Hanemura’s Genesis-busting services are sought near and far. Such is his success, Hayakawa is reinstated, though his superiors are suspicious of events. Back in Japan, as Hanemura rests up, Mahiro, Samon and Junichirou begin a brainstorming session to determine who Yoshino’s girlfriend is, as he may carry the heart of Exodus and she could influence him. Meanwhile, after spending so much time with him, Hakaze has no choice but to confess to him, explaining how her love could kill his girlfriend. As Hanemura puts two and two together to suggest it’s Aika, Yoshino finally tells Hakaze that’s just who it is…or was.
Well, that’s it! Cat’s outta the bag! At least as far as Hakaze was concerned. Here she was, stewing and fuming and torturing herself, when all she needed to do was tell Yoshino she loved him and didn’t want to kill off his girlfriend to learn that that isn’t a possibility, ’cause she’s already been dead for a year. After everything these guys have been through, it’s amazing it’s never come up. But so deep and constant is Yoshino’s grief for his lost love, you can forgive him for not making a big deal of Hakaze’s increasingly erratic schizoid behavior. We get more beautiful, sad flashbacks of Yoshino with his Ophelia. When he finally revealed the photo to Hakaze, we couldn’t help but well up a little.
And yet, the episode manages to balance the drama with more bawdy comedy. Hakaze’s inner voice is pretty funny (and Sawashiro Miyuki certainly sells it) but the centerpiece was the brainstorming session between Mahiro, Samon, and Junichirou, with an exhausted Hanemura in the middle of it. They set up a frikkin’ whiteboard (so official!) and proceed to come up with every hairbrained possibility of who the girlfriend is (Teacher? Married woman? Big Boobs? Nurse?…Loli?), but it takes someone with a little more distance from everything (Hanemura) to suggest the most logical possibility…it’s Mahiro’s sister, stupid.
Rating: 9 (Superior)
Samon and Yamamoto implement their plan to make Hanemura a very flashy public hero. Meanwhile Hakaze and Yoshino return to Kusaribe village to investigate a possible spy there trying to expose the villagers’ use of magic. Hakaze struggles to keep her feelings for Yoshino in check. When the spy reveals himself, takes a hostage, and sets fire to the shrine, Yoshino tries to resolve the situation without magic. The spy is apprehended, and Hakaze cannot help but embrace him. Yoshino’s effect on Hakaze has Tetsuma convinced he’s the real mage of Exodus.
Ever since Hakaze met Yoshino, she’s been extremely intrigued by him. Now that they’re spending so much time together in person, she’s constantly retreating into her thoughts, simultaneously worried about whether Yoshino finds her attractive and trying to convince herself that there’s nothing too these strange feelings. But the old ladies of the village see right through her: she’s got it bad for Yoshino, and by episode’s end she’s in his arms. She has no choice. The question is, is this just a girl falling for a guy, or is it the mage of Genesis being seduced by the mage of Exodus by some kind of calculation?
We as viewers know that Yoshino’s girlfriend is dead, but Hakaze doesn’t, and part of her reluctance was Junichiro’s warning that her intensified interest in Yoshino would lead the tree of Genesis killing his girlfriend. But even that isn’t enough, as Yoshino sticks his neck out and risks his life to save Sana, a village girl who’d already suffered enough, while also trying to preserve the secrets of the village. All the while characters heavily reference the Shakespeare works, leading us to wonder where this series is ultimately headed: to the tragic end of Hamlet, or the happy ending of The Tempest.
Rating: 8 (Great)
The back-and-forth between Yoshino, Samon, Mahiro and Hakaze continues. After determining the method by which Hakaze can be transported to the present without causing a paradox, Samon admits he left a suitible offering on the island to do just that in an emergency, but then proceeds to stall for time by trying to convince Mahiro that the Tree of Genesis is to blame for Aika’s death. Tetsuma reports to Samon that the killer was not of the Kusaribe clan after all. Hakaze surmises that just as she is the princess of the Tree of Genesis, a princess of the Tree of Exodus may have emerged; a mage of destruction.
With three characters standing in the same place for more than two episodes, we’re officially in Naruto Boss Battle territory now. Fortunately, the dialogue is a lot more engaging, and once we’d come to terms with the fact that very little would get done action-wise this week, again, we spent the episode listening carefully, rather than gnashing our teeth. And there were a fair share of revelations this week: most intriguing being that Hakaze can come back, but only if she uses magic that transports everything but her bones from the past to her present-day skeleton.
Samon also loses the only bargaining chip he had in his contract with Mahiro: Aika’s killer. His men can’t find him, and they’ve determined he’s not a Kusaribe. This happens late in the episode, after Samon had already stalled for time about as much as he could. The whole idea how how Aika’s death is related to the actions of the Tree of Genesis – which only acts in Hakaze’s best interests – is also fascinating. Did Aika in fact die so that Hakaze could live, through the intervention of the two guys who loved her? Should Hakaze really blame herself for things the tree did independently, for her sake?
Rating: 7 (Very Good)