「研がれたヤイバ」 (Togareta Yaiba)
As the precursor to the finale next time, there sure were a lot of loose ends tied up in this episode. Problem is, a lot of them were concluded rather conveniently, propping up amidst everything else that was going on. The most notable was Alma’s pendant, which just so happened to be in the rubble of a storeroom where he was getting his ass kicked by Fei’s brother, Hon Yu. (How convenient.) All of a sudden, the memories of his childhood when the pendant was given to him by Ruri’s mother comes rushing back, leading us to a scene where Alma can return the stone-giving favor and kind of confess to Ruri too. The end result was kind of sweet, but it did feel cheapened by the plot device used to get there.
The same goes for Kenmi’s “shocking” revelation that he was responsible for taking away the pendant and all the Ashi attacks to try and make Alma go berserk — a means of cultivating his powers so that he can harvest it later on. This whole idea of stealing a Sacred Taker’s heart came completely out of nowhere. Even with the tie-ins to the flashbacks and the short explanation given here, it was as if the writers added it just to show that Kenmi doesn’t deserve any form of compassion. His abrupt change from calm and manipulative researcher to power-obsessed super villain suggested as much anyway. Considering how cunning he’s been up until now, it was rather uncharacteristic of him to take the initiative and try to bring down the Aiba Foundation, mostly out of fear that Ruri’s learned the truth behind the death of her parents. Last I checked, Aoi hasn’t even regained consciousness to reveal the truth, so it felt like everything was being escalated just because this is the climax of the series.
The impression I got is that the producers were scampering to get everything wrapped up and couldn’t be bothered about how jarring some of the developments came off. I wouldn’t be surprised if they were pressed for time with only two episodes remaining and just went through a checklist of things that they have to get around to. After all, this episode had “rushed” written all over it from the feverish start to the terrible artwork that was all over the place. Fei’s subplot felt a bit tacked on too, given the way we learned that she had a serum prepared and saw it fail all in the span of five minutes. There wasn’t really time for anything to sink in, including the way Kenmi didn’t hesitate to kill Hon. Hopefully, this was all in preparation for the finale next time and all the rushing won’t carry over. With Fei on the verge of losing it Alma stabilizing his powers, the only thing left should be the battle against Kenmi in his upgraded Anti-Gem Suit followed by a short epilogue where Aoi wakes up. My hunch is that Kenmi’s going to get consumed by Hon’s unstable Ashi heart after he failed to take Ruri’s. That would be a befitting end for him.