Anime Best in Show

Review: Listeners Episode 10 Best in Show

Quick Summary

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!

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2 thoughts on “Review: Listeners Episode 10 Best in Show

  1. Oh, for… tell me that’s not supposed to be a character inspired by Janis Joplin. In a Sourthern Blues themed episode with Uncle Tom romantics? Easily my least favourite episode so far.

    But… that cellar! So many records. If the apocalypse ever strikes, I’d be fine starving in there. So much distraction. Second hand record shops are some of my favourite places in the world, and they just nailed the atmosphere. Best moment in the show, easily. (I don’t care about the plot, but the set piece, ooh… I want to browwwwwwwwwwse.)

    1. “Best moment in the show, easily. (I don’t care about the plot, but the set piece, ooh… I want to browwwwwwwwwwse.)”

      I could almost smell the vinyl. It’s something I’d almost forgotten in this age of iTunes. I don’t miss the sound of vinyl — the scratches and pops drove me crazy! — but I miss the album art. Artists like Yes or Rush has some amazing covers.

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