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LISTENERS Episode #07 Anime Review

4 min read
Is it better to burn out than fade away?
LISTENERS Episode 7

No Future.

What They Say:
Episode #7: “Day of Rage/problems”
After running away from the Freak Scene Academy, Nir arrives in Londinium to find a bleak city with two angry youths eager to show up the government’s handling of the Earless.

The Review
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
LISTENERS breaks from the road trip journey of Echo and Mu right at the moment they declare that they have to head to Londinium to learn about the fate of Jimi. While the show does head to Londinium we are rejoining a character we’ve already met, Nir.

I had mentioned during Nir’s episode that

I found her more interesting than Echo and Mu. This episode further solidifies my like of her as a character. She’s no longer just a questionable Kurt stand-in, but something else all of her own. We’re also introduced to two new characters who are also instantly likable, Lyde and Ritchie. The youths are orphans of the earless raids on Londinium, working for an asshole in a seedy part of the city. The boys welcome in Nir, thinking the whole time she’s a boy. Her attitude toward their boss, her independence, her equipment makes her an instant star to the mad lads.

How do you tame down the contentious Sex Pistols? Lyde and Ritchie are our in-universe stand-ins for Johnny Rotten and Sid Vicious. If they were to make the two boys any more like their namesakes then they wouldn’t actually be all that sympathetic. I mean, the Sex Pistols were so edgy that looking back at their career it is somewhat amazing that any of them survived. We get a little of the DIY attitude, the destitution, the anger at the establishment. We get a shoehorned “I am an anti-Christ” which is ridiculous in the context of the backdrop of Christmas in this episode. It’s all very much toned down from their inspiration. Vicious was a short-lived hot mess so I really should have seen the ending of this episode coming from a mile away and it still took me by surprise.

This episode is full of the heart that I wished the previous episodes had employed to greater effect. We’re given time to really get to know these characters, to see why they are angry, to see the world that they live in. Nir both encourages and attempts to ground the boys, but ultimately their great shout at the world and establishment is cut short as is their dreams.

There are some moments in this episode that left me reeling, and I’m still convinced that our narrators have been extremely unreliable. When a massive amalgamation of the earless swarm and move to attack the city, the defense force moves in only to be swiftly massacred. At that point, the city commander then decides to destroy and murder large swaths of their own population. There is no explanation for what this is supposed to accomplish. It is the moment that the boys become enraged and Lyde becomes a Player. So Players aren’t born, they are made. This suspenseful moment ends with a shocking revelation that leaves me dying to know what is going to happen in the next episode. It also leaves Nir firmly against Mu, and I can’t say I blame Nir one bit.

In Summary:
Ah, there is the feeling the show has been lacking. It comes from a place removed from our protagonists, shifting back over to Nir who has become more than a pastiche of Cobain and has come into her own. The overt references have been dialed back a notch to become a portrait of a dystopian reflection of a city under the thumb of a government that doesn’t care about its people. But that’s punk rock for you. This nonsensical stream of connected musical movements is building toward something, but that something is looking both bleaker in terms of plot and more engaging in terms of a narrative. Is it better to burn out than fade away? Maybe they can ask Jimi, if they ever find him.

Episode Grade: B +

Streamed by: Funimation

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