「お迎えの日」 (Omukae no Hi)
“Day of Fate”
Tengoku Daimakyou continues to be functionally perfect at this point. This adaptation just doesn’t miss – it nails everything it tries to do. Having two shows (BokuYaba) this brilliant airing almost simultaneously would be great under any circumstances. That they’re both adapted from manga I love and so completely different from each other is the icing on the cake. The experience of each can fully flower without any risk of burnout or a feeling of repetitiveness – all they have in common is a medium and an innate quality. They don’t even really need to be compared (although I do anyway, because that’s what I do).
I have so many notes here, my goodness. Often when that happens an episode has felt too rushed, but that’s not the case here. It’s just that Ishiguro-sensei’s writing is so dense that every moment seems to tell its own story. Most of those moments this week involved Maru and Kiruko, with the former still badly off his game from Haruki’s rather shocking revelation. As he’s distracting himself at a makeshift game center (priorities, apocalypse or no) he’s accosted by a gang of local ruffians picking on the outsider. Picking on this outsider is something you don’t want to do, of course.
Maru doesn’t start fights, but he doesn’t pull his punches once he’s in one. He lets his guard down and loses a tooth in the process, but eight hoodlums are no match for him. Kiruko is rather aghast at the tooth incident, and that Maru (smart as he is, he never went to school) doesn’t realize that in humans adult teeth don’t grow back. Later, at the apartment they’re hiding in, he recounts his life story to Kiruko – something we’re led to believe has happened many times, though this is the first time we’ve been privy to it. “Mikura” is someone we’ve seen before – the woman who took care of Maru and taught him the Maru Touch (trademark: Kiruko). “I’ve spent pretty much my whole life following adults around” is the way Maru sums up his tale.
I must say, though this isn’t a romcom and it’s hard to know how to categorize the relationship between these two, but they’re adorable together. Total goofs, the pair of them, who happen to be crazy strong and living beyond thunderdome. That whole “busted face” exchange had me in tears, and then we have what happens when Kiruko returns from “shopping” and charging, having told Maru to lay low after the brawl. When Kiruko finds the apartment empty, they panic – but Maru is next door. What’s he doing next door? Well, Kiruko doesn’t need to have it explained – there are shared experiences here.
It’s pretty clear that Kiruko suffers from some pretty severe abandonment issues, not to mention that for Kiruko Maru is emotionally far more than just a client. That hug was both warm and ultimately awkward (and anime-original), but even as these two try to make sense of their bizarre dynamic, there can be no question of their mutual affection and loyalty. Later an unexpected visitor shows up – one of the men from the yakuza ship who spotted the pair in town. He wants protection as he heads to a place called “The Immortal Order”, where he’s heard a doctor (Kiruko’s ears prick right up) can supposedly graft a piece of a hiruko onto a person and grant them immortality. But his piece has rotted away for some reason, leaving him distraught.
The Immortal Order and the place of “100% safe water” (according to the map Kiruko has traded for) are added to the itinerary. As far as what’s happening inside the walls, Tarao has passed away – and Tokio is showing signs of illness. One of the staff has noticed the footprint in a place where a footprint definitely shouldn’t be, and put two and two (mostly) together. Tarao’s death has unsettled the adults, and it’s not the first these walls have seen – another child named Asura committed suicide five years earlier, and Kona suspects they might have had the same illness as Tarao.
The director seems especially worried about the possibility that a child “built with an immunity to everything” could die from illness – specifically, its implications for the others. The “Day of Fate” is mentioned, as “the only thing that can’t be changed”. As if that weren’t enough, after Tarao’s body has been cremated, something very strange has been left behind. Tengoku Daimakyou guards its secrets zealously, but it sure does a hell of a job giving you just enough to go on to make you hunger for more.