Though this was very much a table-setter episode of Ajin, there was still plenty of interest going on. One thing we haven’t seen so much focus on lately is the philosophical nature of the premise – just what made these Ajin what they are, and what is that exactly? It’s clear that there are those among both humans and Ajin who ask themselves those sort of questions, and those who don’t – in fact, I think it could convincingly be argued that divide is the central one in the cast as a whole.
Most obviously, of course, we see this manifested in Kei and Kou, who could hardly be more opposite in every perceivable way. Ogura recognizes in Kei a scientific mind – one which naturally asks questions. The bald guy with glasses (I can’t remember his name, so let’s call him “Skinner”) senses something is up with Kei, too, which he chalks up to loneliness. It’s not as simple as that, but I don’t think there’s any question that Kei is starting to feel his facade cracking. I continue to believe a major theme of Ajin going forward is going to be the way the IBMs are manifestations of their hosts – Ogura likens it to children imitating their parents – and I simply don’t think it’s possible for a human being to completely bottle up their emotions the way Kei is trying to. You do the math.
I can’t help but call Kei a human being, because to me it’s patently obvious that he – and Kou as well – are human beings in every way that matters. Even Skinner treats him like a human child, and he’s one of a group whose professional job has been inhuman exploitation and torture of Ajin. These men surely know the truth – that these aren’t demons or beasts they’re killing over and over for experimental purposes – and that knowledge has to weigh heavily on those of them with any humanity left. No matter how hard they try not to ask questions, they’re still asking them internally – that’s just human nature.
Meanwhile, Satou is still going about the business of Phase II, and playing cat and mouse with the authorities. No one on his list should be buying any green bananas, that’s for certain. Kei and Kou are each preparing for their eventual confrontation in their own way – Kei proves a natural at firearms, and Kou basically useless with them. He’s also concerned with his own inability to call out his IBM, and Ogura’s advice is to “go to the afterlife” – which leads Kou to ask Kei what the most painless way of dying is. Given Kou’s already expressed interest in activities normal for a boy his age, I hope Kei’s suggestion doesn’t give him any funny ideas.
The headline of this episode is certainly the return of Kai (seriously – Kei, Kou, Kai? Why do you hate me, Ajin?) to the narrative. What’s
Tozaki’s Tosaki’s motivation in providing Kei the information that Kai is in a juvenile prison for his role in helping him escape? Is it a veiled threat, or (as Tosaki hints) a kind of goodwill gesture? I can’t see Kei being so cold as to allow Kai to rot in there indefinitely, no matter what he says about emotional ties and that being the safest place for him – and indeed, it looks as if Kai’s fortunes are about to take a turn for the worse. Sooner or later Kai’s fate is going to put Kei’s resolve to the test – and that’s going to be a pivotal moment in the future direction of Ajin.