「雪のあかり」 (Yuki no Akari)
“AKARI of snow”
Seeing as this is a supernatural series and all, I’ve been sort of wondering when a ghost would show up. Well it looks like I don’t have to wonder any longer, as the little girl in the red coat we saw in the preview last time turns out to be just that. Much like the title suggests, she’s named Okamoto Akari and voiced by a new seiyuu named Minase Inori. The Japanese anime community is already trying to figure out exactly who Inori is, but we do know that her debut role here will span two episodes. The actual story involving her character who froze to death waiting outside her apartment for her father Kengo (Ueda Yuuji) is surprisingly not that creepy though. After the summoning that Chihiro performed called out Akari instead of Maya’s late father, the main cast was far too relaxed in the presence of a ghost for me to start feeling any anxiety over it. No one seemed to care that JK was the only person that couldn’t see Akari either, even though he was able to sense where she is. What’s more, no one seemed to mind that she could physically interact with everyone, and were simply focused on bringing her home to try and put her spirit to rest. All just another day’s work at Waldstein Academy it would seem.
Things did take a more serious turn when they found her home and Akari showed signs that she was traumatized by the exact spot that she died, especially when the washing machine went flying and a snowstorm enveloped her. However, I was still more keen on learning about the circumstances leading to her death at that point, more so than fearing that she’s going to start killing people. Akari has shown that she’s a friendly spirit that means no harm to others, and developed attachments to Smile and Maya in particular, so there’s really nothing eery about her character at this point. Instead, it looks like the story will come down to resolving things between her spirit and her father, who feels responsible for her death and is extremely upset about it. Looking back, I don’t see much more to this two-part arc nor much relevance to the main plot, but still enjoyed this episode a fair bit due to Akari’s cute character and wanting to see them help her spirit.
Amidst those developments, Fumiaki’s relationship with Mikaze looks like it’s continuing to get on Maya’s nerves, albeit it still feels like she’s annoyed about him having a girl who fawns over him rather than being jealous of Mikaze. Of course, one could always argue that’s the sign of a girl who’s unknowingly interested in a guy like Fumiaki, so it’ll be interesting to see which one it ends up being later on. There was also mention of Maya selling her father’s house and the new owners tearing it down and getting rid of everything inside, which left me wondering if she’s overlooking something that may have been left behind there. There hasn’t been much mention of the old research notebook she discovered back in episode two and how it detailed his research into the Nostradamus Prophecies, but if he left something like that behind for her, it doesn’t seem all that unreasonable that there might be more. For now, I’m curious about Chihiro seen talking to Mikaze in the preview. As mentioned before, the two of them are seen together in the opening sequence, so all the suspicion as to whether or not Mikaze’s in league with her and keeping tabs on Fumiaki may come to light next time.
* P.S. JK is hilarious as always.