Welcome back to the Ga-Rei Zero rewatch! I promise that this weeks episode will make a lot more sense than the previous one did.
Okay, I’m lying. This weeks episode, the second of the series, is every bit as confusing as the last, while managing to end on a note that will make you want to come back for the third episode, because that’s just how this show rolls. It’s intense, violent, crazy, and doesn’t care if you understand what’s happening. It’s the anime equivalent of that friend that shows up at your house, dressed as horse, claims there’s no time to explain, and tells you to get int he car, cause you gotta go.
Anybody? That’s just me that happens to? Okay, then, moving on…
First things first, despite this being anime, my DVD copy has a lovely reminder at the beginning of episode two.
Gee, thanks. I might not have known that otherwise. I mean, don’t you guys just hate when an animated show about militarized ghostbusters turns out not to be based on actual events? So glad we could clear that up.
We’re treated to a recap of the massacre of Section Four by the strange sword wielding woman from the previous episode, before jumping to another aerial shot of the city, as a voice over a radio, identified as the SDCD Command speaking to the Disposal Team, informs them that two Defense Ministry units are currently engaged with more specters. They are encouraged to proceed to the area discreetly and do some clean up.
The Disposal Team, however, is stuck in traffic, what with only having a Humvee, rather than a nice helicopter or Osprey to use. Nor do they seem overly happy about the matter, which is actually kind of understandable.
This team, code named the Suit Squad, because they dress like extras from Men In Black, are Kouji, Kazuki, Noriyuki, and the Nabuu brothers. Much like Section Four, they all have Second Sight, allowing them actually see spirits, and as an extra surprise, are the actual cast, or rather, most of it.
They bitch about the traffic for a bit, with Kazuki saying they should use the siren, and Kouji reminding him they are suppose to be acting discreetly. Noriyuki, however, using the spirit foxes that hang around him, can see the Kasha the Defense Ministry is engaged with, the third to pop up that night, and it’s even nastier than either of its predecessors.
Realizing the Defense Ministry Unit is going to get its ass kicked, and all their backup is being used to cordon off the area, Kouji decides to say screw it and go the rescue, by driving down the sidewalk. In a Humvee. Kazuki rightly points out that this is actually less discreet than a siren. Kouji doesn’t seem to care much.
I get the feeling he just likes driving on the sidewalk. I like this about him.
Sure enough, the Defense Ministry Unit is getting thrashed when the Suit Squad arrives, Noriyuki’s spirit foxes taking out the lesser Category B specters that always seem to keep a Kasha company, while the Nabuu brothers use some officially licensed Big Fucking Guns.
When a couple of Cat B’s grab onto the rear of the Humvee, Kazuki steps up, dropping a CD into his briefcase and stepping out the back hatch to beat them senseless. I don’t know who makes his accessories, but I want some. Nor is he the only one with some toys. When another Cat B tries to climb in the window, Kouji uses an arm drill to dispatch it, and no, that’s not a euphemism.
Getting the Kasha to follow them, the Suit Squad is notified by Command to lead it to an elevated train line, where the final member of their team, Kaguara awaits. Eating Pocky. Because this ain’t no thing.
Kouji suckers the Kasha into a barrier, where Kagura awaits, by letting the thing kick the Humvee around a little. Spotting Kagura, the Kasha moves toward her as she grips her sword, which by the way, has a trigger on it, and takes it out with a single blow, splitting the damn thing right down the middle, all without breaking a sweat.
The Kasha dispatched, we return to the group of politicians and military officers from last episode, who are still talking about the loss of Mobile Unit One, and now, the loss of Section Four. These aren’t all of their losses, either, as the Ministry of Defense’s SPCDH has been all but wiped out.
They are joined by two women, one in wheelchair, another in a suit. They would be Ayame Jinguuji, the head of the Ministry of Environments SDCD, and Kiri Nikadou, her assistant, respectively. Ayame fast talks the board, being pleasant and sweet, into handing over all relevant data on the nights encounters. When a couple persist in resisting her request, Kiri makes it clear it wasn’t actually a request at all.
Showing the board what we’ll call a weather map of spiritual energy, the two manage to convince them that there are two Category A disturbances in the area, which explains why activity has been so high, at last persuading them to agree to handing over the data.
Back at the rail line, the Suit Squad is overseeing clean up from the latest encounter, which means making sure ambulances to get to the wounded and dead from the Defense Ministry Unit. Meanwhile, Kagura tries to make a phone call, but can’t get through.
Noriyuki joins her, and they talk a bit about an unnamed woman. Nori, as Kagura calls him, insists that she’ll be fine, and will come back when she’s ready. I sense some foreshadowing taking place.
In one of the ambulances, a dead MoD officer suddenly sits up. Oh, joy! Zombies! All over, dead MoD soldiers start getting up. Courtesy of the Suit Squad, we learn that they have all been taken over by a type of spirit called a Latcher, the same critter we saw take over Mami in the previous episode.
The entire Suit Division has gathered at this point, and lays into them, drawing Kagura and Nori from their conversation, as elsewhere, a massive explosion blows open a hole to a utility conduit, from which more zombies begin to appear.
It’s about time the hungry dead unionized.
Back at the battle, we learn Kazuki’s briefcase doubles as his own special Big Fucking Gun. He fills Nori and Kagura in on what’s happening, and Kagura looks seriously bothered by seeing a zombie, while Nori ponders if someone set this all up and is pulling the strings on the various specters.
Meanwhile, Ayame and Kiri are reviewing the Seeker files from the Mobile Unit in a surveillance room. Kiri recommends they pay special attention to the aqueduct surveillance cameras instead, leading them to witness the massacre of Section Four as the same sword wielding woman appears near the Suit Division and starts taking out nameless extras in gruesome fashion.
The Squad we’ve been watching all episode picks up on it, all of them wondering what the hell they are dealing with now. As Ayame and Kiri react in horror to what they are seeing, the Suit Squad reacts to the woman with the sword in shock and disbelief.
Because this is Yomi Isayama. One of their own. A member of the SDCD, and the Suit Squad. Their friend.
Yomi calls Kagura, and we learn that yes, Yomi is the one Kagura was trying to call earlier. In fact, given the image on Kagura’s phone that we see, she and Yomi are, or rather were, pretty tight. Now, however, Yomi taunts her.
Summoning a fucking scary as hell monster, Yomi makes ready to attack her former allies as they try to understand what is happening. Kiri sends out the order to attack Yomi on sight, with Ayame confirming they must eliminate her.
While the team tries to grasp it all, Yomi orders her monster to attack with an energy wave, forcing the team to scatter to avoid being killed. When the Suit Squad tries to open fire, Yomi escapes by grabbing onto her monster and pretty much flying away. Before they can give pursuit, the zombies from the utility conduit arrive, pinning them down. Kouji orders Nori to go find Yomi and take care of her, and Kagura goes with him.
Soon after, they come upon the conduit and head down, thinking that it being exposed is possibly an invitation from their former friend. Nori figures out that Yomi used the conduit to gather enough corpses to form an army of zombies, before they encounter a split in the tunnel and separate, Kagura taking one of his spirit foxes with her.
As she explores, Kagura talks to the spirit fox about Nori, wondering if he could fight Yomi if he had too, revealing that he was engaged to her. The fox doesn’t get a chance to answer, mostly because Yomi lops its head off, before closing in on Kagura.
Yomi attacks, putting Kagura on the defensive. Kagura refuses to draw her sword, at least, at first. When she finally does, she catches Yomi’s blade in the sheath and pins her, sword to Yomi’s neck.
Yomi compliments her, not just on the clever tactic, but on being such a prodigy, before taunting Kagura to kill her. She says it’ll be easy. Only take a moment. After all, that’s her job, disposing of dirty little secrets, such as Yomi herself.
When Kagura doesn’t move, she asks if it’s harder when it’s someone she knows. She tells her that her bleeding heart will take her down a painful road, though it likely is the same thing that makes her better than Yomi. She torments Kagura further, referring to their past as sharing a few laughs, before ordering her to finish it.
Kagura can’t, though. She just can’t. Yomi kicks her off and comes at her again, slicing through a light fixture. Kagura begs for Nori to help her, but Yomi assures him, as she licks blood off her face, that he doesn’t have the guts. Angered, Kagura sheathes her sword and the two have a stand off.
When they finally come at each other, Kagura ducks under Yomi’s blade, squeezing the trigger on her sheath to fire her sword into a gas line, high tailing out of there as Yomi slowly realizes what happened seconds before the damaged light fixture ignites the gas, exploding.
It blows several manholes off as Kagura finds her way out of the conduit, her ears ringing, and collapses, only to have Yomi walk up to her, chiding her for being naive. Trying to run, Kagura has her hand grabbed by Yomi’s monster, who flops her around, before hanging her in front of Yomi, who puts her sword to Kagura’s throat.
Yomi tells her that the injury hurts, yes, but it could be worse. She could let Kagura suffer indefinitely. Kagura, in pain, confused, asks her why she is doing this.
“You were my big sister.”
Ouch. Okay, that one landed right in the feels. At least for me. For Yomi, not so much. In fact, it seems to piss her off as she draws back her sword and angrily demands Kagura never call her that again, before swinging.
Closing credits roll.
Working as a continuation of the first episode, we finally learn a bit more about the mystery woman with the sword that wiped out Section Four, while introducing the actual cast of the series, before seeming to wipe them out as well.
One of the things Ga-Rei Zero really does right with this episode is the way they finally introduce us to Yomi. A monster, without a doubt, it is in the reactions of the people who know her that we realize something is terribly amiss here. That this is not the Yomi they know, especially where Kagura is concerned.
Something horrible has happened to Yomi, to turn her against the people who obviously care for her. Just what, we don’t know, but we do know it has something to do with the boy Tooru was hunting, because of all the blue butterflies.
The best part, for me anyway, of this episode is the dialogue. The characters talk like people who know each other. It’s obvious that there is a strong bond between all of them, reflected not just in how they act, but in the way they speak. It’s masterfully done.
Especially Kagura’s final line.
Another thing it does is give us the first inkling of what the shows tagline is all about. “Will you kill someone you love, out of love?” The relationship Kagura and Yomi shared was obviously very special to Kagura, and at least at some point, Yomi as well. Now, however, something has drastically changed in Yomi, leaving Kagura no choice but to consider that very option. This will continue to be built upon as the show goes forward, but for now, we are left with only more questions.
We’ll learn more about that in the next episode, The Time Of The Chance Encounter. See you next week, and have a great weekend.