I’m a tad bit confused by the storyline and where it’s taking us but also happy to be on this journey with Shiki, Kabane, and Akira. Let’s jump right into it, as I owe you two episode reviews in one…again.
This was an extremely emotionally charged episode. It was plagued with harrowing imagery of abuse (child or other), evoked trauma but also softened our hearts with a family reunion. Kudos to Shiki’s voice actor Hanae Natsuki who, at times, made it difficult to breathe. Something I admire in this series is that each episode is quite straightforward. It always feels like there’s a clear path, a to z, and no puzzle pieces to search for (within the episode). But when it comes to the overarching plot, I’m still confused as to how these little ‘one shots’ will come into play. Looking back to the arc with the mosquito sisters, it was primarily used to introduce to characters: Nobimaru and Mihai. And now this story arc introduces non-other than Shiki’s younger sister Tademaru Aya, who turns out to be more than his younger sibling. She has a special ability, one that preserved their mother safely for years.
Turning my focus away from the Tademaru family, however, it was a true shift in character to see Kabane stand up for his friend, even asking how he could help. Rather than acting on what made sense, he acted from emotion, one of protection and love for his friend, even if he might not see it that way. Seeing his friend in pain immediately drew out his instincts for protection in the same way his instincts emerged in the first episode after losing his pendant. Would I say he’s more emotionally aware? No, but he’s acting more human than he would have in the past. And that leads me to our next episode.
This episode definitely took a turn. We’re now erring a little more on the lighter side of things. With Aya and Shiki’s mother returned and awake, thanks to the good graces of Dr. Granny Ohana, the Kemonoist go back to work right away. Their returning mission is to investigate the horrendous mutilations in Harajuku. Women of all kinds are having bits (lips, eyelids, noses) their precious faces ripped off. The culprit? A Kemono who is in love with a human, or was it a mannequin she thought was human. This part was unclear to me.
As for Aya, her shy demeanor vanished as quickly as she appeared. A whole makeover I’m more or less comfortable with since she’s a mere 8 years old, and the same for the topic of the episode. I’m not so sure I remember wanting to date boys at that age. If it’s the case for current 8-year-olds, I’m a little scared, to be honest. Anywho, back to Aya. She’s as mature as she dresses, opting to help at the clinic, healing kemono and humans alike. With her ability, it’ll be easy breezy. She also seems to be overshadowing her older brother Shiki with her ability to be a ‘fixer.’
Having Aya around sure is entertaining though. I did very much enjoy the rivalry between herself and Kon, who again, has found herself on the ‘useless’ side of things. However, this is where Kabane shone. Once again, he demonstrated true human connection. A little dense, true, but he’s learning. For a pre-teen slow on the social uptake, he’s making strides with the roster of peers he’s surrounded with.
Well, I learned a new word yesterday reading some comments about the latest episode elsewhere – “mesugaki”. It seems that several of my favorite characters are mesugaki, but I’m kind of uncomfortable with this one. OK, if Aya were 100% spider she’d reach maturity in a year or two so maybe that has something to do with her precocious behavior, but I really don’t think the prostitot look suits her at all.
Anyway, still a great episode. The whole kemono situation mixed in with the growing awareness of some of the characters makes the whole thing seem like something Bruno Bettelheim could have cooked up, but he’s a bit of an unperson these days so I guess there’s no real connection.