Mekaku City Actors episodes 5 and 6: Kaien Panzermast and Headphone Actor

MekakuCity Actors reached it’s halfway point last week, and I have begun to realize that if nothing else, this anime is going to suffer from being too short. It really should have been over 20 episodes. Still, nothing has gone terribly wrong yet, so we shall just have to wait and see.

Episode 5: Kaien Panzermast

I was quite sceptical of this episode, as is the only one thus far not to be named after a song in the Kagerou Project, so I didn’t know what to expect. Considering how there is still a huge amount of the story to tell, I was expecting them to jump straight into another song–Maybe Otsukimi Recital.

If it's normal for terrorists to have brightly-colored décor, I guess that's a possibility...
If it’s normal for terrorists to have brightly-colored décor, I guess that’s a possibility…

After surviving the terrorist attack, Shintaro wakes up in a girl’s room. No mention is given as to how he survived getting shot, but in the manga it shows that he didn’t actually get shot: he fainted. Although this is an appropriately Shintaro-like thing to do, it’s rather frustrating that this wasn’t mentioned at all. Did no one edit this script?

Shintaro channels the audience's feelings
Shintaro channels the audience’s feelings

He is extremely confused (Much like ourselves) and begs Ene to tell him what’s going on. Ene, naturally, teases him by telling him that she won’t explain things until he strips down to his underwear. This doesn’t go well.

Basically the most awkward introduction possible
Basically the most awkward introduction possible
Whose idea was it to put Shintaro in Marry's room anyways? What kind of a person thinks that could possibly not go wrong?
Whose idea was it to put Shintaro in Marry’s room anyways? What kind of a person thinks that could possibly not be awkward?

After some funny shenanigans, the Mekakushi-Dan informs Shintaro that they rescued him, and now he and Ene are members of the Mekakushi-Dan(Ene volunteered him while he was asleep). Shintaro is not ok with this, but Kido says he has no choice but to join, since he knows too much. On that cheerful note, they go off to the amusement park.

How dare they try to pull me out of my miserable seclusion!
How dare they try to pull me out of my miserable seclusion!

[Insert hilarious pickup line here]
[Insert hilarious pickup line here]
Instead of going with them, Shintaro goes off on his own to ponder his predicament. He runs into Konoha, who is wandering the streets looking for Hiyori and Hibiya.

Two years ago, huh? That couldn't possibly coincide with any other events mentioned, could it?
Two years ago, huh? That couldn’t possibly coincide with any other events mentioned, could it?
It's a good thing he did, or his character would be entirely pointless. (If you want the full story, watch Imagination Forest, since the anime probably won't have time for it)
It’s a good thing he did, or his character would be entirely pointless. (If you want the full story, watch Imagination Forest, since the anime probably won’t have time for it)

Meanwhile, the rest of the Mekakushi Dan have gone to the amusement park. A discussion about whether Shintaro will out their secrets quickly turns to talk of how the Mekakushi Dan was formed, and who founded it. This person is known as the founding commander.

We shall continue to talk about the founding commander as vaguely as possible, understood?
We shall continue to talk about the founding commander as vaguely as possible, understood?
The sort of person who has a tragic backstory, right?
The sort of person who has a tragic backstory, right?
Welcome to the life of any story's protagonist, Shintaro.
Welcome to the life of any story’s protagonist, Shintaro.
Shintaro's random flashback has nothing to do with other conversations in this episode. Absolutely not.
Shintaro’s random flashback has nothing to do with other conversations in this episode. Absolutely not.

Since the founding commander died, Kido reveals that she will be taking them to that person’s grave. As they begin to vaguely answer Ene’s questions about what kind of person the founding commander was, Shintaro is trying to help Konoha find Hibiya and Hiyori. When he finally spots them going kidnapped…things start to go downhill.

Kidnapping

No need to worry, Momo. It's not like any significant plot points will be revealed or anything.

No need to worry, Momo. It’s not like any significant plot points will be revealed or anything.

No way. I've been waiting five episodes for this moment, and it's finally happening?
No way. I’ve been waiting five episodes for this moment, and it’s finally happening?
Tragic backstories coming in 3...2...1
Oh hey, we’ve seen that red scarf before!

Despite some slower moments, I really enjoyed this episode. The script was witty, there was some great character interaction, and, best of all, I no longer have to call Ayano “Red Scarf Girl”. I loved the way the reveal of her name was built up to and executed. It was perfect.

Episode 6: Headphone Actor

In case you didn’t realise it, Ene is not actually a computer virus. She was once a human girl named Takane Enomoto, and this episode tells part of her tragic backstory. Unfortunately, it is quite rushed, and Jin’s weaknesses in script writing are showing once more. Ene’s backstory was covered extensively in the manga, so you can read that if you want the entire story. If you don’t have any time for that, some important details that were left out will be noted by yours truly.

I am sorry I called you annoying, Ene. It is true, but I am sorry all the same.
I am sorry I called you annoying, Ene. It is true, but I am sorry all the same.

As Headphone Actor plays in place of the opening, Takane runs through a city in the midst of an apocalypse. I think not using the opening was a good idea, as they’re trying to cram a lot into one episode, so they might as well use every minute. If you pay attention to the lyrics, you can get a better grip on what’s happening, but scene has yet to be explained. Despite this, I really enjoyed it.

How I often felt about school projects.
How I often felt about school projects.

Around four years before the story’s beginning, Takane Enomoto and Haruka Kokonose were the only students in a school’s special needs class, taught by Kenjirou Tateyama, who, you might remember, is Momo’s teacher. Once again, Jin forgets to mention some information that I feel is important. Takane has a condition similar to narcolepsy, causing her to fall asleep spontaneously, and to always be exhausted, which is why she’s so irritable. Haruka has a weak heart, and misses a lot of school.

As if it wasn't bad enough already!
As if it wasn’t bad enough already!

Dead Bullet

Kenjirou announces that contrary to what they had been led to believe, they have to do a special project for the school’s upcoming festival, which is only a week away. Takane isn’t very happy about this, eventually comes up with the idea of programming a point-based shooter-game. As she came second in the national championships of a similar shooting game called Dead Bullet, so she is confident that she can win against anyone, so they don’t need to worry about giving out lots of prizes, which would be beyond their class budget.

If luck wins video games, then I must have terrible luck.
If luck wins video games, then I must have terrible luck.
Heh. We already know how well that excuse worked for Momo.
Heh. We already know how well that excuse worked for Momo.

Of course, it isn’t long before some people who were at the national championships play against her and realise that she is actually a highly skilled gamer. She doesn’t want Haruka to find out, because she has a crush on him, and fears he won’t like her anymore.

Nothing, Kano. You aren't here to win, you're here to prove that all the characters' lives have been intertwined all along.
Nothing, Kano. You aren’t here to win, you’re here to prove that all the characters’ lives have been intertwined all along.
Poor Kido. She really, REALLY couldn't control her powers back then.
Poor Kido. She really, REALLY couldn’t control her powers back then.
A terribly embarrassing one, I'm sure.
A terribly embarrassing one, I’m sure.
I think this is a fairly realistic reaction.
I think this is a fairly realistic reaction.

Some familiar faces show up at their gaming booth, and Takane’s skills are unmatched. Her fans from the video game fandom hear about her, and soon she is forced to tell Haruka.

Oh Shintaro...You've changed so much.
Oh Shintaro…You’ve changed so much.
I just wanted to say that I adore it when a story has explanations for seemingly insignificant details.
I just wanted to say that I adore it when a story has explanations for seemingly insignificant details.

All is well until Shintaro and Ayano decide to stop by. Shintaro is rude to Takane, and when he calls her weak, she says she’ll beat him no matter what, and even makes dire consequences for herself if she loses.

Sorry, Shintaro, but you're not getting off that easily. One day, this is going to com back to haunt your computer.
Sorry, Shintaro, but you’re not getting off that easily. One day, this is going to come back to haunt your computer.
No need to apologize, Ayano. Actually, you can apologize for dying, because that really wasn't fair.
No need to apologize, Ayano. Well, you can apologize for dying. Oh wait, you already have.

She loses, of course. It’s heavily implied in the manga that Shintaro is the one person who placed ahead of her in the Dead Bullet finals.

Aww, they were so happy...it's too bad it was all ruined.
Aww, they were so happy…it’s too bad it was all ruined.

Haruka and Takane win a prize for their game at the end of the school festival, and instead of the usual ending, Yuukei Yesturday plays, basically showing that over the course of the next school year, Takane, Haruka, Ayano, and Shintaro become friends. The episode ends with a rather foreboding scene, where Takane leaves Haruka after he fails to answer a question unaware that something is quite wrong.

Despite how rushed it was, I do think this episode got the basics of Ene’s backstory down. It was walking on a fine line, but it managed to pull through. I only hope it can manage to continue to convey the story until the end of the twelfth episode.

Murasaki Lynna

Stories have always fascinated Lynna, whether they are told in books, anime, music, or doodles in the margins of her accounting homework. She hails from Canada, and when she isn’t busy with life or obsessing over some anime or webcomic, she is working on writing her own stories, so that she might one day unleash them upon the world.

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