• remind me tomorrow
  • remind me next week
  • never remind me
Subscribe to the ANN Newsletter • Wake up every Sunday to a curated list of ANN's most interesting posts of the week. read more

In/Spectre Season 2
Episode 23

by Steve Jones,

How would you rate episode 23 of
In/Spectre (TV 2) ?
Community score: 4.4

While it doesn't go quite according to his plan, old man Otonashi gets exactly what he wanted out of this farce: his family is never going to mess with scheming or the supernatural ever again. Kotoko makes sure of that, in this tense finale to the longest murder mystery of In/Spectre's second season. It's a strong finish! Kotoko's cool confidence carries the arc to a satisfying conclusion that once again proves she is a just but ruthless arbiter. In fact, in a twist, that point ends up being the hidden thrust of this whole mess.

Focusing on the mess first, however, I guessed the wrong culprit. While I was right about Kotoko intentionally rattling the suspect during the extended theorizing, I should have guessed that she would hide the truth in one of her lies. That's so like her. Kaoruko's story and motivation add up too, but that's beside the point this far into the investigation. Any one of the suspects could have killed Sumi. Kaoruko just happened to beat them to the punch—in her father's case, she beat him by a yokai hair's breadth. Usually, solving a mystery involves the exoneration of the innocent, but in this case, Kaoruko's sin implicates the entire family. She alone bore the guilt of bloodied hands when the entire Otonashi clan should have shared that burden.

Kotoko, consequently, doesn't have much sympathy for anybody in that hotel room, and she gives no quarter in her pursuit of a confession, which makes for an intense yet fun episode. Because I love her evil side. When the situation calls for it (or when it doesn't), her willingness to be a stubborn asshole is one of her strongest personality traits. It catches Kayo off guard and pushes him over the edge. He flounders, but Kotoko remains unflappable. Even a pistol shoved in her face isn't enough to make her back off. She carries herself with the swagger of an action heroine, which is extra funny considering that her “superpower” is the ability to talk someone's ear off. Sure, she's an excellent detective, but using yokai as her eyes and ears is a pretty significant cheat code. It's her Columbo-like tenacity that sets her apart from the rest.

And I shouldn't have doubted that tenacity. I was worried, to be honest, that this arc was going to let President Otonashi off the hook, since he wasn't technically connected to Sumi's actual murder. Kotoko comes down on him hard, though. We already knew that she doesn't care much about truth or lies, but what she does care about is order. Order is a concept that can be as fuzzy as the distinction between fact and fiction, but in Kotoko's mind, it's ironclad—clarified in all likelihood by her focus on the relationship between people and yokai. His arrogance to rely on the supernatural (not once, but twice!) to solve his problems is something she cannot abide by, so she gives him what he asked for. She solves the crime. She even proves his innocence. And she rips out the dark heart of their family and bares it for all of them to see. While In/Spectre has shown us time and again that a compelling lie can hold a lot of sways, sometimes the unvarnished truth can embed itself like a painful burr.

It's not all terrible for the Otonashi dynasty, however. The brothers, liberated by all their dirty laundry being aired, end their feud. Kaoruko's suicide attempt is much grimmer, but her survival and Koya's dedication to her keep a speck of hope on the horizon. Rion, the sole innocent scion, wants nothing to do with any of Kotoko or Kuro's ilk, and that is exactly what they wanted. And President Otonashi becomes a nervous bedridden wreck in the aftermath of the big scene, which is probably what he deserves for trying to manipulate this whole mess. That said, Kotoko's final visit proves she isn't completely heartless. She probably just wanted information on Rikka's whereabouts, but she manages to assuage some of his worst fears too.

That's why Rikka's long gambit doesn't work here. She's more or less right about Kotoko, who is indeed a monstrous existence that thrives on the dangerous divide between the seen and the unseen. She's a Machiavellian logician who will bend truths and wills alike to comply with her selfish ideals of order and harmony. She's a horny motormouth who can't stop embarrassing Kuro whenever they're in public together. She's also a perfect fit for him. Kuro is every bit in the same limbo that Rikka is, but rather than look for a way out, he has taken to Kotoko's companionship. Their singular, lonely existences become less lonely and singular because they have each other to fall back on. I mean, the dude literally takes a bullet for her. Kotoko causing problems on purpose for some blue blood isn't going to push him away. If anything, that's one of the perks of dating her.


In/Spectre Season 2 is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

Steve is on Twitter while it lasts. Please send him any good pictures of Kotoko in funny hats that you find. Otherwise, catch him chatting about trash and treasure alike on This Week in Anime.

discuss this in the forum (53 posts) |
bookmark/share with: short url

back to In/Spectre Season 2
Episode Review homepage / archives