What’s it about ?
Fabulous characters fighting a demonic conspiracy in a victorian-style setting.
Nai, our “protagonist”, if you can call that a character who starts the episode in bondage and barely gets any more agency over the course of the episode. He’s a wimp, desperately looking for his
seme protective friend Karoku (last seen as just some drops of blood and his precious bracelet). He’s not completely useless, though, as he seems to be able to hear electronics or something.
Gareki, a thief who was infiltrating this rich-looking mansion on the city’s outskirts, and ended up finding (1) a tied-up Nai in the master bedroom and (2) the mistress of the place transforming into an unholy abomination to fight him. The shit having hit the fan, but Nai’s bracelet looking very interesting indeed, Gareki takes him with himself in his escape. To escape the authorities, they jump onto a passing train…
… which happens to have been taken hostage by a bunch of workers dissatisfied with their boss (who was on a trip with his innocent granddaughter). It doesn’t help that everyone mistakes Nai’s bracelet as the sign of him being a member of Circus, the elite magical cop force.
Hirato & Tsukumo, actual members of who came to the mansion too late (its mistress having been disposed of by her boss) and arrive to defuse the train hostage crisis because they have nothing better to do, I guess. They curbstomp the hostage-takers without breaking a sweat, although Nai’s superhearing and Gareki’s bomb defusing skills do come handy too.
A white-haired pretty boy who spends a good chunk of the episode in handcuffs ? Elaborate, classy outfits for everyone ? Well, I guess there’s nothing wrong with aiming for the female audience, I guess. And the show as a whole does look very pretty indeed.
What did I think of it ?
What a novelty : an anime that features some actual ambitious storytelling ! (It’s not really non-linear, as all the scenes are in chronological order ; it’s just that we swiftly cut back and from without warning to the various subplots before learning how they mesh with the core story.) This has to be commended, especially as the pacing is pitch-perfect and manages to stay coherent and tie all its subplots niftly together despite having tons of stuff happen.
Let me be clear : this isn’t heady stuff. It’s a straight action piece in a setting that appears to value flash over substance. It’s just that it’s very cleverly put together, and seems to be having a lot of fun in the process. And it looks great.
This one is definitely a keeper.