Chaos;HEAd, Episode #04: Will the real Shogun please stand up?

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Of course Phantasm made "whose eyes are those" into the latest craze.

The trouble with series that have overarching plots is that unless the story is a complete nuisance, they are hard to put down! There is no turning back now. I've got to know what happens to Taku next at all costs. It's time for me to strap myself up and get ready for the long haul, because I just felt the opportune time - the time when I could have gracefully dropped Chaos;HEAd before becoming too involved - brush gently by and slip away for good.

But don't get me wrong. I'm not griping because I want to drop C;H. Quite the opposite. I am lamenting the confusion this episode left in my hands, and trying to figure out how to endure another week without answers to my burning questions. This wasn't quite a troll episode (Geass has got a monopoly on those), but at the same time it forced me to toss out a lot of my hypotheses about where C;H is headed, mostly guesses about who the good guys and bad guys are. Is it harem versus Taku? Harem plus Taku versus New Gene murderer? Bah. Hell if I know!

The appearance of the 'real' Shogun threw me for a bit of a loop. That scene in the empty metropolis reminded of Ichigo's psycho-spiritual encounters with Zangetsu in Bleach, so I don't know whether to assume that Shogun is a personality 'within' Takumi (like Seira) or an altogether separate character. Aside from that little tidbit, the harem is my main source of confusion. They have all neatly congregated in Shibuya, but as to their intent... who can say?

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The 'boy falls on top of girl and puts his WHOLE HAND ON HER BOOB by accident' scene is an anime classic! This might be editorial material.

So shall we start with the good news or the bad news? Since there's more good here than bad, let's start with the lame. The first thing I'm going to complain about is the animation quality. We all know what Madhouse is capable of, but it looks to me that they are not living up to their reputation in certain patches while putting full energy into others. The result is that the characters look really sleek in some scenes, and clank around like a badly-drawn doujin in others. I wanted to scream during one scene where FES's hair was sticking half off of her head like a cheap wig. Taku seems the most difficult to do justice, though. His face gets fatter and thinner, eyes look too narrow, too droopy -- it's a mess! Did they invite guest animators to do their dirty work while they went out for coffee one day?! Oh well. We all know it well get better again, and as Crusader has noted himself, I can endure a little bad animation as long as the story is good. A little. T_T

The other bad thing is not really so much of a bad thing come to be as it is a mystery egg that seems equally inclined to hatch an ugly ducking or a swan. Taku may be at his wit's end looking for answers, but for the audience, though we have just as few answers, some of the steam has been let out of the pressure cooker now that we know where things might be headed. We know this much: 1) there is a cataclysmic event to be avoided, 2) there HAWT harem with crystalline swords hunting for some ass to kick, 3) there is an otaku with the ability to predict the future(?), 4) there are bizarre murders happening in Shibuya. Beyond that, not a whole lot more can be said with any certainty. We don't know who is on whose side, nor how the prophesied event connects with the murders, nor the source of the crucifixion and vampiring. When the truth unfurls and the real fight begins, it could be a bone-busting explosion of awesomeness... or it could be another cliche with a grandiose lead-in.

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∫øø7 ∫3715#.

Despite being a filler, this episode had its gleefully insane moments and a token 'critical plot development' reserved, predictably, for the very end. Taku's delusions are becoming so kinky that it's mildly disturbing, even if appropriate situated in dark harem show. Sena's foot job was the best (worst?!) by a long shot and I swear it won't be long now before the writers to break out the S&M. But the strange thing about his delusions is not that they are perverse - come on, people are guilty of far worse than foot fantasies - but that their sexual aspect is tangled up with their clairvoyance. Think back to the Phantasm concert. During that intense moment when their eyes locked, if Taku received some kind of telepathic insight into FES's purpose, why was it necessary that the imaginary FES mash her mammaries into his torso? It's as though alongside all the psychic meaning, he interprets any and every expression of interest from a girl as fundamentally sexual... even his little sister. EWWWW imouto-complex! Ecchi! Ecchi!

Most of the rest is all business. A lot of little loose ends are, if not tied, then tidied up. FES and Taku have a post-concert rendezvous, and she tells him he needs to find "the sword" to attain salvation, probably the same "Di-Sword" that Sena referred to earlier. Detective Suwa was huge n00b and couldn't handle a simple task like finding a high school student, so with big daddy Yasuji's help they FINALLY locate Taku and throw a few questions at him. Rimi pays Taku a surprise visit and cranks up the rabu rabu after he tackles her (and her boobs) to extract his new Seira figurine from her clutches. Taku checks himself into the mental hospital again to find that his doctor is on a leave of absence ("conspiracy", you say?); he returns to the shipping container to search for the mythical Di-Sword that might guard him from the chaos.

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HA HA imouto broke Taku's Di-Sword!

The best is saved for last. Watching the so-called Di-Sword get snapped like a twig during imouto 's orange-flinging rage was even more hilarious than Taku swinging it like it could actually cut something. Really, it was kind of funny and pathetic at the same time, sort of like watching someone take five boxes of Benadryll to get rid of that 'mysterious little itch' and then sobbing when it returns with a vengeance in the morning.

Besides that, I'd say three important events are yet to come. The final member of the harem, telepathic Kozue Orihara, makes her debut in Taku's class under the much-abused guise of transfer student. Following that, Taku experiences a low-grade mental breakdown when he realizes he has no retreat from the chaos, from which he raises his head to greet the most intense delusion yet -- one where all of Shibuya's denizens have disappeared. He runs through the deserted metropolis, desperate to find someone, anyone. A withered little man sitting in a wheelchair is eager to oblige; he introduces himself as Shogun (dun, dun, DUUUN!) Last but not least, the sound of Rimi's voice jars Taku back to consciousness. A concerned slap, a gentle caress, and Taku is all but ready to throw himself at her mercy, eager to forget the deceptions that lay at the edge of the previous romances. We'll see how things work their way back to that scene in episode one, eh?

Next Episode:

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Abunai!

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13 Comments

  1. Posted November 2, 2008 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

    Wow, I think this is the first harem series I’ve ever heard of that sounds even remotely interesting to me. Not sure if I’ll watch it (If only I had the time T_T), but at the very least I’ll be reading your summaries to follow the story.

  2. Forgan
    Posted November 2, 2008 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

    Judging by the preview for next episode, things should at least start to get somewhat clearer. This is the point of the story where some things start to get explained. Granted, it throws even more craziness at you, but at least you get SOME sort of lead.

  3. zihark
    Posted November 2, 2008 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

    This is just my crazy ramblings but I think that the braclet that Taku’s sister takes as a “gift” is actually the Di-sword and that is how she gets one. I don’t know how it will work but maybe I am just crazy. Anyone have any thoughts?

  4. Posted November 2, 2008 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

    This episode was shocking,. I never thought that Shogun will show up wo Takumi. O_O Wonder what will happen..

  5. Posted November 2, 2008 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

    @ Prince: Definitely not your typical harem show.

    @ Forgan: Yes, I’m looking forward to the leads. They ought to be supplied around this time. My hair is gonna fall out trying to piece together clues for both Chaos;Head AND Mouryou no Hako. I just hope it doesn’t shoot the wad and turn out to be something silly.

    @ zihark: Hmm, and here I thought it was the gero keychains (LOL). Actually, that’s quite possible. Astute observation ^_^

    @ Kairu Ishimaru: I’m still wondering if that dude was really Shogun. I wish he could have given a better explanation T_T

  6. Denisu
    Posted November 2, 2008 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

    I too beleive the bracelet will be an important point in the storyline. Wait. Storyline? is there even one? In the best of the cases, it’s for sure not a line. At least it makes you want to know wath will happen next.
    I think Taku is the shogun still, maybe the old man was, well, Taku? if we can predict the future, why not travel while we are at it?
    Rimi’s character is getting better, also, we got the last girl in the harem list and it looks like the show is ready to begin… (somebody, save us!)
    next episode look’s promising.

  7. signboard
    Posted November 2, 2008 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

    Nice post. I am enjoying Chaos Head very much. Although there are plenty of loose ends and unresolved questions, that is what the show is about. The twists, the occasional gore and horror, and Taku’s ecchi delusion’s make for a very entertaining ride.

  8. Zan
    Posted November 2, 2008 at 9:39 pm | Permalink

    Maybe Shogun is some sort of inner personality of Taku, warning him. Split personality? And the old dude’s voice sounds young. If he’s real, horrible disease of some sort, or some sort of injury due to these Di-swords make him look older than he really is? And I don’t really think this is a harem. The girls don’t seem to be attracted to him in a “like” sort of way, except for Rimi (maybe). They seem to want him for reasons other than love. IMO. Course, not really sure about the definition of “harem” that’s being used. Meh.

  9. Forgan
    Posted November 2, 2008 at 10:28 pm | Permalink

    Funny you mention that Zan, Chaos;Head Noah (The XBOX 360 port of Chaos;Head) is adding a route for all the female characters. The original version had two routes and three endings, but the heroine was the same regardless. So it kinda weirds me out to see them getting their own routes ;>_>. But hell, for some characters I can see this changing the story greatly, so I may as well get it anyway.

  10. Posted November 3, 2008 at 3:22 am | Permalink

    I am getting more of a Silent Hill vibe as the episodes go on it like Taku was transplanted into a world ruled by malevolent beings who toy with him for lulz, right now I am just waiting for the pyramid head equivalent to show up.

    If this were generic harem this series would have failed by now, but since we have no idea who is going to kill who and if Taku is really that delusional I keep on watching, the wonders of having an unreliable narrator.

  11. Maipeisu
    Posted November 3, 2008 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    @Denisu: Yah, I kinda thought Shogun was some inner aspect of Taku, but I have to admit that Zangetsu was WAY cooler. <.< But wait. Is Taku *predicting* the future or is he *creating* it? What if he’s some twisted male version of Haruhi Suzumiya who thinks the entire world is out to get him?!?? ::Maipeisu’s brain starts to leak out of his ear::

    @signboard: Indeed, and I love how the show will compensate for a dearth of one with buckets of the other. I want to make that footjob scene into a gif…

    @Zan: Yah, he *looks* old but he doesn’t strike me as old. He has the air of a young person, like those dudes from Akira. Wonder what that’s all about… And yes, harem is a bit of a misnomer, needs to be substituted, but I haven’t thought of a better descriptor yet. It’s twisted that they all act like they like him, but they really “want” him for completely different reasons. That’s why I like ‘dark harem’, but I’m just shooting from the hip here hehe.

    @Forgan: I’m really looking forward to Noah, not that I’ve played the VN or know how the story plays out, but even checking out the new alternate routes ought to be interesting – you know, to see how they manage the changes in storyline. Then again… it could be really, REALLY weird, like you have suggested O_O;

    @Crusader: LOL. Completely unreliable narrator = completely unreliable blogger. Oops, I wasn’t supposed to say that.

  12. zihark
    Posted November 3, 2008 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    Alright here is another thought I had. Asuming that the braclet is the Di-sword is seems that there needs to be some way to activate it. My guess is that Taku and his sister are going to be thrown into some dangerous situation in which he has one of his breakdowns and so she has to defend him which then causes the braclet to activate the Di-sword. Not sure if thats how its going to work or if the braclet is even the Di-sword, but w/e. Any thoughts?

  13. Posted November 5, 2008 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

    I guess the entire Taku sleep walking and typing the name Shogun into his computer scene meant that he wasn’t Shogun. Or something. Who cares, LOLI TIEM.

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