「混沌 / 隈倉」 (Konton/Kumakura)
“Chapter 48 Chaos / Chapter 49 Kumakura”
Rei has difficulties distinguishing the contradiction of good and evil within Gotou. He is the man who would stand up for Shimada, yet he’s also the man who would hurt Kyouko, and have an affair while his wife remains in a comatose state. We previously saw how Gotou never displayed remorse for brutally beating up Rei, and didn’t even bother looking for any kind of reconciliation. Now, these sequences of seemingly inexplicable tendencies are no longer a mystery. This episode did a wonderful job of clarifying Gotou’s character, by contextualising the rationale behind his actions.
At the end of the day, Gotou is simply a human who carries his own burdens, ploughing through many obstacles with a stubborn conviction. Nevertheless, life doesn’t stop throwing him curveballs, and I wonder if the way in which he attracts problems actually relates to his strength of personality. We can see he does love his wife, sharing a tender moment in the hospital, and he actively puts off Kyouko’s advances despite succumbing more often than not. Realising the difficulty of his situation makes me feel sympathy towards him. So although Gotou remains a character who rubs me the wrong way, I concede that his intensity bring much needed energy to the series, and makes him somewhat compelling. Basically, his appearances typically force out pressing issues, which I personally consider a good thing.
Conversely, it can be argued that Rei’s actions are not as pure as they might seem. I find it very difficult to describe his bond with Kyouko as merely siblings. It’s so messed up, especially considering she sexually assaulted him when they were still kids, and that adds a weird dynamic to their relationship. Putting that aside, what matters is how he’s so protective of her in spite of everything I just said, since it’s relevant. Rei clearly thinks Gotou is out to hurt Kyouko, and I can see why such an assumption was made. After all, Gotou is already a married man, who has casual flings with a much younger girl. However, nothing rules out the possibility that Kyouko came onto Gotou. Rei’s assumptions are formed too quickly, and one-dimensional in nature. Gotou has shown indications of gently letting off Kyouko, yet she persistently makes moves onto him. Having seen Gotou honestly try, there wasn’t much more he could have done to dissuade Kyouko, at least from my perspective. Hence Rei makes a judgement of Gotou’s character that is actually inaccurate, so I can see why Gotou became extremely aggravated, even if it does not justify his violent altercation.
Most importantly, in spite of what Rei thinks is right, Kyouko never asked him to save her. Though she’s young, Kyouko is an adult who should be allowed to make her own choices. If she continues associating with Gotou, despite his frequent attempts to put her off, then it’s pretty clear everything comes of her own volition. Should Rei consciously decide between right and wrong, if he’s imposing his personal beliefs in a way that deprives Kyouko of her autonomy? I’ll let you be the judge, but my gut instinct is ‘No’. When someone can’t help feeling attracted, you’ll probably do more damage than good by interfering for their sake, even with the best of intentions.
Covering for 3-Gatsu marks a departure from my usual style, where I seek to cover all the bases. It’s my honest belief that everything is driven through Umino Chica’s myriad of wonderful characters. As a result, I’ll probably examine episodes by analysing individual characters as well as their various interactions, which means I didn’t really look into Souya or Kumakura. As far as I can tell, Kumakura is a failed challenger with a severe case of anger management issues, whereas Souya is the summit that Rei must eventually conquer. At the moment, they are relatively inconsequential if we talk about the grand scheme of things, so I’ll ignore them for now. Presently, Rei’s shogi rank is too far below theirs. Anyway, as the old man said, humans are the embodiment of chaos. Therefore, Kyouko Kouda is one of my favourite anime characters in recent years, because of her intricately frenetic construction. Unfortunately, I didn’t get much of a chance to talk about her this episode. If you want to know about my thoughts, and find out why I’m so intrigued by such a twisted personality, feel free to read here.