Chaos;HEAd, Episode #02 – "Shogun"

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Zero to moe in six seconds flat.

C;H #01 made it clear that (o)Taku suffers from serious delusions -- there's no doubt about that. What remains unclear is when we are being shown another delusion and when we are being craftily fed the truth. There was some speculation that the murder scene in the first episode was another delusion -- but I never bought that. I could not buy that. I would demand the precious, wasted seconds of my life back from Madhouse if the central premise of the story turned out to be a big, fat, steaming lie (::Maipeisu proceeds to bludgeon himself to death with a series of convulsive facepalms::). No, no, no -- that would be the troll way out.

But what of the opposite extreme? Are Taku's grandiloquent fantasies simply there to help define his character? Will they lose significance as the series progresses, to make way for the gruesome facts of the central plot? Or will Taku's psychological interpretation of the New Gene murders prove to be just as important as the murders themselves? As episode two continues to integrate his delusions into its piecemeal unveiling of the truth, we find that there's a bit (okay, a lot) more to Taku's wild imagination than meets the eye. The plot thickens...


Devil moe = Otaku's worst nightmare.

So, picking up where we left off, kawaisou Taku discovers to his horror that the culprit (the person he saw at the scene of the crime, at least) behind the New Gene murders is in his classroom, sitting right next to him. She goes by the name of Rimi Sakihata. "But wait," you might be thinking, "it's too early to draw conclusions! She's so innocent and sweet! Maybe he imagined the entire thing!" Let us not forget the introductory scenes, which left off with her straddling him, her lips on his, and the tip of her massive blade poking his chest. Though it hasn't happened yet (presumably), we are privy to this information for a reason. And though his head is a jumbled, fragmented mess of information, strangely enough I believe Taku's paranoia is justified. Moe moe smile is NOT to be trusted. Later, we'll see why.

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WTH

Rimi insists that they are friends, and that Taku forgot her [name/face/flamboyantly pink hair] because he rarely goes to class. Adding insult to injury, Daichi steps in and 'proves' it by showing him a cell phone picture of the three of them together. Who to believe! I think she and Daichi are in cahoots. I could bore you all to tears with few rudimentary explanations, but the story is so wide open to possibility at this point that I'm just going to admit that I'm damn confused. Time will tell. I will say one thing though -- allowing for exceptions like Perfect Blue, protagonists tend to be among the more credible characters in a story. If it's his word against theirs, I'm siding with Taku.

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Something is acutely wrong with that statement O_O;

I'm willing to bet money that Seira will have an important role at some point or another (above and beyond being Taku's personal aidoru.) She's too permanent a fixture to stay stuck in that nasty shipping container. Funny question: is she really just a subconscious creation, or does she have a will of her own? Although she sometimes tells Taku what he wants to hear (as though a device to articulate his thoughts in a fluffy, moe sort of way), there are other times when she gives him advice that he *doesn't* want to hear (e.g., "wake up", "go to school", etc.) On the flip side, she never appears when he is in the process of confronting reality, but that doesn't really help to cast her as an innocent imaginary friend. It kind of makes me think her intentions are ever so slightly less than benign (you know, like that little demon that whispers strange things in your ear when no one else is around... or is that just me?)

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I know what a wimble is, I don't know what a "wimbled cross" is, and I'm not sure I want to find out.

Rimi marks the third member of the harem evil moe network to invite herself over Taku's 'economy apartment'. He promptly offers her a glass of GTFO and sends her on her way. I would advise him to change the locks, but, well, it's a SHIPPING CONTAINER.


The boys in blue are hard at work, as usual (::snicker::).

"So let me get this straight, gentleman. You are dealing with one of the biggest, most twisted and bizzare murder cases you have ever encountered, and you decide to conveniently ignore the fingerprints on the fifteen gazillion wimbled crosses you found sticking out of that poor man's body, and conclude, simply because you have a grainy surveillance photo of some boy running with one of them in his hand, that he is the killer?" (Boy are they going to be surprised when they find out their first suspect is an epic FAIL at the game of life. Still, the video is a good lead, and more importantly, we can now confirm a vital piece of information: the murder... was real.)


Notice the distressed look on Seira-tan's face.

It's like a harem tag team! Rimi leaves the shipping container, Yua takes her place and reminds Taku of their pre-planned trip to Anime8 for some shopping. The directing makes it painfully obvious that the owner of the bag that Taku saw in Room 36 of @Cafe in Episode #01 is Yua! ドン! It was quite darkly amusing how the date were scenes so carefree and happy (with pleasant tunes, to boot), while this giant assfuck piece of information was tucked neatly between the visuals. True to the Japanese storytelling style, we get the news long before word reaches Taku, but he'll find out eventually. Oh, and notice how cutely concerned Seira-tan looks while reading Yua's e-mail to Taku. The standard harem love competition has begun... err, rather, let me rephrase - what *appears* to be your standard harem love competition has begun. Underneath the surface, something wicked lurks. Each girl is interested in Taku for a very, very different reason.


That uniform symbol looks vaguely reminiscent of a weed leaf.

Yes, the harem cliches are in full effect. The date scene was cute in its own cheesy sort of way, a watered down version of what one would expect in a shounen anime like Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu, tolerable because we know that it will all crumble to dust before the episode is over. I sort of felt... bad... for Taku. I mean, Yua succeeded in coaxing him out of his shell, only to let the hammer fall abruptly and harshly on his horrid dreams of becoming the progenitor of a new generation of mutant otaku at the expense of some poor young lady finding that special someone.

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INCOMPETENCE.

If I ruled the world, I would have this doofus fired. Oh sure, it is very possible to miss someone when searching for them in a crowd. I'll allow that. I'm mad because he didn't have the good sense to meet Taku at home, rather than searching for him at a school where he *may or may not* be. Had they really wanted to find him, it would have been done by now!


Moe moe smile is NOT to be trusted. Here's one reason why.

Come deito number two, the beans are officially spilled. Taku notices the Gero keychains on Yua's bag and she accidentally knocks her New Gene research materials out of the bag while trying to pull off a Gero to give to him (how a *zipped* bag managed to split open in one fluid action, I'll never know.) With her cover blown, she turns off the moe and turns on the badass. Taku's overactive imagination may have shaded the encounter a degree or two darker than what it actually was (especially considering the ridiculous and creepy way she kept repeating her accusations in emphatic threes), but the general gist of what happened, we can be sure, is true. Looks like that whole "oh I'm a prissy, girlie girl and I can't throw a ball" act in Episode #01 was just that--an act. Yua is not your average high school student. In fact, I'm not even sure she's a student at all. She has an exceptionally good grasp on the situation (the police must be a few thousand donuts and coffees behind her) and singled out the person with the most relevant exposure to the murders. How she accomplished this, I have no idea. I am utterly confused and will await further backstory. But, the REAL kicker is why she is interested in Taku ~

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Prescience. Precognition. Prediction. Foresight.

Yua concluded from Taku's net convo about the Shibuya incidents, as well as the image of the murder which was taken the day before it happened, two things: 1) ドン! Taku himself is 'Shogun', and 2) ドン!Taku has the ability to see the future. If he really is Shogun, then he has some important knowledge locked away in his mind. Somewhere amidst the chaos in Taku's head, lies the truth. ...The bad news is that his perception of events is now called into serious question.

Next Episode:

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Your guess is as good as mine. More harem?

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17 Comments

  1. ilias
    Posted October 19, 2008 at 5:56 am | Permalink

    WHAT THE HELL, is the only thing that struck me @ this anime, I’m seeing alot of plot-twisters in the future(I have the ability of foresight, lol). And yeah 2D girls ftw

  2. Kresnik
    Posted October 19, 2008 at 6:38 am | Permalink

    Hmm, why did they use ‘Commander’? I think mere ‘Shogun’ is acceptable.

  3. Posted October 19, 2008 at 7:46 am | Permalink

    Hey, don’t mock the boys in blue! Notice how they gasped at everything that was said by Suwa and no-one else other than Ban and his chief said anything useful? Now THAT’s professionalism.

  4. Halcyon
    Posted October 19, 2008 at 7:52 am | Permalink

    @Kresnik

    Because Aoshen is horrible at fansubbing.

  5. fnord
    Posted October 19, 2008 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    m33w’s Subs are way better than the ones you screened. D-R claims to have improved over EP1, I haven’t checked, but AoShen is a bummer.

    “We must catch that bastard and make him confess everything.”
    Ehh??

    The wimbled crosses thing isn’t really better. m33w takes about a day longer than AoShen and D-R but, IMO, worth waiting for.

  6. Maipeisu
    Posted October 19, 2008 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    @2D FTW! If I were you, I would get a helmet to prepare for bigger bombardments of WTH moments in the future.

    @Omisyth: LOL.

    @fnord, Halcyon, Kresnik, Calawain & Anyone Else Who Thinks AoShen Subs Suck Balls: Alright, alright, alright, I get the point! Three + comments on sub quality = time for Maipeisu to take heed. I agree the subs are kind of jankity. I’ll be using m33w for the next post, promise ^_^;

  7. SoSo/Karin lover
    Posted October 19, 2008 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    This episode is Twisting our minds like an episode of The Hills. (I can never understands the grudges those girls have.)

  8. ThatBob
    Posted October 19, 2008 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    Well, the cake is a lie, remember?

    Maybe all the characters he is talking to are in his head? Look at the scene where he falls of the chair and the others look at him, you can’t see Rimi, can you?
    Maybe he has multiple personalities and he himself committed the murder and is trying to solve it to spice up his boring life? He himself is the “Commander” after all…
    Maybe he is playing a video game and we are watching out of the perspective of the video game character? “Want to save this episode?”

    And why the hell is he the only one wearing green at that school? I thought he is the kind of guy, who doesn’t want to stand out?

    Just a few thoughts from me :)

  9. Posted October 19, 2008 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    @ThatBob: Interesting thoughts. I’m not sure Rimi can be imaginary, however, because she has an existence apart from Taku. For instance, she speaks to Yua later in the episode when Taku is not around. Seira‘s existence, on the other hand, depends completely upon Taku (as did Shogun’s) and both have only appeared when is not forced to confront material reality by other peoples’ presences.

    The writers could ultimately explain everything away as delusion, but again, I think that would be the easy way out. For C;H to live up to the hype, I think it has got to preserve a balance between the murders and Taku’s delusions (meaning that neither can surpass the other), because I suspect his delusions are going to be the key to understanding some scientific mumbo-jumbo that the series will drop on us. The inevitable outcome is that his extreme character flaw (hyperfanboyism) will be precisely the element needed to fashion him into an antihero of sorts, almost as though spending too much time on the Internet didn’t only drive him a little bit insane, but also endowed him with some unforeseen mental capacity.

    I could be completely wrong, but that’s my take on it for now ^_^ We’ll see what happens.

  10. Halcyon
    Posted October 19, 2008 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

    The creepiest thing about this anime is the cheerful pop ED that plays right after the cliffhangers.

    IDK about you, but I expected something more ominous and foreboding not J-pop. It sends chills down my spine.

  11. Posted October 20, 2008 at 12:14 am | Permalink

    Taku is as powerless as roadkill he senses danger but does nothing to extricate himself…still this series has been delightfully strange and a bit horrifying at the same time.

  12. LDC
    Posted October 20, 2008 at 2:17 am | Permalink

    C;H game
    torrent: http://www.hongfire.com/forum/showthread.php?t=82993
    english patch: http://forums.animesuki.com/showpost.php?p=1994202&postcount=83
    Rimi is mai wifu <3
    その目だれの目?

  13. Posted October 20, 2008 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

    @Halcyon: Agreed. The really happy-happy scenes in the middle of the episodes are what do it for me. I wanted to scream when Taku went on that cutsy date and they showed a picture of the gero frogs right in the middle of it. The anticipation was killing me!

    @Crusader: True, he does little to help himself out. Maybe he thinks everyone will think he’s nuts if he tells anyone. Imagine that! I wanted to laugh when Yua broke out the CQC and punished his flimsy otaku muscles that atrophied from him sitting in front of the monitor all day.

    @LDC: EXCELLENT! Many thanks ^_^

  14. Posted October 20, 2008 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

    Taku has a severe case of paranoia.

    He should go see a doctor.

  15. Kazuki
    Posted October 20, 2008 at 10:38 pm | Permalink

    O-O My god,been a while since i’ve been so edgy on a physchological type anime(manga doesn’t count) OMG it’s confusing me to hell, but i can’t drop it. Too good.
    Besides that, where the hell does Taku eat or what does he eat?
    The only he has is computers, otaku things and a sofa to sleep on+ all the junk lyin around. How in the world does he pay his bills, do anything. I mean what kind of parents in their right mind would let their son LIVE in a shipment box.
    And besides that, he SHOULD be smart enough to lock it or AT LEAST TRY to lock it if he doesn’t have a lock, since he’s so paranoid(or maybe not)

  16. anon2
    Posted October 21, 2008 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

    you should really rewatch it with m33ws subs. Most of the lines are 80% different

  17. Posted October 21, 2008 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

    @anon2: (See first few comments.) I plan to use m33w from here on out ^_^. And no, I’m not exasperated yet.

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