「千の風、美の尋めゆき」 (Sen no Kaze, Bi no Tomeyuki)
“A thousand wind, the search for beauty”
The revelation of exactly who Nostradamus’ Key is didn’t come as any surprise at this point, but it didn’t take away from the epic feeling of the climax to the story either. From Chihiro and Mikaze’s aerial clash of magical proportions to Smile and JK’s struggle with the twin granny demons, the rapid development where everything finally came to light made this series as a whole one hell of a ride. The most shocking thing was Chihiro getting what appeared to be mortally wounded at the hands of Mikaze, and providing some final instructions to Fumiaki before she collapsed. To a lesser extent was Maya’s father still being alive because Chihiro faked his death — confirming the suspicion that the commander in the future is him — and Maya still having the notebook he left for her thanks to Chihiro planning ahead for that as well. In all cases, this episode just went on to show how Chihiro was absolutely nothing like we were led to believe all this time, and made it kind of sad to see her go with the way she put up valiant effort to the very end. Judging from the preview, I’d like to believe that she and her faithful demon-in-disguise assistant are still alive somehow, but I haven’t ruled out the possibility that it might just be a flashback.
As for Maya and Fumiaki picking up where she left off, the confirmation that Mikaze is the key still had impact in my eyes. After all the build-up surrounding it for the entire series, it just wouldn’t feel right unless the suspicion was spelled out in clear writing to drive that point home to both the viewers and the characters themselves. Following the big revelation, Fumiaki proved to be surprisingly cool by reading out parts of the spell and Maya intuitively repeating the incantation after him to ultimately cast it. All the while he was getting beaten and tossed around by Mikaze yet managed to get up every time from all the abusive “training” Maya’s given him. At one point, I actually wondered if Chihiro had cast a protective spell on him with her kiss, but there wasn’t a lot in the way of suggesting that she did. As such, we just have to chalk up saving the future to Fumiaki’s help and the Waldstein Academy that Maya’s father built to activate the spell to rid the world of Mikaze for good. Subsequently, the cliffhanger the episode left off on about the future remaining the same didn’t really come as a surprise to me though.
When it comes to time travel and the possibility of going back in time to change the past, I’m inclined to believe that things would adhere to a “split timeline theory.” In other words, any changes made to that past would set it towards a new future and not salvage the current future from which time agents are sent from. If we were to adopt the single timeline theory, the whole operation would be fruitless since any changes they attempt to make in the past would lead them to exactly where they are now — a barren future invaded by aliens. If stopping Mikaze saved the future that Fumiaki came from, he would have never been sent back in the first place, thus creating a time paradox from the discontinuity in time. In short, it would come down to the situation of, “Which came first? Stopping Mikaze or Bunmei being sent back in time?” As seen here, the latter directly resulted in the former, but if the former happened then there would be no latter. This is where the single timeline theory falls apart.
Based on Junichirou’s reaction (or lack thereof), it looked like he was well aware that their efforts would only ensure that Maya has bright future and purposely withheld that information from his team. Assuming that’s the case, it raises the question as to which future Fumiaki would return to since he seems intent on going back to his own time. Given that he’s currently on the timeline where the world was saved, he would theoretically go thirteen years in the future where the aliens never invaded the Earth. In this new future, another grown-up version of him would already exist though since that’s not the version of the future that he came from. However, seeing as he could contact his barren future even after Mikaze was sealed away, it suggests that he can return to his barren future which is now considered an alternate reality to the one he’s currently in. Why he would want to return to that is beyond me — especially after Maya finally confided in him — so I’m thinking he might just stay in 1999. Oh how I love time travel theories and how there are so many problems with all of them. 🙂