「All is (not) lost.」
“All is Not Lost”
My brain hurts. I really feel like I need to rewatch the whole damn series at this point, but who the hell has time? Especially the third loop – everything seems to keep coming back to that third loop. Which I guess isn’t that surprising in that the shit really went down in that one, and I’m pretty sure it was the longest too. I suspect if I ever do find time to rewatch Summertime Render – and I intend to try – those episodes will prove to be something of an answer key for what’s to come.
“Amenonuboko” is a new name this week. Not if you know a little Shinto mythology however (though I knew it as Amenonuhoko). It was the mythical spear used to raise the land (“Onogoro-shima”) from the sea at the world’s creation. The whole shadow storyline is loaded with Shinto names and Shinto imagery, which has me wondering if Shinpei’s alien origin theory might not be quite right. In any event Shide and Haine note that Sensei is actually faster and better than even Shadow Ushio. That said, though, it was pretty much a given that she was on a suicide run this time – hell, she raised enough death flags herself to supply the Imperial Navy semaphore division.
Sensei and Haine still have a connection, that much is clear. She offers the possibility that Shide has ulterior motives – referring back to his “ending” comment from that third loop, though he denies having said it. She also answers Haine’s question about why she returned to the the island by saying it was all about redemption – to wit, her guilt over Ryuunosokue’s death (which came as a result of her bond with Haine). She does seem to have a plan – to have her brother manifest as a physical form using the shadow material in Shide’s armor and gut him from the inside out – but I’m not clear on just how exactly that was supposed to work.
Another thing I’m still not clear on is how these multiple Hishigatas keep turning up. There’s one waiting for Shinpei and KageMio at the garden, seemingly human but obviously more than that. It has no scannable memories either, which puzzles KageMio greatly. Maybe there have been hints about some sort of cloning ability but I’ve missed them, if so. Bu this time Mio (and almost certainly Sou) are dead, and Shinpei is resigned to looping again – maybe the for-real-last-time this time. Tokiko shows up with a bit of useful info and one more bullet in her pistol to send Shinpei off on one more journey.
This loop brings him back at 10:10 A.M., and using KageMio’s shadow speed they are able to save Mio and Sou this time. But not Sensei, who’s already on the verge of death by the time they arrive on Terajima. I think we can only assume the factor that ended the standoff was KageUshio being present in Shinpei’s shell – I can’t explain the flashlight and Haine’s “outnumbered” comment any other way. But even Shinpei appears unaware of that for now. Hizuru gets her glorious death speech – her demise has been the most self-referential part of the series by far – and warns Shinpei that Haine is being controlled by Shide, who’s the real top boss that will have to be defeated.
Sensei does one more thing, too – she passes KageRyuunosuke off to Shinpei’s care. I’m not sure whether this was symbolic or literal – does he have his own body now, or did he simply switch bodies from his sister to Shinpei? In any event it’s one more responsibility for Shinpei to carry – Hizuru’s sacrifice added a lot of weight to his burden in many ways, in fact. I can’t think there are many loops left at this point – if this isn’t the last throw of the dice we must be getting pretty damn close.