Episode 11: Save

As an image delivery system, the early parts of this episode are some of Key’s finest. Tataki has a bad dream inside a bad dream, and we get to watch smeary villagers berate him, Ajo explode and leave a rolling eyeball in his hand, and a wall of Tokiko’s house falls apart, the corpse of Dr. Mima complete with squirming maggots leer out. If Key isn’t going to make sense, this is precisely the kind of weird it should be.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t keep it up. The episode then becomes a series of conversations, intercut shots of bored people typing into keyboards, and portent piled upon portent. Since this is about the forth Key episode in a row where almost nothing has happened (guy gets back from vacation, Key has been training with Tsurugi but she doesn’t actually do a thing) it has to be taken as the creator’s modus operandi -Key is meant to be slow, almost paralytic in its progress. Everyone’s relationship with everyone else is ambiguous, perhaps to the point of non-existence.
By episode 11 of Neon Genesis Evangelion, 3 angels were dead, and one of my favorite sci-fi anime stories (the one where all the power in Tokyo is routed to Shinji’s eva) had been told. By this point Paranoia Agent was nearly complete, and had created a realistic, kaleidoscopic world of its own. Key’s deliberate slowness may have thematic heft that is going over my head, but I think it may have more to do with a creative team with less story to tell than budget.
Rating :C-

About Kent Conrad

To contact Kent Conrad, email kentc@explodedgoat.com