「白い繭と青い炎」 (Shiroi Mayu to Aoi Honou)
“White Cocoon and Blue Flames”
I’ve said this before but this series has really hit its stride over the past couple episodes. Whether its the animation, the developing plot, or the cast of characters, the quality has only gotten better and better the further along we go. Evan Call‘s OST, especially for the sequence where Arata walked home alone from Shinjuku Station, does wonders to capture the fun, mystery, and for that scene in particular, loneliness of the series.
Thanks in no small part to Satoru purposely setting Arata up with a case that was a bad match to his abilities, it was once again made clear that while Arata’s Ears of Sand allow him to communicate, they do not guarantee that he will understand what he hears. Kohaku, for example, was even more frustratingly enigmatic than usual, spouting nonsense without context about a festival for the gods that had Arata shaking his head until Sakaki and Seo filled in the missing pieces of information he needed. Although those two have settled into the background, their unwavering support of Arata was integral to him holding fast to his ideals when it comes to dealing with Another peacefully.
It’s true that not every Another can be talked down – such as in the case of the Moth babies, Azazel, or Persephone – but some of them can be reached if you’re patient enough to try. When Sakaki and Seo explained their viewpoints on the situation, it was probably Sakaki’s method that resonated the most. Yes, you try the peaceful way, but if it comes down to a choice between Another and human lives, he would choose the humans. Unlike Satoru, however, burning the stadium would be his last resort. Simply moving the eggs to another, less populated location is such a simple answer though that it’s a wonder why Arata himself didn’t suggest it. As much as I enjoyed several characters taking the time to maturely discuss the issues at hand, it felt like Arata gave up and went home a little too easily. Having his actions be motivated by saving the “elites” from the Moth Queen lessens his agency, making him feel more reactive, which is essentially what he’s been all along. If only there were some kind of a disaster god he could have asked for help…
Kanoichi Akane (Shimamura Yu) is proof that humans can come to an understanding with Another. She may not know what her house god is saying, but she can tell when she’s happy from her expressions. She treats her house god as though she were a child, because essentially she is. Similarly, the Another in the Red Hood was a child who only wanted to play. They didn’t know the harm they were causing. And Azazel, for as twisted as his methods were, only wanted his love back. To date, Satoru is the only character (outside of flashbacks) that has committed acts of violence with spiteful intent. It’s somewhat justified due to his father prioritizing the house god over his own son’s life during some kind of hostage situation, but not enough to earn him much sympathy here. In his few appearances, he has stomped on an Another and set a stadium filled with eggs that look like this ablaze, so if his only redeeming quality is some affection for his cousin, then I say Arata should save Shimizu Shota (Sakaguchi Daisuke) and then get out of the way of the storm.