「王国 the tyrant」 (Oukoku)
Hmm, where do I start? While I can understand Shuu’s decision to become a tyrant, maintain order with an iron fist, and try to save everyone that way, I really don’t understand the king-like treatment that Yahiro’s making everyone give him. It was very irksome to watch because I figure more people would have enough dignity in the face of death to not resign to becoming a slave in hopes of potentially being saved, which is why Argo was my hero this week. He basically flipped Shuu the middle finger and told him to take his right hand and shove it up his own ass, and said just about everything that I was thinking, including how Shuu was actually cooler when he was lacking confidence and looking for a place to belong.
For the record, I’d just like to say that I was not one of the people who kept clamoring over how Shuu had better grow a spine or the hell with this series, as my biggest qualm wasn’t with his character but with how the story was so poorly put together in the first half that it was hard to see him in a consistent light, let alone a positive one. And now, it’s almost as if the writers feel like they can just do whatever the heck they want with little to no concern for how the series got to where it is now. “Oh, you don’t like a wishy-washy main character? Well let us fix that in the second half of the series.” Well, I hope you guys who were complaining are happy now, because I find the current Shuu — who just had to dress up like a preppy boy with a long coat, scarf, and armband to match his loyal followers — so much more disagreeable than the one who never wanted the Void Genome and got stuck with it.
The shock value from Hare’s death and Shuu’s drastic change in character only lasted for about five minutes for me last episode, as I didn’t really like the antihero direction things were headed. It just comes off really messy and fairly forced, as if the storyboard keeps changing from week to week. The addition of some new female characters — Takarada Ritsu (Tsuda Minami, Phryne in FRACTALE), Herikawa Miyabi (Watanabe Akeno), and a nameless girl — acting as Shuu’s “elite” bodyguards and following a strict command structure was just silly, as was all the lower Void-ranked students who were being discriminated working tirelessly for them in hopes of getting some vaccinations. I just can’t see students — high school students mind you — putting up with that kind of crap even if it looks like the GHQ plans to execute everyone in the quarantined area. (Like what are Shuu and his guards going to do if a large group of them just got up and left? Kill them all with their Voids? Because I’d sure like to see that.) What’s more, his attempt to maintain the status quo for prioritizing resources and handing down punishments felt like self-imposed drama, much like how he was going to make an example of Souta. While Yahiro was clearly manipulating Shuu by lying to him about Hare’s death — likely in an attempt to just use his Void Genome to save himself — some responsibility still falls on Shuu for letting himself be used. This does not look like someone who has any plans of taking responsibility and redeeming himself, which goes back to the problem with how the writers aren’t making his character relatable or even respectable so that I can give him the benefit of the doubt. It’s never a good sign when I’m happy to see Ayase slap him and wish she used her Void to kick him nuts too.
Where things do get intriguing are the plot devices that continue cropping up yet don’t seem entirely connected to what we saw in the first half of the series. For one, there’s still no talk about why Shuuichirou is still alive or why he’s working with Segai again, even though Yuu finally made a reappearance again. Then there is Yuu’s talk about Mana, who appears to be awakening in Inori as Shuu gathers more powerful Voids — something that is being made out as “the plan all along” with this quarantined area after they failed miserably with their first attempt. Throw in some overseas countries that are probably thinking of ridding the world of Japan and being done with all their messed up genome research, Haruka willingly cooperating with Shuuichirou after trying to flee for her life, “Inori” pointing at Arisa and seemingly kill her off (but not really killing her off), and now Gai getting resurrected/cloned (probably to push Shuu over the genomic edge if I had to make a guess), and we just have a lot of big developments that are really good but feel terribly out of place considering everything that’s happened up to this point. Messy, messy stuff.
On the plus side, there is one thing that I can say feels like it’s been a long time coming — confirmation that a person dies if their Void is destroyed. It verified my suspicion from all the way back in episode two and kind of supports the other theory I had about how Voids and the Apocalyptic Virus are closely related. It seems like a good manifestation of a genomic resonance is a Void, whereas the out-of-control manifestation is the virus. The perfect manifestation would presumably be a Void Genome that can draw out Voids, which I suspect Shuu’s father and Shuuichirou went to great lengths to create. The so-called “rock that started it all” is probably key to its creation, as is Mana for coming into contact with it and spreading the effects of the virus when she went out of control and caused the first Lost Christmas. Or at least, that’s my best-fit understanding of the plot before the writers decide to improvise some new developments.
* Highlights of the episode were Ayase slapping Shuu, Argo punching Shuu, and of course Tsugumi tying up Ayase in that off-the-shoulder one piece.
* Go for broke! This might be a new record for the most number of full-length images in a single post at 14.
* Full-length images: 02, 05, 06, 08, 09, 10, 12, 17, 19, 20, 22, 25, 30, 35.
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