「だけどあなたはいない」 (Dakedo Anata wa Inai)
“But You’re Not Here”
While the delay for this post is due to real life business, my heart really wasn’t set out on this episode in the first place. Unless they’re pulling a red herring here (which would be fantastic), we know who the criminal happens to be. I had my suspicions in the beginning, but with the hairstyle the culprit has…it’s hard to not guess who it probably is. Assuming that things are as predicted, we still have yet to see what the motivation behind the attacks were and how the culprit managed to mask their killing intent from Kotoura this entire time. Although the former can only be guessed at, the latter can probably be linked to how Mifune hides her own deeper thoughts from Kotoura–though both are really unexplained at this point, we may see a confession from Mifune for all the manipulation and deception she’s done.
Now Mifune’s intentions are not entirely selfish–redeeming your mother’s image is an admirable task–but she went about it the wrong way. Not enough emphasis was placed on her drive to redeem her mother until the very end, where even then the action was short-lived and anti-climatic. Sure, Mifune made Muroto stare in shock a few more times this episode, but other than an awkward fight between Kotoura and Manabe, not much has been done to challenge the group’s friendship. Moritani is released without much worry, Muroto still is as loyal and patient as ever, and the negative feelings from the group aren’t expanded on other than some awkwardness before the resolution. I hate to say it, but this arc so far has been quite the downer so far.
What I had hoped this arc would do is bring back the tenseness and the challenges that the first episodes brought upon Kotoura and friends. I wanted to experience the thrill of seeing their bonds pushed to the limit, where a resolution is far from easy. I wanted to see a big problem get tackled despite the challenges in an interesting manner that also shed light on the ethics of using mind-reading to help fight crime. Above all else, I wanted Mifune to be more rash and uncontrolled, striving harder for her mother and doing “whatever it takes” to redeem her mother’s image.
In my opinion, we didn’t get any of that, at least in a satisfactory manner. I’m afriad to say that Kotoura-san has been a letdown in terms of its potential thus far. The issues are explored at a very shallow level and the comedy still gets in the way of delving into the drama. If the show wants to do proper drama, it can’t use the same mood that’s been adopted for the cheerful moments–the sense of danger gets diluted that way. While I applaud the show for how it handled the first episodes still and roping me into what was otherwise perceived as a low-hype show, right now the show is delivering to expectations I had pre-season. Unfortunately without the source material I can’t make a statement on whether it’s a fault with the author or the adaption, but either way the quality of the story right now still makes me sad.
Despite that though, I’m still hoping that the show will reveal something amazing in the last few episodes left. The preview looks promising if it is indicative of the overall tone of the episode. Kotoura’s self-reflections and flashbacks so far have been a pleasure to watch, especially as they mark her growing friendships. If A-1 can do something right here, it’s to make those final episode reflections for Kotoura as meaningful as the beginning of the series was.