I’m sure none of you will fault me for thinking of Mr. Mark Calaway when the code name for the “anti-Deadmans” is introduced in this episode. I still haven’t gotten over that one pilot I watched a while back - - the title escaping, at the moment, since there are just so many other shows about high school clubs - - where one of the characters actually had an Undertaker poster on his wall.
There’s a moment in this episode where the rebellious Scar Chain has to overcome this obstacle where they’re trying not to activate some pressure- sensitive security sensors. They opt to use the gruesome “Branch of Sin” powers to essentially weave a cargo net of blood and cartilage over the pathway that lets them traverse the stretch without actually having to step on it. Their gambit stumbles, a little, and they wind up drawing the attention of the acid-spraying security bot, Necro Macro, who melts a number of the good guys down with its weaponized corrosive goo.
I err a little on the side of plot summary, this time, because I want to convey how this moment was one of those ever-elusive “sweet spots” where you can see all the disparate elements of a story’s mythology fitting together into something cohesive. It’s cool that we’ve got this hieracrhy, now, of “Deadmans,” Undertakers, Necro Macros and… whatever Shiro is. However, the moment feels a little tainted (like a bloodied scarf!) because I still don’t feel 100% about these blood powers.
Maybe you can’t fault this crew for trying to present a very morbid kind of superhero. Hell, half of adventure fiction seems to be about people with powers of one level or another. However, I can’t help thinking that this would all be resonating with me more if Ganta remained a normal human trying to surmount all these freaks instead of being a freak who’s potentially freakier than all of them put together. For as much tension and suspense as there is, now, you’d think there be far more if these Branches of Sin were taken out of his arsenal.
Watch this episode, “Scar Chain” below and decide for yourself, then read my comments on the previous episode here.