Episode 5

by Anne Lauenroth,

How would you rate episode 5 of
Chaos;Child ?

Last week's science babble infodump continues as Taku learns not only about the origin of delusional powers, but has to deal with the implications of being a Gigalomaniac himself. The tried and trusted science adventure approach of taking scientific theories and bending them into the supernatural works reasonably well, even though I found the brief philosophical detour into consensus reality (and Taku addressing the mind-body problem so crucial for this story's setting) a lot more intriguing than the bottom line of "well, we call it psychokinesis to make laypeople understand, but in the end, it really just boils down to psychokinesis, no matter how much we dress it up".

Pacing-wise, it was the right time to get all of this theoretical stuff out of the way, so we can (hopefully) explore these concepts beyond Chaos;HEAd's Di-Swords as real-booting devices. Even if the whole scene ended up more static than necessary, the fact that Taku knows the truth about himself and has a social network of people around him to deal with the situation creates a very different dynamic from the one his spiritual predecessor, Takumi, found himself in much later in his story.

When Taku gets to experience the very real dangers of delusional powers shortly afterward, things become a lot more dynamic, thanks to the fast editing and creepy sound design creating a real sense of danger within the story. The burned and broken bikes remain as a material indication of Chaos;Child having solved (or discarded) its central dualism problem. For a split second, both Arimuma (whose weird way of talking to Taku makes a lot more sense now that the nature of her powers has been revealed) and Taku materialize their swords, which we already saw silhouettes of during the infodump.

As for the rest of the cast and their eventual reveal as gifted individuals, my initial theory about Onoe has been shut down. She didn't open those doors, she was only the one who heard them opening, just as she's able to sense Kurusu's true emotions in her voice, so some kind of super-hearing is still in the running. Uki is clearly performing some sort of reality-altering magic, enabling her to escape from her rescuers. Despite last week's promising ending, that's about all we learn from her this week, as some screentime needs to be reserved for the show's first real excursion into gratuitous fanservice. Yui washing Kurusu because of her injuries is a perfectly fine excuse to show off some skin, and while that boob shot can't be called narratively necessary by any criteria, Kurusu still draws the long straw when compared to Arimura, who – now wearing her white ribbons and the corresponding high school girl persona – gets to wet herself out of fear while the camera slowly moves up her legs. The shot may only last a second, but the way it's framed is so obviously voyeuristic that any chance of explaining this away as her simply being scared for her life will have to be materialized from the Dirac sea vacuum via delusional projection.

Rating: C

CHAOS;CHILD is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

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

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