Two things come to mind as I watch Tsugumi agonize and cry over Akashi’s apparent lack of love for her. First, I can’t really relate to her because, well, her obsession over Akashi doesn’t make sense. I think the show wants to frame Tsugumi as some tragic figure, screwed by mere circumstances, but I can’t even pity her. I just think her story is ludicrous; she literally met Akashi for just a few days back when they were kids, and yet she’s been despairing for his affections ever since? How am I supposed to react to this? Should I feel sorry for her? I think the opposite effect is achieved instead: she is pathetic but not in a good way. And it’s funny too, because I would’ve bought it if it had been Mimei who turned into the show’s primary antagonist.
Furthermore, what makes characters actually feel like real people as opposed to just a concept is when you can imagine their lives outside of the story you see before you. It’s like paying attention to the notes that the jazz musician doesn’t play. You start to appreciate the notes that do get played even more. My point is, I assume there are twenty-four hours in a day, because I doubt M3 exists in some alternate universe where the Earth revolves around the Sun at a faster or slower pace. I also assume that there’s relatively little to do in the Lightless Realm, especially when you’re by yourself. Everything is in ruins, and there’s not another soul in sight (except for Team Gargouille’s misguided forays, of course). So ask yourself, “What on earth does Tsugumi do with her time?”
Seriously, what the hell does Tsugumi do with her time? Don’t get me wrong, this is not something I literally need to see with my own eyes. I don’t need her daily routine to be animated. I simply want to know if, well, she does anything. And this is partly why I don’t buy her character whatsoever. You may not think it’s important to consider what Tsugumi does in the Lightless Realm, but for me to consider Tsugumi anything more than a flimsy plot device, I have to be able to imagine her as a fleshed out character. And honestly, I just don’t see it. I can’t imagine her just agonizing and crying over Akashi all day, but at the same time — knowing what we know about the Lightless Realm — I can’t imagine her doing anything else either. All this tells me is that’s an empty character.
It’s funny… I’ve never liked Natsuiri’s character, and I’ve always wished for his death. But now that he’s dead, there’s an undeniable gap in the story. Y’see, IX is supposedly this big organization, but the story never bothered to develop anyone but Natsuiri. Hell, forget develop. M3 haven’t bothered to introduce anyone but Natsuiri. I mean, there was that bald, old man who died a few episodes ago, but I don’t even remember his name. So anyway, Natsuiri is dead, right? But even though he’s dead, the IX superiors still demand Team Gargouille to head straight back into the Lightless Realm. But who are these fuckers? That’s what I mean when I say there’s an undeniable gap in the story. I’m watching Susan argue with these guys, but as far as I’m concerned, they’re just faceless nobodies to me.
Anyway, two big developments this week. First, remember that abandoned hospital early on in the series? The place where Emiru and Heito had stumbled upon the Argent? Natsuiri used to run a lot of shady experiments there, but somehow — just somehow — Kasane is able to find very useful data on one of the hospital’s servers. Yeah, the computer is still operational. And yeah, Natsuiri just happened to have crucial, life-changing data hidden away on some server he hasn’t used in years. Not only that, Kasane literally takes one glance at the files and instantly discerns its usefulness. But if you think that’s convenient, there just happens to be an Admonition lurking in this abandoned hospital. I seriously wonder why our characters didn’t run into it the first time they visited the hospital, but Kasane definitely runs into now. And as a result, she quickly becomes the damsel in distress.
As for the second big development of the week, the resonance between Akashi and brother has apparently bcome strong enough that the latter’s voice can be heard. Hell, he can even assume control of the Argent. Unfortunately, he has to use his new freedom to protect Kasane from the Admonition. Although Aoshi does manage to defeat the Admonition, he ends up overexerting himself and truly dies for good. The thing is, like Tsugumi, Aoshi has never really been much of a character. He’s often talked about, but because of the nature of his existence — he’s literally a body trapped within a mecha — he can’t actually talk. For 90% of what we’ve seen thus far, he’s been nothing more than the target of Akashi’s hate and bitterness. So like Tsugumi, he’s always felt like plot device. As a result, his death, like a lot of supposedly emotional high points in this anime, does nothing for me.
It’s kind of funny when the first thing that comes to mind is, “Well, shit… how is Akashi going to pilot his mecha now? Akashi and Kasane’s loss should be sad and tragic, but it’s like… eh…? Anyway, storywise, I think it only makes sense if Sasame becomes Akashi’s next LIM. What about Minashi? Eh, I always felt it would only be fitting if he died to end this whole mess. Then everyone from that blasted village can meet their demise, and we’d be done with this mess for good.