「再会／光明と混沌」 (Saikai / Koumyou to Konton)
“Reunion / Bright Light and Chaos”
After last episode, I certainly never expected being completely right on some of my predictions, but damn, were things ever proven this week.
Right out the gate we now know body snatching is indeed the consequence of losing. If Hanna’s abrupt comment wasn’t enough to seal the deal, we got to see another Selector body swapped with his LRIG. This is a really interesting development because it calls into question the “consequences” of winning. In the previous seasons, body swapping happened upon victory, with LRIG enjoying the tastes of the Selector’s realized wish while the Selector got to
suffer fight in her place. Now? That’s definitely up in the air. I highly doubt it’s a simple you win, you manipulate/create/delete one free memory, no strings attached—that’s not how this card game ever worked. What the catch is though eludes me because the obvious choice is now gone (and the LRIGs still refuse to talk). At least we can safely guess where defeated Selectors go: back into the LRIG pool for future Selector suffering.
Rounding out the predictions is the final, fateful meeting between our two girls Suzuko and Chinatsu. This was an inevitable event, although I personally thought it might be held off a week or two. What we got though was amazing from a peanut gallery perspective. Both Suzuko and Chinatsu definitely are now perfectly interchanged foils of one another. Suzuko (if it wasn’t obvious) overtly wants to be the Chinatsu of her memories, looks up to her still, and hell goes as far as to idolize her. Chinatsu, however, sees the remembered Suzuko as a hindrance, a superfluous weight holding her back. It’s quite fascinating how well Lostorage has created such stark differences with minimal development, with Chinatsu in particular showing deep divisions with her old friend. You can see this during the final fight where Chinatsu first ignores Suzuko, and then pushes her LRIG Meru to the brink, putting Meru through agony with the only encouragement being “endure it”. It’s basically Chinatsu’s method of tangibly destroying her memories of Suzuko and ridding herself of that perceived hindrance. This is some fantastic psychological shiv twisting which leaves the original’s setup in the dust. Lostorage has effectively managed to provide a slow, deranged descent into madness in place of cheap, popcorn-esque thrills. I dare say I’m charmed.
Beyond the Suzuko-Chinatsu conflict, one particularly interesting bit for me was the introduction of Bookman. This guy is almost the perfect personification of Lostorage’s survival game. He’s eccentric, a probable sadist, and organizes battles which cannot be refused. Bookman all but gets off on Selector’s suffering, eagerly lapping up emotions like a kitten with milk. Hell he even plays with his food like a cat. If there was a better character to represent the audience here I really couldn’t think of them. It’s pretty obvious too Bookman knows more than he’s letting on, setting Selectors up for battles with opponents clearly above their skill level, and even assigning Chinatsu’s battle in that park from her memories. I fully expect Bookman will be a significant nuisance in the future, especially with Hanna now seriously sniffing around. That girl is bleeding death flags something fierce, not aided by her newfound partnership with Suzuko (and that sister introduction). There’s some secrets left to tell in this card game, and Hanna is likely to be the first to discover them. The hard way. Next Friday couldn’t get here faster if it tried.
Chinatsu of all people is starting to enjoy battling, and not the Ruuko variety either. No, this girl be going full sadist.
If you find physical pleasure in recorded conversations, you might have a problem. Just saying.