In Listeners episode 10, “Cross Road Blues,” Echo came to full consciousness in a dilapidated dairy barn. Janis cheerfully informed him that she’d found him unconscious on a trash heap. She’d carried him here, where the cow tried to give him a tongue bath. Bewildered, still despondent and emotionally crushed after his last encounter with µ, Echo could only accept Janis’ kindness. Soon, he found himself helping out on the farm and enjoying good farmstead food. One night, though, he happens to find the gigantic vinyl album connection in the basement. Janis was not in the least bit upset, but after that, everything changed. What is Echo doing at the farm? What does he intend to do with his life? What’s really in his heart? The rest of his life depends on the answer.
Note: This post may include spoilers, so be cautious.
Best Moment in the Show: Echo’s Heart-Wrenching Dedication to Mu
The process of becoming a Player by burning a hole in his spine seemed painful. But Echo seemed willing to endure it if he could see µ again. Capture from the Funimation stream.
This episode reminded me of a journey with a spirit guide. I don’t know enough about the spirituality around spirit guides to speak with any authority, and I sure hope nothing I say comes across of disrespectful to the traditions who treasure such concepts, but the idea of a wise being providing guidance to someone in need is comforting. It evokes a community that’s willing and capable of helping its new members. It evokes the idea of community continuity and strength through self-reflection.
It turns out almost this whole episode was Echo’s spirit journey. Janis was one of his guides, and Mr. Roberts was the other (MAL shows him as Robert, but I thought for sure he was Mr. Roberts in the subtitles…). When Echo reached the right mental state, Janis told him that “You’ll be tested by the CrossRoads” (11:25).
Now, the Crossroads is cool. It’s the place where everything in the world intersects — lies and truth, past and future, and human and Earless. It’s home to the Origin, which manifests itself as an old phonograph floating in an ancient wooden church. Janis explained this to Echo as she escorted him to the church. As it neared Origin, Echo’s vacuum tube began to glow.
Origin is the source for all Players and Equipment. Mr. Roberts joined the conversation and explained that Origin grants humans a way to express what’s in their hearts. Apparently offering that kind of power to Echo, Mr. Roberts asked if Echo wanted to become a god or a demon.
Echo’s vacuum tube began to glow as he made his decision — even as a jack opened in his lower back. Capture from the Funimation stream.
Echo’s answer was perfectly Echo (17:04): “I don’t care if I don’t get to become a god or a devil. I want to see her one more time!”
Echo becoming a Player in that moment, complete with a jack in the same location as µ’s, was a bit of a surprise!
Through the whole series, Echo has been a simple man. He doesn’t think much of himself. He considers his own dreams to be small. But they’re his dreams. The time with Janis and Mr. Roberts helped him get over the hurt and confusion resulting from the separation from µ. He now knew exactly what he wanted.
Mr. Roberts simply said, “In that case, stay true.”
Echo’s dedication to µ is why I chose this moment. Janis’ closing comment was just icing on the cake: “You’re going to do something that anyone could do. And when you do, that will surely become something only you could have done… Let me hear the song that only you can play.”
I hope we get to hear what song Echo will play for µ. I bet it won’t be complicated, but I bet it’ll be beautiful and heart-felt.
What did you think of the story of Origin? What was your Best in Show moment? Let me know in the comments!
Other Posts about This Series
Other Anime Sites
- Reddit: Listeners – Episode 10 discussion
- AngryAnimeBitches: LISTENERS – Episode 10
- Random Curiosity: Listeners – 9, 10
This Site (Crow’s World of Anime!)
- Review: Listeners Episode 1: Live Forever
- Review: Listeners Episode 2: Half Man
- Review: Listeners Episode 3: You Made Me Realise
- Review: Listeners Episode 4: Teen Spirit
- Review: Listeners Episode 5: In the Embrace of the Beat / When Doves Cry
- Review: Listeners Episode 6: Special Edition: Pink Floyd References
- Review: Listeners Episode 6: Goodbye Blue Sky
- Review: Listeners Episode 7: Day of Rage/Problems
- Review: Listeners Episode 8: Real Me
- Review: Listeners Episode 9: Freedom
- Review: Listeners Episode 10: Cross Road Blues
- Review: Listeners Episode 11: I am the Resurrection
- Review: Listeners Episode 12: Hello/Goodbye