「世界のかけら」 (Sekai no kakera)
“Fractions of the World”
Wow. Return of the kamishibai (narration over an unmoving picture-think reading a storybook to a child). The characters kept talking, but their mouths didn’t move and the stills continued to butt in on the dialogue. While it’s definitely irritating, I can still overlook it for the sake of the story and it seems like there were less kamishibai moments compared to last week.
In the Yuoshichi household, the doctor diagnoses Koushi’s sister Hinako with fetal contamination. The contamination probably being from factory toxins. While Kinako cannot ever be rid of the contamination, her symptoms can be mitigated through proper care.
Interestingly, monetary inheritance can be passed on to girls and boys, rather than extending only down the male line, as is often traditional. As such, Kira (Hayami Saori) hopes to be the successor to her father’s factory- I rather like this progressive angle of Kira training to be the future head of the household. Her mother, Hibana (Nazuka Kaori) is keen on dashing those hopes. With Koushi adopted into the family, I wouldn’t be surprised if he were the alternate heir she mentioned. Hibana’s icy attitude towards her daughter begs the question of why she is so ill-disposed towards her. Something is off about Mrs. Yuoshichi. For one, she remained closeted in her room rather than greet their guests with her daughter- on top of her less than friendly words to Kira. Kira, for her part, seems rather taken with Koushi
Kaho survived, thankfully-she really looked like a goner last we saw her. Other than a physical wound, I wonder if there will be further repercussions for her-will the village accept a cursed-bearing bride who’s been “damaged”? I love Benio’s spirit-she doesn’t take things lying down. She’s right in a way-she was only going to rescue Kaho, whom she was worried about. Conversely, the chief has a point too-Touko needs to think before she acts. Touko had every reason to be worried for Kaho but that said, what could she do for both herself and Kaho by running out into the forest without any form of protection or even a game plan? Furthermore, leaving the hatch ajar was an open invitation to fiends that would have wiped out everyone on board. By pure luck that didn’t happen, but it was stupid of her to rush in headlong like that. Although it looks like the truck didn’t need an open hatch to invite serious trouble.
Kaho, too, is responsible. I can’t blame her for detesting the situation she’s in. If I were in her position, I’d probably try to escape from being sold off into marriage too. Yet, it was reckless to try to escape in the middle of the forest, not thinking that someone else might be endangered by going after her. It’s telling of her independent spirit that she ran out into the forest, preferring death or mutilation to forced matrimony. She’s precious as a friend to the girls and unfortunately, precious as cargo to the villagers who put her on the truck, so there’s no way someone wasn’t going to go after her.
It was fairly obvious that Touko wasn’t going to get kicked out- a silly conceit on the part of the writer. What was the point, other than to create what was an obviously false cliffhanger? I suppose it makes the point that this voyage is no walk in the park-getting captured by a gorilla beast is just the tip of the iceberg of what could happen to them. More insidious things, like that glowing, human-eating dragon that the armored trucks can’t even scratch.
Hotaru looked so pretty, like a princess in her bridal robes! Unfortunately, her situation could end up less than pretty-we can only hope that she marries someone good, which almost seem doubtful, as it seems unlikely the village would put forth their best men to marry a curse-bearer. I can’t even imagine the anxiety Hotaru must have felt stepping off of that truck, disembarking from the only tie to her old, familiar life, not knowing if she would even be treated kindly in her new home.
In the lab with bottled sky-fire/lightning, we learn that these mysterious divine clans control the elements but are far from being beneficent deities. Long ago, the deities used fire to winnow out the overpopulation, resulting in widespread suffering. Contrary to what their name suggests, they appear to be not arachnids, but humans (or at least look like humans). Intriguingly, we still haven’t caught a glimpse of the mysterious divine clans-the closest glimpse being the fallen divinities, the spiders. The spiders in question are supposed to be some dangerous guys, but I don’t know-they can’t be too bad if they’re rebelling against the cruel gods. Regardless, we’ll find out soon enough what sort of fellows they are. Once Koushi creates weapons from sky-fire lightning, the humans will be thrown into the feud between the spiders and the divine clans.
As much as Koushi is going to play a huge part in developing this story, the women really are the major drivers. Hinako is the reason for Koushi engaging with fire research in the first place. Touko is the one carrying the remains of Koushi’s father’s fire-hunting legacy (other than the sky-fire that Koushi has). Kira is training to take over her father’s factory. Hibana clearly has some ominous role, though we don’t know quite what yet. Each of them is given a unique strength and determination for their particular fate-strengths which somehow end up or will end up intertwining with each other, changing the fabric of their destinies as they go.