That black-spotted pig is the real villain of this series, just you wait!
Sana? You got some ‘splainin’ to do! And some apologizing for the havoc raised by the stampede of pigs she unleashed. While Zoroku lectures her, the two federal agents give her something to eat and drink. Wait, is that Carl’s Jr? Dude! That takes me back! I’ll take some fried zucchini! Anyways, it isn’t just the damage she’s done. She’s broken her promise to not use her powers. While everyone else in the room wants him to take it easy on her, Zoroku takes that seriously. Ryu, the male agent, attempts to befriend her. He claims that he and his partner Shizuku are here to hunt down the people that were trying to experiment on her. He hands her a button to act as a tracking device. He also has a great idea. She should join Zoroku’s family! Sanae is game, but Zoroku isn’t down for her irresponsible crap. She’s got to apologize and mean it or the deal’s off. Working up up her courage, she runs to the bathroom. As she makes up her mind, two arms materialize through the ceiling.
Meet Minnie-C. We’ve seen her before. Episode one? Chick with the arms? Yeah, she’s a Second Lieutenant with the marines. Don’t piss her off. She’s been hired on by the research facility to retrieve the Red Queen. She’s an interesting case in herself. Those arms look just like her dead husband’s. He was Air Force, and she was traumatized by his death. Suddenly, after a dream of being held in his arms, she became a Dream of Alice. In concert with the other Dreams of Alice that work for the facility, they pulled Sana out of the bathroom, drugged her, and bound her. The tracking device is left on the roof, so she can’t be tracked. We get a few Minnie-C’s flashbacks, including her motivation. She’s keeping Sana at the facility for one reason, and it’s personal. She’s going to get Sana to bring her husband back from the dead. And she’s willing to kill to do it.
I’m actually intrigued by this story line. Alice & Zoroku is not an easy to categorize anime, and it doesn’t tell its story the same way that others do. We’ve been seeing these characters in brief blips for the past couple episodes, and they are only now getting introduced properly. Shizuku is now undoubtedly the Dream of Alice that came to Sana’s defense at the beginning of the first episode. What interests me, is that her little Mirror Gate doodad (scientific term) is a different color from the others. Blue? Or is that supposed to be white to maintain the theme of white and red pieces from Alice Through the Looking Glass? We get a bit more information on how Dreams of Alice work. Each one has a particular manifestation of their power (called a Card). Typically, they only have one card, and it’s most often an inanimate object. As we’ve seen, Sana has no limits to her card, and can make living beings! What causes the Dreams of Alice to appear is a mystery, but I’m willing to bet that it has to do with a sudden trauma, and their powers are a way of coping.
This episode, though it had some solid story and information, was more expository than anything else. As such, we didn’t have much of an opportunity to see the great animation. I noticed a few errors in the art, such as uneven eyes, that are common in traditional animation. They were only really visible when the shot stayed in on an unmoving character for longer than usual. We do have some good voice acting, however. Sarah Wiedenheft brought some real childishness to Sana this episode. At one point, in a panicked tantrum, her speech devolved into a gibbering, high-pitched mess. Though I’m not a fan of the pitch, I did find it fun to hear how she played the garbled lines. John Swazey is still rocking Zoroku, with a subtle depth to the grumpy man’s inflections. He isn’t just surly. He has a thought process. My thoughts are that this episode is worth seven piggies out of ten.