Note: I’m watching Yuki Yuna is a Hero blind. Please do not post spoilers in the comments.
Considering the bleak and empty feelings the last episode left me with, I’m surprised to see Yuki Yuna is a Hero: The Hero Chapter still doing hero club shenanigans. The gang celebrate New Year’s together; in the process, the Inubouzaki sisters get drunk off of non-alcoholic sake (of course Fuu is the sad drunk type). Some club activities ensue. The gang does some karaoke (the gall to have Togo and Sonoko sing the last WaSuYu ED…). It’s all good stuff.
I suppose some levity is in order and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t appreciate that. At the same time however, it made me feel uneasy. You watch Yuna participate in all this, trying to be happy, and you know that the disconnect is eating away at her. In fact, Yuna looks visibly tired in a lot of these scenes. Initially, I assumed that was due to stress and while it is technically a factor, you later learn that it’s only partially true. More on that in a bit.
Fortunately, this is the episode where Yuna’s friends catch on that something isn’t right. Sonoko and Togo conduct their own investigations and Karin personally confronts Yuna about what’s wrong. Fuu and Itsuki don’t catch onto anything until Sonoko and Togo share their findings which I’ll admit is disappointing. I would’ve been more than content if, at one point, Itsuki remarks on Yuna’s behavior and that causes Fuu to recall the conversation she had with Yuna before the car crash. They have been troubled enough last episode but having each of Yuna’s friends catch on in their own way would’ve made for an even stronger show of unity and how much they care about their friend.
It’s really nice seeing YuYuYu further explore Yuna and Karin’s relationship. The bond those two share ended up being one of my favorite moments in Season 1. And when you think about it, Yuna played a big part in Karin’s arc, helping the latter feel welcomed in the Hero Club and find purpose beyond serving the Taisha and Shinju. Karin owes a lot to Yuna and it’s heartwarming that she wants to return the favor by confronting Yuna over what’s been going on lately and offering to help in any way she can. In turn, it’s all the more heartbreaking when Yuna ends up refusing to tell the truth, upsetting Karin and leading her to believe that Yuna doesn’t trust her.
Sonoko reveals that she’s been checking with the Taisha off-screen who confirm to her that Yuna has been struck with the so-called Curse of the Gods. Togo has been filming club activities and secretly reviewing the footage for subtle clues in Yuna’s behavior. She later sneaks into Yuna’s room (I laughed so hard when Togo and her fairy used hand signals to communicate) and finds a Hero Record, a diary the Taisha entrusted to Yuna so that she can record her experiences. Presumably, the Taisha can’t help her or they don’t want to but they’ll task her with providing an authentic record for the archives. In case it wasn’t obvious before: the Taisha freaking suck.
To my surprise, the subsequent info dump addresses the ending of Season 1. More specifically, what exactly happened to Yuna after the final battle. Apparently, Yuna touching the big Vertex soul separated her spirit and resulted in her ending up in the same limbo Togo disappeared to earlier in the Hero Chapter. Togo’s plea for Yuna to wake up literally did reach her and somehow, a mysterious, blue crow spirit appears to guide Yuna back to the mortal world. That I’ll admit confuses me. Maybe it’s simply a product of Yuna and Togo’s bond. Maybe the Shinju played some part in its creation. Whatever its origins, the fact it’s a crow seems very intentional.
The most important detail to come out of Yuna’s diary is the revelation that, due to the damage she sustained during the last battle, she received an entirely new body created by the Shinju. This essentially makes Yuna what the Taisha refer to as a “Misugata”, someone favored by the Gods. Because of this special status, this seemingly makes Yuna ideal for restoring balance to the world. Her sacred body can take on the curse and the usual ritual Togo volunteered for is essentially bypassed. By taking on the curse however, this will result in Yuna’s death (hence her fatigue) which Yuna reveals in her diary will occur sometime in the coming spring.
It’s honestly impressive how well The Hero Chapter addresses the Season 1 ending, first with Togo’s actions and now with Yuna’s. I never liked how quickly Yuna recovered from her injuries and, barring the sequel hook the staff left in, how she simply returned to life carefree. That’s of course still a problem within Season 1 but nevertheless, I love how Season 2 has turned it into a darker and more dramatic plot point. It’s borderline retconning but it’s retconning I approve.
For an info dump, there’s quite a bit of emotional weight to it. You learn exactly how Yuna feels during the time she’s been cursed and it’s pretty heavy stuff. She’s been forcing herself to stay positive, has grown afraid to go to sleep, and even vomits at one point due to the stress. Goodness, hasn’t this poor girl had enough? Everyone’s reactions to the news hits pretty hard too. Togo blames herself for failing to complete the ritual and feels she should’ve gotten the curse (though Sonoko points out it would’ve still gone to Yuna). Karin becomes remorseful now that she knows why Yuna kept her mouth shut.
At the end of the episode, Togo pays Yuna a visit. I love that despite Yuna dying and being the one in dire need of a hug, she hugs Togo back. Granted, Yuna doesn’t know that Togo knows what’s going on with her but there’s nevertheless something uplifting with Yuna’s action. She still hasn’t completely given up and continues to give her friends the love and support she’s always provided to them.
So, where does the story go from here? Everyone is now in the know about Yuna’s curse but what are they do with this knowledge? And if they are do anything about it, they’d have to do it without Yuna knowing, right? Surely, they can’t tell Yuna that they now know as that could cause the curse to come to them again and what good would that do? Togo seems particularly determined to save Yuna somehow and that actually worries me a lot. I’m just saying, her track record of trying to amend things hasn’t exactly been the best. Hopefully, she’ll work with the others and not by her lonesome.
There’s also the matter concerning the Shinju itself. After the credits roll, we get an update on its current state and we see its leaves falling so much that it, you can actually see its branches. Last review, I thought this was somehow tied to Yuna’s curse but given the information provided this episode, I’m not so sure now. Whatever is happening, it’s clearly not a good sign.
Thanks for reading!
Watch Yuki Yuna is a Hero: The Hero Chapter on Amazon