strange light that appeared over Shibuya on the day of the earthquake, which we can guess courtesy of Kunosato, who is another student of Hekihou Academy upon closer inspection. (Why decide between school uniforms and lab coats if you can wear both?) The sumo stickers might have been placed near potential victims to protect them rather than mark them as targets, so I wonder what will come through that wall once the stickers peel off. We'll find out next week when Taku visits the sticker guy in the hospital. Hopefully, he'll have more useful things to say about the matter than Kurusu's attacker.

For an episode that's supposed to get viewers to stick with the show, this week was not particularly exciting. With so many more new little conspiracy theories revealed this week, I found myself looking for suspicious characters where there might be none – the teacher offering to take them to the police station seems fishy just for getting screen time, and even Kurusu's become suspicious, though she's likely just scared of losing Takuru and not actually giving off the vibes I thought I sensed from her. Chaos;Child probably wants us to be paranoid alongside its surprisingly well-adjusted protagonist, and I'm still mostly happy to indulge.

Rating: C+

CHAOS;CHILD is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

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