Inuyashiki Last Hero
Episode 5

by Theron Martin,

How would you rate episode 5 of
Inuyashiki Last Hero ?

So what do you do if your longtime childhood friend turns out to be a serial killer? That's the dilemma facing Ando in the wake of episode 3; after seeing what Hiro did to the bullies and hearing the news accounts of a string murders, he connects the dots on Hiro being the culprit. Ando definitely isn't dumb, so when he comes across Internet accounts and news broadcasts about miraculous healings and connects them with what he knows about Hiro, he surmises that there must be someone else out there like Hiro and uses his knowledge to summon Ichiro.

That establishes a consistent pattern throughout this episode of characters being believably smart. So often anime stories depend on stupidity to advance their plots that it's genuinely refreshing to see a series where the cast uses their brains in an unsensational way. We also see this later on as Hiro starts to realize that killing just to prove he's alive maybe isn't the best plan of action. He's clearly capable of feeling emotions, as he's seemingly happy when a girl says she like him (though he doesn't feel the need to respond to her confession) and when celebrating the birthday of a stepbrother with his father's family. He is likewise devastated by hearing that his mother has terminal cancer, regardless of the fact that he can (and does) cure it instantly. He also realizes that continuing to kill indiscriminately would be bad for his mother, so he resolves to stop. Unfortunately for him – and everyone else – the police have sufficiently pieced the evidence together to wind up at Hiro's apartment to apprehend him, even if they have no idea what they're in for. Will this end up being one of those ironic cases where the police doing their jobs well actually makes things worse? And how committed is Hiro to his “no more killing” assertion, especially in a situation where his mother could see it firsthand? Those are the questions the episode ends on.

What's going on with Ando and Ichiro is at least as interesting. With his (ultimately futile) efforts in episode 2 to convince Hiro to be a hero, Ando showed that he idolizes heroism, so it's no wonder that Ichiro is a veritable god in his eyes. Even Ichiro's assertion that he's only helping people to prove to himself that he's not a killing machine falls in line with the sense of humility that Ando probably envisions a hero would have. Meanwhile, Ando's knowledge of what Hiro can do makes him invaluable to Ichiro, as Ando can help him learn how to use his abilities to fight in a more controlled manner. The opening theme has always shown these two together, and their connection makes perfect sense emotionally and thematically. Seeing where this relationship goes could be very interesting, as it is a rare kind of connection for anime.

Kudos again to the musical score, which sharply uses clock-like sounds in scenes where characters are figuring things out and low-key but suitably dramatic sounds for the episode-ending scene of the police tackling Hiro. That scene also has some interesting use of perspective. The strong technical merits are just a bonus on an exceptionally well-executed episode overall.

Rating: A

Inuyashiki Last Hero is currently streaming on Amazon's Anime Strike.

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