「解離法《スカイ・ウォーク》」 (Kairi-hou “Sukai uouku”)
I was so scared. A life rendered colorless, without meaning, without worth–and then suddenly, it returns. Because they believed. Because they understood. Because they trusted each other more than anyone in the entire world. And Kuuhaku–!
A Life Colorless
Like Madoka Magica using its SHAFT-y art to show the otherworldly air of the witch’s lairs, anime is at its best when it does things that can’t adequately be shown on the page. When the screen washed out, it hearkened back to Shiro & Sora’s lives before they met each other, and their eyes first filled with light upon that fated meeting. The world was bleached of color without Sora in Shiro’s life, and that hit like a ton of breaks right to the feels.
One of the (many) ways a story can transcend into the realm of art – and I’m referring to art like some people refer to “literature”, only not quite so pretentious – is by seeking to do more than just entertain. I have no problem with stories that only seek to entertain – that’s a worthy goal, and one I espouse myself. But Shiro’s despair and loneliness made me profoundly uncomfortable. It felt like something had been ripped away. Part of me wishes it would have lasted longer, so I could have dove into that feeling further and experienced further what it was like to trust someone that much…while the rest of me is glad it ended, for the sake of Shiro and the pain I didn’t want her to undergo. And she almost gave up, to the well-intentioned Steph and Jibril who were coming to the most logical conclusion. But no. Kuuhaku does not lose!
Holes in the World
I appreciated how Shiro began to pick out holes in the plot. Sora was cut out with a broadsword, without the holes being filled in properly, so there were clues to be found once she got over her despair. They apparently lost an entire day. It was said that Shiro told Steph to fall in love with her, but Steph had no feelings when Shiro rubbed her breasts. (Other than confusion. Why so cold, Dora-chan?) Many of us were waiting for Shiro to take the lead and strut her stuff more, for she’s been the silent partner of Kuuhaku for most of the series. Here, we got it. She’s a true protagonist. She’s just a little more quiet than her older brother is all.
Wagering Everything. Everything
Sora & Shiro have risked their lives, their freedom, and the entirety of Imanity so far, but this was the most frightening wager so far. Not because it was the most dangerous, but because the cost of losing is so profoundly unsettling. If Sora lost, Clammy could have erased him from existence. He already was erased for a while. Death sucks, no two ways about that, but to disappear without any of the friends and family who knew you remembering you is a hellish scenario. Even when we die in reality, our lives echo throughout the world by the works we did and the effects we had on others. To have all that snuffed out in a game of Existence Othello is a thing of horror. Once again, profoundly unsettling…which just made it all the better when they won.
Trust Beyond Anything
From their world filling with light only when the other is around to Shiro being able to understand exactly what Sora would do once she figured out the truth of the game, the trust between Shiro and Sora is unfathomable. It’s untouchable, a love more pure than any I’ve ever seen, not because it’s innocent, but because it’s deep and uncut. Here are the three finals pieces that Sora left, even after he himself had disappeared, in Shiro’s words:
He gave up everything, his body and his memories and the memory of his life in everyone but Shiro, in order to give Shiro the tools to win. It hurt to see Shiro struggle so much, and to hear Sora’s voice when he was at his wit’s end, battling to stay sane long enough for Shiro to rescue him, but the greater the pain, the greater the glory. Bam! Kuuhaku always wins. Always!
Clammy & Feel Join the Party
Sora and Shiro aren’t conquers, not exactly. Like Iskander, who could crush a people without diminishing their human spirit and end up beloved for it, Kuuhaku never takes the route of coercion, slavery, or death. Okay, perhaps coercion, but they do it with such style its hard to hate them. They could have left Clammy brain dead, but they didn’t. Instead they gave her back her memories and existence in exchange for Sora keeping a copy of her memories, and she keeping a copy of his.
Remember what I said about trust beyond anything? That’s a shortcut to it, I’ll give them that. Clammy had so much pride, so to get past that and bring her to their side, they had to do something crazy. Once you’ve learned everything about someone, can access all their memories like they’re your own…yeah, that would inspire a little trust. I don’t think Sora and Clammy could trust each other any more than they do now…unless they were Sora & Shiro. They don’t need magic to trust like that. They’re in a class of their own.
“I was so scared!
Vulnerability. After all they’ve managed to do, Sora & Shiro ought to be indestructible, unflinching, unshakable. They’re not. Vulnerability from hyper-competent is a hard trick to pull off, and I’m glad the chance wasn’t squandered. I didn’t think we were actually going to get an incestuous kiss, but then they were angling for the yuri kiss and I was like wait, whaaaaaaa–nope! Haha, I love it! I’m glad they took the chance to show that, as bulletproof as Sora & Shiro seem, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t effect them. Even if they were sure, absolutely sure that they were going to win, that doesn’t mean it wasn’t scary. I like them even more.
Looking Ahead – Onward to the Eastern Federation!
Kuuhaku’s second demand was the right to rewrite Feel’s memories, but not out of malicious intent, but so she could spy for them. I wonder if that’s for the game against the Eastern Federation, or whether they’re already planning ahead to Elven Garde? Sora did mention obtaining the final piece to beat the Eastern Federation, and I assumed that was Feel, but it could easily still be Feel without needing to manipulate her memories to win. Either way, it looks like we’ll have a little downtime next week, though I wouldn’t count on it being devoid of plot progression. No Game No Life never is.
tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – A world without color. As despair sets in, Shiro turns the table, wins the game, & proves the depth of Kuuhaku’s bond #nogenora 09
- No, but seriously, that’s okay. I didn’t want to sleep tonight. *shudders*
- “You don’t change yourself. You change how you do things. You have to make your own way. You have to create a way to fly, even while you stay the same. Let’s think of a way to make wings that will let you fly. We can take our time.” First Sakurasou, now this. Everything Ishizuka-san touches turns to inspiration.
- Stop leveling Elf capitals, Jibril. That’s rude.
- Of course Sora would pick the white side. Shiro. Of course.