Saturday, 18 October 2008

Chäos;HEAd - Episode 2

I refused to use the term "mindfuck" to describe episode one of Chäos;HEAd, but I have to admit that having watched this second episode, the series does seem to be edging ever closer to matching that particular turn of phrase pretty well.

Last episode left us with Takumi meeting the girl he'd seen using wimbled crosses instead of drawing pins and a dead body instead of a poster last episode, and in his own class at school no less - What gives? Well, if this episode is to be believed the girl in question is Rimi, and Takumi has been friends with her for many, many years. Surely he'd remember such a thing, this can't be true?

If that isn't problematic enough for Takumi, Yua is still paying a disproportionate amount of interest in him, taking him out shopping, trying to visit him in his classroom and asking him to walk her home. Despite Takumi's protestations that he's only interested in 2D girls, and misgivings about her, he can't help but to enjoy the warmth of female attention... is Yua really interested in a hikiomori like him? On top of all that, the police investigation into the so-called "New Gene" killings have captured video footage of a male running from the scene of the latest crime, carrying a wimbled cross and wearing a very particular school uniform...

The key to Chäos;HEAd's success as a series is really very simple, yet incredible effective - In essence, it's all about Takumi's delusional nature. You could call it gimmicky, but the fact is that watching the show, and viewing it through Takumi's eyes as we do, you simply have no idea as to what is real or what is simply a figment of his imagination. Did he really witness that murder? Is Rimi really an old friend? Is Takumi somehow involved in these killings himself but blocking them out of his head as part of his psychological issues? Quite frankly, we don't have a clue, but it's hugely entertaining trying to pick up the clues, filter out what is real and what isn't and try to figure out what on Earth is going on here.

Probably, the biggest problem with the series thus far is Takumi himself - His character isn't exactly lovable at the best of times, and I can see this becoming a real 'Marmite' issue amongst viewers of the show - People will either like him as a protagonist or absolutely hate him. Personally, I don't have a problem with Takumi's character at all, as it fits in brilliantly with the picture that has been built of him - Sure, it can be a little cringe-worthy to watch, but isn't that kind of the point?

While this second episode of Chäos;HEAd arguably wasn't quite up to the same quality as the opener, it continues to stand out as the most intriguing series I've watched so far this season - It gets you thinking and puts your powers of deduction to use thanks to its main narrative device, and that alone is almost guaranteed to keep me coming back for more.

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