This episode opens with a weird as hell scene where Kouichi approaches Mei and they – mostly Mei – make cryptic conversation while yellow flower petals whip around them. It’s very pretty and very confusing but not in a bad way. I assume we’ll find out what it’s all about in some later episode.
After the opening, we see Kouichi in art class. One of the boys draws a screaming lemon à la Munch and waxes poetic about the screaming world and terrified lemons. Um. Right. He suggests that Kouichi join the art club and they walk together, Art Boy commenting on the uneasiness he feels surrounded by and his liking for expressing it. They’re then interrupted by another boy – let’s call him Blondie until I manage to catch his name – who mentions class 3 being cursed and also tries to tell Kouichi something, only to be stopped by Art Boy.
Now, most people would be curious about this but Kouichi has other priorities, namely Mei. He sees her sitting in the library and goes to her before the other two can stop him. Mei seems happy (maybe?) to see him. Kouichi asks her why she was out in the rain last night to which she answers that she loves rain. He also asks her about her eye but adds that she need not tell him so she doesn’t. Then he just lingers awkwardly until the librarian guy shows up and sends him off to class. Mei stays.
Later, Kouichi tells his aunt that he wants to go to a fine arts school to study sculpting and carving. She cautions him that it might be pointless but also encourages him to give it a try. She sounds like a reasonable woman.
Then we see him at the hospital, visiting a nurse who seems to have a thing for mysteries. He asks her if a girl died there last Monday which seems to be the day he encountered Mei in the elevator. The nurse isn’t sure at first but when Kouichi asks after a girl with Mei’s description, she mentions that there might have been a death after all. She even offers to look into it for him on the condition that he tell her reason afterward.
I don’t know if it’s legal or not to give patient information to random enquirers and Kouichi also seems concerned about it but the nurse is all happy and helpful. Maybe she’s really bored.
Back in class, Mei is absent again. At the end of the day, Countermeasures Girl (Akazawa? Not sure) calls him away for a talk about his history with Yomiyama. He was born there but left to live in Tokyo and hasn’t visited much. Countermeasures Girl is bothered because she feels as if she’s met him before and needs to know for sure so that she can do her part as the head of countermeasures. Kouichi asks the question that’s been on my mind too – what are the countermeasures for? She says her job is to devise and execute measures to protect class 3.
Now the question becomes what the hell they need protecting from. She also tries to tell Kouichi something but Art Boy and Yukari stop her. And once again, Kouichi is far less interested in their obvious secrecy than in Mei whom he spots leaving the school.
Kouichi follows her, much to Countermeasures Girl’s displeasure, but loses sight of her after a while. Right then, he gets a call from the nurse that there was indeed a girl who died, an only child whose name was Misaki or Masaki.
He’s stunned but his attention is diverted by the unkempt building in front of him. It turns out to be a doll shop (kinda) run by an old woman. He browses the dolls and heads down to the lower level where he finds a doll that resembles Mei in a coffin.
He talks to it and it seems to be talking back but then we find that it’s the actual Mei who steps out from the shadows. She agrees that the doll looks like her but also adds that it’s only half or maybe less than that. She shows Kouichi her favorite dolls – a pair of girls pressed together – and says she’s surprised at how peaceful they seem even though they’re attached. Kouichi says that might be why they seem peaceful but Mei disagrees, saying that that it makes for sense for them to be more calm if separated.
Okayyyy. There’s an unsubtle ‘being alone is better’ message in Mei’s words and Kouchi suggests just the opposite. I’m curious to know if they’ll develop that further in later episodes.
After this, Mei offers to show him what’s under her eye-patch and the episode ends just as she takes it off.
Cliffhangers. Can’t live with ‘em, can’t live without ‘em.
This episode was much like the first. Not much happens – the episode mostly consists of a number of puzzling conversations that raise more questions than answers. But there’s still not a dull moment because the whole thing has this aura of vaguely sinister mystery.
The random dolls help with the creepiness too.
Speaking of dolls, there are a lot of them this episode thanks to the doll shop. And oddly enough, they’re actually very pretty. I do think that dolls are the creepiest thing the horror genre has come up with and Another makes liberal use of that but there’s also no denying that some of the dolls featured in this episode are quite beautiful.
I don’t care much for Kouichi yet but I do love Mei, odd though she is. As for the nurse saying that the recently dead girl might be called Misaki, it seems a little too obvious to deduce that the Mei we know is a ghost or something from just that. So I’m going to remain skeptical of that option and wait to see if the dead girl is someone else entirely. Maybe it’s the ‘poor other half’ Mei mentioned in the first episode.