As Shu prepares the school for “Exodus”, in which they’ll escape from quarantine, his oppressed subjects are starting to resent his rule. This is exacerbated by Arisa and Nanba spreading the rumor that you’ll die if your void is destroyed. After being attacked by Inori, Arisa is planning a coup d’etat. The operation begins and goes off without a hitch, but when it’s over and the students can escape, Arisa strikes, with many students on her side. A Gai resurrected by GHQ arrives and slices of Shu’s right arm with Inori’s void, taking his power. The UN approves a resolution to “eliminate Japan”.
Wow. Damn. That kingdom didn’t last long. With five whole episodes left, the story is moving alarmingly fast. Shu started the episode with everything and ended with nothing. Well, that first part isn’t quite right. At the start, Shu had become fairly comfortable with his role as reluctant tyrant in order to shape the school into a fighting force. But at great cost: Ayase and Tsugumi are alienated, he impulsively discards Yahiro, and even Arisa, who he once could have counted as a friend, is the leader of the successful revolt against him. Inori stays by his side, but she’s a loose cannon, acting alone when she assaulted Arisa, an act that only made matters worse.
What’s so distressing about all this is that Exodus was a success. Shu did what he set out to do and freed the people. Would they have performed as well had he exercised a gentler hand? Would they have (A)risen up against him regardless? We’ll never know, but that’s the least of Shu’s problems: he’s lost his arm, and with it his King’s power. He’s just a kid again. And just to pile on the peril, the entire country itself is about to be bombed by the UN – apparently to stop the spread of the apocalypse virus. Things are bad – and we can’t see how they’ll get better just now.
Nitpick: Wouldn’t the Tokyo Tower falling create, an enormous shockwave/dust cloud that would envelop/consume Shu’s whole army, considering they’re all gathered around it’s base?
Mr. Kuhouin sends Argo to Tokyo to retrieve his daughter for an arranged marriage in exchange for diplomatic favor. When Argo touches down, he finds a dire situation in which Shu has adopted Yahiro’s ranking system and the entire student body has fallen in line. It’s a highly regimented operation in which the weak are discriminated against due to shortages of food and medicine. Shu has Argo detained, but when he escapes and tries to make off with Arisa, Shu confronts him with a member of his secret service. In the fight, a ceiling beam falls on her void, killing her – something Shu didn’t know could happen. Back at GHQ, Shu’s mother is helping Segai awaken somebody…
Wow, talk about a quick turnaround. We knew there would be big changes once Shu decided he wasn’t going to dick around anymore, but what we have here goes beyond a tight ship. His New Order is an authoritarian regime that draws its power from fear: both the fear of Shu’s void power and the fear of Shu, their last hope, being infected. So the weak like Souma are marginalized (with Shu even ready to let him die in a scene of heartless micromanaging) while those with strong voids get preferential treatment and are invited into the elite secret service. We like how the episode introduced a new Rank A character just to kill her in the end, not only to show us that even the strong aren’t safe, but to expose Yahiro’s lies to Shu, even if it may too late.
As for Inori, well…it seems she made a choice right beside Shu; the choice to put her conscience aside to serve her king. Tsugami is basically going with the flow, and Ayase is just flat-out disgusted with what Shu’s become (he tells her he’s glad they were alone when she slapped him so he didn’t have to “reprimand” her) , as is Argo (the best line of the episode adds some levity to all the dread: “We really liked that ‘pale-faced weakling strugglin’ for all he’s got’ thing you had going, you know!”). But as Shu says to Argo when he’s got a knife to his throat: let’s see you try to keep this mob together and keep them safe with no resources. It’s a thankless job, really. Is Shu expressing the archetypal excuses of the tyrant, or are his sacrifices justified to ensure at least some of his kingdom survives what’s coming?
With the school cut off from the rest of Tokyo and emotions running high, President Kuhouin struggles to keep order, leading to a vote of no confidence in her leadership from a rabblerouser named Nanba who is prepared to use force to grab power. Things get worse when the quarantine walls move inward, crushing and killing anything and anyone in their way. Chief Segai sends a message to the school that they’ll all be freed if they hand over members of the Undertakers. Nanba apprehends Ayase and Tsugumi, and Kuhouin loses control, but Shu, encouraged by Hare, stands up and calls for order. With the help of Tsugumi’s void, which can create holographic dopplegangers, Shu proves to Nanba and his followers that the government wouldn’t make good on the deal. Yahiro then calls for a vote, and Shu is elected the new school president.
Faced with the prospect of being locked behind walls that are closing in on them, and mass murder that even Daryl Yan finds distasteful, Shu & Co. find themselves in a desperate situation where calming the mob is key to their survival. Nanba and his ilk strike us as overproud bullies taking advantage of the situation to ingratiate themselves, but they aren’t pure evil or anything; they just want to survive like everyone else. This week was all about the school finding someone who can lead them. A big group like this needs direction, and ultimately, they choose someone who never asked for it but nevertheless possesses all the requisites for leadership. They crown Shu.
Since rescuing Inori, Shu has gotten far more tolerable as a character, and considering how many friends he’s made, he has no excuse to not rise to the potential his ability presents. This week he finally uses that power on Tsugumi, who has an extremely useful power. And Yahiro exhibits a change of heart about the guy who couldn’t save his brother, and eggs the student body to choose him. But it ain’t gonna be no picnic: Yahiro also proposes they start ranking people by how valuable their void is (on a scale of A to F; like school!), creating what is essentially a caste system to ensure King Shu has the most powerful voids at his disposal to deal with the threats that are coming. And they are coming. Chief Segai is a sick bastard.
Shu is on a train with Hare when Yahiro leaps aboard, spilling drugs as he goes. Shu tells Hare he needs to talk to him. He learns that Yachiro and his terminally ill brother Jun had to flee the very facility he sold Shu out to get into. Shu vows to harbor them with Undertaker help, but he’s being surveilled by Major Segai, who corners them with snipers and endlaves. Shu promises to save Jun if Yahiro lets him draw out his void, but he fails and he himself is the one who kills him. Hare, meanwhile, had been following Shu all along.
When Shu sees Jun in the void world, in the setting of the day of Lost Christmas, he has a tough choice to make. Jun wants to die, and the void Shu has appropriated from Yahiro – the shears, are the means to do it. It isn’t just that Jun is tired; it’s that he wants to go out on his terms. His illness lets him see everyone’s dark side – including his bro’s. If he has to continue to see that, he’ll grow to hate him, and he doesn’t want to die hating his only brother. Jun forces a decision here: he makes use of his apocalypse cancer to possess an endlave, so it’s basically ‘kill me before I go mad and kill everyone’.
In the heat of the moment, Shu cuts Jun’s lifeline as requested. Shu, the kid who’s growing more and more confident and assertive (and educated in basic tactics), has killed his first human being. It was under highly supernatural circumstances, but he killed someone all the same. This is going to weigh on him, and perhaps eliminate all the progress he’s made with Undertaker. We’re really interested in seeing where this goes, along with how much Hare saw, and what she thinks of it all. What’s her void?