「覚めない夢の続きを生きている」 (Samenai Yume no Tsuzuki o Ikite Iru)
“Life Is a Never-Ending Dream”
For the 12th episode, the mysterious circumstances behind Kaede’s affliction and the lingering after-effects of her suffering have mostly been revealed. As we learn more about Kaede, the situation that she is stuck in becomes more and more complicated when it turns out that her encounter with the Adolescence Syndrome is has removed her memories of who she was before her bullying.
The most fascinating aspect of the depressing syndrome Kaede faces is how much of her personality was altered by her memory loss. After she lost a majority of her memories, her personality shifted into the imouto archetype character that we all know and love, revealing that much of what we enjoy about Kaede is brought out because she’s lost all of the cognitive abilities she had to behave as she usually did. Her third person speech pattern, her journal, her obsession with pandas, her interest in comically flirting with Sakuta; all of it was a construct. The revelation that she took on a second personality as a child-like imouto because she has no memories of the maturity she once had hits hard, and definitely works to have us think twice about everything we’ve known about Kaede until now considering that her Adolescence syndrome unwillingly trapped her in this role.
The consequences of Kaede’s syndrome are as depressing as her family and friends feel trapped in their inability to do anything more than observe her. Sakuta has the hardest time as he’s only recently been able to revert the syndrome in his acquaintances. With Kaede, he’s only been able to gradually help her make slow and steady steps towards tackling her anxiety with the hope that the next step could help her live as she used to. On top of this, his own affliction with the gash in his chest triggered through his experiences with Kaede have been shrugged off entirely. Their parents are given some redemption for having left Sakuta and Kaede to fend for themselves as their mom had developed an actual disorder from her daughter’s amnesia, resulting in Sakuta’s dad needing to live apart so that he can help his wife regain touch with reality. While Mai and Nodoka haven’t been directly affected by the syndrome, their roles as bystanders also have them feeling helpless to offer any help to Kaede when they’ve grown attached to who she and Sakuta are as loved ones.
The next episode is already set to be phenomenal, however, now that it’s been revealed that having Kaede check every goal off on her journal has caused her to revert back to her original personality. Upon waking up, she was confused by how much her room changed based on the newer Kaede’s love for pandas and cutesy designs in a completely different tone of voice and a lack of “Kaede” in her vocabulary. Sakuta is also taken aback as his shock could only have him question if she’s Kaede or “Kaede”. Her answer will absolutely set the tone for the next one as we may find out what her personality was like before she became the Kaede we’ve been following up til now.