Well, it took me quite a while before I finished this episode due to the massive backlog brought by tons of work. However, the second episode seems to provide a foundation on the mystery, as well as introducing the possible key characters of this series. The events are slowly explaining themselves, and the connection of Ogami and Tarou were getting close. Why is Tarou unable to remember anything of the past?
Who is behind the kidnapping? Who is the mastermind? Why do Tarou experience out of body experiences?
Tarou has a nightmare on her sister. In the nightmare, her face was blurred out, and was running away from him as she entered an alley. As the alley ended, a huge black being was strangling her sister, as he looked in shock while the giant suffocated her to death. As the giant smiled, he woke up. He recorded his nightmare, and hoped that he did not dream of it. Yet, strangely, he wished to dream of it as the tape recorder clicked. He then placed the used tape in a box. As he left for school, a visitor reminded the family about the kidnapping as Tarou’s mother looked disturbed.
Tarou eventually left for school, and Nakajima disturbed him about the kidnap 11 years ago. Nakajima talked about Tarou being in the sake business as well as Mizuka (Tarou elder sister’s name), but Tarou simply ignored him. He then checked the history of the Internet browser, realizing the last search was on “out of body experience dreams”. While the images were random school events, Nakajima narrated the findings of the kidnapping. It happened during September 22, 1996 when the children were 8 and 3 respectively. The kidnapper called Tarou’s family for a ransom, but his father was unable to give the ransom as no specific area for depositing was found. The kidnapper asked his father to enter a highway and threw the bag with the money away. He followed the instructions, but the kidnapper did not appear to the scene.
The police were finally able to find traces of the kidnapper through the pre-paid mobile phone, and found an abandoned house outside town. The kidnapper tried to run, but was killed by the police. The kidnapper was not a local, and there was little information on the culprit, not even his work history. The police were unable to find any clues on the location of the children, but a local call gave insight that the children might be at an abandoned hospital near the dam around the mountains nearby. As they reached the hospital, they found the children but Mizuka already died. Tarou was in critical condition.
Further investigation found that food was abundant as the suspect was expecting to get back, but the children’s hands were tired, resulting in starvation. Similar kidnapping incidents also happened prior to this case, but it was the first time that a ransom was called for. Later on, Ogami’s father was found to be killed in a locked room, with his eyes gouged out by a knife and disemboweled. Some villagers believed that he might be involved in the kidnapping case.
The narration was done, as Tarou reached the top of a shrine. He then found a path in the woods that resembled the one in his dream. Miyako greeted his father in their house, as her father asked whether she bought sake. However, she was more concerned about a visitor calling out to them. A heavy mist was gathered in the forest as Tarou went deeper, and he found a girl that resembled Mizuka.
He approached her, only to realize that she was already dead. The girl then changed into the black giant that appeared. He panicked and ran away, telling himself that it was merely a dream. As he got out of the woods, he snapped out of the dream. As he re-appeared in the shrine, Miyako told him that children were not allowed to play here. Tarou said a primary school student had no right to criticize her, and asked if anything was troubling her. Miyako said “friend”, and Tarou asked whether she had met him before. She said “who knows” as she left. Tarou was having a therapy session with Hirate as he tested EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing).
He asked about the nightmare, and Tarou said he could not see her face. Tarou said he was not hypnotized, as Hirata explained that it was not hyponsis but a method to recall memories from extreme trauma (P.T.S.D). Tarou was disturbed as he did not know whether remembering them would be good or bad. Tarou was unable to shake off the image of the giant as the therapy was stopped. On a bridge, Nakajima chatted with a classmate, and realized that the local who informed about the hostages was Ogami’s mother. Nakajima was happy about the news, as he said that the two cases (suicide and kidnap) might be related.
The classmate said that there were a lot of rumors about the hospital early on, and he gave a game for the classmate when some others approached. He then stopped his own recorder, but looked shocked when he looked down at the desolate river. He gained composure as he looked up as the hospital was just nearby.
First, some of the explanations of the term. PTSD stands for post traumatic stress disorder which is the term for a severe and ongoing emotional reaction to an extreme psychological trauma, and the psychological ability of a human is unable to process it. EMDR is one of the methods to treat PTSD, and is found to be highly effective compared to alternative methods. I am not at all surprised that they are throwing technical terms so quick in the series, as it is the director of Serial Experiment Lain that we are talking about.
Nakajima’s interest in the kidnapping seems to be an obsession, one that seems a little abnormal for me. For some reason, a transfer student’s interest in such an event is perhaps logical since it’s highly possible to be big news but it has happened since 11 years ago. Nevertheless, Nakajima probably has some secret to hide, and I believe that he lied when asked by Tarou about whether he has been here in this village before. He definitely lived here before in my opinion.
Tarou’s experiences are rather surreal, particularly the one where he actually went to the out of body experience when he walked into the path. I wonder how that actually happens. He might have some sort of a disease that costs him to doze off while entering, or that the path is laden with a certain form of spiritual field that activates his ability to dream travel. Whatever it is, it is rather haunting when her sister suddenly turned into the black being. Nothing is also explained about the black being as well, and I wonder if they have any connection to the kidnapping in general. The dreams of Tarou seem to tell something…but is what he see the actual reality of previous events or the imagination of post-trauma?
The feel of his dreams seemed to be currently a distortion of the actual trauma that has happened to him in my opinion, and the black spirits might be a link for the mysterious kidnapping case. However, I am puzzled why he cannot see the face of his sister. It might be likely that the death of his sister right under his eyes has caused him to somewhat forget about his sister’s face in his subconscious mind as it causes a case of cognitive dissonance.
Miyako is a very strange entity. She seems so mysterious and I wonder what is her connection to the kidnapping, if any? I feel that she has some form of spiritual power, and it is not really logical for me if they add her just for some female attraction. Ogami’s family probably caused some post-trauma, and I feel that the connection of the two kidnappings might give the answer for the possible supernatural appearances seen through the nightmare of Tarou. It might be that Ogami might have some form to see such images if you ask me, but nothing is said much about him other than the fact that he saw his dad disemboweled in front of him.
Anyway, I will write more when the next episodes comes out. What do you think of Ghost Hound for now?