Anime Best in Show

Review: Listeners Episode 9 Best in Show

Quick Summary

In Listeners episode 9, “Freedom,” Echo tried to pick up the pieces of his life and move on after µ’s “debut,” but he doesn’t get very far. Nir eventually came across him as he sat huddled against a wall, but she wasn’t happy at all to see him — and she made no attempt to hide it. Meanwhile, µ tried to talk to her memories of Jimi Stonefree, and we got some more details on how she emerged into this world. Does that help her or hurt her? Nir eventually relented (a little) and talked to Echo. She’s determined to kill µ; Echo is determined to stop her. But as they continue to verbally wrestle over their mission, they make a discovery that things are even worse than they’d thought. And they’d thought it was really bad! Can Echo make it to µ before Nir does? Will it matter if he can? Or is µ already too far gone?

Note: This post may include spoilers, so be cautious.

Best Moment in the Show: Echo Kindly Declares War on Nir

Nir was utterly determined to kill µ. Echo was just as determined to prevent her. Yet, they didn’t attack each other. Capture from the Hulu stream.

In the previous episode, it was tough watching Tommy Walker betray µ, even though it was my Best in Show moment. That uneasiness is becoming a habit, because my Best in Show moment for this episode also made me feel a sense of dread and discomfort, and the reason was similar: I really like both Echo and Nir, and seeing them on opposite sides of an issue, an issue that will end in violence, was hard. Yet, they were both true to themselves.

The events of the the previous episode left Echo in an emotional shambles. He could barely even talk to some kids who tried to engage him. As a gray snow began to fall, he seemed to give up. His amp beside him, he sat with his back to a wall and his knees to his chest. He just watched the world go by.

That’s how Nir found him, and she was not happy to see him. He seemed to understand where she was coming from, but he still wanted to talk to her. I really like their friendship, so I was happy that Nir eventually relented enough to at least listen to him. She took him back to her apartment, which was still the one she had shared with Lyde and Ritchie.

Nir could not forgive that µ was an Earless. Capture from the Hulu stream.

There, Nir made it clear she was going to kill µ. Echo’s reaction was muted. I think he understood why Nir thought that way, and he really didn’t have an answer for her. All he could do was say that he wanted to protect µ.

What struck me about the scene is that the two of them already seem to be such good friends that they really couldn’t get even verbally violent with each other. Both seemed to draw comfort from the other, even though there were on opposite sides of a significant issue.

That was never more clear than the conversation they had while walking towards the tower where µ was. Echo trudged stubbornly behind Nir, who said, “Don’t come” (10:25).

“I’m coming.”

“You’ll be in the way.”

“I came to be in the way.”

Things went down hill for them after that, and Nir eventually left Echo in prison when a friend came to break her out. But even then, she promised to come back for him when her mission was complete. The show’s done a good enough job with its characters that I feel sorrow for both Nir and Echo. They’re stuck in a world they really don’t know how to navigate, but they’re still doing their best. I like that trait in a character.

What did you think of µ’s conversation with Jimi? What was your Best in Show moment? Let me know in the comments!

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2 thoughts on “Review: Listeners Episode 9 Best in Show

  1. I sort of have a better grip on the the Who references now. They’re more referencing the character Tommy than the band, it appears, with a little remix and adaptation of motivation. Take for example the mirror imagery; if you don’t know the story of Tommy that’s okay – just know that they use it differently but that the way it’s set up we might get a “We’re not gonna take it,” moment out of the development (key song on the record).

    It’s sad to say, but actually getting the references makes the show worse for me, if only a little, because the shows mood and the songs’ mood feel incompatible. If I could go back in time, I’d probably tell myself to drop the show, but right now I’ve come far enough that the completionist in me is stronger than the bored guy.

    1. “If I could go back in time, I’d probably tell myself to drop the show, but right now I’ve come far enough that the completionist in me is stronger than the bored guy.”

      Sounds like my internal dialogue while I was watching Taboo Tattoo!

      I’m still enjoying it, because it seems to be trying something different. Even if it fails, I can still learn from it. But I’ll admit my enthusiasm for it isn’t as high as it was.

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