「In Your Memory」
After watching eight weeks of mostly comedy, I admittedly got a bit teary-eyed when I saw more of Otonashi’s past leading up to his death after he survived the train crash. He may have only been aspiring to become a doctor, but the way Otonashi was taking care of all the survivors and treating them to his best of his ability was an impeccable display of his potential that never got a chance to be realized. Stuck in a collapsed tunnel for an entire week waiting for rescue workers, he was the light within the darkness and saved everyone from unnecessary panic. Because of that, I was happy that he got the opportunity to feel what it’s like treating patients and having them confide in his abilities, even if he wasn’t an actual doctor and it was far from being under ideal conditions.
However, that uplifting moment pretty much came to a grinding halt once I saw the internal bleeding that Otonashi was suffering from yet kept to himself. I knew Otonashi wouldn’t survive this ordeal, but nothing was taken away from that ominous sign because I still had no idea when his time would come. Seeing him continue to prioritize the well-being of everyone else over his own and give up his share of water after one person panicked, tried to take it all for himself, and spilled a lot of it, only reiterated what a kindhearted person Otonashi was. While still suffering from his own wounds, he desperately performed CPR on another person who was clearly not going to make too. It wasn’t until the seventh and final day that they were stuck in the tunnel did things really hit me though.
Reminded of how Hatsune once mentioned that she may have gotten better if there was a donor for her (i.e. her lungs), Otonashi pulls out his national health insurance card and opts to donate all his internal organs upon death. The look in his eyes made it clear that he knew he wasn’t going to last much longer, but the most moving part of it is how he inspired everyone else to do the same in the face of death. I still get goosebumps thinking about that moment now, which was completely heartbreaking because rescue workers made their way through the wreckage just as Otonashi passed away. I was already taken back by the sight of the card and pen dropping from his hand, but to be that close to potentially being saved is about as unfortunate as you can get. This is in light of how practically everyone else survived only because of his resourcefulness and calm disposition in the face of life-threatening adversity.
As a follow-up to that, it looks like the big revelation this week is how Yuri will be the “last boss” of this series. I don’t think it comes as any surprise that this afterworld serves as a transitional phase for young lives to realize that their life wasn’t unreasonable and did have meaning like Otonashi just did here, but Kanade did clearly spell it out for us this time after Takeyama sealed all her abilities to help her overcome the other hundred or so consciousnesses she merged with last time. (Where was Christ when you needed him last episode?) In addition, after the initial shock of how Kanade was hoping to relay that sentiment all this time, Otonashi has decided to help her help everyone move on. Kanade has suggested that the reason he hasn’t disappeared is probably because that realization wasn’t his true regret, so it’s likely Otonashi’s desire to save others.
Quite honestly, I’m not sure how to take the idea of Otonashi and Kanade working together to help everyone in the SSS move on and disappear, with Otonashi himself expected to do so as well once his work’s done. The biggest challenge of course is Yuri’s past, hence why I consider her the “last boss”. Depending on how you look at it though, Otonashi could be considered the ultimate antagonist alongside Tenshi, who has now been reinstated as the student council president at his suggestion. She’s also pretending that she lost her memories from the time she spent with the SSS, so that Yuri will be preoccupied with an enemy again and Otonashi can do what he has to. In any case, I presume this means that Kanade is an angel after all, but I’m still not okay with the idea of everyone just disappearing one by one in the remaining four episodes. Should I be happy for them or sad that all the fun will end? I’m conflicted.
* I’ll have a preview up once the official site posts the version with actual scenes from the next episode.