「渡辺しおん」 (Watanabe Shion)
If it’s too good to be true, well, it probably is. Inuyashiki has certainly been delving deep through some interesting tangents as of late, although choosing to sideline Ichiro and take the path of redemption for Hiro definitely pushes those loose boundaries. It’s a delicate balance at best, taking your central villain and transforming him into the hero, but I think Inuyashiki has successfully bridged the gaping chasm so far, in part due to Hiro himself and that chaotic personality.
The important thing to remember when considering Hiro and his newfound heroics this week is that he has been building up for such a moment for a long while. Hiro’s problem as highlighted before is his lack of feeling, he possesses a void not easily filled and constantly bearing down on him. So far this fact has manifested in his killing spree (starting from the most unlikely of origins), but there was no reason it ever had to. Those raw and honest emotions Hiro was after don’t solely originate from the cries of a would-be victim, they can also manifest through the love one has for another’s life. As Shion’s pleading poignantly showed, Hiro could fill the void by simply finding the love of another, not unlike his mother or even his friendship with Naoyuki. Since Shion apparently loves Hiro dearly, our villain-cum-angel will do what is necessary to hold onto those feelings. If Shion demands he stop killing he will, if she enjoys him helping others at death’s door he’ll do it without complaint, all to suckle more from the affection she eagerly provides. Make no mistake, once those feelings from Shion disappear (as they likely will soon), Hiro will find something else to fill the void, and we all know how well his previous choice worked for him. There is no redemption for Inuyashiki’s antagonist, only the latest flight of fancy capturing his attention.
Besides the reasoning behind Hiro’s “change”, what particularly impresses me is how Inuyashiki is showing the consequences of Hiro’s actions. Unlike Ichiro who carefully rations his help (regretfully knowing he can never save everyone), Hiro, much like any teenager, takes his gift and uses it to the utmost, no matter the risk. He cures folks in public, operates a Twitter account, and has no problem whisking Shion around mechanical Superman style through the urban jungle. Such brash moves will quickly attract attention, especially if abnormal, and in our modern world it does not take long for the curious, determined sleuth to start piecing the puzzle together. It would typically be ironic for Hiro to be brought down by the very thing he’s worried about (i.e. caught by the police and sentenced to death), if not for his age and proven inability to introspectively analyze his own decision making. Hiro may be effectively invulnerable and sociopathic, but is certainly not smart in the way you expect most antagonists to be. There’s a subtle sense of complexity here, not being able to fully predict just what Hiro will do next, but at least for me it keeps Inuyashiki’s story thoroughly entertaining.
With only four episodes remaining and what likely will be one hell of a forced entry next week, Inuyashiki is pretty much set to enter its final act. There’s plenty which can still go horribly wrong—particularly if Hiro regresses too hard towards his murderous mean—but considering how well the show has handled the development this week, I have my hopes firmly up that the best almost certainly lies ahead. The only demand I have is that we get more Ichiro soon. I don’t know about you guys, but I’m starting to miss our lovable (and quirky) geriatric saviour.