Some people just like to cross every line that’s put in front of them. Sometimes that the other side of that line is a better place.
“A Kind God”
It is a rare opportunity when a series can take some of its most unlike-able characters, built up over an entire season, and bring them in to the light as understandable and interesting individuals. Sorry Kanai-sensei, I’m not talking about you. You’re still kinda boring. Akane and Mugi on the other hand are developed fantastically in this episode and the journey that they take in this short amount of time perfectly continues the story arc of this series. Despite the fact that there is a bit of controversy over Akane being ‘forgiven’ for her past indiscretions, which is a bit of a stretch in itself, I find the realism of accepting a human being’s flaws and moving past them to be quite refreshing in this context.
Akane has definitely been played as an antagonist up to this point, if we are to take Mugi and Hanabi as the protagonists. This episode does everything in its power to change that after hints from earlier suggested she might be more misunderstood than outright evil. And behold, by the power of pretty good writing and direction, she is in her own way redeemed. Not perfect of course, but better. The trip with Kanai that she finds kind of silly off the bat quickly evolves in to a great time for reflection on her life so far and how she handles relationships. She really just needed something to break her out of her comfort zone of use and abuse to trigger some frustration and real thought on the matter. Although this might be instigated by Kanai’s feelings for her, it feels more like he was in the right place at the right time rather than actually necessary. But his character grew a little here too. I quite enjoy his inability to completely explain his love for Akane, because he some things are just too difficult to put in to words (and she looks like his mom).
Mugi brings up a wonderful philosophical point that is worth mentioning. “If I can’t make them change – then I don’t want to see someone else change them.” This perfectly characterizes his feelings for Akane as shallow and childish. He didn’t love her despite her flaws, he was interested in her because of them. That can work, but people do change, and if you can’t accept someone through those changes, like Kanai seems to be able to with Akane, then there will come a time that it stops working. So where does this leave Mugi? Well, we have one more episode to see if he can patch things up with someone that he truly gets along well with – and after how improbably this episode flipped the Akane situation on its head, I have pretty high hopes that the Mugi x Hana story will have some kind of conclusion as well. The path is already open for Mugi’s redemption, with him realizing in the final moments of this episode that his feelings were moderately hollow, now how will he bounce back from that?
Summary: Akane reaches the tipping point and falls right in to Kanai’s arms, while Mugi finally comes to terms with his infatuation.
– Back at good ol’ Banny’s.
– Kanai is only horny when drunk apparently.
– Breaking guy’s hearts is Akane’s life work.
– He could have kept his glasses on in the bath.
– And Akane finally shows some emotion.
– Does Kanai-sensei have a slight Oedipus complex?
– Is this now suggesting Kanai still likes Hanabi!?
– “I’m gonna cheat on you all the time, OK?”
– Mugi has a lot of explaining to do.