「to be/not to be」
“to be/not to be”

So much happens in this series, my goodness. It can be truly difficult to make sense of it sometimes – not because it’s nonsensical (Tanaka Yasunori does quite a good job with the logic circuits IMO). Rather, it’s just information overload. When that happens I feel the need to default to a bulleted post, something I’ve done rarely over the years, as it’s the only way I can organize my thoughts. So bear with me as I once more wade into waters that are atypically left-brained for me…

  • OK first, Haine. She’s obviously a central figure in all this, maybe the central figure. Just what happened to her 14 years ago is a key point. When we first saw her this week – in the red kimono, playing with the ball (while singing a song about Hiruko, straight from the Shinto origin story) – she put me in mind of a zashiki-warashi. But I can’t find any scenario where the traditional legend of the zashiki-warashi fits here.
  • That said, Haine here is clearly different from the Haine we know in the present. Was she always a shadow, and only awakened to her hunger after tasting Hizuru’s blood? What about those memories of starving children and her family dying, which seemed very much like stories from a remote fishing island in the distant past?
  • Haine’s reaction after killing poor Ryuunosuke certainly reflects a split personality at the very least. And then there’s her eye flying out of her body and scarpering (and eventually ending up in Shinpei’s head 14 years later, presumably).
  • One late arriving idea about that (I’m actually typing this after the rest of the post): perhaps the eye is “good”, and fled Haine’s body after she was tainted by blood/hunger/whatever and changed. Maybe became possessed by Hiruko?
  • We at last have a name for four-arms – “Shide”. In the past Haine refers to him (it) as “greed incarnate”. But we still don’t really know Shide’s identity, just his name, and he’s almost certainly moonlighting as one of the humans we’ve already met.
  • The elephant in the room here is Shinpei’s astral projection into the past. How did this happen, and why? Ushio has the ability to share memories (which is crucial to the last scene of the episode), but she wasn’t present for these events. Someone or something wanted Shinpei to see this, but how does that fit with the mythology we already know? This is certainly not a conventional loop as the term has been defined here.
  • What does Shinpei’s ability to make Hizuru from 14 years ago hear him – albeit briefly – say about the nature of this journey to the past?
  • Ryuunosuke does seem to have literally entered Hizuru – “bouncing off” Haine, as Shinpei puts it, after she killed him. How is it that Hizuru has the ability to be a receptacle for a human’s data, I wonder. Does the fact that they’re twins have something to do with it, or is Hizuru all or part shadow herself (which doesn’t add up generally, but I suppose can’t be categorically ruled out).
  • More evidence that Hizuru isn’t a normal human – her ability to jump tens of meters to save Nezu. This is written off to Ryuunosuke being in possession of her at the time (which has a cost), but that itself still hasn’t been explained.
  • Haine (current) speculates that the reason Shinpei loops to a later start point every time is because his power weakens with every loop. That’s certainly possible – maybe this gift is like a gas tank with only so much fuel in it – but I consider it only a theory for now.
  • Haine’s plan, based on that theory, is to just keep killing Shinpei and forcing him to loop until his power runs out and he dies for good. A sensible strategy – if she’s right about the nature of his power.
  • The counter-strategy is to use Ushio’s memory-sharing power to bring in allies for the fight. That would be Mio, Tetsu, and Tokiko. The strategy makes sense, but including Tokiko seems like a huge gamble to me. On the other hand, she seems likely to possess inside info which could certainly prove useful.

All this culminates in Shinpei making a clumsy but earnest speech to rally the troops. The most interesting part of this is his reflections on his habit of “stepping back from himself”, because it suggests a sort of chicken-and-egg question regarding Shinpei’s nature and the role he’s ultimately been chosen to fulfill. But the kicker comes right after this speech to his allies – in the school gym, outside which Nezu has just been killed by Shiori – when Shinpei loops again, with no recollection of dying. How did Shiori and Shide manage to kill him without even revealing their presence? That’s a crucial question, because if they can do that at will this fight is pretty much already lost, unless the good guys find a way to neutralize it.




  1. > OK first, Haine. She’s obviously a central figure in
    > all this, maybe the central figure. Just what
    > happened to her 14 years ago is a key point.
    > When we first saw her this week – in the red
    > kimono, playing with the ball (while singing a
    > song about Hiruko, straight from the Shinto origin
    > story)

    In the Episode Haine mentioned fish stopped being supplied by the fishermen. Then everyone died of starvation. So (1) was Haine and the inhabitants on the island poor (2) Is Haine the embodiment of hate or anger? (3) 14 years ago, from the way Haine dressed I thought she was from the 1920s – 1940s. (4) Who’s to say Haine is or was a person with a family, for all we know this shadow is a collection of hunger, malice, and hate. Might as well call her the grudge with a brain.

    1. We’ve seen that shadows retain the personality of the original, unless it’s overwritten by another higher ranked shadow. This was exacerbated in Ushio’s shadow case.

      She might be the top ranked shadow, but it looks like her personality is mixed up.


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