「流れよ我が涙」 (Nagareyo waga namida)
“Let the Tears Flow”
Normal has been restored for a week at least (thanks, fansubbers!) with Summertime Render. And that means it’s back into mill, trying to piece together what’s happening here. This continues to be an entertaining and thoroughly excellent series, an interesting mix of consistency and variability. It always teases out its mysteries sparingly, but in terms of tone it whipsaws pretty hard from week to week. Last week was quite comedic even if you ignore the orgy of distorted faces, but this was an altogether more serious affair. Not that it totally lacked humor – with
two three(?) Ushios running around that was a given.
I’m going to be honest up front – even after considering what went on here, I feel like I don’t really understand all of it. Was I supposed to? I’m not even sure about that. Unless I’m very off-base it seems to me that there are least three new elements here we didn’t know about before:
- A shadow can make multiple copies of the same human.
- A shadow can morph into other things – like necklaces – and then back into its “human” form.
- A shadow can replay a “video” of its memories and take humans inside it.
As far as what Shadow Ushio said about the shadow’s “data” disappearing unless it kills the human, that kind of falls in-between for me. I don’t think that’s ever been expressly stated, but it has sort of been inferred. From the moment both Ushios appeared on the video a mass of new information was being dumped on us. The key to everything was Shiori, who as it turned out was complaining to Ushio about her suspected shadow problem, only not to be taken seriously. I think Ushio would have tried to save her anyway but her guilt over that made in a done deal.
For sure (at least it seemed so to me) there were three Ushios running around at times. Is there a limit on that – could the shadow make an army of Ushios if it wanted? Does the human have to still be alive to be copied for every new shadow, or is the shadow replicating its own copied data? “Real” Ushio cut the video for the eventuality she’d die helping Shiori, seemingly so Shinpei would be sure to help Shadow Ushio fight the threat. But Haine shows up inside what’s supposed to be a “view only” experience – and not only that, she leaves her mark on his arm. That can’t possibly be a good thing.
There’s also the abandoned Hishigata clinic on the mountain near the shrine, which may or may not be the one where we saw a shadow in a wheelchair (which would have to have been in the distant past, presumably). The rumors of it being haunted pretty much guarantee that’s either the center of shadow activity or closely related to it. And it seems pretty safe to assume that the Hishigata family is complicit in the whole shadow phenomenon and has been for generations – Sou seems to be the only one who doesn’t know anything about it.
I’m going to guess that the mark on Shinpei’s arm means she’s “tethered” to him now (which would be bad). And it seems pretty obvious that he’s going to have to die and loop at least a couple more times – we have 16 episodes left, after all. There are deeper philosophical questions at play here too, with the potential to be really fascinating – most obviously what Shinpei’s feelings towards Shadow Ushio would be if this all ends and the two of them are still standing. But one senses those are going to be deferred for most of the series, as more immediate and urgent practical matters command the narrative stage.
This episode solidifies Ushio’s role (and her shadow) as co-protagonist. It was very cool to see Ushio’s shadow moves and skill once it understood how it’s body works, and again we are shown how little we know about the Shadows. Interesting also to see that Ushio’s shadow was “defective” from the start.
But there are still a couple of important questions regarding Ushio and her shadow: who (and when) sent the message to Ryonosuke? How did they get hold of Haine’s right eye?
1) I understand why shadows mimic Humans, we have a higher processing capability while sacrificing other attributes that wild animals have. But we know from experience that the Human brain has limitations and can only process things in 3D/4D, not to mention recalling past knowledge is iffy at best.
2) The shadows decided to copy a life form (Humans) that are trapped on this planet with no knowledge on how to get out, mitrate, and resettle comfortably. Should an asteroid arrive in the right position that will destroy the planet, the shadows would be a sitting ducks like Humans.
3) Aren’t there better things/beings Shadows can copy? Like a black hole, or infinit energy so we can stop relying on foreign oil.