Kotoura-san – 04
「変わる世界」 (Kawaru Sekai)
Kotoura has run away from home, but hell will anyone let her run away…except for Manabe-kun.
In an ironic twist, it is Manabe himself who gives up the search for Kotoura first, disheartened that his search gave no fruit. While this initially comes off as a pansy attempt, it’s not like Manabe didn’t put in enough effort. Manabe gave up at a reasonable threshold, an uncommon sight in the world of anime drama. After scouting out all “reasonable” modes of finding out where Kotoura is, Manabe is obviously disappointed, yet attempts to move forward, albeit with a falsely cheerful demeanor. Though this brings his character down from a shining paragon of manliness, in exchange our perverted friend becomes a more realistic character. I’m sure we’ve all had our moments when we wanted to chase after the passions of our life and chase down that dream with all our hearts…yet we hesitate and let “reality” take its course as a bitter pill to swallow. The real world often wins in this case, ending many situations in disappointment and sadness.
But alas, such a story cannot end here, nor can such a permanent tragedy befall our budding couple now. Thanks to Kotoura’s extraordinary friends, the elusive ESP is found, bringing everyone back together plus one. Other than a desire to bring back home a girl who has done no wrong, each character has their own untied knots that bring them all to unite at Kotoura’s family estate.
Mifune and Muroto, armed with a fervor to protect the occult and convenient access to CC systems, manage to spark Manabe’s own fervor to find Kotoura once more, though for entirely different reasons. As opposed to earlier episodes, Mifune showed no hints of her ulterior motives this week, though we can expect a crack in Mifune’s intentions with the entrance of Moritani. However, as readers pointed out, some part of Mifune genuinely cares for Kotoura, however clouded a desire it may be (though her excitement for the occult is 125% genuine). The fact that she spoke up and called out against Manabe’s false satisfaction with the status quo speaks volumes for her core character–even if Mifune is wearing a mask, even she can’t help taking it off for the sake of poor Manabe. The ambiguity that arises from having doubts about Mifune’s mindset creates an appealing depth to her character that the story would be wise to capitalize on.
On the flipside, a less ridiculous yet still crazy investigation led Moritani to meet with Kotoura as well, though locating her was only a fourth of her battle. Moritani, after being spared a most humiliating and disgraceful future, must somehow express her apologies and her gratitude at the same time. Of course it doesn’t help that Manabe is also present, but somehow, again with Kotoura’s support, manages to find the means to make amends. This switch from being Kotoura’s absolute enemy to a supportive friend may prove to be irksome to some–the comments expressed a large chunk of people displeased with Moritani’s terrible attitude–yet in time, I’m sure that Moritani will find a way to redeem herself to the audience. This of course includes how Moritani will make it up to Manabe for getting him seriously injured. Normally Manabe’s attitude towards Moritani’s apology comes off as disrespectful, but in this situation, hell, the girl almost killed him. He has every right to be pissed at her and not be as quick to forgive her wrongdoings, especially without the knowledge and understanding Kotoura naturally has. I expect it’ll be awhile before Moritani gains the trust of the other club members, but if I had to predict anything, Moritani will most likely end up as one of Kotoura’s best supporters and friends, especially when Mifune’s true intentions inevitably spill into the open.
But of course, let’s not forget Manabe. Despite acting a bit tsundere with his thoughts this time around, Manabe continues to be an honest fellow in his actions and his thoughts. While he may put on a cheerful mask to hide the disappointment in himself, our perverted protagonist has no problem fighting to be honest with himself. Though he claims to accompany the club in order to bring Kotoura purely to defend a promise of protecting her, the real reason finally cracks through, which in my opinion, happens to be the reason why anyone says something like that. Manabe is a good person in admitting his basic desire to be with Kotoura, instead of hiding behind these fringe reasons we often use to dilute or mask our desires for companionship. Yeah Manabe, you go guy! The world needs more people who can admit to their feelings honestly and not hide behind a bunch of excuses to get close to someone!
Now that we’ve closed the books on introducing the cast proper, hopefully the real meat of Kotoura is yet to come. The dynamics between mother and daughter are still to be resolved (as hinted in the OP) as well as seeing the fruition of Mifune’s master plan. While the general shock drama has gone down since episode one, we can hope to expect an increase now that the cast is in full swing. Will Kotoura be able to break and mend our hearts once again before the series is over? Eight more episodes will tell.