Inuyashiki Last Hero Episode 8
by Theron Martin,
How would you rate episode 8 of
Inuyashiki Last Hero ?
Ichiro's family was featured prominently in the first episode but has only barely had cameos since, which was leading me to believe that my earlier supposition about his daughter factoring into the story was incorrect. Thankfully, this episode proves otherwise. Mari lends this episode its title and takes on a co-starring role, with close to half of the episode being told from her perspective.
She gets involved in an anticipated way; she knows Ando from class, happens to spot him hanging out with her uncharacteristically happy father, and follows them. Along the way, we get some of the series' funniest moments as Mari imagines various creative scenarios behind how the two are connected, but she discovers at least some of his superhuman secrets. The insight we get on both her and Ando is just as interesting; he's the son of a highly successful manga author, which she envies for a lot of reasons from her comparatively modest lifestyle and her own secret desire to become a professional manga-ka. That's a surprising amount of character development jammed into a single scene, which continues my amazement at how efficiently the series' writing and execution can pack content into tight little moments. A later scene where she's talking to her parents about her grades and future plans nicely furthers that angle too, showing that she's unsure how to act around her father now that she knows some of his secrets. Ichiro's conversation with Ando about how she was a daddy's girl in her younger days is also interesting, making me wonder if something more than just adolescence has put a strain on their relationship over time.
But that's just half of the episode. The other half is two faceoffs between Hiro and the police as he first escapes from the raid on Shion's apartment and then goes after the police station Terminator-style. The first incident is much dicier in context, coming across extremely heavy-handed. Going in guns blazing on Hiro is easy to understand, since he's a mass killer of unknown capabilities and has shown the ability to escape less aggressive police tactics. However, callously gunning down both Shion and the grandmother, especially when the older woman had her hands up, didn't help them get to Hiro and came across very over-the-top. (It was a little more understandable in Shion's case since she was shouting out warnings, but she also wasn't armed or presenting a threat.) Combine that with Hiro crying over their bullet-riddled bodies after escaping with them and Hiro comes off as the good guy in this scenario. It's a fair step beyond moral ambiguity and more into the realm of trying to make Hiro into an anti-hero. His ensuing bloody assault on the police station also fits that “badass vs. the evil establishment” mode, which is frankly a little disturbing. Shion and her grandmother walking around relatively unharmed presumably days later also seems wonky; naturally Hiro healed them, but unless they're just never leaving their new apartment, seeing them alive and well is bound to attract more police attention.
Sadly, the episode can't offset these problems with pure spectacle. It's interesting to see that Hiro does the same thing as Ichiro when knocked unconscious, and the episode certainly attempts to present some dynamic scenes of Hiro battling the police (the sniper shot in particular was effective), but this is possibly the worst-looking episode in terms of technical execution. Characters often slide off-model except in close-ups or simply look rough in movement in general, and the limitations of the series' CG are on full display in scenes where Hiro is getting pummeled by bullet fire. The music wasn't up to its normal crisp standards, either. The shoddy artistic effort is the primary reason why I'm giving this episode the lowest grade of the show, since the actual storytelling is still pretty strong.
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