If you’ve read my Everything Else post, you’ve probably seen that Natsuiri bites the dust in this episode. Let’s see how the show managed to accomplish such a momentous feat!
— Natsuiri: “You all come back as ghosts even though you chose to die yourself. You really are idiots.” Uh, they suffered in life, so they chose to die. Now that they are ghosts, they can haunt you. Makes sense to me.
— Pointless narration #2294: “The black of human grudges gone stagnant and sour. Now, another darkness is born.” Plus, grudges being stagnant and sour sound like they’re pretty weak grudges, if you ask me.
— If you can’t make the “darkness” look scary and intimidating, then at least make it look symbolic. At least give people something to chew on mentally if you’re not going to scare them. Unfortunately, M3 chooses to do neither.
— This is not scary. I mean, what am I looking at? An anemone from Hot Topic? But try as I might, I can’t see any significance in why these things look the way that they do. Why black and red wiggly stuff? When the artists designed these things, what were they going for?
— I’m not sure why Natsuiri just stands there and tries to reason with the physical manifestations of the dead villagers’ regrets. Seriously, does he think he can? I realize he’s managed to get his way all series long by talking and talking, but that’s because everyone at IX — including the kids — are dumb as fuck. Remember when the guy grabbed Sasame and literally tore her shirt off? And nobody did anything? Yeah… Still, you’d think a brilliant but insane scientist would be smart enough to realize that he can’t reason with actual monsters. In fact, why did he come all the way out here? Did he not expect this to happen? How can you not expect it?
— The others run back to the carrier only to find that it has turned into Necrometal. Minashi has disappeared off to do God knows what. And Natsuiri is twirling in his mecha like a ballerina to fight off the tentacles of regrets. Just M3 doing M3 things.
— For some reason, we get to see the same flashbacks we had seen in the previous episode.
— And in that mass of black tentacles, the one room with all the experimental pods are still in tact somehow. And by turning those pods on, Natsuiri manages to repel his enemy. It doesn’t make any sense to me, though. Even if that room is the only room that hasn’t turned into Necrometal, since everything surrounding it has turned, there’s no way that one room is still functional. Unless, of course, it’s magically battery-powered!
— We find out Minashi had gone to look for the Arbornine tree (the big one?), but it too has withered. Still, he seems to have realized something about his sister’s dreams of everyone being connected through their thoughts. No thanks, buddy. My thoughts are my own.
— The emo anemone thing shatters, which pleases Natsuiri, but then he finds out he’s turning into Necrometal himself. You’d think the guy would freak out, but instead, it looks like he’s having an orgasmic experience. Hell, he’s even licking the Necrometal on him. Supposedly, your nerves are enhanced or something. Too bad you also, uh, die.
— We now get to see some flashbacks from Mimei’s perspective, and it just makes the story worse, honestly. Why? Well, through her own eyes, Natsuiri didn’t even seem like a bad guy. In fact, the two of them seemed very happy with each other. She encouraged and supported him, and even though he wasn’t really super affectionate in return, the guy seemed… normal. So there’s this disconnect. How did he go from that to, well, whatever the fuck he is now? At one point, he just went balls-to-walls insane, gleefully torturing the villages without remorse. And remember, IX didn’t pull out from the project until people had started committing suicide left and right just to avoid his experiments. So the way I see it, there’s this missing extra step. Had Natsuiri’s descent into madness been gradual, I wouldn’t mind this too much. But the number one thing for me here is how he took a supportive woman’s hopes and dreams, shat on them, and felt nothing. We haven’t seen a tiny pang of hesitation. It’s fine to show me a good side of Natsuiri before everything went to shit. The problem is that he just went nuts overnight, and I think that’s just bad character development.
— So now I’m watching a grown man throw a tantrum in his mecha because his artificial girlfriend (he tried to copy Mimei’s memories and personality over to a computer) is dead. Well, that’s just bog standard for otaku.
— Minashi puts a hand on Akashi’s cheek, so the latter naturally knocks it away. But no, he’s “still trembling and closing off [his] heart!” If you want to be true friends, you gotta let Minashi cup your cheeks, Akashi! Do it!
— I get the general idea that Minashi is going for, but I just don’t agree with it. With words, we can sometimes say the wrong thing and misunderstand each other. Words are sometimes hard to say, too. You can’t let your feelings be known if you’re scared to say them out loud. Still, this whole “open up your heart” nonsense is not the solution. I seriously don’t think we’ll have less misunderstandings just because our thoughts and feelings are connected. Thoughts and feelings are impulsive, man. Sometimes we just get intrusive thoughts we don’t really mean. Like when I’m holding a watermelon, sometimes the thought of smashing it just creeps into my mind. That doesn’t mean I want to do it. But I’m using a benign example; you can certainly replace the watermelon with something much worse to smash. There are much worse intrusive thoughts that I’m sure nobody would want to share. They don’t mean anything, but you’re telling me people wouldn’t misunderstand your thoughts anyway if they saw you think those intrusive thoughts?
— Plus, boundaries and all that jazz. They’re kind of important. Sometimes, we need to be alone. If we’re constantly connected by our thoughts, then that’s messed up. If you say, “Well, you don’t have to be constantly connected,” then what’s the substantive difference between this and just talking? It’s the same fucking thing. If you’re not brave enough to say the words that you need to say, what makes you think you’ll be brave enough to transmit the thoughts you want to transmit? So I don’t think it’s that. I think the idea is that we’re supposed to share everything, and well, that’s not happening. Even between our closest friends, we have our own personal secrets we’d never reveal.
— We now see Mimei’s flashbacks of when shit had hit the fan. See, this is what I’m talking about. We go from Mimei cradling the guy, being happy to Mimei begging the guy to stop hurting her people. There’s no in-between, and the sad thing is, the in-between stuff are usually most interesting. We got two extremes, and they’re pretty straightforward. I want to see the tug-of-war in Natsuiri’s heart. I want to see what eventually tipped him over to the dark side. I don’t know why Okada avoided this, opting instead to show us the before and after instead of the middle.
— But anyway, while Natsuiri was busy reminiscing about the past, the Lightless Realm had spread to him, so he’s boned. He probably doomed himself when he fought more for his suckers than her keepsake.
— Revenge won’t end a grudge, yadda yadda yadda. In the end, everyone escapes on Natsuiri’s boat. They also resolve to return to IX and… do something. ‘Cause people depend on them and shit. Oh well. We’re probably in the seventh inning stretch. This nightmare will be over soon.