Wait, this is 20+ episodes, right? Because… this is looking a heckuva lot like the buildup to a climax.
The cooldown’s at an end and… honestly not a lot happens, this time either. Basically, the entire episode was just the characters sitting around, wondering what they could possibly do next. They more or less got popped in the mouth by Origami in the last episode. Not that she physically showed up. But she mobilized the defense force and even sent Yume to deal with our heroes and their covert buddies. And just for reference, Yume…
Now Origami’s managed to somehow force the other Mokusa-collaborating schools on lockdown, presumably arresting the principals or something like that. The Toji even have all of their katanas taken away, should tell you what’s about to happen, but we’ll come back to that. In the midst of all this, Origami, herself, goes to that Noro reservoir thing beneath her temple and the stuff all just comes alive. But I’ll be honest. The image doesn’t look nearly as ominous as it does just… kinda silly.
It could’ve looked far more threatening, especially in light of what’s presumably about to happen. But the fact that it just looks so goopy makes it look less like some evil energy is about to form into an unspeakable monster and more like she’s being assailed by a vat of Jello. It’s helped none by the bright color that Noro has. And if you had a particularly… “active” imagination, the woman strips down before this gelatinous mass of tendrils just starts to surround her. I feel I needn’t remind anyone that Japan is quite infamous for a certain… “genre” of adult entertainment that this just very awkwardly and (hopefully) unintentionally somewhat resembles.
Beyond this, a lot of the episode hinges on Akane (Origami’s younger sister) deciding on the Mokusa’s next move. But the girls, themselves, don’t do a whole lot. While they’re licking their wounds and wondering where to go from here, Mai actually gets it in her to grow a spine, deciding that she wants to fight too. This comes after witnessing Origami’s forces (Yume included) mow through a handful of Mokusa allies. Now she wants to stand up and not only defend her friends, but also fight alongside them and all that. It’s an admirable little moment for her. It actually addressed the concern I brought up before about why she and Sayaka are there at all. Evidently, even she wasn’t entirely sure.
But then things get weird when they all experience this weird out-of-body thing. Anyone who is, or has ever been a Miko just suddenly senses… something. And it is kind of intriguing. Even the members of the Elite 4 sense it. Then we get a little snippet of backstory and it turns out this is exactly the sequence of events that led to the Great Aradama surfacing 20 years prior.
Honestly? It was a bit on the underwhelming side. I mean, I like the parallel, but I actually wish we’d gotten a little more buildup. Like if this was gradually built up to. They could’ve been having these little tiny flashes, inevitably leading up to this big one. It’d have made the entire ordeal a lot more mysterious and foreboding. Buuut then they’d have had to maintain some sense of mystery about what was going on with Origami in the first place. Still, it could’ve been great for the atmosphere.
As for what happens after that, it’s a bit of a mixed bag. On the one hand, the girls decide that now is the time to move. They’ll destroy what’s left of Origami and eliminate the Great Aradama, once and for all. Kanami gets the idea to get in using the S-Equipment pods. But ahead of this, Hiyori takes it upon herself to name Mai their leader. And this is honestly my only genuine question or concern about the entire episode. Why? No. Seriously. Why her? I’m not at all saying she couldn’t do it. But what had she accomplished up to this point that made her seem like the choice to be the team leader? Especially when Eren, Kaoru, or even Hiyori herself. If anything, the only people I can envision Mai being the better option over are Kanami (who’s charismatic but not necessarily leaderly) and Sayaka (who only just recently developed a will of her own).
Don’t get me wrong. I like Mai. I like where her character arc is going. But I do think this may have potentially pushed her forward a little too quickly. After all, she’s yet to actually win a fight, herself. At least not without the advantage of the other person being worn out. And, to be fair, maybe that’s entirely on purpose. Maybe she isn’t ready for this yet. But more on that later.
In order to pull off their plan, they need a distraction. Kinda. So Akane decides to “surrender,” which is a bit of a gambit because they had no way of knowing so many of their forces would be sent just to secure her. But it’s also pretty cool because the next (and final) snippet is just friggin’ cool. Kanami got the bright idea to use the S-Equipment launchers to get them to Origami in a hurry without trouble. And when that’s done, she emerges from the container in full S-Equipment armor. It’s a sweet visual, and a cool note to close on for the next episode.
The episode has an odd feeling to it because, again, this show is only just approaching the halfway mark. And that’s partially why I think the girls are going to wind up somehow failing or, at best, getting the “bittersweet” ending, this time. Mai very well may not be ready to take on that leadership role. And if they screw this up, this could become a good moment of character growth for her and a point of contention between her and Hiyori that could work well to expand upon their relationship. Because they haven’t shared much screentime as of yet. There are also a ton of plot threads just hanging at the moment to be resolved in a couple of episodes. The Renpu president trying to get Sayaka back, whatever’s wrong with Yume, the Human/Aradama fusion thing, there’s plenty left to cover.
All in all, this episode was Harmless, but it was pretty much all setup, anyway. Not quite breezy enough to qualify as Easy Viewing as it was fairly intense in tone, if nothing else. I expect that the next episode is going to deliver on the action quite a bit, considering the girls are arriving in super armor and have a score to settle with the Elite 4. But while we wait, there’s plenty of other just as harmless anime to watch. Maybe get caught up on Beatless. It’s been pretty decent, so far. And it just dealt with quite a bit of its own setup.
Or, if you’re just joining the Toji no Miko train, then get caught up with the Simulcast on Crunchyroll, Fridays at 10:00am EST. That’s all for me, here, folks. As always, thanks for reading. Keep up the awesome.