Anime Best in Show

Review: Listeners Episode 1 Best in Show

Quick Summary

In Listeners episode 1, “Live Forever,” Echo had put in another day of sifting through trash to find sellable bits when his eye caught a rare vacuum tube. As he reached for it the trash heap beneath him crumbled, and he landed on top of the unconscious form of a strange, white-haired girl. He took her back to the bar where he lived, only to discover she was dressed and outfitted like a Player, people who fought back against humanity’s enemy, the Earless. She couldn’t remember who she was, but she remembered she liked beer, so as she and Echo enjoyed a round, McGee, the mayor, stopped by. He recognized her gear and blamed her and the other Players for their current destitute situation. Can Echo do anything to protect the girl, who he named µ, from the mayor? But if the mayor’s right, should Echo protect her? And why can’t she remember who she is?

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

Best Moment in the Show

Echo was very lucky that a) he realized what he really wanted quickly and b) µ was as impulsive as she was! Capture from the Funimation stream.

The Earless (who, oddly enough, really look they have ears) launched an attach on the village’s symbol of hope, and Mayor McGee was not the least bit pleased. He was also utterly incapable of doing anything about it, since the monsters were powerful and huge. He could only impotently fume.

µ was already near the major. The previous night, she had stormed away from Echo because his self-deprecating attitude seemed to infuriate her. She had been waiting to take the daily train to somewhere. She didn’t know where. She still didn’t even remember her name, after all. But then she’d heard the alarm about the Earless, and she responded automatically.

Meanwhile, back at the bar, Echo’s sister woke him up to warn him about the Earless. As he tried to dash off, she stopped him, and with a reluctant expression, she reminded him to take the gear he had built in the hopes of one day meeting a Player and becoming their supporter.

Seeing him trying to run as he lugged the heavy equipment added a little levity to an otherwise dramatic scene.

That sets up what the moment that was my Best in Show. µ had saved the major from being smashed twice, and even though she had no memories, she was completely fearless as she faced the enemy. Echo finally found her, but as he approached, an Earless attacked, missing him but opening a deep chasm into the trash. Echo teetered, and before µ could reach him, he toppled into the abyss.

µ was almost able to save Echo from falling. Her reactions were fast. She might not have her memories, but she has some seriously good training of some kind or another. Capture from the Funimation stream.

In the space of just an instant, he realized he was about to die. He hadn’t accomplished anything at all. He tried to comfort himself by thinking that he was surrounded by the “junk parts” he loved, but it didn’t work. Finally, tears welling in his eyes, he understood.

In a quiet voice, he said (17:36), “I don’t want to die.” More loudly, he cried, “I don’t want it to end here!”

I’ve always like that instant where a character’s pushed to their breaking point. It’s the moment that pretense and dishonesty and affectations vanish. When faced with death, even a death he could rationalize, Echo decided he wanted to live.

Good thing for him that µ was there for him! Apparently her gear gives her a bit of airborne mobility, because she was able to arrest his plunge and use his amplifier to instantiate her own mech — which was really kind of cool given the circumstances. But it was really Echo’s moment of crisis that was my favorite in this episode.

What did you think of Echo’s sister and her diplomatic expertise? What was your Best in Show moment? Let me know in the comments!

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4 thoughts on “Review: Listeners Episode 1 Best in Show

  1. “I’ve always like that instant where a character’s pushed to their breaking point. It’s the moment that pretense and dishonesty and affectations vanish. When faced with death, even a death he could rationalize, Echo decided he wanted to live.”

    Agreed, and agreed that it’s the key moment in the show. I think my favorite though, just by a hair, is the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it shot of µ on the mech right after the transformation… She’s got this wonderful “you think you can beat me? Bring it!” grin/glare on her face. She’s *happy* to go into action.

    “What did you think of Echo’s sister and her diplomatic expertise?”

    I don’t always like that characters like Echo often seem to be paired with characters who push them. It seems to rob the narrative of a little depth. It’s not as bad when the character is, as the sister is, given a little strength to illustrate *why* they push…

    1. “She’s got this wonderful “you think you can beat me? Bring it!” grin/glare on her face. She’s *happy* to go into action.”

      That was a great moment, wasn’t it? I’m really liking her attitude.

      “It seems to rob the narrative of a little depth.”

      I didn’t really think of that. But now that you pointed it out, I can see it. She’s almost a narrative short cut…

      Oh. That’s why she’s there. They didn’t have time to dramatize Echo trying to think it out, so the narrative just had his sister hand him the amp.

      Interesting!

    1. I would think I’d be tired of the memory loss trope, but no. I thought µ was fascinating, too! I loved how she wouldn’t take any crap from the Earless.

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