Against expectations, Himeko makes progress with the revival ceremony alone. After a silent vision of Chikane pleading to be saved, Himeko revives Ame no Murakamo. Chikane then returns as if nothing happened and proceeds to pamper Himeko. They spend the night (chastely) together but Himeko awakes to Chikane’s invitation to a dance of swords to the death.
Himeko’s introspection about Chikane as angel or devil was useful in further our understanding of Himeko’s relationship with Chikane. Part of the distance and barrier between them all this while also stems from Himeko’s idolization and idealization of Chikane which prevents the former from truly understanding Chikane while it prevents the latter from being able to be fully honest with her having this image and role to live up to. I also liked how this part is nicely resolved in the final episode.
I was actually quite surprised that Himeko managed to revive Ame no Murakamo on her own as she mostly comes across as being completely useless. The shocker was come Ep 12, we are then given the information that she really did revive Ame no Murakamo on her own the whole time with Chikane’s buried hatred of AnM being the problem rather than Himeko’s lack of stamina as we’ve been led to believe.
No.1 – 3 “Necks” do seem to represent larger forces in human despair and misery and although the No.4-6 Orochi servants (especially ) come across faintly ridiculous figures, I posit that they also represent larger forces:
- Tsubasa – Breaking the ultimate taboo of killing one’s own parent
- Miyako – The crisis of faith. Why does God allow evil things to happen?
- Girochi (Chain guy) – Victim of war.
- Corona (idol girl)
- Reiko (mangaka)
- Nekoko (nurse catgirl)
There seems to be a common element of dehumanising commercial exploitation in the latter trio, reflecting perhaps the exploitation of flesh and voice; the written story and drawn picture; grotesquely mishmashed genres. Certainly nowhere as serious as murder in the family, disaster or war but more insidious and widespread.
In any case, after seeing KannaMiko, whenever I see Ogura Yuuko, she just reminds of Corona. Contrary to many Yukorin fanboys, I just have this very very bad feeling about her, almost like there’s something creepy lurking behind the flatness and fakeness of her cutesy moéness.
Chikane’s return was another surprise. With hindsight, it was Chikane’s way of wanting to make happy memories before finally going to her doom even if it rather cruelly gave Himeko false hope. The cuddle in bed was quite sweet even if Himeko had to go all crybaby again. And given that first time viewers would be befuddled by Chikane’s behaviour, I did have more sympathy for Himeko’s confusion.
And while I think Ayako Kawasumi has done a fantastic job as Chikane, her Evil Laugh needs work.
Overall, this episode does a good job of launching the story into its final arc.