Alice & Zouroku Ep 4 – Gunfire and a Stern Talking To

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

Quick Summary

In Alice & Zouroku episode 4, Something Not HumanMinnie (Miriam) C. Tachibana literally tightens her grip on SanaRyuu Naitou and Shizuku Ichijou launch a search and rescue mission. Sana, Zouroku Kashimura, and Sanae Kashimura learn about Sana’s true nature. Zouroku finally reveals his super power! Ichijou raises the roof!

What’s In This Post

Quick Episode Summary
What Happened in this Episode
What I Liked in this Episode
What I Liked Not so Much in this Episode
Thoughts about the Episode
Related Posts

What Happened

Naitou explains that Sana’s likely safe because the other side wants her alive. That wasn’t as comforting as he’d intended. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.
  1. As Naitou and Ichijou launch their search and rescue operation, Minnie C. reiterates that she’ll do anything to see her dead husband again — as she pulls the slide back on her sidearm. She begins berating Sana for trying to act human when she’s clearly not. She’s “just” a phenomenon that learned to imitate humans. Sana begins to fall prey to Minnie C’s negative spin as the woman tranquilizes her. At the same time, Zouroku is taking Naitou to task for clearly have an agenda beyond just keeping Sana safe. Naitou confesses Sana is likely not human; and that he reports to a government official who thinks that Sana and those like her can integrate into human society. Apparently, Minnie C. and her cohorts represent the other faction. Naitou apologies for taking advantage of the situation, but Zouroku brushes that aside. He wants Sana to come home — i.e., to his home.
  2. In a dream or trance, Sana meets an adult who looks like her. The adult gives her some good advice. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

    Sana experiences a dream. She meets a woman, working on a floral arrangement, who looks like an adult version of herself. The woman mentions that it’s sort of against the rules for them to interact. The woman reacts with barely restrained anger when Sana points out Sanae has a more prominent bosom. Despite that, the woman consoles Sana and suggests she call the name of someone around her who may be able to help. Back in real-time, in the Zouroku’s flower shop, Sana’s Mirror Gate appears above Zouroku. It teleports him into the car with Sana.

  3. Unfazed by the teleportation, Zouroku sees disembodied arms holding Sana to the floor, and he immediately tries to free her. Another set of arms slams him to the ground. Seeing Minnie C, Zouroku asks if she’s one of the demons who has been mistreating Sana. He begins to free himself again in spite of Minnie C’s power. She has to commit more of her Mirror Gate pedals to restrain him, but he keeps encouraging Sana to use her powers to fight back. Minnie C loses her temper and shoots Sana in the leg. Furious, the old man breaks free and tries to attack Minnie C, but her military training’s too good. She pins him down and puts a bullet in the seat inches from his head. He continues to call for Sana to free herself, but Minnie C’s words affected her self concept. Sana does free herself, but she dresses herself in the research gown, heals herself, and collapses. However, her burst of power shows up on Noriko Yamada’s sensors. Naitou’s people begin closing in. He leaves to coordinate the attack and Sanae asks to go with him.

    Minnie C is astonished that Zouroku is able to fight back against her card. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.
  4. As a crane begins to load the trailer holding the getaway car onto a boat, Sana tries to apologize for involving Zouroku. Trying to comfort Sana at the same time, he demands to know who Minnie C is, and she confirms she’s working on a project that’s a joint operation between the American and Japanese governments. Their goal’s to use the Dreams of Alice as a power source, and Zouroku is not impressed. Nor does he care if Sana’s not strictly human; he points that Sana’s never acted out of malice, but he just witnessed Minnie C shooting a helpless girl in the leg — so who’s more human? He asks Sana to come home with him. When Minnie tries to interrupt him, he invokes his super power: he tells her to listen to her elders. He then explains how Sana’s just like a little girl, and how everyone makes mistakes and how they all lean on each other to get by. He tells Sana she should be with others, especially in hard times. He finally convinces Sana when he reminds her that she told him she wanted to see the world, and that she shouldn’t go back on her word because he hates crooked stuff. At that moment, Ichijo rips the lid off the trailer and the car, pins Minnie C to her seat, and announces that as Cabinet Information Research Officer Secret Service agent Ichijo, she’s there to rescue Sana and Zouroku.

    Ichijou seems both happy and relieved to have found Sana and Zouroku. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

What I Liked

I like Sanae’s reaction to Naitou saying he didn’t think the kidnappers would hurt Sana. She was horrified. In spite of having been present when they abducted Sana, Sanae was still so unused to such events that she hadn’t considered what would come next. The show has a good handle on how normal civilians would react, and it made the scene feel all the more real.

Sanae lectured Zouroku for not consulting her about Sana! She demands to be part of the decision making process, especially since it’s only the two of them — three, now. And then she says, “I’m done.” That had to take a lot of courage, given how firmly Zouroku holds his opinions. To his credit, he agreed with her. You go, Sanae!

Sanae demands that Zouroku consult her on decisions affecting their whole family. Well, more like respectfully requests… Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Even unconscious, Sana behaves just like a little girl — calling the woman in front of her flatter than Sanae like it was the most natural thing to say in the world!

Speaking of that scene, it raised a lot of questions. Was the woman a future version of Sana? She’s making a floral arrangement. Does that mean she grows up with Zouroku and Sanae? The scene was an emotional oasis in the middle of an otherwise start sequence.

So, Minnie C’s power is pressing Zouroku into the car seat. He can barely move. So what’s Zouroku do? He tells Sana to go back home because “That creepy guy, Naito, is gonna save you.” Apparently, nothing really disturbs Zouroku’s calm. The guy’s fearless!

I’m ready for Minnie C to make an ungraceful exit from the show after she shot Sana. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

After last week’s episode, I didn’t need much help seeing Minnie C as a villain. But after she shot Sana in the leg, I’m pretty much calling for her violent downfall. Sure, she knew Sana could heal herself, but it’s just cruel to inflict that kind of pain on someone. Military training’s no excuse. Grief at the loss of a spouse is no excuse. She needs to go down.

It was heart breaking to watch Sana try to own up to being a monster so she could send Zouroku back to his normal life — to keep him and Sanae safe. She had so bought into Minnie’s C’s words that she couldn’t see herself as a little girl at all. And of course, Zouroku knew just how to talk her back to reality. Must be how much he hates crooked stuff!

Quote of the episode: as Zouroku’s trying to convince Sana that she deserves a chance, he sums up by saying, “In any case, I have no reason to send you away with these violent fools!”

Zouroku’s hatred of crooked stuff has made a huge impression on Sana — in a positive way! Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

I think Ichijou’s rescue answers an important question that this episode asked. Apparently, there are two factions in the government arguing over whether or not society can accept the Dreams of Alice. Ichijou just used her Mirror Gate to rescue two hostages, and in that context, her powers seemed like the most natural thing in the world. I think there are still interesting conversations to be had — like can a Dream of Alice control herself over time, given the idea that power corrupts? Can society learn to trust that such power can be restrained or directed beneficially? Still, I don’t see a problem. But then, I believe in Jeffersonian Democracy, so I’m not sure I could defend myself against a charge of optimism…

What I Liked Less

This show and the Re:Creators, the other show I’m reviewing this season, seems to have more exposition than usual. Normally, I complain about it, but in this case, it’s so interesting that I’m going to only note it briefly here.

Thoughts

Minnie C ruthlessly ripped Sana’s illusions of being human away, but the question remains: just who and what is Sana? Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

The show surprised me this week. I thought the fallout of Sana’s abduction would last a few more episodes. Instead, we get a dramatic rescue thanks for Ichijou. Even more interesting, we find out that Sana’s not really human, at least as far as those around her know. That leaves us with a number of interesting questions.

Who or what is Sana? Aside from her good intentions and character, what’s to keep her from using her power to harm people? And in light of that question, will she really be able to integrate into human society, or will fear drive people to ostracize her?

I’m not advocating that the show abandon the tension between the villains (I’m looking at you, Minnie C!) and our heroes. But I’m really interested in learning more about Sana. It’s easy to present conflict. It’s a lot harder to build an interesting new being that starts out in the form of a little girl. I want to know why  Zouroku and his strict rules seems to have such a positive effect on Sana. I want to see why she responds so well to Sanae’s affection. If she’s not human, then there’s no innate reason those things should affect her. But they do! And I hope learning why is going to make this show something exceptional.

What do you think? Is Sana really not human? Let me know in the comments!

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Post Author: tcrow