How would you rate episode 8 of
Undead Murder Farce ?
Community score: 4.5
The curtain falls on this diamond-hunting farce, but not without a healthy dash of action both trashy and macabre. In other words, it’s business as usual at . While this episode isn’t quite as madcap as last week’s, it wraps up this arc with a bloody bang and sets the stage for the next leg of Aya’s journey to find her legs (and other limbs).
A good chunk of the runtime is spent catching us up on Moriarty’s exploits with his newfound posse, a smorgasbord of humans, monsters, and monster-human hybrids appropriately called “Banquet.” It’s expositional and talky, but the series knows how to handle talky exposition. Take Moriarty’s introduction, for example. As Sherlock recognizes his longtime nemesis, the tiles on the floor morph into an animated mosaic of their final literary encounter at Reichenbach Falls. With that kind of inventive visual flair, courtesy of storyboards from combination Shaft veteran and Ikuhara collaborator Nobuyuki Takeuchi, this series has little problem adapting dialogue-heavy scenes. Incidentally, I also appreciate that Moriarty’s introduction otherwise has little fanfare. While I believe this is the first time he’s identified by name, the narrative correctly assumes the audience figured that out a while ago.
Since the Napoleon of Crime’s current fascination is human experimentation and augmentation, it makes sense that he would have looked up Frankenstein. And we see the fruits of that labor firsthand with Jack the Ripper. Again, the series’ knack for violating realism for the sake of theatricality pays dividends here, as Jack’s entrance figuratively floods the entire chapel with a blood-drenched wave of murderous intent. While it’s hard to feel too bad about the early departure of the Royce associates, seeing Jack Julienne Fatima with his bare hands is definitely a good “oh shit” moment that shows us the kind of monster we’re dealing with. It’s also very funny and in-character to see Lupin immediately cut his losses and hightail it out of there with Phantom. At the end of the day, he’s a thief, not a hero.
Tsugaru, however, rises to Jack’s challenge. Given, their entwined histories, there’s every reason for Tsugaru to hold a grudge against what Jack’s thirst for power did to him, but Tsugaru remains his characteristically laidback and wry self, turning their fight scene into another farcical spectacle. First of all, it’s a treat for anybody (present company included) who wants to see a battle-damaged and partially shirtless Tsugaru. I also love his attempt to weaponize Fatima’s heart, which while not effective, seemed to serve its purpose as a distastefully macabre accoutrement to the fight choreography. And this is just me praising the storyboards and direction yet again, but I need to emphasize how cool that POV suspender snap scene transition is. It’s pointless and over-the-top in a way that suits to a tee.
Speaking of over-the-top, Shizuku’s tête-à-tête with Carmilla quickly turns lascivious in a satisfyingly trashy way. This is no shock coming from Carmilla, of course, but I was pleasantly surprised to see Shizuku meet her provocations halfway. On the surface, there’s a clear dichotomy between the lesbian vampire femme fatale who loves to fight up close and dirty, and the primly dressed maidservant who prefers a rifle. Sure enough, when the aphrodisiac affects Shizuku, the scene takes a bodice-ripping turn towards the tasteless. But Shizuku is no damsel, and not only does she claw her way out of her horny spiral, but she also spits some taunts of her own, more or less confirming that she and Aya have known each other carnally for quite some time. Talk about giving head! Okay, yes, the bulk of their relationship would have involved a fully-bodied Aya, but there’s no reason to presume all of their activities would have halted after her decapitation.
Despite Banquet’s show of unrivaled power, it’s satisfying to see our heroes walk away with some smaller (and larger) victories. Sherlock, for instance, finally breaks out the baritsu and turns Crowley’s poison against him. He figures out Lupin’s escape plan too, which is a nice consolation prize after the group was dancing in the gentleman thief’s palm for so long. Shizuku wounds both Carmilla’s body and pride, and she returns to Aya in one piece. Tsugaru loses his battle against Jack, yet he wins the war for the diamond. And Aya solves the riddle and elucidates the location of the werewolves’ forest. It’s a more convenient wrap-up to this arc than I anticipated given all of the moving parts, and it’s a bit of a stretch to believe that Moriarity wouldn’t have confirmed the acquisition of the diamond sooner, but I had a lot of fun with this farce, and that’s what matters most.
As a final note—more a curiosity—the scripts for this arc were all written by Chiaki J. Konaka. Yes, that Chiaki J. Konaka, the writer of beloved hits like and , and the guy who most recently (and deservedly) got into hot water over some comments about covid vaccines and cancel culture. I believe these scripts are also his first anime writing credit since 2008. Very odd. While I have no idea what the backstory is on his involvement here, I can’t lob any complaints about how this arc was adapted; the character beats and plot developments all scanned fine to me. Anime, of course, is not a solo project either, and ‘s overall conglomeration of talent has kept this series a consistent favorite of mine this season. Onto the next farce!
is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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