「網代慎平の一番長い日」 (Ajiro Shinpei no ichiban nagai hi)
“Shinpei Ajiro’s Longest Day”
At this point it’s clear that not all rules in Summertime Render are hard and fast rules. Or, at the very least, they don’t apply to everybody. Humans are not all “just” humans – if Karikiri doesn’t prove that, even Hizuru was something more than human to be sure. And that’s even more true with the shadows, who by now seem to come in a dizzying variety of types from “Goddess” on down. For that reason I’m not so much bothered by twists like we saw this week – as long as they make sense within the larger mythology, I don’t think they break the author’s compact with the audience.
I think I always knew Ushio was going to come back, largely for the above reason but also because it was hard to see anything but a full-on bad end without her. First, though, there’s the matter of those multiple Karikiris. Hishigata-sensei has a theory tied back to his father Iwao, suggesting (if I understand correctly) that Karikiri has a method of preserving his earlier bodies for later use as needed. If so I would think getting them hacked up would still be highly undesirable, as there’d have to be a limited supply of them, but he’s been treating them pretty cavalierly of late.
Then we have Ryuunosuke, who – again, if I understand correctly – now exists inside Shinpei much as he did his sister, but also has the ability (thanks to a stolen bit of Shide’s armor) to manifest in Shinpei’s physical form. This breaks the rules for any shadow we’ve known up to know, but Ryuunosuke came into existence in unique fashion. It also breaks the rules about a human only having one shadow, because Shin-chan now has two, between Ryuunosuke and Haine. Again, it’s a new “rule” but it does make sense with the basic logic of the premise. I think…
And then there’s Ushio, who’s always been kind of the odd shadow out anyway. Digging into time travel theory here, Summertime Render ascribes to the broadly accepted (certainly by anime) sci-fi principle of parallel timelines. Every time Shin loops he creates another one, and as such he’s kind of the ultimate rulebreaker. If Ushio exists in one loop and tags along with Shinpei when he creates a new one, there can be two Ushios in the same timeline. That’s the idea anyway, and why the shell seemed to spook Haine so much – it’s got Ushio’s memories uploaded onto it. The real (well, real shadow) Ushio is drifting out at sea somewhere after attempting to save Shiori.
High tide, that’s the time to try and get to Ushio and jam those memories back into her as Nezu assures us that’s when she’ll be closest to shore. Shide will be hunting too of course, but fortunately shell-san acts as a sort of homing scallop, giving Team Shinpei a chance. As the kids wait for the tide, though, there’s a little time for lost causes to be snuffed out. First Sou, whose confession to Mio so badly breaks her that she (very badly) tries to pretend she’s KageMio. She then promptly confesses to Shinpei, who rather clumsily volleys it back with a “precious little sister” and reminds Mio he’s in love with Ushio. Mio then unceremoniously hoists her own death flag, and Summertime Render has shown us that can’t always be dismissed as self-referential humor.
That’s one hell of s shell because seriously, the ocean is huge. The odds of finding one 50 kg human body in it seem pretty long, but with Guildenstern’s help Shinpei manages to do so just ahead of Shide and his army of strays. The battle is well and truly joined now – the final battle, presumably. And it’s one it’s hard to imagine Team Shinpei having any real chance of winning without Ushio’s help – Shinpei’s grand plans can’t come to fruition without the sheer firepower Ushio brings to the table.