「光の下」 (Hikari no Shita)
“Under the Light”
The disgusting soup returns! We finally learn where Gauche got his questionable palette from as Sylvette proudly serves her original special soup. Appearance-wise it’s deceivingly delicious, but Lag and Niche are quick to inform us otherwise. How something can look that good yet taste like total crap is beyond me, but that mystery is nothing compared to the one concerning Gauche.
After Lag passed his Bee examination last time, he ends up staying with Sylvette for cost reasons. With everything from Sylvette barreling down the corridor to try and get Niche to brush her teeth (with the latter going commando again) to the aforementioned disgusting tasting soup, his life there is cheerful for the most part. When Aria comes by to deliver his new Bee uniform, she takes him to the Hill of Prayer, a place in Yuusari Central with the best view of the artificial sun where her and Gauche often came to pray. She then explains how Gauche got caught up in the “Day of Flicker” 「瞬きの日」 here twelve years ago on the 311th day, an incident where the artificial sun went out momentarily and a government airship crashed nearby during an investigation of it.
While deemed an accident, Gauche lost all memories of his mother that day, who passed away after giving birth to his younger sister. Without a second thought, Gauche gave the newborn the same name as his mother, Sylvette, and devoted his life to making her happy. Aria suspects he acted this way to fill the newly created void in his heart, but doesn’t know why he was affected as such by the flicker. Hearing this, Lag thanks her for telling him more about Gauche, and reveals that he too was born on the 311th day twelve years ago. He then rushes off to help Zazie after Connor comes by saying he’s requested help with Gaichuu. Using Gauche’s rare Nocturne shindan gun, he and Zazie easily take out the swarm, but make the mistake of sharing in some of the soup Sylvette packed Lag for lunch.
Things started off really cute with the whole Sylvette/Niche chase and Lag eventually getting her to brush her teeth. I couldn’t help but feel that Sylvette saw Lag as a substitute for Gauche though, having him take over her brother’s room and all. Regardless, the story has taken an intriguing turn after learning what the crashing blimp scene in the opening sequence is all about. Based on how Aria spoke of it, the Day of Flicker came off as some government conspiracy. Whether it was intentional or not, the artificial sun’s ability to erase memories made it seem like a large-scale version of the hand-held devices used in Men in Black. I imagine things have something to do with Lag being born on the same day (which makes him the exact same age as Sylvette) and the men who took his mother away.
For now, that’s a theory on my part at best, but I’d be all for it if it were true since I love conspiracies. So far, the series hasn’t established any sort of antagonist during Lag’s journeys, so an overarching backstory such as this would be a perfect means to that end. Seeing as Akatsuki embodies the pinnacle of personal status in their world, I’m already kind of hesitant in trusting what comes out of there. I’d like to believe that Gauche is still alive and being subjected to some experiment in Akatsuki at this point, but until we actually get there story-wise, I don’t want to jump to any premature conclusions. Overall, this was an eye-opening episode which Aria looked great in with casual clothes on.
* I forgot about the anti-government/Letter Bee organization Reverse that was brought up in Gauche’s memories last episode. Seeing as a government airship went down, it’s likely they were involved. Thanks to Yggdrasil325 for the reminder.