Continuing his search to find out the truth about Nagi, Jin asks another teacher at school for help, and receives the name and address of the people who used to take care of Nagi’s shrine. In the hallway, Daitetsu stops him to talk (despite the obvious dangers) and gives him Nagi’s wand that he found on the roof that day. He wonders why she would leave it there, knowing how important it is to her. With bright eyes, Jin tells Daitetsu that he and Nagi aren’t really fighting, they’re just bickering like they do every day. No big deal.
After school Jin stops by the address his teacher gave him, and an old man greets him at the door. He happily invites him in, and like any good host, he offers Jin 18 varieties of snacks and demands he takes some home with him when he leaves. Doing his best to distract the man and his wife from conversation about food or their son, Jin finally manages to bring up the shrine but doesn’t get much information from either of them. However, he does learn that these days nobody even knows the name of the god that is worshipped there, because of a fire that happened many years ago. The wife suggests he ask the grandmother of the house, who is sitting on the porch in her chair. She rambles about an incomprehensible story, the gist of which implies the goddess of that shrine may have generously helped people who were going to be hanged.
That night in a dark alley, three young men try to assault Zange, but she drops the cute helpless act about .5 seconds before utterly destroying them with martial arts moves they can’t compete with. An old man (with a familiar voice) comes up afterwards and hands her a can of (very sweet) coffee, and she thanks him. She also scolds him for not helping her fight the very scary bad guys. Just then, Jin also peeks out from around the corner, petrified in fear and/or shock from what he just witnessed.
Realizing she didn’t even need his help to save her the first time they met, Jin sits down to talk to Zange alone for a minute. He asks her if she can tell him anything about Nagi as a goddess. Her eyes grow deep for a moment before returning to normal, and she tells Jin in good spirits it’s a woman’s secret. She shows Jin her bucket of impurities, and tells him this is her method of fulfilling her duties as a goddess. Like Nagi, she also doesn’t know why she has to do it, but it doesn’t bother her at all. Zange asks Jin why he has a sudden interest in whether or not they’re actually goddesses or not, and he confesses that he got the idea from her father at school. She angrily vents at Jin for a moment, before begging for him not to lose faith in her as a goddess. To herself, she thinks that technically she’d be fine because she’s not in her own body, but for Nagi…
Jin walks home quietly, thinking about all he’s heard today. When he arrives home, the lights are on but the entrance shows no sign of Nagi’s shoes. He calls for her but gets no answer. On the kotatsu, there’s a note from Nagi apologizing for fooling him, suggesting that she left. When Jin goes to the kitchen to drink some water, he finds her uniform in the trash. He falls asleep in front of the television, and wakes up around 3:30 in the morning only to find that Nagi still hasn’t come home. He grabs a snack and waits for the phone to ring for the rest of the night, until it’s finally time to go to school. He writes a new note on top of Nagi’s and heads to class.
On the way to school he thinks she really might have disappeared for good. Lost in a daze, for a moment it looks as if the mountain across the way had several construction trucks on it. When he looks again after a sudden burst of wind, he sees there were clearly no trucks there to begin with. Triggered by this odd event, he wonders if Nagi was ever really here, too. He checks her shoe locker when he arrives, and finds her shoes there (negating that theory). Tsugumi comes to say good morning, and begings to worry about him in this sad state. But Jin just walks away without really answering her questions, saying Nagi is just absent today.
Jin asks everyone in the art club if they’ve seen Nagi recently, but when they all say no he hurries away, skipping club activities for the day. After school, Tsugumi stops him again to ask about Nagi. She asks him to please tell her if something is wrong, and he turns to her sadly, almost saying something, but changes his mind and runs off as it begins to rain.
He grabs his bike and starts searching for Nagi throughout the town, but can’t seem to find her. His bike slips and gets a flat tire, so he walks alongside it for awhile. Along the riverbank, he thinks he hears Nagi call his name, but it was just his memory playing tricks on him. At home that night, he eats some noodle soup while staring at the glue stain on the table, and jumps when the phone rings. However, when the caller ID shows it’s just Tsugumi, he doesn’t answer, and lays down on the tatami again – more depressed than before.
Jin dreams of a kitten’s voice crying, with Nagi laying unconscious on the floor next to it. He hears her call his name again as he awakens, and rushes to the front door to see if she’s there. Betraying his hope, only a stray cat greets him before it promptly runs away. At school the next day, Tsugumi shakes Jin out of concern, asking what happened with Nagi. Staring at nothing, Jin tells her in a quiet voice that she might not ever come back.
Eyecatch and “Preview”
Even though comedy is sparse this episode, I’m pleased (and yet not surprised) that the studio is doing such a great job with the more serious side of the story. They’re answering a lot of questions that came up in the first 2 or 3 episodes, and then were completely unanswered for a long time while we had a good time enjoying the humor and character development. It was bittersweet to see Jin’s happy face as he talked to Daitetsu change gradually into sleep deprived worry, and then to pure depression. All the emotions were so nuanced and perfectly expressed.
Zange kicking ass was a sight to see, and probably the funniest moment in this sad pre-finale episode. Her conversation with Jin seemed to suggest that something seriously bad could possibly happen to Nagi if Jin stopped believing in her, since he was the one who summoned her from the tree. But there’s really no concrete proof.
Despite not getting much information from the stereotypically old and friendly Shrine management couple, I thought the two things he did manage to learn were pretty interesting. First, no one knows the god’s name because of a fire many years ago that burnt the name away. An unfortunate stroke of luck, but at least it doesn’t disprove anything. Second, he learned from the exceedingly old lady that the goddess used to help those who were hung (or hung themselves), which I didn’t think much of at first, but it occurred to me later that it makes quite a lot of sense – since they are tree goddesses after all.
Kannagi manages to drag out the plot in such a way that you don’t really notice if there’s a lot going on or not, but not in a bad way. This was an episode completely devoid of our usual cute plot device, but I still found most moments, *especially* the quiet ones, very poignant. Between Kannagi’s season finale and at least one other, I’m looking forward to next week quite a lot. Enjoy!