What an episode!! We learned more about the way this island world works, plus more about some of the students and their powers. And what’s this about a rivalry brewing?
Given how Asakaze seems to have difficulty finding portals to other worlds, yet Nagara is able to scout them with no apparent difficulty, it seems that Nagara might have a superpower to find other worlds. This was an interesting concept to me because up until this episode, Nagara had been such a bland and annoying character that it really didn’t occur to me that he might have actually had a power. Nozomi even explains to Rajidani that she thinks his power is the ability to leap into other worlds, and that’s how he’s able to find the portals so easily.
The big conflict in this episode is that students on the island have begun to “freeze.” Their bodies become blacked out and they become frozen in place. It is unknown whether this is a rule of their present reality, an unknown disease infecting students, or something else entirely.
Mizuho, ever the unwilling participant, is more or less forced into investigating this freezing phenomenon; Nagara becomes her assistant.
Using a divining-type fishing rod (no really, it looks like a kid’s fishing toy. It’s adorable!), Mizuho and Nagara are able to find the missing student. It is initially thought that only 1 student is missing, but the group quickly realizes that more are missing. By investing each student and their surroundings, Nagara and Mizuho deduce that each student has someone managed to “disconnect” from their current reality. But how, and why?
Here’s a truth that many unfortunately many young people can relate to: kids can be really mean. So can teens. It sucked to watch Mizuho be forced into investigating the frozen students because she has so much free time on her hands, and then see her and Nagara be shunned by those same students for not finding out the answer fast enough.
This conflict also gave Asakaze an opportunity to try to further distance Nagara from the other students. Asakaze tells Nagara and Mizuho that they don’t even have to return after their investigation, and that Nozomi (supposedly said) that she doesn’t want to hang out with Nagara anymore. Nagara rolls over and doesn’t protest these claims at all, which angers Mizuho. This scene makes me wonder if Asakaze will be some kind of “mini boss” near the end of the series.
The two reluctant partners are exploring a student named Kaga’s freezing when a strong gust of wind appears to flutter their surroundings. I know that sounds weird but go watch the episode. Catching on quickly, Nagara “pulls down the sky” and it flutters to the ground like a falling bedsheet, revealing them to be circled by large black theatre curtains. You know, like when a show on a stage ends and the tall black curtains are pulled towards the center from either side of the stage.
In a nutshell, each of the “frozen” students is found within their own private stage where they are indulging in their own interests without having to worry about being a part of the group. Some of the students didn’t want to work, while others were being excluded and felt like if they went missing, no one would notice. (It ends up being true for the first couple of students, but that’s still a painful realization for anyone to have.) Mizuho and Nagara try to encourage the students to leave and return to the group, but one by one they all refuse.
Nagara and Mizuho return to the other students to explain that they’ve partially resolved the mystery of the frozen students. When Nagara says that the students won’t return on their own and that they can’t be forced to return against their will, this sparks an argument with Mizuho.
In her anger, Mizuho gets mad at Nagara and tries to provoke him by implying that Nozomi likes him, and baits him by saying that Nozomi might give up on him if he continues to show no interest in her. I almost felt bad at seeing Nagara’s surprise because he’s so out to lunch that it never really did occur to him that Nozomi might like him as more than just a friend.
As retaliation for Mizuho trying to force some movement in his personal life, Nagara accuses Mizuho of lying about being able to use her power before the school started drifting and reiterates that she’s a crappy person for making the other students work for her when she could just as easily give them the items for free.
Both teens are pissed at each other, but Nagara is the first to apologize and offers to restart the investigation the following morning.
When they meet, Nagara is sporting three… handheld devices with cords on the ends, attached to a “dog.” Each dog is able to transform into other things, like a hand or a beam of energy. Nagara is able to manipulate the “hand” into pressing a button on a giant fan, which Nagara uses to blow the curtains off the frozen students’ private worlds.
A voiceover from Nagara explains that the students freezing was the result of one of the island world’s rules: those who are excluded will result in those individuals being removed from the world, and put into their own private world.
I had originally thought that maybe Nagara had 2 superpowers: his ability to leap into other worlds, and the ability to generate the fan and the weird dogwalking handheld contraptions. But in hindsight I think those items came from Mizuho instead.
The episode did a nice quick take on capitalism. On this island, with Mizuko’s power turning any of her generated items into blue flame if the trade is not “paid for,” all items must be traded fairly. So in order to have money to spend on items from Mizuho, the students must work long hours in order to have money in the first place. Or, they must work for Mizuho in exchange for whatever items they wish to buy from her. One or the other; I’m not entirely clear on how the system works in detail.
When Mizuho gives Nagara a free fast food lunch (thus exempting him from having to repay her because it’s “her treat”), he complains that she could give free items to the other students too and thus save them from having to work all day. Mizuho counters this by saying that back in their real world, rich people didn’t give people things for free so why should their new society on the island work that way too? Nagara points out that this exchange is ridiculously unfair for everyone except Mizuho, and Mizuho predictably points out that “this is the reality in a capitalist society” and to get over it.
As someone who’s been stuck in retail hell for far too long, this conversation hit a little hard. >_>
One of the biggest revelations in this episode was that Hoshi knew that the school was going to drift before it even happened! Hoshi reveals to Nozomi that an unknown voice spoke to him in his head and told him what would happen. This voice later speaks to Hoshi of a mysterious “savior,” but cuts away before Hoshi or the unknown voice can name who that person is.
This opens up so many new avenues of question! Is this voice the person who has orchestrated the drifting? Are they conveying events to Hoshi in an attempt to manipulate the students’ situation and turn them against each other, or against Hoshi? Will Hoshi be this unknown savior? Ughhhh I want to know more! I almost wish I hadn’t chosen to cover this show so then I could marathon the whole series in a day and have all my answers. ;_; /pout
Another huge revelation was shown at the very end of the episode – Pony does have a superpower after all! Maybe. So, the curtain-portal-thing was shredded to bits with a beam of energy from Nagara, and then those pieces fell back down onto the island. If most viewers are like me, they won’t give those bits of black curtain another thought. But they apparently still function as a portal! So can Pony travel between worlds too, or can anyone because the shred of portal is still active? I want to knowwwwww. Anyways, the episode closes with Pony possibly missing if she’s leaping between worlds with the bit of curtain. That’s my takeaway anyways.
A third revelation, albeit a bit smaller, was that Mizuho could apparently use her “Nyamazon power” before the school started to drift. This would explain why we saw her in the school surrounded by lots of luxuries that the other students didn’t have; she was already summoning them to the school. But again, how?! Is the same voice that was talking to Hoshi also talking to Mizho?
As a side observation, Sonny Boy is one of the rare anime I’ve seen that doesn’t actually have an opening theme. That’s ok though because its closing theme, “Shounen, Shoujo” by Ging Nang Boyz, is a kickass, energetic track that makes up for the lack of an opening.
I love this show so much. See you all next week!
Author’s Note: I apologize for this review being a day late. I will work to get episode 4 out on Thurs next week!