「この鮭茶漬け、鮭忘れてるニャ」 (Kono shakechadzuke, sake wasure teru nya)
“This Salmon Chazuke Is Missing Its Salmon Nya”
Well, that was certainly an interesting episode. On the whole maybe the most engaging for me since very early in Sonny Boy’s run, in fact. I was going to comment about how we’re finally starting to get some answers, but let’s get real – this is still Sonny Boy. It’s still going to obfuscate three times to make up for every time it clarifies, and it’s still going to couch all its developments in allusions and riddles. Within that context, though, it does feel like this episode nudged things forward just a bit.
In a sense, I think the question underlying the gazillion other questions with this show is this – are we looking at something with a scientific explanation, or supernatural? In effect, is this science-fiction or fantasy. Although in typical Sonny Boy fashion even that seemingly straightforward duality is rather more complex. And in fact I think the answer is somewhere in the middle. But I’ve been leaning towards the science pole for most of the series, and I’m doing so even more now.
At the center of this episode are Mizuho’s cats, especially Sakura – the snow white one. For the first time in the series we’re treated to the inner thoughts of the cats, who Kunihko-wan can also understand (much to Sakura’s irritation). The cats are highly protective of Mizuho, for whom they were a sole comfort in a brutal childhood. We know they’re behind the “Nyamazon” thing, but whose power is that? I’ve been assuming it was Mizuho’s, and the cats are just the vehicle for enacting it – but maybe the cats themselves have the power? Or at least they’re a necessary component of it?
What seems more important is the “Copy” power itself, which is explored much more deeply this week. There’s a subplot with a pair of “twins” called Souji and Sei who’ve been fighting for thousands of years (most recently over an extra hair), which is very weird in itself but seems to imply some stuff about Copy. The most likely scenario seems to be that the mechanism for copying (whoever’s power it is, human or feline) is to create a new timeline branching off from the old one at the point the copies were made. And since those cats have been delivering a lot of swag that’s a lot of quantum mechanics written on a lot of bar napkins in God’s bar.
How does that all tie in with the twins’ “Reverse” power, when it’s clear one of them is a copy of the other? It seems like every time Reverse is used and they reset, they’re creating new timelines too. Beyond that I don’t get their significance to be honest, apart from reminding us that Aki-“sensei” is still around and what an A-hole she is. But it seems that before Raj went off on his trip, he’d pretty much figured out the truth about the cats. Theirs and Mizuho’s power is clearly integral to these kids being stuck in stasis, and they (under Sakura’s leadership) were hiding the truth to keep her from being scapegoated like Nagara. But Raj kept that to himself – perhaps not seeing any purpose in throwing Mizuho under the bus when there was nothing she could have done to prevent what happened (or reverse it – yet).
In addition to all that, we have arrested development Asakaze trying to intimidate Nozomi into being his girlfriend and pouting when she doesn’t bite. His words do get to her, though, and it’s Nagara who goes after her and talks her back into the group. He’s a disappointment so far, this one, but I still feel like Asakaze is going to be integral to the eventual resolution of this plot tangle. Perhaps there’s some way to combine Nagara’s, Nozomi’s, Mizuho’s and Asakaze’s powers to get the kids not back to their own world (surely lost among millions of timelines at this point) but at least to a reasonable facsimile of it.
The more I watch of this series, the more I am reminded of Abenobashi Mahou Shoutengai (2002) – seem to be hitting some of the same beats with a slightly more mature bent. I wonder if the endings will be similar.
An interesting comparison that certainly would never have occurred to me. Stylistically they could hardly be more different but the format has a certain similar ring to it.