In Alice & Zouroku episode 2, Dreams of Alice, Zouroku Kashimura leaves a sleeping Sana home for his granddaughter, Sanae Kashimura, to babysit. Sanae ends up enduring piglets raining from the sky, an attack by a giant pancake, and a whirlwind teleportation trip around the world. As the corporation’s Director pieces together the clues leading to Sana’s whereabouts, Zouroku reaches out to an old friend for help. Then the piglets attack where he least suspects!
Note: This post may include spoilers, so be cautious!
What's In This Post
Not wanting to awaken Sana, Zouroku leaves for work knowing his granddaughter, Sanae, will be there soon. Sanae thinks Sana's adorable, but the Red Queen's dream accidentally sends Sanae into a memory with her grandfather, where she created small graves for her pets and her parents. Startled awake, Sana panics and demands to know who Sanae is. The granddaughter eventually talks her down with the promise of food and a generous dose of empathy. Unfortunately, Sanae tries to use a pig hand-puppet to win Sana's trust, and the surprised Sana makes it rain piglets. Sanae eventually tickles Sana into submission. Sanae updates her grandfather with a text message (and a picture of the pigs). She reassures him that it wasn't Sana's fault. His staff urge him to go home early, but before he does, he calls his old friend Ryuu Naitou and asks for a favor.
In a restaurant nearby in the same city, Yonaga and Asahi Hinagiri are eating breakfast with Cleo and the Director. Yonaga's worried about Sana, but Asahi says she won't die that easily. The Director receives a message that seems to show pictures of Sana and Zouroku near the florist shop.
Sanae lends some of her old clothes to Sana and earns more of the Red Queen's trust by fixing her hair. Then, in an act that certainly cemented their relationship, Sanae served pancakes to the little girl. Of course, Sanae didn't make nearly enough, because she wasn't fully prepared for Sana's appetite. Not able to make new servings fast enough, Sana impatiently summons a giant pancake and passes out from the strain. Sanae observes that it's likely the principle of conservation of energy that's at fault; then the piglets get out and started eating the giant pancake. Sanae begins making a new batch. Sana begins to open up about how people were nice at the research facility, but they were bad people at heart. She spoke of how she met Yonaga and Asahi and from them obtained a sense of self as distinct from other selves. Those two even named her Sana, the Red Queen. She was happy there until the researchers did something inhuman to a subject, far beneath the facility. Sana seemed surprised at how good Sanae's comforting hug felt; she was also surprised how reassured she was when Sanae told her everything would be okay.
Naitou and an associate are driving towards Zouroku's flower shop. She has to tell him to be careful and not get food all over the seats.
Having eaten her fill of pancakes Sana invites Sanae to go along with her to destroy the research facility. Sanae tries to dissuade her, but in her impatience, Sana teleports them -- but instead of of finding Zouroku or the facility, they end up first falling from a great height, then on a train, then at the South Pole and finally on a tropical island. Though she enjoyed herself, Sanae convinces the Red Queen to teleport them back home so they won't make Zouroku worry. They teleported on top of the pigs, and when Sana tried to undo that, she accidentally teleported herself, Sanae, and the pigs to the florist shop. Naitou walks into a scene with Sana crying, Zouroku trying to find out what's going on, and the piglets running wild. His associate has to keep Naitou from leaving.
The Director receives a call, then asks for Minnie (Miriam) C. Tachibana.
What I Liked
Could Sanae Kashimura be any more chill? Nothing seems to perturb her! Thrown into one of her own memories? No problem! Piglets raining from the sky? A trifle! Teleported around the world, even to the South Pole? Nothing to it! I wish I had her level of calm.
I laughed way too much at Sana flinging herself up into the corner of the ceiling. It was like she was running on instinct or something! And yet again, Sanae just took it all in! Aki Toyosaki was utterly convincing as Sanae's voice actor.
I loved Zouroku's reaction when he saw the piglet picture that Sanae sent him: "The heck is this?" And Sana tried to reason with the pigs! She's smart in some ways, less so in others...
So Sana's power keeps her from getting dirty, and it lets her change clothes at will. Now, that's a super power that I as a father would have loved for my kids to have had. Imagine never having to convince your kids to take a bath, or to change out of their dirty clothes! Or even to ever have to buy clothes at all! Now that's handy.
Sana was nearly speechless with ecstasy at the mere sight of the pancakes. Her impatience was fun to watch, too. "I can't wait!" she says just before she summons a gigantic pancake -- and promptly passes out from the exertion.
The little things of living in a house seem to delight Sana. Even the the squeaks from the wooden steps amazed her. So did the division of labor between Zouroku and Sanae. In another example of great voice acting, Hitomi Ohwada brought Sana's wonder to life in this scene.
I'm not sure where they're going with it (or if it's just a throw-away idea), but the concept of Sana's development being so influenced by her power that she didn't even know how to talk was interesting. In addition, she didn't really think of herself as an identity separate from others; she was merely an adjunct to their being. It took Yonaga and Asahi to give her perspective. Details make a fictional world engrossing.
What I Liked Less
I hesitate to bring this up, but you know where Sanae is giggling because the piglets are tickling her? Yeah, no. Piglets have needle-sharp teeth and would seriously wound her in real life. I still have dark memories of trying to break up a fight between two English Large White piglets when I was a kid... I eventually healed, but wow did my fingers bleed!
I'm still trying to get a handle on this show's tone. As I said before, the themes are dark and remind me of series like Brynhildr in the Darkness with its haunting and dark OP. But at the same time, it shows the kind of gentle little moments that I'd expect out of Flying Witch. If the show can manage build a quiet, beautiful world that wins our hearts, then threaten to shatter it, that could be powerful entertainment. I think it's going to be hard to become melodramatic, though.
What do you think? Any signs of an impending melodramatic blow out yet? Let me know in the comments!
Other Posts of Interest
- Titans, Heroes, Queens, and Swords: Spring 2017 Anime Preview Part I
- Aliens, Gears, Game Creation, and Worlds in Collision: Spring 2017 Anime Preview Part II!
- Alice & Zouroku Episode 1 Review: The Red Queen Escapes
- Alice & Zouroku Episode 3 Review: Cards
- Alice & Zouroku Episode 4 Review: Something Not Human
- Alice & Zouroku Episode 5 Review: A Home to Return To
- Alice & Zouroku Episode SP Review: Looking Ahead to Part 2
- Alice & Zouroku Episode 6 Review: The Kashimura Family
- Alice & Zouroku Episode 7 Review: Friends
- Alice & Zouroku Episode 8: The Evil Witch
- Alice & Zouroku Episode 9: Where the Cheshire Cat Smiles
- Alice & Zouroku Episode 10: The Little Queen
- Alice & Zouroku Episode 11: The Queen and the Witch
- Alice & Zouroku Episode 12: I'm Home