Monday, 31 January 2011

Level E - Episode 4

Having finished its first story arc in fantastic fashion last week, I have to confess I was a little worried about exactly where Level E would go next.  The answer is in a rather different direction... well, sort of anyway.

After observing that it's always the naughty kids that see and find stuff they aren't supposed to, we find ourselves joining an illicit card game in a barn being enjoyed by a bunch of students.  Enjoyed, that is, until a girl bursts into the barn, collapses, and then has her insides sucked out before being eaten wholesale by a fellow student.  The ending to this particular card game certainly isn't something you'll see in Rio - Rainbow Gate that's for sure...

Of course, this situation leaves our four delinquents with a quandary - as the girl they saw murdered and devoured is reported as missing, do they go to the police despite how nonsensical their story sounds?  Besides, what of her assailant, and what if he were to target them?  Despite whittling down the possible culprit to a handful of students, their sense of terror only increases when one of their number goes missing.  Finally, desperation and a recommendation from a friend leads them to a strange building containing an even stranger "doctor" of sorts, who claims to know what they're up against and offers to investigate the case... for a price.

This being Level E, nothing is quite as it seems however, and as per the end of the last episode this instalment once again pulls a complete one-eighty on us at its close to exhibit its continuing sense of irreverent fun.  That shouldn't really detract from the rest of this episode as a story in its own right however, which proved to be an entertaining one - strikingly animated in a way which added to the tone and "pulp fiction" feel of the whole endeavour with just the right balance of extraterrestrial craziness and oddball characters with a topping of social commentary; there were some pretty obvious religious and socio-political references to be found within its tale, that's for sure.

Overall though, Level E continues to delight simply on account of being so hard to pin down - it's clearly revelling in its misdirection and playful nature, and that in itself would be enough to keep it interesting even before the fact it can remain fascinating and very different from typical anime fare at the same time come into play.

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