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In/Spectre Key Visual (CrunchyRoll)

In/Spectre Key Visual (CrunchyRoll)

In/Spectre is an odd beast, and one that I’m not sure handles the disability aspects of the premise as well as it should. There are also other concerns that In/Spectre will need to handle carefully.

That said In/Spectre does have an intriguing premise and I’ll probably keep watching for the moment.

The Premise

Kotoko Iwanaga was abducted when she was 11 by yokai and other spirits. The purpose of the abduction was to beg her to become their “Goddess of Wisdom” who would mediate disputes for them. She agreed, and discovered afterwards that the price of her new powers was her right eye and left leg.

When she was 15 she started crushing on college student Kurou Sakuragawa who was visiting his medical student girlfriend in the hospital she was regularly attending after saving him from a fall.

When she was 17 she discovered that Kurou had broken up with his girlfriend, and started chasing him openly. Obviously that 5 year age difference is a concern, however so far Kurou at least appears to be uncomfortable with it as well.

Kurou is also more than he appears

I don’t want to spoil too much but pretty much all of the yokai and spirits that Kotoko deals with are absolutely terrified of Kurou, but won’t tell her why. She clearly doesn’t know, but thinks she can leverage this to solve the monster of the week for this episode.

She’s right, but the means is something of a shock to her. It will be familiar to fans of certain portions of Rumiko Takahashi’s work but saying more is a spoiler.

Dealing with Disabilities

At this point one of my major concerns with In/Spectre is that it isn’t, or won’t, handle Kotoko’s disabilities respectfully. I grant that she is fitted with prostheses for both the leg and the eye, and uses a cane.

The problem is the use of the cane in her animation seems to be cosmetic only, and there’s no sign of impaired perception from the eye. The thing is we know that disabilities can be handled well in anime – see YuYuYu for a series where it was integral to the characters.

Having paid a price for wisdom, that price should not be cosmetic nor should it be forgotten by the animators whenever dealing with it would be inconvenient.

Verdict

Overall, and despite my concerns mentioned above, In/Spectre is quite a lot of fun to watch. There’s a genuine sense of humour in it (the warrior ghost’s reason for not wanting to pass on is hilarious), and the two leads work well together on screen.

I’m going to stick with In/Spectre for the moment, and I do think it’s worth checking out.