Now that Kanata(Takeo Otsuka) has officially become Noir’s(Aoi Koga) master, he’s beginning to feel like a true Drifter. To celebrate his friend’s accomplishments, Tokio decides to take Kanata to the Desire Nest so he can become a man. But the evening might not go as planned. With Enders about to attack the nest and Ellie(Konomi Inagaki) rushing to stop Kanata from having his first time with a stranger, it looks like it’ll be an explosive night in Synduality Noir Episode 3, “Behind the Mask.”
The enduring concept that a male isn’t a man until he’s had sex is an eye-roll-inducing one for me. This arbitrary definition of manhood is tired and cliched. So when Synduality Noir Episode 3 opened its narrative with it, I was prepared for what I expected to be an obnoxious journey of Tokio repeatedly pushing Kanata to “do it.” Thankfully, the episode takes this tired plot element and utilizes it to explore several characters’ backstories, while also introducing new personalities to the narrative.
The most intriguing element of this episode comes while Kanata is waiting for his number to be called at the brothel Tokio has dropped him off at. While nervously awaiting his turn, he finds himself drawn into a conversation with a masked stranger who is also there for the first time. The enigmatic individual tells Kanata that he is there searching for the goddess that will bring him to paradise. The way the stranger speaks about it, the viewer gets the impression that he is not talking about a simple night of passion with a beautiful woman. Kanata is drawn to the stranger’s mysterious nature, as he attempts to understand his meaning.
Meanwhile, back in Rock Town, Synduality Noir Episode 3 sees Ellie and Ange arrive at Kanata’s hoping to enlist his help with a job. Seeing as how Ellie has always had a crush on him, his new status as a Drifter gives her a new avenue to spend time with him. However, when all they find is Noir, along with a message about where Kanata and Tokio have gone off to, they take Noir to catch up to them, fearing Kanata’s corruption if the night is allowed to play out.
Rather than have every scene during Ellie’s race to Desire Nest be her simply worrying out about Kanata, the episode uses it to dive into her past, and the importance of memories. Prompted by Noir, Ellie talks about her childhood friendship with Kanata, and how much he has stayed the same since those old days. The importance that Ellie clearly places on her past with Kanata prompts concern in Noir over her lack of any memories at all.
Along the way, they also pick up a stray Magus named Schnee who is also headed to Desire Nest in search of “her lord.” This solemn character brings much the same enigmatic air to this side of the story as the masked stranger brings to Kanata’s.
Just before the girls arrive at their destination, however, they discover a swarm of Enders headed for Desire Nest. Feeling that her calling as a Drifter demands she protects anyone from the Ender threat, Ellie quickly takes her coffin to help out the city’s defenders while she sends Noir and Schnee into the city to find Kanata so he can help as well.
The action sequence that follows delivers more of the mech-on-monster combat that was seen in the show’s first installment. There is a great level of excitement that is built up in this scene thanks to the animation’s skillful delivery of the speed with which the coffins maneuver across the battlefield. Combined with some perfectly chosen music to accompany the action, Synduality Noir Episode 3 delivers another banger moment to bring the episode home.
As Ellie and Kanata careen across the landscape battling the mounting swarm of Enders, they find themselves severely outgunned. That is until a snow-white mystery coffin arrives, cutting a swath through the enemy’s ranks. This new mech wields weapons and equipment that clearly put it on a new level from what the show has seen before. While there are hints as to what role the mystery mech will play in the coming story, the narrative leaves more than enough shrouded in mystery to make it yet another compelling plot hook for the series.
Synduality Noir Episode 3 manages to take what looked like it would at best be a goofy plotline about cliched rights of passage, and turn it into an interesting story that builds up established characters while introducing new ones and combines it with some great action. The series seems determined to continue to find new ways to surprise me, and I am here for it.
Synduality Noir Episode 3 is streaming now on Hulu.
Synduality Noir Episode 3
Synduality Noir Episode 3 manages to take what looked like it would at best be a goofy plotline about cliched rights of passage, and turn it into an interesting story that builds up established characters while introducing new ones and combines it with some great action.