「まわりにはみんなが」 (Mawari ni wa Minna ga)
“Everyone is Around Me”
This episode wasn’t as strong-handed as I would’ve expected for its dramatic comeback, but the dramatic elements have been setup and are rolling in full force. While we contemplate Moritani’s guilt and Kumiko’s motherliness, Mifune continues to press forward her agenda under the guise of supporting Kotoura. The show still works with the comedic elements in an attempt to soften the mood, but such moments are reverting back to how they were at the beginning of the show–comedy with an uneasy aura you can’t seem to shake off. At this rate, we should be prepared for a conclusion that may very well blow the introductory episode out of the water.
For starters, Mifune’s increased aggressiveness at “taking care” of Kotoura is approaching a point where even Muroto is getting shaken. While the subtle hints have laid low during the comedy, the previous episode and this one have shown Mifune’s renewed attempts at keeping everything to plan. The convenient visit by Kotoura’s grandfather, the joking suggestions to find the criminal, even the setup for the date, all of it is silently orchestrated by Mifune to preserve Kotoura’s powers and keep her in good spirits and of course, willingness to cooperate when the time comes. It’d be unfair to label Mifune’s actions as completely hollow–she does harbor honest feelings for Kotoura–yet this eerie falseness she has currently haunts her persona. Muroto is obviously concerned at this point at how far Mifune will take her ideals and will probably intervene when the time comes, though for now he continues to watch from the sidelines, perhaps in hope that Mifune will know her own limits. This seems to be a perfect time for the show to explore Mifune’s character–let her push the limits once more and allow the consequences to expose her inner character, with of course Muroto finally making Mifune happy by giving her the attention she so desires from him.
Today’s episode didn’t close on Mifune’s exposition though, but rather displaying a slowly softening Kumiko. Oh, she’s still very much a cold person who still believes her daughter is a terrible person, but that darkness is starting to crack, just like how Kotoura’s shadow symbolically shattered in episode one. I understand from the comments that she’s not the most popular character, nor one who people believe deserve to be with Haruka again, but it’s undeniable that the two still have some feelings for each other, enough so to possibly grow a new mother-daughter bond. Haruka wishes to show her mother that a supportive group of friends surrounds her now, helping her live a happy life and showing her mother how much she’s grown. Kumiko on the other hand probably struggles with her lingering feelings for her daughter, especially when she is actually in danger. Kumiko may have declared that she wished to never have given birth to Kotoura, her actions this episode tell otherwise, indicating more a hurt mother who’s become embittered by the world than an outright hateful person. Though not everyone will be pleased with the inevitable resolution, reconciliation will undoubtedly be a big topic somewhere in the next few episodes. In defense of this, I’d like to think that both parties aren’t completely averse to making amends, so why not give them a chance to do so.
On the topic of amends, it looks like Moritani will have a hard time with fixing the wrongs she perceives having responsibility over, especially with the incoming misunderstandings next episode. Poor girl…everything she does nowadays is to protect Kotoura, yet her suffering only increases each episode. Although it’s more likely that Moritani hasn’t done any wrong (Kotoura would’ve picked up on it ages ago), it’ll be interesting to see the pressure against her in the following episodes. If it ends up being the cast that Moritani becomes a primary suspect for the cases, it’ll be interesting to see whether Kotoura will volunteer herself to investigate the case, with or without Mifune’s nudging. So far Kotoura has been protected by her friends every single episode, so it would make sense that she return the favor before the season ends. It’ll visibly be traumatizing and dangerous for Kotoura to take on a case, but for all that Moritani has done to redeem herself and be the best friend she could, it’s more than reasonable for Kotoura to be the heroine this time.