The screenshot above looks exciting, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, we still have to build up to it. And that involves a whole lot more backstory.
— This show is all about the power of storytelling, so I suppose it’s only fitting that we get to see Rikka through the perspective of the two other women in Kuro’s life. What we don’t see is Rikka as she is.
— So from Saki’s perspective, Kuro’s cousin is his first love, and as such, she can never measure up to the original. Rikka is Saki but exaggerated. She’s not just skinny… she’s deathly skinny. She’s nothing more than a bag of bones.
— Nevertheless, Rikka approved of Saki when they first met. The copy is a derivative. It can never threaten the authentic original. On a more practical level, Rikka could probably sense Saki’s fear. The latter just wants normalcy just like the former. And normalcy is what she got when she eventually broke up with Kuro. As such, she could never really steal him away.
— It’s interesting that even Saki could sense that there was something off about Rikka. Are we sure she just wasn’t creeped by the latter’s appearance? Kuro’s cousin does look a bit ghastly…
— Fast forward to the present, Kuro confesses that he has rather complicated feelings for Rikka. Man, she’s your cousin… but that aside, at least he admits that it would probably be a whole lot better if Rikka wasn’t around. Your typical hero would swear up and down that they will save their first love — that they’d never give up! But Kuro’s not quite human, so I guess his coldness is expected.
— Kotoko finally wakes up and freaks out at the possibility that something might have occurred between Kuro and Saki. Something salacious. I think it’s amusing, because deep down, she’s smart enough to know that something like that couldn’t have happened. She should know Kuro well enough that he wouldn’t just go banging his ex-girlfriend. Nevertheless, her imagination runs wild because she’s still human. Being around him lets her act like a little childish. I just wonder when (if ever) she can do the same for him.
— Anyways, it’s now Kotoko’s turn to tell us all about Rikka. We learn that Kuro’s cousin basically allowed the hospital to experiment and study her body. Might as well, right? Rikka doesn’t look happy. She does not look like she has a zest for life. She probably sees her talents more as curses. So maybe she thought all these lab coats would eventually figure her out and who knows? Maybe even relieve her of her burdens.
— But for some reason, a new hospital director meant that Rikka had to leave. I find that odd. If the government found someone who could literally never die, I doubt they’d ever stop studying such a bizarre specimen. And even if this hospital didn’t want to keep Rikka around, I’m sure there are plenty of hospitals that are curious enough to take a shot at it.
— Nevertheless, Rikka needed to stay somewhere, but Kuro wasn’t comfortable with letting her shack up with him… you’re cousins!
— Still, this is one of the rare times that you get to see Kuro express an actual emotion.
— It’s also somewhat to compare how he envisions domestic bliss with Rikka versus domestic nightmare with Kotoko.
— Still, all of this backstory is currently coming from our heroine, and I gotta wonder if she’s embellishing any details. After all, I kinda doubt that something like this ever really happened.
— When the two of them finally meet, Rikka did not approve of Kotoko. She bluntly voiced her opinion too. Isn’t that kind of rude? Also, did she sense something odd about Kotoko? Could she somehow tell that our heroine has the ability to steal Kuro away from her? We’ll probably never find out, but earlier in the episode, Saki did have this to say: “[Rikka] was tying you down. But if going out with Iwanaga-san will help you break free of that… I think it’s a good thing despite feeling conflicted.” Since Saki looks like Rikka, she would only help reinforce Kuro’s first love.
— Anyways, for whatever reason, Rikka is now experimenting with her powers. I wish we could find out why, but she’s destined to be a recurring villain for this series. As such, I doubt we’ll ever understand what makes her tick for a long, long time… or until author calls it quits on this series.
— Eventually, Steel Lady Nanase is spotted again, so our trio races to intercept her. Kuro will keep the ghost distracted, and Kotoko will somehow try and sway public opinion against the ghost’s existence. What will Saki do? Nothing really.
— Well, her narrative function is to stand in for the audience. She asks Kotoko all the questions that the author expects us to ask, and as a result, our heroine will launch into one of her many long-winded explanations. I’m gonna do this, I’m gonna do that, yadda yadda yadda. Other than comparing her battle against Rikka to a session in parliament, however, there’s nothing here that we couldn’t already glean from previous episodes.
— And I feel like this reveals the author’s lack of confidence in their readers. They don’t trust us to grasp the ideas in the first go-around, so Kotoko has to restate things over and over and over. It’s… unfortunate.
— Alright, come back next week for when the battle of strength and wit actually starts.