How would you rate episode 2 of
FUUTO PI? Community Rating: 4.8
FUUTO PI rolls out its full opening sequence in this week’s second episode, which actually makes it much clearer where much of this story is going than the series itself so far. We know before the episode even begins that Tokime, the potential new member of the Narumi Detective Agency as she’s shown, probably isn’t. Actually the cannibalistic killer monster at the center of the main mystery of this opening story arc. Of course, the way detective fiction, and Kamen Rider O specifically, dealing with these kinds of stories might already prepare us for these kinds of subversions, and the diversions are always interesting enough when we get to them. But my point remains: many steps in this story seem to be grounded in expect to get to those key points in the episodes, and FUUTO PI drag your feet a bit to get there.
Adding Philip officially in the procedure certainly helps a bit. Shotaro had no shortage of people to interact with in the first episode, but the special relationship between these “partners” comes across as particularly strong at the start and end of this episode. It’s something that franchise was built on practice, of course, but seeing Shotaro’s information-gathering techniques contrasted and complemented by Philip’s esotericism psychic space search engine gimmick, and how the information each of them finds fuels those efforts, always sells the necessary dual nature of the protagonists. Of course, the clues are only separated piecemeal during this episode, but even if you don’t know the full backstory of Philip’s powers or who the middle schooler is who seems to hand Shotaro some vital new information, you can follow along. the trains of thought that connect these to solve the mystery, like so many guide lines on a whiteboard.
As far as those kinds of references go, it’s easy to see why this episode aired alongside the premiere as a special fan preview at a convention some time ago. Compared to the loosening up of the first episode, this one cashes in way more of its continuity tokens. Old episode opening recaps are perfectly recreated, with Fumihiko Tachikinarration. There are several examples of characters speaking their trademark lines and allusions to characters and events from Kamen Rider O pop up in flashbacks. And they start talking properly about GaiaMemory and the dopants that use them directly, instead of dancing around presenting toys with sound effects and over-the-top tokusatsu monster designs they might have feared to alienate anime viewers during of this first. And honestly, I think they do pretty well here explaining those weird bits to the aforementioned newcomers; Chuuta can be anything but confirmed as completely disposable for the actual plot, but it still works as a tool to explain the mechanics at play here. Even the original show’s plot recaps are pleasingly quick, and they use the setup to effectively reiterate Shotaro’s reserve motivation of not wanting people to resent his beloved town of Fuuto.
It’s the other corners of Shotaro’s character that are covered at this point that might be more controversial. It’s really a matter of recognizing the intention of the format: yes, some kind of conflict between Shotaro and Philip to codify their dynamic is necessary for viewers familiar and new. And it’s not like Shotaro ever got too attached or even romantically interested in the girls in Deal of the Week, far from it. But the abruptness with which the conflict is introduced in this case, exacerbated by the fact that Philip is not properly present in the narrative until this episode, makes it all too obvious how contrived the problem is as a point of l ‘plot. To be frank, it’s actually weirder for familiar fans like yours truly, who watched 49 episodes of Shotaro getting honest about how much he valued his attachment to Philip over the last mysterious lady who just moved into his life. This mostly comes across as another to stretch out the process of this plot, making me question a few times too many”Could does it all fit in one episode, rather than two?”
To be fair, I’d almost say the illustrated conflict is worth it, because even though it’s bumpy as hell to get there, the connection between Shotaro and Philip really is as sweet as ever by the end of the episode. . This shows Shotaro’s stubborn but sincere desire to help everyone in his town, versus Philip’s curious need to understand others, including his partner. Indeed, I’ll say it’s Philip’s character development from the previous series that strengthens here, as you can feel his increasingly invested humanity compared to his more robotic approach from the early days of Kamen Rider O. It’s nice and sells the core of the series’ appeal right before showing off the more visceral aspects with an absolutely lush animated sequence of henshin for the main Rider himself (themselves? I never know with O). Thing is, it looks really cool, and the Memories subtitles are color coded like the old fansubs from 2010, and they do the fun part where Akiko has to catch Philip passing out and they point and say “Now count your sins!” and… look, for all my misgivings about the pacing and structure leading up to this, I’m not not it’s gonna be a sucker when it hits.
I hope that the apprehensions I have so far with FUUTO PI can be toned down as the series continues to ramp up. Because cold parts are always cold and as laborious as FUUTO PI is to access some of them, I’m always curious about the fundamental mysteries he uses. Tokime’s shattered memory (Oh get it, because she’s got amnesia too?) is a solid setup to continue throughout the story, and once she’s officially added to the circle of main characters, maybe that she can develop a real personality and we can see how she contributes to the dynamic. The presentation on the toku emulation stuff was slick, and I appreciate how the animated look allows them to get a bit wilder with things like the Road Dopant mechanics in a way that wouldn’t have perhaps not worked as well in a live-action format (The more adult focus for the show prompting it to include more “mature” elements like macabre cannibalism which I’m… less certain of). The show must be doing something right if it still makes me so excited to see where it goes next.
FUUTO PI is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
Chris is a freewheeling Fresno-based freelancer with a love for anime and a shelf full of too many Transformers. He can be found spending way too much time on his Twitterand updates his blog regularly.