「地下の秘密」 (Chika no Himitsu)
“The Underground Secret”
I never noticed Phryne and Nessa had the same eye color, so I didn’t realize it had any significance until it was spelled out for us. In the concept art for their character designs, they both had the same purplish hair too, which I really wish made it into the anime. Not only do they look better with purple hair and eyes, the similarity made it more believable that Nessa was what Phryne looked like when she was younger. I imagine the change was made so that no one would suspect they’re the same person, but in hindsight, I think it would’ve been something fun to speculate about. It wouldn’t have taken away from the impact of the cloning processing going on (at least not for me), as the sight of all the adolescent Phryne’s in test tubes raised even more questions about what exactly the “key” is.
I’m sort of surprised the story is still keeping the details under wraps, given how long it’s teased us about the whole key bit without providing anything substantial to go on. However, this episode did suggest that Phryne is only one of possibly many potential candidates, plus how it seems to require her virginity intact. The question is, to what end? For a moment, I thought she was being cloned to fuel the Fractale System in some way, but that idea was quickly put to rest after Phryne said they’re just disposing of the failures. So with that, I’m kind of of at square one again on the plot side of things. Since we’re rapidly approaching the end of the series, it’s starting to look like the key is something relatively straightforward though, in the sense that it won’t have any further plot twists once it’s revealed. The thought of that is somewhat disappointing, as I was hoping there would be more layers to the overall story.
On a positive note, the character interactions have continued to improve, starting with Enri showing concern for Clain and demanding that Sunda charge in to save him and Phryne right away. That almost seemed out of character given how poorly she treats Clain, but it did go on to reiterate that she’s not a bad person and her pervert remarks are just a running gag. Nessa’s rampage on the other hand leaves me wondering if Phryne likes Clain just as much as her doppel does. She sort of hinted at it when she spoke about running away from the monastery and meeting him, which felt like a confession even though it was far from being one. The most powerful scene involved the Phryne clone whom Claim formed a bond with, as I really didn’t want to see her killed after she directed them to the closest shelter. That damn Dias. He’s proving to be more and more of a jackass who’s only concerned about his own agenda.
Despite the cliffhanger, I’m pretty convinced that both Clain and Phryne survived. I can’t say the same for Barrot, who had a bunch of rumble fall on him. It would be a pretty anti-climactic death if he did die right there and then, especially after he was shown laying his hands all over Phryne. Thankfully, he doesn’t seem to be her legitimate father and just a self-imposed one. I say kill him off without a second thought if that’s all he is.