「喪失感と絶望の証明」 (Soushitsukan to Zetsubou no Shoumei)
“Sense of Loss and Proof of Despair”
Earlier on, I assumed that the angels in this series were just another form of Another, with no actual ties to Christian theology. After all, if they were truly angels, why wouldn’t they be in Heaven? Then when Pandora was introduced, it seemed clear that all the myths and legends were real, just not in the traditional sense. For example, Medusa was probably a powerful Another with the ability to turn men into stone, and Anansi was likely an Another too, maybe with abilities and a mischevious disposition similar to Huehuecoyotls’, which was why I was so sure and elated when we saw Cerberus that Hades was an Another. However, it seems I was too hasty in my judgment. Rather then Hades, the Another kidnapping girls to bring back his lost love was none other than the demon, Azazel (Tachibana Shinnosuke).
After briefly skimming through an article on Azazel, I came to the conclusion that the storyline did him little justice. Azazel fell from Grace, not because he fell in love, but because he refused to bow before God. Additionally, by trying to include a fallen angel in the narrative, it’s inadvertently broken the rules of its own premise. As this show likes to remind us, there are angels on earth, coexisting with humans, so why was only Azazel punished for staying on earth and falling in love?
Perhaps he was never an angel of God, but rather an Another who was driven mad by falling in love with a human, proving that relationships between humans and Anothers are destined to end in tragedy. My main issue with the black-haired Another, though, isn’t just that his very inclusion challenges rules that the series has set, or that he lives in ‘Hell” where he is guarded by Cerberus – maybe Hades lends his dog out the way Azazel lends out kidnapped girls – it’s that he’s interchangeable. Without being told who he was supposed to be, I never would have guessed his identity. Now, there’s a possibility that this Another was meant to have inspired legends in both Christian and Greek mythology, which is personally my favorite interpretation, but even in that case, there simply wasn’t enough development for Azazel to live up to the legends he supposedly inspired.
Regardless, the black-winged Another’s story is both a tragic and undeniably creepy one. Like Seo said, he fell in love with a human, but instead of letting her pass on peacefully after her death, he captured her soul, using the bodies of girls who look similar to his love to recreate a vessel for her. Except the poor woman he keeps resurrecting can’t handle being in a body that isn’t hers. Whether he meant to or not, Azazel twisted her into something that disgusts her so much that every time she wakes, she won’t stop screaming until he kills her, and the cycle starts all over again.
As for the office workers, they accomplished surprisingly little. Arata made himself slightly more useful than a Find My Phone app by narrowing down the search for the school where Azazel was hiding through talking to nearby fairies, though ultimately it was Kohaku who not only brought them to the Underworld, but saved them from Cerberus. Cool as it was to see Seo pull out a gas grenade and Kyoichi whip out a shotgun, the triumph of the moment was undermined by how helpless they actually are. Without Kohaku’s help, they never would have made it to Azazel’s lair, and without the help of the Another observing him, they never would have escaped. Although, despite not putting a stop to Azazel they did accomplish the main goal of saving Kyoichi’s sister and getting out of there, which might be all they could have asked for at that point.
If nothing else, kudos to this show for delivering a genuinely unsettling tale. Between the facial contortions and a truly bone-chilling line delivery from Tachibana, it’s a hair’s breadth from a horror story.