Overview (Spoilers Below):
Ai Ohto isn’t the only girl who’s trying to save someone. She meets another teen named Rika Kawai, who burrows money from her with no intentions of paying it back. Rika is a much different character than Ai when it comes to personality, but the two of them start to connect over their shared trauma — until Rika is frozen into a statue by the boss of the week.
Wonder Egg Priority’s third episode takes a pretty major detour. Our first two episodes introduced us to Ai, a charmingly sweet and naive protagonist. A Bare Knife flips the script by putting the focus on Ai’s opposite. Rika is mean-spirited, worldly, and selfish, but if anyone can draw her out of her shell, it’s Ai.
When the storyline is something so ethereal and vaguely formed, it’s important to have solid character to latch onto. Rika is one of those characters who viewers will likely either love or hate at first, but the episode does a good job making you feel at least some sympathy for the girl by the time the end credits roll.
Rika might be vain and self-serving, but we see that her life isn’t as perfectly charming as her well practiced introduction might indicate. She’s promised herself not to self-harm any more, but she still bares the scars from her past choices. Another thing that’s hidden beneath the surface is that it’s clear Rika has some kind of heart, otherwise she probably wouldn’t be fighting to bring back her fan/friend in the first place.
Ai may not necessarily be the focus of Wonder Egg’s third episode, but she’s still key to the narrative. The walls that Rika puts up around herself are thick and impregnable, but Ai’s naive charm and candor allows Rika to open up a bit, telling her the true story of her relationship to Chiemi. It’s a painful struggle that Ai can relate to, and she reveals that if Koito had asked her to die with her, she would’ve done it. She and Rika might be different on the surface, but it’s clear that both of them are severely damaged inside.
Speaking of damaged, we get to see a particularly telling flashback of the moment when Ai first suspected that there was something going on with Koito. She walks into an empty classroom to find her friend embracing Mr. Sawaki in a decidedly untoward fashion. It’s still a mystery why Koito did what she did, but the show is starting to lay out a trail of clues for fans to theorize over.
This week’s dub introduces Anairis Quiñones as Rika. She doesn’t settle into the role quite as instantly as Ai’s actress, but by the end of the episode I didn’t have a problem with her performance. What was a little distracting was the cringey English dialogue adapted for Rika, using terms like ‘supes’ and ‘slay’. I’m all for bridging the gap between cultures, but I felt like some of it was a bit over the top, even for Rika’s character.
A Bare Knife is an excellent episode with stunning visuals, dynamic characters, and a storyline that’s still unfolding with plenty of tension in the unanswered questions.