I gotta admit that Kumiko had some guts. Nevertheless, I’m sorely disappointed Baku’s story ends the way that it does. It’s no different from any of the other designer children (minus Setsuna… somewhat). It may have taken two weeks to resolve, but the formula is still the same. But anyway, let’s first establish some context. Apparently, the people around Baku are nothing more than illusions. Yeah, that’s his singularity. He has the ability to “restore” broken things, but not really (as evident by my use of quotation marks around the word ‘restore’). The story implies that they don’t come back to life. Rather, it just looks that way, I guess. Sadly for Baku, Kumiko just happens to be one of those illusions; she’s supposed to be long dead. When she realizes this, as well as the fact that her nightmares are actually visions of an event that had actually occurred, the girl tells Baku that he doesn’t need to keep the illusion up anymore. He can finally let her go. Complying with her wishes, all of Baku’s illusions then turn green and disintegrate before his very eyes.
Still, those are some mighty fine illusions, though… illusions that are somehow capable of having thoughts of their own. Case in point, Haruhiko was totally jealous of Baku’s relationship with his fiancee — yes, Kumiko was engaged to Haruhiko — so much so that he would’ve killed the guy. Like I’ve said, these are some fancy ass illusions. They may as well be alive. In fact, why not keep them alive if they’re functionally no different from real humans themselves? Oh right, they’re technically dead. But if they can still live, eat, and enjoy life, what difference does it make? I can only assume, however, that Baku somehow can’t pick and choose who he keeps alive. In other words, Kumiko’s awesome, but she and the rest of the Asanoda Yakuza are a package deal. If he wants her to stick around, he has to keep the rest of the child traffickers around. If that’s really the case, then I suppose letting go of Kumiko is the right thing to do. Otherwise, however, I don’t see what the big deal is with keeping an “illusion” around if she is functionally alive for all intents and purposes.
Other minor details bug me. For example, why was Baku even at the site of the Magus’s sinking in the first place? Did he somehow learn that Kumiko was going to blow herself up? It just seems too convenient. You’d also think that after all this time, the Kiltgang would realize, “Gee, they seem to foil us each and every single time we attempt an abreaction. Maybe we shouldn’t let good ol’ Bugbear fight the hero alone. Whoops, he loses too. Oh well, I guess we’ll just have to try harder next time!” So when it comes down to it, Baku’s story is no different from the rest of the designer children (minus Setsuna). It just took two whole episodes to complete because the tragic love story between him and Kumiko is just that important, I guess. He still gets awakened, he still tries to fight the heroes, and he still fails. Ho-hum. It’s okay, guys. We’ve killed enough time to get through a single cour. Now, the story can really take off! This is where Captain Earth can fully realize its Shakespearean aspirations! I mean, all those references that fans had gushed about early on in the season can now amount to something profound and relevatory, eh? Eh…?
It’s not as though Captain Earth didn’t have a chance to shake things up, and that’s what’s maddening about Baku’s story. He didn’t have to join the bad guys. Oh sure, he’s depressed because Kumiko’s gone for good now, and thus he only wants to take his revenge on the planet by destroying. Yeah, yeah, I got it. But in her final moments, the girl came so close to saying the right words: “You’re different from everyone else. I want you to live your own life. Find your own star.” Alas, there’s nothing there about becoming a good. There’s nothing there about “don’t annihilate the entire planet because I died.” Granted, she has no idea who the Kiltgang are or what they’re up to, but it’s not difficult to see that Baku’s about to run with a bad crowd. On the flip side, it also isn’t very difficult for Baku to realize, “Y’know, maybe the ojo-san, who staunchly opposed child trafficking, probably wouldn’t want me to suck the life out of every single person on this planet! Then who knows what would happen next? Maybe Baku would’ve become a third “faction,” so to speak. We honestly could’ve switched things up. But instead, the anime sticks to its painfully boring formula.
Yeah, if Kumiko had said the right words, maybe Baku wouldn’t have become a bad guy. But at least he actually has a reason to hate the world. For once, a designer child’s life actually sucked. Yo, he’s a victim of child trafficking. Maybe in the sterilized world of Captain Earth, these children are only forced to fight in underground arenas for illegal gamblers. In the real world, however, victims of child trafficking face all sorts of nasty abuses, especially sex-related ones. Plus, y’know, his one love died, blah blah blah. Meanwhile — meaaaaaanwhile — Zin is mad because… what? His high school friend stole his work and took credit for it? Talk about first world problems. Lin is dissatisfied because she can’t feel a true sense of speed as a human? Talk about first world problems. Speaking of which, where the fuck has Lin been lately? Apparently, Zin is cool enough to tag along with Amara and Moco, but not Lin, huh? But I digress. Finally, Ai… Ai’s problem is that she’s a former orphan, so she has abandonment issues? Still, she was one step away from being an idol! Life can’t be that bad! Uguu, you don’t understand! My fans will abandon me! As a result, I gotta kill every single person on this planet!
What a disappointing battle between Daichi and Baku, too. Daichi was losing… until he just suddenly wins out of nowhere. No, really. Yeah, yeah, Baku isn’t as strong anymore since he doesn’t have anyone to protect, but it’s pretty silly for the fight to turn on a dime. Our hero is getting knocked around like a chump just to suddenly kick Baku’s ass at the last second. Oh, okay. There are some other minor stuff in the episode, but they’re not too terribly important. Daichi, Teppei, and Rita discuss how natural the Livlasters feel in the boys’ hands. Neat. As for Akari and Hana, they are hardly even in this week’s episode. They have some lines, but they don’t do anything. Literally nothing. Even when the boys go to stake out the underground arena a second time, the girls didn’t bother to come along. But don’t you worry, because Akari will finally put her talents to good use in next week’s episode! The previews suggest that a small portion of next week’s episode will take us to the beach, and isn’t that just swell? And of course, Akari’s the one to suggest the vacation!