「ツィオルコフスキーの祈り」 (Tsiorukofusukī no Inori)
I suppose it’s clever that this four episode arc was really about Meme, who apparently spent 28 years before coming up with an idea to stop grandma from thinking about the gods taking away her life, an idea which was only triggered by Yamam- Ashiro anyway. For once, I’m not annoyed at her, and seeing her goof about with an actual plan made her seem more like a charming happy “get old but don’t grow up” kind of person. For the first time, I saw her as an adult. Plus, Yamamo- Ashiro being someone her own age that she can flirt was a nice change. What’s up with the cattle mutilation “joke” though? All I keep thinking of is castration for some reason…
One of the more important developments brought about that extend beyond the scope of this arc is Elliot, Erio’s “father”. He offered some advice that sounded similar to religious beliefs, and I’ve read around that he could actually be an alien. No, not that gaijin foreigner alien term, an actual alien from outer space yo. The fact that he “disappeared” and that he wasn’t even married to Meme is suspicious enough. Despite not being married to Elliot, Meme still feels like a widow that’s already satisfied with her “late” husband’s love, and there’s really no way to write that without innuendo.
I like how the grandma’s hair suddenly sparkled near the end as if her seishun points were rejuvenated, which also led to the following reaction of, “oh my god they’re actually related…” The sparkles actually mean something, and probably originated from Elliot, considering his hair did the same thing. I’m not really surprised at this. Anyway, I guess the relation of the two was a “big reveal”, even including some mentions of Shouji, Meme’s brother, who is probably Niwa’s father. The only missing link to the Touwa family tree seems to be Meme and Shouji’s parents. Out of context, Meme turning 40 was like some kind of reverse mid-life crisis, since she spent it trying to make her grandma feel younger rather than herself, but in a way still managed to represent that she’s grown older but wiser and finally with acceptance. Therefore, “I’ve turned 40” was a cool way to end the episode.
While shattering my speculation of Yama- Ashiro being the father, I rather enjoyed this episode. I saw Meme in a new light, and appreciated the unveiling of some history behind the characters, finally giving some depth. I would say the meaning behind this arc wasn’t exactly worth four episodes to build up, especially considering how “pointless” the last episode was. I’m still expecting Erio’s amnesia to crop up as an arc, but if they are following the light novels, that’s most likely something left for the end, which won’t make it this season. It’s times like these when I actually get annoyed of faithful adaptations.