Kaede, you’re scaring me.
I don’t even mean that remark as a joke. Watching this episode made for a very distressing experience from beginning to especially the end. On one hand, I want to see where Kaede’s arc is going. On the other, I don’t think my heart can take any more of this of this roller coaster.
Last episode dropped some new info that Puberty Syndrome isn’t Kaede’s only diagnosis. Turns out that she also developed dissociative amnesia after she was unable to cope with getting bullied. With no memories of adolescence, Kaede has regressed to an earlier of state of mind, one more akin to that of a child’s. And thus we have the Kaede we’ve been following since the beginning of this series. It’s a pretty impressive move on Bunny Girl Senpai‘s part. Just incorporating a real disorder in a show that has involved an invisible bunny girl and a time loop amongst other things comes as a complete surprise to me. On top of that, it’s now hard to fault Kaede being the imouto archetype now as there is a very intriguing reason behind such demeanor.
Kaede having dissociative amnesia does further complicate the current dilemma however. As her goal is to overcome her debilitating anxiety, the projected outcome is that she’ll revert back to her old self. That would be fine and all except that reverting puts Kaede at risk of forgetting the memories she currently has. And sure enough, this is exactly what happens at the end of the episode, after Kaede has successfully stepped into her school again.
Oddly enough, Kaede does find out about this consequence midway through the episode, after overhearing Sakuta explain it all to Mai on the phone. And yet, she still presses on with her original plan. It strikes to me as peculiar as Kaede seems to be the kind of person who requires a lot to do something bold. Just last episode, she really had to force herself to try to step out of her front door and even then, Sakuta still needed to trick her to do so. Here, it almost feels like Kaede wants to revert back, as if she thinks this is the best way to break out of her shell and perhaps be less of a burden for Sakuta.
Poor Sakuta. Forget the fact that progress was slow, he just can’t seem to find the perfect solution for his sister. I’m sure he wanted his sister’s old memories to resurface but you can tell from his face at the end that he’s horrified to see her lose her current ones. I’d hate to see him beat himself up over his powerlessness as I think he has been the best brother he could be for Kaede. He’s the first person to accept the then-new Kaede and you see him exercise a ton of a patience and concern as he helps her finally tries to go to school again. I particularly admire the logic loophole he uses where brings Kaede to her school at night. Not only is it within his character to bend the rules like that, it also shows that he’s keenly aware of what limitations are in Kaede’s comfort zone and how he wants to still help her achieve her goal.
I suppose we have Shoko to thank for putting Sakuta on his path. Her belief that people live their lives to become kinder rings incredibly true to me. That said, WHO THE HELL IS THIS GI-
There’s only one issue I have with this episode. No, it’s not the dialogue. Twelve episodes in and I kind of just accept it as part of the program. No, what irked me surrounds the execution of the opening scene when Sakuta explains to Mai and Nodoka what exactly is wrong with Kaede. The flashback starts right when the new Kaede has replaced the original. I find it odd as you’re left to just take Sakuta’s word that she’s changed. Ideally, you ought to briefly show what she was like pre-amnesia and then cut to the personality that we are more familiar with.
That said, the trade-off to this decision is a worthwhile one. By holding off on revealing the original Kaede’s personality, seeing it for the first time at the end of the episode does sell the shock even more. The difference is truly night and day. She’s more mature, less energetic, and not the least bit interested in vying for her brother’s attention and affection…it’s creeping me is out what I’m trying to say. Props to Yurika Kubo for distinguishing Kaede’s two personalities with her voice. Giving the original Kaede a deeper, more mellowed voice threw me so much.
Looks like Kaede is getting the three episode arc treatment. Thank goodness for that. I’ve bemoaned about Futaba’s and Nodoka’s arcs each being only two episodes long and I very much expressed that disappointment in my past episode reviews. However, I’m only now pinpointing the biggest reason why I wish those arcs were longer. It’s that last minute catch that you see in Mai’s and Tomoe’s middle chapters that I missed most. You now, how Sakuta assures Mai that he’ll keep remembering her even if he’s the last person to do so. How Tomoe resolves to be Sakuta’s best friend only to then stare at an ad featuring Mai with envy. It’s a very subtle trick but one that adds an emotional punch right before the big climax. It worked for Mai’s arc, it worked for Tomoe’s, and boy does it work so poignantly for Kaede’s.
- I’m just now figuring out how Sakuta’s scar works. It’s like Kaede’s injuries in how it takes emotional pain and turning it into a physical injury.
- Sakuta and Kaede’s mother having a mental breakdown is, uh, dark. I suppose it contrasts with Sakuta resolving to be there for imouto Kaede and it does explain why the dad is living somewhere else (something that previously seemed really peculiar to me)
- Okay, Sakuta’s dad asking his son to tell him about Mai is pretty funny.
- I’m all for giving Nodoka screentime but goodness, please let her have more lines. It starts to feel odd when she’s just there. Also, where was my Tomoe cameo?
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