Aku no Hana – 08

Kasuga Takao, Saeki Nanako, Nakamura Sawa

Kasuga and Nakamura walk home hand in hand. Kasuga can’t sleep. Saeki is outside the school to meet him the next morning. They enter the classroom together, and Kasuga discovers all the ink obscured his name. A school meeting is called and the school is dismissed for the day. Kasuga retches behind the school, but Nakamura tells him he should be proud for breaking through one of his walls. Then Saeki confronts them, and Kasuga says they should break up. Saeki recognizes the drawing on the classroom floor from the cover of The Flowers of Evil and asks Kasuga if he wrecked the classroom and stole her gym uniform.

During Kasuga and Nakamura’s long moonlit stroll through town, tightly holding hands, they don’t just look like a couple who just had a lot of fun; it’s a pretty direct symbol that Kasuga has tied his fate to Nakamura. She has poked and prodded him into doing something that destroyed his old world – the one in which he could pretend to be normal – and created a new one. And when does creation not require a degree of destruction? Kasuga and Nakamura stay connected until the very last moment when they have to part ways to their respective houses. It’s the first time Kasuga is detached from her and alone in this brand new world, and the disorientation causes insomnia, and the dread is palpable.

His second long, silent walk is done alone. We have no idea what to expect, but he expects the worst: expelled, possibly arrested, and definitely detested by his whole school. As the school looms over him, he nearly bolts in fear, but Saeki is there to block his escape. Now he has to go inside and see what he’s wrought, and with her. And it’s just as devastating to Saeki as he imagined. Nakamura is satisfied with her classmates’ reactions even if the ink covered up Kasuga’s name. But while his other classmates don’t know who vandalized the classroom, Kasuga’s desire to share Baudelaire with his muse was his undoing here, and Saeki is welcomed into the fold of secrets along with him and Nakamura.

9_superior
Rating: 9 (Superior)

Stray Observations:

  • Whew…for a while there we weren’t sure there was going to be ANY dialogue in this episode. Nakamura finally breaks the silence nine minutes in: “Hey…I live over there.”
  • Kasuga attempting to wash away his sins in the early dawn. The ink goes down the drain, but his sins remain.
  • We can understand Kasuga getting so hopped up on adrenaline he wouldn’t realize he was covering up all his blackboard confessions with black ink, but what about Nakamura? Did she plan for the ink to prevent their instant implication? Saeki still found out, but only because of the book cover.
  • The atmospheric soundtrack continues to kick ass.
  • Saeki may have been overly naive to trust Kasuga, but she’s no fool; she probably instantly recognized the flower on the floor.
  • How in the hell is Kasuga going to squirm out of this predicament?
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Suisei no Gargantia – 08

suisei8

Before Fleet Commander Fairlock passes away, he gives command of the fleet to Ridgett. It’s a surprise even to her, and not popular with other ship owners, who are eyeing Flange’s imminent departure. As Fairlock’s funeral procession makes its way from one end of the fleet to the other, Amy and Saya say goodbye to Melty, and Amy learns Ledo is also leaving. When Bevel confronts him, Ledo tells him his mind is made up. Ridgett manages to say goodbye to Fairlock before his sand-filled boat slides into the sea, and she asks the assembled citizens of the fleet to lend her their strength. Ledo says goodbye to Amy, and Flange’s fleet pulls away.

As that summary made clear, this is an episode of many goodbyes. Gargantia is about to say goodbye to Flange’s fleet, a huge loss that affects everyone aboard, but then Fairlock’s death means they must also say goodbye to him, while Ridgett says goodbye to her training wheels and assumes command. Amy and Ledo also say goodbye, but because as Amy said, they hadn’t made much progress as a couple anyway, and she can’t leave Bevel, the Doctor, and Saya behind. Heck, even Melty is leaving. All these goodbyes, and the deftness with which the episode juggles and presents them, made this the saddest episode of Gargantia yet, but also one of the best.

Bellows, Amy

After Fairlock dies, the rest of the episode’s events wrap around the central event of his wonderfully conceived funeral rites. He is placed in a boat at the bow of the fleet and sent aft, as people fill the boat with sand one by one. He’s then sent down a slide at the fleet’s stern, and sinks to the bottom of the sea he plied his entire life. It’s a gorgeous centerpiece without a speck of melodrama. In fact, the episode does a great job showing the pain everyone with cause to feel pain feels (Pinion and Ledo, notably, don’t shed any tears). Even Amy tries to keep it together, but can’t. Her new friend is going away and may never return, after all.

This was an episode full of solemn grief, and every emotional moment is earned. But Ledo has Amy’s welfare at heart, and doesn’t believe he can adequately protect her or anyone else if he stays on Gargantia. In a way, he has the same problem as Ridgett has earlier in the episode – he can’t see beyond himself, his own abilities or weaknesses or obligations. But Ridget is going to seek help from her colleagues and friends to become a better leader for Gargantia. Ledo is going to go kill things underwater to line Pinion’s pockets.

8_great
Rating: 8 
(Great)

Stray Obervations:

  • Just wanted to note again how badass that funeral ceremony was. We’re also glad Ridgett didn’t miss it.
  • The schematic on the wall in Ridgett’s office, with the lights going out on the connections to the Flange ships, is another subtle way of showing the loss going on in this episode. And when a couple lights come back on, it’s a relief.
  • The pic of ‘Lil Ridgett is adorable.
  • We’re wondering if he and Melty will meet up on the new Flange fleet; though she hasn’t shown more than a superficial attraction to him.
  • Amy and Ledo don’t have a long goodbye, or even spend their final moments alone. It’s almost a non-goodbye. Though we can’t imagine they’ll never see each other again.