「Change the World」
If anyone was anticipating a Shinda Sekai Sensen wide passing, you weren’t too far off the mark, though it’s unlikely anything like you were expecting. Leading up to that, I had my own suspicions upon seeing a shadow manifest itself from Naoi, namely choosing to linger around in this afterworld after given the means to pass on causes them to appear. As the episode progressed on, it turned out that I was right about that except that the shadows start manifesting themselves regardless of whether one should have moved or not yet. In other words, it’s almost like time limit on how long any soul can remain in this world before being force to move on one way or another, similar to how a game might start filling the play field with invincible enemies to kill you off for taking too long. That’s the way Yuri put it anyway, but the added twist is that you’re almost given a fate worse than death by having your soul taken away and becoming a mindless NPC like what happened to Takematsu here. It was shockingly clear that was the case before Yuri suggested it shortly after, whereas the fact that she’s been well aware of what Otonashi’s been up to is less so if you took notice of her suspicion back episode nine.
Admittedly, I was surprised to see Yuri gather all the SSS members and have Otonashi explain to them the true meaning of moving on and how it’s not something to fight against, which was the only other viable option in the face of the shadows’ ability to multiply themselves to countless numbers. Naturally, there were plenty of objections and lack of trust in what Otonashi had to tell everyone, but I it was nice to see Naoi join up with his efforts early on in the episode. I still like to joke around about Naoi being Otonashi’s butt-buddy ever since he acknowledged his existence and gave him a manly tear-filled hug, but whatever the true reason is, his addition here trying to help hide how Kanade is working in cahoots with Otonashi from Yuri was absolutely hilarious. In hindsight, Yuri was already aware of that fact from the very beginning, but watching him seemingly fool her at the time was idiocy at its comedic finest. That was an awesome follow-up to trying to hypnotize Hinata into thinking that he’s a worthless piece of toilet paper that gets used and flushed away.
In all honesty, nobody was going to fool Yuri when Kanade gave her and Takeyama access to her computer to see if the shadows might be a bug in her abilities. The revelation that she did have a new angel wings one (for show) was rather cool when we actually got to see it, but further gave away how Otonashi told her she needs feathers to look more angelic-like. However, that became a quick afterthought when SSS showed off an awesome display of of combat ability against a horde of shadows, with Naoi going for the dual pistol approach and Kanade cutting through them with ease using dual handsonic version 5s. Because of that, it was kind of weird how the mood suddenly became somber once Yuri gave everyone a chance to decide whether to try and move on or remain in this world fighting the shadows and risk getting their souls consumed. The early cut in of “Brave Song” while everyone was seen contemplating what to do actually got me a bit teary-eyed, simply because it felt like they were all going to part ways and never see each other again. The one that actually took me back the most was seeing Takeyama write one last dairy entry into his computer about the weather and hoping tomorrow will be sunny as well. Metaphorically-speaking, it spoke volumes to me and improved my opinion of him.
The one upside and “facepalm moment” during that however was the realization that Kanade isn’t their enemy anymore and a human just like the rest of them. I say facepalm moment though because like Otonashi and Hinata, Yuri was the last person I wanted to have say that so nonchalantly like she knew from the very beginning. It already sucks to learn that you’ve been fighting a fruitless cause against one girl who isn’t even your enemy, but to have your brave and fearless leader tell you that long after the fact burst some brain cells in my head. In contrast, it was very leader-like of her to go off checking up on some more shadow stuff and refuse everyone’s help so that they have proper time to make a decision for themselves. The sight of one NPC student transforming into a shadow right in front of her earlier was enough for her to suspect that someone might still be pulling the strings from the shadows (har har) using a massive network of computers.
As such, I’ll admit I found it rather befitting for her to run into a teacher in the library computer room played by Shibata Hidekatsu (Wrath in Fullmetal Alchemist) while looking into it, but it turns out that he was only setting up new machines to replace the ones that were stolen. The big cliffhanger here is that Yuri discovers a secret shaft where the computers were stolen from, which leads right back into the Guild. Could this mean that it’s been the Guild leader Char all along!? *insert dramatic music*