Anime Best in Show

Review: Listeners Episode 5 Best in Show

Quick Summary

In Listeners episode 5, “In the Embrace of the Beat / When Doves Cry, ” µ (Mu) and Echo arrived in Paisley Park looking for the elusive Denka. Their ultimate mission was to find Jimi Stonefree, and since Denka spent a lot of time with Jimi 10 years ago (before the cataclysm), µ and Echo hoped to learn where Jimi might have gone. But a quarrel tore µ and Echo apart, and they had to get separate part-time jobs to pay room and board. Can they get back together and complete their mission to meet Denka? How much does Denka really know about Jimi? Does µ really end up working as a kind of phone sex operator? And what does Denka know about her past?

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

Best Moment in the Show

µ’s almost reflexive courage appeals to me — or maybe the younger version of me! Capture from the Funimation stream.

Remember the notice above about spoilers? I’m about to mention one! Now’s your chance to bail if you don’t want µ’s past spoiled!

So, µ is Jimi’s little sister? In this episode, as we got some more up close shots of Jimi’s face and got to witness his mannerisms, I could see the family resemblance. Now I want to know how µ ended up in a trash heap in episode 1!

At the beginning of this episode, µ and Echo had basically split up. He was furious that she’d thrown their money away — money he’d planned to use to fix up the Amp — on what he called a scam. She’d heard him complain that his lower back hurt, so when she saw an infomercial (though I don’t know where she would have seen it!) about a miracle futon, she bought it for him. So basically, he was mad at her for trying to help him feel better.

Does that sound like a lover’s quarrel or what?

Denka, the character modeled after Prince (and might I add, very well acted by Jun Fukuyama?) had seen them enter town, and something about the couple inflamed his imagination. He had “accidentally” run into Echo on a stroll and struck up a conversation. Echo had no idea who he was, which made the moment funny. After they’d talked (and there was some important plot developments I’m skipping to focus on the Best in Show moment), Denka said he wanted to reward Echo. So he arranged for Echo to go to the combination peep show/phone sex setup where Echo “accidentally” got paired with µ. While they were arguing about it, two of Denka’s top employees, Wendy and Lisa, asked them if they’d like to go someplace “nice.”

Prince. Wendy. Lisa. Even I got that reference!

I don’t think µ ever really did understand the nature of her job. Echo only understood it a little better. Talk about babes in the woods… Capture from the Funimation stream.

The “nice” place was First Avenue, a stadium for Equipment battles. Wendy and Lisa were actually Players, and not just average Players. They were called the Queens. There were apparently undefeated, but µ and Echo didn’t know that. It turns out the Queens were a bit jealous that Denka expressed an interest in µ, so they wanted some payback. The stakes? If µ and Echo won, Wendy and Lisa would introduce them to Denka. If they lost, µ and Echo would leave town.

I’ll give them props for being honest, if discourteous. Wendy said, “It’s unforgivable that country mice like you get to debut right away” (12:16).

Echo was completely confused, and he had no qualms about admitting it. He wanted to better understand their situation and even tried to ask some questions. But it was µ’s response that I thought was the Best in Show moment.

In a perfect encapsulation of her character, she said (12:24), “I don’t really get it, but we accept the challenge!”

She’s impetuous. She’s fearless. She doesn’t hesitate to commit herself and Echo to a fight she has no idea if she can win. There’s just something endearing about that level of self-confidence. Maybe I’m getting nostalgic, but I remember taking on challenges like building a money wire processing system without really knowing all about it. It was a huge success, but the me of today wouldn’t dare do anything like that without an in-depth requirements study. I guess her fearlessness just appealed to me.

What did you think of Denka as Prince? What was your Best in Show moment? Let me know in the comments!

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4 thoughts on “Review: Listeners Episode 5 Best in Show

  1. This may be the first time I got barraged by references I actually got, and I must say the older I get the less I like that sort of reference. It feels just like cramming whatever you can think of. I wonder if the other episodes were like that, but it went all over my head (I’d get the occasional reference at most). I’m not the biggest Prince fan alive, but that was the time I started listening to pop music.

    As for the episode: I have little to say about it. The show settles in a comfortable groove that way; nothing too great, nothing too bad, but not something I have a whole lot to say about. My fave episode is still the second.

    1. “It feels just like cramming whatever you can think of. ”

      This is the first episode where I felt like I got a lot of the references. I can’t say it feels artificial, but it’s not because I think you’re “wrong.” I think we have different expectations.

      It’s an idea that’s been bothering me, and if I wasn’t working 14 hour days, I would have teased it out. The show exists for these references. I think the characters, plot, and even the themes are subservient to that idea.

      Generally, I think that’s a bad idea. Generally, I think everything should serve either the character or plot, whichever is dominant. But in this case, I’m coming to terms with it. And I find I’m enjoying the episodes more if I do.

      “I’m not the biggest Prince fan alive, but that was the time I started listening to pop music.”

      That’s where I’m coming from, too. There’s a lot of Prince’s work I like. There’s a lot I don’t. But I’m more familiar with his work than any of the other acts they’ve presented. For example, I only know a little about Nirvana.

      “My fave episode is still the second.”

      Was it the Neugauten sisters? I thought they were great. I also loved that it was set (somehow!) in Pripyat. I’ve played STALKER Cry of Pripyat so many times that I recognized some of the landmarks.

      1. I’m not sure what’s going on with me and references. Not so long ago, I’d have had lots of fun playing “spot the reference”, but I’m sort of growing out of it, and I don’t know why. It’s not the show’s fault; I can track the change within me, but I don’t quite understand why. A reference feels a lot different when you’re playing along than when you’re not. I’m not the most generous watcher in that respect, but I used to be. I don’t know what’s going on with me, and if it’s temporary. I hope it is. But for that reason, it’s also hard to judge for me if the references work.

        I’m also not sure where I stand on this show. It does have a certain charm, and I definitely like the characters, but I’m unsure about the narrative. The concept has potential, but it’s nothing I haven’t seen before, and it’s not particularly striking in presentation either. But then there’s a sort-of easy confidence that pulls you along, and you don’t mind if it’s nothing special. It’s got genuine charm. And I think the references are part of it, even when I don’t like them much. It’s confusing.

        1. “but I’m unsure about the narrative.”

          That’s about where I am. On the other hand, it’s almost like this show is perfect for Best of Show moments. It’s easy to pick at least one moment I really enjoyed.

          “But then there’s a sort-of easy confidence that pulls you along, and you don’t mind if it’s nothing special. ”

          That’s a good description of it.

          “A reference feels a lot different when you’re playing along than when you’re not. I’m not the most generous watcher in that respect, but I used to be. I don’t know what’s going on with me, and if it’s temporary.”

          I’ve always been fascinated to watch my tastes change. There are times when I don’t like what I like, if that makes sense. I’ve been so busy for the last, well, 10 years that I haven’t really been able to reflect on it. Maybe when I retire.

          I crack me up sometimes…

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