The Day I Became a God
by Nicholas Dupree,
How would you rate episode 3 of
The Day I Became a God ?
When I said I had no clue where The Day I Became a God is going, I meant it. I foolishly assumed, however, that watching more of the show would give me a better idea of where this whole mess of ideas might be heading. Thankfully Mr. Maeda was kind enough to slap me across the face with a fistful of restaurant menus for my audacity, and I've come to accept that for the next several weeks I've got to just let this whole thing wash over me. Man plans, and God laughs.
Anyway, last episode we left off with Yota's little sister Sora arriving home injured, and now we learn that she tripped running off a debt collector for her film club friend Hikari, who's operating her mother's ramen restaurant while she's sick. It's a bizarre amount of setup that happens very quickly, but that's because we need to get to the real meat of this episode: an extended farce about Yota pretending to be some horrible amalgam of Gordon Ramsay, Jon Taffer, and a door-to-door salesman. It's remarkable how much of this episode is just Natsuki Hanae shouting the loudest, goofiest self-help one-liners imaginable and throwing dumb gimmicks at the wall to revitalize a mom and pop ramen joint. It's another joke that risks going on for too long, but thankfully this one doesn't have any tiresome manzai bickering, with Hikari running full-force with every goofy name change and silly presentation gimmick. And it even caps off with Hina using her clairvoyance to map out a fight for Yota to scare off the debt collector, which is a pretty creative use of future sight.
Oh and while this is going on a super hacker named Suzuki is off doing shady stuff for an equally shady business(?) and trying to hunt down a famous physicist who's disappeared off the grid. Suzuki even has high-tech hacker gloves that let him set up a whole augmented-reality hacking station to instantly crack any surrounding technology. He uses it to first track down a lost little girl for her mother, so you know deep down he's a good guy. “What the hell does this have to do with anything going on?” you might be asking, and buddy, what makes you think I have anything approaching an answer? This dude just pops in from nowhere, seemingly having zero connection to anything happening with Yota or Hina, and other than being super mysterious about his given name there's no clue what his deal is. You could have told me they slipped in a deleted scene from Charlotte to get this episode to 22 minutes and I'd have believed you.
The Day I Became a God has quickly become a huge challenge to review, mostly because so, so much of it still feels like obfuscation and misdirection. It's obvious that there's something deeper going on than sitcom shenanigans, but those shenanigans offer virtually no hints about what it might be. They're often funny through sheer confidence and audacity, but how do I wax critical about this much goofy nonsense? You think I can get a full paragraph out of Sora's knock-off Mad Max and Shin Godzilla posters? You're right, but editorial would never let me get away with it. So I'm left scratching my head and taking wild shots in the dark about what may or may not be pertinent to whatever this show has in store. There's a blink-and-you'll-miss-it moment where Hina flinches at the mention of Hikari's sick mom, but who knows what that's portending? Mr. Hacker is after some physicist, so maybe that has something to do with the world ending? Which, according to the counter, is now just 17 days away. If we keep up this pace we're due for an apocalypse around episode 7, and considering this is Advanced Maeda we're dealing with I totally buy that for just the mid-season climax.
All this probably sounds like complaining, but I am still enjoying this ride. It's odd, idiosyncratic, possibly ill-advised, and all delivered with the confidence of a creator who just does not care about holding the audience's hand through any of it. I can respect that self-assuredness, and that energy is also what keeps the gags funny so far, but I do hope we start to get some kind of answer before too long.
The Day I Became a God is currently streaming on Funimation.
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