So it looks like my fears for this show might be coming true. This second half of the show really is not feeling like the tone of the first half of the show, especially episode 15. Going from a eerie anime with a mysterious setting, to now more of a shounen with the action and the battles and crazy abilities, and less of that mellow and suspenseful atmosphere I loved. If this is what people like, good on them. But I’m not going to lie, I am slightly disappointed in this turn. It reminds me of the two halves of Moriarty the Patriot and it really makes me sad. I’m finding myself less and less interested but I’ve come this far, and I am curious to see how the rest of this story will play out. We still have 10 episodes to go and there’s still quite a bit that needs to be revealed, though episode 15 felt almost like a final fight.
Episode 14 gave us Hizuru’s memories of when she met Haine when she was a kid and trying to introduce her brother and Asako to her, but it’s only Hizuru that meets her. Haine is a completely different person here and is more like a regular child, though in strange circumstances as she is holed up on the second floor of the old Hishigata clinic. Hizuru befriends her and the girls hang out and play together, and Hizuru always brings food and snacks for her since she’s always hungry and seems to have a fear of hunger. She must have lived a tough life, most likely a famine that took her family from her, and explains why she always speaks of food. Unforunately the snacks that Hizuru brings for her isn’t enough and Haine has resorted to eating humans. And one unfortunate evening, Ryuunosuke found himself at the wrong place at the wrong time and becomes Haine’s victim, where she copies him to satiate her hunger. Hizuru comes across this and understandably lashes out, and this is the part I don’t really understand and this is going to be a pattern with this show from now on I guess.
Haine had copied Ryuunosuke but somehow she didn’t “absorb” his information and instead he went into Hizuru instead. So instead of a personality disorder, it literally is Ryuunosuke inside of her. And two, Haine losing her eye due to her strong emotional outburst? If that’s even what happened. Realizing what she had done, Haine screams and her eye that has the ability to loop rips itself out of her socket and then literally escapes on its own. But now that Ryuunosuke is inside Hizuru and he sort of has traces of Haine herself, Hizuru is partly a Shadow herself and it explains how she’s so strong, understands Shadows, and has that ability to see two seconds ahead. I get it, but at the same time I don’t because I’m not sure how any of that happened. Nothing was really explained, and the show has done that a few times before. And with the things we see in the next episode, it just continues. After seeing her memories we now have a group consisting of Hizuru, Nezu, Sou, Tokiko, Mio, and Tetsu. Ushio gets them caught up with everything with her ability to impart her memories into them so now everyone is on the same page. Things seem to be okay but because Haine and Shide are able to gather info from Shinpei’s past loops and are able to track him with the mark on his right arm, Shinpei’s rousing speech gets cut as he is shot and killed with Nezu’s sniper rifle after they had killed him. There was some foreshadowing to something bad happening that Shinpei sensed and ignored, but now knows what it means.
I feel lost in the fact that I thought we had already gone over Shinpei’s time looping ability. This new explanation more or less sounded the same until Shinpei brought up that he maybe had one more time loop left until he would permanently die. I had the impression that Shinpei had until the night of the festival to continue looping, but with this new explanation it seems like now the power is the loops catch up to when he died the very last time of the previous time loop. So if he were to die at the same time as the previous time loop, the next start point would be almost at that same time since his power is waning. Unless he continues living longer…I think? I had a pretty good grasp on the power before but now I’m confused and I feel like they didn’t have to make it more confusing than it needed to be. But either way, time is running out and if they’re not careful they’re all doomed. And this time, Shinpei and the others hatched up a pretty elaborate plan in such a short amount of time and luckily for them, it actually worked out well in the end.
I will admit, the animation in episode 15 was phenomenal. Every frame was smooth and dynamic, which compared to 14’s lackluster visuals, was a really great treat. Still, this episode was mostly lots of action scenes and while they were fun to watch in the context of the show it was…fine. Again, I’m not a fan of the show’s tone changing so dramatically. I was really in love with the eerie and suspenseful atmosphere from the first few episodes, with all the investigating and theorizing. I adore mystery shows so for it to change into a more action-packed shounen is a real bummer for me. This episode had it all, explosions, fire, yelling, chase scenes, guns, snarky quips, etc. And of course the abilities of our OP Shadow friend Ushio. Seriously, it’s crazy how much she’s able to do. Ushio being able to cut the ties between Shadows to Haine is incredible but also seemed like it came out of nowhere. I recall Ushio was able to fend off Haine in episode 12 I think and I guess that was when she realized she could cut the link to Haine so she was able to help Tokiko’s Shadows in that sense, but it felt like it came out of nowhere because we didn’t spend enough time learning about this ability. And this is a problem that happens in the show multiple times: Ushio learns more about herself and her Shadow abilities but we don’t spend enough time really digesting it all, and instead it conveniently comes up in the story when the characters need it. This breaking the ties thing seemed random at first, and it took me awhile to remember that Ushio moment from the end of the first cour. So things just feel like they’re happening because there isn’t all that much build up, at least to me.
And it’s not just with the wacky abilities, it’s even with the characters themselves. Once Ushio shared her previous time loop memories with the gang, I was really hoping to see some character moments between them all like Tokiko apologizing to both Sou and Mio and whatnot. The only thing we got was that small moment between Ushio and Mio where Mio apologized for calling her monster from way back in the festival many loops ago. It was nice seeing them have a tearful reunion, but it was really short lived and we got nothing else from the other characters and their emotions and thoughts, and sort of self reflection, anything! Nope, we just jump in to the action and Sou, Mio, and Tokiko just work together in the big fight. Which is fine and all but it doesn’t feel like much for me. They’re just there looking cool but there’s no emotion behind it for me. It really leaves me wanting more, because other than Hizuru and maybe Ushio and maybe Shinpei, I don’t necessarily have any attachment to anyone. They’re all just characters doing their thing trying to survive, but that’s all. We still have a lot of episodes left and I hope that they’ll fix those problems I’ve mentioned, but who knows. I guess I’ll continue to stick on this ride.
Also, Ushio with short hair is best. It really suits her!