「許されざる者」 (Yurusarezaru Mono)
At first glance, this was the most straightforward and unambiguous episode in recent weeks. However, a closer look at some of the implications reveals that we’re really no closer to understanding what’s going on than we started. Questions continue to prop up, most of which surround Tabuki Keiju, who was reasonably forgiving of the Takakura siblings when talking to Yuri, yet pulled a 180 at the very end by setting his eyes on Himari.
I have no idea if he merely wanted to spare Yuri from the “dirty work” in their plan, but he does seem drawn to fate in his own way and didn’t simply have a change of heart after talking to her. If Keiju really has the same goal in mind, it’s probably safe to assume that he’s trying to bring Momoka back to this world using the diary. The question is, what does punishing Kanba, Shouma, and Himari get him? He doesn’t seem to share the same misdirected hate as Yuri, plus the Takakuras don’t have the other half of the diary, leaving “revenge” as the only motive that comes to mind. The episode title definitely suggests that it could be as simple as that, but I get the feeling there’s more to it after seeing Keiju use such a roundabout approach. Yuri I can see lashing out solely for revenge, since she made it very clear that she harbors a grudge. Keiju, not so much.
The other ongoing question pertains to the penguin drum itself. While it was nice to hear “Rock Over Japan” two weeks in a row, “Himari” continues to be coy about its true identity, only hinting that it lies with Kanba. (Shouma clearly isn’t needed.) One theory I have is that the diary is but a mere object to pit everyone in a life or death struggle, and the penguin drum embodies their fight against fate and desire to change it. One only obtains the “penguin drum” when they succeed in changing their loved one’s fate. It’s not a very concrete idea, but it does fit the notion that everyone’s unknowingly taking part in a cruel game that Sanetoshi is overseeing, where there will be a sole victor who’s allowed to reshape the world to their own “truth”. Their “truth” would likely include the people whom they want to be alive and none of the people whom they don’t — kind of like a zero-sum game. In order to regain what one’s lost, someone else has to suffer, which is sort of what we’re seeing now with “Himari’s” warning to Kanba and Shouma about how they’re going to lose big if they simply neglect the penguin drum.
As of late, the only straightforward portion of that plot are the constant projectile-filled encounters between Yuri and Masako. Seeing them continue to fight over the two halves of the diary is about the only thing that doesn’t continue to raise new questions, so I’m actually grateful that the story’s dumbed down when it comes to those two. I also prefer to see them bumping heads over messing around with Ringo and Kanba, since they’re a perfect match for one another — insults and all. Hopefully that paves way for more backstory on Tabuki next time, as I’d love to hear what his “fated take” on his scarred hand is. I can picture him getting his hand jammed in a train door while trying to rescue Momoka, but what I’d really like to see is a flashback that shows the Momoka tried to stop the Takakura’s Sarin gas attack.
* It may have been goofy-looking, but those penguins hacked up live octopuses like it was some gruesome execution. It’s not so pleasant when I imagine the real thing. I do love takoyaki though.
* I gather it’s only a matter of time before Kanba gets it on with Himari if she keeps stripping in front of him.
* I’ve joked in IRC about how the penguin hat will be a fetish in bedrooms before long, but there’s also a decent-looking cosplay outfit out there for those who want the “complete experience”.
* Full-length image: 25.
Preview & End Card