「小さな進化」 (Chiisana shinka)
“A Small Evolution”
There’s only one problem with a first episode as flawless as Fumetsu no Anata e had, but it’s a pretty big one. It’s awfully hard to live up to it, and it can make very, very good material seem a little pedestrian by comparison. As fate would have it, this first major arc is (in my opinion) not the series’ absolute best to begin with. The result is a couple of episodes which feel less than truly impactful for me, but if it were almost any other show I think I’d be praising them to high Heaven.
It’s also never a great sign when you have a nearly three-minute recap start the third episode of a series. It’s not necessarily a sign of anything major going wrong with scheduling or budget (though it can be), but if nothing else it’s just irritating enough to be a significant annoyance. Did we need a refresher of what happened in the first two eps? Obviously not. But as long as For Your Eternity doesn’t make a habit of it that’s really not a big deal.
With all that said, I think this was indeed another very good episode, probably better than the second on the whole. I’m still not that nuts for March as a character – or Hayase or Parona for that matter – but the premise itself is very intriguing. I mentioned last week that we hadn’t seen any “magical beasts” in the series yet (including the first bear who ate the boy), but the arrival of Oniguma certainly implies that might not have been the case. At the very least there’s never been a bear that size walking the real world, much less with spikes growing out of its body. Honestly, unlike Lunch-san I’d have taken one look at that battleship with hair and decided by arrows weren’t going to do any good whatsoever.
There is a reference by March to the boy possibly being one of the “legendary Doki people” (just before she comes tantalizing close to naming him), but we don’t much more in way of hints about him after that. Parona manages to free herself just before Oniguma can make her dessert, but March has been taken away by Hayase and her guards. She makes March eat what looks like konjac laced with a sedative (at least the sacrifices are given that small mercy) and heads off for the altar to set the table for Oniguma. Parona eventually crosses paths with Fu-chan, who seems to be headed somewhere quite intently but isn’t being talkative.
Hayase is an interesting one. It’s fascinating that her own soldiers seem to believe the Oniguma legend is a myth – does she, too? If so, why bother going through with the whole sacrifice ritual? Once she sees that’s very much not the case, she keeps her wits about her and determines to fill the role assigned to her. But once the boy arrives and things start to go hugger-mugger, she adapts quickly – seeing this new information dumped in her lap and an interesting turn of events and perhaps an opportunity.
As for Fu-chan, he reverts to Joann form when the confrontation comes. We learn a little more about his ability here, which certainly includes lightning regeneration. It seems turning into living things is not an option, else taking Oniguma form would obviously have made sense – as is, wolf form does the job admirably. The more interesting question for me, I think, is what prompted him to do this for March’s sake. Did his ability to empathize level up when he became “human”, or is that part of the entity the same no matter what body he inhabits? He was pretty loyal as a wolf too, after all…