「秘めたる想い」 (Himetaru omoi)
If there was any doubt as to which side of the isekai divide SnS would fall, this week should properly answer that question. While the standard array of tropes and clichés well-worn in other isekai adventures remain in all their glory, the show’s unique spin on the standard story is now well under way as the mystery is fleshed out, new and important elements are revealed, and that drama you just know and love is set to boil. It may not be a winning combination just yet, but SnS sure is flaunting its individuality.
As expected following that cliffhanger last time, little time was wasted in giving Asahi’s circumstances some detail. Besides being unable to log out, the girl currently possesses an unregistered account and lacks any and all memory beyond the moment of her death. Taken altogether it’s the perfect recipe for system glitch/bug as Haruto is quick (and right) to believe, but given those increasingly apparent .hack//Sign and AnoHana similarities mentioned last time you damn well know our spunky little cutie isn’t just some collection of electronic bits. There’s something ominous responsible for Asahi’s apparent death, and as one responsible boss’ continuing presence in SnS’s OP shows, the reason likely has to do with the actual objective Pleroma Industries has for Re’Union. Take the sudden rush of attempts to recruit or kidnap Asahi for example, everyone wants her unique Sense ability because it will help them obtain the status and rewards Re’Union’s developers have promised to certain players, but as Takanori states, how could they find out about her so quickly? If someone high up is leaking this information you have to wonder why they would and what they stand to gain from it. With only Sense players able to play this game guaranteed there’s something else at work here and with the SAO influence going strong who wants to bet Asahi’s situation is a little like Asuna’s birdcage experience. Has anyone even seen Asahi’s dead body? Didn’t think so.
Sinister corporate plots aren’t all SnS has to offer though as with Takanori’s reappearance we have the beginning of this show’s key romantic feud. To no one’s surprise (or at least you shouldn’t be) Takanori remains firmly smitten with Asahi and unable to properly question whether the girl before him actually exists. Thanks to his terminal case of oneitis the guy is certain to come to blows with Haruto sooner than later, particularly considering his thinly veiled game warnings and what as mentioned before are the repeated attempts to steal Asahi away. No matter the presence of one hella mature Satsuki helping to solve this mystery, someone will eventually manage to swipe Asahi away, and when that occurs you just know who’s going to be gunning for the clearly obvious perpetrator. With Takanori’s thinly veiled hate and Haruto’s apparent lack of Sense superpower, Asahi’s dream of reassembling Subaru is going to take more than a few words and pretty faces.
ED: 「Starlight」by Erii Yamazaka