The Morose Mononokean Season 2 Episode 10 With Irina and Karandi

The Morose Mononokean Post Title

Hi Irina, welcome to another week. I’m really continuing to enjoy The Morose Mononokean this season and this episode was a great mix of fun, a few reveals, and just being calm and relaxing to watch. Though my favourite part was definitely seeing Abeno as a little kid because that was so cute. What was your favourite part?

I’m not sure. Little Abeno is adorable but I also liked exhausted Yahiko in kitsune form AND they gave us a halloween episode in February which made me really happy. I just enjoyed this episode overall.

The Morose Mononokean Season 2 Episode 10

As an aside, I let the intro play again and the OP is really growing on me. Mind you, I liked it to begin with! It’s a good OP. Quietly this season is turning out to be really enjoyable.

I think I prefer the ED though the OP is definitely growing on me.

Perhaps I should actually put my thoughts into some kind of order. The start of this episode was great because it showed that Abeno does plan to look into Hanae’s dad even though Hanae didn’t really want to pursue it. Also, the Legislator clearly knows what he is up to but isn’t stopping him (nor does it seem like he plans to help). I’m really curious now as to how this is all going to come together.

The Morose Mononokean Season 2 Episode 10

You know, I sometimes wonder whether Rippou actually cares about Abeno. I mean beyond just the fact that he’s an employee and entertaining. The Legislator is likely to “like” people because they are useful to him. I don’t think Rippou has any attachment to Hanae beyond the fact that he’s a novelty but when it comes to Abeno, sometimes there seems to be something almost tender in their relationship.

Completely one sided of course.

However, after that, Abeno goes to school and we have what should be a standard school festival kind of event. Still, The Morose Mononokean manages to make that quite fun. Watching Hanae and Abeno go around dressed as a witch and a grim reaper was pretty funny by itself but Abeno’s commentary on Hanae’s sale’s pitch was hilarious. What did you think of their antics?

The Morose Mononokean Season 2 Episode 10
Not sure he was worried about the lack of costume.

They made a great odd couple and it’s nice to see the tension go out of their relationship.

Actually really liked Zenko in these scenes. I think she was a perfect straight man to their respective types of eccentricnesses that brought everything together. This is why I like school festival episodes. They’re just mindless fun and it makes me feel comfortable.

The Morose Mononokean Season 2 Episode 10

And if you throw in Yokai….

Of course we need some sort of yokai story going on and we get that when Zenko reveals she let Yahiko come to the school festival. I kind of can’t believe she gave in knowing Yahiko the way she does, but I must admit he was making it hard to say ‘no’. Anyway, it gave Abeno a good excuse to ditch the festival, and the reaper costume, and go play.

The Morose Mononokean Season 2 Episode 10

But before they do, great little haunted house scene. I really wanted to know what that “happy ending” was. It seemed like something to behold!

What did you think of Yahiko and Abeno’s play date?

What I really liked was they didn’t waste this. It wasn’t just Abeno goofing off with Yahiko. Abeno used the opportunity to find out what Yahiko knew about Hanae’s father and Yahiko actually transformed into someone he met with Aoi (the old master of the Mononokean). However, that raises more questions than it answers given they clearly don’t match the image we’ve been seeing in Hanae’s memory and it is revealed that Hanae’s father might have died the year he was born so I’m left wondering who he met. So much intrigue. And I really want to know more. What about you?

Before the transformation scene, we did see the little Hanae flashback to meeting his dad in the snow and well, we do see his hair in those scenes and it isn’t blonde. I thought it was odd but chalked it off to the shadow of the hood or something.

But then when I saw Yahiko transform, I realized it may be more than that. I mean the only person to ever call hm blond with gold eyes is Hanae’s mother. Her memories may have been played with.

It’s a nice little mystery they’re setting up, that’s for sure. Although I remain more curious about Abeno’s past. Of course there’s still time.

The Morose Mononokean Season 2 Episode 10

And still there is more to the episode with Hanae and Abeno traveling to a cliff to do a job for a yokai and it turns out it is a yokai that Abeno met when he was still just an employee of the Mononokean. All of that leads to the most adorable flashback ever with little Abeno.

Is this the first time we see Aoi? I may have just forgotten but I was really surprised she was a cat. I guess it’s her form in the mundane world. But still, that was a very young Abeno up on a high hill with and unpredictable yokai and a cat to defend him.

Child services?

The Morose Mononokean Season 2 Episode 10
This is definitely not adequate supervision for a child while on a ledge.

Yeah, there’s the question of where is Abeno’s family and why are they letting a child that young traipse around with a cat. There’s definitely a lot more to this story.

Okay, this wasn’t the most focused of episodes but I absolutely loved it. So many good things happening and so many interesting things to speculate about.

I agree. In fact when the ending credits started I was stunned. Like 10 minutes had barely gone by. I’m looking forward to more. I’m starting to worry a bit that I’ll be sad if it doesn’t get another season…

Of course, I’ll have to leave you with my Fuzzy screencap of the episode and I’m so giving it to this adorable shot of Fuzzy trying to climb back up a cliff to get into the Mononokean. Too adorable.

The Morose Mononokean Episode 10

This was a good screencap episode. I’m a little jealous!

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Karandi James
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The Morose Mononokean Season 2 Episode 9 With Irina and Karandi

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We’re back over on Irina’s blog this week as we review episode 9. Taking a break from underworld politics this week there’s a firm family focus and a bit of back story on Ashiya that we’ve been missing so far. Very enjoyable episode so be sure to head over to Irina’s blog and check out our thoughts on it.

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Karandi James
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The Morose Mononokean Season 2 Episode 6 With Irina and Karandi

The Morose Mononokean Post Title

Hi Irina, we’re back again for another week of the Morose Mononokean. I am so glad we decided to cover this one together because it has so far been a lot of fun.

Surprisingly, ths season has managed to recapture the easygoing if somewhat shallow charm of the first and add in some actual substance. I’m quite impressed.

The Morose Mononokean Episode 6 - Abeno and Ashiya sending yokai home.

I was starting to get a little jealous of Irina given episode 4, which was the last write up on my site, was a little bit ordinary and then episode 5, on Irina’s, was amazing. However, episode 6 kind of made me get over that because wow that was an intense episode considering we spent most of it playing hide and seek.

I preferred it to last week, myself.

There was a really nice balance this week of humorous moments to the more serious. It was like this anime decided to showcase he best it could be all in one episode.

The Morose Mononokean Episode 6 Abeno and Ashiya

This week, Abeno’s character was really interesting. There were moments where his concern for Hanae were really clear. I loved at the start how he tried to convince Hanae to have some time off and when that didn’t really work he decided to train him to use his detection abilities. I love that this is pushing the plot as well as continuing to develop the relationship between these two characters, plus it is kind of cool that Hanae can now detect yokai and not just find metal things (though I wonder if the two skills are connected).

There was a line towards the end of the episode where Abeno mentions that if ever Hanae is in trouble he should not hesitate to use his power and how he would need to protect himself once they were no longer together. This line stuck with me. Foreshadowing?

The Morose Mononokean Episode 6 Abeno reminds Ashiya to work on his detection skills.

Yeah, that worried me as well. Does Abeno know something we don’t? Is there some fallout from last week they are keeping us in the dark about?

I did worry a bit about this episode when they went on the photography trip and Yahiko came along to play hide and seek. I felt that this was a sure sign that we were about to diffuse the tension that had been building up after last week but then The Morose Mononokean just went for it. That scene in the inn between Hanae and Yahiko sent shivers down my spine and it kind of makes that situation in the underworld in season one make sense now. I particularly liked that even the next day, Yahiko seems to finally see Hanae as someone to take seriously and not just mock anymore.

This was a fantastic scene. It completely reframed both characters. Yahiko is occasionally a bit annoying but he is a very powerful Yokai that seems to have had a bit of a difficult past. The scene brought his hurt and vulnerability to the forefront, making his usual over excited mischievous nature much more endearing. It was also a great animation of fear. I really loved Yahiko’s stunned and hesitant mouvements. It really brought the point home.

The Morose Mononokean Episode 6 Ashiya and Yahiko

On the flipside it also somehow manage to make Hanae believably menacing. I would not have thought that was possible.

Totally agree. Hanae’s growth as a character this episode was brilliant as well.  The obvious learning to use his detection power was cool, but so was his understanding of Abeno’s position and starting to realise that he wasn’t the only one affected by the events of last week. I’m hoping we keep heading in this direction and learning more about this power the boys have and maybe even why they have it at some point. I did feel really bad for Hanae when Fuzzy was hiding in the corner and seemed to be scared of him but it was kind of scary given Hanae wasn’t really in control of what he was doing for a moment.

Hanae is a bit of a ditz and as the point of view character, we never really got to properly explore what all the responsibilities and abilities Abeno has are costing him. He’s obviously isolated from both human and yokai in a way Hanae never was but this time, as Hanae’s own powers and experiences with the underground start to grow, he’s finally realizing that his friend may not have had it easy all this time.

The Morose Mononokean Episode 6 Ashiya asking Yahiko not to scare him.

As much as I loved the ongoing motherly plot thread of Abeno taking care of Hanae, I was pretty touched by Hanae thinking of Abeno for once.

Of course, I’m now paranoid every single time I see a crow in this anime that it is the executive spying on them. The fact that it is most likely true doesn’t help. I’m sure there are some perfectly innocent crows somewhere but the ones that look pointedly at Abeno and Hanae probably are there to watch them.

The Morose Mononokean Episode 6 Yahiko transforms into a giant crow.

I do find it weird that Hanae still has human friends given how often he blows them off. Even in this episode he agrees to go on the trip with them and then literally spends no time with them. He doesn’t sit with them on the bus, he runs straight past them when they are out taking photos. You have to wonder why they keep making an effort. Certainly some of the time it is his job interfering but on this trip he didn’t have that excuse so you have to wonder why they don’t call him on it.

I honestly had a flashback to Sanrio Boys and how horrible Kota was to his friends.

Anyways in my head, Hanae walks to and from school with them every day and they joke around and have a great time. Also they might be thinking he has a little thing going on with Abeno and are leaving them their space because they’re good friends and hopeless romantics.

The Morose Mononokean Epsidoe 6 Fuzzy

However, the best thing about this episode – more Fuzzy.

Did you notice him randomly blushing to the beginning of the episode?

This season is starting to show a very intriguing overarching plot thread. More than once they’ve had seemingly fluffy filler episodes get interrupted by rather serious consequences. I’m looking forward to seeing where it goes.

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Karandi James
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The Morose Mononokean Season 2 Episode 2 With Irina and Karandi: We’re Making New Friends

The Morose Mononokean Post Title

The Morose Mononokean is back for its second episode and that means Irina and I are back to discuss what’s new for Abeno and Hanae as we pick up from that surprise first episode cliffhanger.

I was looking forward to this episode. Not so much because the cliffhanger had me on the edge of my seat but I find the Morose Mononokean universe comfy and cozy. It was a wonderful way to spend an afternoon as the outside world is grey, windy and freezing!

I agree, definitely a great way to spend some time (morning for me but given it’s already in the high thirties and just getting hotter, I’m not leaving the air conditioning today).

The Morose Mononokean - Hanae

I wasn’t really surprised to learn that Hanae wasn’t really in danger (while it was possible it didn’t seem likely this early on). Then again, given how season one dealt with its cliffhangers I wasn’t really surprised this one diffused pretty quickly. What I did like was that even though the threat more or less sorted itself out, we transitioned very quickly into seeing Hanae helping find the gold-shiny thing and this linked back to his previous efforts at finding a ring. Hanae has some odd quirks and eventually they are going to have to explain why a seemingly normal human can pull this kind of thing off.

The Morose Mononokean - Hanae finding the ring

The one thing I didn’t like was that the episode felt the need to flash back to Hanae finding the ring. Realistically most people watching this will have seen the first season and that was a moment that stood out for Hanae because it was particularly strange. Then again, how did you feel about it, Irina?

Actually, I appreciated it. I had quite liked that episode in the first season but I probably wouldn’t have recalled it if it weren’t for the flash back. Since it was just a short scene, I really didn’t find it dragged down the narrative at all.

What struck me most was the disconnect between the beast and it’s voice. I really didn’t match it’s looks and for some reason I loved it. Just hearing that sightly whiny bored tone coming out of a regal liger made me happy. I could no longer take him seriously but that’s ok.

The Morose Mononokean Episode 2 Hanae and Beast

I have to agree about the voice. At first I was wondering who was talking and then I realised it was the beast.

Of course, regardless of what we end up learning about Hanae he is a complete goof. The Goro Express moment is an excellent example of Hanae at his silliest though it does get him where he needs to go. I was actually surprised when the whole delivery seemed pretty straight forward. I kind of expected more from the actual handover of the document.

I don’t know if you’ve had dogs growing up. To be honest I was an adult when I got my first dog but Buddy is pretty big and I’m pretty small so he does come up roughly to my waist. If I could ride him I would never walk again. I have Neverending Story envy.

The Morose Mononokean Episode 2 Hanae riding the beast

Yes the hand off was very easy….suspiciously easy…. The again, he is on the authority of the legislator and that may carry some weight.

Maybe. The Legislator continues to be a great character in the show. It is so hard to know how seriously we should be taking him and whether or not things work out for him by coincidence or really careful planning and manipulation. His interactions with Abeno are great because Abeno is usually such a hard character to read because he’s either stoic or annoyed (usually at Hanae). When the Legislator is playing with him though we see a somewhat wider range of responses.

I think we discover more about Abeno and Rippou when they’re not together. We don’t quite know the end game here. A lot of Yokai seem antagonistic to humans which is why Hanae has to be so careful so I wonder where the Legislator actually stands. Asking a question like *if you could save only one, would it be Yokai or Human? Is super ominous. Does he think it may come to that?

The Morose Mononokean Episode 2 Rippou (The Legislator)

The again, they are framing the story to make him appear sympathetic for the most part.

That question is a little bit leading only I have no idea where it is going.

I wasn’t overly sold on the Hanae getting sick at the end as a final complication for the episode though. It did give Abeno an excuse to leave to fetch something to fix him which allowed the conversation between the two yokai, but it just felt really contrived to me.

The Morose Mononokean Episode 2 Abeno looking at Hanae

I actually thought he was faking it for a while. I also wondered why Abeno felt it necessary to put on a tie to run to the convenience store. The whole scene was a bit unbalanced but I did enjoy the party leading up to it.

I always loved the running gag of Shizuku being jealous of Hanae because Koura wants to use his body parts for medicine. It’s so delightfully weird.

Delightfully weird is an excellent description.

Then we get that final moment with the other yokai discussing the new employee. I wonder if Hanae’s life is about to get more interesting?

The Morose Mononokean Episode 2 - yokai

I bet it is. That final yokai we saw only in silhouette was considerably more threatening than what we usually get from this show. They might be ramping up the stakes a bit and I’m here for it.

The final thing I want to raise was that Fuzzy was absolutely adorable this episode. Much like Platelet sightings during Cells at Work, I could happily watch this show just for Fuzzy moments. Is there anything else you want to look at?

This episode was clearly a setup for the future events of the season. I don’t have much to say about it out of context like this. I did however get a few random thoughts while watching:

  • Although Yahiko isn’t the cutest little fox yokai I’ve seen, he’s still pretty darn cute.
  • “Hindsight” isn’t really that complicated a word
  • Where did the tail ring go when the beast transformed into a humanoid form? Just curious….
The Morose Mononokean - Beast in human form

That’s all I have!

Although this wasn’t the most eventful episode it still served the story well. I am looking forward to next week as I was to this. I also realized that it was over before I knew it which is always a good sign.

All three of your random points make perfect sense, particularly the one about the tail ring. I was definitely wondering where that went.

I’m with you in that I’m definitely looking forward to next week with this anime.

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Karandi James
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Fukigen na Mononokean Tsuzuki (Anime) Intro Theme
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The Morose Mononokean Season 2 Episode 1 Review With Karandi and Irina

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The Morose Mononokean is back and Irina and I have decided to come together to cover this season. Check out our first post over on Irina’s blog: The Morose Mononokean Season Episode 1 Review. Hope you love it!

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Karandi James
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Castlevania Season 2 Series Review: Oh Look, We Got The End Of The Season

Castlevania Season 2 Promotional Image

I mentioned repeatedly in my season 1 review of this that it really wasn’t a season. It was a taste test. A preview or introduction to a series that hadn’t been fully made before release. Here, with the so called season 2, we get the rest of the season bringing the total episode count now to 12 which is pretty much a standard season. So other than a prolonged gap during which time I forgot most of the pertinent details forcing me to rewatch the first four episodes before getting into this, was there any real purpose to this? All I can figure is that they really weren’t sure of their market and wouldn’t commit the resources but that’s a really terrible way to deliver a story as all it really did was make the faults of this second season more apparent.

See, there’s a flow to stories. When you get caught up in them, it is easy to miss small details or to stop yourself from asking hard questions or picking at the edges to see what falls out. But once the story has had a jarring pause and you’ve had months plus a rewatch to contemplate, it is much harder to become immersed in the world. Particularly when the series itself seems to be doing everything possible to stop you.

Castlevania Season 2 Camilla and Hector

Now, that isn’t to say Castlevania is bad. Because, it actually is quite a fun little romp of a story provided the copious blood and guts being splashed around aren’t a problem and the clear sequel bait endings for the surviving cast members doesn’t annoy. If this had come out in a solid chunk and I’d binged the 12 episodes altogether, I’d have had an absolute blast and while I still probably would have noted a few of the flaws, I don’t think I would have been as disappointed.

I was going to try to start positive but I realised that every positive I have for this season comes with a caveat so we’re just going to have to wade right in and hope we don’t sink.

If you like your blood and violence (and if you made it through the first four episodes the answer to that is probably yes), then season 2 is going to deliver. However, there’s a different kind of feel to it. Whereas season 1 had kind of a cruel humour with its demons running from the city carrying an infant (the excess of this imagery just made it more amusing than horrific and maybe that’s saying something terrible about me) and Trevor’s whip cracking removing eyes and the like. It was excessive but fun. It was almost pushing things to the absurdist level as it rained fire and blood down upon the masses. Season 2 sadly lacks any of this kind of edge and instead we are left with vampires tearing through small packs of fleeing humans and a few fights between various demons and Trevor, Sypha and Alucard. These conflicts are still bloody but nowhere near the same level as the city slaughtering madness that the first four episodes threw at us.

Castlevania Season 2 Trevor

And that seems to be a reoccurring theme of season 2. We get more of things given there are more episodes, but at the same time it is less. There’s less impact, less care, and generally less involvement. The church that was such a threat in season one gets some mentions but otherwise are completely absent from the conflict. The vampires spend more time squabbling amongst themselves inside the castle and Trevor, Sypha and Alucard spend an inordinate amount of time investigating the museum that is Trevor’s family vault. With the three main groups separated for vast spans of time (and the church more or less vanishing) there’s a lot of waiting for things to get moving. It doesn’t help that the vampires barely attack anything during the run of the eight episodes here so unless you are fresh on the memory of season one you may not even really remember why we should care about Dracula’s whole kill all the humans plan.

But, we’ve just gotten to my big issue with this second season. Dracula. In season one, the time we spent with him was not great but it was well used time. They built up a very strong impression of this character who was literally larger than life. His love for his wife, his fury at her loss, the pain he felt and his anger being distributed amongst the masses in a slaughter that wasn’t justified but understandable. Here, well Dracula is just a hollow shell waiting to be killed (as more than one character points out). There’s a clever line from Alucard about this whole massacre thing just being a really long suicide note, and he’s right but that just kind of makes Dracula’s character seem even more hollow. The fire and fury is gone and we never even got to see it fade. We went from this extraordinary and imposing menace to the guy who spent nearly eight episodes sitting in his chair staring at the fireplace and occasionally having one on one chats with the various minions who were all scheming around him as he sat more or less oblivious or indifferent.

Castlevania Season 2 Dracula

Perhaps if we’d seen this transition and the slow loss of his connection to the war he started and the drive he had, it might have played out more emotionally. However, the transition happened off screen. One season we see him in one form and now here he is a different and much less interesting one.

They do fill a lot of the screen time with his followers though. The majority of the vampire characters are either glorified extras or just annoying, with Camilla being a notable exception. That said, her character remains more or less on the side of things and ultimately hers is a story unresolved so there’s little satisfaction to be found in this one. Also, her sudden swearing at various points might have been amusing but it kind of seemed vastly out of character for her (plenty of other characters swear and that’s fine, but it just sounded so wrong coming from Camilla – and not just because she was female but rather because it seemed like it didn’t fit with the rest of her persona). The two human generals Dracula acknowledges could have both been interesting but instead they come off as fairly cheap characters with contrasting ends just for the sake of it.

It might be fair to say that none of these characters left an impression, except that even when they are just stuffing around in a library, Trevor and Sypha have real chemistry and the addition of Alucard’s comments and provocations actually just worked really well. Every moment spent with the main group (and admittedly, there weren’t enough moments spent with them) was purely fun and once the fighting started things got very good very quickly. It’s just a shame that there’s so much down time focusing on things that aren’t really all that interesting first.

Sypha - Castlevania

I mean, there are questions about Sypha’s seemingly unlimited magical reserves and Trevor not being totally dead because even though he’s from a family of monster hunters he is actually a human, and Alucard just kind of does whatever because apparently half-vampire means worse than a full vampire though how that works is unclear… but none of this matters. This group is awesome fun. Let’s see more of them.

All and all, watching both season 1 and 2 of Castlevania together won’t be a bad watch. There’s plenty to enjoy – again though with a warning about the blood and gore, it is definitely a feature. However, this isn’t something that is unmissable and it probably won’t be remembered for long. But hey, whips, swords, magic, vampire killing… It is all good fun just remember not to ask too many questions.

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Karandi James

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March Comes in Like a Lion Episode 30: Can I Read Subs Through Tears?

Review:

The answer to whether or not I can read subs while tearing up is clearly no because I had to rewatch the second half of this episode and subsequently had my heart crushed and trampled a second time in the space of an hour. Fortunately I was out of tears so the second time it just left me with a dull ache in my chest and a general feeling that as unfair as life is, true strength is moving forward in whatever way you can against whatever odds you may face. And then I found new tears. Sometimes, as much as I love this show I also hate that it hits my emotional buttons so incredibly well.

March30b

Fortunately, this show isn’t just about breaking its audience into pieces. It starts with Rei’s teachers giving us what we needed after last week. A tirade against Hina’s homeroom teacher. A voice of anger in the face of such unreasonable unfairness. It is silly and over the top at it succeeds as a point of needed catharsis for an audience that has been dragged emotionally through the mud with Hina’s troubles for weeks. The situation still isn’t solved, but for once this acts as the lighter point of the episode with Nikaido’s story being the soul crushing one for the week.

March30c

It is really, really affective. For weeks the school and Hina have been the darker points in the story with the shogi hall being a place where things have been going well for Rei and the place where some needed comedy has been injected into the story. This week, we leave the school and the comedy behind as we find out that Rei has made it into the final of the newcomers tournament (a triumph in itself) but Nikaido has not achieved the same. We also learn that Nikaido’s always poor health has taken a turn for the worse.

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Shimada is the one who Rei confronts and demands to know what has happened to Nikaido and so we see young Nikaido through Shimada’s eyes. It is a tear jerking story and it nails the tone perfectly. Nikaido is adorable throughout and his determination not just to be strong himself, but to see his rival, Rei, be strong is incredibly touching.

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However, it is Rei’s response to being told this that really hits home as once again the show is reinforcing the changes Rei has undergone over the course of a season and a half. I’m really worried about Rei next episode because I feel at the moment while he is looking much stronger than he was, he might very well be broken soon. He has realised his complete helplessness with Hina, including the fact that even earning more money isn’t going to solve the issue, and now he is facing an inability to help Nikaido. While at the moment he has the goal of winning the tournament, if that doesn’t happen, I’m really not sure if he’s emotionally able to deal with it at the moment.

All things considered though, I loved this show. I love the imagery that has been used all throughout the episode, particularly that image of Nikaido leading Rei across the bridge with the birds all flying ahead of them. I love how the character really feel like nuanced human beings and I love that they continue to change in response to events around them. I might be a broken, teary mess after most episodes this season, but what comes after that is the feeling that I’m watching something quite special that I will remember well after it is done.


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Thanks,

Karandi James.

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