See, now, this is the kind of episode I’ve been wanting.
What this season has proven without a doubt, is that Blood Blockade is an ensemble show. The last two episodes proved a bit problematic because it completely stole the focus away from pretty much everyone who was a part of the ensemble. However, episodes prior to it focused specifically on Chain, on Zed, on Gilbert, and so-on. Certain episodes have spread the focus out a little.
We’ve still yet to get any real features out of Klaus or Steven individually, just getting snippets of them in episodes where the focus is on pretty much everyone. I’m perfectly fine getting as little of Zapp as possible. And the Leo episodes we got were… honestly the weakest ones in the entire season because all they ever did was focus on how unlucky and pitiful the man is. This time we get a feature on the character I’ve been becoming increasingly more interested in – K.K. And if I’m honest, this might be the best yet. The only one that really compares to it is Zed’s.
In the episode, we focus on K.K’s role as a mother. A critically important mission comes up, right when she should be attending parents’ day at her youngest son’s school. Said son already resents her a bit because of how infrequently she’s able to be there for him. But she’s determined to make it to this one. So she has Libra’s resident tech heads rig up a number of remotely controlled sentries for her to operate while she attends her son’s event. It’s a pretty clever idea.
What I liked most about the episode was the perspective flip. In a lot of shows that handle this sort of situation, we see it from the kid’s perspective. And usually, the parent’s spending more time with the kid is the resolution. The parent comes to understand that they’re putting work before their child or whatever, and they’re going to miss out on seeing them grow up. That narrative certainly has merit in some situations, but it’s not often we get to see the other side of that coin. This one plays the other way. K.K. resolves to make it to this event early in the episode. In fact, the first scene is her already being there while hearing her team calling out for her help overhear earpiece, which we assume at first means that she just left them to bite it. But as the episode unfolds, you can see what leads her to the course of action she takes.
Though initially treated comedically, it is interesting getting to genuinely see how it hurts her to have to keep doing this to her children. Children who, mind you, she treasures with all her heart and soul. Her job takes away from her ability to be there for them when she wants nothing more than to spend time with her family. Seeing her kids lose any semblance of hope in her absolutely destroys her. In the case of the oldest child, he’s grown to simply not expect much from her, which is painful on its own. But the younger one is growing to resent her. And for a parent who truly loves their child, there are few pains greater than seeing that child hate them.
The fact of the matter is that K.K. does what she does for her children, not in spite of them. Her job keeps the city safe… well… safer. And that’s the other angle I simply didn’t consider until recently. They never really brought up the money. It was more a matter of her doing what she does because she’s a protector. Even the (admittedly scummy) tactic that Steven uses to get her to do the mission reinforces that idea. This just adds to the pain, of course. It’s not just a matter of needing to provide for your family and failing to do that. She’s literally working to save the lives of her kids. And it isn’t like a superhero story, where often times the kids know. K.K. works a sensitive, secretive job. Her kids can’t know what she does, so there’s the resentment.
So K.K. goes to the event while handling her mission remotely. Meanwhile, her son’s still a bit leery and is entirely expecting her to have to leave. That sounds like it should be the end of things, right? Problem easily resolved in the earliest stage of the episode? Well, no. That isn’t the only angle presented, here. No, it also explores the interesting duality to this situation. I’m not really going to get into it because this was a twist I actually really liked for the episode. Another really interesting look into the perspectives we’re so used to seeing in these types of stories.
The resolution of the K.K’s problem in the episode is just as effective for me because of what it says. Obviously, she doesn’t want to keep doing this. But she has to. When K.K. sees she’ll have to leave anyway, she agonizingly apologizes to her son. And mind you it’s very clear that his own heart is broken by this as well. But what she says really drives the point home. I’d said that there are few pains greater for a loving parent than to be hated by their child. That much is true. But there is no pain greater than for a parent to outlive their child. So she bears the pain of his hating her, all so he can live in a safer city.
All in all, this was quite possibly the best episode of the season in that it really showed off all of these different angles and captured an incredibly strong emotional core that few of the other episodes did. Seeing K.K being such a doting parent at times was great. In general, I’m reminded why she just struck me as the most interesting of the characters. I’ve always liked seeing the stories where important characters are parents because I like seeing how they manage to juggle that responsibility with everything else.
The episode is one that, on its own, I’d definitely Recommend. Buuut once again there is that issue of the series having virtually no progression towards anything this season. At this point, I just have to come to terms with that. It’s a bit disappointing. But eh. What can ya do? If you’d rather watch an episode about the worst parents in the history of the universe, however, feel free to watch this week’s episode of Kino no Tabi. I didn’t review it because f–k that episode. It doesn’t deserve the in-depth look. But if you’d like to see the blissful conclusion to one of the season’s best romantic comedies, check out EvilBob’s recap of Net-juu no Susume. You don’t have to, of course, but, well…
Or, if you’re waiting for the (hopefully) thrilling two-part conclusion to this series, Blood Blockade Battle Front & Beyond is Simulcast on Crunchyroll, Saturdays at 2:10pm EST.