Anime: Spiral: The Melody of Logic (Disc 4)
The first installment of Spiral built a storyline on an enigma: What are the Blade Children? The second and third installments didn’t do a whole lot to clear it up. Spiral’s plot is so twisted around on itself by this point that it’s hard to tell who is who or what, exactly, is going on.
What we do know is this: Ayumu’s older brother Kiyotaka left in pursuit of the Blade Children and Ayumu is hunting for his brother. By this disc, he’s found the Blade Children, but the riddle only gets deeper, as he and his opponents dance around the issue of Kiyotaka’s disappearance and set up elaborate, supervillian-style traps and games for each other. Spiral spins a web of treachery leads to danger at every turn.
“The lamenting angel” leads off the disc. Ayumu begins his day in surprisingly normal fashion: by running late for school. A mysterious man in a lab coat soon shows up, and Hunters prowl around the Blade Children, while Ayumu continues to try to find out about his brother.
Next up is “mirror of the heart.” Sayoko-san, one of the girls from the school, has gone missing, and there’s a Hunter in the area. The Blade Children race to try and find her, while the police investigate her disappearance. The Hunter proves to be as fond of games as the Blade Children are…
“Whispering shadows” is third and begins with Ayumu claiming he’s sick and tired of dealing with the Blade Children, leaving them to deal with a persistent Hunter on their own. Can he stay out of danger now that he’s sworn off the Blade Children? And can he truly keep himself free of them?
In “the sound of a breaking heart,” Ayumu’s police inspector sister Madoka finds her boss taking over all her cases. But it seems like he’s taking a lot of interest in the Blade Children, too. In the meantime, the Hunter isn’t out of the game at all, and continues making life difficult.
On the technical end, the “exponents” (extras in Spiralese) are an image gallery, textless songs, a prologue to the series, and trailers. It’s not a bad little package of features for a mid-series DVD. The series itself has a very crisp animation style, with use of a brilliant color palette that make it a treat to look at. For being a sedate, serious series, they’re not shy about making their series colorful. The sound is nice and crisp, with options for English and Japanese, and the music is well-used, if not particularly memorable.
Explaining Spiral is difficult, but I will try. Every character acts like a James Bond villain, constantly concocting elaborate traps for their foes that never actually work that well, usually because they’re more obsessed with congratulating themselves on their awesome traps and how clever they are than killing or maiming their foes. The plot about the Blade Children is occasionally explained in snippets between these elaborate trap sequences, and your tolerance for Goldfinger’s “No, Mr. Bond, I expect you to die, but I’ll leave the room before you actually do” will probably dictate your tolerance of the series. To put it another way, this is basically a detective show where Ayumu tries to figure out the fiendish way someone is plotting to kill him or another of the characters before that person gets killed. Ayumu is the anime Adrian Monk.
Spiral is a very demanding show. It demands a lot of patience, as it’s very slow moving. It demands intense focus, since even one line of dialogue might reveal something critical. It’s definitely not for everybody. This is one of those cerebral shows you really have to focus on, and if that’s your thing, definitely check it out.
The weird menu names are getting kind of old now, but the animation is well-drawn and the colors are well used. The sound is also very clear and clean.
Spiral is a hard series to get into, but ultimately it’s rewarding.
Episodes: the lamenting angel, mirror of the heart, whispering shadows, the sound of a breaking heart
Extras: The “exponents” are an image gallery, textless songs, a prologue to the series, and trailers.