There are a few things I can take away from this episode.
The first thing is that the relationship between Ash and Eiji is absolutely beautiful. I am hard pressed to think of two characters who fit together better then the two of them. The absolute way that they care for one another, the lengths that Ash is willing to go for Eiji. It’s beautiful. The entire beginning of the episode with Eiji doting on Ash as he tried to get him to wake up, the way they played off each other. I couldn’t help but laugh to myself and say ‘Eiji makes a good wife’ as I saw the breakfast that he prepared for Ash. Then Ash said something of the sort and I felt him on a almost spiritual level.
The second thing is that I finally settled how I feel about Blanca. In the last episode, I was immensely reluctant to form an opinion on him. In this one, I surmise that he is ultimately not a bad person despite is profession and his alliance with Golzine. He’s a guy who very much like Ash got forced into a role in life, he cares about Ash in his own way.
The most stunning parts of this episode come in the things Ash is willing to do for Eiji’s safety. After realizing that the Assassin that took out Kippard is Blanca, after knowing that Eiji was his next target. He was willing to go above and beyond to protect the person he cares about the most, about the boy who loves him and expects nothing in return. From not even hesitating to put a gun to his head and pull the trigger, to handing over all the information on Banana Fish and Professor Dawson to Yut-Lung and Golzine.
He went out of his way to protect Eiji.
My response to the moment that he pulled the trigger against his head without hesitation matched up to Yut’s at first. The sheer shock at the willingness, though unlike Yut, I can understand the reasoning behind it.
While those are the most stunning parts of the episode, the most emotional parts are the mid-way and the ending. The part after Eiji is shot and he’s laying in bed, taking with Ash about Ash coming to see Japan when all this is said and done. It tugs at your heart, in particular near the end when he sets out to do the things he’s been ordered to do. To give up everything for Eiji’s safety, Ash asks Ibe if when all this is said and done if he could bring him to see Japan.
He wants to see the place that Eiji was born.
There is something in the back of my mind screaming every time they bring this up. Perhaps it’s just years of watching cliches play out, but moments like this scream that there will be no happy ending. I am of two minds of that thought, on the one hand I step back and remind myself that this was published in a shoujo magazine in the 80’s, so I doubt we’re headed towards an absolute disaster of an ending. At the second time, I look at the type of story this is and think to myself that things like this almost never have entirely happy endings.
The most one usually expects in a series like this is something bittersweet.
Speaking of bittersweet, that’s how this episode ends. Eiji is safe, but Ash has given up everything. He’s given the research and Dawson to Lee and Golzine, he’s turned himself over. How will things turn around? Will Ash ever be able to see Japan?
That’s something that we’ll just have to see.