Anime Best in Show

Review: In/Spectre Episode 7 Best in Show

Quick Summary

In In/Spectre episode 7, “Preparing to Conquer the Steel Lady,” Kotoko Iwanaga felt exhausted. On the heels of Steel Lady Nanase’s first confirmed murder, Kotoko’s mission to craft a plausible falsehood about Nanase got significantly more difficult. Fortunately, Kurou Sakuragawa soon arrived with the perfect provisions: chocolate! It wasn’t long before Saki Yumihara joined them — but exactly what were they to do? Could they find a path to success now that internet rumors were getting stronger by the minute? And why does it seem like someone is manipulating those rumors — expertly?

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

Best Moment in the Show

It was a little thing. Just Kurou waiting to open the door until Kotoko was ready. But their wordless rapport was was touching. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

You know how in series like Chivalry of a Failed Knight where the two lead characters meet, fall in love, and then act all romantic around each other? Yeah, that’s not this show. Though Kotoko and Kurou agree they’re dating, he rarely shows any kind of physical affection; he rarely even talks warmly about her!

But the thing is, I think he deeply cares about her. The trauma he endured at the hands of this grandmother must have left abiding scars that made it almost impossible to show affection — at least in what society would recognize as a “normal” way. The trauma didn’t rob him of all modes of expression, though, and my favorite moment from this episode is a perfect example.

Kurou knew that Kotoko was in her hotel room laboring to think through how they could stop the Steel Lady Nanase (I suppose I should give up on making the I-Beam Idol popular?). Kurou showed up, unannounced, with a box of chocolates to give her a little boost (05:30). They argue a little “like an old married couple,” as the trope goes. What was so fascinating is that from the time he entered, Kotoko had her glass eye soaking in a glass of cleaning solution (or maybe it was just water) and her prosthetic leg lying on the bed. She was so comfortable with him that it felt natural. He was so comfortable with it that he didn’t seem to notice.

Kotoko is so comfortable with Kurou — and he with her — that this kind of moment is normal. That’s such a positive attitude for the two of them to share! Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

But he did notice. They heard a knock at the door. He got up to answer, but he didn’t open it right away. He waited while she reattached her leg, inserted her eye, and straightened her dress. He just stood at the door and waited as if that were the most natural thing in the world. Only when he saw she was ready did he unlock and open the door (08:13).

Their wordless rapport was beautiful. It wasn’t physically intimate. I’m not sure I could call it emotionally intimate. But he cared about her. He didn’t want her to feel embarrassed; he wanted her to feel ready. He wanted her to know he was looking out for her.

Human relationships are complicated things. I enjoy an anime series that gives us an alternative to the more routine romance like I mentioned earlier. It’s not that I dislike that routine. I quite like watching the relationship between Ikki Kurogane and Stella Vermillion blossom. I also like it when a relationship is based on mutual respect and affection, but is expressed in a different way. Not all relationships have to follow the same model. Sometimes it’s refreshing to see a reminder of that!

What did you think of the direction their investigation is going? What was your Best in Show moment? Let me know in the comments!

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4 thoughts on “Review: In/Spectre Episode 7 Best in Show

  1. That was a really great scene. I was glad that they showed Kotoko taking off her protheses to begin with. Many shows are so dedicated to not “disturb” the cuteness, so that disabilities can turn into cheap gimmicks. Kotoko – Kurou is a strange relationship. They’re sort of together out of necessity. Both have secrets that don’t go down well with others, but that don’t phase either of them. The downside of them getting together is that they might create an unreality bubble. Neither can provide the sort of grounding they may not even know they need, or that they have given up on. It’s what makes Saki so important in this show. For both of them actually.

    In this case, I have no clear idea what to think of romance. I tend to think Kurou/Saki is the better match, as they complement each other better. Kotoko/Kurou seems more like a refuge, and a refuge that turns permanent feels a lot like a prison. But I don’t know.

    1. “Many shows are so dedicated to not “disturb” the cuteness, so that disabilities can turn into cheap gimmicks.”

      I’m so glad the show didn’t go that direction. Showing Kotoko comfortable with herself and Kurou being so comfortable with her that it, as you said, didn’t phase either of them, was a positive (and authentic) message — though it’s as likely that it wasn’t so much a message as an accurate presentation of her situation. If that makes sense… It’s just that by comparison, it comes across as a message.

      “But I don’t know.”

      It’s just so realistically ambiguous and messy that it’s a joy to watch. There are moments where I find myself pulling for Saki, like when she looked away with a distressed expressed, as Kurou patted Kotoko’s head. Her own fears pushed her away from him, after all. But at other moments, I can’t help but wonder who else could embrace Kotoko as she is?

      I mean, if someone as strong and clear-minded as Saki can be struggles…

      That’s kinda tragic.

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