「”Spice of Life”」
With every episode, a little more depth is added to the characters and to the story. Kazuki and Rei are aware they can’t keep Miri under their care but giving her back to a mother who doesn’t want her seems even less ideal for the girl’s upbringing. And so, this episode is about the pair coming to terms with being Miri’s guardians, for as long as she needs.
I love that the focus of this episode was more on Miri and Rei’s origins. I know there’s still a cloud of mystery around Kazuki but Rei and Miri are more captivating to me as characters than he is. Miri was brought up by a club singer who had no desire to have a child. She was taken advantage of and Miri was the result of that. She’d never have any intention of keeping her daughter or raising her. Yet, Miri doesn’t seem to have been very traumatized by the environment she was brought up in. Her mother brings up moments during which Miri would laugh and find the joy that, to her, seemed entirely joyless. She couldn’t understand her own daughter’s innocence and grew to dislike that trait of hers. Kazuki’s conversation with her at the bar where she works opens his eyes to the world that Miri would live in and the mother that might one day taint her kind-hearted personality. It’s at this moment he decides that maybe, after all, Miri is destined to live with him and Rei as they navigate this dark and twisted lifestyle.
Rei’s upbringing is still a bit of a conundrum. He was brought up by a father who was at the head of what seems to be a Yakuza group. It looks like he comes from a wealthy household but not without its hardships and where only strength, power, and success are what his father truly valued. In this one memory, Rei doesn’t meet his father’s expectations and the divide between the two gets larger when their relationship is cemented as ‘underling’ and ‘Boss’. He never really had a father figure so he doesn’t understand Miri’s connection to Kazuki. But he does understand her need for connection. So watching Miri have to experience the same neglect brings up difficult memories and choices for Rei. Miri is also slowly softening Rei’s heart with her childlike magic. She shows him what it is to care about one another and to help each other with her little ‘Smile’ spell she learned from her mother. She works her magic so well that Rei actually gets a decent on-screen moment in this episode.
In the previous episode, Kazuki had told Miri not to call him ‘Papa’ when they were around others in public. So this leads to the toddler feeling confused, even alone. And Rei empathizes with her. Having someone tell you “don’t call me father”, especially at such a young age, can leave psychological scars. Rei’s character is designed to be proof of this, with his aloof and detached personality. But when he sees this little girl, something that’s been locked away for a long time finally comes out: his heart. With open arms, he calls to her as her father and she runs over to him happy as can be. And so it goes: two emotionally wounded assassins become Buddy Daddies.
This series is clearly going to play with the highs and lows of having a child. The little jolt of dopamine we get from watching Miri smile whenever one of her dads makes her happy is what will keep me coming back to this series every single week. And watching these two guys raise this little girl with no clue how to go about it will be super entertaining! I’m just concerned about the future. I can’t imagine they will continue to live like this without either giving up their trade or giving up Miri. What happens if they do continue as is and one day, a grown Miri discovers they murdered her biological father? True, he may have been scum but she’ll always remember the day she went out into the world searching for her dad and finding him. That memory has the potential of turning into a nightmare.
I don’t know if the series will get that far ahead in time but I do expect the story to lead to some kind of ultimatum. What do you think?