「新宿区夜間地域交流課」 (Shinjuku-ku Yakan Chi’iki Kouryuuka)
“The Shinjuku Ward Nocturnal Community Relations Division”
After the chaos of placating the Silkworm Princess, this episode calmly went about tying up several loose ends while further illustrating the path Arata has chosen for himself. He told Kanoichi that he wanted to help Another, to try to understand them better, and here we got to see him do exactly that by helping a displaced Another with no memories find a new home. Unfortunately, Kohaku and Yuki weren’t up for giving the Another a place to stay, since the god thoughtlessly emitted divinity and unwittingly absorbed the life force from anyone who focused on them for too long. Also, the Another smelled like a bear, which was a great big hint as to this Another’s identity that shouldn’t have been overlooked but was, I suppose, so that the situation could grow dire.
Something to take from this is that while Arata’s heart is in the right place, he’s not quite an expert yet. There are still going to be times when he needs Senda’s or Seo’s or Sakaki’s help, and that’s okay. We also see how willful he’s becoming, willing to sacrifice his own health for the health and happiness of the Another in his charge. Considering that Senda just happened to have tickets to a Ukraine exhibit, I don’t think Arata was ever in any real danger, but I do think that Arata will likely be given more and more solo tasks in the future, as he proves himself capable of handling them.
I’m sure going to miss watching this show shortly before bed. Between its generally slow pace, Onodera Emiko’s muted color palette, and Evan Call’s jazzy OST, it was relaxing to see Arata interacting with Another, as he grew a little braver and bolder and more invested each time. One thing I was always waiting for, in spite of the show’s decidedly non-action-centric tone, was for Arata to come into his powers Yami Yugi-style. In the end, though, there was no awakening of alternate personalities or past lives, and what Arata and Seimei have in common wasn’t so much their powers as their compassion, their ability to listen and desire to understand what they heard. It’s an inspiring message and I’m glad that the series took the time to properly set up his character growth as he became more and more comfortable with the role of a Nocturnal Divisions officer.
There were about three major arcs in all, the first being when Arata, Seo, and Sakaki met Kohaku in the mountain, thus establishing the disaster god as a dangerous potential ally, the second being Azazel, and the third being the Silkworm Princess. After some thought on Kohaku’s significance considering he really didn’t contribute to narrative other than by creating tension by simply interacting with Arata, it became apparent that it all comes down to names again. Whether it be learning Azazel’s name or Pandora’s or even the name of the Another from this latest episode, knowing their identity was a key factor in understanding their actions. After all, the Angel of Death has a Cerberus on rent? Makes sense. Pandora is searching for the missing components of the box she opened in the hearts of humans? Sounds about right. For both those cases, however, Arata was unable to reach them. It wasn’t until he embraced the job fully as Miyako Arata, treating it like a lifestyle choice, that he began to have success similar to his initial case with the tengu and the angel.
Effectively, this series of meetings, the cases both solved and unresolved, served as the origin story for Miyako Arata. While he wasn’t able to reach everyone, he planted the seeds in the hearts of those who witnessed what he could do for a better future, one where humans and Another can come to coexist in peace. The Ukrainian god Arata helped took that a step further by responding to events in a very human way. He appreciated Arata’s efforts, and even tried to separate from him when it became clear that the god was unwittingly putting Arata in danger. Previous Anothers wouldn’t have been able to fathom putting their own goals on hold for the health of human, which shows just how truly different they can be. While the Ukrainian god was happy to find a new home in a museum display that would be carted around the world, Azazel and Pandora and even Kohaku before he found Arata had no interest in humans and thus no empathy for them.
After everything Arata has experienced and learned, it was satisfying to see him get one last unquestionable win, and to have his belief in Another reciprocated by one who was genuinely kind. Hopefully, that will set the tone for future cases, which there are sure to be plenty of in the ongoing manga, and if he runs into trouble Seo, Sakaki, and Senda the caffeine-addict will surely have his back.