Sure enough, Masako showed up (and so did Shoma, but we’ll get to that later) to fight Yuri for the other half of Momoka’s diary. Had she not made her stylish entrance, Yuri likely would’ve ravaged Ringo’s body with an unconscious Shoma in the room (oh boy, netorare). Yet, Masako was only there to grab the other half of the diary. After getting her hands on it, she made a quick departure. With the perpetrator now gone, why didn’t Yuri go back to doing what she had originally planned? Unless, of course, she did, but the implication at the end seemed to be that nothing happened. You don’t mean to tell me that Masako’s pop psychology assessment of Yuri managed to save Ringo, did it?
Coincidences, contrivances, and spinning in place
For a moment, I did think Shoma was going to save the day and play the knight in shining armor. Unfortunately, he was as ineffectual as he has always been. Still, I take issue with the fact that he was even at the hotel in the first place. A friend, whose face we never got to see, won a street raffle. The prize? A trip to a hot springs resort. Yeah, that sounds romantic… so I think I’m going to ask a male classmate to come along! Sure, the story wanted Shoma in the picture — maybe to even save Ringo — but didn’t this all seem kind of cheap and forced to anyone else? I mean, at least Masako had a good reason to be there.
Even so, I think the most frustrating thing about this episode was how nothing really mattered. Yuri had Ringo all tied-up and ready to go, but in the end, nothing happened. Yes, I wrote last week that I found the rape scenario trashy and exploitative, but just hold on for a second. Continuing on, Shoma got himself all pumped up to save Ringo only to accidentally trip on a bottle and knock himself out cold. So the anime contrived to put Shoma at the scene only for him to end up doing nothing… okay then…. Finally, Masako battled Yuri and won, claiming the other half of the diary as her reward. Whoops, sorry, that other half of the diary was just a fake. In fact, a very good fake of a diary that a little girl owned sixteen years ago.
So is the picture coming together now? I’m glad that Yuri didn’t end up raping Ringo (assuming nothing happened), but the characters pretty much spent an entire episode doing absolutely nothing of consequence. Corrupt Ringo? Didn’t happen (we think). Save Ringo? Didn’t happen; Shoma’s just there to be useless. Finally, combine the two halves of the diary and move the rest of the plot along? Not gonna happen either. It’s thus likely that in the future, we’ll have to waste another episode in which the characters battle over the halves of the diary again. Had it not been for an extensive flashback on Yuri’s past, this episode would’ve been completely pointless.
At last, it’s Momoka…
In revealing Yuri’s troubled past, we finally got to see Momoka and… well, she was just Ringo with a different hair color. Of course, for every answer we got, the story gave us even more questions to ponder over. According to Momoka, her diary can change a person’s fate entirely. Unfortunately, the price to fulfilling any wish appears to be the diary keeper’s own life. At one point, we even see Momoka consumed by fire, presumably the result of changing Yuri’s fate. From what we know, saving a rabbit put a bandage on one of Momoka’s fingers. Saving Yuri from her creepy father, however, put Momoka in the hospital. So naturally, it’s probably a good guess to assume that Momoka prevented the subway attacks from taking even more lives than necessary and the cost was her own life.
Still, there’s the question of how a normal elementary schoolgirl could come into possession of such a magical diary. We understand now how the diary could save Himari or Mario’s lives. Assuming they ever get their hands on the diary, one of the brothers will have to sacrifice themselves for Himari’s sake, but Kanba has already been doing this since the start of the series. Plus, both of the old and the new OP features Ringo being consumed by flames. Again, it might be safe to assume that this is foreshadowing a future event. Will she end up having to save someone dear to her much like Momoka did?
• Just an interesting observation: when Ringo was talking to Shoma about how she was about to get all “messed up,” we see a frog by #2. Frogs have been interpreted as sexual symbols in fairy tales. For instance, a frog hopped out of the tub when Briar Rose’s mother was taking a bath to announce to her that she was then pregnant. In “The Frog Prince,” the frog tried to share a bed with the princess, prompting her to throw him against the wall.
• During Shoma’s failed attempt to rescue Ringo, #2 was just as equally useless. While Kanba’s penguin seems to help its owner as much as it can, Shoma’s penguin didn’t even seem to notice that its owner had been knocked out cold. Later in the anime, when Yuri deflected Masako’s rubber ball with a table tennis paddle, we saw the ball hit #2’s banana. It’s very likely, then, that #2 did nothing but continue to eat while Shoma was helpless. As a result, I can’t see the conspicuous consumption in the anime as anything but a warning sign that overeating is a sin. Besides, this is just consistent with “Hansel and Gretel,” but to reiterate my point, the two children were abandoned in the woods only because their parents could no longer feed them. Furthermore, they were lured into the evil witch’s trap by being seduced by her house of candy and treats.
• We still don’t quite know the secret about Yuri’s body. Would it be the scars as a result of her father’s abuse or something else entirely?
• Speaking of her father’s abuse, what exactly was he trying to do with his poor daughter? My instinct is to take all the hammering and the chiseling motifs at face value — that there was something incestuous occurring between the father and his daughter. Maybe her wounds are the results of sex.
• But why interpret everything as sexual? First, he said, “Pure and beautiful love exist only among family.” Second, he’s surrounded by Grecian statues and the ancient Greeks were… oh, not quite as shy as we are about older men and young boys fostering a certain type of relationship. Of course, there are two problems with these implications: (1) Yuri’s not a boy (as far as we know) and (2) the “tower” that we can clearly see from her father’s atelier is obviously based off of Michelangelo’s David — neither Michelangelo nor David were Grecian (but David’s pose is itself very Grecian).
• So maybe I shouldn’t take things so literally. Grecian statues epitomize perfection and purity of the human body. If you’ll recall, Yuri’s father said, “Your mother became uglier by the minute after she gave birth to you.” To Yuri’s father, it’s likely that becoming a mother was a sign of either corruption or impurity. Ironically, he’d be the one who corrupted her in the first place. But anyway, in the same episode, we learned from Shoma’s friend that Yuri is apparently a “seriously hot chick.” So even though her father emotionally manipulated her feelings by calling her ugly, it’s likely that she was also pretty as a girl. Even if you think the father was literally hammering and chiseling away at Yuri’s body instead of it all being a metaphor for sex, the guy just gives off the vibes of a pedophile.
• Kanba’s conversation with Sanetoshi didn’t impress me. To me, the anime appears to be beating us over the head nowadays with its messages. Yes, family can be a burden, but I don’t need Sanetoshi to tell me this. The brothers have been running themselves ragged for fifteen episodes in order to save their sister. Ringo originally wanted to obliterate her identity in order to fix her broken family. To flat-out tell me now that family can be a burden is like, “Well, duh.”
• Himari’s inclusion in the episode felt like an afterthought. When she isn’t her bitchy princess penguin self, I just find her utterly boring.
• Nice escape plan, but wouldn’t she be putting herself at risk of hypothermia?