Alright so, I finally finished this and I’ll admit that it’s at the very least a really entertaining watch. I recommended it to my husband because he likes Sad Crow Boys, but the straight fact of the matter is that I find Kuko and his entire deal with Yuna incredibly boring. I also wasn’t hooked by Keith’s tragic backstory, which I justifiably called as soon as I finished episode two.
I think everyone here is right in that the show’s strengths are definitely in its action sequences, and I do really enjoy the aesthetics of the world it’s in, at the very least. The mix of futuristic personal technology with older and more quaint cars and architecture is really good! If they’d leaned harder into Market Maker and how they influenced the world around them, then I would probably be willing to give this show a bit more credit.
It doesn’t lean into that however, and a lot of its time as a result ends up dealing with a string of murders and attacks and the mysteries behind them. The aggravating part is that, because B shows its hand fairly early on, it’s never really a mystery to the viewer what’s going on. Hell, if you’ve got a good understanding of typical anime tropes even the mystery of who killed Erika is pretty straight-forward as soon as you get enough details. It feels like what you’re really there for is to watch the characters find out all the solutions to these puzzles, and that’s an entertaining enough way of doing something that I watched all twelve episodes.
The show drops a fair amount of plot threads though, specifically establishing Kuko as a person in Lily’s life. Since he works at the violin repair shop that her family owns, one would think that a good point of tension in the series would be the fact that Lily is a fairly intuitive cop and Kuko is pretty shit at maintaining a level headed persona. There’s a pretty good scene where Kuko cuts his hand in order to have an excuse to leave the shop and go do some murder, and that’s sort of the only hint that he has to maintain a balance between being Killer B (another thing that’s quickly dropped) and maintaining his persona as Kuko. The fact that he knows Lily almost never comes up, which is a shame because it’s completely hilarious when it does! But because Lily and Yuna get shunted into the damsel in distress role at the same time, the stories diverge and sort of become unraveled from each other, and the anime is all the poorer for it.
While I enjoyed it despite it’s narrative flaws, I gotta say that the show’s treatment of women is phenomenally shitty. It opens on a girl being stripped and tied up before she’s hunted through the woods, with the later reveal coming that she was sexually assaulted the perpetrators. Erika is murdered before the show even starts to give Keith a tragedy to latch onto, and flashes of how she was killed are shown throughout the anime in bursts. The same thing almost happens to Lily, who the anime is terrible at showing to be just as intelligent as Keith Flick, even though it has several character who admit she is. Yuna gets stabbed, beaten, strangled, then stabbed again and practically gutted.
The reveal that Erika was actually in love with Keith Flick, despite being his sister, which is what leads to her murder, is also a pretty fucking shit plot twist, if you can even call it that. The anime frames her death as the death of a loved one without specifying which, and Keith never goes out of his way to say that didn’t reciprocate her feelings, which becomes incredibly creepy when the anime goes out of it’s way in the final scene to shoehorn in the fact that she and Keith are not blood related, therefore making it “okay” if he did feel the same way.
It’s not a good look.
In terms of message, I kind of liked some aspects of it? It didn’t really seem to have a coherent foot it was putting forward. Genius is a curse? Revenge is bad? Expecting your government not to absolutely take the opportunity to establish a secret organization made of people who are murder time bombs in order to artificially sow just enough chaos to keep society turning the way it always has, then rob those murder time bombs of the possibility of stabilizing in order to keep a grip of fear on the world that they might be activated at any time is asking way too much of a government?
The strongest thing it makes a case for is the concept of fighting against the pre-ordained, whether it be something that’s supposedly destiny, or something plotted by another human being. I think it manages to carry that concept pretty well, but it feels like it happens too late to make a significant impact.
Anyway, I can’t say I would recommend it to anyone right off, but it was an entertaining watch and it let me write yet another essay on these forums, so B is okay.