Makoto practices the guitar in the solace and darkness of his own room, and for some reason, he also has a video camera propped up on a shelf that is capturing him play the instrument. While he does this, we are also brought to a candle-lit corridor. A frightened woman is in the corridor, as she looks ahead – two more unidentified women enter through the traditional sliding doors, one of them appearing to be a spiritual channeler. This channeler proceeds to perform a ritual of some sort, while Makoto is still playing the guitar intently. (mewmew’s note: It’s not very clear, but I am presuming that the channeler and the dimly lit corridor are in the Oogami household, since the track used in the background is Makoto’s guitar. I could be wrong though.)
The scene now switches to Masayuki’s house, with Tarou taking Masayuki’s head-mounted display for a test drive. The high-tech gadget impresses Tarou, who asks Masayuki if he plays the HMD often. Masayuki corrects him, saying that he doesn’t use it for entertainment purposes, but rather for therapy – he has acrophobia (fear of heights), and has been using the head-mounted therapy in the hopes of overcoming this fear. Tarou asks if Masayuki is doing this as part of phobia exposure, which Masayuki admits is the case. Masayuki’s father, a corporate businessman, arrives home now – Masayuki changes the subject, and toys with the idea of having Tarou being exposed to his own fears. He mentions that the abandoned hospital by the dam can still be traversed by foot and recommends Tarou to visit the place in the next few days…
Tarou rides his bike home, and enters the dining room to find his mother cooking. He sets the table, and asks his parent if she still has dreams; she answers, saying that she doesn’t dream anymore because of all the medicine she takes. She further comments that she wished that (the kidnapping which resulted in Mizuka’s death) was a dream and never happened – the statement clearly nags her son, as Tarou leaves the kitchen looking quite irritated. He returns to his room to hear his father play some old-fashioned records downstairs, and falls asleep on the floor.
At school the next day, Miyako is taking a break from her P.E. class with her friends. She stops talking to them, and stares into the school grounds before her. She sees a young Mizuka, and an even younger Tarou before her, although she snaps back into reality as one of her friends asks if anything is wrong. She responds with a quick “nothing.”
Tarou’s therapy session with the pale and creepy psychologist, Hirata, continues as well. He continues the EMDR therapy as he asks Tarou if he was ever scared of his sister – Tarou replies that he isn’t scared of his sister, but he is scared of something. He proposes to Hirata if they can practice the phobia exposure treatment instead, although Hirata believes that this isn’t an effective treatment option, because Tarou’s object of fear is not specific. He informs Tarou that he wishes to see Tarou’s parents next week, and leaves. He also hints that he would eventually like to test Tarou with the thought field therapy in the near future. (mewmew’s note #2: “Thought Field Therapy” is the title of episode 10, and knowing Masamune Shirow and the production staff of Ghost Hound, this is probably intentional, not incidental.)
Tarou prepares to leave, but is approached by who else – Masayuki. He pesters Tarou, and he finally agrees to “face his fears” and make the trek to the Kameiwa Respiratory Hospital. Masayuki is delighted, and instructs Tarou to meet him at the Kameiwa Shrine at 1 PM the following Sunday. He hums jubilantly and is about to leave school, although he makes a sudden halt. His eyes widening, he peers behind him – he sees a classmate that committed suicide and imagines himself on the rooftop of the school building. Visibly shaken, Masayuki tries to remind and reassures himself of the only thing he is scared of – heights. (mewmew’s note #3: I really can’t distinguish if the scene involving Masayuki and the classmate who took his own life is a flashback, a trick of the mind, or a supernatural experience. I’m leaning towards the possibility of a paranormal experience, although I’m just gleeful that the unctuous Masayuki was sweating with fear throughout the entire sequence, hee hee…)
The day is Sunday, and Tarou arrives at the Kameiwa Shrine. He apologizes to Masayuki for being late, although Masayuki doesn’t mind – he mentions that one of them still hasn’t showed up. Tarou is confused at who the last person might be, but he quickly finds out that they were waiting for Makoto. The show’s resident loner is less than thrilled to see Tarou. He threatens to leave but Masayuki captures Makoto’s attention (in a bad way) with the statement: “Oh, so you’re just a chicken who pretends to act cool.” 😉 An angry Makoto proceeds to grab Masayuki’s shirt collar – Masayuki a few inches away from falling down to the immensely high stairs that lead to the shrine (and for the second time this episode, looking scared for his life). Masayuki’s sorry butt is saved by Miyako, who chides the three boys (“this isn’t a place for children to be playing”) and Makoto releases his grip.
The three male protagonists enter the woods and head for the hospital. As they walk, Masayuki asks Tarou if he ever talked to Makoto – Tarou answers with an obvious no. Makoto mentions that they do see each other from time to time outside school though, because they are relatives (more specifically, the Oogami household is a branch family of the Komoris). They take a quick break where more dialogue takes place – Makoto asks Tarou if his mother is doing well, and Tarou asks the same of Makoto’s mother. Makoto doesn’t know about his mother’s current situation; he claims that he hasn’t seen her for a while.
As they continue to make their way, Masayuki mentions a “curse” associated with the Kameiwa Respiratory Hospital, emphasizing the following points:
They reach the top of the mountain, and Masayuki points to the block of rocks known as the Kameiwa. He also spots his father’s workplace located on another mountain near theirs. Tarou, Masayuki, and Makoto descend from the summit and are right in front of the desolate hospital. They are about to enter…and here the episode ends. Nooo!
Ack. I was hoping we get to see some footage of the three guys wandering around the hospital, but that will not take place until next episode. The episode wasn’t a total waste though, since we are given some more background info (yet again). Masayuki has witnessed a classmate’s suicide – the classmate achieved this by jumping off the rooftop of the school building. This event has more likely than not led to Masayuki’s fear of heights. Masayuki also mentions this episode that he was “involved in killing,” which indicates that he feels responsible for his classmate’s death. This forces me to think that Masayuki may have been involved in bullying to the point of this particular classmate taking his own life – a concept that is not unheard of in Japan. This is of course just a hypothesis, although it doesn’t seem *too* outrageous of an idea knowing Masayuki’s less-than-likeable personality. Masayuki also sounds eager to recreate the situation similar to the aforementioned myth, which explains why he gathered a group of three to visit the desolate hospital. I still don’t see the point of why he wants to do this, although we should find out soon enough. Oh, and Masayuki has a weird penchant for wearing clothes of a purple hue with a toadstool motif…
Next time: Miyako reviews the basics of human fear, while we see the trio of boys finally make their way inside the hospital. The third preview screencap shows what is probably the group in “Altered States of Consciousness,” which is also the title for next week’s episode. Seeing yourself in a blue, translucent, kewpie doll form sure indicates an altered state of consciousness, all right. :S