SHUFFLE! – 19
Rin has another dream of eight years ago, and leaves in the morning to go out with Asa. Kaede picks up the breakfast that he didn’t eat, and then we find out what happened eight years ago. Kaede lost her mother and Rin lost both of his parents in an accident. The shock of her mother’s death caused Kaede’s health deteriorated quickly. Not wanting her to die, Rin originally told Kaede that her mother’s death was his fault. As a result of that, Kaede made Rin’s life a living hell (slashing his curtains, dropping a box cutter on his face). But then one day a few years later, Kaede, while destroying one of Rin’s boats, found a postcard from her mother. On it, it said that the parents were coming back because of Kaede’s sickness. Kaede realizes that their deaths were her fault, not Rin’s, and runs out into traffic. She almost gets hit by a truck, but Rin pulls her out of the way to safety. Kaede can only cry and apologize over and over to Rin. And so, now in the present, Kaede does everything for Rin’s sake.
Rin is spending more and more time with Asa and less and less time at home. Asa faints during one of their dates, and he worries about her for the rest of the day, paying little attention to anything else. It seems that he only perks up with Asa is around or calls on the telephone. Primula has been noticing changes in both him and Kaede, and tries to tell Rin about them, but isn’t able to. After Rin calls one day to tell them that he’ll be eating with Asa and Ama, Primula is shocked to find that Kaede was stirring an empty pot the entire time. An afternoon sometime later, Primula is looking for Kaede and goes into Rin’s room. She finds the stickers of Asa and Rin from their date, but Kaede has markered Asa out of the picture. Downstairs, Rin brings Asa home, but Kaede wants her to leave, and slams Asa against the door. While Rin holds back a screaming Kaede, Asa has an attack, and crumples onto the floor.
I didn’t think it was possible for this series to get any better than it already was. Boy was I wrong. This episode reaches new levels of animation quality (for this series) and plot depth. After we learn about what happened eight years ago and why Kaede is devoted to Rin now, the rest of the episode weaves together the Kaede and Asa stories. Kaede slowly reverts back to the ways of her psychotic childhood and she was scary back then. I’m surprised Rin was able to put up with it for that long. But her situation in the present does end up being mostly Rin’s fault as he completely neglects her and only seems like he’s having fun when with Asa. I guess my only (minor) complaint about this episode is that despite what happened last episode, Asa and Rin seem to get along fine.
So in my opinion, the more crazy Kaede gets, the less likely Rin will end up with her. And since they’re portraying Asa as the victim here, I’m still pretty inclined to believe that he’ll end up with her (or no one at all). Granted, this isn’t quite the way I thought things were going to happen, but I’m very happy with the outcome. Hopefully they’ll be able to carry this momentum into the end of the series and deliver us one helluva ending.