Spiral: Disarming Fate (Disc 2)
Spiral tells the tale of a young high school kid, Ayumu, who has incredible talents in virtually everything. He has been separated from his elder brother Kyotaka, and Spiral is the story of his quest to be reunited with his estranged sibling. Kyotaka left to solve the mystery of the blade children, promising not to return until he had. The Blade Children are cursed and hunted by several groups that hope to totally exterminate them. We do not know why these people are aiming to eradicate the blade children, but we definitely know that they are. Spiral: Disarming Fate continues the story begun on the first disc.
With the recent suspicious death of a teacher, two school kids have taken to investigating the murder. They are Ayumu and Hiyono, an odd couple to say the least. Where Hiyono is excited and bubbly, Ayumu is introspective and brooding. Despite this, they make a fine team, and are growing ever nearer to the killer. They are sure that the blade children are responsible. This is where disarming fate picks up.
Episode one: blind spot in the web
“The web has been laid out, and the trap has been set” as Ayumu says at the beginning of the episode. The pair thinks they can finally identify the killer, but she is clever, and in a ploy manages to remove the feature that distinguishes her as one of the Blade Children. The investigative team sees right through this charade, and begins to make it’s way to the hospital to confront the killer.
Episode two: the choice of the nonbeliever
Though Ayumu thinks that he will catch the killer, Rio, off guard, she is in fact waiting for him with her own trap set. She puts Ayumu to a test in a game of life and death. His confidence failing him, Hiyono is forced to pick up the slack and prove him right. To inspire the self-deprecating Ayumu to his potential, she allows herself to be kidnapped right in front of him, and another game begins.
Episode three: day of the defeated
With Hiyono in captivity, Ayumu is forced to recognize his own value, that he is the only one who can save her. His faith in himself finally restored, he goes back to Rio’s hospital room with his own game planned.
Episode four: all things that are possible to you
The stage is set, and the game begins. The winner will get the evidence against the Blade Children as well as the captive Hiyono. The loser will face jail or death.
The sounds of the show are, in my opinion, the absolute strongest element. The music, playing on the situations, and generally keeping to the background, emphasizes the mood splendidly. It is rarely at the forefront, so you have to listen for it, but it is an incredible tool that is used fully for this show. The voices, likewise, do well in portraying the characters. The actors are all well suited for their particular roles, and you can generally get a good idea of what a character is like simply from hearing them talk. It is rare to have this done quite so well as it is here.
The animation itself isn’t all that special. The art is generally what you would expect from a generic anime series. There were some particular scenes, though, that were very well done for their symbolism. I found myself ogling some of the imagery from these episodes. The shot with Madoka, Ayumu’s sister in law, recounting their first meeting in the subway really stood out to me. The belief that ‘you can’t change fate,’ coupled with the rescue of the downed butterfly was a strong statement of Madoka’s role in his life, and the animation for the scene was crucial for it’s effect.
The extras for this disc were, to say the least, awesome. There was an outtakes spot, where the actors go about messing up their lines, cracking wise with one another, and so on. It is absolutely hilarious. Secondly, if you haven’t seen the first disc of the series, there is a prologue extra which gives you the basics of what you need to know to understand what’s going on in at least some capacity. This is also a good example of them doing wonderful things with imagery. Even if you have seen the first disc, you need to check out the prologue. There is also the standard textless song and trailers to other shows, but they almost go without saying.
The plot picked up on disc two. Whereas the first disc was highly developmental, this one started in with the progressive story. I liked the bits of near-action that we got with some of these episodes. The series itself is slightly off the beaten path, with the emphasis on the introspective crises of the main character rather than on his actions. It’s a solid continuance from the first disc, although as a stand alone, it leaves a bit to be desired.
The scenes of symbolic merit were visually well done and contributed to the hugely appealing technical features. The consistently situation oriented music and top notch voice acting also contributed to the overall quality. Finally, the extras include outtakes. You should definitely check these out, they are hilarious.
This disc definitely came through as a very enjoyable continuation of the series. The story was solid through all four episodes. This also set us up for disc three, with a cliffhanger ending on the fourth episode. If you haven’t seen the first few episodes, you can still get a feel for many of the characters, so you won’t be too lost when you watch it. If you have seen the first few episodes then it is clear that they have managed to fully maintain their identity throughout these episodes. There was minimal, but meaningful character development throughout, keeping the characters from becoming stale.
If you like anime for the art and story, but not necessarily for the action, you should definitely check this out. If you like action, but expect it to be part of a story, you will still thoroughly enjoy this series. I can appreciate both, so this is a given.
Episodes: blind spot in the web, the choice of the nonbeliever, day of the defeated, all things that are possible to you
Extras: 5.1 English Surround Sound, English and Japanese Languages, Textless Songs, Outtakes