SEKIREI ~Pure Engagement~ – 04
「最後ノ一羽」 (Saigo no Ichiwa)
“The Last Bird”
While I don’t follow the SEKIREI manga, it’s probably worth noting that this sequel is adhering pretty close to the source material and quickly approaching the extent of what’s been released. There have been ten volumes published to date, and this episode makes headway into the beginning of the seventh one. With three volumes to go, there should be sufficient material to adapt into another eight episodes and sum up a twelve episode run like the first season, but I’m curious as to whether things will be left open for a third season or if we’ll have an anime original ending this time around. Naturally, I’m all for the former even if it means waiting another two years, so hopefully that’s the route the producers go with. At the same time, I’m not terribly fond of the idea that things will be open-ended and the series will have to wait for the manga to release enough volumes to warrant a third season, after being reminded of how a lot was left to be desired at the end of season one. In the end, a potentially unsatisfying end in the near future while leaving the door open for more later on is still my preferred option.
As for this episode itself, the focus was on the last unwinged Sekirei in the northern region of the capital city Shintou, where Minato currently resides as the kingpin Ashikabi even though he isn’t aware of it. Similarly, he isn’t aware that Kagari/Homura is the Sekirei of interest since he doesn’t even know he is one. Well with the way it’s remained that way for the longest time thanks to Matsu choosing to keep her mouth shut so she doesn’t get cremated alive, it’s nice to see some background story finally flesh out now that Kagari’s body is reacting uncontrollably to Minato’s presence. This episode also marks the first time we actually hear anything from deceased M.B.I researcher and former husband of Miya, Asama Takehito (Chiba Susumu), who’s been wrapped up in mystery all this time. While Takehito’s true impact on the overall story remains to be seen, the revelation that Homura was created as some sort of experimental hermaphrodite for Hiroto’s entertainment did answer a lingering question I’ve had for some time. It looks like it’ll serve as the focus of the next bit as well, with Homura out to try and kill Hiroto for giving him — and only him — such a twisted body.
Admittedly, I was expecting Homura to get winged this very episode, but it looks like that will be saved for a much more crucial moment. Given how Takehito alluded to his body only truly stabilizing as one sex if he finds an Ashikabi it reacts to, Homura does look poised to become Minato’s female Flame Sekirei in the not too distant future. I gather that “she” will allow herself to be winged once she realizes that she’s unable to control her powers properly otherwise, making killing Hiroto even harder than Miya already suggested that it is. For now, it’s going to become a free-for-all Ashikabi fray to try and make the Flame Sekirei theirs, after Hiroto decided to stir things up by mass e-mailing everyone about the last unwinged Sekirei. I still don’t see it as quite the same as Kuu’s situation from season one, but that’s how it’s being made out to be to get the Sekirei fighting one another again. I agree it’s been peaceful for far too long, so it’ll be interesting to see things pick up with Mikogami Hayato (Fukuyama Jun) taking the initiative by sending Akitsu (Kobayashi Yuu) in first, while Seo Kaoru (Konishi Katsuyuki) continues to waste away fawning over Hikari and Hibiki (Kaida Yuuko and Neya Michiko) like he always does.
The difference this time around is the addition of a new Ashikabi and his Sekirei joining the mix, as well as Higa Izumi (cast change to Suwabe Junichi) potentially bringing his own along. There’s still Uzume being extorted by Izumi through Kakizaki, so I’m keeping my eye on her appearance now that she’s left Izumo Inn. Anyway, the stage looks set for the next phase, so I’m looking forward to things picking up on the action side of things soon.
* I got a good laugh out of Tsukiumi thinking Minato swings the other way after hearing how he felt up Kagari’s chest. Also, the censoring was pretty blatant in the bath scenes this episode, so there’s evidently a lot saved for the DVD/BD release already.