“That’s right…This is a story of revenge. A story of revenge so we can end sadness with sadness.” – Mahiro Fuwa
Summary: A recap of episodes 1-12 narrated by Mahiro, after which the story continues with Mahiro waking up in a very changed world with
Salmon Samon who asks him a question that will surely be a game changer. The very last minutes show a strange boy named Hanemura who claims to be the mage of Exodus.
Impressions: Ah yes, recap episodes. All I can say is that I’m really, really glad that I waited to watch episode 12 until this morning, cause otherwise I might be pretty pissed off right now. I get the logic behind why you would have a recap episode (saves money + refreshes the plot and characters in people’s minds after a long break) but that doesn’t mean I have to like it. I guess I shouldn’t complain to much since it makes my life easier. Because I don’t really want to go over 12 episodes worth of stuff that Linzz and I have already written about, I’m only going to be touching on the new material. If you want a refresher on any of the episodes up till now, feel free to browse our archives.
I’d say about, oh, 90% of the episode takes place inside Mahiro’s mind in a mixture of dreams and nightmares as he remembers why he went on this journey. After going through the story so far, we finally arrive at the end of episode 12 where both Mahiro and Yoshino are attacked and seemingly killed (or at least hurt very, very badly.) Mahiro seems content to accept that he died, but with a little remembering of Aika, who reminds him that he said himself that this story wasn’t going to end in tragedy, Mahiro wakes up in a hospital bed. We can tell it’s another dream sequence by the fact that Yoshino is there but he is a child, and Mahiro switches between being a teenager to being a kid too. Young Yoshino, after dodging Mahiro’s immediate demands to know who Aika’s boyfriend was, goes on to explain just what happened to the world after the battle between the Tree of Exodus and the Tree of Genesis.
Having not only wiped out all the armies that went to go attack it, the Tree of Genesis also “absorbed” all the people in the areas surrounding where it appeared. The tree now acts as a kind of global policing agency, showing up in places where people are merely thinking about going to war. It even takes care of such little things as people who perpetrate more mundane crimes, like robbery or rebellion . The end result is a peaceful world, minus a couple of billion people. The Tree of Genesis has even started to repair the earth itself, making the soil more fertile, the oceans cleaner, and the grass grow greener. It seems like a magical place. And entirely too good to be true. Unable to let go of his need for revenge, Mahiro is trust from his hospital bed dream into a flashback/nightmare of finding Aika dead (for the 40 millionth time it seems.) He wakes up screaming, and this time he is faced with who other than Samon. This time it’s not a dream, but real life. Mahiro has been kept asleep by Samon for a month, for reasons unknown so far. It’s also unclear if the world has really changed in the way that dream Yoshino explained or if everything isn’t as perfect as he made it out to be. One things for sure, the Tree of Genesis did some serious damage, as the ruined city scape outside of Mahiro’s window attests.
Across all of these flashbacks and dream sequences, the one thing that stays consistent is Mahiro and his reason for doing all of this: namely, to find Aika’s killer and get revenge no matter what. Not even his bold claims of saving the world are enough to really take precedence over his need for vengeance. All in all, it’s an interesting look inside Mahiro’s mind and how his reasoning works. He seems to know that the path he is on can not have a happy ending (despite both imaginary Aika and Yoshino trying to tell him otherwise.) And he accepts that. Seeing the pain and anguish on his face upon finding Aika dead, you can see (in perhaps the clearest way since the show started) just how much Aika’s death affected him. Mahiro, underneath his sarcastic and angry exterior, is suffering. Even in death, it’s those emotions that drive him, propelling him ever farther down his path and into a dark future. With that in mind, when Samon asks him if he could kill Yoshino, even though he initially looks shocked, it wouldn’t be hard to imagine Mahiro accepting the task. He’s already sold his soul to the devil in a sense, and with little to no moral compass and nothing inside him but his all consuming need to find Aika’s killer, I would not be at all shocked if Mahiro were to coldly take on the task of offing his best and only friend if it got him what he wanted. It’s something that I thought might happen since the beginning of the show, given how tenuous the relationship between the two of them is. Samon doesn’t give us any clues as to what happened to Yoshino, only letting us know that he is alive and seems to be up to something that Samon doesn’t support. Hopefully next episode will see Mahiro give Samon an answer to his question, and we’ll also see what happened to Yoshino and Hakaze.
After the new ending song (which I didn’t really like too much; it and the animation seem so out of place for a show with a relatively muted color palette and with such a dark, serious tone) we get a tiny snippet of a scene involving a boy named Hanemura. With his droopy eyes for a second I though I was watching Psycho-Pass, since he looks more like a character from that then any of the characters from ZnT. For a hot second he seems like the kind of sad, loser character who is doomed to mope forever about how his girlfriend dumped him and how he has no future, but when his co-worker brings up the rumor of the Mage of Exodus who could supposedly set the world straight again, Hanemura shockingly says that the Mage is probably him. He follows this up with a neat little trick involving conjuring up a glowing red sphere. It seems (to me at least) a little late in the game to be introducing such a seemingly important character but something inside me is telling me that Hanemura might be a red herring. He seems to have no connection to the Kusaribe clan or any other magic user, and it seems strange that he would just suddenly appear like that (and as such an unassuming person no less!) The preview for next episode also seems to suggest that Yoshino might be the actual Mage of Exodus, which would probable really complicate things. Here’s to hoping that next weeks episode will give us some background on Hanemura as well.
Final Thought: I’m really looking forward to seeing a new opening next week. The episode felt a little weird without one. Since most of it was recap stuff anyway, I don’t see why they couldn’t leave some stuff out and have at least the old one play. Well, as long as Bones doesn’t do four recap episodes back-to-back like with Wolf’s Rain, I think I’ll be okay.