「アオイの記憶」 (Aoi no Kioku)
“Memories of Aoi”
Ten episodes later, it finally feels like we’re reaching the climax of the series. The ultimate antagonist may have been a tad predictable, but the flashback to six years ago puts everything in a slightly different light. Learning that Kenmi had Ruri’s parents killed definitely adds to the twisted experiments that we’ve come to know him for and sets the stage for a final confrontation against him where both Alma and Night will likely be involved. At the moment, the key to unraveling the truth lies in Aoi (Yahagi Sayuri), who did break free from her crystallized prison after resonating with Alma’s sacred powers last time.
All we really need now is for her to regain consciousness and reveal to Ruri and Makoto what she overheard on Christmas Eve six years ago. Namely, Ruri’s father deciding to cut off the Aiba Foundation’s funding of Kenmi’s research since he didn’t agree with his methods, giving the latter a motive for killing the Aiba family using one of his experiments. I imagine that Aoi overheard her father mentioning Kenmi’s name before he was killed, so that should be most damning evidence against him. She’ll probably be too traumatized to remember it right away though, seeing as visions of her parents’ death were the last thing she saw before imprisoning herself in a crystal to save her life.
From Ruri’s standpoint, it’s easy to see how her fight with Aoi left her with a sense of regret all these years and drove her to do everything in her power to try and save her sister. It may have only been over accidentally wrecking the clay angel on the wreath for their parents, but she was young and it clearly meant a lot to her. More importantly, their fight is what ultimately saved both Ruri and Makoto’s lives, delaying their arrival at the Aiba villa. Knowing that, it feels like Ruri’s fated to avenge their parents’ deaths, the death of Makoto’s father (Miyake Kenta), and save Aoi to bring some justice to the world, hence what I said above about how this episode put the story in a different light. The only minor qualm I have with this narrowed focus is how it leaves something to be desired on the Ashi side of things. It became fairly evident that the random monsters were only going to a plot device when no ultimate threat came up, so I’m not too surprised that we’ll never get any sort of resolution about them. However, I can’t quite shake the feeling that it oversimplifies the plot, which probably could’ve been told in half the number of episodes without skipping a beat.
For now, I’ll reserve judgement until I see how things wrap up. I still see potential in Night and Fei’s subplots, particularly Fei’s because her older brother is likely going to be the “last boss” of the series. Saving him would provide a somewhat fulfilling conclusion for them, as well as seeing Ruri and Makoto avenge their parents. Makoto’s father was pretty badass, holding his own against a monster before ultimately sacrificing himself to take it out, so it would be nice to see Makoto live up to his expectations. Judging from the preview, it looks like I’ll find out soon enough if that’s the case.