Note: I’m watching Yuki Yuna is a Hero blind. Please do not post spoilers in the comments.
Considering how radical Togo’s plan is, I was very curious what will happen as the others catch wind of it. This episode checks the boxes but I can’t help but wish more was done. Like, everyone all agrees that Togo’s plan is insane and Yuna even reasons that if the world ends, then none of them can really be together. At the same time though, no one really goes back and forth about any of this. Everyone just tells Togo to stop and Togo just expresses her reluctance to fight back and begs her friends to understand where she’s coming from. Perhaps Togo doesn’t have a riposte to the biggest hole in her plan. She clearly is acting by impulse and desperation. Even so, it would’ve been more compelling to see her coming up various excuses, adding to her delusional and stressed state.
I also wish Yuki Yuna is a Hero focused a little more on the others’ reaction to the fact that their home is actually all that’s left of the world. Togo lures Yuna and Karin to see the truth for themselves, that I really like, but all you get is some shocked faces and a couple of gasps. Meanwhile, it’s implied that Fuu and Itsuki find out off screen and that’s even more disappointing. At least show Fuu’s initial reaction, that had to be something considering her track record.
Where this episode fares better is with the character development and interpersonal drama. For starters, Fuu gets back on her feet. I was afraid she’d be moping until the finale and for a while, it seemed to be the case. Itsuki even struggles to rally her. A neat little detail to the scene is that Itsuki tries to use her words which obviously don’t come out and I see that as saying even if she could speak, she still couldn’t reach out to Fuu. Eventually, Fuu comes back around. Seeing Itsuki fight alone and remembering why her sister chose to be a Hero makes her realize she can’t give up and do nothing. Old, fun Fuu is back and that makes me happy.
Yuna, meanwhile, is having an less than stellar time. Learning about what Togo was up to and realizing she didn’t catch onto any of it, Yuna starts to believe that she’s failed as a friend. Her low spirits even prevents her from transforming into a Hero, rendering her powerless for much of the episode. It’s only after some encouragement from
her second girlfriend Karin does Yuna find her resolve again.
Speaking of Karin….
Even though it seems that Karin has taken all the news pretty well, more so than I had anticipated, it’s not to say that she hasn’t grown disillusioned about serving the Taisha. She does draw her blade against Togo in the organization’s name but the hesitation and reluctance is evident in her body language and voice. And when Togo tells her she’s been used by the Taisha like a tool, Karin is forced to agree. She’s trained to be a Hero for most of her life and did their bidding. She is a tool for the Taisha. Fortunately, that realization does little to deject Karin. She soon realizes that she has another and much better reason to keep fighting: her friends.
I know that rooting for a character and worrying for them at same time during the action goes without saying but that dichotomy feels very pronounced during Karin’s big fight scene. On one hand, this girl finally gets her moment to shine. In fact, after so many episodes where Karin kind of gets the short end of the stick, YuYuYu goes in the extreme opposite where she takes on five major Vertex alone and uses Mankai four times. Her Mankai is pretty cool, very akin to Yuna’s with the giant arms, and even when the power up deactivates, Karin still pulls some sick attacks on the enemies. The timing also couldn’t be any better as it happens right after Karin reaches her decision to now fight for the Hero Club. She even demonstrates her increased affinity by saying all five of the club’s tenets, something that she thought was silly earlier in the series. But at the same time, you know what the consequences will be and sure enough, Karin experiences Sange the same times as she uses Mankai. She loses control of her right limbs and becomes blind and deaf as a result. Her Hero form does create new gear to compensate (Goodness, I’m realizing now how much Togo’s Hero form foreshadowed) but that’s a moot point given its time/stamina limit. For much of the series, Karin had nothing to lose. Now, she’s loses more than anyone else besides Togo.
Not to sound cruel but the big emotional scene at the end between Yuna and Karin would probably be more moving if Karin actually dies. Perhaps that’s the disadvantage with the lore establishing that the Heroes can’t die. You’re robbing the magical girl suffering of the most permanent thing you can do said magical girls. But while Karin will live, there is still something unfortunate about her losses. The fact that she’s now blind and deaf means Karin is no longer able to see and hear the friends she’s now come to cherish (how “dare” the show have her look at her birthday party photo as foreshadowing). The sudden and literal disconnect is evident as Yuna and Karin converse. Karin can’t tell if it’s Yuna she’s talking to and Yuna can’t respond since she won’t hear.
And so, I’m down to one episode of Yuki Yuna is a Hero (Season 1. Let me worry about Season 2 another day). Thanks to Karin, Yuna finds the resolve to confront Togo and she is pretty much the last one left to fight. Fuu and Itsuki put up a good fight and they may join back in during the finale. I hope Karin is out entirely because the poor girl seriously deserves the break. For the most part, I expect the final fight to largely be between Yuna and Togo. Yuna is the only one who can knock some sense into Togo (figuratively and literally), not to mention the one Togo wishes to fight the least. On paper, this is the perfect fight for the finale.
I look forward to it but to be honest, I’m struggling to picture how the show will end. I want to expect that Yuna will win and Togo will give up on her plan but considering how wild YuYuYu has gotten in the past few episodes, I feel I should consider the possibility of Togo’s plan actually going through or something even crazier than that. The uncertainty perhaps feels more pronounced because Season 2 exists. Was the Season 1 finale pretty conclusive or was it such a massive cliffhanger that Season 2 had to happen? I suppose I’ll find out soon enough.
Thanks for reading!