Well that’s certainly attention-grabbing now, isn’t it? I don’t know what it is with idealistic heroes this season, but there seems to be a lot more of them in spring 2012, and I’m really loving the juxtaposition of “justice” as an ideal and its worth in reality. Kouga embodies this aspect quite nicely – I’ve been quite harsh on him but in retrospect, he has the most potential to mature and change from a naive, idealistic boy to a more pragmatic (and probably a little jaded) man. It was interesting since I’ve been waiting for someone to confront Kouga about his overly rose-shaded view of heroism and justice and this episode finally delivered that moment; Hayami poses the ever-popular question: do you use your heart, or your head? Because that’s essentially what the problem comes down to – anybody would whole-heartedly want to save as many people as they can, but it’s not what reality permits. In reality, you cannot save everybody. It’s a topic that continuously comes up and challenges characters like Kouga, and in this season in particular, there’s a variety of characters that take different stances on this particular issue – most notably Emiya Kiritsugu of Fate/Zero and arguably Saber of the same franchise.
Once I realized the gravity of Hayami’s smack-down, any smugness I expected out of the moment evaporated; Kouga is still a frustrating character, but his ideals are who he is, and it’s what defines him as a person, and betraying those ideals by giving them up so easily would essentially mean betraying himself. It’s doubly sad because one day he’ll have to give it up – it may come naturally or through force, but one day Amagi Kouga will have to face reality one way or the other and if you think about it, it’s actually an undeniably heartbreaking event. Growing up is never easy, and once he realizes he can no longer hold onto his ideals, what will become of him?
I will never be as fond of Kouga as I am of Jin probably, but this episode went a long ways in redeeming him in my eyes, and I’m even starting to grow some respect for him for wanting to forge a path to justice in his own way.
Speaking of Jin, that brand new power-up is looking pretty spiffy on him, and I’m actually really interested in what it will afford – red is supposed to be Zet’s “final form”, and it looks like Jin has reached that thanks to Seiji, so color me excited. Mitsugai isn’t the only one eager to see what a fully-powered Zet can do! The cooperation between him and Alphas is going to be a treat and I’m looking forward to seeing what their dynamics will be like, since it’s been obvious from day one that they don’t operate on an entirely same wavelength. Both are characters that pursue justice – inadvertently or not – and while separately they’re free to achieve it however they want, working together is an entirely different situation that requires compromise. The childhood friend angle is something that could work to an advantage here as it opens the door to some nice teamwork that I wouldn’t mind seeing.
There was also some nice Konoha and Jin moments, although it’s really hard to count Hanako out of the running in this unofficial race of romance; it is her that lives in Jin’s house, not Konoha, and she has consciously admitted her possible feelings for Jin. It still doesn’t validate her petty girlfriend act from last week, but at least there’s somewhat of a better basis for it now. I’m still on the fence about her character since it’s difficult to tell what made her run away in the first place: first-world problems or something more substantial? Not that I’m downplaying the problems of distant families, but given the scope of the show, it’s a first-world problem that doesn’t garner any sympathy.