「氷の世界」 (Koori no Sekai)
“World of Ice”
I had the feeling that the pink-haired “beauty” in the opening sequence may not be a woman, largely in part to how a trench coat masks one’s figure, but I would’ve been perfectly happy if I were wrong in this case. I don’t mind the mysterious librarian of the Central Library’s “Hole in the Sky” branch, seeing as he’s voiced by the rarely heard Koizumi Yutaka from NHK ni Youkoso; I just don’t see what making him extremely feminine-looking is supposed to add to his character outside the initial “ugh”-type reaction.
Regardless of his appearance, Watase Sanetoshi’s introduction is an eye-opening one since he made himself out to be some otherworldly keeper of people’s memories in life. The way he referred to Himari’s life as a story suggested as much, giving off a very similar vibe to Book of Bantorra (a series that’s a lot better than I originally gave credit). His actions on the other hand revealed that he’s responsible for giving Himari a second chance in life. The penguin hat, the box of frozen penguins, and the sight of her deathbed from above were clear indications that this episode was about Himari’s trip to the afterlife after collapsing at the aquarium. The apple did provide something new though, reaffirming the Night on the Galactic Railroad foreshadowing by the two kids in episode one and building up a soulmate named Natsume Mario (Aranami Kazusa) whom Himari’s love for transcended death (presumably). Where this is headed I don’t know, but when the story’s about Himari and not Ringo for a change, anywhere is fine with me.
For that same reason, it’s nice to finally learn who the two girls in the ending sequence and all over the train advertisements are. The flashbacks kind of made it look like Himari had a falling out with Isora Hibari (Watanabe Yui) and Utada Hikari (Miyake Marie, who also voices Ringo), but I assume she had to give up on becoming an idol because of her ailing health. It’s hard to imagine that Hibari and Hikari would just abandon Himari after seeing how they were more concerned about Himari’s mother than getting their application in. The only thing that throws me off is how Himari completely cut off ties with them and they went on to form a successful idol duo without her. It could very well be that they ended up applying as a pair without Himari, or were told that they’d only get accepted only if they ditched her, but there hasn’t been anything to suggest either case. As such, I’d definitely like to see some clarification on what happened somewhere down the stretch. For now, it’s not as important as finding out what happened to Shouma though. Poor guy, risking his life to save stalker girls.
* I can only think of the wrestler Hunter Hearst Helmsley when I hear the name Triple H.
Preview & End Card