Anime Best in Show

Review: Listeners Episode 8 Best in Show

Quick Summary

In Listeners episode 8, “Real Me,” µ (Mu) and Echo had just taken their leave of Roz when three enormous helicopters emerged from the sky to land just in front of them. To their astonishment, a young man whose name they learned was Tommy Walker walked up to them, knelt in front of μ, and called her princess. The shocks kept coming as Tommy flew them to Londinium and introduced her and Echo to the kids and young, young adults who were spear-heading the defense against the Earless. And why had Tommy sought out μ now? Why, to have her star in a play, of course! But the purpose of the play actually appeared to play into μ and Echo’s mission. Can they trust Tommy and his cohorts? Will the play actually go off as planned? And how do events in this timeline align with Nir’s visit to Londinium?

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

Best Moment in the Show: μ’s Betrayal

I hated seeing this happen to μ. From the story’s perspective, that was exactly what I was supposed to feel. Capture from the Funimation stream.

I don’t like what happened to μ in this episode. I didn’t want her to go out of control. I didn’t want her to be the one who had killed Lyde and Ritchie in the previous episode. I didn’t want her to earn Nir’s hatred. But when all those things happen as the result of a deliberately crafted narrative, I can still call it my Best in Show moment. If only from the perspective of craftsmanship.

The series prepared us for the moment of betrayal. Episode 1 showed us that μ’s jack was in the middle of her lower back. Episode 4 introduced us to the aerosol teen spirit, which boosted a Player’s power and drove them to the edge of insanity. Over several episodes, especially in episode 5 and episode 6, we saw how those in power betrayed Jimi Stonefree in an attempt to destroy the Earless.

Because apparently to those in power, peaceful coexistence was unfathomable.

And in this episode, we meet Tommy, who, even at first glance, is a wildly untrustworthy individual.

I can’t blame μ for being naive. Ace, a combat pilot who had been at Jimi’s last gig, admitted they had not “done right” by Jimi. He thought the performance was trying to set things right, too! Capture from the Funimation stream.

Just in case we missed all those previous points, the narrative gave us one more chance to know disaster was coming. Just as μ was about to go on stage, Echo told her that after the performance, there was something he wanted to tell her (16:07). If that’s not a doom flag, I don’t know what is!

Then it happened. μ had changed into a costume that looked just like Jimi’s performance outfit. She was about to go on stage for the final part, which was (not suspiciously at all!) supposed to be ad-libbed, when Tommy sprayed her in the face with teen spirit (18:52). They had told μ that the performance was supposed to summon Jimi’s spirit from the world of the Earless. Now, as Tommy led the drugged μ back to the stage, he told her, “It’s too bad, but Jimi isn’t coming back” (19:08). The doors opened overhead, and he told her she was going to be the next Jimi. He slammed the Equipment jack into her back.

It was a perfectly executed stab in the back.

I think the preparation for this moment was exquisite. I admire it. I applaud it. But I still hate what it did to μ. But that was the whole point, wasn’t it?

Now I have to wait until the next episode to see how Echo, μ, and Nir get through this. If they get through it.

What did you think of Echo’s halting attempts to express his feelings to μ? What was your Best in Show moment? Let me know in the comments!

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3 thoughts on “Review: Listeners Episode 8 Best in Show

  1. I didn’t think it would really have been Myu we saw last episode. It all made sense. It’s the sort of plot development I would normally really go for, especially if I didn’t expect it, but I’m sort of lukewarm on it. I think it’s a sign of how little I actually care about the plot.

    Also, this episode I finally caught on about the “Watchtower”. I mean made the connection to “All Along the Watchtower” last episode, but I kept thinking Bob Dyaln, and it made no sense. Silly me. It’s one Jimmy Hendix’ greatest hits, isn’t it? It’s not really that well known as a Bob Dylan song, is it? And I’ve been suspecting from episode 1 that Jimi Stonefree is the Hendrix stand in.

    What puzzled me most this episode is that Tommy Walker is almost definitely Pete Townsend (Tommy Walker is the maincharacter of the Who’s Tommy, and the character design fits.) What’s the motivation to cast him in that role? I don’t understand how they play their references. It’s not that I disagree; I just don’t get it.

    I’m beginning to think the show’s world view is utterly alien to me. Second episode is still my favourite.

    1. “What’s the motivation to cast him in that role? I don’t understand how they play their references. It’s not that I disagree; I just don’t get it.”

      The references didn’t resonate with me in this episode. I know some of the Who’s work, but not in the detail I do Pink Floyd. While Pink Floyd’s references made episode 6 feel powerful, they didn’t do anything for me in this episode.

      “I’m beginning to think the show’s world view is utterly alien to me. Second episode is still my favourite.”

      I enjoy the dramatically different world view — it’s challenging! Way over my head at times…

      I loved the Neubauten sisters in the second episode. Their banter in particular was a lot of fun. Also loved the Pripyat setting. I’d say the 6th episode, Goodbye Blue Sky, is my favorite.

      I hope Ace plays a role in resolving this. I like to see older characters shine.

      1. I do think Ace will play a role in it. One thing the show hasn’t, to my mind, done so far is to bring people in for no reason.

        The Who is probably the band I know the best among the ones brought up so far; as it is, knowing where the references come from often leads to disappointment for me, since they tend to feel unmotivated to me.

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