Remember last week when I said we were going to be getting a more serious, emotionally engaging and dramatic ēlDLIVE?
Well, that’s exactly what we got with this most recent episode.
As a Manga Reader, I knew this was coming, but I’ll admit there was a small part of me that was concerned that the Anime wasn’t going to deliver any of it or that it some how wouldn’t do the source material justice.
But I guess I can lay those worries to rest, because this episode was everything I hoped it would be and was absolutely, positively phenomenal. The plot seems to finally be going somewhere beyond the shows previously established Alien Criminal of the Week formula and the reclusive and pessimistic personality of Chuta has finally been explained in a way that makes sense, is understandable and, more than anything, carries a great deal of emotional weight and impact.
In the last episode, we were given a glimpse of the space criminal organisation Demille and the danger they pose to the safety of the solar system. Everyone seemed pretty terrified, even the usually calm and lovably goofy Laine Brick showed some seriousness when bringing them up.
And in this weeks installment, we finally get to see a little further into what this criminal organisation are all about. They’ve landed on Earth and are already causing trouble, actively seeking ēlDLIVE members for what is currently an unknown purpose. Two Demille members, under the typical guise of “transfer students” show up at Chuta’s school, and use some sneaky SPH ability that acts as a sleeping gas on seemingly anyone else who uses SPH, in this case, Chuta and Misuzu, who both get hit during a public school event.
While the presentation here isn’t the most unique, it’s nice to see the stakes being raised to levels that feel genuinely serious and consequential. Up until this point, most of the threats presented haven’t felt too serious or threatening, yet now we have these two new villains show up, out of the blue and doing some serious damage through underhanded tactics in broad daylight. Misuzu even ends up collapsing with Chuta almost ready to follow suit before Chips intervenes and saves them both (in a rather amusing scene where he pilots a muscular female humanoid mecha and pretends to be Misuzu’s mother).
And once again, we see Chuta willing to step up and take initiative once more, in a way that feels even stronger than the previous episode. He makes the bold decision to sart training and desires to learn more about his powers and SPH in order to protect himself and everyone else from the threat of the Demille members. It’s admirable to see a kid who was once a sniveling coward step up and facilitate his own development. Chuta’s really starting to become more likable and strong-willed, something I wish more Anime protagonists would do.
Speaking of Chuta, we also get a look into his past and find out exactly why he became such a reclusive and depressed kid and why he chose to push everyone away. It turns out when he was really young, he was a lot more outspoken, energetic and friendly. He had a whole group of friends that he used to play with all the time, and made lots of great memories with them. But one day, while they were playing in the mountains, his three friends plummeted to their deaths by falling of a cliffside that collapsed. Despite Chuta’s best efforts to save them, he unwittingly caused the cliff to collapse further by stepping on the loose side, which he did due to misunderstanding what Dolugh told him to do. Being the sole survivor of the incident, Chuta blamed himself for their deaths and became traumatised, shutting himself off from those around him and vowing to never let Dolugh “hurt” anyone again. This whole sequence was incredibly emotional. While I’ve always found it easy to sympathise with Chuta, due to seeing a lot of my own teenage self in him, this really helped me to understand just how tough life really has been for this kid. He has every right to feel the way he’s been feeling, and what hurts even more is how his situation unknowingly affected those around him. Dolugh tells him that his Aunt cried herself to sleep for weeks over worrying about him, and his friend Gucchi’s mother flat out screamed at him, blaming him, a child, for her sons death, asking why he got to live while her son had to die. The whole sequence was a real tear jerker, and it was an emotional highlight of the episode.
Back to the central narrative, we’re also introduced to another new character, an extremely suspicious, red-haired “transfer student” who looks an awful lot like Gucchi, one of the Chuta’s childhood friends who supposedly died during the accident on the cliffside. Obviously, Chuta decides to get close to him to find out what the deal is, and good news for Chuta: The new student actually is Gucchi! The bad news? He’s working for Demille and seems to be out for Chuta’s blood.
This whole scenario just made the entire narrative of ēlDLIVE that much more interesting than it’s ever been. With this revelation, we’re suddenly presented with a ton of questions. How did Gucchi survive the fall? What became of Chuta’s other two friends? And most importantly, why the heck is Gucchi working for Demille and just what is he planning?
This whole situation has taken everything to a whole new level. The emotional and dramatic stakes have increased tenfold with the introduction of a childhood friend turned enemy and Demille making their first calculated effort to combat ēlDLIVE and endanger humanity.
Episode 4 was the best episode yet. It took the narrative to new dramatic heights, it advanced the story into more serious territory, it introduced the first genuinely threatening villains, it developed the protagonist in some really incredible ways and it had me hyped and excited from start to finish. All the while keeping some nice little comedic moments where they felt necessary, such as some of the usual Chuta and Misuzu shenanigans and a training sequence that was both important to the narrative but also pretty darn hilarious.
Oh, and the visuals are still spot on. I guess I’ll keep saying that.
As a Manga Reader, I already know where this is all going, but I’m still incredibly excited to see how the adaptation handles the upcoming events. Things are only going to keep going up from here.
It seems a lot of my fellow bloggers are beginning to warm up to this series a lot more after this most recent episode. As a huge fan of this series, that makes me happy. There’s a lot of amazing things to come, and now, more than ever, I can truly say that with full confidence that you’ll all take me seriously 😛
ēlDLIVE is going places. Some very amazing places.
I can’t wait for next week. The hype is real.
…I’m such a fanboy. I don’t even care. I love this show.