by Anne Lauenroth,
How would you rate episode 14 of
Community score: 3.5
This week, our main boy detectives step aside to let two of the neglected supporting club members take the stage. While the attempt to turn Noro and Yamane into characters might come too late to accomplish its goal in just 23 minutes, this is still a surprisingly welcome change. Trickster's core group hasn't exactly scored a lot of likability points lately, so spending time on something other than Hanasaki moping, Inoue brooding, and Kobayashi wanting to die is almost refreshing.
A new case is brought to Yamane's attention via Inoue's secret fangirl. We've seen her swooning over her crush at several points throughout the story, which he's very much oblivious to, of course. Seeing her step out of the background and take action to protect him without seeking any credit for it was rather sweet. Human niceness isn't something Trickster has been brimming with, so small gestures like this go a long way.
As Yamane leaves the comfort of his comic relief role, this (not particularly challenging) case is solved quickly while still contributing to the show's overall feel of time and place with a Gattaca-esque importance placed on people's genetic information. The fact that this database of hot guys seems to be populated specifically by members of the Boy Detectives Club is both hilarious and lazy, as is the idea of the school not doing anything about their students and teachers' personal information being sold to the highest bidder. At least Ohtomo scored the highest marks for looks, so all's still right with the world in that regard.
On the way to overcoming his self-doubt, Yamane has to master such impressive skills as learning how to whistle and not tripping over his own feet before he can finally build up the courage to ask for full Boy Detectives Club membership. Meanwhile, Noro will remember not needing anyone's approval to enjoy her work. Her contribution goes beyond owl support this week, when the lecture she gives Yamane clearly reflects on the whole Hanasaki situation.
Their shared journey consists of some sparsely animated running and flying around, with a particularly hideous visual low point around the 16:30 mark. where the freshly caught security guard spends an entire 18 seconds fumbling around with the sticky mess on his chest in a disturbingly long cycle. Apart from some unnecessarily dramatic flavor (why does the guard have to breathe like a pervert on the prowl if he's stealing their stuff for money and not kicks?), episode 14 offers a few funny details that work. Some of them are clearly intentional, such as Ohtomo's anatomy model getting cruelly dismembered in the burglary, or Noro apparently sending Pippo to take pictures of her detective colleagues in their sleep to use as caller images on her phone. Inoue smiling blissfully over his memorization book or owls coming with cables for data transfer in their plumage, on the other hand, might be a bit further down the scale toward unintentionally funny.
Before we close out Trickster's review coverage for the season, let's look at where our main characters are in the story. After almost giving up on the relevance of his rather promising little arc earlier in the show, I'm delighted to see that Inoue apparently continued rehab in some way or another, even if limping around rooftops by himself seems far from effective, and the lack of dramatic follow-through feels wasteful. I was pleasantly surprised by him showing a nicer side towards Yamane without it feeling out of character. This show is in dire need of giving its characters something to like about them. I was also intrigued by the prospect of Hanasaki facing his brother, one sad hypocrite to another, a confrontation that was sadly prevented – for now. (Also, am I the only one to find the lack of any guards around that hospital room worrisome?)
Seeing Kobayashi chase Hanasaki with the exact same detective gimmicks Hanasaki used to love in the past was, of course, a choice to be taken literally. Unable to return to his former self, Hanasaki is still running away. He wants to make amends while refusing to take responsibility for everything he did pre-meltdown, like picking up a lost human stray and earning his trust. The question of returning to the club isn't just about him anymore, and Kobayashi's anger and frustration are justified. After all, promising to kill someone is proof of intimacy in Trickster's weird little universe. You can't just run away from that, something Akechi had to learn in the first cour. With his return now imminent, we're likely to get our second "please (care so much that you'll at least try to) kill me" duo back in full glory, hopefully culminating in a slightly less melodramatic and more engaging finale.
Our weekly coverage of Trickster ends on a conciliatory note. Knowing that some of you were still out there following our detectives made it fun to write about the show's better and messier moments. While it left a lot to be desired, picking Trickster as my worst anime of the year was uncalled for, and I might just try to fight my anti-completionist nature to find out who will end up killing whom in the end.
Trickster is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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