Anime Best in Show

Review: In/Spectre Episode 9 Best in Show

Quick Summary

In In/Spectre episode 9, “The Committee to Conquer Steel Lady Nanase,” Kotoko Iwanaga, from her seat in the back of the car, began her attack on the urban myth giving the Steel Lady Nanase powerful form. In the front seat, Saki Yumihara kept watch over Kurou Sakuragawa as he battled the Steel Lady Nanase herself. Kotoko’s attacks took the form of internet forum posts, and for a time she made progress. But it became clear that another force as potent as hers was countering. It seemed that Rikka Sakuragawa, who had powers to rival Kurou’s, was also present. Can Kotoko craft a fiction as powerful as Rikka’s? And without making it look like Saki was the culprit? Or was that kind of the point?

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

Best Moment in the Show

It took her a moment, but Saki eventually figured it out. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

I sometimes get the feeling that Kotoko never operates on a single level; that she never does anything for just one purpose. A great example of that was my Best in Show moment.

Sitting in the car’s backseat, Kotoko use her internet forum posts to float the idea that a human had murdered detective Terada, and not Steel Lady Nanase (I-Beam Idol, anyone? No? Well, I tried… Again…). Perhaps the killer had cultured the urban legend as a cover story to deflect blame. Her theory garnered some adherents until someone asked a logical question (12:20): “Why did the killer bother going to all that trouble?”

It almost seemed like Kotoko was ready for the question. She built out the theory that the suspect was actually a woman. In order to gather all of the information she needed to set her trap, she had to work close to him — so the culprit was likely a female police officer in the same precinct. As to motive, it could be any number of things — like the detective having a romantic interest that the culprit didn’t return.

I thought the use of mannequin-like figures to represent Kotoko’s theories was really effective. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

By this time, I was thinking, “Man, Kotoko’s describing Saki!” Our police woman friend was so busy watching Kurou either narrowly missed being killed or outright taking a steel girder to the face that it took her a few moments. In fact, it was only in the lull where Kurou lay dead but before he regenerated that she had a moment to consider.

Spinning around in her seat, she said (16:44), “Wait a minute! That suspect is basically me!”

Was Kotoko really trying to get rid of a romantic rival at the same time she was trying to protect the world from the Steel Lady Nanase? I think it’s fun to joke about, but I suspect she was only teasing Saki. Though the extra description of the suspect as a police woman did make the fiction more believable…

What did you think of the pacing in this episode? What was your Best in Show moment? Let me know in the comments!

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2 thoughts on “Review: In/Spectre Episode 9 Best in Show

  1. It was always the plan to create multiple stories, wasn’t it? And they had to pan out in some way, so they’re harder to debunk. But most of all, they’re supposed to be “fun”, in an urban legend sort of way. I think the point of the strategy isn’t, ultimately, a popularity contest, where Kotko’s stories gain more believers than the Steel Lady. Or not only that. If it’s easy to come up with many different theories in a short amount of time, and they’re all to some degree plausible, then the original story should lose power through simple doubt, too.

    I admit I expected Kotoko to put out several stories at once under different accounts, and ideally in different styles (but that’s not really what Kotoko’s good at; she’s not a mimic – always herself). Releasing one story after the other seems… less successful (but then, maybe that way Kotoko can adapt to the way she’s countered better?) Personally, I think it’s a simplification in the writing to make what’s already difficult to follow a little easier on the viewers: trading off realism for accessiblility.

    1. “It was always the plan to create multiple stories, wasn’t it?”

      That was my impression. I think Kotoko even comes out and says as much (if memory serves), making the same point you just did — namely, that her stories don’t have to be more popular, just in aggregate they need to pull down Rikka’s popularity below a certain threshold.

      “Personally, I think it’s a simplification in the writing to make what’s already difficult to follow a little easier on the viewers: trading off realism for accessiblility.”

      I agree. While I’d love to see her really cut loose with three or four accounts and manage the ebb and flow of each in real time, I think it’d be hard to achieve in anime form.

      I think it’d be fun to try, though!

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