Rule 63, full in effect.
The team has been tasked with hunting down a ghoul known as the Nutcracker. She’s been operating as a dominatrix in the red-light district. As for her unusual pseudonym…
To do this mission, they need to be at full power, so they’re going to call in the one member of the team we haven’t gotten a real introduction to yet: Saiko Yonebashi. To say she’s a recluse is being kind. She actively detests doing anything other than playing video games and eating. Urie pulls out a secret weapon to lure her out of hiding. He lies through his teeth about her getting fired. Of course, Urie’s sudden support of Shirazu’s leadership is also a ruse. He knows full well that Saiko’s time management is abysmal, and if she doesn’t show to the briefing, Shirazu will look bad. Still, showing the gumption of a true leader, the captain arrives on time with Saiko on his back. A bit more has been uncovered since the last episode. It is possible that the Nutcracker is working with another, more prominent ghoul called Big Madam, a higher priority target for the CCG. If they can get Nutcracker to reveal Big Madam, it’ll be a solid blow to the hungry-hungry-humanoids. To do that, they’ll have to go undercover, and Haise has a plan.
Yas, queen! Though Shirazu and Haise aren’t fooling anyone, and Saiko doesn’t even have to pretend to be a girl, Mutsuki takes the drag trophy home. Urie, well, he just uses his recent frame surgery as an excuse to sit this one out. He’s just not man enough to wear a dress. Just as well. Mutsuki has a couple drinks and tosses all masculinity out the window. He heads straight for Nutcracker and manages to get on the inside of her little plan.
In a few weeks, there’s going to be an auction, and she’s been procuring the goods. By goods, we mean human beings that meet these ghoul gourmand’s demands. Until then, all the team can do is train. After all, their only support will be Juuzou Suzuya, and he will likely be unarmed. His quinque would trip metal detectors. Haise doubles down on the combat training, especially now that slacker Saiko is in the mix.
But what is going on in the background? A photographer girl is handing off what seems to be Ken Kaneki’s old boxers to a ghoul. A ghoul named Shuu Tsukiyama.
Haise’s squad of misfits are all revealed, and now that we’ve seen them in action, I have to say I like them. I’ve managed to burn through all of the first season of Tokyo Ghoul, and find the shift in tone these characters bring a welcome change. You can kind of see a parallel to CW’s Arrowverse. Season one of Arrow was good, but going past the first season was a bit of a moody slog. :re, on the other hand, feels more like Flash. There’s less angst, more heart. Not a lot more, in this case, but enough to offset the grisly themes of the show. It almost makes you forget you’re watching a show about people powered by cannibalism. What stuck around is the complex interweaving of characters that made the original so compelling. Even people who are on the same side are working against each other, just in subtle, less lethal ways. The Kanaki/Haise memory gap in this season, however, feels like it was tacked on to mimic the dynamic that Kanaki had with Rize in the first season. The side of him he tried to keep back but needed to accept to be whole. I’m not sure I’m a fan, but we’ll see where the series leads us.
This episode was a nice boost of humor. The squad in drag was funny, especially because of the embarrassment Shirazu was under. I mean, there was a girl at the club in his exact same outfit, and she wore it better. That’s pretty humiliating. The disconnect between their personas and their voices was hilarious. I was a bit shocked by how feminine Mutsuki’s voice wa-
-Oh. Mikaela Krantz. Female voice actress. I feel I just learned a spoiler…
Beyond the multilayered (but not convoluted) plot of the episode, I found many other aspects of it lacking. Early on, the animation took a dip. The characters consistently looked off until we got to the briefing, and still didn’t look quite right during the drag sequence. I guess most of the budget went into the (brief) action montage at the end. On our side of the ocean, the voice acting isn’t doing it for me. At least, not from Daman Mills (Shirazu) or Sarah Weidenheft (Saiko). The two characters come off less like people with strange voices, and more like strange voices that, by chance, inhabit people. There’s too much of an emphasis on pulling off the character’s signature voice, not enough on emoting. Even though we do get a wide range from Saiko, none of it feels authentic. Also, Karren von Rosewald (actress not yet credited) was guilty of the same sin I lambasted Dies Irae for- Chubby Bunny German. Can’t understand half of what she’s saying through those slurred words, and it doesn’t sound like a real accent.
So, while the writing of the episode keeps it afloat, this entry into the series fell flat on the technical side of things. I give it seven "sashay away"s out of ten.
Also, no way Saiko is nineteen.