Kurushii Toki no Kamisama Tanomi (苦しい時の神様頼み)
With less and less time left (episode wise) we are getting to the point in this season where it is either going to surprise us or burn out.
Questions will be answered but will they leave us happy or not is the real question?
I really love this anime. I do. I think its one of the best I’ve ever seen. You see I love paranormal and I love mysteries and the atmosphere, the cast of characters and the twists all along this show have been great.
This episode was one of the best BUT also shows the flaw in trying to fit such a complex story into such a short period of time.
With two episodes to go this episode itself did a lot of explaining of the village and the Nanaki, which just so happens to be the name of the monster that is chasing them all. What it also does is quite possibly hand wave away most of the other questions we wanted answers too, showed that a lot of the supporting cast aren’t going to be explored much more then what they have been and that there probably isn’t going to be lessons learnt through this ordeal.
We now have the story basically split into three.
Mitsumune has escaped the village (1) , you have the original village with the main group (2) and then you have the outliers which for this episode is Lion, Nanko and Maimai (3).
There are two more parts to the story but I’ll get to them at the end.
So (1) answers a lot of questions for the viewer. Mitsumune wakes up in hospital and gets an apology from his father. His father passes on a message which leads him to meet up with Yottun who takes him to see God. This just so happens to be a researcher who visited Nanaki Village and knows a lot about him. His story is simple and that is good because it easily explains the whole phenomena of the village in one story. He was researching the village, learnt that it was connected to psychological scars, when he presented his research people turned their back on him so he went in search of the village. Because he was so angry he found it but by finding it he closed his psychological scars and was instantly transported out of the village.
Most of that we’d already guessed. Or at least we’d kind of guessed it. It seems that the village is more of a pocket universe then something you have to get to via death as he never mentioned anything about death to get him there, also it then works with Reiji and Masaki’s story of just stumbling on it with no drama.
The big thing that (1) did give us was that by defeating your Nanaki it’ll take a part of you as the scar closes. For the researcher that meant that he rapidly aged, he was only young when he went to the village three years ago but now looks ancient. It could also mean that Masaki could be extremely old now as the researcher just said it takes part of you, not that every person he met aged rapidly. He also said that you’d slowly start losing what made you human.
What (1) also gave us was a moral question now of whether Mitsumune SHOULD go back to “save” people knowing that what comes back to the real world might not be worth coming back too. Not only that but it also makes you wonder what the point of this story is if Mitsumune was able to leave BUT still has enough scarring left that he’ll be allowed to return to the village. Again it’ll be a disappointing ending if its all wishy-washy and their scars are so deep their souls are saved or something. I’m not really up for Mitsumune walking off into the sunset happy with Masaki (for reasons I’ll go into later) so I’m not really looking forward to seeing what he does. I was kind of hoping that he would be told there was no chance he’d return.
Moving onto (2) and the main group are starting to get lethargic which isn’t explained at all. It feels like a bad plot point to immobilise the majority of the remaining cast. The crazies, Mikage and Lovepon, disappear ready to kill anyone that disagrees with them by the look of it but the rest just decide to go to sleep. This really pisses me off because that also includes people like Niyaanta who had a seriously interesting backstory but now is going to be relegated to sleeping cast member who will be saved or disappear. After getting hyped up over meeting such a hugely diverse cast and getting to see what makes all of them tick it looks very much like we’ll never actually get to know any of them better.
What was the point in having such a big cast then? It would have worked with a cast half the size and we’d have had more time to explore each of their pasts. There are still some extremely interesting characters in that mixture, including Yamauchi who I just really wanted to get to know. What was the point in them? With the group in (3) taking a bigger role then the others we STILL haven’t actually seen anything much of two of their group either but we now have to be resigned to never knowing anything about the group of sleeping beauties we’re left with.
Then you have (3) which was possibly the biggest waste of the episode!
It had Lion, Nanko and Maimai get a chance to question Reiji. Instead of truly learning anything though it seems that Maimai’s ears turned off the second she thinks he’s being a cold hearted bastard to Masaki and the others barely get a word in edgeways. We get a small glimpse of the life that Lion ran away from and Nanko doing her best to join the dots but it is constantly interrupted by such a boring bleating from Maimai about Reiji being the worst thing to happen to women.
Reiji very obviously is either dead or too far gone to return. Now of course these guys know nothing about Nanaki other then what they have figured out and the little of what Reiji tells them so maybe they don’t realise that Reiji doesn’t seem to have much human left in him but Maimai’s attitude meant that we never got to see Nanko really put the story together.
It leaves you thinking about Masaki and what really is going on but is ruined because it isn’t explored. You see Reiji calls Masaki his companion and doesn’t seem to confirm that he’s her cousin. It seems more like a love story then anything else which to me piles a whole ton of different questions onto who the hell Masaki is. She HAS lied at every point, her stories DON’T make sense. No I don’t think she’s evil but there is something potentially very interesting about her. Will we get to the bottom of it? Probably not because I have a feeling she’ll learn to get over Reiji and wander off into the sunset with Mitsumune. The interesting question it leads to though is whether or not she DID see a monster and she ended up coming back like Mitsumune wants to and therefore NOW doesn’t see a monster. What if the part of her soul that went meant she never ages and therefore has actually been looking for a way back for a long time to find Reiji?
With two episodes left I doubt anything interesting will come off it though.
The two smaller parts of the episode basically saw (4) Hayato and Valkana meet up, Hayato really has lost it now and is running around trying to find Mitsumune whilst Valkana just seems to be lost.
Then there is (5) which see’s Jack and Hyouketsu return to their base of operations and seemingly working for Koharun. I’m guessing they are hunting Reiji but I’m not too sure. Why Hyouketsu would attack Koharun and Valkana I don’t know but again there is so much story there that in two episode we just aren’t going to get any meaningful answers too.
So the episode made me really excited until I realised how close we are to finishing the season and then I realised that I really am on the road to being bitterly disappointed.