Anime Best in Show

Review: Listeners Episode 2 Best in Show

Quick Summary

In Listeners episode 2, “Half Man,” Echo frantically bemoaned the trail of devastation that he and µ (Mu) had left after the Earless had attacked his village. Frustrated that he had interrupted her enjoyment of the train ride, she chided him, saying that the past was the past. Besides, McGee, the mayor, was probably too tough and cantankerous to die from a small thing like a monument falling on him. Probably. Echo relented — a little — and tried to enjoy the ride with her. Things took a sharp turn for the worse when several Earless swarmed the train tracks later that night. And even worse than that? The finishing move that had worked for µ before suddenly stopped working — as they stood on a very high bridge. How will µ and Echo escape the Earless without plunging into the water more than a hundred meters below?

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

Best Moment in the Show

µ had had enough of the Neugauten sisters trying to define her. Or maybe she’d just had enough of their confusing references… Capture from the Funimation stream.

Quick side note: I would love to know why Echo suddenly found himself in the ruined amusement park in Pripyat. I recognized it from the video game S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Shadow of Chernobyl. It looked pretty accurate to me, too. Is it part of the Merle forest? Just where is Liverchester, anyway?

But that has nothing to do with my favorite moment in this episode, so I’ll put it aside for now. In this episode, Echo showed some amazingly bad judgement in choice of restroom facilities, but the net effect was that he got to meet some more Players. Specifically, he recognized them as “the three Neubauten sisters on page 153 of the almanac” (15:17). I have to say that their reaction to him asking for an autograph was charming.

However, those three Players were after µ. We don’t know just why yet, but they wondered if she was the “successor” or just a “remnant of the collapse.” Suggestive words, not yet explained, but still enough to keep my imagination engaged. The Neubauten sisters confronted µ in an apparent attempt to awaken her lost memories. As Players, they could summon mechs, so µ did, too. But suddenly (it seemed that a lot of what we were seeing in these scenes were illusions or subconscious projections) the three mechs were gone, and µ found herself surrounded by Earless. The sisters kept trying to convince her to cut loose and embrace her true identity, but they only succeeded in confusing and angering µ.

The sisters deliberately provoked µ. Capture from the Funimation stream.

That confusion meant µ couldn’t really decide what to do. She floundered. The Earless (who we learned are humans who failed as Players) swarmed her. For the first time since we’ve met her, she even seemed scared. As she struggled, the sisters kept critiquing her, saying that she wasn’t even up to the standard of a regular Player and that they didn’t feel her conviction at all. That just further confused her.

Seeing that their tactics were failing, the sisters threatened to turn Echo into an Earless if she didn’t unleash her power. µ seemed genuinely frightened for him, and she lunged forward. A wave of Earless tried to push her back. All the while the sisters kept taunting her. Finally, her fear and fury combined to a powerful conviction. “You don’t get to decide who I am!” she cried (21:10), unleashing a powerful sphere of energy that vaporized the Earless nearest her. What happened next was a bit of a bummer, but this moment, where she proclaimed that she would define herself, struck me as something beautiful.

What did you think of the sisters and their visit to Pripyat? What was your Best in Show moment? Let me know in the comments.

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